"One you lock the target, two you bait the line, three you slowly spread the net, and four..."
I am caught. Front 242 playing at Chicago's Congress Theatre! The venue last famous for having the plaster falling off the nicely designed ceilings during the Chemical Brothers Show in 1998.
I go with some friends of mine, Sam and Tish, a very travel worthy couple who are as happy to get out of the local scene for a night as me! It was a breeze, we managed to get the pre-sale price at the door, do to some problems we had with ticket-bastards. It only saved us $15, but that Is enough o splurge on dinner. There is just the right amount of chill in the air, and the excitement is building. I have been in the wrong place/wrong time for about a decade making it impossible to catch the Belgian bringers of industrial dance-hall death. As a promoter/DJ sure I am burned out on the classics (except "Don't Crash" ) , but this is live! Oh the expectations.
With dinner done, and a good ride on the CTA, we head over to the Congress, and It Is a breeze, take reflective ticket out of pocket, hand It to the girl, rip. We are In. No line? Yet lots of people, the show Is set up rave style, and the lobby area of this massive building Is hosting It's own dance party. The line to get a beer, shows us how long the outside line once was.
I am slammed with a barrage of Blue Monday mixed into some Nitzer Ebb. I can handle it. I could hang here and get all danced out, but past the red carpet treatment there is another area. There is the Theatre. A promoter earlier told us the time for 242 to go on stage, that time Is now!
We are on the floor, we get ourselves settled in just as the curtain rises. There was a good number of people already there. Yet not too many. Not so many that we can't get a good look at the stage. Sam Doty has brought his camera, and is more than happy to share his pictures with us.
At first the smoke and lights are hitting a scrim. Very nice touch, you can see the outline of shapes from behind it, as if they are swimming in Vaseline. I was really happy with the lights and the effect of this, but the crowd is anxious. So up with the scrim, and here are the boys. FRONT 242, in all there Belgian glory. The crowd was ready for a slam-fest. So I did not get a set list, (nor is my memory up to the task...) I do remember the spirit hitting fairly high during "Body to Body." This did nothing but provoke the whole 'slam-dance' feel of the evening. It became apparent that I'd have to use some punk-rock maneuvers to keep up with this very male audience. I really liked where I was, and so I glued my feet to the ground, and got my elbows ready. Security was a bit antsy. They had their own light show going from the flashlights. I am not sure what they were going to accomplish by pointing flashlights at the slammers, but I don't think that they did. Even during the double feature of Headhunter, and Welcome To Paradise, the security was very center stage. I was a bit tired of them, and the boys in the band seemed to be as well. Up for another round of 'Body to Body'? why not? I am not sure but I think 242 replayed this song, because they really enjoyed inciting the audience, this seemed to keep security from hogging the stage. (They became too busy keep us 'safe' from one another. )
OK I am heading to the back for the rest of this, there is enough of a light/stage show to justify a scene change (plus I'm getting too old to fight off moshers.) A sweet 'Hispani-Goth" beckons me to stand (or bounce) on the chairs toward the beginning of the 'orchestra pit'. I can see the full stage. Drummer, two keyboards, and two men with microphones. O.K. I should have been better about who is in the band now, and all that. It didn't seem to matter though. Speed Angel rips through the old Theatre, and we are in our own 242 heaven. The beats have been reconstructed, and the ambient noise, that makes each song recognizable, is wafting up like it belongs to another place, another time. This effect shows how "hard-core" into techno beats, that this incarnation of Front 242 has become. Every word. every move from the stage, has the right effect. If they weren't a band they'd be arrested for inciting a riot. If I didn't dance, bounce, bob, and try to keep up with all of it. I might have more details. Well at least Sam brought his camera. Thanks Sam.
"... and four you catch the man."
Century Center for the Performing Arts
111 East 15th Street, New York, New York
December 3, 2000
~reviewed by Kevin
(Photo Credit: Brad Fowler from TheaterMania.com)
Although he's best known for his haunting pen-and-inkillustrations, Edward Gorey also had a long and fruitful career in theatre. As early as 1951 Goreywas a founding member and art director of the "Poet'sTheatre," a Cambridge collective which included such luminaries as Thornton Wilder, Frank O'Hara andWilliam Carlos Williams. Later he would receive wide acclaim for his design work in "Dracula," (which racked up an impressive 925 performances on Broadway, and garnered Gorey a Tony for the costumes) and for "Amphigorey."
"The Gorey Details" sprints through almost 20 Goreystories, published and unpublished. It begins with Kevin McDermott as narrator Ogdred Weary (an anagram of Gorey's name, in the finest Gorey-tradition),introducing us to Gorey's strange, twisted, and wonderful world. And what a world it is! Barbershop quartets about children freezing to death, tots abandoned in theattic and rescued by bats, murder, mayhem, unwelcome guests, stalking opera fans and an admonitory hippopotamus... all in 90 minutes.
If you've seen Gorey's opening animations for *Mystery,* or have read his books, you'll immediately recognize his sardonic humor. If not, imagine a Tim Burton version of Grimm's fairy tales and you'll get the general idea. The music, by three-time Emmy winner Peter Matz, fits in perfectly with the mock-lugubrious, silly-serioustone. Using only a piano, drum kit and cello, the musicians create an appropriate atmosphere for all the onstage goings-on, with a score that's one part dinner theatre and one part faux-classical -- like DarkwaveGoth with a sense of humor and irony, if such a thing can be imagined. The costumes are in the best Gorey tradition and kept this Vintage-Whore drooling in his seat. (Where DID Martha Bromelmeier find those gorgeous Roaring 20s clothes?) The cast was exceptional. Particularly noteworthy was Clare Stolak, whose voice is as well suited for opera as for dinner theatre and whose comic timing is impeccable; I'd love to see what she could do with Gilbert & Sullivan. Allison Crowley's Theodora, the little girl abandoned in the attic who later goes onto a career in show biz with the aid of her bat friends, also stood out. Finally, Kevin McDermott's narrator kept this "Musicale" collection of moments united and kept things moving at a brisk clip.
If you get a chance to see this (it will be closing in New York as of December 10; if there is any justice inthe theatrical world "Gorey Details" will go on the road), don't hesitate. Edward Gorey is one of the Founding Fathers of the Goth Aesthetic, and his play does his dark vision justice. If you pass this one up, may Admonitory Hippopotami and Victorian stalkers dog your footsteps.
on the Artist
Includes pictures from the play
Interview with composer Peter Matz
Millvale Industrial Theatre –Pittsburgh PA
October 27, 2000
Much to my dismay, I was not armed with a camera for this event. Though disappointingly under attended, the lengthy night of exceptional performances was an unmistakable treat. This was the first show I have attended in Pittsburgh for quite sometime, and I was overwhelmed with the energetic performances of all five bands.
First, local shoegaze/indy rockers Low Sunday took the stage at around 9 PM. It had been almost a year since I had seen this band perform. In the meandering time, Low Sunday had dropped the ‘Ghost Machine’ from their moniker and more importantly, unveiled their sophomore release “Elesgiem.” I was anxious to hear these songs in a live format. Furthermore, Low Sunday were one of the first Gothic related bands I had ever seen live, and a wave of nostalgia always overwhelms me when I see them. Armed with a new line up, the band was fresh, and made a deep impact as they always succeed in doing. Fronted by humble vocalist/guitarist Shane Sahene, the band continues to expand and grow. He founded the band in the mid nineties, and though they have had their flashes of success beyond the perimeters of the tri-state area, I am of firm belief that Shane’s vision will carry the band into a respectable immortality within the dark alternative music genres and further.
