The Gaa Gaas – Close Your Eyes

art gaa gaas_RingMasterReview

It has been a long time in the waiting and an increasingly anticipated moment; that being the time when something new from The Gaa Gaas would step forward to infest ears. That occasion is now with the release of new single Close Your Eyes, an irresistible taster of the new evolution and adventure in the UK band’s exploration of sound. Showing a rich vein in flavour and sonic variety without losing the hypnotic insistence of their earlier successes, the track is simply going to have old fans drooling and a host of new followers entangled.

Formed after a garage punk night event at a venue in St Helier on Jersey in the Channel Islands, by vocalist/guitarist Gavin Tate, The Gaa Gaas spent their first two years honing their sound and becoming a potent live proposition on the island, before relocating in 2005 to Brighton, then later London from where they switch between the two. Their hunger to play live took the then trio, across the UK and Europe with shows and tours, a success in turn building an eager fan base stretching outside Britain as far as France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden. The following years saw the release of two EPs to strong success and the embracing by internet radio shows and stations alone, of songs like the 2010 James Aparicio (Nick Cave, Mogwai) produced and Robert Harder (Brian Eno, The Slits) mixed and mastered debut single Voltaire and the equally devoured Hypnoti(z)ed.

As suggested, recent times have been a quieter affair with the band though work on their first album has been an on-going adventure. Now with an inescapable new maturity to their sound and bold expansion to its tapestry, the foursome of Tate, keyboardist Peter Hass, bassist Jamey Exton, and drummer Stewart Brown, have a new piece of virulent temptation ready to entice and thrill. Like a gift placed in the hand by a loved one making that certain request to prolong the surprise, Close Your Eyes had an air of excitement to it even before a note is heard, something all their fans will no doubt equally feel.

The Ali Gavan (former member of The Electric Soft Parade) produced song strokes the ears with a single raw caress of guitar first, its resonance remaining as a sonic mist brews up around it. It is a swift and firm coaxing which soon parts from the inside, opening the way for the eager stroll of the song to bound through. With a punkish rockabilly like swagger to its rhythms and hooks, the track instantly has ears gripped; only strengthening its hold as Exton’s bass flirts with, Brown’s beats jabs, and the sonic web the band is renowned for envelops the senses. With Tate’s vocals potently leading the lure, a new melodic infectiousness reveals its growth within the band’s sound. It is a tempering to the caustic nagging potency the band has always shared but another compelling hue only adding depth and might to the great post punk/noise pop catchiness which coats the swing of the proposal.

Like a mix of The Horrors, Wire, The Adverts, and The Three Johns, yet openly individual to The Gaa Gaas, Close Your Eyes worms under the skin and into the psyche in no time. As suggested, it has the prime recognisable sound of The Gaa Gaas at its heart but feels like the key to a whole new adventure which the band has obviously been working on across that recent calmer period in their emergence.

Backing the single is the siren-esque Indian Giver. Originally composed as an instrumental, the track has become an even richer provocative embrace of the senses since Tate’s dissonance scented harmonic vocals have merged with the song’s sonic imagination and early Cure/Artery like atmospherics. The result another dramatic incitement of the psyche through seductive tempting and provocative majesty.

With both tracks taking the listener into unique and individual landscapes of suggestiveness , all that is left to say is roll on their new album set for later this year and roll on the big bold spotlights surely set to crowd in on The Gaa Gaas if the single is the sign of glories to come.

Close Your Eyes is released February 29th via Movement-2-Records @ https://thegaagaas.bandcamp.com/album/close-your-eyes

For more info check out https://www.facebook.com/TheGaaGaas and to hear more of the band’s new songs head over to https://www.facebook.com/events/1034320063257409/1047980888557993/ at 23:00 GMT also on the 29th February.

https://twitter.com/The_Gaa_Gaas

Pete RingMaster 29/02/2016

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New Jacobin Club – Soldiers of The Mark

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Photo credit: Kathryn Trembach

It has been four long years since the release of the attention gripping and highly enjoyable shock rock opera This Treason but at last Canadian gothic rockers New Jacobin Club return with its successor, the equally thrilling Soldiers of The Mark. A leaner and more creatively aggressive encounter which leans arguably more to the horror punk side of the band than the band’s previous releases, it still voraciously embraces the theatrical drama and gothic elegance which is the trademark of the band and what sets them apart from the crowd. Soldiers of The Mark is overall though rock ‘n’ roll at its best, the band employing a wide range of flavours and styles in the body and musical narrative of a concept album which is sure to leave fans and newcomers even hungrier for the band’s inventive contagion.

