Inside Horror Music with Midnight Syndicate

Midnight Syndicate has been creating instrumental Halloween music and gothic horror fantasy soundtrack CDs for the past thirteen years.   The group’s music has become a staple of the Halloween season worldwide as well as a favorite in the haunted house, amusement park, role-playing game, and gothic music industries.   From Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties to Monday Night Football, X-Box games, the classic Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, and Barbara Walters specials, their CDs are designed to take listeners on a journey into the darkest corners of their imagination.

Sin: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I want to say first, FABULOUS work. You guys have been part of many really cool things. Before we get to that, how did Midnight Syndicate start?

MS: I had this idea for a band that would create “soundtracks to imaginary films” by blending instrumental music and sound effects.  I always enjoyed instrumental music as I felt that it left  interpretation completely up to the listener and really sparked the imagination.  Take that and add sound effects reminiscent of the radio dramas of the 30s and 40s or a really good horror film and you got a formula for transporting a listener to a world of their own creation.  I’m a huge horror movie, high fantasy, and supernatural buff  so almost every creative project I’ve ever done tends to head down a darker path.  Midnight Syndicate was no exception.   Gavin joined me as my writing partner on “Born of the Night” (our second disc) and we’ve been writing music together ever since.   We just celebrated the 13th Anniversary of our first disc so we’ve been doing a lot of looking back this past year.  It’s been a great journey so far.

Sin: Where do you take inspiration from?

MS: Horror movies, roleplaying games like “Dungeons & Dragons,” and “Call of Cthulhu,” history (especially the Victorian era), horror artwork, and stories of the supernatural.   For me, I have to add EC Comics, Twilight Zone, and Stephen King to that list.  I get a lot of inspiration from those stories.  

Sin: You guys are often known as “Halloween music” or “Haunted House music.” Are you comfortable with that and what genre would you say you think Midnight Syndicate fits in?

MS: We are.  We’ve made a mark in those areas and are proud of that.   When we were first starting out, there really wasn’t anyone else doing anything like this.  Fans of Halloween and Haunted house designers had a choice between a bunch of cheap recycled sound effect tapes from the 70s and Monster Mash-type party compilations.   We changed that by producing effective dark atmospheric discs that focused on the music as much as the sounds.   Quality too and taking a lot of time to get it as good as possible was and always has been a staple of what we do.  I think people appreciated that.   When you are the first to do something (as we were for haunted houses, Halloween retail, and roleplaying games) a lot of doors and opportunities can open for you.   Granted, the fact that we weren’t easily classifiable made it impossible for us to get a record or distribution deal (lots of rejection letters) but we combatted that by starting our own label and distributor, Entity Productions and that’s worked out pretty well for us.

Sin: You have worked with/provided tracks to many other artists over the years: Three-Six Mafia, Twiztid, The Misfits, King Diamond… is there a favorite piece that resulted from any collaboration with other artists or their using your compositions?

MS:  It has to be Three-Six Mafia’s rap track “Wolf Wolf.”  Ironically, I experimented with a vampire-themed rap track on our self-titled debut called “Premonitions of a Killer.”   The music was based on a musical theme I had written for the vampire character Vellich from the original 1995 version of “The Dead Matter” film.  I turned that musical theme into a rap track with vampire-themed lyrics written and performed by some friends of mine that went by the name Dark Side.  To hear a legendary rap act like Three Six Mafia take one of my songs  and turn it into a kick ass rap track was surreal.   To this day, that track is special to me on many levels.

Sin: Last year, AOL put out a list of the Top 10 Best Halloween CDs of all time. Three of these were Midnight Syndicate releases. That’s quite an achievement considering all of the Halloween and gothic-themed music that’s out. What is your reaction to that?

MS: It was awesome.   Both of us were happy and humbled.  It’s great for us because as a part of the Halloween holiday there’s at least one time of the year where we can hear our music playing in bigger venues to more of the general public whether it’s Halloween radio stations like AOL and Sirius XM, amusement parks, haunted houses, stores, tv specials, or homes that decorate for trick-or-treaters.  Definitely a bonus.

Sin: Midnight Syndicate created the first original soundtrack for the Hasbro roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons and has been featured in a few other computer games as well. How did that come about? Were you excited about these projects?

MS: Absolutely.   Both Gavin and I are huge fans of Dungeons & Dragons.  To to be asked to do the first official soundtrack to a game we grew up playing (and was a influence for our work in Midnight Syndicate) was an honor.   It also let us stretch our wings a bit since the theme dictated more of an  fantasy feel than the typical horror themes we deal in.  It was a great project and working with Wizards of the Coast was awesome.   The disc did really well for us and that led to some licensing opportunities with the folks who put together the game Shadowbane and Baldur’s Gate 2: Dark Alliance for the X-Box.   As a huge fan of the Baldur’s Gate franchise it was excellent hearing our music in there.
 
Sin: Tell us about The Dead Matter (movie). How did you become involved with it? Did you enjoy working on it? 
 
MS: I did an earlier version of “The Dead Matter” back in 1995 as my first project out of college.   We were really limited by the budget so our goal was to complete it and use it to put ourselves in a position to remake it with a budget down the road.   That opportunity came about through Midnight Syndicate and Robert Kurtzman ten years later.   We shot the new “The Dead Matter” movie in 2007 and released it on DVD this past year.  It’s a supernatural thriller about this relic that can raise and control the dead (“dead matter”).  It’s got both zombies and vampires mixed in there with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing.   Unlike Midnight Syndicate, there’s also is a bit of humor in there which audiences seem to be enjoying.   I directed and scored the film as well as co-produced it with Robert and Gary Jones.  My goal was to make a film that would entertain people and it seems like people are having a lot of fun watching it (which is the a great feeling having worked on it for so long).  The whole process was a great, tremendous experience and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Sin: In April of this year, you came out with your first music video for Dark Legacy and then in June, your second video, for the song Lost. What made you decide to do a music video and how was making it different from other projects you have worked on (if at all)? Were you happy with how both turned out?

MS: We were really happy with how they turned out.  As far as why we did it, we just felt that it was something way past due,  it would be a great thing our 13th Anniversary, and we knew they’d make cool extras for “The Dead Matter” DVD so we did it.   After coming off “The Dead Matter,” I wasn’t interested in directing the videos so it was really David Greathouse (for “Dark Legacy”) and Andy Smoley (for “Lost” ) that came up with the concepts and executed them both.   It was quite a different experience as Gavin and I are usually right in there on everything.   But when you trust the director’s vision (like we did with Andy and Dave) it makes it easy, even fun, to just sit back and watch them do their thing.  They are both two very talented directors.   The “Dark Legacy” music video marked the first time Gavin and I had played together live on stage so that was a lot of fun.   I loved the attention to detail Dave and the Precinct 13 artists put into the scenery and his whole vision.  In “Lost” I loved all the little references that Andy and the 529 Films team dropped in there.   From the “The Dead Matter” on the theatre marquee, on the television, and on the computer, to the radio station playing all Midnight Syndicate – it’s just really, really entertaining for me to watch.  

