Interview with Bill Weedmark by Eddie LaFlash

Good whatever time of day it is that you’re reading this! Ken said I could interview anybody in the whole wide inner circle of industrial music so I thought long and hard and chose homeboy Bill Weedmark. If you’re on facebook at all you’ve definitely seen him at the forefront of many of the scene pages. I took a deep dive skinny dipping session with our lovable friend here and asked him the hard pressing questions that’s on everyone’s minds.

EL: You seem to have your finger on the pulse of the scene, you mod several band groups (OMF for 3teeth, Dreadfully Possessed for GosT, Nuclear Family for Nuclear*Sun and others, and the Anti-Hearts for Night Club). How THE FUCK have you made these connections and how do you have the mental strength to handle all of these groups?

BW: Kind of random chance really, but it all ties back to 3teeth and OMF. I got to know those guys online a little bit after they opened for Tool…I loved their stuff, got hooked, and created a subreddit for them. That ended up leading to modding OMF when it got big enough to need a cat herder, which is where I got to know some of the other artists from chatting with them in there. Then I met up with some of them on tour and became friends and it just kind of happened organically after that.

It’s surprisingly not as much work as you’d think. There are so many cool, progressive, amazing people in this music scene, so for the most part these groups are awesome communities that lift each other up and share art and support each other. I don’t have the patience for the bickering and drama in groups so I don’t get involved with groups that have a lot of that.

Probably Bill Weedmark

EL: What do you look for in a group that you’re hearing and interacting with for the first time? How should aspiring bands interact with their fans to ensure they hang onto them for life?

BW: Passion is key. I don’t personally care if an artist has the best production values or the biggest budget, I just want to hear in their work that it matters to them. That’s kind of intangible and subjective, but it’s a gut feeling of “Oh yeah, they love doing this.” That will show through in everything they do. I’m also much more likely to check an artist out based on good word of mouth from other people in music groups, too.

As far as fan interaction, I think authenticity is the most important thing. All of the newer artists which have become big favorites of mine are themselves online. They’re somewhat active in groups or on their own pages, they answer questions, stay moderately accessible. It’s a tough balance I think and it takes time, and not everyone has the free time for it and not everyone wants to be open or accessible. But just engaging like a human being rather than spamming links to your stuff once a day at noon and never TALKING to people will always get me to pay attention, and it seems to build a more genuine connection with the fans. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing, but just popping around and being a person and even chatting about a movie or something is more engaging than people realize.

EL: Now with the industrial scene (and any scene for that matter) aesthetic seems to play a big role in terms of fitting in. Whether it be robot beep boop looks or just a heavy goth appearance. Are there any tropes and clichés in this scene that makes you role your eyes? And do you think looks are just as important as the product being released by a band?

BW: I’m very much over the edgy “let’s be offensive for attention” trend that seemed to be big in the 90s/00s, like adopting pseudo-fascist clothes and logos, but thankfully that’s dying off. But as long as it’s not an offensive appearance, I don’t think looks alone are hugely important. It’s cool to have a unique look but I’d rather have a unique sound or voice to listen to. Tristan Shone of Author & Punisher is usually just wearing jeans and a t-shirt on stage but no one would deny that he’s got a unique aesthetic and sound. I think the logos, art, and iconography around an artist are more important than an on-stage aesthetic, especially right now with touring being dead and global audiences…people will find an artist online way before they’ll find them at a show. But you can’t go wrong with black and leather and rivets, can you?

EL: What got you into industrial music?

BW: The Mortal Kombat soundtrack! I grew up in the sticks and didn’t even know what industrial music was back in 1995 but that soundtrack set the stage for my musical taste. Gravity Kills, KMFDM, Fear Factory…that soundtrack is still awesome. Then a few years later The Fragile came out and I fell down a huge rabbit hole of everything NIN, everyone who ever worked with or toured with NIN, Trent’s infuences, and that was that. Led me to Ministry and Skinny Puppy and PIG and on and on.

EL: Do you have any experience playing an instrument? If so, how many sublime songs can you play?

BW: I do! I play bass, and I think I’m actually pretty good at it. My problem is I can’t WRITE music for shit, but I can learn new songs fast. I’d probably be a good session bassist because I’m good at picking things up and playing them right but suck at being creative and have no ego. I was also a pretty bad-ass trombone player back in the day and rocked a trombone solo in a polka song in high school band. I think that was my musical peak. And I currently know zero Sublime songs but I’m pretty sure I still remember the Meow Mix theme, does that count? ‘Cuz it’s what I got.

