My darksynth band The Seven Whores of the Apocalypse was lucky enough to chat with the Hungarian Industrial / EBM blog Hun Industrial Tech this fall! The interview post is here.
The interview is in Hungarian, so we thought we’d share the original English version of the interview before it was translated. Here it is!
Minneapolis–Saint Paul, it is commonly known as the Twin Cities. We, Hungarians, know it only occasionally and mainly from American films, series or stories. For us, it’s kind of exotic touch of a vivid cyberpunk metropolis, a perfect source of inspiration for create dark electro sounds. How do you feel about this? If artists, musicians were to move there, what would you show them first?
Jason: I love how you see my home town! For decades I think Minneapolis was mainly known as the city Prince put on the map in the 1980s with Purple Rain. Now we have artists like Atmosphere and Lizzo doing the same, representing our city’s strong hip-hop / R&B roots. Independent rock is big here too, as is EDM. We even have a drum & bass scene, and yes, there is definitely a goth / cyberpunk / darkwave fan scene as well, although it’s a slightly smaller crowd. I think the city’s music styles have matured nicely since the 1980s. You can find live shows of just about any genre on a given weekend, which is pretty amazing. I’m lucky enough to live across the street from a nightclub that plays industrial / EBM / cyberpunk music. They’ve even played a few Seven Whores of the Apocalypse songs! I would take new residents on a tour of the industrial delights of northeast Minneapolis: the aging warehouses, vast train yards, and crumbling factories are darkly beautiful and deeply inspirational, especially in the fall. I’ll let Chris and Tom speak to our sister city to the east. Minneapolis and St. Paul are very close geographically, but there is a bit of a psychological divide between the two. A bit of sibling rivalry!
Chris: Growing up in the Twin Cities has taken the exotic out of it. I mean, there’s a Starbucks and McDonalds on every other street corner, it seems. The first location I’d take a recent transplant would be First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, the historic music club that’s been around for over 50 years.
Tom: I’ve lived in the twin cities for so long that it’s difficult for me to view it with an objective lens as to how much of an inspiration it is or isn’t for these sounds. At this point it’s just home. It’s all I’ve really ever known. That being said, I can easily see someone coming to the twin cities for the first time and potentially sensing those themes. While it may not be the most futuristic place compared to New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, it is certainly the largest metropolis for a long distance, and especially in the downtown areas at night the city lights, advertisements, and human activity can add a foreign and somewhat unearthly sheen. In addition, like most Midwestern cities the twin cities and their surrounding areas were once a thriving industrial area, leaving a large amount of century-old warehouses and factories, some of which are decaying and forgotten, others of which have been retrofitted for modern uses. All of these symbols of the past are interspersed with modern buildings, leading to strange sections of the cities where one can wander through multiple eras of architecture in a matter of moments. It can truly feel like a special place. However, I would rather show artists moving here some of our natural wonders, such as the ungodly amount of beautiful lakes in this state, or the seemingly endless forests of the north.
How big, and what is the character of the dark underground scene there? What kind of cohesion, cooperation can you report between the musicians, organizers, promoters and fans?
Jason: You can find goth / EBM nights at certain clubs a few nights a week. We also have a few monthly and annual events (like the upcoming Vampire’s Ball) that showcase live music and fun art and merchandise. The character is very straightforward cyberpunk goth, almost to the point of being a little stereotypical, but it works, and I love it! I’m sure most people find each other online and meet at the nightclubs. It’s a small but very dedicated scene.
Tom: I’m not as plugged in to the underground scene as I’d like to be, so I cannot answer this question adequately. My job keeps me away from the cities for extended periods of time, which makes it extremely difficult to stay a consistent part of it. I’d like to change that in the future, but for the meantime I am largely going to stay an outsider.
