INTERVIEW WITH VANITY KILLS

VANITY KILLS is a UK industrial rock band founded by JOE CROW. After the 2014 debut release “CHAPTER 1: STITCHES” and two music videos the band seemingly went a bit silent.

Joe stepped away from the scene for a bit and explored video game music and was through that lead to do more with VK.

I`ve known they`ve had something new in the works for a little while now so I figured I`d hit up Joe and see what he has to say about it all

Adrian: Start off by giving us a quick backstory to the band. How long have you been around and who`s involved?

Joe: The project started back in 2012 officially. It would have originally been a full band from day 1 but creative differences led to me being left with a band name and no band.

Stitches was recorded mostly by myself with a few guest appearances. I was putting the band together while recording went on.

Now the line up is solid and is myself, Hex Fairydance and Phil Lowman on guitar, John Jeffreys on bass and Sophie Wighton on percussion and samples.

A: I might be wrong but I have this vague memory of you doing something with Al B. Damned a few years back? What else have you been involved with before VK?

J: Yeah! I was originally in Tdqm (Texas Drag Queen Massacre) and was the only holdover when the project changed to abd (Al B. Damned). I worked on “The Darker Side Of Me” record.
I did come back after leaving to play drums while Pip recovered from a broken arm and again much later as guest.

A: Where did the name Vanity Kills come from?

J: The name was born out of a conversation with the dude who would have originally been the singer for the band. I wanted to use the word vanity because it was always my favourite of the seven sins. He added the kills. We did try to come up with a convoluted meaning for it but it never took off.

A: Your debut release, Chapter 1: Stitches came out in 2014. What`s happened between then and now?

J: I took some time away from the heavy music scene and dedicated my time to my personal life. I still wrote heavy stuff but with no intention of releasing it. Just for fun. I did start a fun side career in video game music which i loved doing and was what pulled me back to VK.

A: Dope, Static-X, Slipknot and those type of bands would be my first guesses as far as your influences goes. Are there any others that might not be as a obvious?

J: So many! You’re right about all three as well as more obvious stuff like Stabbing Westward and Ministry. But i was lucky to be brought up around so many types of music. I consider artists like prince, Phil Collins and Michael Jackson as big of an influence as my heavier favourites.

A: The first single of CHAPTER 2; “This Is Gonna Hurt” was released a few weeks ago. You can tell its Vanity Kills but it doesnt feel like youre simply repeating your first release. What are you doing this time around thats different from back in 2014?

J: Back when i made CHAPTER 1, i wanted to include a lot more electronic elements in the music, but at the time i didnt have the knowledge or the means to take it to where i wanted. I did originally have more of that on the record, but a lot were taken out of the final mixes by the producer i was working with at the time.
After the years i spent making music for video games i had gathered so much more knowledge and means that i was inspired to take that over to VK and get the sound i always wanted. We’ve even adding new sounds to the old songs for our live shows.

A: How far along are you with CHAPTER 2?

J: I’ve written and started recording about 22 songs in all. About 12 are finished. The rest need vocals and finishing touches. I could release the 12 ive finished and be done but i really want to be able to choose the songs based on which ones feel best together. I’m aiming for the album to come out in full by spring 2020 but there`ll be plenty to hear between now and then.

A: Are there any shows/tours coming up ?
`

J: Yes! We actually just played the first ever VK show recently. Next up we’re playing at the Dublin Castle in Camden, London on Nov. 22nd and The Bunkhouse on Dec 5th. We’re currently booking for 2020 but nothing in stone yet.

A: Last words are yours, feel free to promote whatever you`ve got going on or leave a message for your listeners.

J: Just a big thank you to everyone who has been patiently waiting for new music and shows. They are finally coming and im eternally grateful to everyone who has checked us out so far.

Also we finally have hardcopies of CHAPTER 1: STITCHES available from our bandcamp page. I’ve had so many people ask for that so we finally did it.

Officialvanitykills.bandcamp.com

Facebook.com/officialvanitykills

Rediscovering The Undead Past

This page is dedicated to bringing attention to and shining a light on the underground.Although we do tend to focus on newer bands and artist I would like to take a moment to introduce you to some artists of the past that may have escaped your radar.

