Venturing to where music impacts upon the foundry floor, Eyeplug’s Industrial pages are a melting pot of white hot sounds and pneumatic rhythms.
Venturing to where music impacts upon the foundry floor, Eyeplug’s Industrial pages are a melting pot of white hot sounds and pneumatic rhythms.
FOG project was an idea hatched during a fog drenched, cold and wet evening walk to the pub in October 2011. The manifesto is to record dark electronic songs but mask them in a joyful way. Originally our debut song Tired was recorded in a booze fuelled recording session. A few people who heard it went mental over it and convinced us put it out. We did – and with a little help we infiltrated the UK’s capital attaining radio play at BBC Radio London, XFM London and at one point Radio 1, but we didn’t hear it ourselves. Our studio is in a constantly shifting state and is often pulled apart and rebuilt in different locations. We’ve even tried recording in the car but the laptop battery went flat before we could really do anything.
01 How did you get started in music?
We met at an amateur dramatic group and realised we had an equal interest in writing and recording music. We shared demo tapes and decided to give recording together a try and it just worked and has continued to work.
02 Where did your direction come from?
A natural love and need to create art. It sounds corny but it’s something we both do like it’s heaven sent. Sure we both struggle creatively from time to time but it’s not meant to be easy is it!
03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?
We don’t like the idea of despising other musicians. They’re just doing what they do whatever their driving factor is. If they make an unappealing noise then we just don’t listen. Whatever you do or say the music is still there afterward so that hatred never really achieves anything.
Collectively we share a similar taste in music from the likes of Prince, the Beatles, U2, Gary Numan, Radiohead, MGMT, Thomas Dolby and many more. It all influences us somewhere but we try and remain true to ourselves and create music for ourselves.
04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?
It could be anything really. A bad day or news report could influence a narrative whereas daily sounds like a pneumatic drill or hammering in a certain way or pattern could inspire a rhythm or groove. Ste once heard a song in the distance wrongly and drew a completely new song from it which amazingly didn’t sound like the one he had heard wrong.
05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?
We’re not a live act, we’re songwriter / producers so don’t have any plans to get out on the road as most of our music would be just backed via a computer. We could technically just press play and then go to the pub but I don’t think that would go down well with a crowd. Festivals we would consider. We would stay out of the pub for them.
06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?
It can vary. Sometimes the lyrics come first other times the music does. Our songs usually carry quite a dark message if you stop and listen to them and this can be reflected in the music sometimes but usually we create a contrast between then words and the overall sound of the tune. Subject matter is usually relating to life, loves and pain – however we have recorded a track about an abandoned Third Reich robot project called Heil Robot so anything goes really.
07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?
Largely we’ve just got better equipment and software and our skills in producing have developed over time. Other than that if you listen to our early work compared to today we’ve remained consistent.
08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?
Our biggest challenge continues even today which is trying to get our music out to the masses. Everyone says social media is the way forward but it just isn’t. We have our pages but interaction is so slack and it’s not been for the want of trying to engage our fans. We very quickly accepted that nothing has changed, you still need pluggers, you still need a PR machine and at the very least you need to be able to make friends with industry people and be able to ring round and get your music played wherever you can.
Understanding how radio stations work, how they’re play listed and which stations are owned by big groups helps because you know who to target with your music and who to not bother with. This isn’t something you overcome – you just have to keep on keeping on and keep the faith. One day your music will fall onto a really useful persons desk… one day that day will be yours!
09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?
We don’t do covers. We barely have time to write and record our own music never mind other peoples. Sometimes we’ll nick bits from other songs though, that’s always good for a laugh because people never notice.
10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?
We’ll still be churning out the music; doing it independently and wherever the music takes us you can guarantee we’ll be happy.
11 Who would you most like to record with?
Nobody springs to mind I’m afraid. We’re such fast workers that anyone who we joined with would probably walk out in frustration after the first few hours. We don’t like faffing around too much – the pubs are calling.
12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?
We’ve got an album coming out before the end of 2013 called “Zoltar Speaks” and it will be available on iTunes and Amazon MP3. No Spotify for us anymore – streaming music is grim because it does away with a need to commit to a band or artist. Years ago your only option was to buy an album either on vinyl, cassette or CD and once you did you would feel an obligation to listen to the whole thing because you’d bought it so you might as well.
With MP3’s that’s all gone. You don’t have to buy an album; you only have to buy the tracks from it that you like which are usually the ones you’ve heard on the radio – so you’re letting other people make your mind up for you. The sense of exploration has gone.
Even with streaming you only get 30 seconds into a track and you find yourself skipping it to something you know. It’s all too immediate; it’s all destinations and no journey. It’s such a shame but we’d rather people buy a track and become our spiritual friend rather than stream and discard us.