You share a common background in experimental dark ambient music, but 7W is not exactly a young newcomer band. Your sound shows that you are rich in professional experiences. I assume this is a longer period – from the beginning and prime time of industrial, EBM and dark electro movements. What were your formative experiences on the dark scene before you decided to start the 7W band?
Jason: We have an interesting age range in the band, but even our youngest member has a deep awareness of the history of industrial and experimental music going back to the 1970s. We love to watch documentaries on the US and UK industrial scenes, like Industrial Accident (2018) and The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (2011). I’ve probably been producing the longest, since the late 80s, so I bring that experience to the table. Chris and Tom are fine producers in their own right, and they know how to deliver stellar sounds and performances to our songs. My early exposure to dark music started with bands like Japan, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Gene Loves Jezebel, Psychic TV, Meat Beat Manifesto, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Coil, and Die Warzau. Many of these bands were hitting their peaks or just getting started around 1990. I remember going dancing one night in 1989 and a Ministry song came on and my best friend pulled me aside and said, “You should pay attention to this; It’ll be educational for you.” He was right! At first it was all very academic to me; for years all I really cared about regarding “dark” music was Music For The Masses and Pretty Hate Machine. I felt like a tourist when it came to other typical EBM artists like Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, and Front Line Assembly; they just sounded so harsh and unfriendly to my ears, given the super polished sounds of bands like The Cure and Depeche Mode. Another friend tried to get me into Cabaret Voltaire around the same time, but I just didn’t get it. In the early 90s I was far more interested in the burgeoning rave / techno / jungle scene, which drove my music career for years. It would be decades before I came back to dark music, and that’s when I landed on Coil. This was about 2008. I downloaded every album I could find, and Coil was all I listened to for a year. That was also the year I started making dark ambient music, which I continued until very recently, when I met Chris and Tom. So now it’s been a bit of an educational experience, going back and listening to all of those bands that my friends were trying to turn me onto in the late 80s and early 90s, and trying to get my arms around what made them tick, what made them sound so amazing. And that’s when I landed on Buried Dreams by Clock DVA, a real buried treasure of late 80s dark music that I wish I’d heard as a teenager.
Chris: I had been recording drone/dark ambient/sound collage since 2016 under the name The Creeping Man, but my experience was insular–I quietly uploaded a few E.P.s and albums to Bandcamp, but didn’t feel like I was a part of any “scene,” as I hadn’t reached out to anyone making similar music.
Tom: To my knowledge, Chris and Jason have years of experience playing in bands, producing on their own, going to clubs, concerts, hanging out in record stores etc. I have a pretty opposite experience. While they have been plugged into the scene for years, my experience is relegated to some concerts, but otherwise just messing around on my own with various types of equipment. I’ve played bass in a couple of rock bands over the years, but as people went to college and got jobs, most of those projects unfortunately fizzled out. While in those groups, on my own time I was experimenting with lyrics, synthesizers, drum machines, unusual production techniques and found sounds. As those previously mentioned projects ended, I started working on my own solo stuff, which eventually led me to Chris and Jason. I had been experimenting with dark ambient and found sound for years before then, but in the year or two before I met them I felt that it was time to get that stuff off of my hard drives, and actually release something for a change instead of letting it rot unheard.
Your names are quite eloquent, reflecting on our disintegrating world. I don’t remember a band with such a long name, maybe the legendary My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. 🙂 The Seven Whores of the Apocalypse – it’s like some strange biblical vision. What can you share with us about this? What was your first vision after finding each other on Bandcamp in 2019?
Jason: We formed The Seven Whores of the Apocalypse as a kind of love letter to a very specific album; for a time we were all quite obsessed with the gorgeous 1989 album Buried Dreams by Clock DVA. We wanted to capture the spirit of that album in our early singles, a sound that is very hushed and menacing yet forward-thinking and precise. Since then we’ve gotten much harder and louder. The name of the band sort of randomly sprang to mind one day. Most importantly it sounds badass, but it also has the pleasant effect that we can never be mistaken with another band with a similar name, which happens quite often in the music world. We like that our name is big and brash and slightly blasphemous. Our only worry is that some people might think the name makes us sound like a death metal band, which actually might not be the worst thing ever!
