Electro waltzes and deviancy: the Mr. Strange Interview.

 

Mr. Strange 2015 _RingMaster Review

Some know Mr. Strange as the former frontman of the brilliant circus rock steampunks The Shanklin Freak Show, others more some from their solo exploits and especially outstanding 2014 album Wonderful World Of Weird. What is beginning to be recognised is that the sound conjuror of musical deviancy from the Isle of Wight is one of the UK’s most imaginative and unique songwriters. Proof to that has come with their fiercely tremendous new album The Bible of Electric Pornography, the first offering since the rebirth of the persona and sound of Mr. Strange over past months. The just released album is a “sacrilegious assault of electro-influenced filth”; a thrilling incitement of electronic and rock ‘n’ roll alchemy with the unique Mr. Strange imagination. A certain album of the year contender for a great many, we grab time with its creator and took a look onto the defiant invention of The Bible of Electric Pornography.

Hello Mr. Strange, thanks for letting us peer into the heart of your new album.

Before we do though, you are already known for your tapestry of sound and flavours. What are the major inspirations which have most coloured your ideas, songwriting, and approach to making music?

Historically, the culprits in the inspiration department are; Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Dr. Steel, Alice Cooper, Gary Numan, etc., anything theatrical, weird, and dark that I can “escape” into. Musical ability has never been that important to me, the atmosphere and/or uniqueness in music has always been more appealing, personally.

I’ve always wanted to create “worlds” for listeners to get lost in; you can see this in each Mr. Strange album, no matter what changes musically the escapism is always there.

Inspirations for this new album are a little different though; Krizz Kaliko, Prince, Peaches, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, Perturbator, Die Antwoord, The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals, Dead Or Alive, Dirty Sanchez (the electroclash band), Electric Six and Gary Numan have all played a part. Anton LaVey’s ‘Satanic Bible’ has been an influence, also.

Being primarily an electronic composer I’ve always worked using software, so no Mr. Strange song (or earlier Shanklin Freak Show) song have ever come from a traditional “jam” – all songs are created in a methodical, multi-layered, jigsaw-like way. I imagine this approach, while not in any way unique, has had an effect creating the Mr. Strange “sound” over the years.

As with any artist, everything influences me in some way or another, a lot of it subconsciously. The quirkiness of video game music has always been a large influence, especially pre-2001, before games started trying to ape films so much.

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 5_RingMaster Review

You have just released your new album The Bible of Electric Pornography. Can you give us some idea to the evolution of your craft and music shown in previous propositions and has culminated in the new incitement of ears and emotions?

This album’s been on the cards since about 2005. Originally it was just an idea to make a sleazy electro-rock album called ‘Sleaze Pit’; a few demo songs were written, only one of which survived and made the album. The ‘Sleaze Pit’ idea has always been there, all this time, but there has always been something else I wanted to try when it came to the “next record”. That was until Wonderful World Of Weird came out, then it was a toss-up between doing a metal album or this Sleaze Pit album. My guitar amp broke so I went with Sleaze Pit’!

It was only supposed to take 6 months but took 2 years… It evolved in to a monster.

Ideas kept coming, both musically and thematically. It tied in with a pivotal moment in my life, so I could pour a lot more of myself into it without it feeling at odds with the albums themes; I am the albums themes. There’s a sincerity and “realness” behind the theatricality now which may not have been there before. I hope it comes across to people listening to the record.

In my opinion, this is easily the best album I’ve worked on. I’ve never been very confident or overly pleased with any albums up until now. There’s always been time constraints forcing me to rush to completion, or a loss of interest in the project that has hampered its potential. This is the most personal, well-realised and accessible album I’ve ever done. I’ll be happy if this is the last album I ever do.

Some may mourn the loss of the old Mr. Strange quirky goofiness, but I needed to try something else for this album. I’m sure it’ll be back, though.

Mr. Strange EP album cover _RingMaster Review

You mentioned the time it has taken The Bible of Electric Pornography to grow and emerge etc., can you give us more insight into its writing and recording; also were there any collaborations also involved thus time around?

It was a bit more of a solo effort than Wonderful World of Weird, which was a very collaborative effort between me and Mr. Stench (guitarist). This is mainly due to how electronic the music is, so there wasn’t as much for a guitarist or live drummer to do. It was only meant to take 6 months; I didn’t mean to leave my band mates twiddling their thumbs for so long! But we have written a lot of music together though, it’s just not on this record…

The collaboration with Global Citizen (on the track D/s) came about very naturally. I co-produce their music, so have access to their track “stems” and decided to play about with one of their songs one day. I did a remix/remake, of sorts. It sounded great and fitted with the new album perfectly, so I asked Global Citizen if I could use it on the record, they said yes! I thought it’d be cool to have them sing on it too, their brand of lyrical filth seemed a natural fit.

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 3_RingMaster Review

 

Tell us about the lyrical themes and sparks for some of the tracks within The Bible of Electric Pornography.

