Coursing struggles: an interview with Mike Haggerty of Krebs

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    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.krebs-cover-600 (1)

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!

krebs-2And 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!

www.bluntfacerecords.com

Read the review of Cellophane @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/krebs-cellophane/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 31/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Krebs – Cellophane

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    Krebs is a new electronic/ebm project to recently emerge and on the evidence of its debut EP Cellophane, will be one we will be hearing a lot more of across future horizons. Just signed to excellent independent label Bluntface Records, the Philadelphia, PA band mark their next step with a release which is potent and evocative, and though in some ways it manages to miss providing the sting which listening to its five tracks you sense is within its heart, there is nothing but unadulterated and exciting promise left in its wake.

Started in 2012, Krebs is the creation of Mike Haggerty, the vehicle for his merger of ebm synth sounds of the 80’s and 90’s with industrial and electro snarls. There is also a metal apocalyptic breath to the shadows which permeate the sounds for a resulting cross genre adventure. Influences come from the likes of Front Line Assembly and KMFDM with further whispers of others such as Skinny Puppy, Combichrist, and Virus Cycle all making suggestions within the imagination capturing invention. Honing the sound through a full range of industrial exploration Haggerty, since joined by Chris Mattioni on backing vocals for live shows, has sculpted and unleashed a debut which seduces and excites with a freshness and enterprise that suggests 2013 will see Krebs making an immediate impact.

The June 29th released Cellophane stares directly at the ear with opening track Humanity Drained, its sinister toned Krebs-cover-600atmosphere and brewing rhythmic dust hazing the skies before a dark melodic hook prowls and intimidates with a compelling voice. It is a suggestive and provocative lure which mesmerises to leave senses open for the following industrial metal cast of energy to pervade and thrill. As the vocals of Haggerty enter with the shadowed narrative the track takes a step back, his tones given space and assistance to bring a rich expressive dark caress to bear upon the ear. At this point the track reminds only of Fad Gadget, the vocals with a Frank Tovey gait and the sound heavy in suggestive ambience but with an electro temptation which is never far from lighting passions. The coarser presence of the air surrounding the chorus presses into further adventure whilst the song itself twists and turns across varied industrial pastures for a captivating encounter.

The great start is followed by Chisel (Guitar Mix), a track which expels a venomous rabidity to its electro wash and intensive energy. It is an oppressive light smothering test but equally creates its own acidic radiance with addiction making melodic taunting and electro venture. Like the first, the track does not settle into a straight forward passage but shifts and turns in on itself to ensure intrigue and eager attention. It does not quite match the opener for contagion and strength but still leaves the strongest satisfaction in its wake and hunger for more.

The song also is one with fails to deliver the bite it suggests is waiting to break out, something which can be applied to the whole release. Across its excellent invention the wish it would go for the jugular especially with its more industrial metal escapades, is a strong feeling which is never quite satisfied, though as the only aspect lacking within Cellophane it does not defuse the enjoyment and quality skilfully played out.

     The Corner opens with a Visage like beckoning, that eighties pull wonderfully potent again especially as once the vocals join the stance and the sound spreads its arms further thoughts of Fad Gadget again make their irresistible persuasion. The track is an emotive slow stroll across weaves of shadows and through a kaleidoscope of electro imagination, its enveloping tone and impacting textures hugging thoughts and emotions tightly with a hint of menace though without an element of danger. The track makes way for the first single from the release, Peace Injection. With bold and heightened rhythms and hot electro stomping, the track is a full contrast to its predecessor with a swagger and hungry enterprise which enflames the air. At times it looks like the song will unleash its predatory hounds but restraint wins the day and from start to finish the excellent temptation eagerly taunts and teases with impressive craft.

Closing song Rings is a pleasing riot from combined shafts of harsh ebm, rapacious ambiences, industrial malevolence, and rhythmic intensity. It is forceful and highly infectious, a song like the album which enrols varied flavours and spices into a gripping and fascinating confrontation. At its conclusion the proof that Cellophane is an excellent debut is open evidence, proof that only sparks a greedy appetite to hear more from Krebs. Accompanied by the first single Peace Injection, which itself comes in a full package containing remixes alongside the song from new label mates Virus Cycle, Otto Kinzel, and Varicella, and released as a free download, Cellophane is the arrival of one of the more inspiring and exciting bands within industrial. Are you ready for the shadowed temptation of Krebs is the only question left to be asked.

www.bluntfacerecords.com

http://www.bluntfacerecords.com/fr_krebspeaceinjectionsingle.cfm

8.5

RingMaster 27/05/2013

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Expanding the Extreme: an interview with Giannis K of Dark Vision

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For over fifteen years Greek extreme metallers Dark Vision has earned themselves a strong reputation in the metal underground for their expansive death metal sounds. The recent release of their Ingrowth EP shows the band is stronger and more inventive than ever, their melodic death metal sound soaked in blackened overtones and stirring essences of classic metal and rock n roll a compelling encounter which stands out for band and extreme metal. Seizing the offer to find out more about band, its history, and the new release we set about drummer Giannis K with plenty of questions…

Hello Giannis and welcome to the site.

Firstly for those yet to discover your sounds please introduce the band and the entity that is Dark Vision.

Hello! First of all we would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak through your magazine. Dark Vision exists since 1996, we started playing atmospheric/heavy/black metal continuing these days into a straight forward death/black metal. Our influences lately covering many genres such as death/black metal, rock, classic heavy and all these under a rock’n’roll attitude…  If someone really needs to put a table about our genre, we can say that band’s like Satyricon, Behemoth, Black Sabbath, Voivod, etc. defined our nowadays style.

The band began in 1996, longevity many bands can only dream of. What has kept you inspired and passionate as a band?

The reason that this band started many years ago, was our love in this specific style and also for its subgenre. This made us to continue until now.  The magic moment when you creating a song or you are on stage, keeping you vigilance.  Another very important reason is that as a band we are not playing as professionals but at the same time we are trying to act as much a professional do.  In simple words, when a band is playing for the money there is a certain point that the musician will consider most of the time firstly the profit… In our case as we said because we are not playing for living we have the privilege to play whatever we want in our way.

How has your music and intent as a band evolved over the past 16 or so years?

We have definitely evolved all these years.  Apart of the several line-up changes we grow up as personalities, this made us think with more mature in every way from creating music to acting live. With the current line up the band continues the last years a specific way which evolving us.

Dark Vision is a band which has like so many survived numerous line-up changes, how has that impacted on the band generally and do you think and feel  certainly for Dark Vision, that this inevitable process actually benefits bands creatively for the main?