Sin: You are the inspiration and an influence for many other artists. Who would you cite as the influences behind Midnight Syndicate?

MS:  Musically our influences are film composers like Danny Elfman, John Carpenter, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, Hans Zimmer, and James Horner as well as heavy metal artists like Black Sabbath and King Diamond.   I’m also influenced a bit by bands like Sisters of Mercy and Rob Zombie.   For Gavin it would be Dead Can Dance and early Genesis.   Movie sound design and the radio dramas of yesteryear have been a big influence on the Midnight Syndicate sound from the beginning.

Sin: What’s next for Midnight Syndicate?

MS: Gavin and I are at work on a brand new Midnight Syndicate CD we’ll be releasing in August of 2011.   It’s going to have a dark carnival theme with a twist.   After a year or so of post-production and handling the release of “The Dead Matter,” we’re just really excited to be getting back to making another Midnight Syndicate CD.

Find out more about Midnight Syndicate at: www.MidnightSyndicate.com

Inside Horror Music with Claus Larsen & Leaether Strip

Unless you have been living under a rock since the 80’s, you have no doubt heard of Leaether Strip. HorrorAddicts had a chance to catch up with Claus Larsen, the man behind the machine and speak with him about his newest project “Dark Passages” and some other things as well.

SM: First, let me say that I am actually a big fan of Leaether Strip. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. And Happy Birthday! I know it’s a little late. Let’s jump right in: “Dark Passages” is your first foray into writing soundtracks, etc. How did you like this experience? Would you do it again?

CL: Thanks so much. It has actually been a dream of mine to compose music for films, even before Leæther Strip was started back in 1988.  John Carpenter’s soundtracks made me start to collect soundtracks, and his music has been a big inspiration for me. So getting the “job” to write music for “Dark Passages” was a dream come true, and I hope that it will open doors to that world of films. I would do it again for sure if I got the offer.

SM: How did it come about that you collaborated with director Cesar Cruz to do “Dark Passages?” Did he approach you? Had you worked together before?

CL:  I had never heard of  Cesar before. He asked me about 2 years ago if  I would be interested in writing the title theme song for his movie- I needed to read the script first to see if it inspired me of course. It was a very intense story and I said yes right away. Problem was that I was so full of ideas that one song wouldn’t do it for me, so a few months after I began I had over 60 minutes of music. Normally composers only get a few weeks to complete a soundtrack, so having all the time in the world, plus, only to have the script to inspire me was amazing for me. I bet all soundtrack composers would kill to have that amount of time and freedom.

SM: Was it in any way easier to write music based around a defined plot or subject matter? Was it in any way more difficult? How would you say it is different from the way you normally write songs, if at all?

CL: I approached this project in the same way I do with my “normal” work.. I read the script 2 times. Placed it in a drawer and then started on the title song. It was in a way kind of relaxing to do cause normally my lyrics are very personal and its not always easy to turn yourself inside out and being as honest as I am.  You would think that it was easier to write about other peoples stories, but  it’s not.. As soon as I started I was right there with the people in the story and the whole process quickly became as personal as a “normal” Leæther Strip song.

SM: What would you say is the overall theme or tone of the album?

CL: I think it’s the darkest album I have ever done. I might not be as harsh sounding, but I really moved around in the darkest places of my thoughts while writing this. I had some really “fun” nightmares while recording it too. I was also told that the actors in the movie listened to the soundtrack to get prepared to act the scenes out. I am very happy with the result, and I hope this is the start of something for me, and for Cesar, because he’s a huge talent, both visually and as a writer. He’s going places and I hope he’ll take me with him.

SM: Who would you say are the biggest influences in your work?

CL: There are many, but to pick the most important ones I would have to name Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, John Carpenter , Gary Numan and Skinny Puppy.

SM: If you had to pick a favorite piece of your own work, could you do it and if so, what would it be?

CL:  The album that have had the biggest impact on my life is “Solitary Confinement” from 1992. It was my breakthrough and it has opened many doors for me and I still get messages and questions from listeners concerning that album. But for me they are all favorites.

SM: You have played live MANY places. What has been your favorite live show so far?

CL: Yes, after my stage “come back” I have been really lucky to get to play a lot of shows. It’s been amazing to get out there to meet the people again, and I never thought that would happen again after my back problem started to get nasty in 93. The most fun gigs I played were in Dessau, Budapest , Philadelphia and London, and that doesn’t mean that the others were bad. I have actually been lucky so there haven’t really been any negative gigs.  I have met open arms and kindness at every show so far. I like the club gigs best because I get to play my full 90 minute set and there is time for the sound check and not so much stress before and after the shows. Another show that also meant the world to me, was the concert I played with Skinny Puppy last summer here in Denmark.

SM: What remix are you the most proud of or do you think turned out the best?

CL:  For me the best one is a new on that’s not released yet, but will be out soon I hope. An old 80s Song by Wang Chung called “To live and die in LA”, from the movie with the same title. The original  is one of best songs ever written if you ask me. They asked me to remix a new song of theirs and I did that, and took a chance to ask if  they would let me fiddle with that old song.  I was also just asked by Frontline Assembly to remix a song for them so I cant wait to get started on that.

SM: As a fellow musician, I know that sometimes it can be difficult to smash your music into a category or genre. That being said, what genre would you say YOU think Leaether Strip fits into, if any?

CL: I think that Dark Electro fit’s my sound pretty much, but for me personally its still “just” songs.

SM: Are there any artists you would like to work with that you have not had a chance to work with yet?

CL: I love working with other people so sure, there are many. It’s very inspiring for me to remix for others or having guest’s on one of  my songs. Dirk Ivens just said yes to do a guest vocal for a song on my coming Klutæ album. And I plan to ask Gary Numan, Ogre, Marc Almond and Darrin Huss in the near future for a guest vocal, but they don’t know it yet. After I asked and got a “yes” from Andy Sex Gang for the guest vocal on “What have I done” from the “Mental Slavery” album, I found the guts to ask some more. If I get a no then at least I asked.

SM: What direction do you see Leaether Strip going in as you move forward? Has this changed at all since you started?

CL: I have no idea. I always just go where the music is taking me. Evolution doesn’t happen when we think about it, it usually comes like a thief in the night.. Also, the devoted listeners knows that I move around in all sorts of genres, so they are hard to shock. I do have a wish to maybe record a 2nd Serenade for the dead. But right now my time is devoted fully to the new Klutæ album “Electro Punks Unite”.

SM: What would be the main thing you hope to achieve or get across to people with your music?

CL: The same as we all dream about. To have an impact on other peoples life’s. If I can help one person somewhere with my music as much it has helped myself, then nothing has been in vain.

SM:  What is next for Leaether Strip and you?

CL: I already got a lot of bookings for concerts for next year, and I expect to have the coming Klutæ album ready for release next spring. Then I start working on “Retention no4”, which will be for “Underneath the Laughter”.  I also got some new Leæther Strip songs in the works.  I also made my first Christmas song ever, for a compilation titled “Black Snow 2”.  It’s a tragic song about John Blacksmith titled “It happened on Christmas Day.”