Chris: By the time I reached out to Tom via Bandcamp to say I was digging his stripped-down industrial vibes, he and Jason had already met online. Then I entered the mix, and because we were all in the Twin Cities, it seemed like it would be cool to try some sort of file-sharing collaboration, which resulted in the experimental album Three In A Cell. We didn’t necessarily have a vision at that time–I think it was more about testing the waters to see if we could stand each other in a collaborative sense. Like, was Jason going to be a big jerk and all bossy? Was Tom all talk and no trousers?
Jason: It turns out I AM a big, bossy jerk LOL!
Tom: The name was Jason’s idea, and to this day I have not actually asked him where it came from. I have always interpreted it as biblical, or at least rooted in Christianity to some extent, as you pointed out. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Whore of Babylon, Seven Deadly Sins etc. The first musical vision was to create dark electro industrial music. Jason introduced Chris and I to Clock DVA’s album Buried Dreams, and that record really captured my imagination. I had been, and still largely am, into various types of noise music as my primary focus, but that record excited me about this type of music in ways I hadn’t experienced since discovering Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb and Fad Gadget. Jason expressed interest in producing a darkwave/electro-industrial record inspired by his love of many artists, including the aforementioned Clock DVA. He asked me to contribute vocals, I believe because by that point my solo stuff was the only work out of us three to feature somewhat conventional vocals. Chris is incredible with sound design and video production, so it was decided at some point that he would provide samples and produce music videos using his signature public domain footage. Jason has years of experience producing dance music, so he produced the track itself using the audio sourced from myself and Chris.
Apocalypse… Now… did you imagine it like this before, like the one we live in now? Depravity and desperation?
Jason: For the most part I feel that there’s nothing new under the sun. Humanity has been causing and enduring depravity and desperation for millennia. Personally I believe we’re still living in the dark ages, in spite of our incredible technological advances in the last century. We still act like barbarians. Someday I hope we have a second renaissance when we wake up from this self-imposed nightmare, but I’m sure it’ll be hundreds of years from now, if humanity lasts that long. If and when that happens, I believe future humans will look back on this period of history — what we’re living through today — with abject horror. I live in the one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world, yet every month I read about another homeless encampment getting bulldozed by the police, racist cops killing people of color without consequence, or the endless violence that plagues our cities. It makes me fucking sick that we could let each other down like this. There’s a myriad of complex reasons and causes for homelessness and violence in the US, and I don’t mean to paint it all with the same brush. But it’s crucial to ask: how did we get here? How could we allow this to happen? But again, it’s nothing new. I suspect it’ll take a huge shock to the system, like proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life, real artificial intelligence, or some kind of horrid nuclear war to shake us out of it. I still have faith in humanity, but it’s waning. To quote Carl Sagan, we’re capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares.
Tom: The world is a strange place. I wish that we could know our future, but you can never entirely know what might happen next. The best that we can do is learn from the mistakes of our past, and try our best moving forward.
About your Wicked Hands EP. I admit, first time I was caught by its cover, that fairy tale girl underwater and slowly sinking…. I see few expressive album cover art in my life, but this really caught my eye. I expected some cold wave tracks behind this, but I was very surprised that the 4 track spread such a deep darkness, danceable rhythms, tight gothic mood and cyberpunk strength as well. How do you see this? What would you say about the background of the underwater cover art and the EP?
Jason: We’re so glad the cover worked! We went through loads of images and ideas, and even tested a few out with our friends. I think we landed on the floating girl after trying out a dozen or mock-ups. The underwater imagery reflects our initial inspiration from Clock DVA’s Buried Dreams, a deeply subliminal album. It also reflects our shared love of dark ambient, which definitely worked its way into the corners and backgrounds of the EP. As far as the music itself, we wanted to trace the same patterns established by bands in the darkwave and EBM genres, but also push the envelope and try out some new things.