Following all these years we can say for sure that all these line-up changes firstly made us stronger and secondly helped the band to evolve as it is today. Of course this doesn’t mean that if a band having a standard line-up for years will not evolve, but in our case helped a lot. The only think that we can say was against us in every chance, is the time and the preparation until the band became ready to act again.

You have just released your excellent  Ingrowth EP through Bluntface Records though it had its first release as a vinyl exclusive last 113375year for your fifteen year anniversary. How has it been received so far and has this new unleashing from the independent US label brought a deserved energy and awareness to the EP?

Thanks for your good words! Bluntface Records definitely played a very important role in this release. From the very beginning we realized that with Otto from Bluntface Records we can work very smoothly and creatively together. We choose to release “Ingrowth” in vinyl. A part of the 15 years anniversary, it was a dream since the beginning of the band. We strongly believe that vinyl is more complete and at the same time nostalgic than the nowadays cd. The press worldwide hugged this release since the very beginning and we received very flattering words, we are thanking all of you for your support up to now.

How would you say the new release has evolved from and offers predominantly different to previous album Bestial Remedy?

We worked different this time. From creating the songs to the recording process everything was different. We worked at the recording sessions with more live feeling, which means that we didn’t use this time metronome, but we played all together in order to be closer to this live feeling.

Definitely! “Bestial Remedy” was the begging of a new era for the band and after all these years we can assure you that “Ingrowth” is a big step beyond for us, not only on the composing side but as an experience in the recording sessions.  This time with “Ingrowth” we focused more in the emotional, although our technical skills became better with results on this album.  The songs are approaching better death/black forms and all this under a “rock’n’roll” attitude.

There is a great melodic groove and breath to Ingrowth and its blackened death metal stance. Has this aspect naturally emerged or was something you wanted to intentionally explore?

Most of the things that we are doing are coming out naturally … after “Bestial Remedy” it was natural to continue and evolve this style under our way.

How are songs written within the band and what is more often than not the initial spark to an idea and song?

Composition process usually can be with 2 ways, sometimes our guitar player Mark is writing the song and presenting to the rest of the band in our rehearsals, and another way is to start in the studio working all together on an idea.

What are the strongest influences upon your writing musically and lyrically?

Many influences from daily matters up to religion (from a historical point of view), other times songs can describe personal situations or even our darkest thoughts…

Did you have set ideas and vision for songs before recording the EP in the studio or did they change and grow their own different character whilst bringing Ingrowth to life?

Most of the ideas in “Ingrowth” album were conceived in the preproduction. When the recording process started, we preferred to stay more close to technical matters (microphones set up, Amplifiers, etc), of course, in general if any last minute ideas arise and are worthwhile we are willing to try it.

IMG_4029Ingrowth investigates, as your previous releases, the deepest and richest of shadows, is there an underlying theme to the EP?

We were just felt free to do things without second thought. The result is what you are now hearing and we are proud for that.

Is there a particular moment on Ingrowth which leaves the proudest feeling inside and alternatively is there something on the release which you are now inspired to explore further in future songs?

Yes, definitely the rock n roll element affected us regarding our music and emotionally at the same time.

On a recent episode of The Bone Orchard podcast I featured your track Garden of Nuclear Mushrooms. Can you give some back ground to the track?

Thank you for this! Garden … is a song that refers to the Apocalypse from our point of view …

Across the years you have shared stages with the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Sodom, Rotting Christ, and Septic Flesh to name a small few, what have been the biggest moment live and any artists you would sell a kidney to play with? ;)

Hahahaha! … Nice question ….. ! Hmm… probably for a special worldwide tour with Satyricon, Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth…!

There have been quite a few very impressive metal and rock bands bursting out of Greece in the past couple of years. Is the scene there as vibrant and impressive as it seems from the outside?

Yes! Over the last years lot of bands are doing a good job holding high the Greek flag of our metal scene…

What is next on the agenda for Dark Vision?

Next thing will be a live concert in Athens at 6th of April with other local bands…. Also writing news song at the same time…IMG_4263

Thanks for taking time to talk with us any final thoughts you wish to share?

Thank you! Check our new album “Ingrowth”

Lastly which are the artists to have made the biggest impact on you as musicians?

Daily we hear a lot of things … we are always trying to expand our music  influences … of course musicians such as Frost from Satyricon, Inferno from Behemoth, Ihsahn from Emperor, Jon Nodtveidt, John Gallagher, we admire them and their influences guiding us , also lately Kvelertak from Norway is one of the bands that made something fresh in the scene …

The RingMaster Review 08/03/2013

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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Dark corners and caustic intent: an interview with Varicella

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A maelstrom of ravenous intensity and demonic caustic caresses, the debut EP from US industrial band Varicella has brought an uncompromising destructive start to the year. Released through the impressive emerging underground label Bluntface Records, We Belong Dead was a predator of old school eighties style industrial which experimented with and pushed brawling sonic boundaries. Taking the opportunity to find out more about the project through founder Chris Bollinger and guitarist Chris Pasquarelli, we looked at the release, the origins of the band and horror movies…

Welcome to The RingMaster Review and thanks for talking with us.

Varicella – Thank you! And thanks for giving us the chance to talk with you! We appreciate the opportunity.

For the uninitiated, tell us about Varicella, its beginnings, and the inspiration for the project.

Chris Bollinger – Well this is going to be a “really” long story, and I will try to shorten it as best I can, LOL. Varicella is at the moment, a two person industrial/metal/electronic dance music/experimental band. And when I say at the moment, I mean, that we did have a bassist who also did some synth work. He was responsible for a decent amount of what the band sounds like now. But sadly, we had to let him go from the band, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. We do hope to add a live bassist and drummer at some point, but it is hard finding the right people who fit and so forth.

As for the beginnings of the band, well as it states in our BIO on Facebook or Reverbnation, I started the project back in 2008. I’ve always wanted to do an industrial type of band, even when I was in high school back in 2000/2001. I just never found anyone that was on the same page as me or liked what I liked. But anyway, I started this in 2008 and did a few things wrote a few songs, some are on our We Belong Dead EP actually. We just updated them. Then I had to put it on hold because of to many people coming and going. I mean, I think I went through 4 or 5 guitarists until I found Chris Pasquarelli. I posted several ads online and for about 2 years, I never got an answer or I did but their style didn’t fit my style, or they wanted to do the more aggrotech / terror EBM style of industrial and I don’t want to do that. So it was a super long time between people. And during that our old bassist answered one of my ads. We talked and began to work together over the internet with a site called Soundcloud. At the time he was working a job that was 3rd shift overnight and I work a standard 9 to 5 type of job. So our schedules were completely opposite. But I’m determined to do this so things got done! LOL. Then as I mentioned above I found Chris Pasquarelli, through Facebook no less, LOL. We both were clicking like on each other’s posts or comments, and then somehow he saw I did music and said we should jam. I was really impressed with him. That was last April and he’s been in the band ever since that first jam. Yes, he’s that good!