I was certainly not disappointed in the least, as they played a round about mix of classic tracks such as “For A Moment” and “Static,” culled from the self-titled debut and also performed my favourite track entitled “Zuff” from their newest release. A few nice surprises were delivered, as Low Sunday debuted a new track, which ventured away in approach from their enveloping 4AD inspired sound and treaded into a more aggressive, pseudo-death rockish realm. The band’s characteristic mood was not in the slightest way disturbed, but a unique edge was invoked. With distortion in full swing, the dueling guitars traded some driving riffs and the drums snapped and thudded away in the background. I was very impressed with the song, and if this is the direction the band is heading, I am twice as excited. Low Sunday is without a doubt one of Pittsburgh’s unsung heroes, and I hope readers will look them up and delve into their melodic brand of emotion-fuelled music.
Another local group of artist’s stormed the stage next, the infamous Parvulus Infectus. Characterized by a harsh yet disturbingly engrossing melding of noise, violent electronics, and performance art, this project held the small yet dutiful crowd spellbound. For a little over a half hour, the band bashed, banged, sampled, shouted, and split aural atoms in two, by aborting a sound scape that could be compared to early work by Download and DVOA, with hints of forefathers Throbbing Gristle and the like. Seeing these misanthropes perform is both spectacle and journey. Admittedly, they were not as outgoing as usual. In the past the band has been celebrated for smashing electronic appliances to smithereens and in good fun, showering the crowd in sparks generated from grinders and other useful power tools. One of the more memorable moments (which I missed but heard much about) was when the force of the grinder sent a storm of rose petals from a decorated table into the crowd. At first, the audience was distraught and thought they were being assaulted with metal chips or sparks, but soon realized what had exactly been flaking down upon them.
The performance tonight was then more of a musical journey, one that you could not have resisted if you were present in the room. The band just hooks you, and sends you through a crash course of moods. It’s like generated mania. Starting with a steady drive of angst-ridden screams, static modulation, and apocalyptic keyboards, the focus on rhythm took the upper hand. Supplied by both live percussion and programmed drumming, the band built up the momentum and then plunged into a surreal yet uneasy calm. Some chilling delayed clean guitar effects and ‘batwing’ scratches drew goosebumps and erected the hairs on the nape of my neck. They lingered upon the minimalist gloom for a bit and gradually crested to reach an explosive finale, and as they usually do, left me and many others in want of more. Indeed, such tricks are nothing new, but for the small starving Pittsburgh scene, it was a nice treat for the faithful rivet heads and experimental junkies that were in attendance.
The last of a trio of local performers followed not long after Parvulus closed up shop. The path was cleared to make way for the solo project of Frederik Von Hamilton a.k.a. Vampire Nation. Frederik has been making music for nearly five years now, and a great deal of controversy has surrounded him as well. It is relatively safe to say that Frederik has struggled for his music to be accepted, not so much for his musical abilities but sadly, for personal conflicts within the Pittsburgh Gothic scene. Admittedly, some performances in the past tended to drag and were somewhat monotonous, but regardless, Vampire Nation has prevailed and is finally carving out a niche of its own. One of the most notable things about VN is an amount of unpredictability, as you can never really guess what the mood of the performance will be. Having been crafting a new release, entitled “Wise Ta-Nech” over the past few months, Vampire Nation has returned with it’s strongest, most powerful, and downright kick ass music to date. The performance was remarkable, as one man and his keyboard generated a mood of dark, hard-hitting techno fused with ethereal, new age atmosphere. Gregorian chants and Eastern choirs drifted and swirled atop thudding EBM back beats and a virtual blanket of awesome sound immersed the audience. It was a pleasant surprise and certainly, VN’s most memorable performance yet.
It was well past the witching hour at this point of the night, thus, the anticipated performance of Britain’s legendary band Breathless was bumped up from the closing slot. Breathless is fronted by Dominic Appleton, well known to fans of 4AD for his vocal work with the cult super group This Mortal Coil, which was often comprised of members of Dead Can Dance, Modern English, the Cocteau Twins, Simon Raymonde, and other noteworthy mid-eighties art-rock artists such as Cindytalk and Colourbox. Dominic’s distinctive voice soared at the helm of most of This Mortal Coil’s material and famous tracks such as “The Jeweler” and “Strength Of Strings” should be springing to your mind if you know your archives and uber Goth history.
Needless to say, this was a very special performance, being one of the few stops on a limited tour through the US to promote the band’s newest release “Blue Moon.” Sadly, the band was greeted by the grim concrete walls and cool cement floor of Millvale’s Industrial Theatre and a few loyal fans stirred up the disappointing monotony. Thus, we swayed are arses off to the band’s superior set, marked by washes of Gary Mundy’s brilliant shimmering guitars, Ari Neufield’s distinctive and thick bass chord strumming, and the catchy swing of Martyn Watts’ warm hollow percussion. I bashfully admit that I was unaware that Breathless was even still together, and I am quite unfamiliar with the band’s material. I do know that the majority of the songs performed were from the bands newest release “Blue Moon” and also the band’s most recent three-song single, and they included the track “Don’t Just Disappear.” With my lack of hipness aside, to hear the vulnerable and unique voice of Dominic Appleton was an overwhelming moment for me, as classic This Mortal Coil albums such as “It Will End In Tears” and “Filigree & Shadow” have scored my darker, more sedate moments for the past three years. I never thought I would hear his voice in a live setting and that was enough for me to realize and appreciate the performance. I was instantly embraced to their sound, and was lost in the blissful maze it created, as it was indeed pleasingly similar to the divinely regarded sound of TMC. The musicians were fluid and meshed together well, from slower buoyant moments to starker rhythmic jams. The band would reach a crest of melody, and then crash upon a more somber shore, invoking an effect much like falling backward into churning nighttime waves. Rarely does a band come across with as much conviction and can elevate the senses like this. Most atmosphere-based bands have a hard time coming across live, but there was a genuine hook to Breathless’ show, and I was honoured to have been in attendance.
Much like the experience of reveling in a passionate afterglow, I was ready to call it a night (at roughly 3AM) and head home for sleep, but there was one last performance to go and I was not about to miss Detroit’s Chiasm. Having had idle small talk with the very personable band throughout the night, I was very anxious to see their performance. I was very pleased to say the least. Chiasm is the tormented vision of Emileigh Rohn, and barring the occasional appearance of a guest guitarist, she carried the show utterly on her own. Usually, I am rather skeptical of live pre-programmed music, but again, for the second time in one night, a solo artist delivered the goods and in some ways, out shined the stage show of fully assembled bands. With monitors at both wings of the stage, and an unholy amount of candy smoke, Chiasm made for some sweet eye candy. The monitors flashed disturbing cuts of autopsies, the evening news, frustrated lab mice, a menacing, predatory cat, and live shots of the band. It was very artistic and well put together, and helped balance the spectacle. Emileigh was amazing, stomping around and putting her whole body and soul into the late evening performance for the sparse audience. The music was harsh, hard hitting, and one track in particular spun heads with its blistering BPM’s and barbed wire electronics. Emileigh closed the show with “Kitty Song” a hysterical offering from her side project Fleidermous, which featured samples of her beloved cat mewing and high-sped chipmunk vocals. It caught a boisterous response from the crowd, and Emileigh could barely suppress her laughter while she purred and meowed the songs tongue-in-cheek lyrics. I was mightily impressed by Chiasm, and can not wait for COP to release the project’s full-length release this December. Rivet heads, synth pop fans, and electronic music lovers look out!
