Before Nothing is described as a “Cosmic Noise” duo from Elkhart, IN consisting of the entities known only as West and NoEyesFiend. Taking inspiration from Swans, Atari Teenage Riot and Melt-Banana, the duo creates in hope to find solace from their meth-fueled, consverative surroundings.
Homicidum Tractatus Eroticum does a great job at expressing this exact wish as well as the desperation such a wish is born from. From the moment you hit play on opening track “Bootlickers” youre greeted by a fistful of noise, spoken samples that tell of a man whos quite simply had it up to here with the world. You can clearly make out their influences as the voice seemingly is devoured by the swarms of drones and crackles that slowly creep towards you throughout the track only to have an aural mental breakdown coming back for just a moment to deliver some surprisingly calm, dare-I-say melodic female vocals.
Murder Hymns is a short and sweet or umm..well you know what I mean, track just over a minute long, its a total noise attack complete with a voice yelling about god knows what as it falls prey to the aforementioned electronic swarms.
MBM MCLW is the first track to deliver something you might be able to call a rhythm. It sounds as if its a live recording from a basement show which is by no means a negative statement. I can already say with great certainty that this is not an album for the faint of heart, this is also not an album for anyone looking for more traditional or structured music, this is pure mayhem. The influences of the early industrial scene are on full on display, something I`ve often expressed a wish to see more of and Before Nothing comes in like a genie from a lamp granting my wish.
Headspacing is quite a change of pace, replacing the constant aural curbstomp with a slightly more mellow, melodic and somewhat melancholic collection of sound which is how I have chosen to see this release, as a collection of various sounds each portraying their own individual state of being as it all collapses into decay.
The final three songs, Wounded Child, Return To Bassline and Best Things each hold ares of interest similar to what has been specified for the previous tracks. Do I like this album? Sure, would I listen to it again? Yeah I might as I feel there is probably alot of detail within the overwhelming layers of chaos that is yet to be discovered.
I do however have to point out that with this form of music its quite easy to fall into a sense of that everything sounds the same and it`s all just distorted microwave sounds, I think Before Nothing has managed to not fall into that category just yet however I would have to hear where they go next to truly make up my mind.
For my final thoughts I will say that if you, like me, enjoy the avant garde and more experimental sides of the industrial scene and long for the days where it wasn`t all simply dance oriented music then check this album out and make sure to purchase it through their Bandcamp as underground artists will always be in need of all the support they can get.
The St.Louis based goth rock band Cult Sounds recently released a music video for their single “What Gets Done In The Night” from their upcoming album `Death Of A Star ` and seemingly never stopped working as they just released a compilation album of Halloween and generally horror themed covers by a variety of artists, styles and genres inclduing their own cover of “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” by The Cramps.
Sounds & Shadows got in touch with guitarist Jordan Hagemann and snooped around regarding the video, single and of course; The compilation, read on and be informed while listening to these dreadful dirges 😉
Not too long ago you released your video for the single “What Gets Done In The Night” what can you tell us about the song the video and what`s to come?
What Gets Done In the Night was one of those songs for us that was written in essentially a few hours. There was something instantaneous with it, like a song we had always known but hadn’t written yet. The music was inspired by some, at the time, recent play-throughs of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Castlevania IV a long with a lot of Punk and Deathrock we were listening to. The song sounded vampiric, so we thought it would be a great song to explore the immortality aspect and connect it to our situations of being stuck in isolation. The video was one of the most things we’ve ever done. I went to film school for writing and directing, so I had my cinematography partner, Ryan Kneezle hop on the project along with another friend of ours, Sam Rozier, to help co-direct the performance shots. Everything was entirely DIY from the props, to the pre-production, to editing, everything. We’re very proud of that video. Coming next month, in November, we’ll have some surprises for the fans. I don’t want to say too much, but one has to do with something old and one has to do with something new.
