Vovkulaka: Introducing the Darkside…

“Tortured cries from the supernatural haunt the punishing mystical metal of Ukraine’s Vovkulaka. The band’s singer-drummer-songwriter VolK is a dark conduit for paranormal activity and channels his explorations in this realm into his band’s tribal and occultist thrashings.”

We have borrowed the opening paragraph to our introduction to Vovkulaka to bring ours to you as it provides an echo to the feel and breath which pervades the band’s striking sound. With their self-titled album infesting a world already devoured by darkness, we share big thanks to Rhonda at Whiplash PR for an invitation to explore a four track EP featuring the favourite tracks of the band’s fans. It reveals a sound which devours the senses and twists the psyche whilst unleashing catchiness as carnivorous as the multi-flavoured metal fuelling it.

The creation of vocalist/drummer/songwriter VolK, Vovkulaka (Ukrainian for werewolf) rose up in 2014. Primarily based in Odessa, the band also features members from Bulgaria and the United States, on stage the line-up completed by dancers and percussionists Naya G and JuleZ, and guitarist Ivan Manoloff. With his lyrical inspiration seeded in his passion for ghost hunting and paranormal experiences, VolK (itself Russian for werewolf) casts a sound bred from a voracious fusion of industrial and nu metal with goth and dubstep though that still does not quite reveal all of its rich tapestry. Listening to the quartet of songs making up this EP, thoughts of bands such as Fear Factory, Korn, Society 1, Type O Negative and Rob Zombie come to mind yet it is a rousing trespass which swiftly and firmly slams down its own individuality and unique character.

Darkness Calling is the first track to harass our ears, its opening enough to grip attention and appetite with its great Jonathan Davis and co like scenting, one continuing to permeate the track as it entangles VolKs throat rasping vocals with the similarly predacious sounds around them. Equally his rhythms stalk the listener and even as the song contorts and invades with greater imagination, its infectiousness is virulent just as that of Defy.

The second track to embroil our ears is a visceral grumble with a raptorial groove to match, one spiralling under the skin into the psyche in no time. Even with again instinctive contagiousness to voice and sound, there is a cadaverous sense and decay to its weight and touch which only accentuated the almost brutal temptation on offer.

The other pair of tracks only compounds the persuasion and striking presence of Vovkulaka, Purple Door a ravenous crawl through ears with a haunting melody and flesh-eating grooves which wind around ears until another feral infection loaded chorus not that the passage to it is anything less than viral. Its successor, My Devil coaxes with sinister melodic intimation before swinging its eagerly welcomed ruinous grooves and a body of sound which got into every pore, its electronics alone pure manipulation only accentuated by the voracious trespass of vocals, guitar and rhythms.

Though only a taster of Vovkulaka and that earlier mentioned album, we swiftly and hungrily only wanted to be swarmed by much more of the seriously rousing pestilence and there is every chance you will want to be too.

Check out Vovkulaka further @ https://vovkulaka.com/   https://www.facebook.com/VovkulakaFanPage   https://twitter.com/VovkulakaMusic

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Bleeding Raven Interview

BLEEDING RAVEN is the aggrotech/dark tek project from Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla. Recently he released its debut album via Cleopatra Records. We had the pleasure to chat with Dean about the album, his latest project, a career and life changing set back and much more…  

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

The pleasure is all mine man.

Can you first introduce the ‘project’ and give us some background to how it all started?

In a land…far far away…hahahahaha…Ok, but seriously… I first got the ‘itch’ to record music when I was a teen-ager in high school. Some buddies and I went into a little studio and recorded two songs for a single release. (Dark Hallway/Golgotha) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05YqqTOS_M  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047Pk2GhPnY

Thanks to my lovely parents I released a vinyl 45 rpm as just “Dean Mason” with “Lonely Ghost Productions” as the name of the makeshift indie label. I got ‘itchy’ again in 2001 and began looking at music again, but did very little. In 2012, I got right into recording electronic music of a dark bent and scent and thus was born “Gnostic Gorilla” eventually. (I released stuff as The Lonely Ghost Project initially but changed the name to “Gnostic Gorilla”) In 2018, Cleopatra Records released “St. Basil’s Asylum”. (Gnostic Gorilla) In May of this past year, after releasing quite a few albums on different labels (KL Dark Records, Nowhere Now Records, Throne of Bael Records and LGP-ONE) I wanted to pursue something more ‘aggrotech’ in style. That’s when I initiated the “Bleeding Raven” project. Cleopatra released “Darkness Consumed” in October of this year.

How have those earlier impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

As I mentioned earlier, I started off as just “Dean Mason” as a lad. In 2012, the Lonely Ghost Project was launched (so to speak) and then “Gnostic Gorilla” and from that evolved what we are talking about today…that is…the Bleeding Raven Project. My early music in these other projects was a mix of ‘Goth/Dark Wave/Dark Tek/Industrial’. I really wanted to do something more bizarre and almost literally more noisy and that’s when I initiated “Bleeding Raven”. It’s more aggrotech, but I also call it… “dungeon trash”…hahahahahahahahahaha I even have a shirt with that on it.   https://www.dizzyjam.com/products/157830/ 

The image or character of the ‘raven’ is common in First Nations lore and even spirituality. The raven can either be a trickster or mischievous little critter or it can be sort of a symbol of the soul preparing for death of being taken back to the Great Creator. Different nations/tribes have different ideas and stories about the raven. The ‘bleeding’ part more or less speaks of suffering, of hurt etc. So, like my lyrics however, even with the image, I allow people to have their own interpretations. That said, I think always…DAILY…of my many sisters and brothers in the First Nations communities who suffer immensely because of a racist attitude towards them. There are many…MANY young Native women/girls who have gone missing and the effort to find them hasn’t always been fervent. As well, the suicide rate among First Nation teens is extremely high.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of Bleeding Raven and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Well, in the Spring of 2019, I had to be on the road a bit and for some long drives, I acquired on my iTunes a few albums of a more industrial bent. That includes a couple of compilations of various bands. I discovered acts like Die Sektor and Psyclon Nine and I felt very inspired to go in this direction. I sort of started to go in that direction as “Gnostic Gorilla” but I wanted a new project that was mostly aggrotech in style. I came up with the ‘dungeon trash’ (LOL) I released in October and I am very proud of it!

