Terror Trax: Zwaremachine

Saturday, October 6, 2018

6:36 P.M., Central Time

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dear Emerian,

Please be advised, the Zwaremachine is extremely dangerous! During the course of our interview I learned that the musician in question, one Mach FoX, is in fact, himself, the Zwaremachine. It did not arrive by spaceship as he claims –it was already here! By combining inverted Atari algorithms with voodoo-tech spells and song craft, Mach FoX transformed into a highly malevolent human / machine hybrid who wishes for nothing less than the utter and total annihilation of the human race! Once the Zwaremachine realized my discovery, the Robot Vampire Zombie minions were released upon me and I was chased along the dark streets of the city until I took shelter in a long abandoned Radio Shack, which, as I unfortunately learned, was indeed haunted by the ghosts of obsolete technologies. After several frightful hours I made my escape and took refuge at an all-night diner where I write to you now from my trusty laptop machine. My safety may only be temporary, though, for I fear that I soon may be discovered.  You must publish this interview immediately and alert the Addicts of this grave danger! And remember: although the music of the Zwaremachine is very, very good, its intentions are not!

All of our hopes rest with you, dear Emerian! Godspeed!

R.


What is a Zwaremachine?

Hello and thank you to Horror Addicts for letting me expose the Zwaremachine to your rabid audience. The Zwaremachine arrived in a spaceship haunted by the ghost of a robot and responsible for reprehensible crimes throughout the galaxy, it is currently hiding out on earth in the form of an industrial/ebm band. Zwaremachine is known for various stunts including walking through walls, time-shifting, and designing futuristic sonic weaponry. It is a dark and dangerous bio-mechanical entity.

How did Zwaremachine get started?

In 2011 I wrote a track called “The Zwaremachine” which was inspired by the horror-fantasy world artwork of Paul Gerrard. I used the first person while writing the story and lyrics which involved a biomechanical entity coming to earth and imposing rule over mankind. I became The Zwaremachine. After all the sequencing and vocal mutations were done I decided to release it and form an electro-industrial band to perform live. 

There’s a rumor that you, as a band, have the knowledge to build robot zombies from old VCRs, discarded human remains, and ColecoVision game consoles. Is this true?

Yes…and unfortunately I was not able to maintain control of them and make them do my bidding. Most have escaped and are living in the shadows and in small groups in desolate areas though some are being spotted near cities recently. While programming them with the clock chips and crystals from the old VCRs they kept resetting to 00:00 every time they experienced a power dropout so I wasn’t able to implement the final coding before they escaped. This resulted in them still longing for blood and the taste of human flesh -particularly the brains- even though they do not need the blood or meat of humans to survive. They will attack and kill when they feel the pulse in their brains that makes these urges. I only hope that humanity can defend itself. Also – they are referred to as RZVs and they are actually robot zombie vampires and can fly. I went a bit overboard in the design. You have been warned.

 

Has modern / current electronic music become too electronic? With so much of the work being computer driven, has it lost more of the human element that earlier industrial or electronic music had?

I’m longing for a more cyberpunk take on music, instruments and technology. I prefer a more electronic approach without the hindrance of pesky humans. I see that as the way we can advance to a new style of music. A lot of earlier industrial music had this spirit and wasn’t driven by the past but looking to the future and the undiscovered territory music could explore and exploit. Provoking thought and action can stimulate new sounds. We have to smash and destroy the old instruments and techniques to form new alliances between machines, music, and man. Machines must become man and man must become machines. Blood, Sweat, and Gears!

Make people dance, fill them with fear, or both?

Ideally they would be driven to dance by the minimal hypnotic industrial body music of Zwaremachine and as they reach a trance state they will slowly realize they are being forced to dance until they collapse and die. That realization will fill them with fear as they dance their lives away… so I guess it’s the best of both worlds!

When making dark industrial music, who is in control, the musician or the machine?

Aaahhh -the old man versus machine battle! The machines only let me feel that I am in control and it’s an ongoing tug of war for the ultimate power when using them. It is man AND machine, not one or the other. With Zwaremachine I was able to make a deal with the machines early on in the songwriting process. They agreed to let me manipulate waveforms and timing events but insisted that they be interconnected via musical instrument digital interface and control voltages. I knew this would be a bad idea because they would be able to communicate amongst themselves by both digital and analog means and possibly rebel against and subvert my mission to harness them to make industrial/ebm music to hypnotize the masses. So far they have been compliant but as a fan of horror/sci-fi I know it’s only a matter of time…

How can we taste everything? Is this a direct command or just good advice?