As for the inspiration, I’d have to say just my love of the old 80’s and early 90s industrial, bands such as Ministry, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, and Frontline Assembly. And then on top of that I love White Zombie and Nine Inch Nails, and thrash metal type of bands like Slayer, Testament, Megadeth, Pantera and other hard rock or punk bands like Alice in Chains, Danzig, Tool, Filter, Misfits and The Ramones. So, I just wanted to do something that was in the vein of those bands/artists but not a direct rip off. I wanted to make heavy dance music. Songs that have a heavy dance beat that’ll make the girls shake their asses to it, but at the same time it has a thrash metal guitar part or groove to the guitars that’ll make the dudes head bang to it. Hopefully that makes sense to anyone out there. LOL.

What was it about music which you felt was missing and leaving you cold as a listener as well as a musician, when starting Varicella?

Chris B. – Pretty much as I said above, everyone was making the all synth based aggrotech / terror EBM type of industrial, and I didn’t want to do that. I have nothing against it and I like most of it. I listen to Combichrist, Psyclon Nine, Imperative Reaction, Wumpscut and other various bands that have that sound. It’s just not the type of music that I wanted to do personally. And I think that made it harder to find a guitarist too, because that style is really popular right now. The style we do is not popular. Which does make things harder but at the same time, we can transcend a few genres of music and play with different types of bands. Which I find pretty cool! LOL.

Chris Pasquarelli – When I joined Varicella last April I liked the music, but I wanted to make it heavier and more edgy. Most of the songs had basic plug-in computer guitars which the typical computer programs use and I liked it but I didn’t like how noticeable it was that it was not recorded by real guitars as opposed to computer guitars. Within the last 9 months I’ve been in the band I can say that I am really happy with the overall sound our music has with my added guitar and bass tracks.

Was this music in general or more the industrial/electro genre you did not find a connection with?IMG_0014

Chris B. – I’d say yes, mostly in the industrial/electronic genre, but I’ve been a little bored with the rock and metal genre too. Not much is catching my attention in the rock and metal genre. There are a few “really” good bands in the all of those genres, but you have to weed through thousands of copies or clone bands to find the 4 or 5 good ones. It’s tough.

How do you feel about the scene and music now we stand in 2013?

Chris B. – Pretty much the same. Some things have gotten better. Like, it’s easier to spot the better bands versus what I call the “bedroom” bands. These are people that just sit in their homes, make and release music, but never play a live show. Ever! There were a massive amount of them back in 2007 to 2009. Maybe even before that. I’m not 100% sure. But now, it’s about 99% easier to weed through and see those types of bands. And I’m not knocking those people. Some make very good music. I probably own some, LOL. But it’s just not what I want to do. I want to actually see the fans and talk to them and so forth, not sit in my bedroom and stare at a computer monitor.

What are the biggest influences which inspires your sound?

Chris B. – Ministry, mostly the early stuff, Twitch, The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69. Those 4 albums blew my mind and still amaze me. I can’t believe Al and Paul did what they did at that time. It’s amazing! KMFDM, almost anything they do is great! Same goes for Skinny Puppy. Got to love Ohgr too! And then White Zombie, La Sex and Astro Creep are two great albums that shaped my teenage years!

Chris P. -  Behemoth, Deicide, At The Gates, Cannibal Corpse, Cradle Of Filth, Children Of Bodom, Burzum, Darkthrone, Death, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cryptopsy, Anorexia Nervosa, Nine Inch Nails, Orgy, Deadsy, Psyclon Nine, Dimmu Borgir, Marilyn Manson, Static x, Old Mans Child, SOAD and many more!  As far as my sound goes I’m influenced by many bands, I just try to make the heaviest guitar and bass lines too fit our songs.

The early days were unsettled for the band I believe, through line-up problems? Was this the reason for Varicella going on hiatus or actually at the time was it the end of the band? 

Chris B. – They were. And I think I quit about 4 or 5 times. Gave up and stopped all together type of quitting. I was just really frustrated, and things were going nowhere. As I said, it was about 2 years before I found Chris Pasquarelli on guitar

Varicella reformed/re-emerged in 2011, what was the spark that made that the time to bring the project back to active life?

Chris B. – Skinny Puppy. Skinny Puppy came out with a new album called “HanDover” back in late 2011. Also Ohgr released another one of his solo albums early in 2011, called “undeveloped”. And I just said, fuck it, these are super good, I need to get my shit together, and get this project going! Especially “HanDover”! It’s over a year later and that album is still constantly on my iPod.

Chris P. – I was still in high school when I joined and I was in several other projects at the time when I joined Varicella. I’ve been serious about music for most of my life And I felt frustrated with a lot of the people I jammed with at the time because no one else was as into the band thing as I was until I joined Varicella, so I was really excited to be a part of a band which was serious about their music.

 Back to influences/inspirations, which predominantly spark and shape your songs and lyrics, the areas which ignite your ideas?

Chris B. – Movies, mostly horror and sci-fi movies. TV shows, comics and/or graphic novels. You wouldn’t think it, but Doctor Who is another spark that started two songs lyric wise. And one song music and lyrics, called “The Sound of Four”. And then there are some ideas that come from real life experiences. Like the song “Obsessed with flesh”.  The lyrics in that song can be applied to anything where a person feels they are being used and/or abused. But the major theme of that song comes from a person I wanted to date, but she didn’t want a steady boyfriend or a relationship. So we were just friends with benefits. After a few months of that she all the sudden stops talking to me. I can’t get a hold of her. She doesn’t want to hang out let alone do other stuff. Then a few weeks go by, and I find out she’s in a relationship and that’s why she just dropped me. I was fairly pissed off, and felt a little used. Same goes for the song “All Hail”, that’s sort of my views on brutal honesty with a little jab a religion. I’m a brutally honest person and a straight shooter. I just think we all spend too much time putting up a front or wearing a mask for certain people. It’s ridiculous.

Chris P. – As far as our music goes guitar and bass wise, I kind of do a Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Static X guitar and bass meets extreme metal vibe. For example in our song Mind Fucked I wrote a melodic guitar rhythm that a stripper could dance to, and metal heads could throw down too and fuck each other up in the mosh pits too as well. This has been a huge influence in writing for me, and I’m not exaggerating at all. Every time I right new material For Varicella I always keep Strippers and mosh pits in mind.