EL: Fuck Combos

BW: Combo brand stuffed-pretzels by the Mars Corporation are a tasty snack, available in multiple flavor varieties. Pepperoni Pizza is my personal favorite but there’s a wide selection to choose from, and I hear that guy from Decent News LOVES them.

Literal Shit

EL: Alright, desert island scenario. So you’re stranded on a desert island, you have 3 albums, 2 movies, 1 complete TV series on DVD and an unlimited supply of 1 breakfast cereal. What do you pick?

BW: Three albums…definitely The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails. Then I guess Shutdown.exe by 3teeth and Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live by Pink Floyd. Cheat a bit and take two double albums. Movie picks would be The Terminator and Heat, I’m a sucker for great shoot-out scenes. TV series, maybe recency-bias but I’m going with The Expanse. And Honey Comb. Honey Comb is delicious, and their mascot is a cracked-out ball of fur that somehow made it past the concept stage, which is incredible.

EL: Let’s say you have Charles Barkley money and you’re putting together a festival. Pick 3 headliners and 7 supporting acts. Also what energy drink is sponsoring this event?

BW: Headliners are Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, and Duran Duran. Support is Gary Numan, 3teeth, PIG, Stabbing Westward, Curse Mackey, HEALTH and GosT. Sponsored by Powerthirst, they have GRATUITOUS AMOUNTS OF ENERGY. Just like this festival.

Sounds and Shadows Podcast

Our podcasts have been really improving. Having interviews that are a real conversation with some of the artists I love and give all their fans a feeling of knowing them on a personal level. I wanted to compile them all in one place that give you the opportunity to find and enjoy them.

2/25/21 Grabyourface – Talented French artists Marie Dragontown on Negative Gain. Talking about their breakthrough album Sea, France, and their favorite pizza.

2/19/21 Tear Down The Wall discussion with Russ Robinson (Infectious Groves Podcast) and Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves). Here we discuss the charity compilation of Industrial artists put out by Riveting Records in Colorado that has a cover version of every song on Pink Floyd‘s iconic album “The Wall

2/5/21 Programable Animal – Here we talk with Dropsea of the Chicago based industrial band. We talk about their vision and experience creating One Step to Hell on Negative Gain.

1/29/21 The Blue Hour – Video Premier of their song “Cold Bare” Also how they met and found love in the most amazing meet cute story of Sounds and Shadows history.

1/27/21 Matt Fanale of Caustic/ Klack – Talking about his projects, history, and balancing home life, Industrial Gossip, and rock stardom.

12/22/2020 Rodney Orpheus from The Cassandra Complex – Amazing interview with one of the godfathers of goth. Telling stories of meeting Andrew Eldrich, their new album, predicting the attack on our Capital, and the past and present of Goth.

12/14/20 Interview with Der Prosector – Talking about punk rock, Armilyte Records, British Premier League, and the power of curry.

12/7/20 Reaction to “Love U More” video by Actors

12/2/20 Reaction Video to My Chemical Romance – We tried catching up on the emo classic and give thoughts as elder goths hearing MCR for the first time.

11/18/20 Raymond Watts <PIG> – Talks about his newest album Pain is God, his history, addition, and production techniques.

10/17/20 Interview with Vazum – Talk about the Detroit scene, their Halloween album, influences, and collecting dead things.

9/28/20 Interview with Caroline Blind of Sunshine Blind – Amazing interview discussing goth history, family, her new album, and breaking ground in the goth scene.

8/14/20 Interview with Bootblacks – Talking about their new album, where Panthers name came from, touring, and working with Jason Corbet.

7/23/20 Interview with Crying Vessel – Talk about the new album, video production, horror movies, and working with Dean Garcia of Curve.

6/25/20 Interview with Dogtablet Martin King (Test Dept) and Jared Louche (Chemlab) – Where they discuss history on the road, their song writing, snowball fights with Trent Reznor, Jared’s Shoes, and rescuing dogs.

5/25/20 Interview with Empathy Test feat. Isaac Howlett, Chrisy Lopez, and Oliver Marson – We discuss films, their groundbreaking album Monsters, futbal, how Ollie is a stalker and potential murderer.

