From Angels to Bazaars: an interview with Alexey Markov of Starsoup

Alexey Markov.

Starsoup is a band emerging from within Russian which is beginning to stir up a healthy appetite outside of its homeland through debut album Bazaar of Wonders. Creating an enticing weave of heavy and progressive metal invention fed and inspired by a wealth of additional flavours, the album is a compelling adventure which coaxes emotions and imagination with evocative narratives and excellently crafted and skilfully invented enticing songs. To find out more about this awakening creative presence within world metal we had the pleasure to talk with band creator vocalist/guitarist Alexey Markov. Looking at the project’s origins, its first album, opportunities for Russian metal and more, this is what Alexey unveiled…

Hello Alexey and thanks for talking with us.

First of all please give us some background to Starsoup, its origins and the history of its core members.

Well it’s basically a one-man band, but this man (me) doesn’t compose all the music. A big part of Bazaar of Wonders was composed by Andrew Gryaznov – our fellow keyboardist and composer, and there are two songs by my good friends Lex Plotnikoff (Mechanical Poet) and Dan Mescher (Nazgul band). I wrote most of the lyrics and I was the one who financed and produced the record, because in fact I was the only one who really needed it. A significant part of the album was recorded by session musicians.

How did you and Andrew meet and what was the spark to working together?

I met Andrew in a band called Crime of Passion where he played the keyboards and wrote music, and I was invited to sing there. A few times we split and re-appeared, but then the band ceased to exist and I decided I wanted to record our material (because I felt it was good). The spark… well I loved Andrew’s tunes and probably my ideas somehow supplemented his.

Did you have any prime idea or direction when forming Starsoup?

No, totally not. After all we only had 4 songs which we wanted to record. And we just did 🙂 The album is basically something that happened in the process. Maybe it turned out unusually ballad-esque and slow-paced to my taste.

The band is a studio project, was this always the aim of the band or just how it has worked out to this point?

That’s a tough question. I think every musician wants to perform live at some point. Frankly speaking, I’m a bit scared I won’t be able to play (and sing!) the material live as accurately as I did in the studio. I’d say the studio project wasn’t the aim, but right now I don’t have a serious desire to make it a touring band.

What are the inspirations which have most impacted on your ideas for the band and sound?

I think it’s the feelings. When I read a book or watch a movie, or meet somebody, I get new emotions and sometimes I remember them; if they’re strong enough. I wanted the songs to be emotional, not technical.

You have just released your debut album Bazaar of Wonders on Sublimity Records; I believe it was a long time in the making coverso it must be a relief to finally have it out there for public consumption?

Yes, definitely. I feel much better now as this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Time to enjoy life for a few days and then start doing something else 🙂

Was there anything in particular which held up the album’s creation?

I was waiting for the cover art for a very long time, then I had to find another artist, but fortunately Mr. Smerdulak did an amazing job and I’m happy I chose him after all. The artwork turned out to be wonderful.

How has responses for Bazaar of Wonders been so far in your homeland and further afield?

Strangely enough the response in Russia is very moderate. Some people only hear the accent, some don’t enjoy that it’s not in Russian (why should it?!), some don’t like the musicianship or the songs and it’s kind of customary to get this awkward message through – to the author (me). It’s totally different abroad. We got some very nice reviews from the US, Italy, Greece, Israel and other countries.  I really enjoy reading them.

Is it hard for Russian bands to get attention outside of its borders or with the internet have you found it a relatively painless thing to be noticed?

I think it’s harder for the Russian rock and metal bands because no one sees them as serious contenders on the international stage. But now we have ARKONA with their immense success abroad so they kind of opened the road for the rest of us. Internet helps too, as this interview was organized by our friends at GlobMetal Promotions – and this is so cool we’re doing this.

The album at times brings to mind the likes of Dream Theater and Fates Warning as well as other bands like Stone Sour and Avenged Sevenfold; you are musicians who are unafraid to explore numerous styles to create your melodic landscapes?

Yes, Starsoup won’t stick to any one style. It’s my field for experiments. I start thinking that probably standing next to Dream Theater is a bad positioning for Starsoup. After all it’s just another league – 5 best musicians from the best music school in the world with half-a-million $$ recordings next to my $10k record produced in the middle of nowhere by a guy with very little musical education. I mean I’m flattered standing next to them but this comparison is just a predefined loss on all fronts.

The album sees several guest musicians involved in its making; are they playing your sounds or is it a proper collaboration with these artists and they are fully involved in developing their parts?

I never told anybody what to play. In fact a few times I was surprised how it turned out. I’ll stick to this in the future 🙂 After all I can play almost everything myself. Why call anybody else to do that if they don’t put a piece of their soul in? I let them do whatever they wish.

How do songs generally emerge from first seeds in your songwriting?

Sometimes I just play the guitar and some melody appears – or just a chord progression. I play it a few times (even for a few weeks) and try to imagine things. Sometimes the inspiration comes, sometimes it doesn’t. Or I might have a melody in my head which I try to arrange in some interesting way. Sometimes it’s a guitar riff or a rhythm figure that gives me a feeling of flow. I don’t have a universal recipe.