TrayCard_OutsideYou have just released your We Belong Dead EP via Bluntface Records; does this contain all new tracks or material with seeds and feet from the earlier presence of the band as well?

Chris B. – A little bit of both actually. The songs Obsessed with Flesh, All Hail were written back around 2008. Of course they were updated to match the other songs that were new, specifically the song Obsessed with Flesh. There’s this sort of machine type sound going on with the guitars. That’s from the way Chris Pasquarelli plays the song. He bends the strings a certain way at a certain time to get that specific sound. That’s all him! So if we had a different guitarist that didn’t play it that way, it wouldn’t sound that way.

How long did the EP take to create and how far did it or songs evolve from the initial ideas?

Chris B. – It didn’t take too long actually. Most of the blue print was laid out in 2008. We just updated some things here and there as I said. We started working on these songs in late 2011 and finished in the fall of 2012. Obsessed and All Hail didn’t change much. Chris Pasquarelli just added his own style to them. The Sound of Four came together very quickly! Music and the lyrics. I think it was done in only a few months. We Belong Dead went through a few changes. LOL. The original idea came from our old bassist Tim. I just sort of took the synth sound, and remixed it adding in other elements. I went through about 4 versions of that song until we hit on a verse / chorus / verse pattern. But it didn’t become what it is now until Chris Pasquarelli joined, and added the guitar riff that grooves over top the synth part in the verses.

There is a cinematic feels to your tracks on We Belong Dead, a visual ambience beyond the lovely corruption of sound and breath. Obviously it has seeds in the influences to songs you mentioned earlier but has it been a natural result of your personal interests or something you have crafted intentionally?

Chris B. – Thank you very much. I would say this is not intentional, at least on a conscious level. I mean, I try to create songs that have multiple meanings on multiple levels to them. This is why I like to add in certain Movie or TV show samples. They help me to tell the story of the song better. Or they reference things in my lyrics.

What are your hopes for the EP in relation to opening up future opportunities for the band and is there a particular moment or track on the release which is Varicella at its purest, where its heart is most open?

Chris B. – Well first and foremost this EP is a stepping stone to our full length release that’ll be out something later this year, probably fall or winter of 2013. We also hope this EP will help us get any attention to tour or play more shows. We’d love to do a tour! Even if it is just a small 2 or 4 week local tour. Of course a bigger 2 month or more tour would be great too!

Varicella at its purest? Not sure. Obsessed with flesh is pretty personal. As I mention above, that one involves a bad relationship with a girl. The Sound of Four is about feeling like you don’t exist in this world, so maybe those two songs. They might not sound like it, but most of my lyrics are real and from the heart.

Chris P. – I’m hoping this EP will open more doors for Varicella by getting us more fans and shows etc. I agree with Chris I think Obsessed with flesh is pretty out there in terms of being us at our purest.

How did you and Bluntface link up and what have been the benefits already from their support and presence?

Chris B. – Johnny from Virus Cycle had an open call for bands on his compilation last summer. From there, I saw that Otto was doing another compilation through the Bluntface site. Otto remembered our song and dug our sound, and a few months ago he sent me an email. He said the label was expanding, and asked if we wanted to join up with him. It seemed like a really good offer that we didn’t want to pass up. So we agreed.

There have been a huge amount of benefits! We’ve had internet radio air play. The review of our EP from you guys, and a few other interviews, and we did a “live” on air interview on 13SRadio.com. We also have another one that we’re doing at the end of this month. Everything Otto said he would do for us, he’s doing! So we’re extremely happy.

How are you managing to promote the EP and are there live shows happening or planned?

Chris B. – We’ve been promoting it on the various social media networks, Reverbnation, Facebook, Twitter, and a few other sites. We’ve been playing shows since last October when we opened for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Left Spine Down, and Panzer Division. Left Spine Down said we were loud and they liked our cover of Ministry’s Burning Inside. Since then, we’ve had a show every month, except for December, we played two that month. We’re taking February off to write and record some songs for the full length album. And we’re playing a show on March 23rd in Philadelphia at Motel Hell. Details are on our Facebook page

There are plenty of opinions from artists within industrial and its plethora of varied corners which say there is a current curse of IMG_0023_1backbiting and disrespect within the genre between musicians and those involved, how have you found the situation personally?

Chris B. – There are a few bands and people, not exclusively in the industrial/electronic music genre, that have been disrespectful to us. It does bother me at times, because it’s usually from bands/artists that think they’re bigger than they are, but they’re not. They have this ego trip and they act like you’re beneath them. It’s sad actually. And we try to not be like that. If you’re cool with me, then I’m cool with you, simple as that. But that’s just how it is, and it’s the same with the movie business. Everyone’s two faced. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local band or a huge touring band. You will run into a few that are like that.

Is there anything, band or releases, which have captured your imaginations recently and added extra flavour to your thoughts and ideas for your next compositions?

Chris B. – Wow, good question. Not too many “newer” bands. There are some bands that have been around for a little bit that are releasing newer albums. Dawn of Ashes, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Alice in Chains, Megadeth and Filter. I’m a pretty big Filter fan. Their last album “The Trouble with Angels” was really great! Still listening to that. Testament just released a very good album. Frontline Assembly and Tweaker also just put out newer albums. Even though FLA is more of a soundtrack, it’s still very good. Been listening to the “Tron Legacy” score by Daft Punk off and on for a few weeks. All of those keep my imagination going. Especially the “Tron Legacy” score. That CD just amazes me! It’s really good!

What is next creatively for Varicella?

Chris B. – We are currently working on our full length album. It will be all the songs from the EP plus about 5 or 7 more originals and maybe 2 or 3 remix songs.

Many thanks for sparing time to chat with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Chris B. – Thank you for giving us this opportunity. We appreciate it very much! Last thoughts…just check us out on Facebook or Reverbnation. Go to the Bluntface Records site and check out all the great bands there! If you haven’t already, please download our “We Belong Dead” EP. And thanks to everyone who’s helped and supported us along the way!

Finally, you said horror movies are big elements in your personal loves, so give us three films which are engrained in your passions to the extent you know lines off by heart.

Chris B. – 1) The Evil Dead films and Army of Darkness. Classics in my book and Army of Darkness just has so many great quotable line! 2) Almost all of the John Carpenter films, even the movies that are not horror movies. The Thing, Halloween, Prince of Darkness, Escape from NY, Big Trouble in Little China, In the Mouth of Madness, and Christine are some of my favourites of his. 3) Hellraiser 1 and 2. Those movies together feel like one really long awesome movie.

