~by Sonya Brown
(all photos by Chad Michael Ward)

Much like a mystery leaping out from within the classic film  "Close Encounters", an obsessive focus brought on by an unseen force whirls about kaRIN, who (in a state of trance) repeatedly draws a symbol used to illustrate Some Kind of Strange, the latest release by Collide.  At least, that's how my mind envisions the creative process that has consumed three years in the making for Some Kind of Strange.  

Digital Apocalypse Studios provides detailed artwork designs for the centerfuge of symbolism which vocalist kaRIN describes as a visual way to represent the "pulling apart and coming together that is collide."  kaRIN's vocals provide shimmering layers which slither to maneuver her lyrical perspectives across sonic textures as expertly administrated by Statik, a master of noise manipulation technology.  

Now available for Collide fans hungry to sink teeth into, Some Kind of Strange delivers eleven new enigmatic tracks for which STARVOX seeks explication....

Sonya Brown: Please describe the symbolism used on the CD cover for Some Kind of Strange.

Statik:  It has to do with an ancient language that kaRIN deciphered while on a trip to Northern Africa last year. We also have a new "symbol".  It came from kaRIN's mind. She originally painted it on canvas. I think it has something to do with a sort of weapon that she is planning to make?

kaRIN:  I like symbols, I always have because they are bold and meaningful. The symbol used on the cover for Some Kind of Strange is something that we found. It possibly comes from ancient astrologers called the Picatrix, maybe in the year 1000 or so. As I understood it, it has to do with lining up the planets to achieve desired results. The collide symbol is meant to represent the pulling apart and coming together that is collide. I love visuals, so I wanted something that would visually represent us.
SB: How did the recording process for Some Kind of Strange differ from Chasing the Ghost?

Statik:  They probably differed only in the fact that we worked separately even more than we did before for most of the record. We'd both work out our parts in our own studios, and pass the ideas back and forth a few times until we were happy with how the song was. It wasn't until the end of most songs that we would actually be working together in the same room.

kaRIN:  We have always worked separately. On our first CD, Beneath the Skin we did not even live in the same city, I am not sure how you can get any more separate than that. I don't really see that the process has changed. The only difference is that we each get harder to satisfy.
SB: Guest musicians contributing creativity to the music appearing within Some Kind of Strange include among others, cEvin Key, and Danny Carey. How did this come about?

Statik:  I met cEvin a few years ago after he moved to L.A. He had previously done a remix for us on Beneath the Skin, and I think we just kept running into each other at various clubs here. Anyway, cEvin did drums for a song while we were tracking drums for one of the new Skinny Puppy songs, so we were all set up, and it just worked out. As far as Danny, we were actually on the tail end of the album when he finished touring with Tool. I had done some programming for them on a couple of albums, so he was nice enough to take an afternoon and do a few takes for us.
SB: kaRIN, the track, "Slither Thing", is very sultry and sexy, and must be quite fun for you to sing. Your voice has a playful ring to it. What goes on in your mind as you sing this track?

kaRIN:  "Slither Thing" vocally does have a playful feel, that's the way I heard the music. I like quirky a lot... it's good to not always be so serious. This track although it sounds playful, is actually me cursing someone who did something that was very hurtful. So it gets dedicated to anyone who has ever done anything really slimy, you know who you are.
SB: Describe your thoughts behind the track, "Tempted"?  What tempts you so?

Statik:  A really good margarita is very tempting to me.

kaRIN:  "Tempted", was written about life, more specifically about wanting life. When your primary needs like health is threatened, it changes your perspective on things.
SB: We see, once again, a beautiful joining between Collide and Chad Michael Ward of  Please describe how the artwork concepts for Some Kind of Strange developed.

Statik:  I guess the beginning was from the photo shoot that he did for us before the CD artwork was even started, so it was choosing some photos, and from that, seeing what would work around it.

kaRIN:  At first we had no idea what we wanted for this CD, we bounced ideas back and forth with Chad until it started to take shape. In the same sort of way as we work on music, we went back and forth and developed ideas until we felt it would work for the CD. Chad is a very talented guy, I was struck by his work the first time I saw it. Like ourselves, he is an obsessive artist, I like that in people.
SB: kaRIN, on the inside of the CD Jacket, there is a framed photo of a human figure with a large butterfly covering the breasts. Is this one of your paintings? If so, can you please tell us a bit about it.

kaRIN:  That is Chad's piece, similar to work I might do, but it is Chad's. I like it in the lyric panel, as I felt it represented me pouring my soul out.
SB: Statik, please tell our readers about the remix of "Relax" you did for the movie Zoolander.  What exactly did you do to this track? Do you get to attend private screenings? What opportunities develop as a result of providing your services in this way?