The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Xerxes Praetorius Horde (aka The Horde), the Saskatoon band emerged in 1995 as a trio but had expanded in sound and size to a ten-legged tempest of unique incitement and expression by the time of their self-titled debut album in 2001. Fourth full-length, This Treason saw the band as a seven-piece unit pushing their sounds to new depths and heights whilst live, and often accompanied by the performance artists known as the Angry Teeth Freakshow, New Jacobin Club became renowned as not only one of Canada’s but metal’s most startling and exhilarating live acts. Across the years their reputation has continued to grow as the band shared stages with the likes of KMFDM, Voltaire, The Groovie Ghoulies, Nashville Pussy, and The Nekromantix amongst many. As mentioned it has been a fair gap between albums but Soldiers of The Mark shows the band has lost none of its potent visual and musical temptation but with a new line-up honed it into a more diverse and seductively predatory proposition.

Themed by the riveting premise that “a Turn-of-the-Century Gentleman’s Hellfire Club holds meetings and conducts depraved rituals to help bring about the end of the world as described in the Book of Revelations”, the album opens with The Mark. Instantly intrigue drapes over firm beats and a hazy glaze of guitar and keys which themselves hang over the imagination, coaxing thoughts to swiftly play with their tempting. It is a slow and strangely intimidating atmosphere initially but soon stirred up and twisted into a hungry charge of raw riffs and thumping rhythms led by the distinctive snarling vocal charm of The Horde. There is no escaping the tracks infectious primal bait or the emotive elegance of cello from The Luminous which strokes thoughts from within the striding persuasion of the song. Not for the last time on the album, a Misfits like breath flirts with ears but as a passing whisper immersed in the exotic imagination of the band, its hints pale against the bewitching theremin skills of Poison Candi and the dark emotive shadows cast by the cello. Driven by the stomping beats of drummer Rat King and further coloured by a punk tenacity bred by the guitar, the track is a compelling start to the album and immediate declaration that New Jacobin Club are back better than ever.

A classical stroke of guitar strings brings the following Parade of Innocents potently into ears and imagination, it’s slightly Latin hue evolving into a magnetic mesh of sinew sculpted beats and reflective melodies which are soon PromoImageabsorbed in the drama laid by the keys of Mistress Nagini and the throaty bass lures of The Ruin. It is an enthralling start which expands into a mix of Type O Negative and The Damned to give some idea of the delicious presence of the song. As with any NJC track though every moment is just an individual turn in its journey and narrative, a fresh twist coming here through the vocal temptation of Poison Candi which seizes the centre stage. Musically the song turns and swings with sonic ingenuity and invention from all sides yet that slimmer feel and texture to the song talked of earlier is evident showing that the band’s songwriting has again remarkably matured between releases.

Champagne Ivy brings fifties seeds to its gothic punk presence, its bass and cello croon casting shadows which are simultaneously lit by the swagger of the guitar and the band’s vocals. Again it is just one aspect as heavy metal riffing teases ears within a theremin swoon and darkly stringed seduction, producing a Volbeat meets Mötley Crüe incitement but different again. Its masterful enticement is soon left in the shade by Angel MMXIV and even more so A Grey Day to Die. The first of the pair is led vocally by Poison Candi and also parades heavy metal flames this time on a short but pungent gothic horror punk canvas. It is raw and unfussy, pure rock ‘n’ roll to greedily devour before the bigger meal of its successor. The second of the two roars and threatens in one breath and then unleashes some of the catchiest gothic pop enticing you could wish for. King Rat punishes the senses with his venomous swings whilst riffs growl with every note as the bass prowls the senses but it is only matched and enhanced by the virulent chorus and its anthemic contagion musically and vocally. Imagine Calabrese and March Violets in league with The Creepshow and you get an idea of the addictive majesty.