The next single will also feature a special puzzle that you can do on our website: fogproject.co.uk, In order to get a copy of the MP3 you will need to solve a puzzle and in doing so you unlock various parts of the track. Unlock them all and you get the full track otherwise you end up with just bits – you might end up with just the drums or perhaps bass and vocals. It should be fun.
Link to buy the current single: itunes.apple.com/we-are-one-single
We Can Elude Control – De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill on Sea Sat 9/6/12
It’s always an adventure to visit Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion, and this time, put to highly appropriate use. In among Cerith Wyn Evans’ shimmering light sculptures, the festival of electronic / industrial music attracted a small but dedicated crowd of enthusiasts, some with children in tow, to what felt like the last town in England. Gazing out to sea, the Royal Sovereign Light Tower seven miles away in the English Channel, the feeling of isolation seemed apposite to the music of Evol et al showcased today.
Your friend Scenester’s favourite music is a long way from this computer generated sound, and I admit to finding little to enjoy in the seemingly endless sets of pounding, buzzing electronic noise, accompanied by fuzzy, spidery visuals, reminiscent of dragging a magnet across a computer monitor. My opinion wasn’t shared by the skaters, shine heads and post Goths who made up the majority of the audience. They clapped, and some even danced, to the passages of white noise, stereo ping pong matches and symphonies for power drills that passed for music here.
The citizens of Bexhill on Sea, taking the air, walking their dogs and enjoying the bright sunlight of this June afternoon seemed completely oblivious to the plodding, metronomic beats that gave the De La Warr Pavilion an extraordinary heartbeat today, as no-one appeared to wander in to investigate.
It was with some relief and affection that I saw the approaching figures of Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti take the stage of the auditorium, with only a large projection screen and a wide table filled with computers to accompany them. In their sensible clothes, they cut fairly anonymous figures, and I couldn’t banish the image of them from my mind, as two Treasury ministers about to expound on quantitive easing.
Their set was comprised of working mixes of ‘Desertshore’, Throbbing Gristle’s final LP, which will get a release in its own right on Industrial Records in October 2012. With recorded vocals by, amongst others, Blixa Bargeld, Marc Almond and Cosey herself, the music soothed in its adherence to more conventional ideas about rhythm and melody. With peaceful landscapes projected onto the screen and beautiful Arabic scale sounds; this could have been a particularly louche meditation hour at a mind/body/spirit festival. Chris and Cosey reminded us how emotional and involving electronic music can be, in the right hands.
Formed in 2006, power duo Deathline have steadily built momentum via an initial EP and barnstorming debut album SixtyNine, issued in 2009, which expanded their sound and brought them wider attention. Now working on their second full length set, EYEPLUG caught up with Jennie (bass, vocals) and Kaoru (guitar, vocals, loops) to get the lowdown on what’s coming up.
For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with your backstory, please explain a little about how you got together.
Jennie: We used to play in a punk/garage rock band, the Electric Shocks, and that’s how we met.
Kaoru: That was a long time ago, back in 2002, or 2003 – that band was together for about five years and then it kind of split into two bands and we were the smaller half.
What do you believe to be the advantages and (if any) disadvantages of working as a duo rather than as part of a larger group?
Karou: One of the big advantages is just that purely from a logistical point of view it’s much easier when we’re playing live, just because there’s a lot less to carry around and there’s no drummer to cart around, so it makes it easier when we’re playing in London, in Britain, or even abroad. We’ve gone and played abroad, just taking our guitars and we just borrow backline, and then we can just play a gig anywhere. So that’s a good thing. There are probably some bad things…
Jennie: There’s more people to have fun with [in a bigger group].
Kaoru: We don’t have as much fun because we actually hate each other! Also, we can’t be too spontaneous, because if you’ve got a live drummer then you can change things at the drop of a hat and you can also improvise things and make things up, but if you’re playing with a backing track, there’s less leeway – so it’s less fun in that way.
Do you ever draft extra people in for specific gigs or album sessions?
Jennie: We have done in the past – we’ve tried a couple of drummers.
Is that something you’re considering for the upcoming album?
Karou: Maybe – we haven’t really thought about it – we’re just writing at the moment.
There was quite a noticeable progression between your debut EP and SixtyNine – are you hoping to build on that this time around?