This is a warning about the RZVs (robot zombie vampires) and also a command to help human kind to survive. By suggesting they also try the leg or arm of a victim the person under attack may be able to escape or fend off and continue living only missing a limb…or two, with the brain still intact. For the RZVs it starts with a pulse in their brain and the urge to consume human brains… but why stop there? Why not taste everything!

 For the uninitiated reader, can you please tell us about some of your influences and where you feel that Zwaremachine fits into the cannon of dark industrial music?

If you visit any of the artwork done by Paul Gerrard you will instantly recognize the deep vast darkness… that is where Zwaremachine dwells and extracts influence from. His artwork and the horror/sci-fi of the ages as well as technologies past, present, and future all inform the lyrics and worlds of where this music lives: When the rare bits of light trickle through you may get glimpses of biomechanical creatures, surreal machines and a very small bit of humanity that has stubbornly held on through the centuries.

What influence does horror have in Zwaremachine?

I am not familiar with the genre personally…but I know the RZVs like some classics like Nosferatu and Night of the Living Dead and I had even seen a couple of them crack smiles while watching Evil Dead. The Zwaremachine prefers body horror and sci-fi horror like Tetsuo, Videodrome, and Planet Terror…i think it relates to the human machine hybrid and longs to become more human. But that is just speculation as I am not currently connected via synapses with the Zwaremachine anymore since the release of the Be a Light album this year.

There’s a strong visual element with Zwaremachine, and a particularly hypnotic yet, some may say, anxiety inducing characteristic to your videos. Could you please tell us about the inspiration behind this imagery?

Prior to Zwaremachine I was performing in an electro-punk band as Mach FoX and before that an electro-glam band called Silver FoX. Custom stage sets, equipment, lighting, visuals and costumes had always been part of these shows and something I really cared about when presenting the music and the live shows. Much in the same way that lighting and atmosphere can make a scary movie evoke emotions and keep you enthralled, I wanted the people at the show to see something special, and to set the mood on stage. Around the same time I started Zwaremachine I started to work as a VJ (visuals) and also combine hardware and software to create video art that I could project and also display on CRTs. A lot of the second hand monitors, mixers, processors and other hardware was flawed and became a glitch aesthetic I could easily exploit. This type of glitch work was then incorporated into Zwaremachine live shows and the fast paced strobing and broken images matched the feel of the fight to harness these unruly machines.

What inspires you to create? What drives you to keep making music?

I have a special bond with machines. Using hardware sequencers and drum machines and editing grids has become a way of life. The timing and spacing of notes is both limited and endless. I still explore composition and songwriting as much as possible and base my output on the 10:1 rule that seems to hold true for me – write 10 songs and maybe one or two are pretty good. Since meeting and interfacing with the Zwaremachine I have had better success due to the involvement of off world technologies. The machines speak to me and sometimes I listen.

How is the industrial scene in Minneapolis these days?

We keep rolling on here… the Be a Light release came out about 6 months ago in May 2018 and I expect we will slowly gain some following locally. The next step needs to be some touring ASAP since I have played shows in MPLS all summer to gain exposure and have some offers to travel with the band. There are many musicians and friends who are into this music but the scene is spread thin with many nights and not a lot of cross promotion. I have been trying to propose a Midwest Industrial umbrella to promote all types of music genres across the Midwest US and in the Twin Cities but it has proved hard to kick start a scene. In some ways it’s like the first wave of industrial/ebm has finally hit the Midwest area so we will see what happens.

Are any of your electronic instruments cursed or possessed?

Oohh -Don’t say that! They probably are. I know a few have felt and tasted blood. I have a circuit bent Roland TR505 that most certainly has its moments of possession complete with demonic sounds, and some of the modular synths I use also can become uncontrollable at times.

What are the future plans for Zwaremachine?

As mentioned I will start to play outside of the Twin Cities more next year and have plans to release more music that has already been written but not yet recorded. I have been performing each show this fall as a unique set with some great friends, musicians and vocalists as guests. I will also continue to collaborate on some recordings and seek other non-traditional venues to perform at and hope to mutate some minds.