Onto the compilation, what gave you the idea for this project and how did you pick the artists?
. We‘ve been doing a Halloween cover for the 2 years we’d been a band prior to this, starting with Bela Lugosi’s Dead – so we wanted to maybe do something a little more special for our 3 year anniversary. The original lineup of bands that were interested in the comp was very large but it can be pretty tough to find people to record you right now. So we had some bands we wanted to reach out to and some that reached out to us.
The artwork certainly stands out, it`s not what one might expect from a Halloween release colour wise, who`s responseable for it?
The artwork was all Bennett[Vocalist of The Cult Sounds]. He stays up till all hours of the night sometimes and will send us cool photos and we end up using them for things. This was no exception, it was basically “hey look at this spooky skeleton, let’s use that.” He manipulated the colors to stand out and catch your eye.
Do you see this becoming an annual tradition of sorts?
I’m not sure if a covers comp would be a tradition, but we’ll always keep to our tradition of doing a Halloween cover every year.
1. I Was a Teenage Werewolf – The Cult Sounds
2. Spiritual Cramp – Redbait
3. Toxic – Secret Shame
4. Dead In Hollywood (Feat. Dominic Nation) – Vanity Kills
BLAKMOTH is a modular artist who`s part of a small but hopefully growing group of artists who works towards showing a different and darker side of the world of modular based music.
While a good amount of such music tends to be generative, ambient-esque bleeps, bloops and often on the ligher side of things BLAKMOTH composes dark, doomy, gloomy yet rhythmic creations within his own, self-made world of what he calls “Doombient” music.
I got in touch with BLAKMOTH after having seen, listened to and admired his style for a little while now to find out what his thoughts and creative process is.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers to start this of?
Hello my name is Jack and I create music under the name Blakmoth.
How long has BLAKMOTH been around and what inspired you to create this?
I’ve been creating music as Blakmoth for about 5 years now. I’ve always created music but wasn’t inspired to do it professionally until I saw my daughters love for music
You just released an album entitled “Deathshead” your name is Blakmoth, your Bandcamp subscription service is called Cult Of The Moth, is there any particular reason or symbolism regarding the constant moth reference?
Moths are kinda like my spirit animal. I wanted a name that had a tribalism like vibe that represented that and my personality and sound. Which has a dark overtone that seemingly chases the light.
Your music isn`t what most people associate with modular synthesizer i.e ambient bleeps and bloops. What made you go down the darker, grittier path?
I did it not only to be unique but also inspire others to think outside the box. I feel like it’s become an aesthetic with modular to just grab some plucky sounds and make generative patches. Not everyone is doing that but as I scroll through social media I hear a lot of the same sound and vibe and it gets repetitive. I wanted to bring a different narrative to the table.
When you switch your system on, do you tend to have an idea of what you want to create or do you rely more on “happy accidents” ?
Never. It often starts with a drone or some sound designing. I often find inspiration in that sound and build on that.
If I were to pick out one module I associate with you it would have to be the Manis Iteritas from Noise Engineering. How has NE`s creations shaped your sound and what is it about them that attracts you?
That’s a perfect association. When going for that doombient sound Manis fit the mold so well so much so I built a whole 88hp rack around one module. For me it’s the playability and feature richness of Noise Engineering’s modules.
Looking through your release one might notice you release new music quite often both for the public as well as your monthly singles collections for subscribers. How much time do you spend composing?
Composing is life! Seriously though, 6-8 hours a day. Sometimes a whole day. When I’m working on albums.
You`ve carved out your own little sound called “Doombient”. What are the key components of this sound in your own words?
Doombient is composed of dark brooding atmospherics and textures. There’s also a rhythmic component that may come from drums or the drone itself. The idea came about because I wanted to push ambient into a darker space. Be the complete opposite of bleep bloops and plucks.
If someone came by your house, what music would they find you listening to?
Doomjazz, or some of my favorite social media friends. I listen to the people I follow most of all.