Do the same things still drive you when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Definitely evolved over time. So, when I first started off, I was more into a Gothic sound or industrial. And I still love a lot of that stuff. Always will. St. Basil’s Asylum is a classic and I’m just so sad that it’s still not discovered by many yet. But anyway, yeah…things do evolve. That said, I don’t like the idea of being in a ‘genre house arrest’ and being narrow minded in your approach to music. But either way, it’s all over for me in music anyway so…I’ve done what I could.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Well, from the really early days, that is from the days of the Dark Hallway release, things really evolved dramatically. First of all, that 45 was like a mish mash of metal/punk pre-grunge I guess. I was heavily influenced by Gary Numan and yet, try as I did my vocal style was markedly different than his. It’s later that I appreciated that. But, see…I love ALL sorts of music. I mean, sometimes I’m just knee deep  into The Doors and more psychedelic shit and other days I’m into Dio and Sabbath and Type O Negative and Ministry and Rammstein. Other days it’s The Cure or Smashing Pumpkins or of course, classic Numan and Japan or Bauhaus. So, a lot of what I do depends on where I’m at and I guess when it comes to music, I’m moody as hell. hahahahahaha

Do you find the changes have been more of an organic movement of sound or you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I’d say the latter, yeah.

Presumably , and you have touched on them already, there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

So, I make a distinction between that which has inspired and that which has influenced more directly my own style. The artists/bands that have been inspirations are many. Gary Numan, KISS, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Rammstein, Japan (David Sylvian) Ozzy, Manson, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Bauhaus, Zardonic, Fear Incorporated, Frost Like Ashes, CRIX IIX and the list is endless. As for those who have been influences, while they include some of the names listed already, I’d say Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Psyclon Nine, Die Sektor. As I always do in any interview, the band that will forever be my absolute favourite is The Doors. The Doors and Gary Numan are both at the top of my own personal ‘chart’.

I also want to give a shout out to Tim Muddiman and NOT because of his connection to Gary Numan. Tim has ventured into more graphic arts in recent years and he is doing some amazing work. THAT very much inspires me…or better yet…I honour the man as an artist in every sense of the word…as a true artist.

Is there a process to your songwriting which generally guides the birth of songs?

Yeah, mostly I start off with a vague idea of want kind of song I want to do, Then I begin with beats and drum patterns and bass lines or even synth lines. (it depends) I get a general idea of the direction I want to go in before going far into the track. So, I begin to choose the different sounds and samples/loops that I want as well to give it a mood. More often than not, I manipulate these and distort or whatever to make them unique. Then as the song evolves, there’s the question of whether or not I want a traditional chorus (often not because that’s too pop) and I allow the track to sort of dictate to me where it’s going. Sort of like a First Nations wood carver who allows the ‘wood’ to speak to them as they say. Then when I have a rough demo, I begin writing lyrics and then record vocals. That’s the tough part for many reasons. Lots of hit and miss with that process. I’ve written an entire set of lyrics for a song only to discover that something else would work better and I have to (at times) chop out some of the lyrics. Hard to explain.  Also, sometimes I record the vocals and it sounds like shit. I mean, there is a need for a different ‘style’ all together. After all the vocals are recorded, I go back and add more …sometimes a sample here or an FX noise there or whatever. I’m quite ADD so if there are any sort of ‘blank stare’ moments in a song…that’s unacceptable. It has to be busy. I’m told my music is VERY busy. Then there is the final mix which is a real pain in the ass. Sometimes even at that stage you decide… “nah…this is total shit”! It’s a bit of a drag when that happens though man because you’ve come all the way to a full song and you realize it isn’t happening.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

First off, good for you for asking that because lyrics are important for me… I realize it’s not what the listener first becomes aware of…but for me, the lyrics are important. Anyway, so…I don’t write any lyrics with any sort of ‘agenda’. In other words, I don’t preach or dictate anything. I like a very poetic approach to the lyrics with lots of imagery. Now, that said, there are certain subjects that inspire me. I often write about religious themes or philosophical themes and often touch upon injustice and hypocrisy and hate and injustice for example. But I do so in veiled/poetic language. I want the listener to decide for themselves what it could mean.

Give us some background to your latest release.

 “Darkness Consumed” touches upon a few subjects…again in veiled language. One of the tracks is called “Pontiff’s Nightmare” which is actually about St. Francis. He more or less spooked the Pope at the time with his authentically radical life style and that Pope had a dream about Francis. Francis challenged the corruption of the time by the way he lived. “Salem Vigil” is sort of… but not completely about the Salem witch trials. The song actually addresses the unfortunate phenomenon of ‘religious people’ oppressing and persecuting people who don’t fit their narrow definition of what it means to be ‘good’ or ‘decent’ and ‘righteous’.  In the end, these arrogant and often ignorant people of so called ‘faith’ are the ones who are truly evil because of the harm they inflict on many borne out of their hatred and unenlightened worldview.  

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

So, “Darkness Consumed”…that very title isn’t a nod to evil or the promotion of ‘darkness’. It’s actually about the fact that somehow, ‘TRUTH’ (light) will ‘consume the darkness’ and overcome it. That’s sort of the idea in brief. As I said, I want people to decide for themselves however what something can mean for them.

Do you go into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Going back to the very first single “Dark Hallway”…I had everything figured out (with lyrics) when I presented the tracks to the band. I wrote the lyrics in English class (Dark Hallway) while under the influence of benzodiazepines. Hahahahahahaha We were reading “Death of a Salesman” in that class and it was, to say the least, a rather dark story. hahahahahaha

Tell us about the live side to Bleeding Raven.

I have lost the hearing in the left ear completely and totally. It happened in October…Very traumatic actually. I have to protect the little hearing I have left in the right ear which is at half capacity. I want to be able to hear the voices of the ones I love and the more natural sounds in life. For all intents and purposes…I’m deaf. Music is no longer an option. Especially live music, even if I wanted to do something live with a band. Music has been such an important part of my life obviously…but that’s over. That’s the future.