Alexey Markov and Андрей Грязнов.Reading the information around the band and album, I get the impression that you went into the studio to record a quartet of songs including your debut single Angels which drew great responses upon its release, but ended up with a lot more ideas and potential songs which led to an album instead, is that how Bazaar of Wonders came about?

Yes, the songs were emerging themselves in the process of the album recording. I know they usually don’t record the albums like that – usually the band has all songs ready, books the studio and then records the drums, the guitars, the bass, the solos and then the vocals. But we didn’t have this option – this way the album would never have appeared. But I will surely do the 2nd album the “traditional” way.

Is there anything specific upon the album which gives you the greatest satisfaction?

I like how the cd turned out. It’s a finished and self-contained product from the songwriting to recording and production, to art and design. I love to hold the disc in my hand, putting it into a cd player and listening to it from the beginning to the very end. It sounds different when you look at it as a whole; much better than one song at a time 🙂

You mentioned that the project has not played live yet, is that something you are hoping to do in the near future?

Not in the near future, although I’ll be probably giving some acoustic concerts in 2014. So I’ll be definitely playing a pair of Starsoup ballads – Rumors of Better Life and The City and the Stars.

What is next for Starsoup?band

We look forward to releasing a pair of new singles in 2014 – and of course one or two videos.  Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll manage to create another album next year 🙂

Once again thank you for talking to us, have you any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Stay metal! Don’t stay silent: write about the music you like, share it with your friends and don’t miss the gigs!

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup

Read the Bazaar of Wonders review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/starsoup-bazaar-of-wonders/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 30/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

The February Coma – Light It Up EP

The February Coma

Hailing from Flint, Michigan and consisting of vocalist/guitarist Jim Miller and drummer Jason Rood, alternative rock duo The February Coma is a bit of a mystery other than that, Their bio, apart from listing the likes of Alkaline Trio, Billy Talent, The Black Keys, QOTSA, NIN, Silverchair, and Jack White as artists the pair have a liking for, gives little away outside of the basics. Their new EP Light It Up is another matter, the three track release revealing a band which is soaked in potential and imagination. The EP like the band’s sound is definitely work in progress and comes with a few limitations but the promise and satisfaction produced by the accomplished release only goes to awaken a certain appetite for the band.

Released via Honyock Records, the Light It Up EP opens with its title track and instantly through the gritty riffs and punchy rhythms steals attention its way. There is a riveting groove to the song which wraps keenly around the ear whilst a heavy bass tone unleashes a deeper coaxing. It is a strong start which is tested slightly by the vocals of Miller, his punkish tones not always holding notes and fluency as tightly as you would wish or as engagingly as the song needs. Nevertheless the track rumbles along with 67401potent musical lures and heavy rock tempting which though it holds no major surprises provides plenty of bait to get the imagination into and emotions stoked by.

The following Red also opens with a strongly appealing beckoning of guitar, it’s almost grinding riffery an immediate captivation complimented by the tempered rhythms of Rood and a better balance of vocals. As the first song it does not quite explode into action as expected but does leave another healthy enticement of sonic endeavour and melodic enterprise, offering plenty to suspect a robust future for the band as they and their sound evolves into a more individual presence. The strongest track on the EP, it captivates from start to finish with a blues kissed guitar craft and infectious riffery which impresses throughout.

The closing Shed A Tear slips into a slower gait though punctuates its roaming with bursts of sonic flame and emotive energy. Again there is seemingly a spark missing which prevents it greedily rampaging in the passions but equally with excellent guitar play from Miller it grips a level of attention and satisfaction which sculpts a big impression in thoughts.

As stated earlier band and sound is definitely still emerging as a presence and identity with arguably a fair way yet to go but Light It Up shows that the band is undoubtedly on the right course and armed with all that is needed to provide a wealth of greater encounters in the future. With attention to the vocals needed, whether from Miller or with all respect to the musician by the addition of a third member in that department, The February Coma with their latest release sets themselves up as a proposition well worth keeping a keen eye on; definitely expect to hear more good things from them ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-February-Coma/574401329245156

6.5/10

RingMaster 30/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

The RingMaster Review’s Indie /Alternative Best of 2013

2013 has seen a depth of originality and rabid exploration which has left the imagination and passions ablaze with pleasure and The RingMaster Review has had the pleasure to come across a tsunami of releases bred from that same creative fire and adventure. Taking a lingering and intensive look at the albums covered by the site from the vast array of indie and alternative genres from punk to folk, noise to ambient and much more besides we have sculpted out Best of Year choices to recommend for potent attention.

1. Mr. Strange – The Wonderful World Of Weird555928_584429381594861_1695733989_n

…here to exploit and uncover the darkest secrets of your mind whilst travelling the exotic and dangerous mental halls of its creator…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/mr-strange-the-wonderful-world-of-weird/

square-cover-smaller2. Dizraeli and The Small Gods: Moving In The Dark

…seizes thoughts and emotions with a dramatically impacting innovative voice coated in a towering imagination driven mesmerism…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/dizraeli-and-the-small-gods-moving-in-the-dark/

3. The Rott Childs – Alleluia: A Brit Milah In G Melodic Minor51-quggw9vl-_sl500_aa280_

…sculpted with schizophrenic invention and bedlamic imagination, the sonic alchemy uncaged a breath-taking, fertile tempest of post hardcore and mathcore ingenuity aligned to an aggressive progressive intent …