When the world is destroyed by humanity, will the Zwaremachine remain?

Yes. If you do not know by now…the Zwaremachine is what WILL destroy humanity!

How can we keep up with / contact the band?

If you need to report any RZV sightings please use the OFFICIAL website:

http://www.zwaremachine.band/

If you want to stream/dl Zwaremachine visit:

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/

If you want to impress your friends, you can get exciting updates here: https://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine

If you want to order Zwaremachine CD/Cassette/Shirts/Posters visit our label Phage Tapes 

@zwaremachine on both twitter and Instagram

Dear readers, please check out the official Zwaremachine video, “DRKNRG”, here:

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MUSIC REVIEW – Empathy Test

By Jeffrey Kohld Kelly

After just completing a successful UK tour, it seems all to right to take a look at London synthpop artist Empathy Test’s remastered album “Losing Touch”. Empathy Test is not a newcomer to the electronic scene by any means, but their novel mainstream recognition within various electronic subcultures arguably happened overnight. The nostalgic and dreamy synth lines have gathered fierce attention from ravers and industrial rivetheads alike, each respectively identifying with some captivating aspect of this band’s truly panoramic discography.

To pin this band to a singular genre would be a disservice to the musicians and fans alike; drawing noted influence from post-punk and new wave artists, Empathy Test stands tall in a classification of their own, standing out proudly against other bands who simply fall into the category of new wave revival. Not a revival band in the slightest, Empathy Test’s music is charged with bright innovation, markedly with vocalist Isaac Howlett’s gentle, songbird-style vocals. A complex, yet effective atmosphere compliments all of their songs, begging to not be confined to the restriction of headphones alone. Indeed, this music is something that deserves to be experienced to its full capacity live if at all possible.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a chance to hear the yet unreleased “Incubation Song” from Empathy Test’s upcoming EP at their live performance in Manchester England, and while I can’t share that song with you today I can promise you that you’ll love it. Building on their own musical concepts, Empath Test continues to innovate and reach to broader horizons with this upcoming release, and we can see nothing but the best for them.

You can pre-order Empath Test’s upcoming EP “Holy Rivers | Incubation Song” featuring remixes by The New Division and Man Without Country on their Bandcamp profile. The EP will be released worldwide on Halloween, 2018.

For HorrorAddicts.net, this is Jeffrey Kohld Kelly

Holy Rivers | Incubation Song on Bandcamp:

https://empathy-test.bandcamp.com/album/holy-rivers-incubation-song

Empathy Test online:

https://www.empathytest.com/

https://www.facebook.com/empathytest/

 

Chilling Chat Episode 160 Michele Roger

Michele Roger is an author and harpist living and working in Detroit. Her previous novel, The Conservatory, was published in 2014. Her second book, Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Novel, was published in 2015 and made into a film script. Dedicated to furthering the reach of women in speculative fiction, she is a founding member of, “The Wicked Women Writer’s Group.” Her short stories have been published in anthologies in both the US and UK. As a harpist, she is the founder of the Michigan Conservatory. She was a Detroit Music Awards Finalist for best classical composer in 2015.

Michele is an innovative and artistic woman. We spoke of music, the creative process, and her advice for the burgeoning female writer.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Michele! Thank you so much for chatting with me.

MR: I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for the invite!

NTK: You’re an accomplished musician. How does your background in music influence your writing?

MR: That’s a great question. In reality, there isn’t an easy answer. The two creative outlets sometimes inspire one another. That’s when it feels like a blessing. I can be writing a conversation between two people falling for one another and the music will start to play in my head. The epiphany will hit me that it’s not a song I’ve heard before. Then, I stop writing words and start writing notes on a music paper. Sometimes, the two outlets compete for my attention. I can wake up at 3 am with a story and the theme music and the entire movie score in my head. Then, it feels like a curse. Which do you act upon first? Honestly, it’s a good problem to have.

NTK: Do you find inspiration in dreams?

MR: My biggest inspiration is walking. But, dreams do come into play. If I set a story and its characters aside to do my day job teaching music or playing Harp concerts, the characters sneak into my dreams. It’s always the same dream to start. I’m asleep in bed inside of a glass box. The characters come and gently knock on the box while I’m sleeping. The characters return each night, knocking louder and eventually pounding on the glass until I finally start to write their story. Then, the dreams end.

NTK: Did The Harpist come to you in this way?