(read about the release here:

http://emmo.jgs-media.de/(mmrzkqbak0bo0aejhvacff55)/content/shop/details.aspx?ProduktID=15872&KategorieID=32&keyword=black%20snow

You can check the confirmed concert dates on my Myspace site or my Facebook site.

www.myspace.com/leaetherstrip

www.facebook.com/leaetherstrip.clauslarsen

Claus is very excited about his newest projects and we are too! We are definitely looking forward to what this awesome band brings to the table. They always deliver. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Inside Horror Music with Factory of Dreams

HorrorAddicts recently had the honor of speaking with Hugo from Factory of Dreams to discuss whozits and whatzits. Here is what he had to say:

SM: First of all, I am really enjoying your stuff. The fans at HorrorAddicts.net dig it! How did you start in music?

HF: Hey, that’s so cool to hear, I’m really glad you guys are enjoying the music here at HorrorAddicts. Factory of Dreams is a band that wanders on that thin line between reality and fiction, so, to find such an original show as yours is a real treat and a fantastic place to be since it’s known territory for us! I started a long time ago making music you know, back on the 80s with a computer, the commodore Amiga which is still to me the only computer with a soul, I mean, it lives within the hearts and minds of the Amiga generation. I did several tunes for the Amiga demoscene and for a game, then started moving to bigger things such as synthesizers and PC hardware later in the 90s. More professionally, I started a band called Sonic Pulsar, mostly a progressive rock band, and we released two albums, one produced by Mellow Records called ‘Out of Place’. This lead to Project Creation, a project that is still going on and that will have another album soon enough as well. It’s an absolutely epic project, very scifi driven, about a planet-like self-generated ship, travelling through space. In between I participated on tribute cds for The Moody Blues, Santana, and some compilation cds. The thing about my music projects is that they’re always about scifi concepts, many times speaking about darker subjects, psychological horror, mysterious things. Factory of Dreams is no exception.

SM: How did Factory of Dreams come to be?

HF: After I completed Dawn on Pyther, the second Project Creation album about the new developed planet called Pyther, I wanted to take a break and start a new project with a whole new sound approach. The idea was to spontaneously play what came to mind, and evolve from there naturally without thinking too much about song structures or making those too complex. So, I started playing around with my synth and in about a week I came up with some 12 songs. 11 were to become Factory of Dream’s first cd called Poles. I had the music, it was very atmospheric with heavy guitars; this was surely gonna be one of the very first ‘synth metal’ projects or ‘atmospheric metal’. So, like I was sayin’, I had the music, needed a voice and started searching on the net, myspace,… and there was Jessica, an original, warm voice, I had never heard anything quite like it before, because it wasn’t totally operatic, nor totally metal/rock,…but a mix of both. Plus she had experience, she had her own project, composed and recorded herself her own vocals and arranged them. So, I sent her a few demos for Poles that I already had, she recorded some takes and I loved it and she also enjoyed the music. Everything was set.

SM: You have a very unique sound. Who would you say are your biggest influences?

HF: I really can’t think of big influences, there are some artists that have had an impact on my life, but they’re not necessarily related to the metal genre. David Arkenstone is a remarkable musician, from the electronic/new age genre, whose melodies touched me over the years. Anyway, what I enjoy to hear also is Rush, Birthday Massacre, I used to listen to a lot of Iron Maiden, old 80s rock and synth pop/wave such as Alphaville, Duran Duran, prog metal like Dream Theater, Gathering, some Epica and NW not all, Vangelis, Steve Vai, among others. So, you see pretty diverse.

SM: How do you think your sound as a musician has evolved over time?

HF: Music and sound is, many times, related to a certain period of your life, so, I believe that an album represents that specific time. That’s also why a certain song makes you remember summer, winter, whatever. However, besides what a musician feels within that period, the core of a musician’s sound shouldn’t change drastically, and even by evolving, its ‘fingerprint’ should still be there. Melody is that fingerprint. Sound and the way ideas are conveyed into a piece of music is always changing, but the feeling and the melodic sense, in my case, is mostly kept intact. Actually, I tend to revisit my older songs and, when appropriate, re-record a few, if their melody and vibe fits my new songs. That was the case with a track that shall be on Melotronical; it’s called ‘Something Calling Me’, a beautiful song that I composed some 10 years ago. Over time more experience is also gained, as well as new equipment to provide a better recording quality and mixing. As far as themes and concepts go, I think that I’ve kept my scifi genre and ideas pumping throughout the years, but now they’re much more mixed with real subjects, drama, love, social issues. These are mostly being explored with Factory of Dreams. Apart from this, the Factory of Dreams’ sound is much more modern than my previous bands. This will be even more evident with the upcoming Melotronical album. Speaking of which, a Single has been released and a great song preview too.
Check them out here:  http://www.reverbnation.com/factoryofdreams

SM: Where are you hoping to take your sound in the future?

HF: It’s progressing, endlessy, so I can’t tell. It’s never final, never complete. I believe my goal is simply to make music that satisfies me more and more and that’s all. Ultimately refining one’s sound is a goal, but the struggle is to be happy with what you can do with your music.

SM: Out of all of your material, could you pick a favorite piece or project and if so what would it be? 

HF: I really love ‘Slow Motion World’ from FoD’s A Strange Utopia, ‘Crossing the Bridge to the Positive Pole’ from Poles is also great. ‘Flying Thoughts’ from Project Creation’s Dawn on Pyther is also a favorite. If I may pick one from FoD’s upcoming cd, the song ‘Obsessical’ will be the one too, what a crazy track that’ll be, along with ‘Protonic Stream’ which has a short preview on Reverbnation.

 SM: Were there any other projects or bands before Factory of Dreams?

HF: Yes, the ones I think I mentioned previously, both Sonic Pulsar and Project Creation. Project Creation still exists and will have the 3rd album also soon enough. I have many Project Creation fans waiting for a new cd. Besides those, I also did a solo album that started it all, called Atlantis. I also composed two demo cds, and some of those pieces were re-recorded for FoD or PC. What is curious to observe is that despite 10 years have passed, my music still has the fingerprint that I referred to previously, and some melodies from Atlantis are indeed used on my new albums. Besides my cds, I also participated on several compilation with Factory of Dreams:
Gothic Spirits 10
Desfillesetdesriffs compilation
Gothic Visions 2 – DVD + CD

SM: As far as song creation, where do you take inspiration from?

HF: I usually like to sit back, with my headphones, be in my own world, and simply start playing and experimenting sounds and combining instruments with my synthesizers. That’s my inspiration above all, feeling the melody, making it evolve. There rest comes naturally. This subject that we’re talking about right now, will actually be the main theme for the title track ‘Melotronical’; how music interacts with nature, how it flows like energy, how its rhythm can be felt. Actually, the main vocal melody on this track is epic, and so catchy, I always remember it. I’m really anxious to get the album out so fans can experience it 😉 Besides this, and speaking of concepts and not melody and songs’ structure, my inspiration comes a lot from books, movies, mostly scifi, horror, mystery… that’s my world!