There are two main themes running throughout Electric Pornography; Satanism and sexuality. For hundreds of years, religions have led people to believe the two are as one. This has led to an extremely repressed society, ashamed by default, born sinners. Christianity has had such a huge impact on the mentality of the western world over its 2000-odd years; its grip is loosening, but very slowly. The ingrained shame still exists in the western subconscious; some can overcome it easily, for others it can emotionally cripple.

I wanted to make a liberating album; I’m tired of hearing and feeling that I should be ashamed. I want to be the antithesis of that kind of thinking, the adversary of it. Seeing as so much repression, shaming, and bigotry stems from religion, I thought I’d side with one of their classic adversaries, metaphorically. If I’m a deviant abomination in their eyes, so be it, I’ll just embrace it. It’s a middle finger, really. Calling the album a ‘Bible’ is a cheeky slap in the face to the Jesus freaks; it also holds just as much relevance as their Bible, which is none. That’s a positive statement I wanted to make for people who might find this album and who may have to deal with religious bigotry on a daily basis. If it helps just one person feel a little better about themselves, then I’ll call that mission accomplished.

The sexuality in this album is very over-the-top, dark and nasty. This isn’t so much how I view sex and sexuality, but more of a symbolic revelling in the so-called “sinful” debauchery of it all. If I feel a certain way about something, I always take that to the extreme in my music – I blow it up so it’s ten times bigger and more exaggerated than it really is. People who already know my music and “get” it see past the pomp of it all and appreciated the real sentiments behind the overblown way I present them, but I can imagine that to the uninitiated I may seem like a self-obsessed sociopath or something!

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 4_RingMaster Review

Is there one core message within all those aspects it looks at and explores, and specifically that within the album’s finale, The Last Song?

It’s unapologetic and unashamed, and hopefully it will make people feel that way when listening to it.

The finale has two meanings.

The first: the end of a beautiful relationship. A mutual parting of ways that is sometimes necessary and unavoidable.

The second: a farewell to people who may not wish to follow me anymore. I look different and I sound different, I AM different, and that doesn’t always go down well with music fans. The first line sums it up perfectly for me:

 

“I know this isn’t what you wanted,

You wanted more of the same,

But that’s a game I cannot play”

The future for Mr Strange

The future is electric!

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 6_RingMaster Review

Read our review of The Bible of Electric Pornography @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/mr-strange-the-bible-of-electric-pornography/

http://www.mrstrangemedia.com  https://www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange   https://twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Attan – From Nothing

ATTAN_bw_RingMaster Review

In their own words, “there’s nothing but ice and darkness” to the far northern border of Norway where noise breeders Attan was bred, but equally going by the band’s debut EP there is also plenty of frustration, rage, and creative turbulence nurtured by the landscape. From Nothing is a five track onslaught of blackened hardcore with a voracious metal bred antagonism to it. To that doom seeded breaths are conjured and inflamed emotions vented; the result a release which potently hits and impresses initially but just gets fiercer and more compelling in its persuasion from thereon in.

Oslo based, the quintet draw on inspirations and flavours found in the likes of Converge, Emperor, Neurosis, Will Haven, and VOD; influences as their Shelsmusic released EP shows, open in the band’s sound but twisted into something if not yet explosively unique, certainly invigoratingly fresh and riveting.

ATTAN COVER_RingMaster Review   Recorded and mixed in a barn in Lunner, a village in the municipality in Oppland county, From Nothing quickly abrases ears and ignites attention with opener Nocebo (I Shall Harm). It is a stonking bruising of a track from its first second to last, straight away offloading beats and riffs that batter and rub the senses respectively. A bass and thick sonic confrontation joins in soon after as early rhythms become broader and rasping vocals erupt to enticing effect. Straight away you can easily imagine essences which have inspired the band but as the punk fury lays richer abuse and volatility on ears, the venomous contagion springs its own character in the Attan sound. Like Shevils meets Converge, catchy toxicity colludes with undiluted ire and hostility, the track continuing to grow and surprise against the maelstrom of vocals which mix piercing squalls with the new additive of dark grizzly tones.

It is a great start to the encounter matched in success by the even more irritable and punishing Lost Words Of The Mothkeepers. The again double sided assault of vocals is a swift tempting within the searing intrusion of sound, rhythms barbarous as a sonic tempest niggles and intrudes with its searing tone and invasive touch. The unbridled onslaught ‘calms’ as the song progresses, though not in spite as a doom blossomed oppression of noise smothers the senses. Still there is virulence to the proposal though; an element which easily captivates from within the perpetual turbulence.

Full Circle/Full Stop comes next, its initial approach a ‘mild mannered’ sonic trespass with emotive hues and prowling rhythms. The whole nature and gait of the track is a stalking of ears and emotions with repetitious lures and a hypnotic shuffle cast by the drums. Midway it too explodes into a provocation of punishing dynamics and tortured vocals but simultaneously brewing up another torrent of infectious bait to align with the physical raging.