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/the-rott-childs-alleluia-a-brit-milah-in-g-melodic-mino/

04_theroostercover4. Lune Palmer – The Rooster

…wraps and washes the senses in ambient and atmospheric fascination, a coaxing which has the passions discovering a near on lustful greed for…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/lune-palmer-the-rooster/

5. Helldorado – Bones In The Closetbones-in-the-closet

…the cinematic lures of their music is as potent as its sensory incitement and here leaves the listener perpetually wiping the dust from their eyes and pulling their mental stetson/sombrero down whilst chewing on a cigar Eastwood style…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/helldorado-bones-in-the-closet/

fuckshovel-cover-artwork6. Fuckshovel -This Is What We Are

…a riotous storm of rampant rock n roll with no intent to compromise or accept mere appreciation of its forceful sounds, it is all or nothing and for us it is everything such the compelling and inciting muscular pleasure on offer…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/fuckshovel-this-is-what-we-are/

7. Maths and the Moon – Night Train Daydreama3240501242_2

… plenty more to the spellbinding sonic travelogue of course, all of which only teases and thralls the senses and imagination into its tense and dramatic escapade…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/maths-and-the-moon-night-train-daydream/

551283_10151283210191924_2033457083_n8. Honningbarna – Verden Er Enkel

…dramatic flames of melodic fervour and hooks as barbed and addictive as any sexual favour, the thirteen track release thrusts the band into the heady heights of being the future of melodic punk and possibly the core elements of punk itself…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/honningbarna-verden-er-enkel/

9. Ruts DC – Rhythm Collision Volume 251bihnzni3l-_sy450_

… can be announced as one of the finest most exhilarating albums to grace and ignite the passions in a long time. The rhythmic heart of the album shows Ruffy and Jennings have lost none of their majestic power and provocative resonance whilst creatively they lay bench mark after benchmark for bands and…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/ruts-dc-rhythm-collision-volume-2/

IMG_0361v310. I Plead Irony – This Statement Is False

…an irresistible temptation which croons, rages, frolics, and rampages within the ear across its startling collection of impressively sculpted contagion posing as songs. It is without doubt one of the most exciting and compelling  albums this year, a scintillating mesh of hard, alternative, and indie rock…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/i-plead-irony-this-statement-is-false/

11. Tankus the Henge – Self Titledtankus_cover

…the eleven track feast of what the band calls Carnival rock ‘n’ roll is a pulsating, riveting triumph of musical and lyrical eccentricity, exhausting imaginative adventures, and shadow wrapped dark revelry…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/tankus-the-henge-self-titled/

a0645899867_212. In Evil Hour – The World Bleeds Out

…a savage yet anthemic confrontation which allows hope and temptation to be as rife and alluring as the aggressive and spiteful creative toxicity which stirs up and incites the imagination…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/in-evil-hour-the-world-bleeds-out/

13. Pryapisme – Hyperblast Super Collider230737_527072527326371_2122373134_n

…pure maniacal genius. It is a raging adventure which ignites every possible target from ear to heart as it heads straight for the soul with at times bewildering, often disorientating, and uncontrollably fascinating brilliance…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/pryapisme-hyperblast-super-collider/

Following closely in the wake of the above are also highly recommended…

Goldblade- The Terror Of Modern Life

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life/

Gabby Young & Other Animals: The Band Called Out For More

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/gabby-young-other-animals-the-band-called-out-for-more/

Mucho Tapioca – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/mucho-tapioca-self-titled/

Steve Ignorant With Paranoid Visions – When…?

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/steve-ignorant-with-paranoid-visions-when/

The Dropper’s Neck – Second Coming

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-droppers-neck-second-coming/

Japanese Fighting Fish – Day Bombs

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/japanese-fighting-fish-day-bombs/

The RingMaster Review 28/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

The RingMaster Review’s Metal/Rock Best of 2013

In a year of breath-taking rapaciousness and passions igniting sonic aggressiveness from the extensive depths of metal and rock in all its various rabid disguises, it is not easy to select the best albums to have eagerly  and skilfully savaged the senses. Nevertheless The RingMaster Review has applied intensive thought and time consuming deliberation over the tempest of thrilling releases it has covered in 2013 and chosen it’s Best of the Year based on the most potent lustful submission and overwhelming contagious toxicity bred by the intrusive treats covered on the site over the past twelve months.

1. Bovine -The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire 255275_477420662275813_1151896898_n

Brawling, squalling, and impossibly contagious, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is an album which charms and harms the senses for easily one of the most thrilling and exciting albums this year….

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/bovine-the-sun-never-sets-on-the-british-empire/

coverhigh2. Sofy Major – Idolize

…has defiantly emerged as one of the most frighteningly impressive albums of the year so far. The release is a beast of a record, an album which can only be declared as carnivorous, in sound and intent…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/sofy-major-idolize/

3. Cult Of Luna – Vertikalcol-vertikal-jpg

…a colossal journey and an intense emotional narrative which transports the listener into a place of stark beauty and oppressive grandeur whilst wrapping its recipients in the dystopian canvas upon which the immense and riveting structures of the album are built…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/cult-of-luna-vertikal/

packshot-1500x15004. Bear – Noumenon

…sonic alchemy which leaves exhaustion and lust bred satisfaction raging rewards…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/bear-noumenon/

5. Shevils – Lost In Tartarus1424384_730606523620529_1143928494_n

The ten track fury of invention and passion is a monster of a release, a brutal yet ingeniously sculpted confrontation…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/shevils-lost-in-tartarus/

475_russkaja6. Russkaja – Energia!