And at last, nearly seven hours after I had arrived, the night finally wound down and we all departed happier and satisfied trick-or-treaters. After witnessing three Pittsburgh bands at their peak a newly found hope for the scene’s potential animated my outlook. Not to mention, the gift of seeing the legendary Breathless and the legends in the make Chiasm, I was glad I emerged from my hermitage and had enjoyed my evening. A big thanks to Aaron’s lush community bottle of Amorretto and to my DJ partner in crime for supplying the atmosphere between sets.
evenings DJ Playlist:
DJ Imperium *
DJ Arianna (A)
Dominion - Immortal Reign *
The Gathering – Amity *
Theatre of Tragedy – Fragment *
And One - Wasted (a)
Covenant - One World, One Sky (a)
Butterfly Messiah – Transmigration *
+ LOW SUNDAY +
God Module - Sight (a)
Attrition - Acid Tongue *
Sneaky Bat Machine- Boneshaker (a)
Ministry - Everyday is Halloween *
Skinny Puppy - First Aid *
Absurd Minds - Deception (a)
Rosetta Stone – Shout *
Beborn Beton - Another world (a)
Das Ich – Der Schrei *
+ PARVULUS INFECTUS +
Swans - Alcohol The Seed *
And Also The Trees - A Room Lies In Lucy *
Cocteau Twins – In Our Angelhood *
Christian Death – Sick Of Love *
Legendary Pink Dots – Black List *
+ VAMPIRE NATION +
Tiamat - Lucy *
Wolfsheim – The Sparrows & The Nightengales (a)
The Damned – Grimly Fiendish (a)
Samhain- Halloween II (I HAD TO!!!) *
Nightmare Before Christmas - This Is Halloween (a)
Type O Negative – All Hallow’s Eve *
+ BREATHLESS +
Hungry Lucy - Bound In Blood (a)
Beborn Beton- Bittersweet (a)
Necare – Juliet Consigned To Flames Of Woe *
Collide – Deep (Christ Analogue Remix) (a)
+ CHIASM +
THIS MORTAL COIL:
MILLVALE INDUSTRIAL THEATRE:
live @ Nomenclature Museum
~review and photos by Brian
Paul Mercer is a violinist Prodigy best known for his work with the ethereal quintet The CHANGELINGS. He recently released some solo work on an album called Ghosts. To help promote and celebrate it Paul, Damon Young of The Changelings and Maldorora, Paul's fiancee transformed Nomenclature Museum in Atlanta into a Victorian funeral home complete with "Pan de Los Muertos" Mexican "Bread of the dead".
this decadent evening Paul played a variety of stringed instruments while
Damon Young manipulated those sounds to
create the tones and sounds of time's before. One of the first pieces he played was "Frost" which features one of the earliest modern stringed instruments, a 1732 Viola d' amore which was converted in the 19 century to a viola. By detuning the strings to a medieval pitch, Paul is able to evoke the drone of late medieval, early renaissance music and recreate the hum of a now-gone sympathetic strings.
Another piece that was performed was "MusicBox" which was played on a beautiful imitation old Violin from the turn of the century Tyrol(W.Austria and N Italy) This was my favorite piece it was a short and sweet, time was puncturing the past to evoke the sounds that were being displayed. On this particular song Paul use a style known Pizzicato which is like plucking the string to create a sound that is haunting and sensual at the same time.
It was a night of great music, food and history . Throughout the Museum there were many ancient and priceless artifacts -- one of my favorite was a Undertaker's Makeup kit 1920's Americana piece. It was a fitted case containing items used to prepare a corpse for wake and services. Containers of ivory, tortoiseshell, and onyx celluloid contain traces of pomades, various flesh tones. Among the 50 or so items there also was a Ceremonial Kimono from Japan late Meiji to early Taisho Era. It was crafted out of red silk and ornamented with gold thread.
and the Changelings most recent performance was Anne Rice's Halloween Ball.
This was there 5th time being asked back. You can check Paul's website
for his next show. As for the Changelings - it might be awhile before
you see them out as they are working on there new album.
email and web info:
The ShowBox, Seattle
November 21, 2000
~reviewed by BlackOrpheus
I had a lot to be thankful for the week of the show. I was grateful that Thanksgiving hadn't become the commercial whore that Christmas has. It was still an opportunity to acknowledge everything of value in ones life.
Tuesday, November 21st saw Peter Murphy's third return to Seattle's venerable ShowBox this year. By the looks of the capacity crowd, no one was complaining. The opportunity to see Peter Murphy is always a very singular experience, each and every time.
voice and words convey as much of the intimate and divine, as one might
hope to find outside a cathedral choir. The experience meant that
much more, because I shared it in the company of my esteemed friend and
editor of StarVox, Blu.
After imbibing of some curious libations, and the exchanging of pleasantries, the show began.
It opened with a rare public screening of "The Grid." This is a Joanna Woodward film, that was first seen on Bauhaus 1980 UK tour. It had a very German Expressionist feel to it, filmed in black and white and featuring the inimitable Peter Murphy. The score was a curious indeed. I really liked it, though I fear it was lost on most of the crowd.
opened with "Cool Cool Breeze" to a crowd, hungry for the nurture of his
words. "All Night Long,"
and "Indigo Eyes" followed soon after, and I was moved to rapture on his powerful articulation. The addition of violinist Hugh Marsh (Loreena McKennitt) was incredible. The magic he wove upon its strings, wed with Murphy's voice was incredibly moving. His guitarist Peter Distephano contributed fine work as well. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the aim of this tour, it was a stripped down approach. It featured a guitarist, violinist, and Peter of course. You know what? It worked, wonderfully well. It is a blessing to share a moment like this. It is enough to restore a man's faith. The rest of the show was replete with old favorites, and some of the less familiar from his great solo albums. The crowd was well behaved with the exception of some very ill mannered individuals near me.
When he left the stage at the end of the night, the crowd beat upon the floor with their feet, summoning up the ghost of Peter past. He re-emerged to revel them with an enthralling rendition of " Cuts You Up, and "Time Has Got Nothing To Do With It," at which point he took his leave once again. At their very loud insistence, Peter emerged yet again. This was the greatest moment of the show for me. I love the old music, because it can never really age. More than anything, I appreciate the unveiling of a new piece of music. "Just For Love" was that new piece of music. It was amazing, and the connection with it was immediate as with nearly all his work. Just For Love, happens to be the name of this tour as well. It was an apt name. I felt the love, what other reason can there be to do anything you enjoy? Catch the tour if you can, it just might change your life if only for a moment.
Cool Cool Breeze
All Night Long
Keep Me From Harm
I'll Fall With Your Knife
Marlene Dietrich's Favorite Poem
Strange Kind Of Love
My Last 2 Weeks
Big Love of a Tiny Fool
Gliding Like a Whale
Cuts You Up
Time Has Got Nothing To Do With It
Just For Love
Murphy (at the Showbox) photos and interview at
We have known each other,
Like a sister and a brother
Living in the same lone home
Many years – we must live some
Hours or ages yet to come…
me; - Oh! Thy lips are cold:
Round my neck thine arms enfold
They are soft, but chill and dead;
And thy tears burn upon my head
Burn like points of frozen lead.”
“Invocation To Misery”
Hand Of Doom
~By Matthew Heilman
As with all great musical monarchies and legacies, the throne of Doom was first erected in England. Where, in 1968, a band by the name of Earth sought to shake the very foundations upon which they tread with the darkest, most ominous melodic rumblings yet known. They later donned the moniker Black Sabbath, and became the premier heavy metal band to inspire legions upon legions of faithful successors. At a time when music was perfumed in flowers and emitting rays of optimistic sunshine, this quartet of Birmingham lads invoked an eclipse that has yet to be penetrated. They spiraled into an abyss of depressive psychology, occultism, and fantasy, and indeed took political and anti-war stances with such classic gems as “War Pigs” “Electric Funeral” and “Children Of The Grave.” Yet their message was not diluted with the faux optimism of the then contemporary rock bands, but rather imposed a sincere realism and pessimistic preparation for the worst. The legitimacy of Sabbath’s approach was seen in their lyrics which intimately warned the dangers of hard substance abuse (“Hand Of Doom” and “Snowblind”) as well as a light-hearted tribute to the “sweet leaf.”