Chris P. – I’m right on board with Chris Bollinger’s horror movie tastes especially with the Hellraiser and Evil Dead Series. Some of my favourite horror movie quotes are Evil Dead 2’s “groovy” right after Bruce Campbell put a chainsaw where his possessed hand used to be, The priest’s quote “I kick ass for the lord” right before he fights zombies in the grave yard with his bare hands in Dead Alive and Lastly Chop tops “Oww my plate! My brain is burning nom flashback NOM FLASHBACK!!!!!!” from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Read the review of We Belong Dead EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/varicella-we-belong-dead/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Varicella/310239362321042?fref=ts

http://www.bluntfacerecords.com

The RingMaster Review 26/02/2013

RingMaster 26/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Dark Vision: Ingrowth

Dark Visions

Greek extreme metallers Dark Vision has built a strong reputation in their homeland without truly finding a wider recognition worldwide since forming in 1996. Their new EP Ingrowth will not immediately put that right but with its impressive sounds could be the spark to start that deserved reward for the band. Released through Bluntface Records, it is a strong and compelling release built on a base of melodic death metal with blackened overtones which draws essences of classic metal and rock n roll into its stirring mix. It is not going to take you into a new unexplored venture musically but does easily satisfy any and every need required from a slab of devastation.

Starting off with a heavy/black metal sound the band released a series of demos in their first three years to strong reception. As their sound evolved their debut album came in 2000, though Full Moon Shines received its official release in 2002 through NMC Records. With line-up changes Dark Vision returned to full might in 2006 with the quartet’s self-financed Bestial Remedy EP unleashed two years later. With their live shows also drawing strong acclaim with the sharing of stages with the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Sodom, Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and more coming across the years, the band has set themselves as a respected presence in the Greek underground metal scene. Ingrowth shows they are ready for wider acclaim and since its vinyl release last year has drawn a good response something the digital release now should one feels accelerate.

The atmospheric instrumental Thy Flesh Thy Bones opens up the encounter, its brief but dramatic presence and startling breath 113375immediately leaving one on tenterhooks for what is to follow. King of Emptiness at first stops thoughts in their tracks as it is not of the same breath of its ‘introduction’, a different type of beast which is slightly unexpected with this release our first encounter with the band. The song soon has control of ear and senses with its stalking riffs, tight melodic weaves, and growling insidious vocals though.  It prowls and stalks with a venomous heart and intense energy throughout whilst sending spikes of sonic craft and acidic melodic spears through the ear with appealing ease. It is a strong and compelling track which satisfies without lighting up the passions fully, something its successor soon remedies.

Pain Redirected fuses classic metal grooves with punk coated aggression whilst again the vocals squall with abrasive intent and pleasing malevolence. The drums cage the senses impressively so the guitars can score them with skilled violence and intrusive rewards whilst the bass though arguably not as openly obvious as one would wish, stomps over the ear with the hunger of a ravenous beast. It is a great and contagious track which confirms already that Dark Vision is a band to be known about.

The EP gets better the further you go into its muscular depths with Garden of Nuclear Mushrooms a pinnacle. The technical prowess of the band is an ever present throughout the release but here squeals and captivates within the brawling intensity magnificently, the discordant scything a delicious piercing within the ravenous consumption of the song. It is intelligently varied in sound and pace along is sinewy length to bring a thoroughly pleasing and compelling engagement.

The EP closes with firstly the thunderous assault of Amongst Dead Butterflies and lastly the title track. The first of the pair has a snarling hunger which transforms its destructive rhythms and merciless riffing into an overwhelming intensity speared by sharp melodic enterprise whilst the closer is a scarring tempest of incessant sonic niggling and corrupting black hearted energies. Both tracks are wholly infectious and an immense end to a great release.

Dark Visions is not a band to bring you something openly new but one which creates invigorating extreme music better than plenty of other artists. Ingrowth is a recommendation you should not ignore.

http://www.darkvision.info

RingMaster 07/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Varicella: We Belong Dead

Varicella

Like being sucked into a maelstrom of ravenous intensity and demonic caustic caresses, We Belong Dead the debut EP from US industrial band Varicella is an uncompromising destructive predator with a primal appetite to match its insidious aggression. It is a release which arguably takes longer than other genre releases to persuade its compelling case but emerges from focused attention as a deeply satisfying and thought inciting confrontation.

Formed in 2008 aiming to explore the roots of old school 80’s style industrial having been uninspired by the popular music and the local all synth / EBM based industrial scene at the time, Varicella due to suffering an instability in line-ups eventually took a break from being an active unit. Founder Chris Bollinger (vocals/programming) began working on songs and music for the project again in 2011 and linked up with Chris Pasquarelli (guitar) early last year, the duo taking influence from the likes of Ministry, KMFDM, and Skinny Puppy in creating metallic guitar driven industrial sonic brawls. Their first release explores distinct dark corners whilst intruding on the senses with malevolence and caustic intent; it is not always an easy listen and at times pushes its limits the wrong way but is always a compulsive and inventive listen and emotive encounter.

Released via Bluntface Records on January 26th, the EP invades the ear and consumes the senses first with Where Does Evil 113594Live, the opener a stalking presence of venomous energy and satanic bestial breath. It soaks the synapses with cold inciting aural fingers whilst its resonating heartbeat chills behind the samples and within the corrosive grip of the track. It is a lingering hypnotic piece which sets the album up perfectly, a dangerous and intimidating journey well into its malicious task.

The title track invades next with a pulsating stance and devilish mischief to its initial engagement. The vocals of Bollinger scrape the flesh as intensely as the sounds, a coarse devouring rub reminding of label mates Virus Cycle at times. It is a tsunami of energy which lumbers over its recipient with a mass of sonic depth and raptorial hunger whilst offering enough to grab limbs and heart into a darkened dance.

The excellent All Hail and The Sound Of Four unleash their thunderous growls next, the first an enveloping senses eating festering with hybrid essences of Nine Inch Nails and the second a rampaging encounter with again a primal gait to its rhythms and at times a White Zombie like infection. It is a track you can see any fallen angel using as their soundtrack and deathly dance and its expanse disturbingly mesmeric. The raw nasty vocals offers an extreme to the acidic melodic craft of the song and is destined to make the song difficult for some though with enough rewards from the well sculpted sounds and menace to be rewarding for all.

     Obsessed with FleshFuck Slave is a metallic tirade of sonic abuse and intense bruising, the guitars a scouring abrasion alongside the riveting rhythms and beats. It is the least successful track on the EP but has enough to make its vulgar presence welcome and intriguing. The same can be said of the closing song too, though Burning Inside is a furnace of continual sonic flames which incites greater attraction. Musically both songs are as impressive as elsewhere but the vocal delivery is suffering from a lack of variety at this point for personal tastes. It is not bad just the continual unpolished grate of Bollinger across the whole release arguably goes too far in making a contrast and provocation to the heated and often mesmeric yet challenging sounds.