Sounding like the bastard offspring of the Austrian Strauss Brothers with a bent for insatiable adrenaline fuelled folk metal and exhausting jazz…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/russkaja-energia/

7. Lord Dying – Summon the Faithlesssummonthefaithless

…tsunami of rapacious riffing, deliberately antagonistic rhythms, and sonic ferocity wrapped in melodic fire…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/lord-dying-summon-the-faithless/

cover-0018. Arceye – At First Light

…devours with imagination, craft, and a devastating predacious invention that takes the listener on one of the most enthralling dangerous aural journeys lying in wait this year…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/arceye-at-first-light/

9. Coilguns – Commuters02_front_cover_web

…pushes the boundaries of band and extreme music beyond their limits with skill and startling imagination…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/coilguns-commuters/

overcoming-the-monster-album-cover10. KingBathmat – Overcoming The Monster

…a compelling flight of melodic fire, rhythmic provocation, and sonic beauty all wrapped in an ingenuity of craft and thought which leaves the listener quite breathless…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/kingbathmat-overcoming-the-monster/

11. lo! – Monstrorum Historialo_mh_cover_square

…imagination of the band a greater open malevolence which leaves only undiluted sore pleasure and invigorated intrusive satisfaction in its caustic wash…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/lo-monstrorum-historia/

hellsdomaincover12. Hell’s Domain – Self Titled

…one of the freshest and invigorating thrash releases to come along certainly this year and a marker for other bands to aspire to if they want to permanently enslave the passions…

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/hells-domain-self-titled/

13. Abysse – En(D)Gravea2430544694_2

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/abysse-endgrave/

…an extensive exploration of bold adventurous lands and emotions; ventures fraught with warriors and bravery, shadows and danger but all brought forth with a potent sinew driven narrative that leaves no emotive intensive stone unturned and inventive imagination untapped…

Following closely in the wake of the above are also highly recommended…

The Ocean – Pelagial

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/the-ocean-pelagial/

In Vain – Ænigma

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/in-vain-aenigma/

Code – Augur Nox

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/code-augur-nox/

Circles – Infinitas

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/circles-infinitas/

The RingMaster Review 28/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Follow the rabbit into the weird: an interview with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange

Fans of UK musical mutants The Shanklin Freak Show have already been touched, inspired, and seduced by the creativity and psyche teasing craft of the band’s former frontman Mr. Strange whilst his solo work has equally gripped the imagination of a great many. Now though the songwriter/producer/vocalist/musician has taken it all to a new level with the release of this exceptional new album The Wonderful World Of Weird. A release walking the realms of insanity and artistic rapaciousness, it is a diverse and riveting exploration of sounds, invention, and dice into the weird persona that is Mr. Strange. Greedily wanting to find out more we had the joy and adventure to talk to the man himself with the adding pleasure of his artistic cohort Stench on top also sharing thoughts and time with us. Investigating The Wonderful World Of Weird, we talked origins, The Shanklin Freak Show, Marilyn Manson, the bright lights and much more…

Greetings Mr. Strange and thank you for taking time out to let us delve into your world of weird.

Mr. Strange: Greetings! Thank you, sir, I’m glad to be here. Smells funny though!

You are well known amongst fans for your founding and leading of The Shanklin Freak Show (TSFS) until recently but maybe less know about your solo exploits before and running alongside the band; could you give some background to those?

Mr. Strange: Before I started The Shanklin Freak Show in March 2003, I began learning my craft as a programmer / producer way back in 1998. I bought a basic music creation game for the original PlayStation simply called ‘Music’ and became completely obsessed with it! As laughable as it sounds, it was actually quite a competent music tool, and a great introduction to music programming. Before I made the upgrade to professional (real) music software, I made a whole album using just this game and my PlayStation. This album was completed in February 2003, although I did add some vocals and guitars to the final version of the album using my current studio set-up. The final version of the album was eventually released in late 2011 as Sounds From The Asylum, which is an apt title methinks! Anyway, back to 2003. As soon as Sounds From The Asylum was finished I went full-throttle into The Shanklin Freak Show project, greatly helped by the fact I could finally record guitars and vocals with my swanky new production software – which I could not do before 2003. The Shanklin Freak Show project pretty much had my full attention until late 2011. The only exceptions to this were my collaborations with Global Citizen acting as co-producer on two albums – those being Master Stroke and Nil By Mouth – as well as the Mr. Strange album The Fall which I made in late 2007.. But for the most part, my solo exploits only resumed once I stepped down from the forefront of The Shanklin Freak Show in November 2011. Now my Mr. Strange projects are my primary focus… and my cats.

From all the music and projects you have been involved with it is clear to see that your sounds and tastes are rather eclectic, what are some of the major inspirations which have spiced your own ideas over the years?