Tom: In spite of Jason’s production and Chris’s videos and sound design being slick, obsessively detailed and expressive, there’s no denying the cold nature of them. Though much of Jason’s music is danceable, it’s not something that I would want to play at most casual parties, lest I wanted to kill the vibe very quickly. It is what the cover portrays, as though you’re drowning after being beaten into submission by a barrage of noise. Sonically it can be cold and unrelenting, somewhat similar in spirit to groups like The Klinik, that is, danceable and upbeat on the surface, but with a heavy layer of clinical harshness that can make it unpleasant for many to listen to. Audio production aside, this philosophy seems to extend to Chris’s (as well as Jason’s, as of the Wicked Hands EP) video work. Though his public domain footage can often be sourced from relatively regular things, such as romanticized and whitewashed American programs and PSA’s from the 20th century, there is no shortage of elements from footage with darker themes, such as propaganda, medical footage, and similar snippets from the darker side of a time which is otherwise viewed today largely through rose colored glasses.
Splintered is one of my favorite track. That memorable sonic rise lead in the song always makes me want to raise my hands high and stretch, I think that track is heart-wrenching. How and with what tools did you make this and the entire EP?
Jason: The EP was made entirely in Logic, plus the gear the gear that Chris and Tom use to generate sounds that are folded into the mix. Most of the synthesizers — including that iconic raised sound at the beginning of Splintered — are instruments that are built into Logic itself. We also use vintage synth plugins by UVI.net and KiloHearts. It was only after we finished Splintered that we realized how much it sounds like Depeche Mode’s Stripped. That was unintentional, but it’s a good reminder of how closely we carry our inspirations, and how large bands like Depeche Mode still loom. Plus Tom absolutely NAILED the vocals. I’ve never heard him sound better!
Tom: I’m very glad to hear that you enjoyed your time with Splintered. I can only hope that my lyrics and vocals live up to the song it accompanies, and that it’s worthy of a fraction of the respect deserved to the various people who influenced it. Jason would be a better one to answer this question regarding the production, as he is the producer and arranger for all audio aside from Chris’s sound design and my vocals.
You released an impressive insane tech/cyberpunk/sci-fi video for this track. Do you think there are superb sci-fi nowadays? Do we watch sci-fi films as an alternative reality that we will never get to?
Jason: That’s an interesting take! I never thought of it that way. Fiction necessarily exists in a parallel universe, one that shares a common history with ours. But a common future that we may or may not reach? It must be necessary to push our imagination to the limit, don’t you think? In order to inspire us to reach for new futures? Think of the science fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that inspired us to send humans to the moon. Fictions are necessarily aspirational, some more than others. I think we live in a golden age of sci-fi right now, with luminaries like Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival, Blade Runner: 2049) Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation, Men), and Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us, Nope) leading the way. The idea to use sci-fi imagery in the Splintered video was a bit random, almost like an experiment to try something out of the ordinary for us. We were pleasantly surprised to see how well it worked with the song. Honestly I cut that one together quite naively using clips from a stock footage website. Chris is the video genius of the group. His videos for Grinding Walls and Feed Me to the Void are bespoke masterpieces! I hope one day to catch up to him, but he has a long head start.
Chris: We all love sci-fi (and horror)! While plenty of sci-fi showcases imaginative alternate realities (Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, et. al.), I’m not sure I’d want to ever visit those worlds. The Borg? Uh, no. Lord Palpatine? Nuh-uh! And I don’t think I’d want Gothmog over for dinner. No, I’m fine with our current reality, as effed up as it is…
Tom: Given the sheer amount of science fiction works being produced today, there is no shortage of work being made that will soon become classics. Some personal highlights of the past couple years include Dune, and Love, Death, and Robots is an incredible series, though I have yet to see the newest season. My primary love is horror, so outside of some major releases or critical darlings, my knowledge on quality modern science fiction is unfortunately heavily lacking. I think that science fiction can certainly be used as a form of escapism to a hoped for time, or longing for a place and civilization that we may never arrive to. However, it’s tough for me to speak upon that angle since most of the science fiction I consume is absurdly bleak, and tends to focus on the more horrifying aspects of human nature and existence.