Kaoru: I think when we started out, we really didn’t know what we were doing because both of us were used to just being members of a bigger band and the creative part of the band wasn’t really us – we were just playing. So, when we started as Deathline we were making it up and learning as we went along and we recorded a few songs and that was what became the first EP. That was very much a work in progress – we just waited until we had a bunch of songs recorded and then we put it out. When we put the album out, we had a much better idea of what we wanted to sound like. We recorded and produced it all ourselves and we had a much better idea of how to get the sounds that we wanted and what sounds we wanted, as well. Now that we’re gonna do the third set, we have an even better idea and the sort of demos we’re doing at the moment sound much closer again to what we want to sound like. I think the first lot would have sounded like this if we’d known.
I understand you took your name from the 1973 vampire cannibal movie Death Line – Although I was pretty young when it came out, I can remember being terrified/fascinated by the trailer; how did you come across the film?
Kaoru: I think I just saw it on TV when I was a teenager – it just came on randomly – and I fell in love with it.
Jennie: You told me about it…
Kaoru: I’d told Jennie about it when we were in the first band, and then we were having a real struggle thinking of a name for this one … I think we were sitting in a pub somewhere, looking around, seeing if there were any names written on walls, or on menus, or anything like that and we couldn’t call ourselves ‘a pint of lager’, then Jennie came up with it.
Are there any other cult movies that you particularly dig?
Jennie: I’m really into horror films, in general – I love old Hammer films.
Kaoru: They’re good, because they’re frightening, but there are also really funny moments, as well and they’re really romantic, and I guess that because we’re not all serious with our music – we have a laugh as well – and those films sort of sum that up. And we’re both absolutely in love with David Lynch, as well – we just love everything that he’s done.
You’ve previously cited the Fall as being among your favourite bands – would you say that their influence finds its way into your songs?
Jennie: We’ve talked about this – it’s not direct – it’s just Mark E Smith writing songs in your head!
Kaoru: There are a couple of songs where I’ve had a dream where I’ve seen the Fall perform a song and I’ve thought, ‘that’s amazing’, and then when I’ve woke up, I’ve realised that I’ve written a song in the dream. So, I think it can only be attributable to Mark coming into my head and writing the lyrics.
What are your favourite Fall albums?
Kaoru: There’s a couple from the 1980s that I really like – Bend Sinister is one that I think is really good, and there’s a couple before that as well. But we really fell in love with them again when they came out with Country on the Click and Fall Heads Roll. We really liked Reformation too – we’ve basically gone and seen them together every time they’ve played in London, it’s kinda like going to church every year.
Have you ever encountered Mark E Smith?
Kaoru and Jennie: No.
Would you want to?
Jennie: I’d love to meet him! I think we’d get on really well [laughs].
Kaoru: He’s just a true original, but I don’t think that our music is at all influenced by the Fall.
What about in terms of attitude?
Jennie: I dunno … I don’t think that I’ve got an attitude.
Kaoru: You’ve got the most snotty attitude on stage that I’ve ever seen, it’s amazing. You’ll have to come and see us live, Jennie is a bit like Mark E Smith in a way, because she just stands and does her own thing and doesn’t take any shit.
Jennie: Thank you…
Kaoru: That’s a compliment.
We’ve spoken about the progression between the EP and SixtyNine, would you say that was down to you adjusting to being in the studio?
Jennie: Yes, and also, we want a particular sound and we’re working towards that. We listen to quite a lot of heavy stuff – we like that kind of music.
What sort of music has influenced the sound that you are aiming for?
Kaoru: I think that the Fall has influenced us a bit lyrically, because neither of us are conventional lyric writers – we’re not particularly good with words. One of the things about Mark that we really like is that there doesn’t seem to be any middle stage between what he’s thinking and what he’s saying in his songs and we try to do that when we’re writing and in order to access that, we kinda listen to people a lot – we have a whole bunch of friends who we have drunken conversations with and we’re constantly just writing stuff down because they blurt stuff out that when you keep repeating it, it suddenly then turns into a really interesting lyric.
Then from a musical point of view, we listen to so much music that it’s hard to tell where the influences are coming from – I’ve been listening to a lot of Black Sabbath recently, so I think that’s getting into some of the riffing that’s starting to go on. We’ve just written what sounds like a heavy metal song, and it’s really good.
When I reviewed the album, I ascribed a Stooges influence to ‘C’mon C’mon’, would they be an influence?
Jennie and Kaoru: Definitely.
Jennie: We listen to them a lot.
You don’t just confine yourself to rock’n’roll, especially in terms of the remixes, there’s electronic and dance elements.
Kaoru: That all comes from the fact that we’re not restricted in what we listen to and we like to pull in influences from all over the place. Jennie’s got quite a big background in loving industrial music when she was growing up. So there’s a lot of that coming in.
Your new material is ‘darker, richer and heavier’ than that found on SixtyNine – how would you describe the new songs?