Mr. Strange: Well, being a rather flamboyant chap, nearly all of my musical influences fall in to the “theatrical” category. Bands and artists who present themselves in a very theatrical way tend to make more outlandish music, and that’s definitely what floats my boat, as it were! I’ll try to keep it snappy, so here’s a shortlist of some of my most influential artists: Danny Elfman, David Bowie, Mushroomhead, Dr. Steel, The Sisters Of Mercy,  Alice Cooper, Mortiis (only the ‘Smell Of Rain’ album), Krizz Kaliko, The Duke Of Stratosphere, Twiztid, Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, ICP, Mr. Bungle (or almost anything from the mind of Mike Patton), Gary Numan, Tech N9ne, White Zombie / Rob Zombie, and Babylon Zoo. That last one’s not a joke by the way! Stop laughing.

Tell us about creating TSFS and its own unique and dark world?TSFS with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange: I started The Shanklin Freak Show in early 2003, the first ever Freak Show song was written and recorded in March I believe, a little random fact for those who may be interested. The whole concept was meant as a home, a form of escapism, for those who felt rejected by the world. Basically the kind of outlandish, Tim Burton-esque world I wanted to escape to myself at that time. My failure at finding a place to belong in the world led me to try and make my own, both for myself and others who felt the same. The basic concept is articulated best in the song ‘Twisted Family,’ check it out if you want to get your noggin around what the whole Freak Show thang is about. Musically, it was born out of my love of some of the earlier Insane Clown Posse records and my disappointment with (the then newly released) Marilyn Manson album The Golden Age Of Grotesque – I was expecting a deeply engrossing, dark, twisted, circus-style cabaret show of an album, my dream record, but what arrived was an album of fairly standard industrial pop songs. I imagined it to sound far more intriguing and I found the idea behind the record a lot better than the end product, so I went about trying to create the album I imagined. That’s it really. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Before we concentrate on your new album, you are still involved with TSFS but just not as the vocalist now? Why the decision to step down from that role?

Mr. Strange: Indeed, I’m still involved with the band, but just on the side-lines at the moment. I have to admit that my input has been very minimal since my departure, although that was not a conscious decision, that’s just how it’s played out up until this point. I may play a more active role in the band next year, songwriting and maybe doing the odd live shows here and there, but that’s all dependant on working it around what I’ll be doing with my own projects. There were many different factors contributing to me stepping down as the vocalist and retreating from the forefront of the Shanklin Freak Show, although the main factor was simply that I find performing live extremely nerve-wracking and didn’t want to do it anymore, at least not for a few years. I suppose the other main factor was that I was feeling burnt out with the project and my heart wasn’t really in it, at least not enough to knuckle down, overcome my nerves and keep playing live shows. I started the Freak Show in 2003, so I spent a full 8 years solely focused on that one project and to be honest, I think I just wanted to try new things, things that might not have worked within the context of The Shanklin Freak Show, if that makes sense?

You have just released the brilliant album The Wonderful World Of Weird, our favourite and one of the best if not THE best album this year, how long has it been in the making?

Mr. Strange: Firstly, thank you very much! Secondly, too damn long! I started the album in October 2011 and finished it in October 2013. The reason for this overly long development process was due to uncertainty as to where I wanted to go after the Shanklin Freak Show. I had loads of ideas, but for my first release after TSFS I wanted to make a record that would be fresh and also slightly familiar, that’s a very specific sound to try and go for, and one that was tricky to find balance for. I’d write a few songs, then over analyse them and come to the conclusion that I wasn’t heading in the right direction, so they’d gather dust for a few months while I procrastinate, then I’d become enthused with the Wonderful World of Weird project again and get a couple of more songs done, then doubt myself again. This process happened a few times, probably half of the two year development cycle was either spent doing nothing or writing material separate from the WWoW project! I’m currently working on developing and finishing those other ideas for my next record, needless to say it already sounds incredibly different to the Wonderful World of Weird and is even more of a departure from The Shanklin Freak Show sound.

StenchYou co-wrote many of the tracks and recorded it with TSFS’s guitarist Stench (Gary Mason to his mum); how easy was it to fit this in as I know the band is recording their own album too; are you to blame for the delay in the finishing of their album??? 😉

Mr. Strange: Having Stench work on the album with me has had no bearing on the speed of The Shanklin Freak Show’s musical output, don’t blame me! Haha.

STENCH:  I don’t think Mr Strange is to blame in the slightest. The delay has been down to a few factors. The Last Show mixing process has been troublesome and we were never completely happy with it and didn’t want to release something that would make us cringe, knowing that we could’ve done better. Obviously, we had the addition of Kronik on Bass, rehearsals, gigs, festivals and the continual cycle of writing and recording. Plus, we’ve had the steep learning curve of being responsible for our own production. We have lots of songs that we’re working on and which are at various states of creation/completion. Plus, very recently, Mr Foul became a Daddy again. All in all, I think we’ve done pretty well, considering.

Mr. Strange: Thanks for backing me up there, Master Stench! I’ll slip you a fiver later.

How did the song writing work for the album and at what point did Stench get to add his explorations to your ideas?