How much do you deal with European industrial and EBM music? Have you felt any (cultural, subcultural, music) gap that was or is happening on your continent and ours?
Jason: I think EBM has reached a point of maturity as a genre that you can find good music in just about any part of the world. Of course it’s almost impossible to listen to EBM without coming across some European artists. We feel the European influence very deeply over here. I hear tracks by non-US artists every time I go dancing at my local industrial club. The only gap I notice is the close marriage between European EBM and political imagery — lots of marching armies and uniforms — that US artists don’t seem to embrace as much. Over here EBM seems to be much more personal, and when it does get political, it’s railing against capitalism, not fascism. (That may be changing in the post-Trump world.) But I’m sure the contrary is also true. I bet there’s lots of cross pollination, with artists from all over the world influencing each other in ways they don’t fully realize.
Tom: I cannot speak for the other members of 7W, but the vast majority of my favorite artists in the industrial/EBM/noise world tend to be European. That is not to discount North American artists, as the 80s and 90s up until today have churned out no shortage of incredible groups that I love and cherish, but most of my favorite artists in this world tend to be British or Belgian, and my mindset when approaching music is very much rooted in what I have learned from acts like Throbbing Gristle, Dirk Ivens, Fad Gadget, Nitzer Ebb, and other European artists. I cannot speak to any gap in the scenes in Europe vs. North America. I would very much like to visit Europe at some point, but as a result of my never having been there, all knowledge is second hand, whereas I have lived in America all of my life, and see a thriving scene of most underground genres in many major American cities.
How do you see the evolution of the global industrial underground scene? For example, have you had new favorite music, albums or bands since Covid-lockdowns that you had never heard before and it was a big surprise for you?
Jason: We’re always looking for new forms of inspiration. A big one for me this year has been the synthwave genre. I’m obsessed with artists like Mitch Murder from Stockholm, Sunglasses Kid from London, and Phaserland from Detroit. I’ve been following the genre since about 2012, and it’s really blown up in the last few years. I’m sure Covid played a large role in that; so many people found themselves stuck at home with nothing to do. Why not make music? I’m an extremely picky listener. There have been a few artists who have surprised me in the industrial / darkwave scene — Black Nail Cabaret, Molchat Doma, and Autums spring to mind — but more often than not I turn my nose up at new music because I’m so elitist and I’ve convinced myself that everyone’s trying to sound like everyone else, and so few artists are willing to break new ground and move the genre forward. Of course that’s not true, but it’s how my stupid mind works. I’ve subscribed to every subreddit I can think of that touches these genres, and I try to listen to every song that gets posted. I’m always quick to like the post and follow the artist on YouTube and SoundCloud if I like what I hear, and I try to get my friends to listen as well. If I really like them, I’ll support them on Bandcamp and try to send them a personal message. I’m nothing without inspiration, so this is very important to me. Even when I’m being super elitist and picky!
Tom: During the Covid lock downs I mostly took deep dives into artists that I was already familiar with, mostly for some sense of comfort, but also because I had become complacent with my listening habits, that is, only listening to select tracks and albums from my favorite artists, as opposed to their whole body of work. I decided to change this by starting with Dirk Ivens, listening to every work that he had ever put out under the name Dive. This led me into a new habit of listening in which today I almost exclusively consume whole albums instead of select tracks, something I should have started doing much earlier. In terms of finding new music, I came out of lockdown with a few revelations, mainly that Bulgarian women’s choir music is awesome, and that consuming entire random albums of music that you would never otherwise listen to can be a source of incredible art, and inspiration you never thought possible.