From one pinnacle to another as Into the Fire steps up next, a gentle provocative caress of chords and the melancholic beauty of the cello warming thoughts straight away. It is a transfixing entrance which only grows as romantic melodies and expressive shadows grip the song and ears. Like a bridge to This Treason, the song of all upon Soldiers of The Mark draws on the resourceful gothic rock invention of previous albums whilst exploring a fascinating rock pop and progressive ideation.

The fiery sonic mystery of Garthim makes for the next compelling endeavour. Bringing a texture rather than narrative, vocals talk from a distance, submerged in the gripping and haunting instrumentation which spills menace and apocalyptic beauty. It is a track for the imagination to run with for varied exploits, every swerve of its almost hostile causticity and its persistent melodic intrigue setting up the appetite for the outstanding romp of My Smile. Folkish in its infectious charm and rockabilly like in its tenacious enterprise, the track bounces around like an offspring of The Horrorpops but tempers its revelry with the mesmeric emotional drama of the strings and gothic keys alongside the sheer inescapable seduction of the theremin.

The album ends as strikingly as it starts with firstly the exceptional Seal of Metatron igniting the passions. With sonic washes lapping senses from time to time, the song is an aggressive yet controlled storm of heavy rock and gothic passion which takes every opportunity to wrong foot and surprise ears and thoughts with its innovative exploration. Its scintillating proposition is backed up by the irresistible rock ‘n’ pop of Return to Eden. With the cello melodically sighing around the pop vocal delivery of Poison Candi, the song instantly seduces before firing up feet and emotions with its unstoppable contagion. The track is gloriously mischievous in tone and vivacity, reminding easily of The Rezillos, yet has a psychobilly edge which only pushes its drama to richer success.

Soldiers of The Mark is New Jacobin Club at a whole new level. The band is still one of gothic rock’s finest protagonists but the band has now set down firm marks in rock ‘n’ roll a whole with rewarding recognition surely set to follow.

Soldiers of The Mark is available now digitally, on CD, and as on 12″ Vinyl with a hardcover companion book @ http://www.newjacobinclub.com/webstore

http://www.newjacobinclub.com

9/10

RingMaster 03/09/2014

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Interview with Gavin Tate of The Gaa Gaas

The Gaa Gaas Brighton Aug 2011 by Katherine Missouri

The Ringmaster Review ever since being seduced by The Gaa Gaas debut single Voltaire has eagerly and persistently tried to convert all and sundry to their psyche punk/post punk beauty through word, voice and with the kind help of The Reputation Radio Show. Neglectfully we have not actually got the band to sit down for an interview so we remedied that by grabbing the time of singer/guitarist Gavin Tate from the band to catch up on all things The Gaa Gaas as well as taking a look back on their early days.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review

Please introduce the members of the band.

Hoorah! We’re the artists formerly known as Gavin, Chris and Mark.

How did The Gaa Gaas begin?

It all started in my Mum’s garage, got some amps and a drum kit in there and put loads of posters over the walls and ceiling (a couple of nude lady ones as well, I’m not going to lie much). We began just jamming as an instrumental trio and then soon found a poor excuse of a P.A system for the vocals and that’s when the Police started showing up every night!

What inspired the band name?

We were a bit off the rails in our younger days, so when deciding on naming the group, The Gaa Gaas seemed like the ideal title and it still has relevance even now.

Was and is there a vibrant music scene over in Jersey? 

Yes but it’s long gone now, an amazing garage punk night called BOMP kicked off around 2002 held at the best venue in Jersey which was called The Q Bar now The Live Lounge. It was a 7 night a week place and BOMP was on Thursday nights; they would bring some really good bands over and have local support. There were a few other great nights there as well, an indie night called Moroccan’roll and some great Drum&Bass/Motown/Reggae nights.

There seems to be a more frequent emergence of strong and very diverse rock bands from Jersey in recent years, besides yourselves we have come across Top Buzzer and Hold Your Fire to name a couple. Is there less distractions to take youngsters away from music there than elsewhere in the UK for example do you think?