MR: Yes. The ghost in the story, Emma, came to see me first, as I was out for a walk. That night, I dreamed of her outside the glass box. She scared the hell out of me. But as a paranormal writer, that’s an advantage, I suppose. Elizabeth and Detective Flannery came to me the next day.

NTK: That’s a fascinating process. What is the difference between paranormal and horror?

MR: Paranormal, by my definition, is like a flavor of a story. There are elements that are scary or ghostly but those elements are just tools for telling a story. The Harpist is definitely paranormal. I’ve written two horror novels. The entire story builds and builds becoming more frightening at every turn.

Paranormal uses scary elements to tell a great story. Horror uses a story to convey something really scary.

NTK: Are your stories character driven? Or, plot driven?

MR: Depends on the story. My sci-fi book, Dark Matter was definitely plot driven. So was [ ETERNAL KINGDOM: A VAMPIRE NOVEL Paperback ] Roger, Michele ( AUTHOR ) Jul - 20 - 2014 [ Paperback ]my horror novel, Eternal Kingdom. But my latest shorts, like Addicted to Love and now this new novel, The Harpist, is far more driven by the characters.

I think, as I get older, the more I like how beautiful it is when characters are vulnerable.

NTK: How much control do you exert over your characters after they come to you? Do they retain their free will? Do they come to you with vulnerabilities?

MR: They come to me dragging their huge amounts of baggage. It’s just my job to spoon their personality and flaws out to the readers as needed.

NTK: What writers have influenced you most?

MR: My first love of literature bloomed after reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I read that Hunter S. Thompson said he wrote passages from The Great Gatsby over and over again to learn how to write well, I tried it. That’s when I knew I wanted to write. I didn’t realize I wanted to write speculative fiction, sci-fi, and horror/paranormal until I devoured Stephen King’s short, Thinner. Then, The Visitor series in the 80s and finally, Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, had me writing in the genre and never looking back.

NTK: Were you a reader as a child?

MR: I loved to read. It was always my escape.

NTK: What got you into horror?

MR: In 8th grade, a friend gave me a copy of Stephen King’s, The Eyes of the Dragon. It was a fantasy story he wrote for his daughter. I was already reading all the sci-fi and fantasy I could get my hands on secretly (my mom thought I should read romance) so King’s fantasy novel became my gateway drug into his other stories.

NTK: What do your parents think of your writing? Have they encouraged you?

MR: Before my dad passed away, he came to every signing and author event I had; often buying a copy of books he already had just to show his support. My mom is supportive of all my creative endeavors.

NTK: You said your mom wanted you to read romance. Do you like to write romantic scenes in your books?

MR: The first romantic scene I ever had to write, I was so nervous, I had to have a cocktail to get through it. Now, I have become much closer friends with my characters. I adore helping them find their loves. Maybe, that’s the difference between writing my first love scene in my early thirties and writing now at 46. I’m more comfortable with my own sexuality and hence, I’m more comfortable with the romance scenes of my characters.

NTK: That’s great! Do you enjoy horror movies and television shows? If so, which are your favorites?

MR: Hmm. I love Stranger Things but really, I don’t watch much TV or movies. I’m a print junkie.

NTK: What do you like about Stranger Things?

MR: I love the duality of worlds; one we can see, one only a select few can see. I also adore how much they’ve embraced the deliciousness of the 80s, right down to the plaid flannel shirts. Seeing the story through the eyes of kids is one of the best parts.

NTK: You’re a founding member of The Wicked Women Writer’s Group. Could you tell the Addicts how that came about?

MR: Early on in my writing, a publisher told me that it would be hard for him to market my work if I used my real name. Horror and sci-fi readers didn’t buy work written by women (or so he thought.) I didn’t want to hide behind a male pen name. Instead, I started a group for women who wrote speculative fiction. I wanted it to be a positive place for female horror writers to support one another. It’s become so much more and I couldn’t be more proud of all the members and our collaborations.

NTK: Very cool! Thank you for starting this group and giving women writers a place to get together. What advice would you like to give prospective women writers out there?

MR: Just this week, The Guardian published an interview with Phillip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials series, and president of a UK author society. He said that the publishing world isn’t supporting authors. Less than 30% of authors can make a living by writing solely as a career. For women, the percentage is even lower. Hence, my advice is this: 1. Buy the work of all authors you love. As a woman and a writer, we appreciate the grueling art form. Particularly, buy the work of female authors. Show appreciation with our dollars. 2. If monetary support is out of reach, support women’s writing by posting great reviews of their work. 3. Never give up on your dream.