The goth scene seems to be a little stuck, just repeating the same old Sisters Of Mercy records and this has been touched upon in a previous Editorial article so I wont get too deep into that in particular.I often spend several hours just hunting the interwebs for specifically 80s bands that didn`t get the same exposure as others or maybe didnt stick around long enough for that to even be a possbility. In my musical hunts I have stumbled upon some lost treasures and that is what I want to present here now.

Where informaton is available I will attempt to provide what I can as far as period of activity, discography and line-up.

These will be presented in no particular order although I will say my personal favourites include CORTEX and ROSEGARDEN FUNERAL : )

Remain In Silence

Discography:

Seven Rooms (1985)Monuments (1985)

This Is The Place Where Resistance Got Lost (1987)

Fountainhead (1995)

The Comfort Of Strangers (2001)

Lonesome Hours – The Seven Rooms & Monuments Recordings (2013)

And The Soul Goes On (2016)

Active:1983 – ??

Lineup: Buchwald (Guitars) Gimpel (Vocals)

Genre: Post Punk/Goth Rock/Darkwave

Cortex

Origin: Sweden

Discography:

Spinal Injuries (1983)

Live At Urania (1984)

Cortex/Mystikens Vacuum (1984)

You Can`t Kill The Boogeyman (1986)

1987 (2018)

Active: Early 80s – ??

Members (First album line-up) :

Freddie Wadling (Vocals, Keys/Synth)

Uno Wall (Drums)

Gerth Svensson (Guitar/Strings)

Conny Jörneryd (Percussion)

Michael Örthendahl (Synthesizer/Strings)

Rosegarden Funeral

Origin: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Genre: Gothic Rock/Post Punk
Active: 1986-1988

Discography:

Early Demos (1986)

These Haunted Hours (1988)

Second Coming

Origin: Barnsley, United Kingdom

Genre: Post Punk

Active: ?

Line-up:

Dean Peckett (vocals, bass)

Brian Bettney (Guitar)

Dean Ormston (Drums)

Discography:

Incest (1984)

The Return E.P. (1985)

Bites & Stabs (1985)

Torn In Two (1986)

Active: ?

The Preachers Of Twilight

Origin: France

Lineup: 1988-1990 (????)

Garance Daniel (Vocals/Keyboards)
Astilly Laurent (Bass/Guitar)

Discography:

On The Razors Edge (1988)


ANTI MUSIC : EXAMINING THE CORPSE OF THE EXPERIMENTAL ROOTS OF NOISE.

I`m well aware that even within the alternative scene noise, power electronics, death industrial and all such forms of music is quite a nichè interest.
However it is an interest of mine, let me explain why;

Just like punk, noise as a genre had a DIY attitude and little to no requirement for conventional talent. Punk was, in my opinion, still firmly rooted in the rock world and that`s where noise differs greatly.

The onset of noise as a genre was just that, noise, it was a realm where anyone could use anything to express themselves in a (Anti) musical way. Self built “instruments” , found sound/field recordings, heavily processed samples and equally DIY ethic splattered visuals to accompany it all.

Bands such as Einsturzende Neubauten enjoy legend startus these days for their use of power tools as instruments and leaving stages cloaked in an inferno of both sound and actual flames. Noise of course did not necesarilly start with Neubauten but they`re probably one of the most known examples hence why I chose to reference them. Let`s not forget that electronic music equipement as is per today the most common tool within the genre was still in a quite primal state compared to modern times, and yet, incredible things were created from what was available.

These days when scouring for new artists the most common thing you`ll find goes something like this:

Black and white collage work, often heavy use of morbi, macabre imagery, photos from crime scenes, BDSM themes, serial killers and the occasional occult symbols making the album cover

The “music” itself consisting of long, drawn out, distorted and commonly monotonous synth sounds often clocking in at no less than 8-10 minutes long topped with what may be generally considered to be “vulgar” and “offensive” texts yelled/screamed and yet again layered in distortion and reverb effect units.