It is not easy for any new artist/band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

You’re correct. It’s very difficult to ‘break through’ in this day and age. There’s just too much out there. I mean, everyone and their cat is putting stuff out. There are so many genres today and so many…MANY indie folks (like me) who have stuff out there and are competing with the ‘big boys and gals’. You have to be creative to get known because sadly, younger people are not interested in new music aside from what they become aware of through video games or TV/Movies. I mean, I’m seriously over generalizing perhaps but it is true that, young people today don’t appreciate music the way people did in the past. They don’t grasp the concept of music as ‘art’ anymore. That’s not their fault. But because of the technology that we have today and with social media platforms…there is too much out there and for younger people, music is just “there for the taking” the way fruit on trees is there to pluck. So, you have to be creative in how you get people to notice you today. It’s not easy.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

So, this is sort of a continuation of the previous question. Here’s the thing, the internet and social media and digital music etc. is here and it’s here to stay. We are still trying to adapt to this I suppose. Now, you could lament and dream of the “good old days” but that’s all it will ever be…a ‘dream’. Musicians/artists have to adapt. In many ways, it has been a blessing. Many artists would have never been able to put their stuff out there so to speak were it not for the kind of technology we have today. See, I picked up music again in 2012 but only as a hobby. I then, almost jokingly put some of my stuff out there as an indie/unsigned act and I eventually got a label deal with Cleopatra Records, which for me is phenomenal. I will have three releases with Cleopatra Records by end of 2020. (the last one is another Gnostic Gorilla album) I also have releases with three other labels. So, none of that would have happened were it not for the technology we have at our disposal. I guess it’s sort of what you make of it, like anything else.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thanks again to you for the great (and extensive) interview. Reveal?

Ok…I’m  B A T M A N.  Hahahahahahaha  No but, seriously, I thank the many people who have been supportive of me in one way or another…be it family or friends and certainly Benny at Cleopatra Records. As I said earlier, because of the extreme hearing loss (actually deaf completely in one ear and the other is severely compromised) …I have to pack it in with regards to music. I will promote what I have and will have out soon (already recorded obviously) and perhaps a book of lyrics and that’s it. Cheers.

Dean

https://bleedingraven.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/bleedingravenofficial/   http://www.bleedingraven.com

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Calling All Astronauts – Red Flag EP

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Following on from their impressive debut album Post Modern Conspiracy, UK electro goth punks Calling All Astronauts confirm their potent presence within British electro rock with the invigorating Red Flag EP. A track which shone upon their full length release as one of the year’s best electro punk anthems, the London based trio revamp and re-ignite its already mighty presence with a full blaze of inventive explorations. Consisting of five full-bodied investigations for the cost of a single track, the Red Flag EP is a magnetic persuasion to inspire all musical appetites.

Since emerging in 2011 the band has sculpted a rich position in the goth/electro punk scene with a lyrical attack and sound which crosses and merges those elements and more skilfully and distinctly, whilst their live performances has pulled in equal acclaim with the band sharing stages with the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, PWEI, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and A Place To Bury Strangers whilst also headlining and selling out Alan Magee’s Death2Disco at Notting Hill Arts Club. As shown with previous singles such as Someone Like You and What’s So Good About?, and across the impressively confronting Post Modern Conspiracy, the threesome of David B (vocals, keys, programming), J Browning (guitar), and Kristi Bury (bass) take no prisoners lyrically and musically and Red Flag is no exception. Following the progress of the band has bred the thought that it is time for the band to make the next step up and this EP alongside their recent album might just be the spark needed.

The release opens with the In Your Bass Mix of the title track, a thumping brew of rhythmic provocation and scarring guitar driven by the caustic delivery of David B. There is a schizophrenic breath to the mix, a St. Vitus’ Dance rabidity to the sonic squall and a rhythm casting enslavement to the heavily boned goth rock bruising. It is an excellent start, a version which easily challenges and matches the original cut of the track which follows in its Single Edit form straight after. A more restrained presence is uncaged by the band with a Sisters Of Mercy/Play Dead like throat to the vocals and a deep pulsating bass shadow wrapping the fiery guitar play. Red Flag is a song easily accessible but one taking the listener through almost cavernous resonating realms, whichever version you frequent, whilst a lyrical incitement hits home without over playing its touch. It is a compelling blend, one impossible to resist.

Next up comes the Gothstep Mix and the E39 NYC Club Edit of the track, the first an industrial stalked version which brings a Gary Numan like breath alongside almost bedlamic electro surges and squeals, and the second an incendiary dancefloor stomp which has feet in league with its sonic fascination. Both tracks add something different to the song but neither manages to match the heights of the first two or the following album version of the track. Expanded to its full glory, the final track is ultimately the best version of Red Flag though it is easy to take either of the main versions of the track and give them equal lustful responses.

If the Red Flag is your introduction to Calling All Astronauts there is no finer a way to walk through their creative door and if already a fan, the release makes a stirring and impressive companion to their must have album.

http://www.callingallastronauts.com/

http://callingallastronauts1.bandcamp.com/releases

8/10

RingMaster 04/11/2013

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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Interview with Darvius Noctem of Days Of Our Decay

Brought together by Cosmo Morte of US band Scream Machine, we had the pleasure of meeting Darvius Noctem of Canadian goth/black/industrial metal band Days Of Our Decay and reviewing the excellent album Electric Twilight which was released a few weeks ago. With a rich mix of flavours reminding of the likes of Rammstein, Deathstars, Dimmu Borgir, Type O Negative, and Sisters Of Mercy, as well as unique and vibrant imagination of its own it was a release that found a firm place on our playlists. Wanting to know more about the band and the great creativity brought forth by Days Of Our Decay we threw a flurry of questions the way of Darvius and he graciously revealed all.

Hi Darvius welcome to The RingMaster Review and many thanks for talking with us.

Firstly could you just tell us about yourself?