5/20/20 Interview with Suzy and Andy of Cold Transmission records – About building the label and being a family in the modern music scene.

5/17/20 Interview with Pedro Code of IAMTHESHADOW – Our first video interview to discuss Pitchblack, song writing, Love, passion, and life in Portugal.

An in-depth interview with Modal Citizan

Who is Modal Citizan? Well, they’re a dark, alternative rock group based in Virginia. They recently came out with a new album, titled Control Alter Deplete, which S&S covered in a Bandcamp Friday review. Their members are Adam Fueston on guitar, Shaun Waff on bass, and Ryan Jones on vocals, keyboard, programming, and production.

Time for an interview!

First up, how did this project/group form?

Ryan: Excellent question! It started as an emotional outlet (side project) about two years prior to the band forming. The raw material was shared with various folks. Initially, everything was digital – no live instruments. It was recommended (by some music enthusiasts) to get some raw instruments onto the tracks. People pressed me to do so. So, I made some posts on message boards (Ads).

Ryan: Exactly.

Shaun: saw the posting Ryan had put online and said he was going to contact him and asked if I would be interested and I was thinking hmm 🤔 sure let’s hear what he’s got.. We all got together and had mutual interest and got to work.

Adam: I actually got some tracks and played to one of them and sent it back. Since then we have worked more organically and worked on a lot on the rest of record etc.

The bandcamp page cites “several influences from the 90’s”. What influences, specifically, were these?

Ryan: Adam, Shaun, you guys wanna take that next question?

Shaun: Ryan has crazy ideas for songs and we just keep building from those ideas and voila!

Adam: For me what influences us is so vast and encompasses a ton of different music but we all are def same age and of the era when the downward spiral came out and there was a lot of cross pollination of industrial and rock happening.

Ryan: Yeah. I’d say that, though we have influences from music with which we grew up, we’re definitely our own sound. We strive to break the mold and hold true to our own style.

Oh for sure

Adam: I went to see sister machine gun, KMFDM etc. during that time…Shaun was there most of the time ha ha we went to same school and are both from same town. I agree with Ryan 100 percent on that.

Shaun: There’s allot for me…I love classic rock, old metal, industrial.. Pink Floyd, skinny puppy, in, Chemlab, Tori Amos, ministry, etc.. It’s crazy how I really like allot of genres of music.. But what we create is pretty awesome.

Ryan: I mentioned to the guys, recently, that we have the luxury of being so far removed (years) from those sounds to the point that they’ve morphed into something different inside each of use.

This next one’s a question for the gear nerds out there, but also relevant to your sound. What’s your favorite instrument or piece of hardware you use? If not hardware, digital tools also apply.

Adam: Great way of putting it. I agree as well. As far as what I use with band since I’m the guitarist I’d say my Axe fx and I have an evh guitar that I used for maybe 70 to 80 percent of the album.

Ryan: I mainly use Arturia keyboards and f*ck with sounds all day long to get it to sound as sick/fitting as possible.

Shaun: I play a Strandberg Boden5 and a Warwick Taranis.. Love both basses allot.. Mesa cabs and Dark Glass gear.

Ryan: We’re a Logic Pro X shop

Adam: Yeah we work almost exclusively with logic although we will fuck with anything LOL I have same stuff at home.

Onward! What was the process of creating Control Alter Deplete like? It’s quite an extensive album with impressive mastering/mixing on it as well. How long did it take you, from conception to completion?

Ryan: First off…Thank you for the kind words. Wow. Conception to completion…Alpha to Omega…About a year. What’s quite interesting about that is…We created the Podcast in that stretch. Recorded/Mixed/Mastered and dished it out.

Shaun: 12-14 hour studio days, every weekend at least one day or two.. Lots of beer and chicken wings.

Ryan: Indeed, Shaun

Shaun: A lot of dedication.

Ryan: Yeah. We’re a no-nonsense, professional, respectful shop.

Adam: We def allowed some things to morph and some songs actually started from jams and weird things too so it’s interesting in that there appears to not be a def formula although a lot of songs come from Ryan first. Shaun is telling the truth abt the long hours and chicken wings…a lot of IPAS and dark beer as well 😂

Shaun: You have to love and nurture each song till you think it’s mature for the audience. And mostly we want to capture everything and not miss an idea.