Back in the 70s and 80s when such acts first popped up they surely had an impact, even if only within the confines of their local scene as this has never been something that really broke through the underground.

Today in 2019 it`s a different story, by now it seems most things have been done to death and then done again and this glaringly obvious when exploring smaller scenes such as this one.

As the title of this article suggests we are here to figure out what happened to the experimental nature of this genre, I could easily extend this into the industrial genre which of course is closely related and in certain, especially earlier examples of the genre the overlap is so big you might not even be able to distinguish the two.

But let`s save my industrial rants for another time and get to the point shall we?

As previously established there are certain similarities between punk and noise and yet they both seem to end up the same place; stagnation, repetition and what I`m tempted to call hypocrisy.

Why is it that these things that constantly spout out something about having no rules are always the ones to end up the biggest victims of conformism?

And yes, I understand and agree with the thought that certain elements must be in place for something to be considered a specific subculture and genre, something that seperates it and makes it exactly that subculture/genre, but does that mean we have to live in the proverbial purgatory?

The droning, monotonous and distortion heavy music with screamed vulgar texts described earlier has come and gone, or rather it came and it just infected everything like a plague, and not the good kind.

These days you can easily make or buy what is known was “noise generators’ where all you have to do is flip a switch and hit record and within 50 minutes you will have your very own noise EP consisting of what is more or less the same 10 minute long song over and over.

To me, having such tools available feels like cheating, this was an experimental genre and such a tool would completely take away any sense of experimentation. Even if you were to create similar sounds using hardware synthesizer at the very least you would get the experience of creating it, sculpting and molding it with your own hands, carefully adjusting the knobs and pushing the keys untill the desired sound is achieved.

Now, these noise generators are at the very least still within the hardware realm, it would of course be much easier and cheaper to just download a pirated version of a DAW and simply load up a VST.

I myself have slowly moved away from softsynths, trying to not rely on my DAW as anything more than a tape recorder. Im not quite where I want to be just yet but I would say Im making good progress, I also spend several hours a day (and night) crafting my own samples from field recordings, modular synth sessions or whatever I may think of there and then.

Ive slowly come to realize I may have a bit of an obsession about realness, I need things to be real, I need to be able to say that I play this and that part of a song by hand or at the very least created the samples used to program it all. Its a blessing and a curse.

It may sound a tad dramatic but at times I feel its nearly insulting to the pioneers of these highly experimental genres wether that be noise or industrial, to just take the easy way out, just click around the screen or make the absoloute most basic variety of noise/power electronics and preach some nonsense about how its oh so confrontational, bending ethics and morals and purposelly provoking the “sheep brained masses” by the use of fascist imagery.

If youre one of those Im sorry (not sorry) to tell you that you`re gonna have to step your game up. Fascism has been done, the world is seemingly chronically engulfed in an inferno of horror and plagues of a million kinds, these tactics are done, played out, absoloutely and completely useless in the face of the true and modern world.

As we crawl towards the end of all this I wantto add that I in no way think anyone is wrong or less-than for liking and genuinly wanting to create that exact form of noise I earlier explained, if that is truly what you enjoy and you get something out of it wether it be listening to it or making it then great! Keep going, keep doing what YOU enjoy and ignore me and aynone else who may feel differently. Individuality is key. Experiment, get weird, oppose logic, set things on fire, do things and create things that your friends and family would shun you for.

I`ll leave a small list of suggestions consisting of releases within the noise genre that I find to be interesting for one reason or another.

Lingua IgnotaCaligula (2019)

PharmakonBestial Burden (2014)

HideHell Is Here (2019)

The Grey WolvesExit Strategy (2017)

INTERVIEW WITH NOTHING VALENTINE

Musician and producer Darrin Lewis has spent the last fifteen years making music, touring and producing, most notably with metalcore outfit Beside The Silence.

In lieu of Lewis releasing his debut single “#GOTHGIRL” from his solo act Nothing Valentine with an accompanying music video on the way we sat him down for a quick chat about the new project and the exploration of new sonic landscapes.

By: Adrian Kjøsnes

Adrian: Can you give us some background info? What is Nothing Valentine and who is part of it?