Sabbath were complex, outcasts, and shocking for their time. Yet with the unholy wail of Osbourne paired with the consumptive walls of dense guitars and vibrato licks of Iommi set to the bass backbone of Geezer Butler and thunderous pound of drummer Bill Ward, the standards were etched in stone for the future of heavy metal. Like contemporaries Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly before them, Sabbath took the meshing of hard rock with blues and stirred in another ingredient of decayed emotion. Instead of upbeat rock n’ roll jam sessions, they churned out sluggish dirges, birthing something menacing and pungent with gloom to forge the darker, left-hand path of metal music.
Sabbath lurched throughout the 70’s, self-destructing in 1979 to close the legendary chapter of the band with “Never Say Die,” the last mediocre album that Osbourne appeared on. Sabbath and Ozzy parted ways, Sabbath to recruit Ronnie James Dio of Rainbow fame and Ozzy to pursue a monumental solo career. The rest is history.
With that I take you through the late 70’s and early 80’s. Skipping over the important yet not particularly relevant topic of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and treading over the thrash metal explosion led by Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, to reach an important milestone in Doom metal history. The aforementioned bands took metal to new heights as well, evoking epic grandeur while relying more on technicality and speed, yet their bastard miserable brothers were the bands that resisted that temptation and strove for the antithesis. By way of stark minimalism, bands such as Candlemass, Celtic Frost, St. Vitus, and the latter 80’s/early 90’s bands like Solitude Aeternus and Cathedral, were more concerned with density, heaviness, and basic rhythmic structures. Less flashy, painfully slow, and interested more so in the emotive potential of their music, these bands were arguably the first formalized acts accredited to the ‘doom’ metal genre. Further expanding the boundaries of the music, Candlemass and Celtic Frost began to integrate orchestral elements to the music, with very subtle keyboards, rare female back up vocals, and an application of classical composition.
It is rather presumptuous of me to really attempt to pigeonhole these bands as they all had their differences and went opposing directions from one another. But one thing remains for certain; these bands foreshadowed and inspired what was to come, taking the work of Sabbath and contributing an even more unique quality to the music, and paved the way for the most striking metamorphosis of the genre.
‘Twas again in merry ol’ England (a pun?) where dark metal underwent a significant and drastic change. The misty moors and rich literary history fostered the emergence of three bands that were to change the face and potential of doom metal forever. In late 1989, Paradise Lost appeared first upon the scene, a quintet out of Halifax that took the sluggish pace and mood of doom metal, fused it with the vocal grunts and angst of death metal, and introduced a more elaborate use of symphonic keyboards and female back up vocals. With their debut release “Lost Paradise” and the aptly titled follow up, “Gothic,” the band blew the doors of innovation wide open.
Following shortly thereafter the second of the ‘big three’ arose, and the world was introduced to the mournful melodies of Anathema. Perhaps the most intensely melancholic ‘crestfallen’ assemblage of dark metal material appears on the bands debut release “Serenades” and the succeeding EP “Crestfallen.” Fueled by despondent twin guitar harmonies, loathsome death growls and lethargic clean vocal harmonies of Darren White, the band courted a destructive bleakness otherwise unknown to the average metal fan. Depressive yet undeniably beautiful, Anathema was absolutely awe-inspiring at their emotional intensity. Further experimenting, the band released “Pentecost III” which to this day is one of my own personal favourite CDs of all time. Resplendent watery guitar arpeggios, woeful recitatives, and overwhelming ghosts of harmonized guitar swells made the CD an uneasy listen and an immortal milestone in sorrow-fueled music. The album housed such tracks as “We, The Gods” and “Kingdom” and marked the last appearance of Darren White as vocalist.
Backing up only a few years however, just at the same time as Anathema and Paradise Lost cast their shadows o’er England, a sextet of broken-hearted balladeers appeared, none other than My Dying Bride. My Dying Bride could be regarded as the most ambitious of the big three, in terms of experimentation in some respects, in that their distinctive blend of blistering death metal and traditional doom was accentuated by the use of a live violinist. In doing so, the symphonic element became more organic and genuine and added a blissful touch of avant-garde atmosphere, marked even further by the archaic, Shakespearean inspired prose housed within the lyrics. Drawing from Epic Literature and mythology, vocalist and lyricist Aaron Stainthorpe defied the limitations of traditional death metal lyrics to evoke a more classical, tragic style on the debut “As The Flower Withers” and the two early EP’s “The Thrash of Naked Limbs” and “Symphonaire Infernus…” It is because of this, and the undeniably hypnotic mood of the music and the lyrics that earned the tag ‘Gothic metal.’ Not as many mistake as an influence from the punk/new wave ‘Gothic’ of the Sisters Of Mercy or Bauhaus (not yet anyway), but more from a literary standpoint. The music of My Dying Bride and Anathema could easily serve as a score to the Gothic tales of 18th and 19th Century works of Matthew Lewis, Horace Walpole, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge, and others. The beautiful is wed to decay, the anguish of death personified in the monstrous vocals and the drafty mood evoked by the pale Romantic melodies.
My Dying Bride has once been quoted on their lyrics as saying: “It is one thing to write about chopping off someone’s head and playing football with it, but it is altogether different to write about picking up the pieces after death.” The band achieved their first triumph with the second full-length “Turn Loose The Swans,” where all the elements that made up My Dying Bride were perhaps at their most piercing. By volleying between both dark death growls and an unsteady lovelorn tenor, increasing the roles of piano and violin, and strengthening the fluid impact of the guitar work, My Dying Bride perfected their trademark sound and released an unparalleled CD that was instantly hailed a cult masterpiece.
All three bands matured an ventured off into their own destined territories, never losing touch with the genuine emotion that fueled their music, but began to explore other ways to express their visions. Their impact upon the dark music scene caused a veritable floodgate of creativity to burst throughout Europe. Scores upon scores of bands picked up on their ideas and formulated their own unique interpretations of the ideas crafted by these bands and the atmospheric Gothic Doom Metal scene of today was born. First with Sweden’s Tiamat, Finland’s Amorphis, Celestial Season, and The Gathering in the Netherlands, Moonspell in Portugal, and perhaps the most eloquent and extreme art to emerge was Norway’s Theatre Of Tragedy, a septet of epic orchestral grandeur and theatrical melodrama. And on through the mid nineties, spearheaded as well by the semi-commercial success of Type O Negative in the US, and hosts of new blood by way of Katatonia, 3rd & The Mortal, Within Temptation, Tristania, Skepticism, Orphanage, Decoryah, Sadness, Morgion, and Crematory.
now, the scene has exploded. And though it is still rather controversial
and hard for many to accept that any kind of heavy metal music could be
considered romantically depressive, sad, or beautiful, there are many bands
that are proving it is more than possible. More and more bands are
experimenting with melodies and symphonic elements, and many of the aforementioned
bands, most notably Tiamat, Moonspell, and The Gathering, did in fact cull
influences from traditional Gothic rock and contemporary Darkwave/Industrial
music. In fact, with these bands often acknowledging their Gothic
influences, many metal heads were first introduced and learned to appreciate
the works of Goth rock related bands such as Fields Of The Nephilim, Christian
Death, Swans, Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, and the Sisters Of Mercy.
Indeed, it is tedious and often extremely controversial to attempt to categorize, pigeonhole, or define these bands. And it is here that I will not to avoid bias that many bands did not catch the wave of Gothic inspiration. Instead, fueled from Sabbath and St. Vitus’ groove oriented sound, a breed of ‘stoner’ metal branched off and is still widely successful today. Bands such as Cathedral, Amorphis, and sadly Celestial Season took this cue and integrated a more 70’s prog rock feel to their music and abandoned the atmospheric trappings all together.
