Cynical Existence – Erase, Evolve and Rebuild

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It only took a minute of the opening track to Erase, Evolve and Rebuild to hear and feel something has stirred and evolved within Cynical Existence. The band’s second album it is a riveting collection of distinct and diverse soundscapes soaked in a maturity and craft which sees the project at a level only hinted at previously. It is a hypnotic web of invention and exploration which embraces the darkest shadows but also the most acidic and caustic light, the result a release which stalks, rampages through, and dances with senses and thoughts whilst seducing the emotions, though not always in that permutation.

Formed by Fredrik Croona (ex- Project Rotten/ Menschdefekt) as a solo project, Cynical Existence as evolved into a startling and formidable beast which has continued to impress across EPs and earlier this year the project’s debut album Come Out And Play, not long after followed by the Beholder EP. For most bands this frequency of releases leads to the occasional less than endearing or potent encounters but this is definitely not the case with Croona and co, in fact it has to be said that Erase, Evolve and Rebuild leaves much of what came before pale in its company despite their also impressive declarations. The depth and strength unleashed by the new album suggests that maybe the other recent releases have consisted of older written material or simply the striking evolution sculpted by Croona and Steve Alton of UK project System:FX who joined the band late last year, the pair now joined by third member George Klontzas of Pre Emptive Strike 0.1, is that dramatic a sudden leap. Erase, Evolve and Rebuild certainly does nothing to diminish the sizeable impression and quality forged by A Familiar Kind of Pain, Come Out And Play, etc. though instead it just breeds another wave of striking accomplishment by Cynical Existence.

Released via Belgium label Alfa Matrix, Erase, Evolve and Rebuild has little problem in having feet and thoughts in eager frontmovement through opener Something Strange. Synths instantly cast a festivity of sound over the ears, an ambience which is welcoming and almost devilish especially with the darker feisty electro stomp which keenly joys the invitation. The vocals of Croona squall with the caustic breath and malevolent lure which we have come to know and enjoy but the song also shows the appetite to infuse a cleaner darker gothic tone to the narrative which only excites. There is a lighter essence and buoyancy to the track compared to certainly the Beholder EP, but shadows and dark menaces still have room to toy with the listeners thoughts. A track sure to add fire to the dancefloor, it makes a compelling start to the album.

The following Erase Me is equally as potent and effective in rousing up the passions, its electro caress of a dawning soon a bulbous beckoning moving into an electro punk confrontation through the guitar of Alton. A riotous snarl coats the song from vocals through to the causticity breeding an irresistible temptation and wrapped in another waltz of electronic sedition which invites limbs and a voracious hunger to enlist in the track’s insatiable incitement, it is a rivetingly sculpted pinnacle of the album and further evidence of the evolution at work.

    My Decadence, Your Sins which features Rave the Reqviem has an absorbing eighties temptation to its thrilling landscape, a scenery which is like Depeche Mode does industrial at times and at other moments like Celldweller on a distinct mission to taunt the songbook of Fad Gadget. Despite those thoughts the track is still uniquely Cynical Existence in its stance and enterprise with the fact that the three minutes plus are over far too soon the only niggle. The feast of invention continues the scintillating presence of the album with ease, passing its heady presence on to the magnetic searing electro quickstep of Imperfect followed by the evocatively hued The Divine. Elegant classically wrapped keys open up the second of the two songs, its gentle radiant coaxing leading thoughts into the haunting melancholic caresses at the heart of the track. It is a masterful provocation of emotion and shadow cloaked climes, the gravelly vocals as on all songs that rasping texture which tempers and compliments the clean delivery and the melodic rays of sonic beauty.

The album from this point on immerses in even darker wells of malevolent rapture and predacious intent. The imagination consuming Falling with its thumping heartbeat the centre of a tempestuous emotional cloud and the pulsating heavy booted yet still irresistibly charming Deus Ex Complex are both unafraid to stalk the blackest corners within especially in the second of the two, shards of irrepressible electro romping whilst Our Bright Future is a twisted riotous incendiary tango of sound and energy which is prone to long breaths and pleasing unpredictability. This new energised character of a dance also reaps and offers its rewards through Sins Of Your Flesh and though the trio of songs maybe lack the final knock-out punch of their predecessors all leave satisfaction full.

The Endless Stride has a structure and contagion which feels closely akin to the first album without any definition as to why or to which offering whilst the effulgence of An Eternity Stuck On Repeat bewitches from its first glassy elegant touch, seducing with a wantonness which is refined yet brazenly uncompromising. The songs bring more open variation to the album as does the guitar grazing company of No Compromise and the industrialised rapacious crowding of the senses from Transformation (a search for change), both tracks successful conspirators in a slavery of the passions.

Completed by the outstanding smouldering cinematic instrumental of At the end (Outro), Cynical Existence has thrust themselves to the very fore of electro/industrial mastery with the transfixing Erase, Evolve and Rebuild. Arguably top heavy with its first selection of tracks a more vigorous exploit for feet and energy though the latter is no less an accomplished instigator of darker emotions and realms, the album takes the existing successes and sounds of the band into new breath-taking adventures of imagination and craft.

https://www.facebook.com/cynical.existence.official

9/10

RingMaster 21/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Brewing melodic fire: an interview with MiXE1

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   The journey of electro rock pop band MiXE1 has been a striking and thrilling rise for it and its fans; from a solo project of founder Mike Evans to a full line-up with the addition of Lee Towson and Lee O’Brien, the band has brought a fresh and vibrant breath to the UK electro scene as confirmed by the excellent just released new EP Lights Out. With an album in the works and the new EP lighting up a hunger, it was time thanks to the members of MiXE1 to find out more about the band and its members. So pry we did…

Hi Guys and thanks for letting us explore the world behind MiXE1

Mike: “Our pleasure, Pete! Fire away :)”

Shall we start right at the beginning…give us some background to yourselves before MiXE1.