In Europe, the use of analog and digital devices on the stage and studio is almost a matter of faith, as are the taxonomic issues of genre classification. You also use different instruments too, but sometimes it is mixed with vintage/analog electronics. What tools, DAWs, software programs, etc. do you push the most during 7W productive studio sessions?
Jason: Everything is done in Logic. Chris and Tom have their own instruments and send me samples to use. Of course we love vintage sounds, so we tend to focus on that, but we go out of our way to try new effects and arrangements to keep things fresh and push the genre in interesting directions. (For example, there’s an unmistakable Middle Eastern influence in our song Grinding Walls.) Genre classification is an interesting problem. If an artist makes techno, that’s what they make: techno! We dark music fiends are saddled with half a dozen genre names, maybe more. Recently we settled on calling ourselves a darksynth band, mostly because it’s easier to say and type than “EBM / electro-industrial / cyberpunk”!
Chris: Jason is the mastermind on the production end. From time to time, though, I’ll record synth hits/drones, whatnot from my hardware and send them to Jason for consideration. I’m currently using an Elektron Digitakt, Novation Bass Station 2, Aruturia Microfreak, and a Korg Electribe.
Tom: A better question for Jason and Chris. However, for vocals I use a Shure SM57 going into a Scarlett Solo interface, using the DAW Reaper to record my parts over the tracks.
Jason: Tom’s being too humble. He also sends me drum machine and noise effects that wind up in 7W songs. I don’t know what instruments he uses. It’s a mystery LOL!
The purpose of H.I.T magazine is to help, support and inform beginners and advanced musicians, incl. fans. Do you have such support programs, interfaces or communities in your country or city? How and with what help does a new formation usually start?
Jason: We probably do, but the ones I see are mostly on Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook. Earlier this year I tried to find more resources, like fan sites and Discord servers, but it didn’t really pan out. If there is anything in the Twin Cities other than Facebook, I don’t know what it is. I wish there was something more grassroots, and maybe there is! I hear young people these days spend most of their time on YouTube, so I try to focus on that platform as much as I can. I have yet to engage Tik-Tok.
Chris: In my world, the best support has been found via Instagram. Say what you want about the platform and the insidious nature of most social media, the folks who record experimental/dark ambient/drone/musique concrete and are on Instagram are lovely people. I’ve asked for and received a ton of assistance regarding labels, recording technique, synth/pedal recommendations, etc.
Tom: Currently my only real musical support network is Jason and Chris, along with some individuals who I am hoping to collaborate with soon on solo stuff. My job does not allow enough time to build those support networks, unfortunately, but I hope to change that soon. Otherwise, get together and just suck. Start a band, group, whatever. You’re going to suck starting out, so you may as well wear it as a badge of honor and use that confidence to push you forward into a place where you can get better. I still suck, and the only difference is that I suck slightly less now that I’ve been doing this for several years. Follow the lead of every great artist, suck for a while, work your ass off at what you want to do, and one day, you may be able to look back and say “wow, I don’t suck anymore”. Again, I still suck, but as long as I keep working at it, I may arrive at the same place that you hope to be one day. Or I won’t, fuck it. Never let something like a complete lack of talent keep you from living your dreams.
“You fucked up everything” So is the first line of Enter Delirium.
Do you think it is possible to correct mistakes in life and if so, how?
Jason: Enter Delirium is about driving yourself insane from agonizing over things you don’t have any control over. Sometimes it seems so easy to get caught up in that hate and frustration, and maybe it feels good in a way. But it’s counterproductive. It’s very easy to pass judgment on something without taking steps to correct it or maybe understand what’s behind it. I definitely believe it’s possible to grow and correct personal mistakes in life, but as a civilization, I’m not so sure.