They, among many do not feel that Gothic/Symphonic elements belong in metal music, especially now as these themes have crossed over into the Black Metal scene largely due to success of the outrageous and controversial Cradle Of Filth. Indeed, there are several bands that sprung up throughout the craze and were obviously jumping on a bandwagon, and churned out passionless drivel that mocked the integrity of the genre, but they faded and faded fast. Regardless if all approve or enjoy the fusing of these styles, there are many that find an important amount of solace within this music, and a place to escape. Leading record labels such as Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Relapse, Napalm, Peaceville, and Dark Symphonies recognized the success of these bands, and have consistently helped keep the experimental metal barge afloat. Thus, atmospheric Gothic metal is accessible to legions of faithful and solitary fans on all continents, which embrace the genuine beauty of the music.
And thankfully, this next generation is responding by producing their own original contributions to the longevity and expansion of the genre.
Mp3.com, the most widely used downloadable music Internet site, is perhaps the hottest source for the newest and most promising Gothic Metal bands. Within the past month alone, I have accidentally stumbled across some of the most passionate, inspired, professional, and overwhelmingly gorgeous Gothic Metal bands I could ever hoped to imagine. In many ways, they seem to be grasping back to the origins of older Anathema, Paradise Lost, and My Dying Bride and picking up where they would have left off. There is about a fifty/fifty split between these more traditional doom bands and those that have taken to the orchestral, symphonic tendencies. However, both styles of bands use their gifts with restraint and eloquence. For more in-depth reviews of Gothic Doom metal releases, please see our CD REVIEW section, though for now I would like to turn the spotlight on the future leaders of the Gothic Doom metal scene.
The most strikingly pensive and bleak newcomers are without a doubt Virginia’s Necare. Honourably inspired by Anathema, Saturnus, and Septic Flesh, the project began as an emotional outlet for principle songwriter Ryan Henry. With themes inspired by unrequited romance, mutability, and the eloquence of Edwardian and Pre-Raphaelite art, Necare take abrasive early Gothic Doom and blend it with soothing guitar melodies. Ryan paired up with drummer Greer Cawthon, a session viola player and back up female vocalist. Gathering all the elements, with a steady focus on guitars and light on the symphonic touches, Necare recorded an EP entitled “Ophelia” late last year. Having only recently been added to Mp3.com, the band has generated a number of hits and downloads, setting the Doom metal charts ablaze with preview tracks such as “The Mourner” and “Eleanor” from the debut full-length “Rite Of Shrouds,” which is due for release in late December or early January. With their conviction and eloquent artistic presentation, it is certain that fans of dark metal will be hearing more from these guys in the near future.
Throughout the month of October, the number one Gothic Metal chart position has been dominated by Forest Of Shadows, a duo of musicians from Gothenburg, Sweden. The music of Forest of Shadows, is not exactly the standard Gothenburg style, but rather a despondent brand of colossal Gothic Metal, compiling the stark romanticism of twin guitar harmonies, weeping violin passages, deep death vocals, and gorgeous vocal passages sung in a choir like fashion. The multitude of acoustic guitar breaks, galloping power metallics and epic lengths of their tracks recall some of the higher points of Opeth yet the appearance of violin, overall mood, and lyrical content is certainly along the lines of My Dying Bride and the like. There is no question as to why the band has been reigning at the top of the charts, having made over $3,000 on Mp3. Their music is majestic, absorbing, and painfully beautiful. Truly an awe-inspiring band! Three short EP’s are available from the band, two of which are available as DAM CD’s at Mp3, and hopefully it will not be too long until they release a more concise and longer collection of both old and new material.
Cincinnati’s Thorns Of The Carrion have been recording music sine the mid nineties, and have just recently released a five song mini-CD entitled “Eve Songs.” But it was their monumental 1997 release “The Scarlet Tapestry” that their niche in the Gothic Doom metal scene was carved. Smothering the listener with woe, the 73 minute opus was a testament to forlorn Romanticism, as heard on such shining gems as “The Tragedy Of Melpomene” and “Bleak Thorns Laurels.” TOTC pair the foreboding vocal styles and standard rhythmic elements of death/doom metal with exquisite melodies, acoustic guitars, harps, and flutes. In doing so, the band triumphs in creating a sullen mood of rapturous bleakness. Both the full-length CD and new EP are available directly from the band at their website. Look for more information and reviews of Thorns Of The Carrion in future issues of Starvox, but until then, brave the descent into their world on your own!
Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Season Of Mourning are yet another American band raising eyebrows in the dark metal underground. A guitar driven seven-piece, capped by a somber male voice, sparse female vocals, and subtle violin, the band blends the groove-oriented elements of doom with ambience and flashes of traditional Gothic Rock. Despite the absence of guttural vocals, the band’s crushing guitar crunch likens them to the heavier, less keyboard drenched bands of old. Nonetheless, Season Of Mourning sport a strong blend of atmosphere with deathly doom metal. The occasional violin passages are done only when they seem most necessary and even the upbeat Sisters Of Mercy-esque “Blood Like Wine” still comes across as heavier such a comparison would suggest. For Season Of Mourning, density is the key, and the thickness of their sludge is utterly remarkable. The band handles and promotes their own material, and with one short EP “In Praise Of The Dark” under their belts, they have begun to earn a name in the eastern PA area for their reputed liver performances. The debut EP is now available through the band’s official website.
Featured in Starvox this past Spring, another Virginia based band has been causing quite a stir in the progressive metal genre, the female fronted Rain Fell Within. Signed to Dark Symphonies records early this year, the band has released the immaculate EP “Believe” which features perhaps the most feverish displays of operatic female vocal potential within the genre. Vocalist Dawn soars above majestic galloping guitar riffs and sweeping keyboards, for an uplifting charge of driving intensity. The band is currently at work on their first full-length release, and have had several East Coast concert appearances over the past few months, as well as this past year’s Milwaukee Metalfest.
One of the more unique additions to the atmospheric metal roster are New England’s Maudlin Of The Well, a progressive and unpredictable cornucopia of sullen music. Also featured in a Spring issue of Starvox, the band still hasn’t received the recognition I believe they deserve. Head on collisions of thrash metal, space rock, progressive jazz, and of course Gothic doom help Maudlin stand apart upon their own sacred island in the dark metal world. Their amazing track “Catharsis Of Dream Sleep” is simply breathtaking. The nine-minute plus song yields some arresting guitar and clarinet arrangements that segue into a harsh old school death/doom break. From their the song crests to reach a heart wrenching, sluggish finale. This and many more tracks appear on their mp3 site and on their debut Dark Symphonies release “My Fruit Psychobells…A Seed Combustible”
Yet again, another surprise from the States by way of Novembers Doom. Having formed in the mid nineties outside of Chicago, the band has released two full lengths and one EP, and they are just getting ready to unveil their latest opus through Dark Symphonies records, entitled “The Knowing.” November’s Doom stands apart quite a bit from other doom acts, and it is almost hard to pinpoint exactly how. Though the style of guitar playing and multiple dark Gothic/guttural voices and such are all pretty typical to the genre, all these elements are delivered in a very unique and unexpected way. They are pure Gothic Doom from head to toe, but their brand of darkness is unlike any other. Keyboards are not relied on to keep the band afloat, save for a few random interludes or intros to songs; rather dense atonal guitars carry the mood along atop shifting, complex rhythms and pounding drum dirges or swinging groove oriented breaks. The band had promised that the newest release is to be their best and most diverse work yet, and that is without question an accurate prediction. Dark metal fans can be assured that November’s Doom will be a force to reckon with in this genre for years to come.