Mr. Strange: We began working together full-time in late 2012 (we’d done bits and bobs together for the album before then, but it was an intermittent thing) almost exactly a year after I began work on the record. At that time I probably had roughly half the album that you can hear today, albeit in a very rough state and with very little guitar work on it. I think ‘White Rabbit’ is the only song that I play all of the guitars on, the rest of the album is pure Stench! With regards to songwriting, it kind of varies as to the approach we took. A lot of the songs were already half written, so Stench worked his magic over what was already there, but a few songs were written in a much more free-form manner. The songs Psycho Surfing A Go-Go‘ and Metropolis 2984 were the result of me and Stench just jamming and coming up with crazy stuff, which I’d never done before, so that was a great experience! Sadly a lot of our random jam songs didn’t make the cut for the album, but they’ll appear eventually. A lot of the tracks we wrote were simply too damn off the wall for the Wonderful World of Weird!

How much did Stench evolve and twist your ideas into new sparks within songs or did you go all dictator on him in this area? 😉 (We at The RR know he likes to be dominated…)

Mr. Strange: While there was indeed a fair bit of dictating going on, Stench’s guitar wizardry certainly evolved a lot of songs in many ways. Even songs which were mostly finished by my lonesome have changed in tone and texture considerably since Stench shot his load over them! Songs which may have been dead ends from my point of view (as in not worth finishing) were saved by Stench taking the tune in a new direction with his magical, distorted, electrically-powered stringed instrument. The addition of guitar solos to a few songs has also altered the structure of some of the arrangements, giving the whole album a more free-flowing and natural feel, a definite departure to the more rigid electro-industrial pounding of some of my earlier songs with TSFS.

The guitar work provides a bait of hooks and grooves across the release which seems to breed from the other exotic or should that be erotic melodies and lures at large; did these come after the heart of the songs were exposed or in their initial breeding?

Mr. Strange: Wow, that’s one very eloquently worded question! I want some of what you’re smoking, sir! Haha. Methinks I’ll pass this one over to Stench.

STENCH:  I have to say, Mr Strange is always a pleasure to work with and we seem to be able to communicate very easily musically. So, I suppose that both cases are true as regards to the creation of the tunes. Sometimes, Mr Strange will have an idea of what he wants beforehand and I’ll just add my guitar parts under his strict instruction. Thankfully, I no longer have to wear the gimp mask. Other times, we start completely from scratch. Either way, it’s always fun and inspiring.

The Wonderful World Of Weird is a roller coaster of styles and flavours including industrial, steampunk, surf rock, 555928_584429381594861_1695733989_npsychedelic and gothic rock and much more all merged into the narrative of the album. This is a true reflection of both your musical tastes and the way your creative imaginations works, or predominantly Mr S’s (Saul); the album truly a landscape of your ideas and musical psyche?

STENCH:  I think we both have very eclectic musical influences and appreciate each other’s tastes. This makes it much easier to work together and helps with communicating ideas. But, yes, the album is predominantly Saul’s genius and I add either the cherry on top or the fly in the ointment, whichever is required at the time.

It is fair Mr. Strange to say the album is very different from your earlier songs as on The Fall and those written across all your projects as collated in the Freakshow album, both of 2011. I will admit this was a little bit of a surprise considering your major input and dramatic style within TSFS, so has this been a natural progression or have you had to consciously veer away from anything sounding like the band?

Mr. Strange: Yes, it was definitely a conscious decision to try and move away from the sound of the Shanklin Freak Show. The more complex song arrangements, featuring less prominent/heavy guitars, changing the tone and pitch of my vocals somewhat, being more daring with mixing varying genres on one album, all of it was done with the sole intention of trying to not sound like a new Freak Show album. I’d done 8 years of the Freak Show; I wanted to see if I could create something a little different. With all that said, I also tried to not move too far away from the Freak Show sound as to completely alienate people who may be following me after hearing the Freak Show. You can hear echoes of TSFS on songs like ‘Fire’, ‘White Rabbit’ and on ‘Exile’.

As the album is lyrically and musically a journey through the mind of Mr. Strange did you have a definite step by step guide to the order of songs and their effect on the album in mind before everything was recorded etc.?

Mr. Strange: I did indeed! However, what I planned out and what ended up being the Wonderful World of Weird album are two very different things. The narrative you hear on the finished record was re-written to fit the finished songs only a few months before the album’s release. I originally planned something far grander and more complex, but it was sounding so overblown, silly and pretentious that the scope for the record was scaled back considerably. It’s far more personal now; I think that works in its favour.

We described the opening title track to The Wonderful World Of Weird as Dr. Jekyll meets ICP as early Marilyn Mansion helps Victor Frankenstein create aural life for them to toy with upon a set designed by Willy Wonka, a description which in varying ways applies to the whole album; how would you describe the album to newcomers?

Mr. Strange: Tim Burton and Danny Elfman taking an absinth-fuelled journey through a variety of pop and rock’s more outlandish genres.

I imagine this album might appeal to people who like quirky / alternative pop. I was inspired by lots of the 80’s goth bands and loads of steampunk artists while making this record, so perhaps folks with similar tastes would enjoy it, too.

Tell us about our favourite track out of a great many on the album, Psycho Surfing-A-Go-Go.

STENCH:  Now this song is an example of how suddenly things happen organically. I think this was the fastest tune that we’ve ever written together. The major bones came together in an evening and the riffs were written on an old 1960’s Burns bass. Suddenly, it began writing itself. It was great fun to play as it has a tongue in cheek feel to the guitar lines. Also, it was nice to get outside of the box and let rip on some retro sounds. Mr. Strange knew from the off what he wanted to do vocal-wise and before we knew it, job done.