I think most towns with not a lot produce the best bands and I’ll be honest in saying Jersey didn’t offer a lot to musicians aged 17 – 25 apart from a long fight to play your own material in clubs, most club owners always wanted bands to play covers which was rubbish if you wanted to play your own songs to people. In a way it made us want to escape!

You moved away from the island, relocating to Brighton. Was this a necessity for you and is for all bands really hoping to make progress?

You can’t do anything more than play the big local festivals in the island. You’ll get promises but they never happen. The only way you can do it properly is to move somewhere else, not just the UK. I know bands from Jersey who have started up in Europe and are doing really well; it just takes a lot of ammunition and a few massive guns!

As distinct as your sound is anyone who hears it can name some of the influences, for the record though what are the major influences musically which have shaped or flavoured your creativity?

There are so many. I’d say The Fall has really shaped us, I love every era and they’re still producing great records to this day!

Many I have introduced your music to fail to notice the ‘Almost Red’ era Killing Joke sounds whereas it seems obvious to me, is it them or me? Haha

We’re always getting compared to either Killing Joke or Bauhaus and when I told my Dad about it he said (in a scouse accent) “Think of it as a massive compliment Son” so I think you might be right on that one! 😉

There seems a definite revisiting back to the post punk era with bands recalling inspirations from the likes of Joy Division, Wire, Pil, Gang of Four etc, do you think you may have instigated that a little yourselves?

I hope so. I was gutted when groups such as Twisted Charm and Neils Children split up ‘cos there were lots of bands just trying to sound exactly like Gang of Four because it was in at the time, though I thought both those acts were really on to something and had produced a great sound that was their own by experimenting with those type of influences. There are some other really good bands instigating it at the moment like… Wild Palms, O.Children and Disconcerts.

Do you still see yourselves as part of an underground movement with this new emergence of bands?

We’ve never really felt part of any movement. We originally started because of bands like The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and the whole garage revival so if we’re part of anything I think it would have to be that. It’s been slow for us being from Jersey and having to relocate but I’m happy with everything we’ve done so far and the debut album is going to be a reward to everyone who has helped us along the way!

Your debut single Voltaire was unleashed in 2010 on The Playground Records, how was that initially received?

People couldn’t believe the transformation of the band. We were always trying to look like a band and always ranting about being in a band but after the single was released we actually had it written in stone. There were 8/10 reviews, some reviewers hated my voice and some loved it but I think the statement was made and I always wanted the first release to make a strong impact!

The single was produced by James Aparicio (Nick Cave, Mogwai) and mastered by Robert Harder (Brian Eno, The Slits) , how did those link ups come about?

We were put in touch with James Aparicio through our former record label and when we signed to The Playground team we were introduced to Robert who we plan to continue working with, the man is a genius!

I mentioned Voltaire as your debut but there was the Repulsion Seminar EP before that. Tell us about that and are the tracks are still available in some form?

The only hard copy releases we have are the Voltaire 7″ vinyl that we had to get pressed up ourselves as we were messed about by the label. There were 200 copies of each of the EP’s but they sold out pretty fast!

You took a long time to release anything officially was this down to the band striving for the exact sound you wanted or merely lack of opportunity and finance?

I think a lot of it was to do with relocating. Brighton isn’t the easiest place to get known. When we first arrived there you couldn’t get a gig, demos would be put to the bottom of the pile and we were looking at a 3 month wait just to play The Prince Albert but soon we managed to gig quite vastly and the name was getting more popular in London, it was a case of waiting for the press to take notice and then soon label interest started. We didn’t have the funding to be D.I.Y; I was stealing food every day to exist and putting my equipment in Cash Generator to fund touring. I don’t regret any of it though we’ve had some amazing times!

You have also had tracks featured on various compilations, with a new one out right now I believe?

Our first ever release was a psyche-garage cover of Plastic Bertrand’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi” released by Filthy Little Angels Records. It was for a compilation titled ‘1978’ with lots of bands covering songs from that year. Our cover got the best reviews and is a signature to our early sound. The Peter Out Wave compilation CD was released last week on Swedish label Peter Out Records, a 17 track album by bands from all over the world. They asked us if they could include Hypnoti(z)ed (Alt Version) on the album and we gave them the nod!