Such the sheer force and rabidity on offer in all tracks, there is a surface familiarity at times which you sense some will not get beyond, but as Black Liquid Marrow reveals, below that skin Attan spin a web of intrigue and creative hostility which seems to unveil a new twist and depth with each listen. The fourth track is more openly unique than the first trio, so that extra attention is less needed but willingly given such the drama and tenacious enterprise within the doomy oppression of sound and emotion.

As all songs, it is an increasingly magnetic and persuasive protagonist, but as others shaded a touch by the closer Edward. Admittedly, the track took longer to spark the same height of reactions as its predecessors, but over time, providing new tempting and aspects each listen, it seduced with its sonic nagging and rhythmic dynamics. Alongside them the excellent mix of vocals continues to please as sour melodies wrap around the doom coated spine of the song, though it is the almost post metal invasion of the imagination and bordering on emotionally cancerous heart of the incitement which seals the deal between band and pleasure.

Attan are going to be too intensive and merciless for some it is easy to suspect, especially those unprepared to explore their sound and the EP’s layers, but for others, From Nothing will be an introduction to get a touch excited over; we can vouch for that.

The From Nothing EP is released November 30th digitally via Shelsmusic @ http://shelsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/from-nothing and on Limited Edition Vinyl (300) @ http://www.shelsmusic.com/label/store.php

https://www.facebook.com/Attanband

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Networks – Enough To Save Us EP

Networks_RingMaster Review

There is a bit of a buzz brewing up around UK metalcore band Networks and though we are not ready to yet add majorly enthused voices to the rising roar, intrigue and attention for the Portsmouth band has certainly been sparked thanks to their debut EP Enough To Save Us. It is a tempest of sound and ire fuelled emotion which sits easily within expectations of the genre inspiring it but dig deeper and there is an underbelly of invention and imagination which incites closer inspection and a want to know more.

Formed in 2014, Networks was soon stirring up ears and support across shows and a handful of festivals like Redfest, Edgefest and Messtival. From there opportunities to share stages with the likes of The Blackout, Slaves, and Astroid Boys have arisen, 2015 being a thick nudge of broader attention by the band. Seeing a couple of personnel changes early on this year, they set about writing new songs whilst playing with artists such as Palm Reader, Zoax, and When We Were Wolves and at the Crossroads Stage at Butserfest with HECK, Fathoms, and Shields. Now they attempt to whip up more of us with Enough To Save Us, a try easy to imagine leading the band to some potent success.

Networks ETSU EP Front Cover_RingMaster Review   Wires gets things off and running, its opening a worldly bred flavouring infused with samples and a brewing turbulence which soon drives the heart of the raw fury and enticing sonic tempting gripping the track. In no time the guitar of Joe Soar builds a web of engaging grooves and sonic enterprise, they a less hostile tempering to the heavy growling vocal antagonism of Sean Kelly and the hefty swipes of drummer Harry Fielder. The main body of the track is potent and persuasive if without springing any surprises but it is the twists of sound and imagination, at times only in slithers, which turn a good track into a keenly appetising one.

A melodic caress opens up the following End Of An Era, though soon jagged exploits from the guitar step forward in tandem with the dark menace of Josh Slade’s bass. Within a few more breaths, the track is stomping with energy and irritable emotion, though again things evolve as all the creative tendrils and facets of the excellent track collude and entwine. Once more it is fair to say that Networks are not breaking free from established metalcore scenery and hues, but with bright imagination and a good level of unpredictability, the track provides an increasingly enjoyable incitement.

The rugged and challenging Darker Truth steps up next, vocals a rasping provocation against barbarous rhythms. As the lure littered sonic weave spun by Soar breaches ears, the bass brings a great bestial voracity to the song’s tone, it all uniting in an appealing trespass on the senses with again surprises low but enjoyment thick.

The EP is completed by its title track, a proposal carrying a similar and satisfying template to its predecessor. There is an open degree of similarity across all songs in varying ways, the admittedly strong and pleasing vocals of Kelly one such area which might blossom further with a touch more diversity. More than most, the final provocation suggests this closeness but nevertheless it still enlivens the appetite whilst confirming the prowess and potency of Networks in songwriting through to sound.

Enough To Save Us suggests there is plenty of potential and quality which will see Networks emerge from the crowd in time and coax strong attention and support along the way. Fair to say that the band’s opening gambit is a strong and fiercely solid introduction providing ears with a potently enjoyable slab of confrontation, a sign of things to come we suspect.

The Enough To Save Us EP is available via on Viper Trail Records, digitally now from most online stores and as a physical copy from December 3rd when it will be launched at the EP’s release show at The Edge Of The Wedge in Portsmouth.

https://www.facebook.com/networksband        https://twitter.com/networksband

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/