Ryan: Yes! Yes! We create/jam to completion. When that emotion is fully captured (not cutting corners), we know we did it right.

Shaun: Definitely a work shop of ideas and honing

What does the album title mean? It made me think of the phrase “control alt delete”…is it a pun off this?

Ryan: Indeed. Glad you caught it!

Adam: Ryan can elaborate, yes it is.

Ryan: So, there is a correlation drawn between programs and humans / human emotions. I write software professionally (past millennia). So, to answer the question directly. The things we do in this life. Narcissism, hate, sociopathic mindsets…There is a process. Controlling something or someone…Altering it to conform to what you want…Then, the final act… Depletion. It’s quite interesting…The one that is initially in the wrong attempts those things. Then, the wronged, spin right back around and can use the same methods to win. Each element in programming as a similar facet. We create. The construct wrongs us. Then, we turn around and we create other constructs to eradicate those errors.

Shaun: It’s a vicious cycle really

Ryan: Indeed. Ultimately, no one wins. There is no escape. Which is why, on the album, there is emotional turmoil on conflicted feelings.

I like that explanation

Now, on the album art itself. There’s the aggressive insect-like figure, then your logo. Care to elaborate more on the creative direction here? What’s the story behind it.

Ryan: Oh. The Assassin Bug…Adam?

Adam: The album story actually deals with Gods law and the revenant is sent to eradicate sinners…the bug is actually an assassin bug.

Ryan: Yes!

Adam: Which exists to destroy the things that can harm the garden. Which is the purpose of the revenants…what God sends them to do anyway.

Ryan: Shoves that needle deep inside, injects poison, the insides turn to soup, the bug drinks the soup. Adam, exactly. Controls the prey, alters it, depletes it. Prior to the band forming, I saw that bug for the first time on the doorstep of someone that was literally killing me inside. I thought it was an alien or something. I snapped the picture. That exact picture was used on the album art. Everything we do has meaning. If it doesn’t make sense for the project, we toss it out.

Adam: That is true. We made a conscious effort to do songs that are part of the story. And cut a lot of things.

Ryan: We want people to be blown away when they start digging – or, pulling on the string. It keeps going.

Nice. Do you have any material planned for the future?

Shaun: There is still a lot of material in the back log to be worked.. And it’s coming.

Ryan: Future material? Exactly. As Shaun said. That’s an understatement – but true, in the least.

Adam: Seriously we are pretty deep into what will be the next release at some point.

Shaun: And allot of new ideas daily…Ryan has lots of ideas and keeps me and Adam on our toes.

Ryan: All true. I swear I get a new idea in my head a couple times a day. That goes for the music and the Podcast.

What creative direction would you like to explore in the future? Any stylistic exploration, dream collaborations, etc?

Shaun: It’s a crazy building process…

Adam: We feel like we wanna give people a chance to absorb this album so we are spending our time on the new stuff. We want to do some videos etc. for this one …the first of which will be for Crossing Over. Which has been shot and is editing and so forth at the moment.

Ryan: Yeah. We recorded Crossing Over (a full video product complete with cast and crew) last weekend. Regarding stylistic exploration…

Can’t wait to see it!

Shaun: And really special FX

Ryan: So, style…We’ve found something unique. Sean Beavan, Shannon O’Shea and others have talked to that. Our sound/style will continue on its special creative path.

Adam: We actually have experimented with lots of things we don’t really have rules. We did a track with a dub step artist and applied 8 string metal guitar to that. We try all sorts of different things to keep it interesting and enhance what we do. As long as it feels right and is Modal Citizan.

Ryan: Believe it or not, it’s quite difficult to create songs that don’t follow the standard verse/chorus formula and still make them incredible.

Shaun: I feel the sounds and style will be consistently getting more creative but hold the edge it has currently.

Ryan: Agreed

Shaun: Hell yeah!

Ryan: We groove to our own rhythm. Maybe it’s because I grew up on Motown and The Doors and Manson and Nails. Some of our riffs and grooves are so nasty. My penultimate statement may be why.

Adam: We could def play you some things that are going way outside of what is expected stylistically. We allow ourselves to try everything. We will talk abt Michael Jackson and James Brown and even try to pull inspiration from that too. It’s literally anything and everything that moves us.

Ryan: Indeed. #SocialInhibitionist.