Man, you gave me the hard question first.  I am so horrible talking about myself, but I think my Facebook “about me” section sums it up.   Here goes…

I draw stuff and occasionally get paid for it. I also compose and play music, but usually don’t get paid for that. Sometimes I collaborate with other musicians for various projects. I end up talking to myself a lot because no one really listens to me to begin with. I hate most things, particularly: people, religion, and summer. Most people often mistake me for a “snob” when I am actually a misanthrope. I’m extremely opinionated and often voice my opinions, which usually get me into some degree of trouble. I have a dry, morbid sense of humour, but I am usually the only one laughing.

What is your musical history before Days Of Our Decay?

I started playing guitar when I was 15 or 16, but just couldn’t really get into it and moved on to learn bass, drums and then keyboard.  I took piano in high school but never really took it seriously until just before I started Days Of Our Decay.  During high school I played in a really lame electronic/rock/metal/experimental band called: The Spacemen On Vacation.  Later on in my early 20’s I joined my friends’ band: Malice.  It was more of a nu-metal influenced band in the same vein as bands like Coal Chamber, Spineshank, etc.  Initially, I played drums and then moved into the keyboard and bass position just before the other guys called it quits, which is then when I started Days Of Our Decay.

Days of Our Decay was initially and in many ways still is a solo project?

I started the band and wrote a few songs, but wanted to get my ex band  mates from Malice to join and contribute, but due to our life schedules and one of the members alcoholism, it ended up just becoming my solo project, and in many ways it still is a solo project.  I have had many different people in and out of the band over the years, but the only other official member is Demonika Demise.  Most of the past members were just brought in so we could play shows.  I recorded some demos and alternate versions of songs with a lot of the past members, but none of the final songs included them.  There are some demo cds and a live cd floating around – I will tell you that.

What was the intent and spark behind starting the project for you?

I wanted to have a rock/metal influenced band that was really keyboard savvy.  The thing that annoyed me the most in metal and rock is that the keyboards were always mixed so low, or just so minimal, so I wanted to have a band that featured keyboards as the driving instrument.  In addition, I am really attracted to dark music, whether it is heavy or soft, which is something I also wanted to incorporate into my project.   Ultimately, I wanted to create a sound that I wanted to hear in music, from a listener perspective, and at the same time, I wanted something that didn’t take itself too seriously.

You have self termed it “Elevator Music For The Dying!” could you elaborate on that and did that apply to your music from the very beginning? I ask as I know you had a later album with the term as its title.

It was originally a line from a poem/song I wrote in my late teens and I thought it was just something silly and over the top, and just decided to run with it.  The term did apply from the beginning.  In regards to the album:  Elevator Music For The Dying, it kind of summed up every aspect of the band at the time and prior to that.  That album was more or less an end of an era and Graveyard Superstar was the first album of the new era.  It’s ultimately still “Elevator Music For The Dying” it’s just expanded a bit more, I think.

 From what I know of your music you are unafraid to explore your own and the music’s boundaries?

Umm, sort of.  I don’t stray much from my trademark style, but I am always trying to incorporate new elements per song or album.   Overall, I just try to write and play what comes natural at the time.  That’s also easier said than done.  I tend to over think everything.   Sometimes I write a riff or a song and have to think “Did I write that riff before?” or “Does this song sound too much like this one?” etc.

You are quite prolific release wise especially in recent times and I know people have commented on that to you but I get the sense whereas other musicians might do the same but just throw everything out they create whatever the standard you have a disciplined and strict standard you place upon your work and maybe discard songs as many as you release?

Definitely, for every album I generally write and record up to 20+ songs and narrow it down to the best 11 or 12.  It’s hard to determine what makes the cut until the end because each song means something to me, but I try and make each album as dynamic as I can and have it flow really well from beginning to end.  I always second guess myself though because you never know what songs are gonna connect with people.  I find that most of my favourites are people’s least favourites and vice versa.  One of these days I might just make an album of songs that I hate and maybe everyone will love it and it will be a big hit.

Is creating music the first and last thought for you each and every day?

Sometimes.  I think about drawing and art just as much.  Sometimes I write songs in my dreams.  No joke.  I wrote 2 songs from how I remembered them in my dream.  One was called:  “The Letter And The Ghost” and the other was called: “Gift.”

As you mentioned you work with Demonika Demise in the band and though she is mentioned as a backing singer she brings a lot more than her vocal skills to the project?

I think of her vocals as more of an instrument, rather than a backing singer.  It’s a complete contrast to my vocals, but somehow they seem to work well together.   I think that if I sang more conventional or if she sang more unconventional, it wouldn’t work.  In addition, she helps me with some of the final mixes.

How did you both meet?

We met online in December, 2006 when I was living in Minneapolis.  We got engaged and I moved to Canada in 2007 and the rest, they say, is history.

Does she get involved with the initial songwriting?

Haha, no, not at all.  She admits that she is not a songwriter.  She understands this is more my project and doesn’t want to interfere with that.  She has helped with a few parts though.  She helped me revamp an old song and she wrote a choir part to the intro/verse of our song:  The Dark Gift.

We have had a discussion about bands that people compare your music to rightly or wrongly so what are your major influences and which ones do you think have most added texture to your ideas and sound direction?

I`d say that our biggest influences that helped shape our sound would be: Deathstars, Type O Negative, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish, She Wants Revenge, Sisters Of Mercy, Diary of Dreams, and The 69 Eyes.  Demonika’s influences are roughly the same as mine, but she is really influenced by more female -vocal oriented stuff like: Tarja Turunen, Evanescence, We Are The Fallen, etc.

I know Marilyn Manson is mentioned a lot when talking about your music especially vocally though I do not see it; does this get a bit tedious?

You are probably one of the only people who don’t see it, haha.  That’s cool though.  Overall, it does get tedious, but I usually find that it`s mostly from people who don`t know of any other darker- type bands, and since Manson is so mainstream, everyone just associates me with him.  I admit that I think our singing techniques are fairly similar from the raspy-ness in our voices and how we drag our notes, but if someone were to listen to us back to back, they would notice drastic differences.  I suppose at the same time, if someone compares us to Manson in a complementary way, I don`t get offended or anything, haha.