Perhaps the most popular of acts stirring up buzz over the past few years are Norway’s Sins Of Thy Beloved, an overwhelmingly theatrical outfit. They may or may not need an introduction to some, but there are still many who are missing out on their brand of energetic Gothic Metal. Similar in the duel male/female vocal trades of Theatre Of Tragedy, TSOTB stand out for a devilish and frenzied fiddle player, that fuses a Celtic and Classical virtuosity to the tightly woven guitar heavy drive of the band. Their debut CD “Lake Of Sorrow” turned heads instantly with its fresh energy and approach, and further solidified its hold as leaders in the scene with their recent CD “Perpetual Desolation,” both of which are products of Napalm Records.
A brand new band has surfaced from Austria, also on Napalm Records, however not as grandiose in scope as label mates Tristania or Sins Of Thy Beloved. Rather, Darkwell deliver a nice blend of power metal and somber Goth rock inspired ambience. Fans of traditional Goth music might want to note that Darkwell are barren of harsh male vocals, opting instead to push the soft, honeyed vocals of Alexandra Pittracher to the forefront. Stirred up only by occasional spoken male parts and symphonic keyboard work, the band does still retain a mid-paced drive and genuine heaviness as the guitars make up the bulk of what you hear in the band’s sound. A truly pleasant mix of styles, catchy hooks, and memorable melodies comprise the band’s debut “Suspiria,” which was just released this month by Napalm.
From Spain, the outfit Growing Cells hearken to the heydays of traditional thrash and heavy metal, and wed it with female fronted power metal. Melodic serenades are stirred by unexpected blast beats and raspy sandpaper screams, but a great concern for melody is not overlooked. A self-titled demo debut appeared in 1998 and the band is currently at work on their next CD, which will further experiment with the styles and approaches they began to explore.
Hailing from Croatia, another great export comes by the way of Ashes You Leave. A somewhat obscure band, though puzzling as their music is quite ambitious and distinctive, due mainly to deeper, brooding female lead vocals. They also make use of the violin, and are most characterized by eerie harmonizations and plodding drums. I haven’t heard much from the band, barring the title track from their last release “A Passage Back To Life.” However, Ashes You Leave is one of those rare and special bands who deliver an inescapable claustrophobia that is irresistible, despite its tendency to unsettle. But that is the beauty of doom metal though isn’t it? Judging from the cut on Mp3.com, I do not think it is a one-shot deal with these guys. Be on the look out for their newest release “The Inheritance Of Sin And Shame.”
The last of numerous US projects to be seduced by the romanticism of Gothic Doom metal is the Pennsylvania project, All Hope Lost. Though still in the early developmental phases, All Hope Lost is quite an ambitious project with three full length CDs and one EP to their credit, and two more full-lengths slated for an early and mid 2001 release. With a heavy lyrical focus on unrequited love, the project’s mini CD "The Glow" deals with the beauty and promise of love in its infancy ('the glow' of a new relationship) and then its gradual deterioration until its very bitter end. Though limited in its home-recorded analogue production, the project is currently at work on improving the quality of sound and strengthening the impact of dueling male/female vocals. It is quite possible that once graced with a more professional production, All Hope Lost may rank among the next wave of atmospheric Gothic Metal spearheaded by the dozen aforementioned bands featured above.
Thus, with the creep of Winter chill and the Autumnal trees dying in beautiful colours along the landscapes the world over, rejoice in the isolation and despair offered by these hardworking new artists, as well as their forefathers if you have yet to experience their brooding symphonic metal mastery.
the mist of falling leaves in a garden of endless grief,
I yearn for thee my precious one.
Beneath the pale lit sky I dream of your embrace
How I wish I had you near.”
My Dying Bride:
Theatre Of Tragedy:
3rd & The Mortal:
Type O Negative:
Season Of Mourning:
Forest of Shadows:
Thorns Of The Carrion:
Rain Fell Within:
Sins Of Thy Beloved:
Ashes You Leave:
All Hope Lost:
Nuclear Blast Records
Century Media Records:
Dark Symphonies Records:
Hand of Doom Logo by Simon Marsden
All images are gracefully borrowed, and are copyright and property of the artists and the owners of their official respective websites. Neglectful use is prohibited.
Having written a feature story on Glampire in our March issue (see http://www.starvox.net/crypt/march2.htm), done reviews and having since had many email conversations with publicist Vyolet6 and Glampire himself, I must admit, I was hooked. My car was donned with sparkly Glampire stickers and I devotedly brought up his name whenever I could. I watched his "My Own God" video over and over and subjected every visitor to my house with a viewing of it. I tortured my preppy co-workers with week-long doses of his CDs (contrary to my many attempts to annoy them, they seemed to like it). Not only were both he and Vyolet very personable and generous in correspondence; Glampire was talented and very different from the hundreds of CDs we see here at StarVox with a drive to create that rivals many bands out there. So I thought I had it figured out; thought I liked him as much as anyone could. Until Pat Briggs said he knew him and the plan to invite Glampire to Glitterdome took form. You couldn't have made me believe how much MORE I would like Glampire after spending a weekend around him no matter how hard you tried. That, I would have said, is simply not possible. Besides, when you finally meet people you've idolized from afar, they let you down a bit and why? Through no fault of their own but because they're a real person and not quite the god-like icon you've created in your mind. Or that's the case *most* of the time anyway.
Glampire used to play at Squeezebox in New York city with Pat way back in the day -- before Glampire became the first international rock n roll star without a contract or label (via the cyber-networking of the internet and a complex group of fans). Pat likes to take credit for introducing him and Vyolet. Good times were had by all it seems and any of them will readily muse on fond memories of those times if prompted; not to mention the occasional inside joke or embarrassing story. Eventually Pat and Glampire went their separate ways -- Pat to host and co-create Club MakeUp in Los Angeles admist touring with his band Psychotica and Glampire to spearhead his own solo musical project. They always kept in touch though and when Pat was searching for performers for his new night in Atlanta, Georgia -- Glampire was an obvious choice.
Word soon got out that Glampire would be appearing at Glitterdome. Etc. magazine did a front cover shot and inside story on Glampire. Steven Holiday from Gothic Beauty magazine made plans to drive down from the Chicago area and a group of hard core fans from North Carolina and Virginia said they'd be down just to see him. Add to that a healthy chunk of the Atlanta goth scene and he had his own personal black-clad cheering section. There were however, some Glampire fans under 18 who could not get into the Chamber to see him perform and soon my mailbox was full of requests begging me to some how "get them in" to see Glampire. An idea sparked -- perhaps we could get Glampire out in public somewhere to see these kids.
The day they arrived in town I cheerfully agreed to go pick them up from the hotel and to take them to rehearsal at The Chamber. Double dose of luck -- I also got to pick up Joey Arias who was also performing at Glitterdome. I was in heaven. Despite the horrible heat and humidity and my car's poor attempt to chill the air, everyone was in good spirits and chitchatted quite happily. At one point Glampire and Joey were talking about musicians they admired and about life in New York and Vyolet mused to me, "Wouldn't you just die to have a tape recorder right now?" Indeed I would.
Rehearsal went well and everyone soon disappeared to do their makeup and to get dressed for the evening's performance. At 10pm the doors to the Chamber opened and freaks from all walks of life showed up and started dancing to the retro-glamrock tunes spun by DJ Tiny Tears. Before the main Glitterdome performance we were treated to a Glampire extravaganza in which he took the stage solo - guitar slung across his shoulder and performed some of his famous songs including the appropriately titled "Halloween in July" (this was the July Glitterdome coincidentally). Camera's were snapping a mile a minute and the fans danced in a trance in front of the stage. His music was just as powerful live as on the CDs - his voice strong -- sometimes whimsical, sometimes bitter and angry, the emotions translating from the very core of his being to those listening with rapt attention at his feet. At one point Steven looked over at me beaming and said, "he's incredible isn't he?" During the main performance Glampire performed the Cure's "Just like Heaven" to delight of the goths and afterwards obliged many of them with photos and conversation.