SM: Is there any one message you would like to get across to people with your music? What do you hope to achieve with Factory of Dreams?

HF: Sometimes there is a message, other times it’s just for the fun of creating a concept and playing around with it and with the music. I’d say that with our first album Poles there was definitely a very strong message. It was about not letting go our dreams, fighting for a better place, not following what others say or those damn trends, do your thing. Our 2nd album also had strong ideas, such as Earth’s revenge, the payback time from the harm we do to our world on a daily basis. That was clearly heard on ‘The Weight of The World’. ‘Sonic Sensations’ is a track from that same album that shows a world made and healed by music, what a great place that’d be!
Both these tracks have had a video shot, and can be found @ Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/projectcreation
I really love ‘Slow Motion World’ from FoD’s A Strange Utopia, ‘Crossing the Bridge to the Positive Pole’ from Poles is also great. ‘Flying Thoughts’ from Project Creation’s Dawn on Pyther is also a favorite. If I may pick one from FoD’s upcoming cd, the song ‘Obsessical’ will be the one too, what a crazy track that’ll be, along with ‘Protonic Stream’ which has a short preview on Reverbnation. Our new cd will speak about many things, and depicts the evolution of an atom into a living breathing entity. It goes through many stages and also through an Era where life is like a prison, which is an analogy to our way of life currently. Too much stress, no time for…for living if you know what I mean. There, you get to see a world of greed, politics, where the individual is forgotten, all for the sake of a group of vicious people. That’s also a big message along with the line from Obsessical where we state:

“Vanity, Selfishness, A luxury, Soon to be our Tomb,
Insanity, Nothingness, A fate, Certain to meet our Doom”

“This World, Obsessed with greed, Obsessed with politics,
Obsessed with War! A raising Hell, No one left to Tell”

And also, from anoter track called protonic Stream:

“Welcome to the system, Made for survival
Not for living, Protonic Stream”

 (Hear the sample @ http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_6152456)

This last section is from our brutal Protonic Stream song that will be on ‘Melotronical’, probably track 3 or 4, we’re still deciding the track listing. This will be the biggest track on the album, close to 9 minutes long. Clearly these lyrics express the feeling that this entity from the album, or us nowadays, are living in a pseudo-democracy. There’s freedom yes, but not totally and not for everyone. Sometimes it’s only an illusion… a factory of dreams, to state the album Poles!

SM: What’s next for you and for Factory of Dreams?

HF: Melotronical is the next album. Planing a big release here, with great music and artwork, plus an awesome teaser , and a second single too to be announced 🙂 I hope people will like it, you can listen to the new single and samples right here:

http://melotronical.com
http://www.myspace.com/projectcreation
http://www.reverbnation.com/factoryofdreams
http://www.youtube.com/projectcreation
http://www.facebook.com/factoryofdreams
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Factory-of-Dreams/95874096153?ref=ts
http://twitter.com/factoryofdreams
http://www.last.fm/music/Factory+of+Dreams

Many thanks to HorrorAddicts! You guys freaking rock…in a scccaaryy horrifying way obviously lol ;);) Seriously, it was a pleasure, my thank yous.

Inside Horror Music With James Perry

Imagine haunting melodies, powerful rhythms and beautiful vocals all woven together over poignant lyrics. There you have James Perry. We had a chance to speak with him regarding his newest work, where it all came from and where it’s all going. Here is what he had to say.  

1. First of all, love your stuff. The fans at HorrorAddicts love it too. The first I notice in your bio is that you have two projects going on: your solo project and an industrial band called Deathline International. What is the story behind both of these projects? How did they come to be?

Thank you! Well, I haven’t been with Deathline from the very beginning, but I can tell you about how I got involved in the band. About 8 years ago they were preparing to do a short tour, but one member was unable to get the time off work, so my friend Eric Gottesman, who was playing guitar and percussion for them at the time, recommended me. Even though it was a short term thing I took it very seriously and worked very hard to learn the songs and do the best I could. And now, 8 years later, I’m still playing with them! And incidentally, the guy I filled in for is actually back in the band. We’ve been working on new material for some time now and we contributed a track to the “Electronic Saviors” compilation on Metropolis Records. Hopefully we’ll have more new stuff out there soon.

As for my solo stuff, well… I enjoy the band dynamic in Deathline and working with a team, but I also like to be able to do my own thing and totally be the boss, you know? And there are certain things I’d like to express on my own, and sides of my musical personality that just don’t make sense with Deathline. 
 
2. Your first solo album was recorded as a National Solo Album Month project, in which an artist totally self-produces an album they wrote in one month. What was that experience like?
 
Writing and recording an album all by oneself in one month is crazy! At first, I just dinked around in the studio for a few days, but I had to get myself focused pretty quick to get something together in that amount of time. So I set some loose boundaries for the project in terms of subject matter and style, and went for it. It was a great way to write because that time pressure really made me focus and I wrote so much stuff in so short a time. Ultimately, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a great way to write an album, but not the way to record an album, at least not for me. It sounds pretty rushed and raw, and it was. I think it could have turned out a lot better with some more development.
 
3. Your album “Now You’re Gone” was originally intended as a National Solo Album Month project but then you changed your mind? Why is that and are you glad you didn’t release it that way?
 
Yeah, originally “Now You’re Gone” was going to be a NaSoAlMo project, and I pretty much had a “finished album” by the end of the month. But I decided that what I was working on was just too good and too important to me to rush. I also decided that while it was very much a James Perry project, I really wanted to get some other people contributing to it. I also ended up writing quite a few more songs after the first month was over, including some of the best stuff on the album like “Dreaming of You” and “Slipping Away Again”.
 
4. Tell us a little more about “Now You’re Gone.”
 
“Now You’re Gone” is a 100% autobiographical concept album about the end of a relationship I was in a few years ago. I call it a “concept album” because the entire thing is about the same subject, and I very much meant for it to be listened to in order, beginning to end, even though I’d like to think most of the songs stand on their own. For the most part, it’s written from the perspective of me during the time that the relationship was falling apart and my life was going crazy, except for the last track, which was me looking back. It’s not a “rock opera” and I cringe when people use that term to describe my album because it makes me think of Dennis DeYoung! 
 
5. You worked with many great musicians on that album. What was that like?
 
I did! It was really wonderful and a lot of fun. I loved being able to be the boss and be a control freak about the whole thing, but also make use of my talented friends to help me do things I either couldn’t do on my own, or that I knew they could do better. And even though I remained fully in charge, I also gave my guests some leeway and sometimes they surprised me with the cool stuff they came up with. It’s also really easy to get tunnel vision when working on things by myself, so an outsider perspective once in awhile really helped things along. It’s good to get a blunt assessment from someone I trust not to bullshit me or think “it’s great” just because they’re so impressed that I can actually write a song.
 