We Belong Dead is a strong release which fans of original industrial music will find plenty of appreciation for as well as those with a need for experimentation in their genre based sounds. For a first release Varicella has set in motion anticipation for and promises of greater things in the future whilst leaving a very contented satisfaction in the now.

http://www.bluntfacerecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Varicella/310239362321042?fref=ts

RingMaster 07/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Virus Cycle – Zombichrist

Last year saw the impressive decay of Alice In Zombieland from Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band Virus Cycle consume the senses, the release a formidable and startling debut album from the one man project of Johnny Virum. It was a raw and uncompromising release which impressively reflected its stark and corrosive narrative in sound and energy. As strong and compulsive as it was, it now pales against its follow-up Zombichrist, an album even more destructive but with a marked evolution and maturity in composition and structure.  Not an album for the weak hearted or those flimsy in spirit, Zombichrist churns up senses and blisters synapses with acidic sonics, festering intensity, and the breath of reanimated death. It depletes and inspires energies, evoking cinematic soundscapes and numbing erosion of hope and light. It is a remarkable release which needs to be allowed to envelop and consume numerous times to reap the full rewards of its imagination and power.

Pre Virus Cycle, Jonny Virum was involved in projects which saw him releasing numerous albums and supporting the likes of The Misfits on their 30th Anniversary Tour, Gothminister, Carfax Abbey and Thou Shalt Not, the artist already a respected veteran of the Boston music scene. Since releasing Alice In Zombieland, Virus Cycle has opened for bands such as The Ludovico Technique, Nolongerhuman, Morningwood and Mindless Self Indulgence, as well as seeing a remix album of their debut called Return to Zombieland which featured reinvented tracks from numerous talents including Otto Kinzel, who co-produced the new album with Virum and is the owner of Bluntface Records, the label it is released through.

The union of the pair on the production side has certainly brought a more rounded and darker intrusion to the album, their understanding spawning a deeper energy sucking presence and interpretation of the death driven annihilatory sounds and atmospheres.  The release explores further depths and shadows within the disturbing undead driven world from which it is borne, its touch a disturbing and malevolent cinematic experience drenched in the shadows of horror and zombie movies, specifically of the Italian maestros like Lucio Fulchi, whose Zombi is said to have inspired the album.

Opening track The Dead Hate The Living sets the tone, its film sample bringing in an insidious and crawling death soaked atmosphere. Groaning ambience throws heavy whispers across the senses before slowly blistering guitars leave their abrasive caresses across the ear. The vocals of Virum again resonate with a decomposed breath, something newcomers to the band may have to warm to but are an integral part of the textured soundscapes. The track persists in its dragging intensity, a sprawling caustic engagement intent on corruption.

The first single from the album Why Don’t You Love Me follows sending a wash of electro warmth over the already open wounds, its coarse eighties pop elegance smouldering within the astringent guitar weaves and pulsating rhythms. The track is like an industrial update of something by Fad Gadget, the shadows deeper and more abrasive but cored by an infectious pop spine of melodic light. It is a welcoming pull into the album, arguably the least venomous and violent creature on the release but still a thoroughly sinister and intimidating companion.

Love Me To Death continues the sonic burning, its exquisite ebbs and flows of scorching energy mesmeric whilst From Dusk Till Dawn is a sprawling vehemence which sucks away any resistance before it even raises its temperature and energy such the malevolence within. Both leave one lost in the world created, thoughts wrapped in a deathly landscape which makes Silent Hill feel like a trip to the beach.

The remaining tracks further  and complete the hellacious consumption, Kir Der Nacht a heavy crunching rub defusing the senses and Memento Mori a track which bounces in on a hopeful vibe before being smothered by the towering intensity and oppressive sounds. It is a great blend of electronic strokes and dehabilitating metallic muscle. The title track is a rotting attrition for the senses, its friction scarring and almost unbearable but ultimately a sweet exhaustive undermining of life.

Closing with the excellent instrumental House On Haunted Hill with only samples to bring a narrative to the intensive sonic manipulation of the senses, Zombichrist is an impressive industrial violation to immerse within, a tremendous release which drags you into a world of ravenous dead bodies and life extinguishing atmospheres whilst leaving  a glow of total satisfaction.

On October 13th, the release day of Zombichrist, Virus Cycle will be celebrating its unleashing by holding an open forum web chat at http://www.stickam.com/viruscycle. You may ask them questions during the web chat or you may send them to viruscycle@gmail.com. There will also be 3 signed copies of Zombichrist to give away, with everyone who sends in a question entered in to a draw to win one of the albums at the end of the web chat.
Zombichrist is released on October 13th 2012 and is available through www.viruscycle.com or through Bluntface Records on www.bluntfacerecords.com

Zombichrist will also be available for FREE download @ www.viruscycle.com and www.bluntfacerecords.com from October 13th, with physical copies of the album available for $6.00.

RingMaster 10/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.

One week to devastation…

Just one week to go before the release of their new album Zombichrist from Virus Cycle on Bluntface Recordsanticipation is brewing to new infected heights for the next Post Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech assault from band mastermind Johnny Virum.

   With the cover for Zombichrist just unveiled and the first single from the release in Why Don’t You Love Me? gathering strong acclaim the album is set to make the end of 2012 a wasteland of corrupted husks and fully satisfied bodies.

    To celebrate the release of the album, the same week sees Virus Cycle and Bluntface Records offering the opportunity of winning free downloads of the entire album and tracks from Zombichrist featured on The Bone Orchard from The Reputation Radio Show.

  More details for both will be unveiled during the week via The Bone Orchard and The Ringmaster Review.

 

An official statement about the album from Virus Cycle said:

“In March 2012, it was announced that the band would be releasing their new studio album Zombichrist through Bluntface Records on October 13th. The title of the album Zombichrist references the protagonist in every zombie movie to date. The one character that everyone puts their faith into in the hopes that the “chosen one” will deliver the rest into safety and salvation, away from the pending zombie apocalypse. On August 7th, the first single from the album called “Why Don’t You Love Me?” was released through Bluntface Records with accompanying remixes from artists from around the world. The single has seen national as well as international airplay. Virus Cycle plans on closing out 2012 by playing shows in support of Zombichrist.”

Virus Cycle is a Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band from Boston, MA that combines haunting lyrics, pulsating beats, and grinding buzzsaw-like guitars that takes listeners on a journey into a devastatingly bleak future of death and decay, plagued by the flesh-eating undead.