At some point I had asked Glampire and Vyolet about possibly having lunch with the kids that couldn't attend Glitterdome and to my surprise they both whole-heartedly agreed it would be a good idea. Infact, they said that if they had known, he would have brought his acoustic guitar and treated them to an impromptu live concert. Plans were made to meet at Apres Diem - a fancy French restaurant with a lovely lounge area that the Atlanta goths are fond of and I put out the word on the email lists that he'd be there Saturday afternoon for all who wanted to stop by.
" Its not air traffic control. If you mess up, no one is going to die."
We had about 20 people drop by that afternoon for lunch. The lounge of Apres Diem was the perfect setting - overstuffed comfy couches and chairs, coffee tables and oriental rugs gave the whole afternoon the feeling of luxurious laziness. Glampire held court over a long table that most of the guests gathered around munching on the always appetizing food. He slide in out of conversation from one group to the other and even made time to do an interview with Steven out on the patio. I listened and smiled and watched him interact with his fans. Younger, inspiring musicians asked him questions about the creation of music and about technical aspects of performing. He talked about people that inspired him and when one boy made a comment about worrying over the technical aspects in his own music so much that it clouded the original intent, Glampre said, "That's one thing you have to keep in mind about music. Its not air traffic control. If you mess up, no one is going to die. If it doesn't work, go back the next day and try something else." A world of weight seemed to lift off the boy's shoulders at that advice and you got the impression his creative soul was just given permission for flight.
Through out the weekend Glampire
and Vyolet were gracious and kind. I even got treated to some Glampire
advice when somehow the conversation got steered in the direction of my
harboring grudges against my ex. "Sometimes people really do change and
you just have to let that stuff go," he said, and I knew he was right.
He is, in a way, like your own personal gothic Buddha. His sensitivity
and ability to listen to people and to sincerely take in what they say
is overwhelming in person. I watched him connect with his fans that afternoon
in a way many musicians would have steered away from. And indeed, when
they left that weekend and hopped on a plane back to New York, I liked
him more than I had before, and that's kind of rare.
Glampire's Official Webpage:
Complete page of Glampire
photos from Glitterdome can be found here:
Pat Brigg's Psychotica
Gothic Beauty Magazine (Glampire's
interview is featured in their first print edition)
-Glampire on-stage at Glitterdome by Blu
-Pat Briggs, StarVox writer Brian and Vyolet backstage at Glitterdome, photo by Brian
-Glampire on the cover of Etcetera Magazine
-Joey Arias at Glitterdome by Blu
-Glampire performing "Just Like Heaven" at Glitterdome by Blu
-Glampire with Chamber door-nymph Marcy, photo by Cyclops
-Punzy, Vyolet and Glampire at Apres Diem, photo by Blu
-Music enthusiast Nathan and Punzy, photo by Blu
-dedicated fans and Vyolet, photo by Blu
-Glampire and Jeff talk music, photo by Blu
In Perpetual Motion
Living up to it’s name
~by Mike Ventarola
To the average citizen in Detroit, Michigan, Bob Perye is just another soul wandering on this planet. In the underground net world, he is known as DJ Mac or Macross and is the irreverent host of the widely popular In Perpetual Motion Internet Radio found at www.gothicindustrial.com.
Having been a fan and listener from the inception of this program, I can recall how many in the net goth movement initially took pot shots at this young upstart who came in a blaze of glory to start this station. Many e-list subscribers complained that the show was not totally goth or that a particular artist did not belong on the station and Mac usually replied in print and on the air in a rather humorous way that it is "MY SHOW." His on-air monologues with that line are now classic! As always the case, someone in the underground always seems to have to create some sour grapes about anyone new doing anything that will help this music out. Undeterred, Mac, along with the help of a very talented DJ and Color Commentary team consisting of Kris+alis, Prototype, Produkt, Pfrank, Kelly, Eric, Shoshana, Emileigh, Bryan, Christina, and an others, continued to broadcast 6 hours worth of music and mischief each week and now, December 2000, marks its second year of production with the anniversary show to be recorded on December 27th and aired on December 29th.
IPM is a little of everything really, from silly mayhem and sour cream reports to live band interviews. The latest developments now includes ICQ communication with the listeners as well as web cam antics. Just recently, web cam viewers witnessed the scotch- tape mummification of Eric. Behind it all is the music. Mac and the IPM staff's undying devotion towards the bands and their music is always evident with their lengthy playlists which features some of the hottest unsigned artists in the business. Despite his humility about not thinking his show was responsible for helping to jump start the popularity for some musical careers, many bands would contend that this show helped push them to a wider audience than they dreamed possible in such a short amount of time.
years later with 4 shows a month at six hours each. Well, you do
the math. IPM is more popular than ever and grows a larger audience worldwide
each week. Many other stations have cropped up over time to either imitate
or emulate this show, but there is only one IPM. The show is a work
of love that is not without financial risk, whose entirety is paid for
by Mac himself from his own pocket. As an independent station, creative
and artistic freedom are its main objective, and there are no paying sponsors
helping to foot the bill to get the show on the air and across the world.
Thankfully Mac has kept going to keep "HIS SHOW" the one that the world
tunes into weekly for up to the minute underground music and comical buffoonery.
MV: In Perpetual Motion is celebrating its second year on the net. How do you, as its creator, plan to celebrate this landmark event?
Mac: By recording a show of course. ;) And perhaps a good bottle of scotch and some good wine for those who prefer. We're planning on recording the anniversary show on December 27. Hopefully all the active DJs and staff members will be able to get together in the studio at once for it. I've also gotten word that IPM Magazine originator Marc Church may be dropping by to talk about the early years of the print magazine and spin a set or two with us. I'm very excited about that.
MV: How did the entire concept of IPM come about?
Mac: IPM was originally a print publication written by Marc Church, Dean Peltier and others in the Detroit Industrial scene in the early 90's. I had inherited the name from Marc around 1997 with the intention of converting the magazine to a web format and incorporating the multimedia tools of the time.
In December of 1998, I abandoned the whole zine concept and started the IPM Radio show, following in the footsteps of Tommy T's Cyberage show, which served as my inspiration. Over IPM's first few months I began to receive promos not from big labels, but from indie artists in the netgoth scene. I began working with my friend Marcus Pan of Legends Magazine ( www.legendsmagazine.net) and IPM's focus sharpened from there.
Things finally gelled this past summer with the ASCAP problems and IPM became 100% independent music, and one of the premier vehicles for indie artists in the gothic, industrial and electronic genres to get their music heard by the masses.
MV: Tell us some of the details about the ASCAP problem for the readers who were not aware of this.
Mac: In a nut shell, IPM was playing music by artists who were licensed through ASCAP and BMI for public performance. Since IPM is nonprofit, I couldn’t afford to purchase annual licenses to play the music on the show, nor after reviewing the fine print of the contracts would I want to. The simple solution : remove the licensed works from IPM's playlists, and make IPM 100% independent. Since IPM was moving in that direction anyway, this was actually a blessing in disguise.
MV: Share with us some more information about the other colorful staff members and how did their presence start to surface as a regular part of the show each week?
Mac: ChrisZ and Carah (Violence) were the first two full time staff members besides myself. They came over one evening in early 1999 to see what all the fuss was about, and began contributing to the show as DJs a few weeks after that. Two other original DJs are Frank, whom I went to high school with, and Jeremy. The original color crew consisted of Girl-Chris and Joel, and my ex-roommate Monica.