You`ve recently joined Errorgrid Records who`s quickly becoming the host of some of the greatest up and coming darkly inclined electronic artists. What plans do you have with them going forwards?
In the near future I have a release November 6th. Over the long term I plan to keep growing artistically and stay prolific.
The space is below is yours to use for whatever you feel like wether it be shout-outs, music reccomandations, a favourite quote, anything.
If I had advise to give it would be this, stay true to your self. Success doesn’t come from imitating others. Find what makes you unique and push that no matter if you have 5 fans or 10k. Just be you. Don’t compete with anyone but yourself and find inspiration in that.
Follow BLAKMOTH and hear his music via the following links:
During the countless hours I`ve spent scrolling through various modular related tags on Instagram and searching through similar tags of Bandcamp I one day stumbled upon ERRORGRID RECORDS. A record label wholly dedicated to highlighting the darker side of electronic music which just so happens to feature a vast array of modular synth based artists.
While looking through their profile and listening to the artist currently on their roster I instantly fell in love with them and they are now one of my absoloute favourite and most trusted labels which I feel is something not so common these days. It`s not that long ago that people relied on very specific labels to provide them with great music and often subscribed to them in some shape or form where in return they would receice each release that label put out. Of course, with the digital era taking over this became a bit of a lost art although I do want to point out that it does still exist out there and ERRORGRID is absoloutely a label I would subscribe to as such.
I was presented with the opportunity to talk to Olivier who runs the label together with his wife and of course jumped at it immediatly. What follow is my conversation with ERRORGRID regarding their mission statement, upcoming releases and more!
Olivier was kind enough to offer a free download of any ERRORGRID album to the first 10 people who send an email about what ERRORGRID is to them so definetly take advantage of this opportunity, find their email at the end of the interview.
Start off by introducing yourself and give us a short explanation of what you do.
My name is Olivier. I am a Swiss living in Southern California. I run an electronic music project called “Nundale” and have recently founded a label called Errorgrid Records together with my wife Vira. –
The idea of starting a record label in this digital age might seem absurd to some. What inspired you to go this route?
Why absurd? But then again, I love absurd things, so maybe yeah, this is absurd for some, which doesn’t bug me too much. If you go by the traditional definition of what a label is then it probably sounds like starting a pizzeria: there are too many of them and it sounds like you are too late to the game if you start one today.
But Errorgrid Records is more of a community platform than what is commonly understood as a label. I don’t believe in institutions in the traditional sense. I believe in building communities that produce value. In that respect I think that Errorgrid can bring a fresh perspective into an old game. We are essentially looking to build our own market that stands apart from the label world
.The inspiration is as mentioned above: to create a platform where amazing artists that obsess over quality and intention in their art can express themselves without restrictions and fear. Maybe it is a little punk of me to say this, but having experienced the restrictions that come with genre-focused labels, I wanted to create something that is extremely free while being extremely niche. There is too much confusion of genre out there, the music industry has gotten too stuck up because they believe their listeners are stuck up. But they are not. We are here to give the people what they need, not what they want.-
You seem to focus on the darker aspects of electronic music and appear to have a penchant for signing modular based artists. What is it about modular synthesis that you find so intriguing?
That is a false impression that many have of us and I am happy to set the record straight: I am a opponent of gear fetishism, even though I love gear. But to celebrate gear over the artist’s intention and the impact of the output is plain wrong. No one cares about the brush Picasso used or the sticks Dave Grohl plays drums with. If we focus on what music is and can do, we fade out the instrument and the process and we focus on the raw nature of emotionality. This is how I choose my artists. I would never go out and look specifically for musicians who use modular synths. But however there is a strong connection between the freedom that a modular system can give you and the kind of freedom I seek to find for the music I release. So it is not surprising that many of them happen to use this instrument for what they do. But Sleep Clinic who is an incredible musician with an ear for finesse and balance, mainly resorts to table top boxes while Tom Hall is a wizard inside the box with MaxMSP. I am ready to sign someone who uses nothing but crappy 80s Casio keyboards if I feel his heart and intentions are in the right place.