Darrin: Nothing Valentine is a stage name I’ve been using since my first band, To Live is to Die (circa 2004). It’s a name I’ve always identified with. When I decided to put Beside the Silence on hiatus I was considering just starting another typical band. But over the years I’ve always been left feeling unsatisfied with that route. I’ve always been the writer/producer/art direction with every band I’ve been involved with since 2007. And alot of times, it was a very lonely process. So I thought, why not just present everything myself?


A: Having played in a metal oriented band such as Beside The Silence what prompted you to go a new, more electronically based direction with NV?

D: I’ve always grown up playing in metal bands. Really cause that was the only type musicians around me. When I got into music, the metalcore and deathcore scene was just starting to break out and thats what everybody was interested in. But I was always drawn to industrial/electronic bands of the 80s/90s like NINE INCH NAILS, SKINNY PUPPY, MINISTRY, and KMFDM. As well as “nu-metal” electronic bands that blended the sound with more modern metal elements like STATIC-X and FEAR FACTORY. I always felt bands like that were very creatively freeing compared to the deathcore style of “play it as heavy and fast as you can.” I was feeling very cornered in that scene and I wanted to explore myself musically. I’ll always love metal though and I’m far from done with it. I have a whole second BESIDE THE SILENCE album written that I’m sure will see the light of day sometime.

A: Your new single “#GothGirl” seems to be a bit of a mixture of genres yet remaining firmly on the alternative spectrum. What was the inspiration for it both lyrically and musically?

D :”#GOTHGIRL” is at its core, a song about individually. I’d watch alot of my friends online getting involved with people who don’t understand them. Having a goth girlfriend is very posh these days and there’s alot of guys out there who think they’re hot but as soon as they get involved they try to change them. And that’s really unfortunate cause goth culture can be so beautiful and creative if you just give it a chance.

A: Is there any chance for shows and/or touring anytime soon?

D: Yes I currently have a few shows booked for next spring in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Touring is expected to start next summer. I’m spending alot of time building an exciting and high energy show and I’m really excited to finish putting it together.

A: As well as being a musician you`re also a producer. How did you get started in that field?

D: My introduction to recording and producing came about when I was 15 and in my first band. We recorded at a big name studio in town and I was enamored by the process and all the gear. I started learning and reading every book I could about recording and mixing. When I turned 18 I bought a multitrack recorder and a drum mic kit and I started recording basement demos for myself and friends bands. A couple years later I started getting into computer recording and programming synthesizers. I wanted to be able to produce my own music and not have to rely on other people so I started recording my own songs.

A: Which artists have you produced so far and do you have anything coming up in that realm anytime soon

D: Other than my own projects and some friends local bands, my first major project was “ICONOCLASM” (by Norwegian band Carrion ). I’m mainly focusing on my own music for the time being but I’m always open to work on something cool if it comes along.

A: Back to the single, you have a music video, what was the inspiration behind the video and do you think you will be doing more videos?

D: I wanted to shoot something fun, sexy, and spooky. I don’t want to give away too much but it most certainly involves some hot babes in a graveyard.

A: Nothing Valentine is more on the electronic/industrial side, how long have you been working within those types of genres?

D: I would say just about as long as metal. NINE INCH NAILS has been my favorite band since I got into music and have influenced my writing alot over the years. I’m glad to finally be able to explore that side of my creativity more with this new stuff.

A: When creating for NV do you rely more on software or hardware?

D: I like using a combination of the two. I tend to use software to quickly get ideas down. Then I’ll go back and run the midi through my hardware synths and reamp just about everything through guitar pedals.

A: Where did the name Nothing Valentine come from?

D: The name Nothing came from a character in a 1991 vampire novel called “Lost Souls”. It’s a book that I fell in love with when I was a teenager. Nothing was someone I related to heavily back then and still do in some ways.

A: The last word is yours, feel free to promote or leave a message, shout out etc

D: Keep a lookout for the #gothgirl music video and new music! I’m always in the studio working on stuff and excited to show everyone what else I have up my sleeve.


Facebook.com/nothingvalentine
Instagram: @NOTHINGVALENTINE