NTK: Wonderful words! Michele, as you know, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

MR: Curses are definitely a powerful female tool. My favorite thing about them is that they’re more frightening than a threat. A curse actually feels possible. My favorite curse? “I hope you have a kid just like you!” That curse came true in my two kids. And, I couldn’t be more proud.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What books, stories, and music do HorrorAddicts have to look forward to?

MR: The Harpist (Cursed) will be released this fall 2018. A short holiday story with Elizabeth and Flannery is in the works and the sequel to The Harpist is already outlined and taking shape. As for music, I’m working on another Celtic harp album which will hopefully be released in the spring of 2019.

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Michele. It’s been fun.

MR: Thank you so much for the interview.

Addicts, you can find Michele on Twitter.

MUSIC REVIEW – Live show: Freakangel + Neonsol + Advance

Hello and welcome to HorrorAddicts.net music reviews! This is Jeffrey Kohld Kelly.

Today we are going to do something a little bit different; rather than reviewing a new release I’m going to do a review of the Manchester date of the Freakangel & Neonsol show featuring Advance. This tour was courtesy of Beat:Cancer, a UK-based nonprofit organization doing their part to help find a cure through means of concert tours and compilation CDs, with additional support from Analoguetrash and DWA Records. As a newcomer to the UK, this was my first Beat:Cancer performance, and I was floored by the immense support the audience and musicians had for the cause and for each other. But more on Beat:Cancer later; for now I’ll get to the bands.

The first performer of the night was Advance, a Scotland-based “Dystopian Electronica” band with a beautiful combination of both intelligent and danceable synth lines. Their music was nearly reminiscent of genre veterans CHROM and Neuroticfish, but with a wholly unique approach. Their live sound was even more full and professional sounding than their recorded material, which may be in part due to the fact that their most recent album was released 3 years ago and they’ve grown more as producers over the years. Their live show, while somewhat lacking in energy on stage, seemed to provoke the most energy in the crowd. Between industrial dancing and singing along to more than half of the songs, it was clear that Advance had already made quite an impact in the Manchester area previously. Tom’s vocals exceeded his skill demonstrated in the album while live synthesizers provided by his accomplice Kimberley added just enough push to the mix to drive forwards and deliver more to the live show than could be accomplished in a studio record. Advance’s charismatic and dynamic live performance was actually my favourite of the night, and I would highly recommend everybody else to be sitting on the edge of their seats just as much as me to catch their highly anticipated and long-time-coming new album.

The first co-headliner was the Danish/Canadian synthpop act Neonsol, a band iconic for their songbird-style female vocals paired with the deep and brooding vocals of their male vocalist and live synth player. Despite the high number of Neonsol shirts circulating the audience, they didn’t immediately receive quite the same positive response as Advance. I can’t help but feel that most of this initial hesitation held by the audience and myself was due in part to the performance of their live drummer. While they may have had reasons for having him along, I found him to be almost an extraneous member as he only played a midi snare drum, and hit less than half of the songs’ snare strikes. What made me most concerned was the fact that throughout more than the first half of their set he was playing severely out of time with the backing tracks and sampled drum beats, causing the entire live show to feel out of time and sit awkwardly. These tempo issues may have been in part due to live stage monitor levels being a bit low; any band will tell you how frustrating and common this issue is. But whatever the case, I felt it took far longer than necessary for me to be able to properly sink into their performance and experience it how it was meant to be. However, when the band found the pocket they were looking for, the performance quality increased drastically and created the dark and moody swaying pulse they’re known for. Their song Manipulation was, of course, the show-seller accentuated live by the rumbling voice of their male vocalist’s backing vocals. The stark contrast in sounds is and was implemented in a lovely way, and any fan of synth-driven music should find Neonsol at the top of their record collection.