Always late to the party haha our introduction to you came with the great Electric Twilight which came out earlier this year. You first started making music for Days Of Our Decay with your first release The Devil’s Concubine appearing in 2005 I believe? How has your music evolved through the past decade and you as a musician and songwriter?

Yep, I wrote Devil`s Concubine back in 2005, but rerecorded for world release in 2007, and to also include Demonika Demise, as she was not on the original recordings of the first 2 albums.  Over that course of time, my songwriting and composing has gotten so much more refined and mature.  I can play stuff now that I could never play years ago.  We integrated new elements over the years and gradually got away from a lot of the `metal` aspects in our initial sound.  However, that will always be there in some form or another, I think, which is cool.  The production has greatly improved over the years for sure.  Even our vocals have changed and matured, quite a bit.  In the early albums it was about 50/50 singing to screaming, whereas now, I barely scream anymore.  Our vocal accuracy has greatly improved as well.  In a lot of ways we simplified and in other ways we expanded from the drums to the keyboards and all the sounds in between.  It was just a natural progression, I think.  I also managed to learn how to create and define a “mood” for a particular song much better.  Before it was just playing notes and making riffs.  For Graveyard Superstar, we started incorporating more guitar-synths and simpler compositions, as compared to our older work.  At this point, I can barely listen to our first handful of albums without cringing. 

Your website http://daysofourdecay.yolasite.com suggests you have already three more albums planned for the rest of the year and into 2013, are you that far ahead or is this just planned targets?

Ever since 2009 we have been 2 or more albums ahead of schedule (so to speak).  Keep in mind, we have been this far ahead even with me scrapping lots of songs.  I work extremely fast and can put out 1-2 finished songs per week.  If I were to die or end the band today, there would be a good 5 albums ready to go.  We’d be like the Tupac of the gothic rock world – dead, but still coming out with albums!

How do you create your music, what most often comes first and how do you develop these seeds?

I usually sit around and think to myself, “What would people really NOT want to hear.”

I’m usually inspired by a song, whether it is good or bad, or some kind of mood or feeling and then I sit at my keyboards and see what comes out.  I have spent hours just messing around with keyboard riffs and ideas, but usually I try and get the music to the chorus part done first and build the rest of the song around that.  A lot of times it doesn’t work that way, but that is initially how I start.  Once I finish writing and recording the main keyboard part, I fill in the rest of the sounds.  The drums usually come together last, as far as the music goes.  99% of the time, the lyrics and vocals are written and arranged after the music has been finalized.  I hate writing lyrics though, yet, ironically I spend a lot of time working on them.  It’s like an organized chaos and sometimes a warzone when I am writing a song.

You produce and mix your own releases too?

Yep.  I have the most unconventional equipment set up, but somehow it works for us.

How do stop yourself from getting too close in that department when you are doing every aspect of the music, do you have an outside ear to offer thoughts and ideas around too? Demonika maybe?

Exactly!  You hit the nail on the head, my friend.  I have to step away from it a lot and have Demonika take a listen.  Aside from her, I don’t want any outside influence because I don’t want to feel like I have to compromise what I do to appease someone.  Occasionally, I will ask my friends what they think of a particular mix or song, but that’s it.

How do you set up your live shows, still just the two of you?

It has changed for every show.  For the first 3 shows, we had a full line up (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums), without using any kind of backing tracks, but when I moved to Canada, we got booked for a show and I couldn’t secure a line up, so I had to resort to having our music (keyboards and drums) backtracked with Demonika and myself on vocals (respectively).  Honestly, I had so many problems with live musicians in the past, that we decided to keep the backtracks and go from there.  Some people might see that as unethical, but whatever.  The music is all created electronically, and unfortunately I can’t sing and play keyboard at the same time, so we have to resort to extreme measures to play shows.  Demonika doesn’t want to play shows anymore, and honestly, neither do I.  However, I get that “itch” from time to time, so if we play any shows in the future it will just be me and my lap top on stage.  I am also considering doing “internet shows” so people from all over the world can check it out, being as most of our fans are either in Europe or the U.S.

Is there a good audience for goth/black/industrial metal in Canada and especially Ontario where you are from?

Not at all.  We constantly get the cold shoulder from promoters around here, as well as bands, and just people in, general.  Most of the people around here just hate our style of music.  It’s really discouraging and disappointing.  The main thing is that it’s so divided here between crowds/scenes.  To make it in a band around here you either have to play really banal sounding hardcore/metal or classic rock and country.  There is no in between.  With most of our past shows, we’d get booked to play with all metal/hardcore bands, and that crowd is definitely not our demographic, to say the least.  Our last show we ended up opening for a blues, cover band.

Can we move on to the great art work to your albums, that is all your work too I believe?

Yes, indeed!

How long have you been creating art and is it an important part of the whole music experience you bring to your releases?

I have been an artist way longer than I have been a musician.  I have been creating art since I was a little kid.  I think my art is really contrasting to my music, but I think they work well together as a package deal.

What are your inspirations in this aspect of your skills?

I’d say mostly:  Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miro.

I am sure I am wrong but I just have this thought there is a link or theme running through your art which wraps around your releases?

Well, the art you see is just my style, so all of my pieces have a unique, ongoing look and theme.  For album covers, I generally just choose a piece that seems to fit for that particular album.

Apart from your album sleeves you do not have a gallery for your work on the website so where can people see more of your art?

Thanks for asking. Yes, I do:  https://www.facebook.com/visualdecadenceofficial

Does the art come after the music when creating music or arrive hand in hand?

No, I do art and music completely separate.  However, a song title has been known to influence a piece of artwork.

Which receives the priority of your time music or painting?

I’d say it’s about 50/50 give or take.  Some days I work on music all day and vice versa.

When can we get our ears and thoughts into your next album?

“Master Of Funerals” will be the next album, which we are planning for Halloween this year (2012).

Once again a great many thanks for sharing time with us.

Would you like to leave with a final thought or comment?