Photography credit to Gigi Hoggard

Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly Talks Tech, Music Trends, And Classic FLA

photos by Bobby Talamine

I’ve been asking every artist this question, and my apologies if you’ve already had to answer it many times: How did the pandemic affect your workflow- both for this album and for your other projects?

A lot of the best known records I have made were all made under self imposed lockdown like conditions, but usually with a few other people in the room. This time I am alone and sending files back and forth, which Bill and I were doing already because we lived in different cities, so its not a major adjustment as far as working on music goes. In fact the pandemic brought me back to Canada and Bill and I actually completed the song “Unknown” in the same room so that’s an inverse effect.

I feel like Mechanical Soul has a much more old school “classic” FLA sound than say, the previous release Wake Up The Coma. I know it when I hear it but it’s sometimes hard to describe. At this point if somebody asked you to describe the “classic” FLA sound, what would you say? How much of it has stayed the same for all these years and what has changed?

I guess the “classic” FLA sound is a one-bar EBM bass line and then a big chorus part supported by pads and Bill’s voice. I think music goes in cycles and its come back around to where we started in a way. EBM was a techno buzzword a few years ago with new, younger artists exploring that style. I guess if you stick around long enough your original suit comes back in fashion. However Bill and I are always listening to new music and that will always influence you to some degree. I think the key here is adding upgrades here and there while keeping the body intact. Also doing live techno sets in that environment helped me incorporate some of those dynamics into the new FLA as well. There are arrangements we would not have done in the early 90s on this record.

I love that you brought on Jean-Luc DeMeyer for “Barbarians.” How did this collaboration come about? I see it’s a reworking of “Future Fail” from Artificial Soldier…

It was just a case of reusing a great vocal and giving it a backdrop where it can shine more clearly. Bill loved that vocal and felt it got a bit buried under a busy uptempo track and though slowing it down and going more epic would highlight it more. He sent me the half time drum loop and then I built the music around that and the vocal. Vocals are usually added last to our music so this time it was the other way around. Jean-Luc has such a unique voice and lyrical style it can easily function as a foundation.

 Tell us about some other projects you worked on in 2020, i.e. Cyberpunk 2077 and your solo album Diaspora. I love the track with Sara Taylor [of Youth Code], not just as a Black Flag fan but because it has such a cool energy between the two of you.

Cyberpunk was a fruitful project. I did 6 pieces for it but only 2 made the game, but working in that style spun off into my solo album Ostalgia. The tracks “Fission” and “Apostel” were developed from the game demo tracks and the style of the others influenced a few others on the album. The FLA track Stifle was also originally for the game. I had the idea of doing an electronic version of “Slip It In” for a while because the riff to me sounded like a great EBM riff. I was worried about the perception of the lyrics, so I thought having a female voice would be a more interesting juxtaposition, and Sara immediately came to mind with the power of her delivery. She came by my studio in Los Angeles and we had it down in a couple hours.

You guys also worked with Dino Cazares from Fear Factory on this album…I’m assuming this connection dates back to your work with them in the 90s but it was surprising and refreshing to hear guitar on an FLA album, since it doesn’t happen often. Was this your idea or Bill’s?

This was Bill’s idea. Stifle was a Cyberpunk track originally and Bill liked it and put down his vocals. After that he thought adding some guitar stabs would elevate the track even more so I asked Dino and of course he did a great job with minimal instruction. I have been doing some keyboards on an upcoming Fear Factory album (!!! -Ed.) and talk to Dino fairly often so it was easy to make happen.

I’m asking about the track with Dino also because it seems like guitars are showing up in a lot of electronic music lately, which again reminds me a little of the late 90s, yet it seems like there is a lot more crossover nowadays between genres.

I hate to phrase it this way because I sound like such a stereotypical clueless music journalist, but where do you see electronic music going next?

Its hard to say because electronic music is a broader and broader term. Most hiphop and pop music is technically electronic music, so in a way it’s already everywhere. I think we are seeing more circling back as well. I am hearing productions that now sound like the early and mid 90s as opposed to the 80s influence thats already everywhere, so it will probably just be overlapping circles in either direction.

What Are They Up to: Interviews with Vanity Kills, Ashes Fallen, and Black Rose Burning

Vanity Kills

[Photo Credit: Cameron Rhys McNamara]

Vanity Kills is the intense, cyberpunk-industrial band of Joe “Crow” Aaron. S&S has already covered them on several occasions: an interview from 2019, a review of album Chapter 2: Enemy, and a shoutout in the Halloween Compilation Release.