One of my favourite artists on your label has to be TL3SS, I know there`s something coming out on ERRORGRID soon , why don`t you tell us a little about that?
Crushing Me, his first release with us, just dropped last week. It includes the original edit as well as gorgeous remixes by the likes of Sleep Clinic, Synth Witch, Michael Idehall and Depressive. An incredibly deep and dark sonic painting. So proud of this. –
How did the name come about, what exactly is “ErrorGrid” ?
There is belief that lives inside of what I do with music. And it is that we humans tend to put a grid over everything around us. I call this quantization of reality. We take something that is natural and turn it into an electronic representation of itself so we can save, store, recall and study it. It makes it easier for us to navigate our lives. But when we do this, we introduce errors into the data. The representation of nature is never as perfect as nature itself. I firmly believe that electronic music can represent this the best, by celebrating this technical distance and creating a new reality. In that respect it is both an ode and a cautionary tale to our ways and what technology can do. –
It may just be due to being part of the very nichè community you appeal to, that being darkly inclined electronic musician, but it seems like you`re growing exponentially and have done so in a short amout of time. What do you attribute this to?
You are right, being highly focused and aligned with the mission you are about makes you more relevant to the group of people you intend on serving. I learnt the hard way that being unfocused and not standing for something that is very clear and simple makes it nearly impossible to move forward efficiently. The first thing I send to an artist I am interested in signing is my mission statement. It explains very clearly what my intentions are and why I am doing this. If there is a disconnection at this stage, we are not moving forward. I think this is the key to growth. –
As we mentioned earlier, we live in the digital era, the era of daw`s and soft synths where the need to spend absurd amounts of money to build a modular wall with a web of patch cables seems ridiculous, and yet there`s definetly a revival of this form of creating. Would you say this is simply a form of rebellion against the more modern day methods of composing or do you feel there might be something about working in such a physical manner with an instrument that just can not be captured by their digital versions?
Oh man, the old conversation about hardware and software, in the box, out of the box, or apple and microsoft, atari and amiga. I don’t believe in the supremacy of any technology. There is no best tool, only the right tool for the job. And if you find the right tool it becomes an extension of yourself in bringing out what needs to be said. However I am observing a worrying amount of gear craziness that has nothing to do with musical expression. And these people often engage in absurd conversations over esoteric buttons and functions and whatnot in forums. It creates a weird non-music subculture. It’s probably indicative of our times, I don’t know. It’s dangerous that so much is available right now. And if you have an addictive mind and the money then you go down the rabbit hole. But by all means, if it is in your heart to make music and you have the opportunity, search until you have found what works for you. –
There is a secret collab project scheduled for November, any chance you might let some information about this slip out?
I can’t comment on that because I don’t know anything concrete. –
Are you involved in music beyond running the label and if so, where might we find it?
As a long time director for advertising I have been involved in creating music and scores for all kinds of visual work, also I have my project Nundale which is where I am focusing my musical energy to. You can find some stuff on the usual platforms, but there has been a strong shift lately which has caused me to wipe a lot of my older work. –
As someone who`s always done things the DIY way, sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessecity, I know very well how difficult any artistic endevours can be these days. What keeps you from giving up? What do you tell yourself or think of in moments where you feel like it`s all too much to handle?
I think it is mostly in the semantics here: It is not about “not giving up”, it’s about “keeping pushing.” It is not easy to manage 10 artists within a label and bootstrap everything from the ground up, especially when you are running two other businesses. But what really keeps me going is the incredible bond we have formed within the Errorgrid family, the support and human values we are fostering. I love seeing how this is much more than an organization, it is a community of like minded individuals brought together by the same love. And this is payment and confirmation enough. I go back to this whenever I feel overwhelmed. I used to be signed to other labels, and there was always this invisible wall between the participants which kept us all at a distance. Our culture is different. We nurture it like a group of real friends. –
Do you enjoy any forms of music which isn`t electronic?