Mike Evans: “Before MiXE1, I was the guitarist in an alternative metal band called Broken Butterfly X. I’d been involved in a bunch of bands and projects before (most of those with Lee T), none of them actually got to the gigging stage apart from BBX though. We got a stash of recordings from those projects somewhere (a lot too embarrassing for public consumption)! But yeah BBX was my last band; I basically wrote the music and contributed some vocal melodies.”

Lee Towson: “I’ve actually known Mike since pre-school and we’ve been writing music in some form or another for the best part of about 12-13 years now. We started off, I think, just as secondary school was coming to an end; so we were about 15 or 16 years old and we’d regularly meet whenever we could (including class time) to write and record together.

This continued into College and through University and gradually expanded to include more outside musicians. Up until this point, while we were putting together music that was coming from a serious place, most of our lyrical output was built up around all these incredibly personal jokes or references to specific situations we’d experienced, particularly during school, and it just didn’t make sense to include anybody else. A lot of my most favourite songs of ours are completely nonsensical in subject matter and often spiralled into some of the craziest stuff you could imagine; maybe one day we’ll get the bright idea to release some of it somehow (and then promptly regret it!).”

Lee O’Brien: “Self-taught drummer. Practice!? What’s that? Just don’t have enough time! Played in a few bands over the years… My last band Load went through numerous line-up changes. We managed to record an album which had a few tracks featured on Classic Rock (Track of the day) and some cover mount CD’s for their monthly magazine. In the end we split due to lack of commitment and enthusiasm.”

What sparked and inspired not only the project but your experimentation with electronics and songwriting?

Mike: “Songwriting in general – I can’t even recall how it started! A love of music, a desire to create :) What inspired the project was wanting to try a different sort of music. In terms of how MiXE1 started…Well a few years ago I was in BBX which was alt-metal. The vibe in general was heavy and some darker vibes, influenced by bands like KoRn…Dir en Grey. It had come out exactly how I planned it but I wanted to try some electronics and the big factor for me – the lyrics were quite dark, melancholy, angry – which worked and sounded great in the songs. With my changing life views and stuff, I wanted to try something more uplifting though…More positive and with a hint of romance. So I fired up Sonar and wrote the first MiXE1 song :) And from there MiXE1 has just grown and grown. I feel the songwriting is only getting stronger. Fast forward to now, we’ve got the Lee’s adding their guitar and drum input to the songs. It’s always exciting to see how a song will evolve.”

Lee T: “It just felt like a natural progression really. Though I’m actually a bass player by nature, playing guitar for MiXE1 felt like a comfortable shift due to the amount of music we’ve written together before; the familiarity in the recording environment was a big deciding factor, I think. To be honest, I’m fully aware of my lack of guitar playing knowledge and if it were any other band asking me to take up the same role for them I’d probably have refused! As for the electronic side, we had tried our hand at a fair amount of synth driven rock in the past so slotting into this project was easy enough and I do feel like I can use my more rhythmic, bass-playing tendencies to my advantage in a genre that generally demands these driving low-end parts. That said though, as we push on with recording beyond the EP, we’re adding a lot more lead guitar parts too – which is really pushing my boundaries and has been a pretty fun challenge so far!”

Lee O: “I love to keep busy with music especially writing. I’m a drummer so not very musical. I didn’t want to rely on people to come up with stuff for me to add my drum parts… end up sitting round waiting for ages (although I can’t say that for MiXE1 as we always seem to have something on the go). I decided to have my own little project MiNiMAL FiLTh. It’s all electronic, samples and stuff. I got great enjoyment out of this and it helped with my song writing skills.”

What were/are the strongest inspirations to your creativity either musically or personally? mixe1

Lee O: “For me I’m really inspired (for this type of music) by Linkin Park, Pendulum, Prodigy, Leftfield, Celldweller and Rammstein. It’s their samples, synth sounds, vocals and song writing ability that makes me want to bop :)”

Lee T: “I guess my very first influence was my parent’s record collection! I grew up listening to bands like The Damned, UK Subs, The Clash and a hundred other bands across the punk spectrum; add to that a healthy dose of reggae, new wave, Sabbath and Zeppelin and that was more or less my start in life. I still remember thinking I was the coolest kid in primary school singing Guns n Roses songs in the playground! These days my inspirations come from a wider variety of media; films, books and life experience, the people around me and of course music is always there. The palette is ever changing really! It’s a lot more fun that way, I find. Over a bunch of genres across the board, 2013 so far has been amazing for music in particular for me.”

Mike: “I’m inspired by life, my wife, my family and friends all sorts :) My wife in particular and things we’ve gone through has been a bit inspiration for the songs. In terms of other bands, too many to say really – a lot of music inspires and sometimes influences come from unexpected places!”

The band initially was a solo project for yourself Mike, was this always the intention or even early on were you looking at expanding the band, as you have since of course.

Mike: “At the time of starting the project, I thought it was always going to be a solo thing! I had no real intention of it becoming a band or even playing live – I was quite attracted to doing my own thing and not having any of the creative concessions you can find in bands. But this really was fuelled by wanting to go in a more electronic and lyrically positive direction than the main band I was in at that time. Since setting the foundation of what MiXE1 is, what it’s about and particularly with these guys – that’s not a problem at all. Everyone’s really open about the music and how it comes out.

How we became a full band… Essentially I was looking for some live band members to play a gig or two. The Lee’s joined the mix and I encouraged them to put their own spin on the songs, add their own stuff to their parts and not just to follow the recordings to a tee. We actually played some album songs in rehearsal and what they were adding was really cool and most importantly really fitting to the songs. I remember thinking that I’d love to have this stuff on the actual recordings! From there, it just made sense and felt right to become a band. We’re fortunate in that everyone really adds something positive to the songs. We were looking for a live bass player for ages too afterwards and we finally found Marcos who tears it up live. He’s really talented too but the important thing is everyone gets along. It’s a laid back atmosphere when we’re all together, fun times…exactly how it should be ;)”

Your previous bands were more guitar based how did you find creating music different with electronics, apart from then obvious, and did it open up a more expansive field to explore than before?