6. I saw your music video for the song, “Waiting.” Fabulous and congratulations on your first music video! What was that experience like and are you happy with how it turned out?
 
Thank you! It was really cool. Mareesa Stertz did a fabulous job. I really lucked out. I was hanging out with my friend Corinne after she did her vocal parts on “Waiting” and I casually mentioned that I was interested in getting a music video made, and she happened to know just the person! Mareesa and her crew worked very hard, and it was definitely an interesting, fun experience. At first, I thought of the video as a promotional tool to help get the word out about my music, but as the process went on, I came to see it as a really cool piece of art in its own right that I commissioned and contributed to.  
 
7. What are your musical inspirations?
 
Again, “Now You’re Gone” is totally autobiographical. It was just something I had to get out. I tend to write about things I’m feeling and things that frustrate me. When I’m happy I don’t write music very much, and especially not lyrics! 
 
8. Who would you compare your sound to, or what other bands would you say are an inspiration to your sound?
 
My biggest musical inspiration and role model is Devin Townsend. I think he’s just great. He just has such a perfect blend of technical brilliance and passion, progressive songwriting that still ROCKS and is catchy as hell. I finally got to see him live recently and my respect for him as a musician went up that much more. He’s a great artist but also fully realized that ultimately, he’s an entertainer and we go to shows and listen to music to feel something and have a good time, and he fully embraces that. 
 
Some other big influences on my musical development and sound are Depeche Mode, Material Issue, Type O Negative, Jesu, Opeth, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Gary Numan… I could go on and on! 
9. Out of every album you’ve done, what is your favorite if you had to pick?
 
Definitely “Now You’re Gone”, although I’d like to think I’m capable of doing better. Only time will tell! 
 
10. What’s next for you?
 
I’ve got a few songs and covers I’d really like to get recorded and release as an EP. Beyond that, it’s hard to say. I’ll have to see how and when inspiration strikes. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I can’t force myself to write, and I just don’t feel like right now is the time. I just might try that National Solo Album Month thing again though, so you never know! I’ve been doing some acoustic shows in support of “Now You’re Gone”, but I’m just in a different place now in my life than I was when I wrote and recorded those songs. I’m “over it”, so to speak. 
 
We here are HorrorAddicts are definitely NOT over it! We will look forward hungrily to what delectable morsels James brings us next.

Inside Horror Music With Robbie Quine

If “glam goth” could be personified into one band, self-proclaimed “intergalactic space sluts” Robbie Quine & The Barbarellatones are definitely it. With their very catchy gothabilly sound and humorous lyrics, they definitely poke fun at themselves and the goth scene. However, their list of accolades reminds the listener that The Barbarellatones are no joke. In addition to receiving radio play and glowing reviews from many scene magazines, their song “Fire of Love” was used in the “Luxury Lounge” episode of The Sopranos.

In the end, The Barbarellatones really must be seen to be experienced fully. According to Robbie, they feel strongly that rock music should be sleazy and glamorous. And baby, they bring it. What else can you say about a band that covers “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show that well? All the way to the hilariously catchy and almost anthemic “Grab Your Ankles,” The Barbarellatones deliver.

Inside Horror Music with The Dark Clan

From the very first sound of electronic deliciousness, you just know The Dark Clan is going to be a soundscape experience and you are not disappointed. The trio of Dan Clark, Lane Ellen, and Mercy Skye bring you their darkly luscious, sometimes humorous brand of “dance, swoon, and drum-n-bass meets shoegaze.” It’s definitely different, effortlessly engaging, and fabulously vamp-y.

The Dark Clan was created by the talented Dan Clark in 1998. When one of The Dark Clan’s tracks received some success and he was offered live gigs, Dan knew it was time to put together a live band and bring his music to the masses. Since 2005, that is what he has done with albums such as The Vampire Wore White and Fade/Dance Magic Dance.

I had a chance to ask Dan some questions about The Dark Clan and his musical career in general. Here is what he had to say:

SM: Before I say anything else, let me say that I really like your stuff. I found it instantly engrossing and very catchy. How did The Dark Clan start? What were you doing before you started TDC? And do very many people notice the band name is a play on your name?

DC: Thank you so much for the kind words, glad you dig the tunes! ^_^
The Dark Clan started in 1998 because I was teaching myself how to write and record electronic music like what Crystal Method and Prodigy and Chemical Brothers were doing. Seriously the first few songs I wrote were total knockoffs of songs like “Setting Sun” and “Keep Coming Back” and “Smack My Bitch Up.” Well, except I had no idea what I was doing at that point so things didn’t sound very good, but it was fun to do, and a pleasant break from the other stuff I was doing.

My overall background is: I’ve been making music since I was 5, and have been in gigging bands since I was 14. I remember there was a fuss at one of my first bar gigs; my age didn’t go over well with the bartender. She was all like “He can’t come in here OHMIGOD!” But I was in the band, so they at least had to let me in to play. I learned to keep a low profile to avoid that kind of thing going forward. But yeah; I started out in cover bands in high school, usually playing a few of my originals, then in college I was in a bunch of different bands; punk, funk, jazz, prog, lots of stuff. My degree is in Music — composition, to be precise, and my major instrument was voice, so I got to meet and work with all kinds of great musicians, which led to me playing around in pretty much every possible genre, which is probably a big part of why I still jump genres a lot.

Anyway, when I started TDC after college, I was already in a really busy, hard-working punk band, an arty metal band, and a gothy, industrial, kind-of glam band, and this is of course on top of some composition things I was still doing, and a day job, so I had a lot going on, but I really wanted to learn what the electronic guys were doing, and anyway there was a lot of other music I wanted to do that didn’t fit in with any of my other groups, so I started a solo project. I called it The Dark Clan because that was something that a couple dudes in high school tried calling me to make fun of me back in the day, you know, just being high school idiots, being like “Hey, it’s the Dark Clan! Hahaha! Dark Clan!” But they realized that “Dark Clan” was actually pretty cool, and it didn’t bother me at all, and no one used it to make fun of me, so they gave it up really fast, but I kept the name in the back of my head.

It’s funny — some people have gone years before realizing that Dark Clan is an anagram of Dan Clark. Others get it right away. I think the main thing is that if people see the two names next to each other in print, they tend to recognize it faster, but if they just hear “Dark Clan” it’s harder to make the connection.

SM: You categorize The Dark Clan as “dance, swoon, and drum-n-bass meets shoegaze.” As a fellow musician I know that it isn’t always easy to categorize your creations. How did you decide what elements to incorporate into The Dark Clan and would you say it is an evolving sound?

DC: Well, to be fair, that’s how I describe the Goths on a Boat EP in particular. The tagline I use to describe The Dark Clan sound in general is “Like Jimmy Eat World trying to stop the Dragonforce guys from stealing Postal Service’s lunch money.” Regardless, that is a totally excellent question.