Jennie: How would we describe them?
Kaoru: We don’t know … we just don’t know. Again, it’s just what feels good –we just do what feels good.
Do you have a particular way of constructing new songs, or does it vary? Could you explain a little about your creative process?
Kaoru: It usually starts off with me having a few ideas for songs; I’m kind of writing little riffs and melodies and chord progressions and stuff, and I try to bring them into the mix fairly early. Jennie acts as the good taste filter, ‘cos a lot of the stuff that we originate doesn’t end up being recorded or being played live. Then we just work on it. Jennie works out melodies and then we put the lyrics together – the songs, wouldn’t you say, take a long time to write sometimes?
Jennie: They do actually. Sometimes we come back to some old stuff that we’ve done and work on that.
Kaoru: It’s not like a conventional songwriting process where we sit down and write songs, rehearse them, and perform them. A couple of the songs that we hope are going to end up on the new album were really, really early ones that we rejected even before the first EP, and we’ve come back to them and they seem to work better in this context now.
Would you say that was down to the way that you have developed as musicians?
Jennie: Yeah, maybe…
Kaoru: Maybe it was just that the time was wrong and the time is right now. They just feel more right…
Jennie: I think we just know what we want a bit better.
It sounds like your songwriting process is fairly organic – is that something that’s easier to do as a duo, as opposed to with a larger group?
Kaoru: Yeah, we were in a five-piece before and when we’d try and – that awful word – jam, it would just end up really soggy and awful. It’s quite exciting when we have a whole batch of new songs, I think we’ve got five or six at the moment that we’re working on.
Is there anything that you’re particularly excited about among those?
Kaoru: There’s a really new one, that is literally just a riff at the moment and I just whacked it down and we’ve just been listening to it and it’s the most heavy thing that we’ve ever done. I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be called something like ‘Devour’ or @Devour Me’, or something like that, but I’m not sure.
Jennie: I’m really excited about all of them, actually.
Would you say that between the two of you there’s an intuitive understanding, in terms of the creative process?
Kaoru: Yes … when we were in the other band, people used to say that we were like a little gang within that band…
Jennie: We wanted the same things and liked the same things, we’ve always been good friends.
Kaoru: I think, musically, we were closer to each other than we were to the rest of the band and it’s kinda grown from there.
What prompted the breakup of the first band?
Kaoru: Just drifted apart…
Jennie: It happened so quickly with the first band – we got a record deal and we played a lot and we were so busy for the first two years.
How have the new songs been going over live?
Jennie: Well – It’s been good.
Kaoru: The gigs recently have been really good. I would say that we had a fairly disappointing 2009, when it didn’t feel like we were doing anything new and we weren’t getting a lot of good reception at gigs, and then as soon as we started working the new stuff in the response got better, the gigs got better, the sort of bookings we were getting got better – ‘cos we haven’t really tried to book gigs…
Jennie: Last year we didn’t book any…
Kaoru: But people keep asking us to play, so we’ve done roughly one a month – and that’s just from sitting around waiting for emails to pop in, because we didn’t want to book gigs when we didn’t have a bunch of new stuff to do. But the interest is enough that people keep booking us.
Will you be doing a run of dates once you get the second album finished?
Kaoru: We hope so. I think we want to plan it a bit more this time, because it was all very random when we did the first album. We released the first one ourselves and it’s a lot of effort, to do that, and do all the bookings and do everything ourselves. So, it’d be really good once we have a whole bunch of stuff recorded, then we might start looking to see if we could get distribution or promotional support, or a production deal – anything that’ll help us out in some way, and I think that booking will be very important, ‘cos it’s really hard to book stuff yourself – it takes up a lot of time.
When are you hoping you have the album finished by?
Jennie: End of the year…
Kaoru: It’s going to take a while, but we’ve got the possibility of having someone quite interesting who might want to produce it, but that probably wouldn’t happen until the autumn, so we’re kind of holding out for that. I think we want to get a set of about 20 songs that we can whittle down and then if this works out, it’ll be really, really good, because he’s kind of a ‘name’ producer and that would really help us. I think at this stage, what we want to do is work with someone who can really help us realise the sound fully, and I don’t think we’ve done that yet.
Deathline on MySpace: www.myspace.com/thedeathline
To Order SixtyNine direct: http://thedeathline.bandcamp.com/album/sixtynine
© Dick Porter, 2011
These 10 tunes were culled from Spotify so represent what is searchable and findable and easily available. In terms of really über cool, hip, rare, obscure stuff you may have to look elsewhere. So limitations aside, Spotify is still a growing and great FREE resource for music lovers! Grab yourself an account today!