Industrial/ebm is about to feel a new fresh breath of imaginative and caustic creativity with the debut release from Philadelphia band Krebs. The Cellophane EP is a potent and evocative treat with a metal apocalyptic breath riding the captivating industrial and electro snarls. The solo project of Mike Haggerty, Krebs is set to make an instant mark with its first release via Bluntface Records so we took the opportunity to find out more about the release, band, and Mike himself.
Hi Mike and welcome to The Ringmaster Review, thanks for taking time to talk with us.
First thing we have to ask you is to tell us about Mike Haggerty, as well as your background and musical history before Krebs.
Thanks for having me! Well I’d say I’m just an average guy who loves music, videogames and junk food. Music is really my passion, it relates to everything I do. Genres like punk and metal really captured my attention at an early age and got me into making music myself. I was in a band before Krebs with a few friends, we played grunge inspired hard rock. Then I discovered industrial/electronic music and that all brought me to where I am now.
Was there a specific intent when creating the project Krebs?
My intent was really just to try my best to make something fresh and hopefully capture the attention of old school and modern industrial fans alike and maybe even draw some new fans into the genre.
What are the inspirations which have most impacted on your ideas and sound?
To start, I always loved Front Line Assembly and the unique sound they have, so they are a big influence on my sound. Skinny Puppy’s ability to experiment and still sound like themselves is another thing that had an impact on me. Videogames and books also influence my ideas and song writing strangely enough. I love apocalyptic themes as well as futuristic themes that are explored, and if the two are brought together then I’m in heaven!
You are about to release your debut EP Cellophane, a release which captures the imagination with its varied and inventive mix of flavours. You can only assume your personal tastes incorporate a wide expanse of genres and styles.
I always try to find ways to make each song really stand out on its own and separate itself from the others. I always say that each Krebs song is its own animal and I do my best to give them all their own identity, if that makes sense.
Tell us about the EP, its creation and the songs within.
The EP was formed simply because I happened to have five songs that I considered finished and at that point Otto (Kinzel) mastered them for me. They were the product of several weeks’ worth of writing and recording. The songs themselves are mostly the product of what emotions I had at the time I wrote them. Other times I would have ideas that I thought were interesting, so I literally started writing thoughts down in my notebook and lyrics formed out of that. It’s basically poetry set to music. The album art was the last piece of the EP that was needed. My friend Jake Skalish created it at my request and I think it came out very well.
Everything comes from your ideas and craft on the release, but did you bring anyone else in for any aspect of the release or is it truly the complete solo release?
For this release I wrote and recorded everything myself, so it is a complete solo release; I did get insight from my friends Chris Pasquarelli and Chris Bollinger from Varicella. They really encouraged me and continue to help me get Krebs out there and I can’t thank them enough.
How do you write your songs and expand your ideas musically?
I usually have a melody or a rhythm in my head that I record right away, and then I figure out the structure. That’s when I create an atmosphere and layer more sounds. I compare it to starting with framework for a house, then gradually adding on to it, then decorating it and adding the finishing touches. Lyrically, as I’ve said, it’s usually the result of a strong emotion that I feel at the time or anything that I’ve read about that catches my attention.
Musically, I try to incorporate various sounds and instrumentation to expand the sound further. Things may sound strange upon the first listen, but strange is what I do!
Listening to the EP there is the sense that songs have an organic and continual growth to them. Do your songs evolve right up to the final mastering?
My songs do tend to go through multiple changes; it feels like my work is never done. The songs have all undergone change from the time I made the first synth line to right before I had them mastered. It varies between how drastically they change. I like to layer sounds and create hidden parts that people can catch. I also hope to invoke introspection in the listeners with each song.
Is there a theme or intent behind the songs on Cellophane and their lyrical paintings?
A theme that carries through most of Cellophane is the idea that people are always suppressed and restricted in some way or another, be it by government or by their own conscience. The themes oscillate between external and internal struggles and the goal of songs with internal struggles is to make something that people can relate to. It’s almost like letting the listener get to know who I am as a person.
As mentioned the EP is your debut release, is there any part, moment , or aspect of it which gives you the strongest thrill or tingle?
What really excites me is the fact that my songs will be out there and open to a broader audience, maybe not huge but it is something I always wanted. Just having an official release is something I always dreamed about and the fact that it’s actually happening gives me a euphoric feeling, it’s crazy!
And any elements you wish you could have explored further or since have developed the appetite to investigate in future songs?
There are aspects of ambient music I hope to delve into for future releases. I also hope to bring in more elements of punk, like the speed and raw feelings associated with it. I feel it will be a very interesting mix.
Cellophane is released through Bluntface Records. How has linking up with Otto Kinzel and his label helped the realisation of the EP apart from the obvious of course.
Otto really helped this take off. He helped me realize that there is nothing wrong with self-promotion and that really helps gain confidence (and fans haha). As a side note I also started to realize that people have a different view of a band or artist when they see that they are on a label. Sadly, it’s almost like a lot of people have a bias towards bands on labels.
You have Chris Mattioni join you for live shows, how did you meet and is there a chance the band could expand further for your live performances in the future?
Chris and I have been buds for a few years. He expressed interest in doing vocals with me a while ago and he eventually decided to come on stage with me and do backup. I do hope to get more friends to contribute to live shows in the future, a drummer hopefully *cough* Ryan Skalish *cough*.
How about in the studio ahead?
I have songs in the works already for a full length album. This one will be a concept album inspired by a certain game, but I won’t reveal anything else. I’d like to keep it a surprise.
You are also releasing Peace Injection as the single from Cellophane. Can you tell us about the track and the single package it will come in?
Peace Injection is a song that was sparked by my thoughts on America. The fact that our country feels the need to intervene in affairs in the name of “Peace” and “democracy” is something that has bothered me and this song is a response to that. The single contains the original version from the EP and three remixes, by Virus Cycle, Otto Kinzel, and Varicella. They are all talented guys and it was really awesome to hear their takes on my song. It’s also free and is available for download now.
What is next for Krebs once the EP is out there?
Krebs will hopefully get to perform some live shows in the near future and work on the concept album for a not too distant release date! Stay tuned.
Once more thank you for chatting with us, anything you would like to add?
First, thank you so much for having me and for the review. I’d just like to thank Otto for arranging everything as well. It was a pleasure and I hope to talk to you again soon!
Cellophane is A FREE download available in the Bluntface Records online store at midnight, June 29th!
Read the review of Cellophane @
The RingMaster Review 31/05/2013
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