Mike: “Oh for sure! Even in my BBX I was using a lot of guitar FX pedals, so it wasn’t always a straight guitar sound – I was always looking to modify the sound to give it atmosphere and diversity rather than driving every song with the same sound. Moving to electronics just gives you a much wider palette. With synths, there are so many different sounds which can give each song a unique texture. The songs have more layers and get even more epic!”

Lee O: “Mine were also more guitar based. I wanted to move more into the Electro scene, maybe creating a British Rammstein. For me, being an Electro group, I can write more as I have the use of midi programs where I can create synth tunes as I’m not very good at playing the keyboards… hey it’s all creativity at the end of the day ;)”

mixe1 pic 4 Your debut EP was Module 1, tells us about it and what you learnt in its creation which helped with subsequent releases.

Mike: “My attitude for Module 01 was kind of experimental! It laid the foundations of the project – the theme which is essentially all based in a futuristic city called MiXE1. There are some references to that in the lyrics and more in the general sound of the music. But yeah it was very much a case of just seeing what I could do on my own with synths and my vocals on the first EP. I learnt a lot actually. The main thing I learnt was what my voice can do, discovering how to use it and what I can do. That was exciting. I learnt a bit about the importance of mixing through the process too. After I wrote the first MiXE1 song, my attitude was very much like…I have this song I think is cool but it’s just gonna sit on hard drive, I’ll release it so even if it’s not the most polished, people can actually hear it and maybe be affected by it. So I wrote and released the EP. These days I’m more picky about having a good mix to represent the songs well but still have that mentality of if I don’t release it, no-one’s gonna hear it so get it out there!”

There feels like your songs hold a deep personal core lyrically and musically especially in Module 2 your second EP, is that the reality and what inspires your songwriting?

Mike: “Yea definitely! Module 02 is a very specific story with four specific songs/chapters of a couple being separated, dealing with a long distance relationship, remembering a time before and finally being reunited – and the story stems straight from my personal life. The reality (without going in to the long story…or trying not to!) is that I’d met the love of my life, Amie – we were super happy but she was on a student visa and when it was about to expire, she had to leave the country (day before Valentine’s Day if you can believe it). We spent a year February to February doing the long distance thing before I finally got her back and she’s now my wife. So it all worked out well but that year was mental…All the emotion, money, stress of immigration, life changes and long distance relationship-ing etc. We communicated every day, some teary phone calls to boot. We kept positive and it’s all worked out! It was a lot of hard work but infinitely worth it. So yeah that situation comes in to so many songs – those on Module 02, Lights Out and Starlit Skin for sure.”

You have just released your new EP, Lights Out, for us your finest and most mature work yet, though I believe the songs were written between your previous pair of EPs. Did you revisit them or take them further on from their inception on the EP?

Mike: “A bit of both really! The songs were all there structurally – with the exception of ‘Find You’ which was written up to the first chorus. I initially thought of it as a ‘band revamp’ – get everyone on the recordings and see what happens. I mean again, a song like ‘Find You’ for example, it originally had an extremely simple beat and Lee OB came in with this really dynamic and involved rhythm – basically stamping his style and personality on it. Similarly on guitars, the song had none and now it’s soaked in atmospheric leads and chords. Suddenly a song has a different vibe or something unexpected has happened and we’ll feed off of it.”

Lee T: “If you were to go back and listen to the demo versions of each track (good luck tracking them down!), it’s actually mind blowing how far some of them have come.

Largely the structures remained the same throughout, but sonically you could just sense each song coming to life and taking on these whole new personalities as everyone found their groove and these new ideas started bouncing from one person to the other. It was a pretty global affair actually; each part was written and recorded over a number of days, in completely different places and then attached at the end of the day into a group email session we had set up, where we proceeded to nit-pick each song to death before shipping it on over to Lawrie at Studio X in Australia. So the whole recording process was this great experience of finishing a guitar part off one day and then receiving a new drum layer the next, maybe followed by a new vocal idea or synth and just layering this crazy musical Jenga as we went along – I must have about 8-10 versions of every track on the EP sitting on my computer with something SLIGHTLY different about each one.”

Lee O: “From what I know the basis of the songs was already there (which made our lives easier). It was just a case of adding, changing and tweaking to get them to where they are today.”

The release is the first with you all involved.  Do you think this expanded line-up and mix of ideas played a big part in why the songs have lights-out-ep-coverarguably leapt above your previously released songs, though they themselves have all help make impressive releases?

Lee O: “Without a doubt… ha-ha!  :^o ===(   trumpet, blowing :)

Mike: “Ha, yeah I would say so for sure. I mean the songs were always there – the synths, basic structure, vocals, the basic riffs…The core of the songs. What we have now is a bigger sound, a more ‘live’ one thanks to some big drums and big guitar.”

Going back a bit for clarity how did you all meet and how has the additional skills and instrumentation impacted on the songwriting?

Lee O: “At The Pink Flamingo Club, we were wearing our crop tops and chaps…. oh wait, I’m getting confused! “

Mike: “Lee T and I have been friends for years like he said earlier – think we met in the school playground playing Ninja Turtles or something! How we met Lee OB, we put an advert out for another Lee I think, right? “

Lee T: “Yeah, we felt the dynamic of communicating with each other wasn’t QUITE confusing enough so we had to actively put an end to it. So, like many relationships these days, we found O’B via the internet, on the shadiest musician network we could find and then eventually met in person in the practice room one day. The rest is, as they say, geography… or something.”

Lee O: “I suppose I’d better come clean now…. my name isn’t Lee, its Rupert………….. I’ll get my coat!”

Lee T: “You should have said Richard – we could have called the new album The Crystal Dome!”

Mike: “But yea these guys have taken the songs to the next level! Lee OB is coming in with all these creative drum ideas that blow my mind. He gives the songs so much life and added dynamics. His ideas aren’t always restricted to drums – for example, having that extra bit of verse 2 guitar without vocals on Find You was his idea. Same with Lee T, he’s coming in with some amazing guitar ideas – lots of weird chords, lots of lead guitar stuff. I never really saw MiXE1 as having much lead guitar, I always wrote riffs very rhythmically in the past. It totally works; it’s a different vibe and stamped in his style/personality. On the EP, Find You and Pulling You Back To My World had no guitar written for them at all on the demos so it was a clean slate. Now guitar is a bit part of the songs.”