I tend not to limit what I use, sonically, in TDC. For example, on our latest album, which is a double album called Fade/Dance Magic Dance, I’ll go from a song like Anthem, which is just straight-up pop-punk, to Jus Sanguinis, which is Euro majestic metal, to sex sex sex sex sex, which is like UK funky breaks, to Old Blue Quarry which is all congas, tablas, triangle, rainstick, etc. All ethnic percussion. So really, I don’t limit my sonic palette at all; for me it’s more using those elements to contribute to the overall vibe of whatever track it is I’m currently working on. If there’s an overarching aesthetic to the music of TDC, I suppose it’s that I tend to work in broad gestures for that band. In terms of specific elements, TDC will always have lots of vocal harmonies, species counterpoint, guitar solos, and big booty-shaking beats, just not always necessarily in the same song at the same time, though I’ve certainly tried on occasion. 🙂

SM: You stated in your bio that the first few live gigs you ever played were just “you and an iPod.” Can you tell us a little more about that and why you decided to incorporate an actual live band into your shows?

DC: Hahahahaa! Ugh, yeah, the infamous iPod shows. I hated that. See, The Dark Clan was never really supposed to play live at all; I just started it as kind of a lab experiment and paid absolutely no heed to what it would take to do the songs live.

But then, in…man, was it 2005? I think it was 2005 a couple good friends — Jeff Seabright, who used to be a promoter here in the Milwaukee area, and Matt Fanale, who you may know as Caustic — asked me to play a couple shows after a couple of my songs got some pretty heavy club play here in the Midwest throughout 2004, after my first album as TDC came out. I was in Null Device at the time, and had just joined Stromkern, so I was way too busy with other things to get a full band together and do all the arranging that would have been involved and so I threw everything on an iPod. The shows were fun, don’t get me wrong, but after the second one I was like, okay, never again. I just felt so ridiculous up there all by myself singing and sometimes playing my guitar, with an iPod as my backing band doing, really, all the work. I mean, if I was doing most of the work and the iPod was just supplemental that would have been one thing, but the iPod was definitely doing the heavy lifting, so it was basically karaoke where I had written all the music, and that’s just not my thing. It works great for some folks, but I prefer a more “live” live experience.

When I got offered a slot at the 2007 Reverence festival in Madison, that was the final kick in the tail to get a band together. I’d just spent the last three-ish years playing and touring with Null Device and Stromkern so I had a lot of great contacts to help make it happen, and my chops were in great shape, so the time seemed right. And really, like I said, I’m a live playing guy first and foremost. I used to practice guitar and voice and piano and everything else for 8, 10 hours a day through high school and college so I’m comfortable working that way. In fact, a lot of times I’ll play a synth line instead of programming it ‘cos it’s just faster and I prefer the feel. I know that doesn’t make me all super unique or anything; I know others do it, too, I’m just using it as an example of my preference. I’d always rather have a full band and spend time making careful, thoughtful, effective song arrangements than just chuck everything on an iPod. It’s just my background and what I love to do. In other words, you can take a dude out of music school, but you can’t take music school out of a dude. Man, does that sound douchey? I’m sorry if it does. It probably does. Ugh.

SM: Where/how did you meet the people who are now in TDC with you?

DC: Mercy Skye (keys, vocals) is my girlfriend, and she I have been together a long time now: 14 years. We met in music school. She was a composition major, too, in addition to being a woodwind performance person and so we met in class and eventually started dating and then just stayed together. Ironically, she just officially joined the band in late 2008 and it’s the first time we’ve played in a band together, even though she’s a ridiculously talented musician; we were both always too busy with our own things to start a separate project together. Lane Ellen (keys, vocals) I met in a “friend-of-a-friend” kind of situation; I needed a new bassist or a second keyboard player who could also sing ‘cos I wanted a second lead singer, and Lane fit the bill. She’s also just amazingly talented. She wrote a bunch of lyrics on the new record, plus she’s a really skilled dancer, does some acting, has a terrific voice (as you can hear on our records), she does lots of stuff. Just a great person.

SM: What is your favorite live show you’ve done? Any interesting stories about that?  

DC: Well, my favorite of all time probably happened in a different band, but still, man, there are a bunch of highlights for TDC; we did a gig in late 2008 with Wreckreation and ThouShaltNot in Pittsburgh, it was a show put on by the mighty Jim Semonik and it was just a blisteringly good time. A lot of the live tracks on our album Perspectives came from that show. But I guess I’d have to say now that our collective favorite show was our gig at The Engine Room in Tallahassee, FL this past July, on the Fading Belief tour. It was just one of those gigs where everything went right: the venue was awesome, the crew was amazing, the sound was godlike, the other bands were all good friends and amazing people, and the crowd was an absolute delight. I mean, some people flew in for that show; it was us and ThouShaltNot and Spider Lilies, another great band. it was just one of those “perfect storm” gigs where it was a storm of perfectness, and not like a storm that wrecks your boat. Also notable, to me, was that at the show, a bunch of members of the Cruxshadows and their social circle drove to the gig and even though they had an event to go to, and had probably come mostly to see their friends in Spider Lilies, they ALL stayed for the whole night, and I was just totally honored and flattered by that; they’re such an amazing and wonderful family of people.

SM: What do you try to communicate to the audience when you are on stage?  

DC: E N E R G Y !! Energy, energy, energy. I mean, I try to use gesture and facial expression to complement the message of each song as well of course, but mostly I just want to exude energy. I love being up there, on stage, it’s the only time in my life I’m totally comfortable and happy, so I want to share that joy and energy with everyone who came to see the show.

SM: Do you have a favorite album that TDC has released? If so, what is it and why?

DC: Well, our latest album (again, Fade/Dance Magic Dance) is my definite favorite because it’s our best-written and best-sounding album and because so many friends, like Donna from Ego Likeness and Brittany from I:Scintilla and Eric from Null Device and Matt from Caustic and darkNES from the Gothsicles and Jai from Sensuous Enemy and Patricia Wake and SO MANY MORE! all came through with such ridiculously great guest performances that really the whole album just lines right up with what I had conceived it to be months before I started putting it together and I still love listening to it, even after spending so much time with it both recording and then touring it.

BUT! I also have to say that the Goths on a Boat EP really holds a special place in my heart because it’s so focused and so effective. It is exactly what it needs to be, it does exactly what it sets out to do, and then it gets out. It really came out delightfully well.

SM: Some of the music seems darkly humorous, like the song Goths On A Boat. I love that. Is that something that just comes naturally to you and do you find people respond negatively or positively to it?

DC: Oh it’s very natural. I’ve always loved artists who can be serious and funny in the same record. Honestly it’s one of the things that drew me to hip-hop at an early age: in middle school I listened to Run-DMC’s Louder Than Hell over and over and over and those guys go back and forth between being all clownin’ and being serious as a heart attack and that was so amazing to me. Zappa, too. Man, talk about mixing in humor. But anyway, I always loved that kind of stuff.

I was talking with br0d from b00le a while back about how people react to goofy songs and serious songs in the same record and he had a great quote. I’m paraphrasing here, but he basically said: “people get worked up if you try to have funny songs and serious songs and sad songs on the same album. They want you to just be one emotion or another, but in life people aren’t like that. Real, complete, mature human beings aren’t like that. We all have a lot of emotions in us so it’s only natural our music would have a lot of emotions in it if it is to be an honest expression of ourselves.” I stick to that.