It’s not how much Crown [Crown Royal] you can drink, it’s how much ass you can get while drinking Crown.  I believe Vinnie Paul said that or something like that.  In regards to the music and art, you can download most of our albums on our website and tell all your friends (who might like us) to ‘like’ us on Facebook and spread the decay.

https://www.facebook.com/daysofourdecay

Read the review of Electric Twilight @

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2012

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The New Jacobin Club Interview

Recently here at The RingMaster Review we came across a band and album that stopped us in our tracks with its majestic darkness and vibrant energy, as well as a creativity and theatrical presence that captivated deeply. The band was Canadian shock rockers The New Jacobin Club and their album This Treason. The album, their music and jaw dropping live shows show a band with a perfect grasp on originality, visual impact and insatiable impressive metal sounds. We had the pleasure to find out more about the world of The New Jacobin Club thanks to the band agreeing to and taking time out to answer some questions.

Welcome to The RingMaster Review and thank you for taking time to let us ask you about all things The New Jacobin Club.

So The New Jacobin Club, where, when and why?

HRD (The Horde) – The group began as only a trio in 1995, the original members a combination of inexperienced instrumentalists or from other existing groups of contrasting styles. The New Jacobin Club was a response to the mid-90’s holier-then-though attitude prevalent in Canada at the time within the underground punk and hardcore scene, bands signed to labels like Fat Records. We were politically incorrect and unafraid to incorporate those views into subjects of the occult, demonology and history.  There was no scene for what we did. We created our own. We put up with a lot of hostility for being attention grabbers at a time when everyone was obsessed with the “message in the music” and how if you dressed for the stage and emphasized the performance you were somehow less of a musician.

We’ve always been based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is the dead center of Western Canada. Probably the most land locked place in North America.

For all those still not had the pleasure could you introduce the members of the band?

HRD – We have a large group, we rarely get every member on stage every time we organize a series of concerts, but the line-up that was on stage throughout 2011 has been:

The Horde – guitar/vocals, The Swarm – bass/vocals, The Fury – guitar, Vitruvius – synth/vocals,  Poison Candy – theremin/percussion/vocals,  The Luminous – electric cello, Rat King – drums

We see some shuffling of duties at the end of certain shows – Rat King playing guitar, or The Luminous picking up the bass. Our programmer and former drummer Eclipse (who played on Retake the Throne & Wicked City) also sometimes joins us onstage.

When did the current line-up get together?

The Horde

HRD – After we finished 2 years promoting “Wicked City” in 2006-2007, we met up with 2 members of what would become the Angry Teeth in a short while. We put together a big carnival themed event with some other collaborators from a local burlesque group and realized we couldn’t go back, and that this was going to be expected of us again and again.

The beginning of our relationship with the Angry Teeth in 2008 was the beginning of a new band line up as well. We gained Rat King, replacing our previous longtime drummer who had just moved to the UK and Vitruvius on synth. Luminous and Candy joined during the long process of recording This Treason (2009 – 2010), although both of them had been indirectly involved with the band before that.

The band has had quite a few changes in personnel over its fifteen odd years, has this been something that in hindsight has improved the bands diverse sound over the years?

HRD – New members have always provided the band with a new angle on the material. The songwriting core has been largely the same for 10 years, but the interpretation and delivery of the music has always stayed exciting and new. Everyone has brought something unique to the table that puts an imprint on the band, and becomes part of the sound and style.

RAT – Each new member brings with them something different which the band can use to expand on its main theme. So basically the band changes when its members change. With a band that’s been around this long, “improvement” is relative. For a band to improve it has to evolve and continue to be a positive creative outlet for all involved. Each album and lineup has done this; therefore making every effort the band puts forth a positive addition to its continuing career.

Is losing a member something you can ever get used to, especially if they have been part of the band’s life for a fair amount of time?

HRD – When it’s someone who was responsible for a major musical component it can be frustrating. I now look forward to the mystery of what we’ll be gaining rather than what we’re losing. We’ve never had a member leave on bad terms, it’s just that this group can be incredibly taxing to be a part of, and we all completely respect anyone’s decision to retire. We all have responsibilities and careers outside of the group as well, sometimes they take us places the band can’t go.

LUM- Every new member is a growth, but every loss is a tragedy. It’s a unique part of the sound that won’t be present in our future endeavors. Luckily, we console ourselves by the fact that we are truly a “club” of sorts and old members are never far away and usually willing to come back and moonlight from time to time.

How would you say The New Jacobin Club has evolved most predominantly over its existence, in sound and live?

HRD – The music angle is weird, I think it’s the delivery that has evolved the most. The delivery is dependent on the diverse line up of musicians in the group.  I tend to write songs with the group in mind, to play on everyone’s strengths and make the most of our instrumentation. So what we’re working on now will be sonically very different from what worked well with the line up we had for Wicked City, or the punky power trio that we were in the 1990’s.

As for the live performance, I think it evolved hand in hand with the sound. As we grew as musicians and songwriters we began writing more and more elaborate parts. It forced us to concentrate more on our musicianship. We’ve all improved with age, and the comfort zone of our technical ability has widened, allowing us to put more emphasis and energy into the performance. You could say that as the music evolved, the side effect was a more commanding and confident live show.

How does the songwriting process work within the band?

LUM – It’s definitely a collaborative approach. A majority of the ideas both musically and thematically are put forth by

The Luminous

our founding father, The Horde, but everything is laid out on the table in raw form and all of us get a chance to add our own unique spin on the idea and we collectively morph it into what you see on stage and hear in the recordings. And as our avid fans can attest, we are never “done” with an idea. Our records show how our changes in line up and personal taste have driven us to re-vamp older tunes into something that inevitably comes “alive again.”

Your last album This Treason is where we came across you, a release that it has to be said left us open mouthed with awe and pleasure. How long was it in the making?

HRD – It started in late 2007 with one song – the title track.  Then it turned into 4 songs that were linked together, for a possible EP.  By summer 2009 we were performing half the album live on tour, and it helped the process a great deal. It was a year of writing and rehearsing and another year of recording and assembling the elaborate package that included the promo video, live show, documentary footage and concept artwork.