Is it a three way writing creativity for new songs now or still Mike at the core of that aspect?

Lee O: “I would like to say 3 way, but I would always want Mike (The Overlord :)) to have the final say as he has driven the sound and style to a certain place and wouldn’t want to upset that. He has done a good job in getting MiXE1 where it is today.”

Mike: “Yeah everyone is contributing for sure. I would say at this exact moment in time, I’m writing the core of the songs. That’s because we haven’t really tried writing anything from scratch as a band yet, it’s all been working on existing songs and demos penned before we became a band! There’s been plenty in the backlog :)

Lee T: “Plus a bunch of rough demos and random recordings we keep finding from about 10 years ago!”

How do you personally approach your songwriting?

Lee O: “On tippy toes whilst wearing my lucky pants…..oh wait, I’m confused again!!”

Lee T: “In regards to Lights Out, I suppose we approached the songwriting in the same way we have always done and that’s with an open mind and a good sense of humour! The advantage of the way we work is there are no preconceived notions on how things should be done and there isn’t a certain standard expected from one another, so it leaves room for a real casual, yet productive atmosphere. This actually helped a lot for me over the last year, being the admittedly amateur guitar player that I am…

A huge majority of the guitar sessions for both Lights Out and the upcoming album have been in burst of about two hours at a time, 2-3 times a week and in a way I feel like it really helped shape some of the sound of everything you’re about to hear over the coming months. It was this real quick fire situation where ideas could be made or broken in the space of minutes and there was a hell of a lot of improvisation throughout, where we’d find ourselves picking out a great sounding part and building sections around these tiny sparks of ideas.

One of my favourite recording experiences so far was actually with an album track where I tried my hand for the very first time at soloing (spoiler alert!), and we literally had this one section of song repeating for nearly 2 hours while I repeated the same part with slight tweaks over and over again. It’s that level of fun and sheer patience that I really can’t imagine finding recording with anyone else.”

Mike: “Note – not all 2 hours of solo are on the album! ;) Yeah, as a band we are very relaxed, in the rehearsal room or recording. My personal approach to writing… Well I always have the music first and that will spark off the vocals. I’ll usually cycle through various synth presets until a sound speaks to me or some songs I’ll start writing on guitar and later convert to synths – the 2012 single A Spark In The Air was like that. I just write songs that I want to hear, music I’d love to have on my own mp3 player and blasting out my stereo! I do have a self-imposed lyrical rule that I try to keep things positive or if there is some subject matter on the darker side, lace it with hope. For sure MiXE1 has always been quite open in terms of what sort of songs. “

mixe1 pic 3There is a certain harder rock element and snarl to the electro sounds of the band now, was this something you ha in thoughts for a while or a thrilling consequence of the full line-up?

Lee O: “I don’t know, but I like it :)

Lee T: “Good answer.”

Mike: “I’d say for sure being a band brings out the rock elements though I’d say it’s happened very natural rather than as a conscious decision. There’s always been rock vibes to some of the tracks – listening back to ‘Module 01′ there’s rock guitars there. The majority of synth parts on the EP were already written so I wouldn’t say the intention is brand new as a result of becoming a unit – what’s happened is the band have amplified this hard and it’s come out naturally. There are more guitar parts and these are more prominent. Having an actual drummer typically means you’ll be getting harder hitting rockier drum kits more often than the very electronic ones. It gives us an even bigger sound. I definitely feel the EP has a bit of a darker tone sonically than the previous material though as said, the core songs were written a while ago so the direction isn’t a result of that – however the band definitely accentuate the rock and edge of the songs. Balances nicely with synths to my ears :)”

Has the quality of and acclaim upon the EP changed your intent and thoughts  of the direction of MiXE1 or is it still on course for your original intention?

Mike: “Acclaim-wise – It’s a fantastic feeling to get positive feedback from reviewers and fans – we’re really appreciative and super grateful for it! In terms of impact on songwriting direction – there is none. Personally speaking I always write the music I want to write and be true to myself and what sort of songs I want to make, which is a very wide range and quite open. But it needs to feel right. If anything, the EP doing so well is an indication to keep doing that :) There’s nothing greater than hearing from a fan that the music has connected with them and has been with them through times in their lives. Those messages keep me smiling for days on end!”

Lee T: “In light of the positive feedback we’re getting about the EP so far, I just wanna say a quick, but huge thanks to anyone and everyone out there who has taken the time to check it out, review it, spread the word or simply messaging positive vibes back via social media. The reaction to Lights Out so far has been way above and beyond what I expected and as my first “proper” release, the ride so far has been mind-blowing.”

Does the Lights Out EP give a strong taster of what to expect from the album you are currently working on, Starlit Skin?

Lee O: “No, not really. The album is becoming a beast. We have played more of the songs from the album in the studio than the EP, so I think that helped shape it into what it’s become.”

Lee T: “For me, I’ve gotta say that it doesn’t. The songs themselves are definitely coming from a similar place and space in time, but each track we finish up at the moment is just leaps and bounds ahead of Lights Out. That’s not to take anything away from the EP, of course, but I get a real sense of pride that I didn’t quite get with the EP. The best way I can describe it, I think, is in my own performance; not being well-versed in the art of guitar, I think my style can best be described as “winging it” and I definitely play with a ‘heart-not-head’ mentality. I think it works to our advantage, really – but you’ll have to decide when the album drops!”

Mike: “Yeah the songs on the album are sound huge. I’d actually say yes it’s a taster in the sense that we have big drums and big guitars and of course my voice and style. It’s very much MiXE1 with the new MiXE1 band vibe. So for me, it’s a taster in that respect for sure. Although I do feel the same as the guys in that the songs are coming out even better than Lights Out definitely! I’m proud of Lights Out but the songs on Starlit Skin are some of our best yet. There are a couple of more chilled songs on the album and a couple which are our heaviest yet, there’s a lot of emotion and exploration.”

