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

Review of “Pain Is God”

A name that needs no introduction a synonymous part of Industrial/Electronica music for as many decades as I have on this earth Raymond Watts has a new album. Rather as <PIG>, KMFDM, Schwein, or countless remix collaborations for everyone in the scene Pig has continued to leave a mark for the effective sound smiting and adventurous forays into every nook and cranny of the EDM spectrum. No filth or madness was too deep for his snout to seek out truffles in.

https://pigindustries.bandcamp.com/

The new album is a 14 track journey “Pain Is God” through the sleaze glam neon dustbowl. Through all of it you hear a cleaner more blended offering than “Pigmartyr”. Even through the carnival of chaos the narrative of each song rings through the crunching haze of guitar and effect.

Doing this interview was a dream come true for 18 year old Ken. I feel like we had a wonderful discussion that revealed a lot about the man and what went into this album.

Favorite Tracks:

Pain Is God – We drop in on a booming bass wave rolling towards you like the ocean. Glitchy star holes of electronic sound build towards a chorus of gospel choir. Using the beauty of faith music as a sacrilegious tool of excess.

Rock and Roll Refugee – Rockabilly disco and palm muted gutter drive builds to a hook that gives ode to the power of rock. Our gospel choir returns to build the power. I love a good poetry serpent with a hard cadence delivery and this verse lays on the sickness.

Deliverance – I love this strange offbeat crooning ballad. Once the string sound drop in the tone shifts. This is the heart of the revival tent and the fever eyed preacher is working the thrum. Raymond’s voice takes a 90’s Leonard Cohen flavor. This one drips with soul and sends everyone’s voice calling to the sky.

Kicking Ass – Love the sample into old school 90’s industrial slash and burn. That guitar riff is thick as a vault door. I love the whisper of secret sins vocals. A lovely sheading blues guitar solo drops out of nowhere and takes over the tone.

I hear in this album an excited and invigorated Raymond Watts who has found his heart and centered his focus. It has a pulse, it sings a story, it reminded me what someone off the chain playing music they are in love with felt like. I want more and I want to breath it live. Long live the <PIG>

Interview with RICHIE V. SURIV of Missfit Toys

By : Adrian Kjøsnes

MISSFIT TOYS
————————

FORMED IN ORLANDO,FL BACK IN 2007, MISSFIT TOYS IS A BAND WHO`S SLOWLY MAKING THEIR WAY UP. PLAYING WHAT MOST WOULD CALL AGGROTECH OR ALTERNATIVELY “TERROR EBM” THEY`VE TOURED AROUND THE U.S OPENING FOR WELL KNOWN NAMES WITHIN THE INDUSTRIAL/ALTERNATIVE SCENE SUCH AS TIM SKOLD`S (PRECIOUSLY OF MARILYN MANSON, KMFDM, SHOTGUN MESSIAH) EPONYMOUS SOLO ACT, GRENDEL, PIG, DOPE , DAVEY SUICIDE AND PSYCLON NINE.

MISSFIT TOYS RELEASED THEIR LATEST ALBUM “THROUGH THE GLASS” OCTOBER 20TH WHICH WAS ALSO THEIR FIRST DATE OPENING THE SHOW FOR PSYCLON NINE ON THEIR RUINATWOUR.

AS THE SAYING GOES THERE IS NO SLEEP FOR THE WICKED AND WITH THAT IN MIND SOUNDS & SHADOWS GOT A HOLD OF VOCALIST/BANDLEADER RICHIE V. SURIV FOR A QUICK INTERROGATION REGARDING THE BAND, RELIGION AND OF COURSE, THE ALBUM.

(Adrian) Could you give a short backstory to MissFit Toys? How long have you been around and who makes up the current incarnation?

(MT) MissFit Toys has been around since 2007 but was only active on line until 2011 when we played our first show. Currently the members are as followed my self Richie V. Suriv as the vocalist/ song writer, followed by Travis Lee our drummer, Damien Carrion our guitarist and Adrian KJØSNES as a contributing studio artist at the moment.

(Adrian) What is the meaning behind your name?

(MT) The meaning behind the name came after a suicide attempt when I was 20. Only after an argument with my family telling me I wouldn’t amount to anything and that the people I associate with are nothing more than misfit toys. Broken people that can’t do anything on their own. I took that and used it as fuel to do something more, I added “Miss” as a play on words to show my obvious androgynous nature. Thus the name was born.

(Adrian) MissFit Toys seem to fall under the industrial/aggrotech umbrella, what made you want to create music within that particular genre?

(MT) Honestly I have always loved electronic music but also metal and always wanted something that mixed the 2 but never knew how or what that would sound like until I discovered industrial.
And I fell in love.

(Adrian) Do you currently have any other musical project or have you been involved in others in the past? If so which ones and how were they different from MissFit Toys?

(MT) I have been involved in several different projects including ludovico technique and Forever Dawn ” project of the vegan black metal chef”.
Some of the projects were definitely in line with what Missfit Toys does currently and some were completely different I love all types of music.
There are talks right now of collaborating with a few different artists but I can’t disclose any of that at the moment.

(Adrian) Tell us about your new album “Through The Glass”. What does the title mean and how long has it been in the making?

(MT) Through the glass is a combination of feelings, struggles and beliefs.It was inspired by a fan that felt like they weren’t good enough for me to ever acknowledge that they existed. So I went on the hunt trying to figure out who had sent me this message when I did find them I asked them if they would be alright with me turning their message into a song and album concept.Through the glass is not only important to me but also the band as we continue to evolve.It shows the hurt, the doubt and the struggles that not only I go through in my faith but others like me go through everyday.

(Adrian) A lot of your lyrics are inspired by faith, would you say the band as a whole has an agenda tied to this or is it more an expression of yourself as a person?

(MT) –  There’s no hidden agenda behind the band whatsoever and I am very open with it’s message and my beliefs. I am a Christian and the band is full of references to that, but more importantly it shows me and who I am through it. That not everything is sunshine and rainbows. that I am not better than any one else. it shows that I am broken and that I live in a broken world and this is what every one goes through. We do everything with intent and purpose, nothing is on accident. I use music as a way to not only cope with my emotions and the struggles that I have daily but as a way to communicate with people. Listening to the music you’ll understand the struggles that I go through and what their impact on me is.This album in particular shows a sense of longing, overwhelming feelings of drowning , guilt and desperation.
So It’s more a reflection of myself and what I go through, along with the struggles of others.

(Adrian) How do you think you’ve evolved musically since the beginning of the band? Has there been any major changes as far as the creation process or is it all more or less the same?

(MT) I feel that the music took a more developed appeal than what it was in the early days.As far as writing I do put a lot more care and effort into the message than I used to mostly so the message is not twisted and manipulated into something else. But other than that not much has changed.

(Adrian) The last word is yours, feel free to promote anything you`ve got going on or just leave a message, shout out etc for your listeners.

 (MT) We love our fans. the connections that we have with them at the shows and online are amazing and without them we couldn’t do what we do.Currently we are working on our next release and at the beginning of the year we will put through the glass online and will be available on all major streaming sights.
Thank you so much for your love and support.

https://www.facebook.com/MissFitToys/