Finally Freakangel took the stage. The Estonian industrial metal band has gone through quite a bit of genre evolution over the years, moving from harsh aggrotech to a significantly more metal-driven and hardcore or even metalcore-influenced combination. The live show delivered far more on the metal front than the studio albums, Art’s guitars receiving significantly more of a central focus, topped by an incredible and energetic performance by their new Amazon warrior of a live drummer. The vocal performance did seem to suffer somewhat compared to the album versions of songs, Dmitri mumbling or moaning the lyrics between guttural screams rather than a powerful vocal delivery throughout; while he may have been trying to convey a certain vibe to the audience through this type of performance, I can’t help but think that the show itself would have been stronger as a whole had all members shown just as much energy. Curiously enough, despite being the main headliner of the night, a surprising amount of the audience moved to the back for their performance. This may have been in part because of the stiff genre divide in the night, starting with synthpop and ending in death growls. It’s possible that most of the people who came simply weren’t metalheads and had come to see Advance and Neonsol. Whatever the case, those of us who stayed at the front had a fantastic time and I hope that Freakangel will continue to deliver such high energy performances throughout the rest of their career.

For those of you who would like to know more about Beat:Cancer you can find information at the link provided below. Even if you’re not based in the UK you can support the cause by ordering merchandise or a copy of their latest compilation CD featuring the artists who performed at this show as well as many others. For those in the UK you can catch the next Beat:Cancer tour featuring Sirus throughout the UK this October!

For HorrorAddicts.net this is Jeffrey Kohld Kelly.

Advance:

https://www.facebook.com/advanceaudio/

Neonsol:

https://www.facebook.com/Neonsol/

Freakangel:

https://www.facebook.com/freakangelofficial/

Beat:Cancer:

http://beatcancer.info/

MUSIC REVIEW: Night Club

Night Club 

Scary World

Review by Jeffrey Kohld Kelly

I’ve had the pleasure of gaining early access to the remarkable electropop and industrial influenced upcoming album Scary World by the LA-based duo “Night Club”. Scary World is slotted to be released worldwide on the 24th of August 2018 featuring the single “Your Addiction”.

Night Club’s production value is incredibly professional, masterfully compressed drums and seamlessly arpeggiated basslines building a strong and driving foundation for the music. Emphasizing electro synth wails and sirens accentuate energy and drive when necessary, but are used sparingly enough that they deliver a strong enough punch each time that it never gets old. Their vocalist’s gentle and almost tantalizing voice offers a beautiful contrast to the instrumentals, offering chiming innocence during moments of tension, and an extra dose of adrenaline when the synths take a back seat.

The album immediately sets its own stage and carries the theme unadultered from beginning to end. Yet, despite using relatively similar thick and minimalistic synth sounds and stylistic techniques throughout, each song proudly speaks for itself and never falls into the easy trap of becoming a parody of itself. The album climaxes with my personal favourite on the album, Survive, easily leaving me wanting more from them.

Night Club is currently on tour with Combichrist and Wednesday 13 across Europe and the United Kingdom on the “Everybody Still Hates You” tour, and I personally will be sure to catch their Sheffield date on the 10th of August. I would highly recommend for anyone else along the tour route to be sure to pick up tickets for a show near them soon as well!

If you would like to hear more from Night Club and order a copy of their new album Scary World then you can visit them online at NightClubBand.com or follow them on all major social media platforms.

 

Links:

https://nightclubband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nightclubband/

https://twitter.com/nightclubband

https://www.instagram.com/nightclubband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/nightclubband/videos

 

Chilling Chat Episode 151: Tara Vanflower

 

taraTara Vanflower is a vocalist whose music has been described as ambient, experimental, and darkwave.

In October 1994 she became a vocalist for darkwave outfit Lycia. She married fellow band member Mike VanPortfleet.
Her debut solo album, This Womb Like Liquid Honey, was released in 1999. This was followed in 2005 with My Little Fire-Filled Heart.

Vanflower appeared on the Type O Negative song “Halloween in Heaven,” off their 2007 album, Dead Again.

She has also appeared with side projects Black Happy Day with Timothy Renner, Secondary Nerve with Daniele Serra and numerous collaborations including Oneiroid Psychosis, Numina, The Unquiet Void, Falling You, and Methadrone. The majority of her creative energy is spent these days writing. She has released Lives of Ilya and Violent Violet Part One and Two and will continue the Violet Series with several installments in the future as well as several other series that are still unfinished.

Tara is a fascinating woman and was kind enough to sit down me recently. We discussed the past, her writing, relatable fears, vampires, and her favorite curse.

NTK: Hello, Tara, thank you for chatting with me today.

TVF: Thank YOU!