It is hard to draw the line because for a while a lot of music has been crossing into the electronic realm. I am very fond of older French hiphop because of my french roots and the raw power in it. There is a level of honesty in the production of mid 90s hiphop that is rare nowadays. Also I have a soft spot for death metal. I have been playing the drums for over 3 decades and was fortunate enough to play in several really bad but extremely fun death metal combos. It’s just rawness of expression. I grew up listening to the usual suspects like Bolt Thrower, Cathedral, Carcass and Morbid Angel. And I still like to go to concerts every once in a while. Last year I saw Meshuggah here in LA, and it was the most exhilarating and amazing live experience in forever. Pure polyrhythmic math with drums, guitars and vocals. Simply stunning what the human mind and body is capable to do. If they were down to do a collab I would jump at the occasion. –
In your mission statement it is said you seek to foster an inspiring dialogue with the audience, what exactly do you want such a dialogue to inspire?
I don’t like one way communication. The very definition of valuable communication is a two way dialogue. There should not be a wall between listener and creator. It should be fluid. I am saddened that because of the current situation we can’t have live events, because that would be the best way to celebrate audience integration. I don’t like to keep listeners in the dark. I don’t like to be secretive and hold back. I love it when people reach out to me and ask things or have inputs. Also when someone sends their demo, I usually respond within 24 hours. Sure, we are small and new, so we can do that, but it’s a question of respect: This person loves what we do so much that they are willing to give us the responsibility to spread their art. How fucking cool and humbling is that? Such a dialogue will make Errorgrid more a project built by EVERYONE who’s with us. I want everyone to have a stake in it. I want everyone to feel like they are an Errorgridian because they contribute. And even if it’s just with a line of text or a simple download or an emoji on Instagram. –
Besides the TL3SS release we already mentioned what will come from ErrorGrid in the near “present future” as it were ?
We have Johno Wells’ “Adjust Index” IDM release which is just around the corner. Followed by Sleep Clinic. All I can say right now is that we will pump out releases for the remaining of the year. And there might be one or two surprises along the way. We will see. –
Your roster is currently full but where might artists who feel they would fit into the world of ErrorGrid submit their art and when would you say is a good time for such?
By now you might have a good sense that I am running this pretty much myself with the occasional support of my amazing but also very busy wife. Handling 10 artists is really all we can do right now. Because I have an obsessive focus on quality, which also means quality of communication, I don’t want to stretch myself thin. However I love hearing submission from people who are interested in joining us in the future. I keep tabs on everyone who does so. And I really hope that I can expand sometime soon. –
What do you look for when you`re searching for an artist to sign? What are your criteria for finding someone or something interesting enough to bestow them with the blessings of being an ErrorGrid artist?
This is a tricky questions because it tends to distort what people submit or keep good people from submitting. All I am looking for is dedication and intention. I have a bullshit radar that is pretty refined by now, or so I think. When someone is trying to sound like someone else than who they are, I immediately tune out. I seek originality and boldness. I seek honesty in expression. If you have pain and a story to tell, if you can’t help but write music to calm that voice inside of you, if you too have a mission you follow with your music, then I am down to listen. I don’t care if it’s 400 or 4bpm. Just don’t send me any 4 to the floor and dubstep stuff. That’s where I lose my openness, yeah I am biased. Hah. –
The space below if yours, feel free to promote anything you have coming up, leave a message, shout outs, reccomend some music or anything else you want to say!