I’m glad you like the humor! Most people, actually, respond positively. In fact I’ve had a couple folks tell me “man, don’t ever start taking yourself too seriously; keep making that funny shit, keep it tongue-in-cheek.” I think people get more annoyed with self-important artists who are all capital-S serious than they do with artists who crack a joke sometimes. And let’s face it; in this day and age, we all need all the laughs we can get, so I’m always happy to help people out in that regard if I can.

SM: Speaking of Goths On A Boat, I read that it is now sort of a “theme song” for the now-famous annual Goth Cruise sponsored by Vampirefreaks.com . How did that come about and how do you feel about it?

DC: Oh man, there’s no “sort of” about it, when Zaida at All Genre Travel got the song she put it on the agency’s MySpace and they spun the track a billion times in the boat’s dance club, they put it on the free compilation CD all the passengers got, it really /was/ the theme! Or at least it was for that year.

That track came about, quite frankly, because Kassi from Cruciform Injection is a super cool and nice person. Seriously. We did a show with them at Darkroom in Chicago — it was a famous David Schock/WTII records showcase show — and she overheard Lane and I strategizing on how best to speed up our changeover and offered to let us use some of her gear to make things faster. So I thanked her and said “hey, I owe you one.” And she said “no you don’t.” And I said “no, no, it’s cool! I totally owe you one.” And she said, out of the blue, “okay, write me a song.” Now, for me, writing a song is easier than doing the laundry, so I was all about it. I asked her what she wanted the song to be about, and at that point Cruciform already knew they were going to be playing the Gothic Cruise so she said “write it about goths. On…on a boat. Goths on a boat.” So really the title came from her, too.

We were on a short tour at that point, but I started working out some ideas in my head, and then as soon as we got back I went into the studio and started laying down tracks. I knew it /had/ to be super dancey, but also Gothic, plus I started imagining the story of what it must be like for different fans of different subgenres to be on a boat with so many different bands and cool things to do, and it just kind of wrote itself. Honestly the hardest part was keeping the song short, there were so many lyrical and musical possibilities open to me.

So yeah, I LOVE the fact that AGT used it as a theme song. I think it’s great!

SM: Who would you say are some of your musical inspirations for The Dark Clan?

DC: Oh, everybody, anybody. I tend to distill whatever I need/like from everything I listen to. For example in our old song “Beauty” there’s a line from Bach’s “Die Kunst der Fuge” in the breakdown, and I quote both Ani DiFranco and Charles Baudelaire in the lyrics. On our album “The Vampire Wore White,” I do a version of a Bach two-part invention with Andrew Sega (of Iris/Alpha Conspiracy), and there’s a Tori Amos quote in our song Fade on the new album. Jus Sanguinis and Aged & Evil are influenced by Within Temptation, DeLain, Epica, Leave’s Eyes, bands like that. Old Blue Quarry is influenced by Tom Waits, Silent K (also on the new record) is influenced by The Atomica Project and Portishead and Halou. Anthem and Seething Under Smiles are heavily influenced by Jimmy Eat World and Run Kid Run. Maybe You Fall was inspired by The Weakerthans and Patricia Wake, who also sang on it. On Goths on a Boat, the song Starwash is my attempt at fusing KJ Sawka DnB with shoegaze guitars. On Vampire Wore White, Look To The Night is straight-up show tunes.

So yeah; pretty much whatever I can get my hands on. You get the idea. 🙂

SM: How would you say TDC has evolved as a band and for you personally? 

DC: For me personally I guess the main thing is the production value. I was just learning some of the things that I’m now much more experienced at in terms of mixing, mic techniques, synth and drum programming, all that kind of stuff. I’m constantly working on improving my skills as a songwriter and as a player and singer, too, of course, but I was a lot farther along in those areas than I was as an audio engineer when I started working on Dark Clan music.

As a band, well, it’s gone from nothing to something; not an album, no radio or club play, not even a live show, to having six releases (1 double album, three full-lengths, and two EPs — oh and a couple singles, too), radio and club play quite literally all over the world, and touring nationally, occasionally sharing the stage with some reasonably big names. I also added two other permanent core members and have a rotating cast of amazing drummers, and really all that’s just in the last three years since I didn’t start seriously pushing The Dark Clan in any way until 2007. Before that it was all very low-key and local.

SM: Is there any particular message you want to get across with TDC?

DC: Yes! Big. Serious. Fun. The band puts a huge amount of effort into everything from writing the first note of a song to polishing the CD and prepping for tour, and we love every minute of it, all the hard work, and it’s a lot of serious work, but it’s also a lot of fun, and we like to be a band that you can take super seriously if you want to, or just have fun with, or both. But we like to go big; big hooks, big beats, big guitar solos, big fun.  

SM: What’s next for The Dark Clan and Dan Clark?

DC: For The Dark Clan, right now we’re taking a little break from live shows, though we’re already booking some gigs for next spring. In July, as I mentioned earlier, we had the Fading Belief tour with our good friends in Null Device, and right now we’re working on a free split single to kind of celebrate the success of that tour with them that we’re both going to put up on our bandcamp sites, so it’ll be available as a download. We’re thinking by the holidays people will be able to get that. I’m still putting out random songs; I just released a free track called “Goals” that people can download from The Dark Clan Website. I’m working on my track for the Electronic Saviors 2 compilation; we were honored to have the first track on Disc 2 of the first ESav comp so we’re really excited to be getting a track together for the new one as well. Plus I’ve also got some other things in the hopper that are kind of just getting going, so I don’t wanna jinx ’em by talking ’em up before I have them off the ground. Suffice it to say I’m also working on a metal album and a few other collabs.

For me personally, I do a /lot/ of freelance mixing, production, and mastering work. For example, I co-produced and mixed Ego Likeness’ Breedless album, their debut on Metropolis records, I produced and mixed am.psych’s debut EP on WTII, which just came out, I produced, mixed and mastered XUBERX’s last three releases, I did a mix for Spider Lilies on their last EP, there’s other stuff too, those are just some recent highlights off the top of my head. In the pipe currently I’m mixing the Prude album, which is Jared from Chemlab and Matt from Caustic and Sean from Cyanotic, I mixed and co-produced the new Sensuous Enemy EP which will be coming out later in the year, I’ve been doing a lot of mixing for The Gothsicles, I’ll be working on the new Dharmata 101 record, I’m producing Cheetah Dave’s (from XUBERX) solo work, I’m producing, mixing, engineering, etc. a Chicago-based metal band called Silent Nightmare, plus I’m negotiating with a few more artists but I don’t want to name anyone since those deals are still being worked out. I also do remixes, but listing everyone I’ve remixed would take too long, which I’m sure any other remixer out there can identify with. I’ve done a decent amount of mastering, too, most recently the new Reaver album, which is a terrific record.