How does the song writing work within the band?

It’s made up of jams mostly. We got heavily in to The Stranglers ‘The Raven’ album and loved the improvisation they had so we started working on songs with the same analogy and it’s really worked out. I think bands that just go in to a room with a song wrote 2 hours before at home are really missing out on the musicianship that can be worked. Listen to (The Stranglers) and throw your Arctic Monkeys albums in the bin.

You are almost veterans of festivals not only in the UK but in Europe, which has been the most rewarding and pleasing to return to?

Drop Dead Festival was an amazing experience. Great bands and great ideologies! We’re due to play Fave Rave in Berlin again, that was one of my favorite European ventures, such a great city!

Do you get a distinct audience for your hypnotic and intrusive sounds or is it generally varied at shows?

A lot of the people that come to our shows are dark wave kids. They like the darker element of our sound and the groove that goes with it but we’re trying to mix it up a bit. The album is going to have a dance feel to it! The dance element in bands needs to come back and we’re hoping to revive that!

What have you lined up for the rest of the year gig and festival wise?

We’re relocating to London and starting to write and record the album in full, having a bit of time off over the summer but will begin playing shows again in August starting with a festival appearance at Vale Earth Fair in Guernsey with bands such as Roots Manuva and then we’re due to play some come back shows for a certain band later on in the year. We’ll announce a 12 date UK tour at some point as well, really looking forward to getting back out there!

Is performing live the most rewarding aspect of the band for you?

It’s definitely the most fun part of being in the band but I’d say the most rewarding aspect is when we have written a track, recorded it and hear the response from the fans. It’s all about the fans, they’re what keeps us doing it as well as our own passion to write, record and play. If they don’t like it then we give them a massive slap! 😉

Going back to compilations, I think you will correct me I am sure, it seems that your songs have been on more compilations than your own releases. Is that right and was it planned or just how things worked out?

Yeah I’d say that is true but I think it’s a good thing, I don’t know many other bands who get asked to be on a 2000 pressed compilation CD released in Europe without an album out. We’ve been quite lucky in that respect, completely fluked it!

What is next song wise in regard to releasing something?

Our next single is called ‘Statues’ and it sounds like the second chapter of Voltaire which is what we were striving for. It’s a faster pace and it’s a bit Twisty, people are gonna think of bands like Chinese Stars and Moving Units on this next release. The song has recently been mastered by Robert Harder whom has made it sound FAT.

Any chance of an album or multi track EP sometime soon?

We may release another EP but we’re concentrating more on writing the full album, we want to get it out there next year for our 10 year anniversary, god we sound old!

Many thanks for talking with us, much appreciated.

Have you any words for you’re the readers?

Learn about cooking, baking, meal planning, cuisines, entertaining, holidays and more with Allrecipes’ informative articles and step-by-step photo tutorials – allrecipes.com

And finally tell us the song or tracks which made the deepest impact on you as people leading to the choice of music as your life.

Gavin: The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction

Chris: Black Flag – TV Party

Mark: Led Zeppelin – Ramble On

www.thegaagaas.co.uk

Listen out for an upcoming special Bone Orchard show from The Reputation Radio Show featuring the new remastered by Robert Harder version of Statues.

www.reputationradioshow.com

The Ringmaster Review 22/06/2012

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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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The New Jacobin Club – This Treason

Though This Treason from Canadian shock rockers The New Jacobin Club has been out for over a year,  it and the band are new discoveries here at The RingMaster Review and because the find is so immensely enjoyable a review though late was an inevitable outcome. The first question was how on this internet connected earth it has taken until now for a band this good and formed in 1995 to capture these eagerly searching ears though the fact they have is all that matters.