Can you tell us more about the album, any spoilers ;)

Lee O: “Spoilers shmoilers…. it’s gonna have 10 original songs…. there ya go! ;)”

Lee T: “Expect to be head banging one minute and holding your hands aloft and swaying the next.”

When can we hope to see it?

Lee O: “That’s the trickiest question so far :) Well it’s nearly finished…. we have a video shot for one of the tracks (just waiting for that to be completed). We’ve only just released the EP so wouldn’t be wise to release the album too soon. Think we were really going to promote, review and tease this album before release… so at a guess, towards the end of the year.”

Mike: “What Lee said! The plan is most likely the end of the year – we’ll be sitting on the album for a while sorting promo ideas for it and things for the next release. We need to give Lights Out time to air first ;)

Certainly the songs on Lights Out at times give suggestion of inspirations from eighties and nineties artists and sounds, we mentioned being reminded of the likes of Modern English, John Foxx and even Blancmange, as well as more current people like Celldweller and Static Distortion stable mates Ghost In The Static, but is that older period one which has impacted on you most to spice your music would you say?

Mike: “Y’know what – I can’t actually think of any bands that come to mind as a big influence on the EP… At least not intentionally. I listen to a lot of music and I have so many influences – over time they become so integrated it’s sometimes hard to tell what influences are being channelled! So for sure older stuff has had an influence on me in some way and possibly on the EP though it wasn’t conscious ;)”

Lee T: “I’m similar in a way. While there were wasn’t any particular road map to writing these songs, I guess you’re always going to be influenced by whatever you’ve enjoyed previously whether you consciously want to or not. My music collection is so chock full of bands that make me say “I’d love to be involved in something like this”, it’s no doubt having some effect on my own output and it’s interesting so far seeing how other people are interpreting that. Being mentioned in the same sentence as some of the bands that people are reminded of, while listening to Lights Out, is just crazy to me I can tell you that!”

Lee O: “I feel I’m more influenced by current music, but who knows whether 80’s / 90’s music / bands like Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw, Pet Shop Boys, Adam and the Ants, Madness and Genesis influence me sub consciously. They probably do in a small way.”

You have and probably are involved in other projects and collaborations, can you fill us in on those too?

Lee O: “Maybe…. maybe not :)”

Mike: “Those which are public are ‘DEP featuring MiXE1′ – a project with Mark Haigh of Draconic Elimination Projects which we started last year. We shot a video as well for one of the singles earlier in the year, currently being edited. And also ‘M3SSAGE’ which consists of myself, Gary from Defeat and Steve from Ghost In The Static. The songs are sounding great though we’re very slow as we have our main projects as priorities. Some seven string guitar action in that one!

In terms of collabs, I’ve done a few guest vocals! I don’t really get to talk about them so I’ll talk about each of the public ones! Ghost In The Static’s song ‘Lost’ was the first. A kick-ass song, I was very honoured to be on their album (it’s awesome check it out). Steve had all the lyrics and vocals written I basically sang them and added my style and threw a few extra bits in there.

Cease2Xist’s song ‘Still Not Dead’ – that came out amazing, Dayve Yates absolutely nailed that song. He told me the lyrical theme he had in mind so I just sang some bits with the idea in mind, did a few backing screams and wrote the chorus – though only Dayve is singing that bit and added his embellishments (e.g. mental high scream :D)

Most recent is Cryogenic Echelon’s ‘From Comatose’ – basically Dayve linked me up to one of Gerry Hawkin’s releases which sounded really great and we got talking. Next thing you know I was working on a track with them. The track is awesome and Gerry was really encouraging to let me do my own thing. Really great bunch of guys, seriously talented and I’m proud how the song turned out! Bonus of that collab was Gerry introduced me to Lawrie (of CE and Studio-X) who mixed Lights Out.”

What apart from finishing the album and working on the EP promotion is next for MiXE1?

Lee O: “World domination of course. Oh, and a cup of tea with a nice biscuit on the side.”

Lee T: “Next on the agenda for me is a remix of one of the album tracks. Should be interesting as I’ve never really put one together with the intention of it actually getting out there so it’ll be an experience working on it knowing it’ll be promptly ripped apart by all the guys out there who are actually good at it! ha-ha.

Other than that, we’ve been toying with the idea of how to promote the future album release when the time comes. I produced the Lights Out trailer with my video production venture: Shooting Satellite and we didn’t really want to rinse and repeat that idea for promoting the album; so we’re currently bouncing some ideas around for something far more interesting…”

Thanks so much for sharing time to talk with us guys, anything else you would like to add?

Mike: “Thanks for the interview, Pete. We just want to say thank you for all the support – every listen, every share, every purchase, every bit of feedback. It means a lot and we are very grateful!”

Lee T: “Also thanks for the great review!”

Lee O: “This is going in OK magazine, isn’t it?”

And finally, it is becoming known that I do not get on with or understand the need for remixes, though the one of  your track Part Of Me on the new EP by the great band Defeat  did impress. So finally try to convince me of the worth of remixes as a valid proposition alongside original writing J

Mike: “I feel it serves two purposes – firstly a reimagining of a song, maybe taking it in a direction not explored in the original. A good remix for me takes the song to a new place but also very much has the sound of the remixer. Secondly, it gets bands names out – if you find a remix you like, you can check out the band who remixed and maybe you’ll like their stuff. So I feel it’s a way to promote your project as well. Personally speaking I do very few remixes, I’ve only done two. Takes me a bit of motivation as with my music time, I’d prefer to just blast new material! ;)

Lee O: “I had a crack at a remix, it was my first as I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of remixes myself…. but boy it’s hard. I found it harder than writing an original song. You have to do the original justice (even though it’s probably never going to be as good as) and feel like there is a pressure there for it to be real good. People think it’s easy as the song is already written and all you have to do is jig it about a bit. It’s like redesigning something that is good and functional…. it can be done, but will you come up with a better design than the original? Hmmmm!”