Statik:  I did get to go a remix of Relax. I have it up on our discography page, but it didn't actually get into the final movie soundtrack. It was really cool though just to hear the original tracks totally isolated.  There was only something like 16 tracks, if I remember correctly. They needed a particular bpm for some reason, and it was like 180 bpm, so it was kind of weird, totally fast, and not what I would have chosen to do myself, plus, I only had half a day to do it, because I was flying out of town for some other work. I think they had another remix that they ended up using instead, oh well.  I was kind of bummed out though, because I was going to be able to go to the premier, but I was out of town at the time.  I don't know what opportunities I got from that, but it was just more fun than anything.
SB: While browsing your guestbook, many TOOL fans are writing in and singing the praises of Collide! How would you explain this enormous popularity among TOOL fans?

Statik:  I guess I can't explain it. They were nice enough to put up an interview and a link to our site, and a number of people have written us and been so happy that they found us through Tool. We definitely aren't Tool-like in our sound, but maybe they are hearing something new that they just haven't found before.

kaRIN:  I see Tool's music and writing as arty, intelligent and emotional, although our sound is quite different the same elements can be found, so I think they relate to those same elements.
SB: Your website hosts amazing images and photographs. What creativity goes into any Collide photo shoot? How much control do you maintain? What level of control are you willing to relinquish in the process?

Statik:  I leave it up to kaRIN and the photographer. As long as I get to do my own hair, I'm fine with whatever they decide.

kaRIN:  I love working with different photographers. I enjoy the process both in front and behind the camera. I would like to learn myself how to be a better photographers as I think it is such a great medium. I have taken pictures for some of my friends including Faith & the Muse and Regenerator. When I am shooting, I just try to make it interesting, I would like to explore more though. As far as how much control am I willing to relinquish, quite a lot I guess. If you work with other talented people, that's the point to let them do their thing or you won't be using them to their fullest potential.
SB: In what ways does Hot Topic support a new focus upon Some Kind of Strange?

Statik:  They support it in the fact that decided to carry it, or take some copies for some of their stores. Getting CDs into stores is still one of biggest hurdles, so it was great that they did that.

kaRIN:  Yes, being on a small independent label, it is very difficult to get your music into stores and get decent distribution. We were really pleased that Hot Topic picked it up because we have always heard how hard it is to find our CD's, so we hope that between that and, CD Baby, and our own site that it makes it a little easier.
SB: While taking a tour of your website recently, I felt as if I were wandering about a castle with secret doors and hidden bookcases. Please paint a visual image of your favorite places to hang out at your website, and why these places are special to you.

Statik:  We do like to visit our guestbook a lot. It means a lot to us when fans leave us a message. Sometimes we just feel like we are in a bubble, so it really helps us when someone writes.

kaRIN:   Yes that's true, it feels inspiring to us to know that our music means something to anyone other than ourselves. Having a solid web presence is something that really helps us. Although we still feel like a relatively unknown band, if it were not for the availability of the internet we would not have been able to get nearly as far as we have. So much of what we do, and our contacts are directly related to the internet.
SB: Of course I have to ask about your Turtle Sanctuary! What other creatures have you adopted?

Statik:  It didn't start out to be a turtle sanctuary, it was just a pond where we could relax from time to time in between recording. From time to time, people hear that you have a pond, and it's amazing that turtles just find there way to you from people or kids that got tired of the turtle, or their turtle outgrew their little tank. The turtles get to live in an outdoor pond with fish and frogs in the middle of L.A, and they seem to be pretty happy. Lately I had some signs up for a turtle that had somehow escaped, and within a period of two weeks I had three people call thinking that they had found the turtle. And none of them were mine, it's like there's all these turtle running around L.A.? I don't get it. They all happened to be tortoises, and not turtles, but I agreed to take one in anyway.

kaRIN:  Statik is like the Doctor Do Little for animals, even snails.
SB: Statik, please tell us about your role in the "Love Rollercoaster" remix, produced by Sylvia Massy and Red Hot Chili Peppers, for the Beavis & Butthead soundtrack. I think that's one of my faves!

Statik:  Sylvia was the producer of that song, and I had worked with her previously on Tool, as well as a bunch of other bands. She just needed some drum programming on the song, so I came in for an afternoon and that was that. The band wasn't there unfortunately, but the song really did turn out well, it was so, fun.
SB: kaRIN, how has your vocal style has changed from Chasing The Ghost to Some Kind of Strange? You sound a bit more crisp with this latest release.

kaRIN:  I am not sure that it changed? I really don't have perspective.

SB: TV shows have picked up on your music recently.  Where might we tune in to find Collide next?

Statik:  If I had my wish, it would be on a movie soundtrack. I thought it was sad that "Mutation" didn't get used in the X-Men movie, maybe the next one??

kaRIN:  I thought that too when I saw it, it would have been perfect as "Mutation" is all about finding your own mutation and being happy with it. Our music is very visual, the way I see it, it's just begging to be used in a soundtrack. We get asked if people can use it in independent films all the time.

SB: What may both new and die-hard Collide fans look forward to now?

Statik:  I wish I knew. Maybe a remix record until we start writing new material. Maybe a live show? We don't know yet, but we're trying a few things out.

Website located at:

PO Box 565
North Hollywood, CA 91603