So yeah. I like to stay busy! Anyone out there looking for a mixing engineer, producer, mastering engineer, or any combination of the three, hit me up! You can check any of the bands I mentioned above, or of course anything by The Dark Clan for samples of my work.

And there you have it. The Dark Clan in their own words. We love this band and we will look forward to what they bring us next.

Inside Horror Music with Saints of Ruin

Saints Of Ruin

Saints of Ruin has taken the Goth/dark rock world by storm. Already popular internationally, the release of their first full-length album “Nightmare” has garnered them some very well-earned respect and praise in the United States. I had a chance to speak with Ruby Ruin, lead vocalist for SOR and ask her some questions about Saints of Ruin and what drives their music.

SM: First of all, your music is awesome. The fans here at HorrorAddicts dig you guys BIG TIME. The first thing that really hits me about the bio on your website is that Tommy Dark, singer and bass player for what became Saints of Ruin journeyed to California from New York when he found you. What is the story behind that? How did you guys meet across a country and what were you doing before that?

RR: Oh, it is a great story: Tommy Dark was in a band on tour here in San Francisco and played a show with my band. We became big fans of each other’s talents (and were mutually attracted as well). It took three years for us to finally come together and he moved to SF in 2006. We started the band, got married and the rest is history. Funny how love at first sight can work out.

SM: How has Saints of Ruin evolved over time, sound-wise and as a whole band?

RR: I think the sound has not changed dramatically except in that our writing has changed as we get to know our market (audience) better. We have learned what our fans like and strive to do more of the same rather than just to write and preform whatever comes out. Also, our lineup has changed and now the synth sound and harmony vocals have evolved to be more cohesive with the material.

SM: The Industrial and Goth genres are full of A LOT of subcategories and as a fellow Industrial musician, I know it can be difficult sometimes to decide where you should place your music to get the best reception from listeners, especially when you don‘t really WANT to categorize and label your stuff. Which niche or category do you think Saints of Ruin fit in the best and why?

RR: Our record label categorizes us as “Classic Goth Rock” but I think we have very little “Classic Goth” in our sound. We are rarely “new-wavey” and not death-rock but more epic like European bands such as HIM, Lacuna Coil and Tiamat. However we do have a touch of Cult, Sisters of Mercy and Concrete Blond in our sound. We are really a dark rock band in Goth clothing with a touch of horror-slash-vampy sexuality.

SM: Which Saints of Ruin album would you say is your favorite so far (if you had to choose) and why?

RR: We only have our debut 5-song EP “Fairytale” and our first full-length CD “Nightmare” so far, so it would have to be “Nightmare” because it is a maturing of our concepts and writing skills. It also showcases our diversity while sticking with a theme.

SM: What do you think is the biggest inspiration for the music for you personally (as in, what inspires you to write a song)?

RR: In my case it is actually dreams. I often wake with a hook in my head and get up in a daze to write it down. When Tommy writes he is usually practicing when he stumbles upon something catchy. Then we flesh our the ideas together.

SM: The SOR song “Halloween” is the theme on HorrorAddicts right now. What is the story behind that one?

RR: That is an anomaly of our writing style. I told Tommy that I wanted to write a song that embraces the concept of Goth culture. He wrote the lyrics in an hour while the rest of the music took a month. It came out reminiscent of Voltaire’s
cabaret style. It is fun to perform and anthemic.

SM: I saw video of SOR playing The New Orleans Vampire Lestat Ball last October and you guys were great! How was it?

RR: The whole experience was epic! That was probably my favorite show we have ever played: a Thousand decked-out Vampire fans at a gorgeous venue all centered in the mysterious City of the Night. New Orleans is crawling with Vampire freaks throughout Halloween weekend. This year the whole thing is being called Undead-Con filled with music and costume events, book signings, vendors, etc. We will be playing again this year and the theme is “Memnoch’s Resurrection.” Check out Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club, or ARVLFC and Endless Night. It is an unforgettable experience.

SM: Who would you name as SOR biggest inspirations musically (as far as sound)?

RR: We don’t necessarily sound like them, but some of our favorites are Rammstein, Type O Negative, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Led Zeppelin.

SM: Who would you name as your own personal musical inspirations, like vocalists you admire, etc.?

RR: My favorite vocalists are PJ Harvey, Robert Plant, Amanda Palmer and recently Mona Mur. We just got back from a partial tour with Slick Idiot (original members of KMFDM) and Mona Mur has been collaborating and performing with EN Esch for quite some time. She is amazing. My new heroine.

SM: I see that you guys are passionate about animal welfare and animal rights [‘Murder of Crows’]. As a HUGE advocate of animal rights myself, I commend you for that. Would you say there is any one message you want to get across to people with your music, or a message you want to come across the strongest?

RR: No, there is not one message, Tommy is particularly sensitive towards animals, though we are all animal lovers. I think we all just recognize that humans are pretty fucked up. There is a lot of injustice in the world and suffering is a part of the human experience. I think we will always write songs that touch on depressing subjects to some extent. That said, we do write love songs and violent songs as well.

SM: You guys have gotten a lot of recognition lately. Has that changed anything in your lives?

RR: Not so much except that we are sometimes recognized in public. And we were recently asked to endorse a cosmetics company. Not only are they using a photo of me advertising Black Magic Mascara in Gothic Beauty Mag next month, they also have created our own line of dark nail lacquers after Saints Of Ruin. I even have my own color named after me! That is pretty cool. We don’t quite make a living off of our music yet but we hope to tour Europe next summer. It is great that our name recognition is taking root in both the horror and Goth communities.

SM: What’s next for Saints of Ruin?

RR: We are just finishing our summer shows here in California and plan to get working on all of the new material that is in the pipeline. We will begin tracking new songs this fall and will hopefully release a new album at the beginning of 2011. We will play a few shows around Halloween here in San Fran and in New Orleans. We are shooting our first video next month so check our website in early September: http://www.saintsofruin.com. We plan to have a few new bone-chilling tunes ready for horror fans real soon.

So there you have it: Inside Horror Music with Saints of Ruin. Thank you to Ruby for being so gracious and forthcoming. We are looking forward to their new album!

To introduce myself…

My name is SinDelle Morte. I am the newest staff member here at the ALWAYS darkly-fabulous HorrorAddicts. I will be handling music interviews. If there is a band you would like to see interviewed, please don’t hesitate to let me know! And of course, you can always make your request to our Horror Hostess, the beautiful Emz.  

Cruelly Yours,

Sin

Horror Addicts Season 4 Best Band Poll

We are letting the listeners decide who gets the award.

To vote, go to the HA blog at: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
And check out the poll on the left hand column.

Eligible bands:

  • JENN VIX
  • BLACK WEDDING
  • DENTAL WORK
  • VERONIQUE CHEVALIER
  • STEPHEN COOPER
  • QUEENIE
  • MALFAKTOR
  • PETER COOPER BAND
  • DASGIFT
  • REVOLVER 1010
  • SPIDERLILLIES
  • SEPTIMUS ORION
  • OUTWORLD