Lee T: “Oooh, controversial subject! This is where I’m gonna plant my foot firmly in my mouth after telling you I’m working on one myself but I’ve gotta say it’s not often I actively seek remixes out to listen to. That said, I understand their importance in certain circles, especially in the genre we find ourselves in, as they widen the potential audience while serving as a sort of dragnet for people to check out the originals! Defeat did some awesome work with Part of Me and turned it into this awesome, dark, dance-y number that I’m sure everyone will really enjoy. It definitely sounds killer in my car!”

https://www.facebook.com/mixe1

Read the review of the Lights Out EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/mixe1-lights-out-ep/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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MiXE1 – Lights Out EP

mixe1

UK electro pop band MiXE1 started out in 2010 as the solo project of Mike Evans and took no time in impressing with the first two EPs Module 01 and Module 02. Creating a warm but adventurously impacting blend of electro and pop around a rock spine the pair of releases enchanted and evoked with their absorbing and seemingly very personal invitation. Since the summer of last year when the second EP was unveiled, Evans has taken the project up another level with further additions to its line-up whilst the already openly evolving and growing sound has blossomed into a sweltering and enthralling blaze of riveting potency.

Consisting of guitarist Lee Towson and drummer Lee O’Brien (formerly of Indie-Rock band Load) alongside Evans (former guitarist of alt-metal band Broken Butterfly X), with bassist Marcos Farias making the band a quartet for live shows, the Hatfield based MiXE1 release their new collection of songs via Static Distortion Records. Though we say new the songs themselves are revisited and explored further songs written between the two previous EPs but such the growing creative intensity and growth of the band they feel as if they are bred from a much later time whilst equally showing the strength of the songwriting from day one. With debut album Starlit Skin scheduled for later in the year, MiXE1 (pronounced Mikes 1) are set to have the rest of the year melting under a different kind of heat.

The title track opens up the release and immediately has the senses shielding their eyes under an electro radiance which shimmersLights Out EP Cover vigorously as a moody shadow lurks in the sun. The vocals of Evans are as compelling and inviting as ever, his warm seductive tones wrapping around song and emotions as drums and guitar revel in the invigorating breath of the electronic wash. At this precise moment the UK is in the clasp of a heatwave and Lights Out, song and release make the perfect soundtrack whilst intensifying the sultriness of the atmosphere. The song is a passionate affair for ear and emotions, one hinting danger but ultimately caressing with infectious charm and craft.

The outstanding Part Of Me follows and ventures into the rock suggestiveness which prowled its predecessor. From a short sonic blistering rife with temptation, the track leaps into a contagious stomp of crisp rhythms, scathing riffs, and electronic enterprise.  Like a mix of Celldweller and John Foxx with a snarl of Pendulum to its darker corners, the song is a thrilling riot down flumes of exhausting and invigorating imagination littered with appetising barbs and mesmeric kisses from music through to vocals. There is also a strong essence of label mates Ghost In The Static to its muscular addictiveness which only leads to greater ardour for its immense presence.

     Pulling You Back To My World instantly has an eighties electro pop feel to its touch, the initial wave of rich sound Blancmange like whilst the incendiary hook reminds of early Modern English. Another track which is virulent in its appeal and graceful in poise it seduces with each emotive note, the song simply growing in stature with each subsequent listen, the vocals of Evans wonderfully assisted by those of Amie Morandarte-Evans entrancing whilst the mix of guitar and synths is pure magnetism driven by the influential rhythms. Along with Part Of Me, the song steals top accolades on the release and alone makes the hunger for the forthcoming album greedy.

Both Find You and This Time continue the scintillating melodic and emotional fire of the release, the first a gentler though muggy in its ambience, encounter which tenderly walks along thoughts and imagination urging them with a muscular intensity into deeper reflection whilst its successor is an almost savage confrontation, in comparison to earlier songs. With fire in its eyes it prowls and challenges whilst still flowing with melodic beauty and sentiment. The track again shows the depth of exploration in the heart and creativity of the band which again makes Starlit Skin an exciting proposition.

Completed by a remix of Part Of Me by another Static Distortion band Defeat, Lights Out is a breath-taking encounter. The final song which challenges our personal natural reticence towards remixes with an inventive face to the track, though still the original holds it in its shadow, bringing one of the brightest and exhilarating aural massages of the year to a close. Released July 27th the EP sets MiXE1 as one of the forces which will guide UK electro pop to its greatest heights, hell, probably the world’s.

https://www.facebook.com/mixe1

9/10

RingMaster 22/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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IVEZA and ELEMENTS

I and E

Already aware of and having enjoyed earlier electronica led sounds from Serbian multi-instrumentalist Ivan ‘Iveza’ Ivezic, there was plenty of intrigue when discovering his new project Iveza And Elements. What it discovered was an enthralling muscular fusion between electro and rock which ignites the ear before moving on to the senses and accompanying aspects. The quartet from Kragujevac is an emerging force which on the evidence of their first couple of songs is set for a potent horizon.

Alongside Ivezic, whose history past and current includes playing in Thimble(hardcore/screamo/new school),KBO!(legendary punk/hardcore band founded in the 80`s) and Librium(melodic/post hardcore) as well as his solo electronica cored work, the band consists of Marko Sujica, Predrag Spasojevic, and Nikola Vasic. Together, as evidenced by Fireman and The World Is Gonna Stop, the four-piece creates an expanse of sound which defies precise labelling but reaps the essences of a great many seeds for its own individual persuasion. Industrial, alternative, and electro metal all find a loud whisper within the songs and add to the imaginative and riveting temptation offered.

Fireman is a song which immediately seizes the ear with a mighty commanding grip; forceful riffs and vocal strikes scything through the electro dazzle being expelled around the ear. The brewing tempest soon breaks into a stride of hungry energy and snarling aggression; the guitars, drums, and bass all growling with rapacious urgency whilst the keys dance and transfix the senses with exhilarating warmth and invention. Like a mix of Celldweller, Marilyn Mansion, Houston!, and Terminal Choice, the song rampages with refreshing intensity and insatiable enterprise, chewing and caressing the emotions with equal greed and potency. It is industrial metal at its most compelling and thrilling, and alone makes the band a certain target on the radar.