Chris: If you’ve never fucked up anything in your life, you must be a robot or something. If you can’t take a step back, pause, and gain wisdom from your fuckery, you’re never to learn or correct the big errors in your life. Patience, acceptance, and the ability to forgive yourself go a long way towards healing.
Tom: Past mistakes can sometimes be corrected, but often we are powerless to do anything except move forward. To move forward and leave the past unrecognized is neglect, but to move forward in an effort to better the situation and correct your behavior is sometimes the best thing we are able to do, if fixing it is out of the question.
What do you think is most important in your private life?
Jason: My health, my friends and family, creating art, enjoying art, and collaborating with other artists. The American writer and illustrator Edward Gorey once said art is all that matters. I think I might agree!
Chris: Quiet. Calm. And the love of a good dog.
Tom: To be loving to those around you, and content with what you are doing. Complete contentment is not always feasible, and it may be nearly impossible to express how much you care for everyone that you do, but you must try your best.
When I say “Parasite”
You want to say…: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Jason: The über rich.
Chris: Donald Trump.
Tom: It’s a dang good movie that I need to watch again. Also, I need to watch Memories of Murder again, while I’m at it.
You made an Extended Dub Mix for Pathological track as well.
What do you think about dub and its crossings with other electro genres? Why was dub able to cross over with industrial so successfully?
(I’m currently researching this topic, and I am very curious, what is your angle regarding this.)
Jason: I just came across a band that mixes these two genres. The band is called Autums. They’re from Ireland, and they’re amazing. The dub mix of Pathological was just a bit of fun. I hadn’t made a dub mix in ages, and I wanted to experience that again. I have years of experience in jungle / drum & bass, so it wasn’t too big of a stretch. I’m also a huge Massive Attack fan, especially their No Protection collaboration with Mad Professor, which I adored in my 20s. I think dub is amazing and would pair well with just about any genre under the sun. (But I don’t think I ever need to hear dubstep again LOL.) And there’s a long history of dub / industrial crossover bands, especially in the UK.
Chris: Dub is a phenomenal bridge to other electro genres. Why, I cannot say. There’s something… languid…about dub that’s so appealing. Lee Scratch Perry was my first introduction to dub many years ago.
Tom: I personally love dub, and listen to it often for its unique arrangements and production techniques, but Jason is the one who brought the idea to 7W, and I believe that he would be able to shed the most light on this question.
I like the “Artists We Love” section on your band website. Many of our shared favorites can be found on that list.
Maybe I miss the old US/German band Crocodile Shop (or Croc Shop). They made albums with a similar mood and sound to yours. Do you know them?
Jason: I don’t think I’ve heard of them. Tell me more!
Tom: I have yet to hear of that group, but will be checking them out soon. I’m currently in one of my many noise phases, so this will be a nice change.
What do you think, is it permissible to politicize in industrial electronic dance music?
Jason: I think it’s permissible to do whatever the hell you want in any genre of music. Either it will resonate with an audience or it won’t. But I think it’s wise to be cautious sometimes. Politics can be dangerous; you might find yourself fighting for a cause you later regret, especially if new facts come to light, or the leaders of the cause suddenly change directions or do something you violently disagree with. People are weird. Life is weird. I don’t know. I’m for absolute freedom of creative expression in all artistic efforts. It can come across as bit lazy sometimes, you know, lashing out at the rich for example. It’s been done to death. Maybe it needs to keep happening, but I’m always more inspired by artists that find new ways to interpret those instincts and present them in challenging ways that force me to see things or think about things differently. An interesting example is the chorus of Bete Noire by Black Nail Cabaret: “I think I want to kill you, but I believe in peace, bitch.“ That’s a clever twist on an old idea. Railing against systematic racism is also very important to us and many other artists, but it can feel a bit stale when it’s just saying the exact same thing over and over again. One of art’s responsibilities is to challenge us to think differently about our world. The American artist Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) did a wonderful job on the TV show Atlanta. It inspired me to think about racial injustice, economic injustice, and fame in new and interesting ways. But I struggle with this, because so much music is so overtly political, and you don’t always know which way the politics will swing. I got into black metal about ten years ago and found that I had to carefully pick and choose which artists I listened to, because I don’t want to support racist causes. That’s a shame, because there’s so much wonderful black metal in the world!