I think I speak for everyone trying to make a difference in today’s music industry, no matter what genre they are in, if I encourage everyone actively looking to support musicians, artists and the organizations that help them put their art out, to listen and buy their music on Bandcamp. Try to avoid the industrial farming in music as much as you can. I know, it might be an extra step for some, but it strengthens the value chain for everyone so much. With Bandcamp we see support and appreciation right when it happens. And it keeps us going. With other platforms it takes months and cuts deep into the returns. This is a reality for everyone making music. Lastly I want to express my deepest gratitude to the people who have been with us and who joined us. Your support means more than I can say and because of you we will keep doing what we do and we will do it even better as we continue. Check out our current catalogue and go on a journey of inspiring darkness with us.
ERRORGRID RECORDS can be found via the following links:
W/O [Pronounced: wwithout] is a musical project lead by fellow S & S contributor Hunter.
The music serves as an exorcism, a purging necesarry for survival. One might look at Hunter`s outputs wether that be W/O or Charn as a coping mechanism born from existing in a world that seems to fall deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit for each day.
I reviewed one of Hunters albums not too long but I also wanted to get their perspective and poke around in their brain and see what I might stumble across.
Why don`t you start off with telling us who you are and what you do?
So my name is Hunter and I make music under the monikers w/o (wwithout) and charn. w/o has more lore cause of the violent nature of some of the earlier sets and my tendency to draw blood and roll around on the floor covered in leaves, lol. I guess the central theme and what ties the works together is the desperate struggle to make the world just feel fucking okay for five seconds. Idk. Sometimes it works and hopefully people besides me feel less alone at least for a moment when listening to it. That also kind of ties into the obsession with the concept of heaven and belonging.
Charn is a newer project. Ive been listening to a lot of suicidal depressive black metal, especially during the cold months and it really inspired me to make something in the same vein. Its more conceptual cause its based on the Chronicles of Narnia universe, specifically the long winter (hence the album name “Always Winter, Never Christmas) but the theme is more a tool to talk about universal concepts like suffering and sacrifice and unconditional love.
– How long have you been doing W/O and what inspired you to make music?
I’ve been making music under the name wwithout since about 2015. I had a few other names before that and put out some depressive folk type shit but nothing really that notable in my opinion. I started making music as a creative outlet to get my feelings out and umm it’s cliché but music and art have just been the most compelling thing to me ever since I was little so I always wanted to do this.
– Is there a meaning to the name W/O ?
Yea, just w/o as in without, as in being without something; a reference to poverty in all its forms be it material or spiritual.
– While alot of your music could be put under the Trap label there`s still a variety to it where you don`t seem to repeat yourself and you incorporate more experimental techniques n your sound, what do you attribute this to?
I think I just have a diversity of influences and like experimenting and expressing myself in a diversity of ways. Its not really intentional. It just happens that way.
– You have a tendency to write very short songs, is there any particular reason behind this?
Not really, lol. Some people attribute it to poor songwriting skills and maybe that’s partially true but I think more so, its just based on me not being interested in some sort of orthodox songwriting process or like appealing to some certain demographic that wants every song to be between 3 and 4 and a half minutes for premium listening or whatever the fuck.
– There`s a certain sombreness to alot of your songs, yet there seems to be some small slivers of hope slipping through every now and then. Would you say making music or generally being creative is something you utilize in a more therapeutic way?
Absolutely, yea. The majority of it is born out of adversity and isolation and just trying to grasp and come to terms with the unrelentingly harsh realities of life and death. The work is me working through and having a dialogue with the voices in my head that tell me to kill myself amongst other things, and I do feel better and more at peace after putting pen to paper.
– Is there any plans for the future, new music or anything of that sort?
Yea def! I live in NYC now and am interested in working with and collaborating with artists of all disciplines out here. Being here in winter and being alone most of the time and cold and broke were, in hindsight, kind of the ideal conditions to write “Always Winter, Never Christmas” in. I would like to utilize more bells and more original choral arrangements and pained breathing sounds in my future work.
Also I have a Charn single coming out in September on Spotify so that’s something.