The World Is Gonna Stop ventures down a less metallic avenue, its electronic ambience and expressive melodic narrative a sonic heat within colour drenched electro imagination. This is not to say the song lacks sinews, its rhythmic framing caging the ear with firm inescapable skill, but the venture is more a sultry blaze of smouldering vocal tempting and keys sculpted sunlight which washes over the listener like a vibrant dawn and sizzling sunset. The mentioned vocals are a gentle call compared to the aggressive snapping delivery in Fireman, but as impressive as the unique sounds and evocative atmosphere borne.

With another song, Revelation, a track which sits somewhere between the two covered here, bringing further irresistible quality and adventure to the opening introduction of the band, there is only intensive anticipation for the future of and creativity from Iveza And Elements. It is impossible not to keep a close eye upon them after the unveiling of their first songs, an excited eye.

https://www.facebook.com/IvezaAndElements

RingMaster 20/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Explosion Technology – Proiavlenie

Explosion Technology Проявление

With a name which more than represents the contents of its creativity, Ukraine band Explosion Technology has an energy and sound which is a blazing fire of thrilling imagination. They make their world bow with debut album Proiavlenie, a release which is a tempest of styles merged into a bruising seductive invention and equally captivating ingenuity. Tagged as alternative/electro metal to which you can add industrial and nu metal as well as a punk fuelled passion, the trio from Balakleya has brewed a storm of enterprise which easily stands with the best of industrial and electronic metal releases this year and makes the case for  being one of the most impressive debuts anywhere.

Formed in 2009 by the threesome of Andrey Slon (vocal, bass), Artiom Lukienko (guitar, programming) and Vladislav Alandarev (percussion), the band and music is soaked in the essences of numerous sounds and genres distilled to flavour their own distinctly contagious creations. Their first demo Voshod (Sunrise)in 2010, was well received upon its digital release whilst the band also grew strong acclaim for their live shows around the Ukraine. In August of the following year Explosion Technology began working on their first album which went on through to November of 2012 with the resulting nine track riot not only reflecting the band’s personal attitude to the modern tendencies of hard music industry but emerging as one of the highlights of the year so far.

The album opens with the rampant energy and strength of Звуки (Sounds), a track which immediately seizes the ear with sinewy electronic lures before opening up its full musculature forcibly driven by ear crowing riffs and combative rhythms. Now in control the song dances on the senses with heavy booted drums and intensity whilst the electronic spawn melodic persuasion swerves around and lures in the passions with a sizzling radiance and toxic kiss. Thoroughly contagious and almost able to defy being sung in Russian to recruit the listener in all capacities including voice, the song is a hungry and inviting sprawl of exhilarating enterprise and impacting provocation.

From the immense start the album ensures its tight hold on the appetite is secure if not tightened with both Плохое Кино (Bad Movie) and Больше Не Нужна (No Longer Needed). As throughout the album tracks are connected by atmospheric instrumentals in the style of thrillers and horror movies which adds its own intrigue and pleasing invention from which the songs spring from with ease and greater ingenuity. The first of the pair continues the Rammstein spicery bred in the opener but adds extra flavouring of the likes of Celldweller and Pitchshifter to its towering presence. Keys and guitars exchange glances and malicious teasing as they entrap and enthral whilst the rhythms from bass and drums stomp their own primal branding upon the senses to offer greater shadow and intimidation to the barbed melodic confrontation.  Its successor is another and greater pinnacle of the album, its punk energy and metal attitude a twisting and exhausting triumph. Creating a storm of irresistible aggressive challenges and antagonistic invention, the song is a mix of Korn, Combichrist, and Biting Elbows which snarls, provokes, and riles the senses for a fury of potent pleasure sparking instinctive ardour.

Across the likes of the electronically caustic and metallically biting Импульс Жизни (Pulse of Life), the rapacious and darkly pulsating cyber expanse offered by За Пределами (Outside), and Триллер (Thriller) with its raging fire of electro vehemence and savage intensity, the album just consumes thoughts and emotions with striking craft and predatory efficiency, every note of every song loaded with spite and imaginative fascination in exchange for only the strongest and hungrily devouring responses in return. As found elsewhere, the brass seeded flames upon the last of this trio of songs carves out additional and distinct temptations to be bewitched by, as do those evocative links, pieces of music even in their brief breaths as thoughtfully engineered and crafted as the songs themselves.

Before its closure Proiavlenie confirms the might and stature of the album with the outstanding Замкнут В Пустоте(Closed In the Void), the equally stunning На Той Стороне (On The Other Side) its blackened symphonic air a suggestion which without being realised wraps its emotive grandeur around the erosive touch of the song, and the closing title track, translated as Manifestation, which exploits the now firm subservience of the emotions for further addict like rapture with its Numanesque instrumental persuasion. Proiavlenie is a magnificent introduction to a band which is sure to shape further similarly impacting moments in the future, something anticipation has already developed a lust for.

https://www.facebook.com/ExplosionTechnology

9/10

RingMaster 23/04/2013

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WVM – The End Is Only The Beginning

wvm 2

    The End Is Only The Beginning is the upcoming album from multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, performer, programmer, and visual artist WVM and also the EP which is an appetizer to the imminent album. We are taking a look at the five track EP and it has to be said that the album simply cannot come soon enough. Bringing together a stirring and enthralling mix of industrial, metal, gothic rock, and fiery electro, WVM has created a sound and release in The End Is Only The Beginning which incites only the hungriest appetite and passion. It is a tremendous force of invention and invigorating creativity which is as accomplished and as happy to caress and seduce as it is to ravage and violate, both extremes greedily welcomed when fused together this impressively.