The band has been a friend of S&S for years. But where are they now? I reached out to Joe Crow himself to figure out what he’s been working on since the release of his last album. In the works are: 1- a third chapter album, 2- a B-sides album, and 3- a collection of covers.

The covers are being release intermittently on YouTube with the intent to compile them on Bandcamp upon completion. The B-sides, which are, according to Crow, “a collection of songs that didn’t make it on to the last album, alternate versions of previously released songs and remixes,” most likely going to be released in March. Chapter three’s release is as of now still uncertain.

Onto the topic of the B-sides and third chapter, do you see yourself exploring some uncharted creative territory?

Definitely. The b sides record is definitely a product of experimentation. There’s some more mellow moments there, some really dark stuff and some stuff that’s just outright weird.

The third chapter also tonally different to the second and first. It feels kind of like a 90s industrial album with modern production techniques. Sort of going back and taking influence from the places that first got me into the genre when I was in my teens.

It’s likely the B sides record will be a Bandcamp exclusive as a companion piece to Chapter 2. So everyone who has that will receive it automatically and be included with future purchases.

Regarding production, have you indulged yourself in any new equipment?

Nothing too extravagant. Picked up a Roland r8 for a bargain and a tb303 clone. I’ve also invested in a good amount of software instruments. As much as I’d love to get into more hardware it’s just not feasible at the moment and the ability to create new patches without routing audio and midi each time helps me stay in the zone with my limited attention span.

So, on your previous album and in a previous interview, you cited bands like Stabbing Westward, Ministry, and even Prince as having influenced you. Since the third chapter is going to be comparative to a “90s industrial album,” is there any new set of artists behind its inspiration?

Well all of those are there, probably more than the last record. As well as things like My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Circle of Dust, Nine inch Nails early material, through to the more electronic rave artists like the Prodigy, Underworld etc.

Gosh I love that early NIN stuff

Pretty hate machine and the broken EP will always stick in my mind as my personal image of NIN. I love damn near everything else but those are 2 I can go to any day in any mood.

Any closing remarks for your fans?

The support we’ve had for this album has been immense. I didn’t expect it after so many years if inactivity but old and new have come out in support and I’m eternally grateful. We’re going to finish off the album cycle with videos for every song from chapter 2 and swiftly onto the next chapter. So there’s plenty still to come. With some surprises along the way and one day more shows. Thank you so much and stay safe.

Ashes Fallen

Ashes Fallen is a California-based gothic rock band composed of James Perry (lead vocals, guitar), Jason Shaw (guitar), and Michelle Perry (vocals, percussion, keyboard, art).

S&S has previously reviewed their album Ashes Fallen as well as Thy Will be Done.

Their most recent release, We Belong Nowhere, was put out this august.
So, what have they been up to since then? I reached out to member James Perry to investigate.

Recently, they were part of the ARG (Anti-Racist Goths) streaming festival. It took place on January 1st, but you can watch their segment of it here.

“It was a real honor to be a part of it,” member Perry tells me. “Davey Bones and company are great.” The band performed their songs “We Belong Nowhere,” “Blood Moon,” and “Unrequited.”

How has it been adapting to virtual/streaming instead of live concerts?

I guess the main thing I’d want to add around that is just that the fact that we’ve been able to put on virtual performances has opened some doors for us and enabled us to participate in some really great events including being on the bill with some acts we really love and that influenced us, so while it’s unfortunate we can’t get out there in person, the situation has also presented some great opportunity for us. I don’t see livestreaming as a “replacement” for in person live shows, just another vehicle we can use to create and get our music out there. Michelle has always wanted to be able to design stage shows for us but it’s just not practical when you’re going on second out of four bands on a Tuesday night and you have 10 minutes to set up, but when we’re performing at home, we can have all the time we want to make something special visually! Last September, Michelle and I moved to a turn of the 20th century converted church and have made that our home base for the band, and it’s been a great space for online performances!

Do you have plans to take part in any more online streaming festivals?