Mr. Strange 4Can we get a brief glimpse of the man behind Mr. Strange, we get the impression he is a shy retiring type… a tea drinker 😉

Mr. Strange: Of course I like tea, and no, you can’t get a glimpse! Aha! Although your impression could be considered strangely accurate…

You both hail from The Isle Of Wight which seems like a small hotbed of talent right now, covering numerous styles?

STENCH:  Absolutely, the music scene here is great and vast. It would take up another couple of pages to name every great musician or band based here. Of course, we have our favourites and it would be rude not to give them a shout. *Deep breath* Pleasurade, Hentai Babies, When Prophecy Fails, Becoming The Leviathan, Born Ina Barn, Silencing The Voiceless, Puritan Slain, Kingz Of Vocals, Counsil Estate Supermodels, The Ohmz, Hollowdrone and Nately’s Whore to name but a few. So you have your Alt-Pop, Progressive Metal, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Grunge and Punk. But, as with any music scene, anywhere, it needs support.

You have not been tempted by the bright lights of the mainland for musical reasons?

Mr. Strange: Career wise? Yes, but many factors prevented that from happening. I haven’t thought about it for years. I’m happy where I am right now, so I have no plans to move closer to the action, there’s more than enough in my trousers to keep me entertained, although the career opportunities are limited.

What is next for Mr. Strange, you do not seem like an artist to sit back and take a rest.

Mr. Strange: Indeed, you know me too well, sir! Were we lovers at some point? I have two projects / albums planned for next year. The first album (which I’m writing at this very moment) is progressing extremely fast, possibly dropping in April 2014. I’d wager no one will see this one coming; it’s so completely different to anything I’ve done before. Once that album is out and people adjust to the new strangeness, I’ll begin work on the next album, the one that will usher in my return to live music and my inevitable conquest of planet Earth! I hope to have that second record ready by the end of 2014, possibly with live touring to follow in 2015. Don’t hold me to those dates though, I’m just speculating at this point. Both albums will have completely different musical styles and theatrical imagery to match, but I shall say no more.

Where can people treat themselves to all things Mr. Strange and especially The Wonderful World Of Weird?

Mr. Strange: I think it would be very spiritually rewarding for people to go to my website and gasp in ecstasy at pictures of my devilishly handsome face! Links to all of my music and whatnot are located there, but my sexy pictures are where it’s at.

www.mrstrangemedia.comMr. Strange 3

If folks are into the social media thang, I’m on most of the popular sites, too:

www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange

www.youtube.com/user/MrStrangeMedia

www.twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Once more thank you and of course to Stench for leaving your bedlam to talk with us, any thoughts to leave us with?

Mr. Strange: Expect the unexpected!

…and lastly please give us five records which shaped Mr. Strange.

1. Marilyn Manson – Portrait Of An American Family

2. Dukes Of Stratosphere – Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

3. Insane Clown Posse – The Great Milenko

4. Dr. Steel – Read-Along Album

5. Danny Elfman – Nightmare Before Christmas OST

Read The Wonderful World Of Weird review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/mr-strange-the-wonderful-world-of-weird/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Drop – Turning Around EP

The Drop 3

As their debut album nears completion and subsequently it’s unveiling, UK reggae band The Drop are releasing the Turning Around EP as a free download.  Consisting of five tracks to entrance and ignite the imagination it is a quite seductive tempting for the forthcoming full-length and a thrilling gift to help end the year.

The nine piece band from London and Reading began at the beginning of 2009 and was soon grabbing attention with their distinct fusion of reggae with refreshing elements of dub and rock. Their first year saw The Drop become a regular on stages across the festival circuit as their contagious and skilled employment of virulent hooks and virulent melodies within heavy reggae based imagination worked its addictive toxicity upon those before them. Since forming the band has played with the likes of as Toots and the Maytals, Lee Perry, Zion Train, Don Letts, and The Dub Pistols, supported The Skints on their 2012 sell-out UK tour, appeared at Glastonbury, Soundwave in Croatia, Secret Garden Party, and Boomtown Fair, and received strong radio play. It has led to a strong anticipation of the band’s first album which Turning Around will not exactly appease but certainly bring a temporary halt to the impatient wait though equally it could just accelerate the hunger.

As soon as the opening tease of prowling bass licks at the ears from the title track you sense something magnetic is brewing, an coverassumption soon confirmed and elevated as the song seduces with a virulence which is just irresistible. With a knowing swagger to the riffs, precise bait from the rhythms, and a warm coaxing from the trumpet the song enslaves the imagination and emotions, and it has not yet got into full stride. A collaboration between The Drop and long-standing roots reggae producer and promoter Satchi Dubworks, the track is soon pouncing with greater allure with the pumped rips of guitar and tantalising keys ably backed by brass kisses, but it is the riveting vocals of Dandelion which seal the already destined to linger deal, his vocals a smooch on the ear with delicious expression coating every syllable he shares. With an eager tempo to its rocksteady romp and energy the song is sheer manna for the senses and imagination.