The EP we assume is the recording debut of the Los Angeles based artist, but is a release showing the craft and touch one would expect of someone well-endowed in experience and know how on how to bring the strongest potency to his armoury. Whether his history is one of numerous endeavours or actually is his first appearance in any form, the stature of the songwriting and its stunning realisation is immense. Mixed by Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson), whose private studio Blue Room Studio WVM was given access to for the recording of the vocals, the EP can be best described across its length as Nine Inch Nails meets Gary Numan and The The with additional flames from Marilyn Mansion, Depeche Mode, and Fear Factory, individual tracks offering different permutations.

The opening pair of tracks on the EP immediately exploits the appetite for muscular enterprise and resourceful melodic persuasion 3461690930-1with expressive and riveting creativity. When Universes Collide, one of three tracks featuring Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle) on drums, instantly chews on the ear with raptorial riffs and exhausting rhythms before expanding its sinews to allow the emergence of scintillating electronic washes and equally excellent vocals, the tones of WVM clean and expressive yet with a steel to match the forceful sounds. Into its stride the track is a mountainous march of epic atmospheres and impacting intensity which engages an anthemic breath to its incendiary presence. It is an adrenaline coursing encounter in contrast to the slower more deliberate prowl of The Echoing, though both tracks are equal in their potent impact and invention. The melodic and vocal embrace of the track has a smouldering heat to their contact whilst the heavy stance of the track alongside a Ultravox like electro inducement, consumes with a weight which devours and rewards with mutual greed.

The outstanding Black Sun makes its entrance upon electro affected vocals and a brewing ambience which is warm yet provocative of something larger to come. What does rip from its expanse is a thrilling weave of electronic elegance and ingenuity forged to a heavy rock spine complete with metallic lures and hooks. Across its sizzling twisting invention and unpredictably shifting stances, the track reminds of John Foxx era Ultravox with the ravenous energy of Pitchshifter and further magnetic sonic temptation of Celldweller, whilst the guest appearance of Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Tweaker) on drums only drives its vigour deeper.

For A Better Tomorrow steers its presence towards electro pop with a definite eighties lilt, though again the rhythms and vein of the song still holds intimidation and weight to charge up the desires of any metal favouring fan, the beats of Freese showing no interest in taking it easy on the listener. The melodic caress of the synths is bewitching and with the compelling menace courting its charms, the likes of Trent Reznor, Numan, or even Thomas Dolby spring to mind.

Closing song Escapism, again with Freese adding intense bone to the sublime industrial encircling of the senses, roams around and preys on the passions with the strongest NIN influenced presence on the release whilst aligning those flavours to its own carnivorous snarl and persistent sonic taunt. It is an exceptional end to a tremendous EP in quality and endeavour. WVM is on the path to great things one can only surmise with this outstanding release whilst the full album of The End Is Only The Beginning cannot come soon enough.

https://www.facebook.com/WVMOfficial

http://www.wvmmusic.com/

9/10

RingMaster 15/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dogfight Sox: Flux EP

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    If you are looking for something different and intriguing but also a release which will test your thoughts and maybe even musical boundaries then take a listen to the Flux EP from German electro punks Dogfight Sox. Their five track release is equally inventive and bewildering, inviting and threatening, imaginative and creatively distorted but for the whole fully captivating.

Formed in September 2011, the Nürnberg duo of Crimson (guitars, vocals) and Indigo (programming, vocals) has taken no time in making their mark. Bringing a dramatic fusion of industrial, electro punk, psyche rock, and hiphop coated in invasive ambiences, the pair saw 2012 offer them a big year. From releasing their debut album Lunatic Fairytales and winning a band contest to performing at Weinturm Open Air alongside the likes of Dendemann, Käptn Peng, and Talco, playing the Danke-Festival, and lastly releasing this EP, it has been a massive twelve months sure to continue into 2013.

Released through Dungeon Recordings, Flux soon has thoughts and senses agitated and magnetised with opening track Konichiwa Bitches! A flourish of electronic teasing is accompanied by pulsating forceful pulses and blistered beats to wake up the ear before harsher guitar rubs leave their acidic touch alongside the rapped vocals. It is a provocative prowl and declaration which shifts between incendiary menace and total absorption, persistently a blend of both for the main. It is a sonic world within a song, the mini soundscape harsh or melodically resplendent with caustic atmospheres or warm whispers bringing their distinct voices to the intent and sound of the compelling song. Like a mix of Shrikes, The Karma Party, and Celldweller the track is an exciting and inciting impressive start.

The following Templum engages with native chants and calls whilst a guitar courts the heavy beats, the initial contact again riveting and posing questions within thoughts which though arguably never answered are easily satisfied by the continually startling sounds and imagination. Like its predecessor the song is unpredictable and intent on stretching its and your limits with sure craft, sonic contagion, and provocative confrontation.

From the arguably easier accessibility of the first two songs, the release tests and stretches patience and creative walls even further starting with the acerbic Sunfall. The track is a furnace of burning sonics, explosive intensity, and vocal malevolence forged into a squall of corrosion though throughout the song startles with slight-of-hand electro spikes and taunts.

Songs Of Distant Earth and The Intergalactic Chimpanzee Frenzee completes the concord of imagination and stimulation aggravation, the first a reflective reserved piece of design with elegant synths caresses, sonic manipulation, and fiery inducements. It once more brings impressive diversity to the release whilst refusing to give the listener an easy ride, something which would leave only dissatisfaction, the testing pose of each track as essential as their sounds and rewarding to the listener. The final song was the only low point on the release though it still has a senses busting charm which leaves one unsure. A seemingly tongue in cheek track which is best described as Kottonmouth Kings does industrial, it is hard to take the track too seriously due to the vocals which is a shame as musically the band again creates something invigorating, even  though it does throw everything in but the kitchen sink.

Flux is a convincing and pleasing release which impresses far more than it antagonises, though even those moments have their worth. Dogfight Sox is a band creating fresh inventive storms within industrial/punk electro and set to create even stronger tempest of creativity ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/Dogfightsox

Grab the EP as a free download @

http://dungeon.bandcamp.com/album/flux-ep

8/10

RingMaster 07/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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