This Treason is an involved yet easy to digest concept album, can you tell us about its theme and inspiration?

HRD – In 2007 the remains of a man who had been hung, drawn and quartered were found in an English abbey graveyard.  Speculation was that it was a portion of the mutilated body of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger, executed for treason n the early 1300’s. He was accused of sleeping with and manipulating King Edward II, “sowing discord” between the King and Queen. The story is so involved I don’t even want to start. It’s full of plotting, backstabbing and revenge, not a single character involved could be said to be any sort of hero, although we do make Hugh out to be a sort of sacrificial lamb for a world lost in its own wickedness.

Since 2007 there has been a lot of attention drawn to this enigmatic medieval villain. A fairly well received historical fiction novel was written about his family (“The Traitor’s Wife” – Susan Higgenbotham), which I was only made aware of when our album was about to be released. A UK writer, Jules Frusher, is currently working on a book that focuses more on the man himself, and I have corresponded with her on several occasions since we were both eager to exchange opinions on the subject.

Was this the first album to be made this way or did Retake the Throne and Wicked City also have a theme?

HRD – Retake the Throne and Wicked City both had unifying themes. Retake the Throne was about the evils of ruling political bodies and the ignorance of the masses to their oppression.  Victor Hugo’s depiction of the urban masses in “Notre Dame de Paris” as well as the French revolution was the main sources of inspiration, but in no way did the album tell a story.

Wicked City was a little more of a concept album. It is about the western world as a theocracy, a ruling class using religion to excuse their brutalities and atrocities. We covered a lot of ground on that one, from the Russian Revolution to witch hunts in colonial America.

Is it different to write an album with a distinct connecting theme compared to one made up of unconnected songs, especially lyrically?

HRD – It didn’t seem that different, it almost seemed natural. It was like having a story first, then fleshing out the script. When we decided on a whole concept album and not just a 4 song cycle, it progressed incredibly quickly. I laid down the storyline as a sort of song by song narrative with what lyrics already existed and made booklets for each band member so we could finish the complex soap-opera like tale as a group.

The album as it unveils its tracks feels like an aural play, or maybe theatre is the best term, is that how you look at it?

HRD – This Treason is a tale told from the point of view of different characters, each with their own story – making it more of a rock opera than just a concept album. In fact, the way the songs describe events slightly out of order is kind of like watching Pulp Fiction – the stories all cross each other’s path but viewing them in chronological order would not make sense.  We like to think that it is a larger story told episodically, which is how we treated it live, like a theatrical compilation of one person plays all tied together with a common background story.

The one description of your sound and band that is famously used is that you lie “Somewhere between the realms of mid-era Judas Priest in a straightforward rock/metal style and newer era Misfits vocally and visually.” With a sound that is vibrant with much more than that in our view how would you describe yourselves?

HRD – That was from an American magazine, Metal Mania or Metal Maniacs, around the time “Retake the Throne” came out almost 10 years ago. It’s probably time we stopped allowing ourselves to be described that way. I think the anthematic element in our songwriting and the way we deliver pop and rock sensibilities in a barbaric and colorful way is our signature. We have evolved far beyond “horror rock” to still easily describe ourselves that way.

LUM – We’re a Pandora’s box. Untold horror, ecstasy and wonder are found within and will manifest differently depending on who does the unleashing.

What are the personal influences that have made the biggest impact on yourselves as musicians and the music you create?

HRD – There’s so much – it would be impossible to name any that I would consider a general influence on the band as a whole. Killing Joke is a big one for some of us; we even covered Love Like Blood live and on our 2008 Final Entertainment Show EP.  Conceptually and musically I think they’ve been pretty important too. Canadian visionaries like Forbidden Dimension and Voivod are both also massively big influences in terms of inspiring our plans for a unified musical, visual and lyrical theme.

In addition to the traditional instrument set up there is the haunting and emotive sounds brought by the electric bass of Luminous and Poison Candy on the Theremin.  Did the songs you were writing guide you in this direction or the decision to add them came first?

HRD – Luminous first joined us on stage in 2009 before we began recording. We had lots of orchestral arrangements planned for some songs and we wanted to see how having a live string instrument on stage would enhance that rather than just hear it through a synth or backing track.  The theremin was originally written into the instrumental “Kronos Devours His Children,” but then we found a couple other spots for it so we could justify having it on stage when we performed the album live. Candy also plays some baddass tambourine and provides some backing vocal harmonies.

This Treason also contains a DVD combining a live performance with interviews and backstage extras, do you feel this was important to in a way make a personal connection with fans, showing the band as people and something all bands should do at some point?

HRD – Yes, and also to give fans elsewhere on the planet the chance to be at one of our shows. It was also almost a necessity, we aren’t just musicians in the studio, we are performers as well. We wanted to give people a live performance they could take home with them. I know a lot of bands are scared to do that sort of thing – to put their technical imperfections and personalities on display like that, but I think it does give the fans a sense of really having been there. I would hope that people watch it and not only think “I’d love to see this show in person” but also “I’d love to hang out with these weirdos.” Some of our biggest fans have turned into good friends over the years.

Your shows are events, more than just simple gigs they are a full theatrical performance. One assumes from the beginning it was different, so how and when did the shows evolve into the full experience they are now?

HRD – The band had toyed with theatrical bits on stage as far back as 2003.  Our first shows with extra theatrical performers in 2008 were not true collaborations, the sideshow and burlesque dancers performed separately and not with the band. It was summer 2009 that we came up with the first unified stage show – the “Cannibal Circus Roadshow”,  Rima and Firecrotch Jones call it a “psychodrama.”  As the band expanded as well as the membership of the Angry Teeth, bigger and more involved stage spectacles were added. We needed big stages with proper backstage areas to safely perform, so it was a pain in the ass to tour with. For our stage show to promote “This Treason” in 2010 we had a dangerous number of people on stage.

For shows as you said you expand with the addition of The Angry Teeth, can you tell us about them? They were a completely separate troupe before the band or evolved because of and with The New Jacobin Club?