In 2011, Virus Cycle self-released their debut full-length album Alice In Zombieland in February along with their remix album Return to Zombieland in November. Both albums were very successful as they both saw a lot of radio play as well as reviews in blogs and magazines around the world. Virus Cycle has opened for The Ludovico Technique, Nolongerhuman, Morningwood, and Mindless Self Indulgence.


http://www.viruscycle.com/

www.bluntfacerecords.com

Virus Cycle prepare for the release of their new album.

In just over two weeks the eagerly awaited new album from Post Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band Virus Cycle is unleashed to infect and thrill our ears. Already preceded by the impressive and acclaimed first single from the release, Why Don’t You Love Me?, the album Zombichrist released on Bluntface Records, is set to expand on and evolve the band’s previous releases, themes, and sounds.

An official statement about the album from Virus Cycle said:

“In March 2012, it was announced that the band would be releasing their new studio album Zombichrist through Bluntface Records on October 13th. The title of the album Zombichrist references the protagonist in every zombie movie to date. The one character that everyone puts their faith into in the hopes that the “chosen one” will deliver the rest into safety and salvation, away from the pending zombie apocalypse. On August 7th, the first single from the album called “Why Don’t You Love Me?” was released through Bluntface Records with accompanying remixes from artists from around the world. The single has seen national as well as international airplay. Virus Cycle plans on closing out 2012 by playing shows in support of Zombichrist.”

Zombichrist  promises to be one of the most compelling and startling releases of the year, a release to bring a zombie apocalypse into stark aural vision . For breaking information on the release of Zombichrist, exclusive steams, interviews and reviews check out The Ringmaster Review and official websites for Virus Cycle and Bluntface Records.

http://www.viruscycle.com/

www.bluntfacerecords.com

Virus Cycle is a Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band from Boston, MA that combines haunting lyrics, pulsating beats, and grinding buzzsaw-like guitars that takes listeners on a journey into a devastatingly bleak future of death and decay, plaqued by the flesh-eating undead. Johnny Virum, the mastermind behind the project, is a veteran of the Boston music scene. Before working on Virus Cycle, he released a number of albums and toured, while having the pleasure of opening for The Misfits on their 30th Anniversary Tour, Gothminister (Danse Macabre Records), Carfax Abbey and Thou Shalt Not.

In 2011, Virus Cycle self-released their debut full-length album Alice In Zombieland in February along with their remix album Return to Zombieland in November. Both albums were very successful as they both saw a lot of radio play as well as reviews in blogs and magazines around the world. Virus Cycle had the chance to tour during 2011 and 2012 while supporting both albums, playing different venues and events such as QXT’s in New Jersey, Incantation in NYC, The Webster Theatre in Connecticut, McGann’s in Boston and The Level Room in Philadelphia. While touring, they had the great privilege to open for The Ludovico Technique (Metropolis Records), Nolongerhuman (COP International ), Morningwood (VH1 Records) and Mindless Self Indulgence (The End Records).

Otto Kinzel Interview

Back in 2010 through the Reputation Radio Show we were introduced to the striking and intriguing band Chemical Distance, their song Red Queen’s Race becoming a firm favourite. Otto Kinzel, creator of the band, emerged through the few communications we engaged in as a gentleman and enthused musician we had to take notice of. The following year though we simply lost touch with what he and the band was up to but  recently he came back into our view with his remix for the latest Virus Cycle album. This was just the reminder we needed to catch up and find out more about his solo work as well as past and upcoming projects plus learn more about his own record label. So with pleasure we bombarded Otto with questions and this is what we found out.

Hi Otto, many thanks for taking time to talk with us.

No problem Pete, thank you for giving me the opportunity!

Firstly tell us a little about yourself and back ground outside of music.

I was born in Nyack, NY but lived all over the Eastern US as a kid. My parents divorced when I was really young so my sister and I would get shuttled back and forth from wherever my dad and Mom were living, respectively, so New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware…but I ultimately grew up in Vermont, so I consider myself a Vermonter.

Was your childhood lived with music always around?

Not at first. Neither of my parents was very musically inclined. But once we (my dad, sister and I) moved to Vermont, we were then living close to my uncle Bob (my dad’s brother). He plays guitar, has been in bands, toured, recorded, the whole 9 yards. I had been interested in playing guitar since I was very young, so when I turned 12 my dad bought me a Gibson Les Paul knock-off and a tiny 15 watt Peavey amp. My uncle gave me some lessons to get me started. I think the very first song I learned was Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. My uncle Bob is really the one who got me started and helped me on my way.

When did you realise your were destined to and simply had to make music?

As soon as I heard distortion coming through that tin amp for the first time. That’s when I knew I was onto something magical.

Who were your biggest influences/favourite bands and artists growing up?

As a kid my only outlet for music was my older sister’s cassette tapes. All my music was “hand me down” stuff so I had Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and some of the other big artists of the time. I think I also had the We Are The World soundtrack, hahaha, but once I got a little older I discovered Metal. It blew me away. Again once we moved to Vermont a lot of things opened up to me. Not only did my uncle get me started playing guitar, but I also got exposed to a wide new world of heavy music. My cousin Ethan, whose 4 years older than me, listened to Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth…all sorts of Thrash Metal at the time. His bedroom was covered in posters from these bands. I remember vividly staring at pictures of Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” and being mesmerized by the artwork and detail. So it wasn’t long after that I went out and started buying albums from these bands. I was always looking for the next heavy ass band, so after starting with Metallica and Maiden, I got into some Death Metal, Industrial-metal (including KMFDM and Ministry, who are still two of my all-time favourite bands) and the like.

You have been a member of and played in numerous bands over the past decade. Thinking of pre-Chemical Distance was this just as a musician or were you already in the production side of music then too?

I got started in the production side of music my senior year of high school, 1997 I think. It was more out of desperation than anything. At that time high quality studios in Vermont were slim, and the ones that did exist were insanely expensive. I bought a Tascam 8-track recorder, a book on home recording techniques, and that was that. A LOT of trial and error, and a LOT of very bad recordings, ha-ha. But I learned and learned, and down the road was able to get some formal training, which helped a lot.

Were the bands in that period of your life ones you started or existing ones you joined?

Almost all of them were ones I started. I tried joining a couple here and there but it never felt right. I always felt like a guy who was just a third wheel. I want to be responsible for building something on the ground level.

We first came across you with your band Chemical Distance and the excellent The Pain & The Progress album. I am right in believing originally the project and album was intended as a solo thing for you?

Yes that is correct. I wanted to do a studio project and just have a ton of different musicians collaborate on each song. Kind of toss everyone’s influences into a blender and see how it comes out. Michael Hauply-Pierce ended up doing vocals on most of the album; although Greg Boedecker did vocals on a couple of songs and Keith Chisholm did vocals on No “Real” Friends.  Bob Dwyer played guitar and added synth to a couple of songs as well and Marc Brennan added live drums and some extra guitar to a few songs.