Since that time, several faces have come and gone for one reason or another. The current staff mix seems to be a winning one, Consisting of myself, Sara (Sexxx), Steven (Prototype), Carah (Violence), Frank Pfrank), Jeremy (Produkt), Kelly, Eric, New-Chris & Shoshana. There's also a handful of folks who come to hang out occasionally - Frank's S.O. Erika, My sister / Jeremy's S.O. Laura, Christina, Brad... to name a few.
MV: What history can you give us about the other IPM members?
Mac: Almost all the IPM staffers that DJ started out just coming over one night to see what all the fuss was about. "You sit around and do WHAT every week?!?" and the color personalities are just friends who came with and liked it so much they started coming back every week. Other regulars started off as coming out for interviews and just kept coming back.
MV: When did it click for you that the current lineup for IPM was a good match for the station?
I know things are going well when people leave with smiles on their faces,
they come back every week with out my having to ask and people write to
us and comment about how we all sound like were having a great time.
The lineup has been in a bit of a flux lately with older members moving
new voices joining the routine, the effect has been positive though, and IPM continues to improve.
MV: How did you go about selecting the other members to appear on the show?
Mac: Everyone is a friend of someone else already on the show. DJ selection is done on a per case basis, depending on the current needs. Otherwise, if someone comes out and clicks with the group, it's all good. IPM is as much a bunch of friends hanging out as it is a semi professional group of radio personalities.
MV: How many listeners are you attracting on any given week and where is the largest group coming from?
Mac: The last time I checked the site was getting about 28,000 unique visitors a week with about 2000 of those actually connecting to the current show and listening, and several hundred listening to archives. Most are naturally from the US and Canada, but there are hits, email and promos coming in literally from all over the globe. We even have a media partner in Mexico.
(Editor’s note: the station recieves upwards of 350 hits daily)
MV: There are internet stories floating about that IPM is also a CMJ station, can you elaborate on any of this?
Mac: If it is, no one told me about it. If a collaboration with CMJ would be beneficial to both IPM and the artists, I'd certainly be open to discussing it with the powers that be.
MV: What is the factor behind the stations continued popularity?
Mac: My theory is that it's no holds barred fun. Any given week it's just another party going on here, listeners can connect to the site and hear music they won’t hear anywhere else, and hopefully be entertained by the psycho’s behind the microphones.
MV: Elaborate on the amount of time and effort it took to initially set up the station and what it takes to keep it running.
Mac: IPM is currently recorded every Wednesday night. The show is on average 6 hours in length. Updating the website and sending out playlists takes about 2 hours every Thursday evening, and the rest of the week I spend an between one and six hours a night reviewing new material, communicating with bands and labels and tending to the equipment in the studio. Since everything is paid for out of my pocket, I do my best to patch things together as long as possible. IPM runs on a steady supply of dedication and elbow grease for sure.
MV: What type of set up and equipment do you currently use to get the station broadcast to the world at large?
Mac: The latest revision of the main studio equipment includes a PC with a sound card & bit disk drive, a Gemini PMX3500 Mixer, A Radio shack SSM-60 mixer, 7 Microphones, a Denon DN-1800F CD deck, a Yamaha DJ-X synth and an old phonograph player made of wood. There are also a few other computers to run the webcam and ICQ, etc.
The show is recorded with Realaudio's 5.1 encoder software and then uploaded to a linux based webserver that lives somewhere else.
MV: Since IPM has first aired, many more goth/industrial stations have cropped up on the net. Has the competition helped or hurt the station?
Mac: Since IPM isn’t fighting for any advertising dollars (Still non-profit!) I really don’t think of the other stations as competition. While I'd certainly love for IPM to be regarded as the best show on earth, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and the state of technology makes it easy for everyone to have their own show to go with that opinion. In the end, it all helps the artists and that’s what counts.
MV: Would you consider going commercial, i.e. advertising dollars, or are you mainly content being non-commercial for the artistic freedom?
Mac: I have and continue to consider the options for bringing money in to help keep the show going. I am very afraid of the appearance of "selling out", not to mention the moment I draw a profit I would most likely have licensing problems again. It's a slippery slope. Losing artistic control is a very frightening thing & I won’t even consider a plan of action that included that risk.
MV: One of the best things from IPM in my opinion was the CD-ROM that you made available as a promo which is great for folks at work without an internet connection. Will this be something that will expand in time or is it only a once in a while PR CD that you will create?
The IPM archive CDs were created as a courtesy only. I still burn the files
to CD for those who request it, but I felt it was best not to advertise
it on the website anymore. While no profit was ever made from the CD ROM’s,
I'm sure someone somewhere felt I was ripping off the artists by providing
realaudio files on CD for the cost of postage.
MV: What is the best and worst moment(s) with IPM?
Mac: The best moments would have to be opening the emails from bands and listeners who really appreciate the efforts here, and especially meeting people face to face who enjoy the show.
The worst moments are the ones where the equipment goes all to shit when a band is sitting in the studio waiting for the show to start so they can be interviewed. I've been regularly embarrassed by some of the tech problems that have occurred. Fortunately, things are improving little by little as I have the money to fix and replace things.
MV: Would you care to elaborate on any particular letter that sticks out in your mind that really made your day?
Mac: Any time I get an unsolicited letter from a fan or a band it brightens my day. The outpouring of support from all corners of the globe during the threat of legal action from ASCAP for example really helped us all get through that rough time.
MV: Who started the "Sour Cream" report that seems to have become a staple on the station at times?
Mac: That would be me. In a bit of tipsy mic time, I decided it would be funny to talk about. I eat sour cream with a spoon, and I have specific brands that I like and dislike - thus the report was born.
MV: So who has the all time best sour cream at this point 2 years later?
Mac: The Meijer house brand is my usual preference. For a special treat I'll get a pint of Breakstone’s but it's too heavy for daily consumption.
MV: Who is the greatest success story to come from the airwaves of IPM and into the hands of an indie label?
Mac: I really don’t think airplay on IPM was solely responsible for any one band's rise in the ranks. The hard work is all theirs. IPM just gives a helping hand.
MV: I believe this may be modesty on your part. Your station was highly instrumental in getting airplay to a number of bands which eventually helped to drive the traffic. Gossamer and Backspace are 2 that come to mind. Surely there must be others that you just KNEW were going to start a commotion in the underground once folks heard their music.
Not that I'm aware of. I really cannot let IPM take credit for the rise
of Gossamer. They have been around as a band for longer than I have been
in the scene, and it was through dedication and years of persistence and
quality work that they began their ascent. Backspace - which coincidentally
band Marc Church was in for the duration of it's existence got much of their exposure from playing live and networking with other artists.
MV: Which band is not receiving the amount of attention you think they deserve?
Mac: ALL of them.
MV: Who are your particular favorites now?
Mac: Lately I've been really into synthpop. I can’t get enough. I go gaga over just about anything on the A Different Drum label, and I've also found dozens of marvelous indie synthpop/Europop artists on mp3.com and similar sites.
MV: Where do you see IPM five years from now?
Mac: Ideally in a studio in the metro Detroit area with a mackie console, good condenser mics, and broadcasting live as well as recorded with the same winning combination of on air personalities and great music. I can only hope that IPM and shows like it aren’t regulated and legislated out of existence by then, which is something I'm sure the RIAA would like to see happen.
MV: On Nov. 24, 2000 in the New York Times, there was an article on the vampire/goth underground that was somewhat positive. One could see this as a potential to make goth music trendy the way New Wave was at the peak of the 80's. Will some element of "commercialization" help or hinder the goth scene and how has the scene evolved from your vantage point in the last 2 years since the station began?
Mac: The music has certainly gotten a lot more popular - the same technologies that enabled me to create IPM have enabled musicians to get their music to the world in more ways than ever. The downside of that popularity is the obvious commercialization of the genre. I don't much care for the monsters of goth rock that MTV has created, the sound got too watered down and the fashion has become rath