TNJC with Angry Teeth

HRD – The Angry Teeth were a group that broke away from a larger act. They wanted to do more bizarre and theatrical things instead of just traditional sideshow tricks. They still do perform occasionally on their own.

How do you find first timers to your shows react with the combination of your music and energy being punctuated with the disturbing visuals of The Angry Teeth? How many leave in shock haha?

HRD – A surprising number of people that come to our concerts are there out of curiosity, and later tell us something like “that was WILD! When are you playing in town again?” And the coolest part is they are not there because they are fans of metal or goth or freakshows, they just came out because they heard it was a great show.  I think the shock factor in what the Angry Teeth do lies in the reality of it. We have a saying that we like to remind people of – “Gwar is not real, we are” The machetes and swords are real. The syringes and sledgehammers are real. The costumes are real, the armor is real. The fire and torches and chains are real. And when someone bleeds, it’s real. I think the audience picks up on this and they aren’t cheering out of shock or awe, but in the same way you cheer on a fighter who refuses to stay down.

Watching the DVD that accompanied your album This Treason, the visuals the Angry Teeth bring onstage seem connected to the song that surrounds them, so do you all as one decide on what the girls bring to a gig at those points or do you trust and give their ideas full independent rein?

LUM – As can be imagined, there is no “standard” way that those girls do anything. They’ll bring forth an idea that they’re really excited about pursuing and we’ll try to work it into our set or we’ll express a visual that we want to convey and they’ll devise a way to make it happen. It’s always a work in progress making the different genres of art complement one another, but we really enjoy pushing the boundaries of “the experience.” At the end of the day, we aim to entertain. That’s what it’s all about.

Do you change the live show from gig to gig or play the same show across a tour or series of gigs as with for example, around the release of This Treason?

HRD – Typically we prepare a stage show for a series of concerts, like a touring theatre production. The more elaborate ones are conceptual collaborations with the Angry Teeth that usually see some sort of disturbing or enigmatic story unfold with the music. The “Cannibal Circus Roadshow” tour 2009, “Acts of Treason” 2010 and “Moral Adventurers” in 2011 were like this. A few elaborate shows are only performed once, like the infamous “Ragdoll Tea Party” show we did in late 2009 some of which appears on the DVD included with This Treason.

Home city is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, not known for its musical heritage around the world. How is it for music and how has it if at all, helped shape your music and direction?

HRD –In a smaller more secluded community you stick out that much more. I think it trained us to be unafraid of making a spectacle of ourselves. Groups from bigger cities have such a conservative attitude about what’s cool and what’s not. We have absolutely no inhibitions. I would say that’s what Saskatoon gave us.

Our hometown did get some major press in Rolling Stone when the Sheepdogs (from Saskatoon) made the cover last year. They wrote an article on what Saskatoon was like and made it sound like a northern backwoods village full of drunks, prostitutes, hockey hooligans and really seedy bars with horrible music playing in them. Perhaps there are a few bits of truth in that, but the music and arts scene here is unbelievably vibrant. Bands from the bigger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver often comment on how busy and diverse the scene is here despite our small size and population. Amigos Cantina, the club that we filmed “Inside the Cannibal Circus” at was named by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Council) as one of the 20 most important live venues in Canada.

With the size of Canada and vast distances between some cities how easy is it to expand beyond your home area through the country let alone into the world?

HRD – It’s tough. It sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. We are a 5-6 hour drive away from any city that would be considered “big.” Any band that tours Western Canada puts some serious mileage under their belts just to play a handful of shows. We have recently begun to be more aggressive with our online presence to balance that out.

You have shared stages with the likes of Nashville Pussy, Groovie Ghoulies, KMFDM, and VOLTAIRE, a distinct diversity of sounds. It is not a surprise your own diverse sounds fit such a range but how did the individual artists fans take to you?

HRD – Or did you mean how did our fans take to them? Haha…I’m kidding, sort of. The guitarist from Nashville Pussy is from our hometown; they’re loud and obnoxious and breathe fire, so we fit in fine. Interestingly enough, the only time I’ve ever heard that we didn’t fit well on a bill was with KMFDM.  They’re more techno-based, and we were actually playing in front of a sizeable audience who had never heard of us. We have several different species of fans – the punks, the metal dudes, the goths, the garage rockers, the artsy types; our appeal to all sorts of different people is what gives us our healthy draw.

Rat King

From the band and all its public face, the world only knows about you as musicians and the band personas. How important is it to you to have that distinct image and privacy too, or is it ‘merely’ another part of the drama and theatrical power of The New Jacobin Club?

RAT – For me, it’s an extension of the theatrical element of the band. I use it to separate my everyday self from the stage in order to achieve the best performance possible.

What has The New Jacobin Club got in store for 2012?

HRD – we’ll take some time in spring to write new songs and promote our new EP “Left Behind” with some western Canadian tour dates during which we will also be trying out some new material on stage. We always tour with new material before we record it. There are plans for a sort of 15th anniversary compilation, probably containing some new tracks, but it is still in the early stages of conception.

Thank you so much for letting us into the world of The New Jacobin Club. It has been a pleasure.

Before you ending would you like to leave a last thought or comment?

HRD – It is more than a pleasure for us to talk with you. We value our fans outside of Canada immensely. In the digital age we can easily monitor our popularity outside our country, and the UK as well as continental Europe has given us a lot of encouraging support.

And lastly how about giving us something to intrigue about the people behind the personas that make up The New Jacobin Club?

HRD – We are a multi-discipline artistic endeavor. We embrace everything. Within our group we have a painter and art teacher, a radio personality, a film director, a dance instructor, music teachers, a freelance journalist, a post secondary math instructor, illusionists, and the obvious performance artists that you see with the Angry Teeth. Members of this band also participate in other groups that play country and bluegrass, synth pop, experimental post-rock and Renaissance music.

Read This Treason review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-new-jacobin-club-this-treason/

Read The Angry Teeth Interview @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/interview-with-raunchy-rabies-of-the-angry-teeth-freakshow/

RingMaster 06/02/2012

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