We will be playing at Virtual Temple 3 at the end of January (January 30th, at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern), hosted by Temple in Salt Lake City. We’ve been lucky enough to be invited to perform at all three of their “Virtual Temple” events and they’ve been great, a lot of fun. We go way back with DJ Mistress Nancy, she’s a good friend. Hopefully someday we’ll get out to Salt Lake City to perform in person, and get to meet all the new people we’ve met online through live-streaming performances and virtual club nights and everything! That’s all we have scheduled for now though. We’ve been working hard on writing our next album, and we’ve decided to take a break from performance to allow ourselves time to get it finished.

I’d like to hear more about that next album. What new creative directions are you exploring with it?

We were a brand new band when we recorded and released our new album, and most of the songs were songs I’d already written and had performed as a solo artist, and we’d only played a few shows together. We all think our sound has evolved some, although I don’t think people who liked our first album will be disappointed or anything! We’ve made a conscious decision to simplify and strip down our sound somewhat. The arrangements aren’t nearly as busy. We’re still very much a gothic ROCK band with two guitar players, but we won’t be relying on thick, metal-type guitars so much of the time. Michelle and Jason are both contributing more to the songwriting this time out, and Michelle’s going to be doing more singing on this album.

As far as subject matter goes, the last couple of years have given us an awful lot to talk about! We’ve got songs in the works about the political situation in this country, letting go of the past and moving on, the pandemic, as well as the passing of my mother just a few months ago. She was the sweetest person you could ever hope to meet and my first inspiration to become a musician. We’ve also got a song in the works about Maila Nurmi, better known as Vampira. Michelle really wanted us to record an ode to her, and it should be a fun track! It’s not so much about the Vampira character, but the woman who created her, and how she created this amazing legendary vision that was so influential, and yet she had her creation essentially stolen from her, and then lived in utter poverty and isolation for decades before finding some modicum of recognition in her final years.

Wow, that sounds like a lot to look forward to. Any estimate on when it’ll be released?                               

It’s a little hard to say. We haven’t been able to get together as often as we’d like because of the pandemic and because “real life” gets in the way so often! We’re just about done writing it though, and just need to spend some time getting it all together. I’m hopeful we can have it out the first half of the year.

The singles we put out last year, “Thy Will Be Done” and “We Belong Nowhere” will be on the album too, and hopefully they give some indication as to where our sound is heading.

Thanks! Last question- any closing remarks for your fans?

Thank you all for your support and please stay healthy! We can’t wait to be able to perform in person again and dance and celebrate the darkness together again.

Black Rose Burning

S&S has written about Black Rose Burning before in a review of Open the Gate, listing it as one of the “Top Postpunk/Synthwave/Darkpop albums of 2020” at the end of December. High compliments! Open the Gate was released mid-November.

So, what have they been up to since then? I reached out to instrumentalist and producer George Grant for more information. Plan to expect, if all goes well, the release of a second record in spring.

Are you diving into any new stylistic territory or techniques on this new record?

I think it will retain my signature “sound” which I think is mostly my voice (I don’t hear too many – if any- like it in the genre, and I’ll probably be relying on a more synth-based production this time. A bit more experimental? Probably. Still infused with heavy hooks? Definitely also. I don’t think I’m ready to write my version of something like Pink Floyd’s Echo’s yet. But I will at some point.

You released a cover of Red Skies- The Fixx in the past. Any plans for more covers, potentially on this new record?

I have a few floating around on my drive – the one that looks most promising right now (if it ever actually happens) is what I think is a cool version of Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen in Love”. Anything else I’ve been toying with hasn’t gone far enough to even count yet.

Oh I absolutely love that song!

I also may be doing a collaboration with Scary Black closer to spring as well. We’ve talked on it – but haven’t made solid plans as of yet

That would be cool, I love Scary Black

Yeah I dig him a lot too. As a writer/musician and just as a person too

Now for a hardware question- have you treated yourself to any new gear in preparation for your upcoming music creation?

A LOT of software. I’m always looking for new sounds. The more ammo – the more sounds. As far as gear – I have so much already I couldn’t even think of what more I could need. I even dug out the theremin to see if I could use it on the new record! The recordings could easily turn into a free-for-all.

Yes! A theremin! I’ve got a kinda-theremin of my own, and it’s definitely great for weird noises. Can’t wait to hear you potentially use it. Any last thing you can tell your fans about the new album without spoiling too much?

If they liked the last one – this one will be even more epic. The first record was my training course...