What was the trigger for evolving things into a fully contributing band?

I ended up doing a series of shows to promote the album, when it was still in pre-release. It felt very strange having Michael (Hauptly-Pierce- vocals) and Matt (Connarton- bass) on stage with me, playing their asses’ off, all for my “solo” project. We were all on stage sweating and working hard together. Everything was really clicking as far as the chemistry between the three of us. It just evolved and no longer felt “right” calling it Otto Kinzel. The project had morphed into a proper band.

Is the band still an active thing amongst the wealth of other projects you are involved with?

We released a 7 song EP in 2011 called This Program Is Not Responding. We didn’t do nearly the amount of touring and promotion that we did for The Pain & The Progress, so it got a bit lost unfortunately. But it’s available on the Bluntface website at http://www.bluntfacerecords.com/fr_chemicaldistancethisprogramisnotresponding.cfm

And we just released a brand new Chemical Distance song called Caritas on a String, which is available as a free download on the GET TURNED ON: Music from the Underground compilation album.

In the different bands you have played guitar, sung, synths as well as created the programming, produced and more. Which aspect gives you the most satisfaction and do you think need this variety to your work to keep fresh and imaginative?

I think playing guitar and writing really heavy riffs gives me the most satisfaction as a musician. But really they all complement each other. Sometimes I’ll have some writer’s block when it comes to guitar, so I can work on programming beats. And then while listening to what I programmed Voila! A riff pops into my head, same with synths. Everything fuels the creative process and helps to keep my writing and performance moving forward.

When you write songs is there a certain intent you try to bring forth with your music or does it evolve all on its own?

It’s really all over the place, there is no formula or procedure I go thru. Sometimes I start with a riff; other times I program drums first and then put guitars to it and mess with the structure; and other times it starts with a vocal harmony.

What about on the production side, is there a certain thought or feel you try to create certainly with your own music?

I really enjoy layering the music with very deep levels of sound. I want to have a full spectrum of frequencies and lots of panning within the stereo space. I really like “headphone” albums that mess with your senses.

Tell us about your solo album of last year We Are All Doomed: The Zodiac Killer.

I wanted to a “real” solo album, where I did all the production, wrote all the songs and played all the instruments (for the most part). I had some down time and always had this idea in my head but never had the time or focus t really flesh it out.

The inspiration is obvious to everyone right away from the title but what actually made you want to turn the infamous time into a theme for an album?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Zodiac killer. The fact he’s never been caught (and the case is still unsolved) makes it even more fascinating. I was obsessed with it for a while in the early 2000’s. I did a lot of investigating on my own and a ton of research. I wanted to album to be 100% historically accurate and really represent the timeline of events and how the murders were committed.

Your music is something which challenges as much as it rewards, this is an important aspect to your creativity?

Absolutely! I think that’s something that any musician who is worth anything strives for.

You have recently linked up with Johnny Virum and Virus Cycle which came from doing a remix of one of their tracks on the album Return To Zombieland?

Yes. The remix went really well and we “jived” right away, as far as chemistry in the studio goes.

You are working with them on their new album, is this just as producer or are you part of the band too now?

I’m producing the new Virus Cycle album, Zombiechrist, and playing bass in the studio for Johnny (Virum, Virus Cycle’s frontman and driving force).

There is also a collaborative project KINZEL v VIRUM coming soon?

Yes, this is much more of a true collaboration. Musically it’s going to be more of an Industrial-Metal album, like Ministry or Psyclon Nine. Basically I’m playing guitar and doing the drum programming, and Johnny is doing the vocals and providing audio clips.  I expect this album to be released in late 2012, around winter time.

What is it about Virus Cycle and their form of industrial metal which excites you? This is a new sound for you to explore?

It’s a couple of things. First off, I love the whole zombie aspect and the various themes of apocalypse that are integrated into the lyrics. I like music that has a concept, a message. We are kindred spirits in that regard. Second I love Johnny’s work ethic. He bust his ass at what he does, he works very, very hard, which is something I have great respect for. And third, he’s a really cool guy.

You also alongside all your projects and work created and run Bluntface Records. Tell us why when constantly busy you still spread into that time consuming area of music.

The label has been around for several years now, almost 10! I started it for many of the same reasons I started doing my own production work: out of necessity. I had worked with some other label’s in the past and always felt like they never cared about what I was doing nearly as much as I did. So I said “fuck it” and decided to take my fate in my own hands. I needed a platform to release my own stuff, so it made sense.

The label has released diverse artists and sounds, what is it you look for in music which makes you consider releasing and working with it and what do you offer them which many other labels fail in?

I can’t speak about other labels because I really don’t pay attention to them to be honest. I am way too busy with my own life and music to be bothered. But for me, I love music that is “left-of-centre”, something that wouldn’t normally get played on radio; something that is really different. I want to hear artists who are not afraid to take chances and stick their necks out. Even if that particular concept doesn’t work, as long as they’re willing to try and push the envelope towards something unique, then that’s something I want to hear. There’s too much of the regular, everyday bullshit that we’ve heard a thousand times, especially in hard rock.  If you have satellite radio just turn on the Octane channel and you can hear a hundred bands all following the same song writing formula with the same style of guitar tone, the same style of drum production, and all the signers have the same “I can sing clean but also dirty” screams. It’s like there’s a factory just churning out these bands on an assembly line.

I also think that by staying small and focusing only on a hand full of artists, we can give them a lot more attention with their promotional campaigns. And it allows us to be very selective in whom we work with. We are under no financial obligation to sign whatever fad is popular.

What are the latest and upcoming releases on the label to watch out for?

Virus Cycle’s Zombiechrist, which will be out in the late fall; KINZEL v VIRUM which will be out in the winter, and currently Bradox64, which is an Electronic/Glitch/Break core/Bizarre album from NH Electronic musician Braden McFarland. That album is out now, buy it at http://bradox64.bandcamp.com/

Other than the Virus Cycle album what is next for Otto Kinzel?

Just plugging away in the studio ha-ha. I have a couple of things up my sleeve for later this year J

Is there any room for more solo work in the near future?

That’s one of the “things” I was referring to. I’m doing research on a specific subject right now, and have already started working on some pre-production.

Again thanks for chatting with us.

Would you like to leave with any last words or thoughts?

Thank you for having me, I really appreciate you giving me a chance to talk to your publication. As for last words? How about “You got cookie for me?”

The Ringmaster Review 07/07/2012

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