Since its rise from the depths of its original conception in the dark creative minds of the original trio of which vocalist/guitarist The Horde remains, The New Jacobin Club have released four album and various EP’s, cassette singles and contributions to compilations, the first official release by the trio coming in 1998. The debut self titled album arose in 2001 and was the first to have bassist/vocalist The Swarm within the band’s dark ranks. Second album Retake the Throne was the moment the band really started to divert ears and eyes their way as college radio and international media began taking notice then in 2006 third album Wicked City and the single from it ‘Creeping Flesh’, pushed the band further out from their own home shadows as their undeniably eye catching live shows and wonderfully darkly intrusive sounds toyed with more and more senses. This Treason takes the band even further out into the masses with a wonderfully flamboyant theatrical wicked essence combined with impressive striking heavy intense sounds and senses treating dark gothic creativity.

Alongside The Horde and The Swarm the band consists of guitarist The Fury, Brother Vitruvius on keyboards, drummer Rat King, plus The Luminous and Poison Candy on cello and theremin respectively. Together they have created a gothic punk , rock metal veined tour de force concept album which takes the listener into its eager and black bloodied depths as it explores the relationship and events surrounding the true life and death of England’s notorious warlord Sir Hugh Despense and his relationship with King Edward II, or as the band’s website calls it ‘A morality play set to music’.

Having read The New Jacobin Club being compared to a mix of Judas Priest and modern era Misfits there was an uncertainty as to what they would sound like and maybe a little fear too not being an enjoyer of classic heavy metal. There was thought s that maybe they would be a band bringing the overblown pomp and excess of 80’s artists who over indulged with concepts and rock operas or maybe another Gwar type beast where they venture to close to ridiculous to win real credibility, though there might have been the warped corruption from the likes of Macabre to enjoy too. As the title track opened the album the theatrical grandeur was there, the welcoming soaring keys inviting with a flourish but then came a delicious grumbling bassline and gothic keys taunting the ear. One minute in here was one hooked, captured and trussed up victim to the merciless bombardment of pleasure feasting upon the senses. Tumbling riffs and dominant rhythms seize the ear as incisive hot guitars slither through  and the suggestion of sweet insanity  comes with the theremin intrusions. The track and subsequent songs have a little of everything and sounds from numerous sources but it is all distinctly The New Jacobin Club.

This introduction to the album and the tale to unfold could not be more satisfying and as subsequent tracks play and unveil the people and the events in the life of and leading to the death of our lead protagonist in the opener we are treated to an array of sounds, skill and pleasure. ‘Private Hell’ is a more heavy rock based track with Jerry Only like vocals, and gives reason for the often used comparison previously mentioned. The cello of The Luminous swarms and soars all over the track wonderfully and lifts it to even greater heights.

The musicianship of all is stunning as it offers up sounds and influences of bands like the two previously mentioned and often stated The Damned, Christian Death, Killing Joke, The Birthday Party and Maiden but others less expected spices oozed out too. ‘Countess Scorned’ offers up a taste of Wall Of Voodoo whilst the punk fuelled ‘The Fall’ is expanded with a heady mix of Asking Alexandria  and Alien Sex Fiend, and throughout one is reminded at moments of bands like The Mission, Southern Death Cult and fellow gothic bands. The best track of all on the album ‘Like Dogs’ which brings an irresistible mix of psychobilly spawned rock with a blend of The Cramps, Calabrese and Danzig.  A triumph that ignites the passions within and takes one on a primal dance around the length of its mighty display.  All proof that This Treason offers up a mesmerising array of sounds and despite referencing many it is all uniquely The New Jacobin Club once given their inimitable touch.

There really is not anything negative to be found about the album, even the meandering 13 minute epic ‘All Mourning Long’ with its abyss spawned bedlam that eats away at the senses and throws torment and despair by the moat full at the listener is wonderfully effective despite its testing soundscape and alarmingly hypnotic caustic aural assault.

The album comes in a cd/DVD package with an included live performance that corrupts as it engages and shows the band as dominant and irresistible on stage as they are aurally from the studio, and why The New Jacobin Club has graced shared stages with the likes of KMFDM, Nashville Pussy, Groovie Ghoulies, Voltaire and Discover Channel’s Guinea Pig show. Eventful, dramatic and most of all wonderful, everyone should have one.

http://www.newjacobinclub.com

RingMaster 06/01/2012

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