Up next comes CCTV, a track bred by the band from a track originally written by Dandelion and Hyperdub’s well-established production quartet LV in dubstep form. Washed in an absorbing ambience and smouldering keys crafted radiance the track slowly burns away at the passions for the fullest reception, its magnetic roots seeded breath mesmeric in touch and charm. In many ways the track feels like a mix of By The Rivers and Ruts DC, thoroughly captivating and wholly seductive.

The following Waiting For unveils a similarly transfixing offering, its bewitching weave of vocal harmonies, elegant keys, and mouthwatering trumpet heat a scintillating warmth to beguile thoughts and emotions, like a mix of UB40 with the indie incitement of a Bedouin Soundclash. Imagination floats over and through the song as it gently entices emotions and thoughts to play with its aural and vocal fascination, the song another infection dripping piece of melodic emotive alchemy.

Completed by a great dramatic yet restrained dub version of CCTV by roots veteran Nick Manasseh and a radio mix of Waiting For, the Turning Around EP is pure inventive temptation which makes The Drop’s impending album a must check out. Our impatience for it is already brewing agitation.

Get the Turning Around EP  as a name your own price release @ http://thedropmusic.bandcamp.com/album/turning-around-ep

https://www.facebook.com/thedropmusic

9/10

RingMaster 20/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Video Filmed by Stand & Stare Media

Rainwill – Zer0ed By Pr0gress

Rainwill

Bringing an absorbing and accomplished tapestry of melodic death metal to bear on the imagination, Zer0ed By Pr0gress the new album from Russian band Rainwill provides a wealth of satisfaction which matches an eager creative adventure. Though not ground-breaking as such the eleven track release is ripe with an invention and exploration which sets it apart from similarly sculpted releases. Evocative and unafraid to push ideas, the band and album make for a deeply appetising triumph to treat the ears and more.

Rainwill began in the October of 2000, formed by vocalist Sergey “Sclep” Grebenkov, guitarist Alexander Krylov, and Alexey Gunenko to explore their desire to create melodic-death metal. The first few years saw the band build a sturdy presence through their live performances and appearances at festivals, the band sharing stages with the likes of Rossomahaar, Kruger, Necropsy, Little Dead Bertha, Skyfall, and Non Immemor Mei. 2003 saw their debut demo Will Of Rain appear to be followed five years later by a three track promo. Debut album Canvas escaped Rainwill’s imagination in 2009 to eager responses as was a tour across the Ukraine with Ambivalence. From 2011 the band worked on creating Zer0ed By Pr0gress over the next couple of years, and with a line-up of guitarist Kirill “Dr. Horror” Mashkov, bassist Dmitry Ponomarenko, and drummer Dmitry “Kain” Grinenkov alongside Grebenkov and Krylov, the Fono Ltd released album is poised to wake up a wider enthusiastic attention for the band.

The Voronezh based quintet immediately stretch and ignite the senses with the album’s title track, guitars expelling spirals of 1420514_729467937081305_618408450_nsonic heat and acidic persuasion whilst rhythms rampage with the hunger of the devil through the ear, their touch punchy and commanding. Intimidating vocal growls frequent the battlements of the song built by menacing riffery and rhythmic predation but aligned to this tempest  is a melodic endeavour which coaxes out greater adventure as it reveals its persuasive hand through impressive harmonies and keys to continually tempt with the twisting sonic sculpting by the guitars. It is a very strong starter, not strikingly setting new borders for the genre but a full captivation which is immediately surpassed by its successor.

Pleasure from Amusement instantly launches its carnivorous jaw lined with senses tearing riffs and a rhythmic breath of rapacious intent. Bestial with a great djent seeded stutter to its riffery, the track soon expands its melodic arms with excellent clean vocals persistently switching with impressive heavy growling; musically melodies and enticing grooves similarly sharing temptation with the track’s predatory instinct. A scintillating testing seduction of the senses making the first pinnacle of the release it is soon matched by the alluring Value of Life, the song taking the mixture of its predecessor to richer appealing heights, and the electro induced Slipstream. The second of the two has an industrial essence to its presence, a feel of Fear Factory pervading the savage intensity and creative dark rabidity which marks the band’s sound and invention.  It sculpts another peak on the album and confirms the strong appetite already in place for the album.

From the delicious evocative melodic instrumental Starving the album seems to stretch its creative legs even further, the likes of Hatred Rises with a vibrant progressive appetite fused into another raptorial heart and the powerful One Word with its soaring vocals and destructive intent, firing up greater bouts of pleasure and enterprise. As mentioned there is plenty which is familiar or certainly has been trodden by the genre over the years but it is fair to say that Rainwill takes it into a new and exhaustingly enthralling domain.

Every track on the album uncages a voracious provocation and a craving for creative adventure, Self-Deception Progress a prime example of the addictive proposition with its scorching melodic embrace within a ravenous bordering brutal storm. Completed by the spellbinding key spawned, melody soaked emotive caress of Model2 and the final intensive examination of the psyche Last Man Who Saw The Day, the album is a magnificent release which earns greater reactions and acclaim over each traverse of its magnetic glory.

Rainwill must surely become a more recognisable name and presence in the wake of Zeroed by Progress, the album an unreserved recommendation for genre fans and especially fans of bands like Soilwork, At the Gates, and Sonic Syndicate.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rainwill/258431803801

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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