Chris: Absolutely. The earliest artists with an industrial edge–Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Boyd Rice…–were about breaking the norms of society– “Wrecking civilization,” according to conservative politician Nicholas Fairbairn. What better way to do so than to cut up our culture sonically?
Tom: Industrial music and related genres have always been largely political, and will continue to be political in the future, especially given the turbulent times that we currently live in. The vast majority of modern industrial artists seem to lean left politically, which I am glad to see as it coincides with my personal ideology. That being said, I personally feel like my strengths do not lay with political commentary, and I currently have little interest in throwing my hat into the ring with producing that sort of lyrical content. I welcome political commentary in this music as long as the artist is not an asshole with their beliefs, and though I have no plans to work with those themes, I am not ruling it out in the future either.
Are you used to going on creative leave? How long does it take? What do you do then? How long can you last without music?
Jason: I don’t travel much, so when I do take time off of work, I usually stay home and work on music. I can’t last a single day without music! I need to hear it all the time. I find that I’m in a much better mood when I’m in the middle of a music project. I tend to get sad and anxious otherwise, mostly because media organizations never seem to stop screaming at us that everything is in chaos all the time. Which may be true! But I can’t afford to live in a state of panic or depression over something I can’t control. I can do little things, or even take some action if I feel inspired, but nothing to stop the drowning sensation that Facebook and CNN seem to want me to feel. All of that goes away when I work on music. It’s all I care about. It’s suddenly all that matters, and it seems even more important when I’m collaborating with other artists.
Chris: I tend to go on recording spurts that can last for long periods of time. In the last calendar year I’ve released seven Creeping Man albums (some of them collaborations). But I feel like a rest is in order. I can go silent from recording for months on end. It’s always good to stop, recharge, and do something different. I tend to read a lot (horror fiction is my fave.) when not in the studio.
Tom: Currently I am on some level of creative leave. My solo project is essentially dead due to writers block, and I am not sure if I will ever release anything under that name again. As a result of that I am devoting myself fully to lyrics and vocals with 7W. I have plans to collaborate with and to provide vocals to various independent noise and industrial artists who I respect and enjoy, but as of now I have yet to make any solid plans with anyone due to their busy schedules. For now, 7W is my sole creative priority. It can vary how long someone needs to be away for creative leave, heavily dependent upon circumstances. For me, it can be as little as a few weeks to well over a year. At that point I usually turn to writing as an outlet, or consuming media which may influence future musical projects. No matter how long I am away though, I always find myself coming back to music.
Where will 7W be, and what will be working on in 1 year? Anything shareable about your future plans?
Jason: We finished a Wicked Hands remix EP over the summer. It’s two remixes for every song, so 8 tracks total. Scanner will be releasing at least parts of it soon, I think. We’ve also started working on our first album. We have 2 brand new songs recorded and pieces in place for several more. We’d also love to start performing live, but we have some logistical challenges to work on first. Personally I’d love to see a full-length album finished in 2023, plus we’d love to do some remixes for bands we enjoy.
Chris: In a year I’d hope the Whores will have a full-length album on our hands!
Tom: We have two songs finished right now, and vocals recorded for two others. We have discussed putting out a full record as opposed to just singles and EPs, but are still mulling it over. Things seem to come together when and how they are meant to with this group, as long as we keep working at it. For all we know our next release might be another EP, or a 17 hour uninterrupted concept opera about Phineas Gage. Not really sure yet. Final comment: Thank you very much for your time, effort, passion, and for being willing to give artists a platform to share their thoughts and ideas. It means a lot.