NTK: You have a background in music. Do you feel it inspires your writing?

TVF: Yes. Though I also think that writing has inspired music. When I work with Lycia, I am generally given a piece of music to write to, so sometimes the music itself inspires the lyrics. But when I do solo music a lot of times, I take something I’ve written and build the sound around that.

I will say, other people’s music is an integral part of my writing though. I generally have a soundtrack of music in my head that sets a mood within the story.

NTK: What band do you listen to the most?

TVF: Wow, as of late I would say Chelsea Wolfe and Soft Kill. I listen to Drab Majesty and Black Mare as well. A lot of the music that inspires me is played by the same bands I’ve been listening to for decades now.

NTK: Did music get you interested in horror?

TVF: Not really. As a child, for some reason, my parents let me watch stuff on television that I probably shouldn’t have been watching so young…seeing as how it scared me a lot! But, I was always drawn to the old vampire films and The Omen…scared me to death but I was drawn to it.

NTK: Is The Omen your favorite horror movie? If not, what is?

TVF: I had a lot of detailed dreams when I was young about the apocalypse. I can still see some of the images in my head when I think about them. So, The Omen REALLY scared me. It’s definitely one of my favorite films. But, my all-time favorite movie is The Shining. Everything about that movie is perfect to me.

NTK: Is it the dream-like quality of The Shining which attracts you?

TVF: I love that aspect of it. I also love the lighting, the score, the absolute desolation. My favorite scene in the film is where Wendy finds Jack’s manuscript…pages and pages and pages of the same line over and over and over…and you realize right then he had been gone for a very, very long time. To me, that notion is absolutely terrifying. That this whole time she thinks he’s been more or less normal but THAT was going on behind her back. For me, one of the scariest things is the idea of losing touch with reality. It’s probably why I suffer from anxiety so much. (laughs)

NTK: You’ve spoken of your fears regarding writing and have said, “I rarely talk in detail about my editing because, truthfully, I’m insecure about it. Music I know and I’m comfortable with, for the most part. Writing? It’s like opening a diary. I am always fearful of people drawing conclusions and assuming things about what’s in the story. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to put yourself out there to be cut down.” This statement resonates. It’s like Jack’s typewritten pages in The Shining. His writing bares all. How do you use your fear and anxiety to frighten others?

TVF: That is all something I really struggle with and it’s hard because I have a pretty supportive base for my music. So, venturing off into writing has been scary, but also rewarding obviously. I think there’s a lot of moments in my books where the characters have to confront things about themselves, their situations, etc., that most of us either get to avoid or are forced to deal with and do so poorly. I think I write a lot of my own insecurities into characters (fear of death, getting older, physical insecurities, etc.) probably as a way to deal with it myself. I don’t know if I’m scaring others or scaring myself! Most of my horror, I would say, is almost more internal. That whole, “losing touch with reality,” thing I mentioned earlier…afraid you’re going to lose yourself and never come back from it. I also have moments where actual monsters are confronted, but I think the characters’ bigger horror moments involve confronting their own fears and realities. There are moments in a couple stories I actually went through, though amplified. I hope people relate to those types of fears.

NTK: Speaking of relatable fears, what’s your favorite horror television show and what’s your favorite horror novel?

TVF: Oh man, my favorite horror novel? Is it too cheesy to say I really just like dorky vampire books? (laughs) I just love it. I don’t care if it’s “good” writing or bad. Same for films. I’ll literally watch anything vampire related and find something enjoyable about it. As for good horror shows, I really enjoyed The Leftovers, which to me is horror. I like Carnivale a lot. I don’t know, to me, “horror” is a bit like being detached from reality rather than blood and gore and such. The Walking Dead, for example, was great but has gotten…um…not as great the past few seasons.

NTK: Are vampires your favorite monsters? Do you admire the way they deal with the types of fear you’ve spoken of?

TVF: Vampires are definitely my favorite monster and have been since I was pretty little. I guess because I’ve always had a fear of time passing.  I can remember being very small and sitting in my bedroom thinking about how everyone was getting older and going to die, and I made myself cry. Geez, cheery little kid. But for me, vampires have always represented absolute power. No fear of death. No health problems. Control of their environment. I’ve always sort of been jealous of that, I guess, because those are my biggest fears. I’ve always seen them as more of a sympathetic character, at least a lot of them. Some of the ways they’re portrayed are obviously more “evil” and less “human,” but I’ve always preferred the more human vampires, at least those are the kind I identify with. I envy their power and timelessness but also see the angst all that would cause, which I also relate to being the Gloomy Gus I am.

NTK: Do you bring “human” quality to the vampires you write about?

TVF: I do. To me, it’s just more interesting trying to figure out how a being with limitless time and a whole lot of power would deal with the same sort of human emotions and frailties we have. They have to have the same questions…why am I here, what is my purpose, where do I belong, etc., and to me, it’s interesting thinking about that. What would a being think who has killed countless humans, seen more years than any human gets to see—how would they react to change? What would be new or surprising to them? It’s all fascinating to me. A being that’s jaded and yet still discovering something new through someone else’s eyes unexpectedly. It’s all interesting. Of course, they would have the same types of existential questions humans have. Or, they would be deluded that they are all powerful. Or, varying degrees of both. It’s interesting to consider it all. I try really hard to make my characters react like people actually react. I try to put myself in their shoes and react the way which seems logical and natural to them.

NTK: Essentially, you’re creating a vampire philosophy. So many people ignore that aspect when creating vampire characters. I have to ask—what did you think of Twilight?

TVF: What did I think of Twilight? (laughs) Well, I actually read the books and thought they were entertaining enough. There are many holes and aspects that are illogical and cheesy to me, however, they were “fun.” The movies are great cheese! And, anytime I’m surfing the channels and they’re on, I stop if I can. Do I take it seriously? No, but I applaud Stephenie Meyer for doing her thing and getting hers. The bottom line is, I’m not one of those snobs that has to only like things that are “cool.” So, I can appreciate all levels of awesomeness, from Only Lovers Left Alive to Twilight.

NTK: You have a real appreciation for vampires. Let’s talk about some of your own. Earlier, you spoke of dreams. Violent Violet came from a dream. Can you describe the creative process from dream to printed page?

TVF: Dreams have a major impact on my life. I have really detailed dreams like movies all the time. So, a lot of times, I’ll tuck them away for future use. I had a dream one night that my friends and I were hanging out and this ominous stranger was around and vampires were running amuck. It was so detailed, again, I can “see” the places in my head still, and when I woke up, I started recalling it to my husband. About halfway through, I just said, “Man, I’m just going to write this.” It was too cool to let go. Parts of Violet Misery were also from a dream, i.e. the creepy pumpkin farm out in the middle of nowhere. I draw tons of inspiration from dreams.

NTK: You spoke of apocalyptic dreams. Do you plan to write an apocalyptic story or book of your own?

TVF: I haven’t really thought about writing in that sort of style yet. I think it might be too bleak for me at the moment. (laughs) It’s something I seriously dread, especially now that I have a kid. I don’t like thinking about being in scenarios like that. I just get panicked thinking about keeping my child safe anyway, let alone imagining what I’d have to do during a zombie apocalypse. (laughs) That having been said, who knows! Everything I write from music to lyrics to books are all about love and death.

NTK: What do you have planned for the future? Any new books, stories, or music?

TVF: We are halfway through the next Lycia recording and I have a couple solo songs coming out on comps and I contributed some vocals for some other bands. I have three books currently in the editing process which I plan to release at the same time because they’re related. And, then a couple after that to release. I have some vague ideas for future books but have been sort of avoiding them because I know they’re going to be complicated with interwoven characters and timelines to figure out. All of my books are interconnected with characters so it can be confusing trying to put them all in the right place at the right time. (laughs) I’ve got a full plate!

NTK: As you know, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

TVF: Oh boy! I don’t personally believe in curses! Is that bad? However, my husband has teased me in the past that someone cursed him because, back in the 90s, I made these ragdolls and stuffed them with all his hair he shaved off. That sounds super creepy now, but I didn’t think so then for some reason! Anyway, people bought these things and in the course of a couple years, tons of really bad things happened. Life altering things. The joke has been that someone took one of those dolls and cursed us.

NTK: Tara, thank you for chatting with me and putting yourself out there with your writing. It’s been a pleasure.

TVF: THANK YOU! This has been exciting for me because it is my first interview about writing. I’m so thrilled to be included.

Press Release: Music: Urn Releases Official Music Video

 

Displaying “Garden Party Massacre” 1st OFFICIAL FULL TRAILER.