Monster Mash with Versailles

For our Finale, we have the versatile vocal stylings of Versailles and her song “Queen Of The Sinister Freaks”. I wanted to save this one for last because it reminds me of our Hostess of Horror, Emz!

Versailles is the solo project of Dianna St. Hilaire. Though she does write and produce all of her music, she said “I do have musicians play live with me though. Usually just a guitar player at this point.  My amazing boyfriend Francis Gonzalez does my stage designs and is now helping me create the music video ‘Queen Of The Sinister Freaks’.”

Versailles

Her publicist, Giddle Partridge, describes her music as “intoxicating, dark synth, sexual-based gloomy yet erotic adventure into an orchestra”. Diana described her style as “dark and melodic.  I have very intense melodies.   Some is intense piano almost a classical feel and others is a more darkwave sort of sound with lots of synths.” She has also been referred to as the “Gothic Tori Amos”, which is saying something, as personally I would consider Tori Amos’ music to be dark and gothic. (Don’t judge me.)

She wrote the song “Queen Of The Sinister Freaks” with Kim Fowley. “It means a lot to me because I consider Kim to be a very good friend and I haven’t co-wrote many songs in my life.  Also because I am in the process of creating a new music video for the song and I want people to hear it.  ‘Queen of The Sinister Freaks’ is a representation of me and my life in the way that Kim Fowley sees it.”

The name of her band has changed a little over time. “I love the name Versailles.  It came to me years ago.  At first I was Versailles’ Suicide.  Which is probably more suiting, but in 2003 I changed it to Versailles.  The reason behind the name was the history of King Louis.  First of all I have relatives that fought for the Palace of Versailles.  But my main interest was King Louis’ obsession with destroying the monarchy through social death.”

Diana has had the opportunity to tour and play her music at some gigs that stand out. “I’m based out of Los Angeles.  This is not my hometown.  I’m from Albuquerque, NM.  I moved out to Los Angeles about 10 years ago to pursue music.  I think living in LA has influenced my music a lot.  I think that before I came here I was a bit of a newbie and I didn’t realize how far I could really take my music.  LA has pushed me in so many ways to be a more competent artist.  I have played throughout most of the US.  Maryland, Savanna, NOLA, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, Austin, Albuquerque, Denver, Chicago Joplin and many others.  I would sadly say that I have not played NEW YORK yet.  I would love to play in New York!  I have had some very interesting fans.  I had a fan once drive from Mexico in the middle of the night to Hollywood just to see me play.  I have had people bury their relatives with my music.  Gigs that stand out to me would be my latest gig at Boardners bar in Hollywood.  It was a beautiful night and I had quite an amazing stage set up thanks to Francis.  People loved it.  There were at least 100 people there which was great for a Tuesday night in Hwood.”

Targets

“Queen Of The Sinister Freaks” is one of the songs from her current album, Targets, produced by Kim Fowley. “I would say the opportunity to work with Kim Fowley was the inspiration on that one.  How often is it that someone gets to work with a man like that?  Also I just did a new music video for my song ‘Cold’.  This was written and produced by me.  This music video was inspired by my recent trip to Puerto Rico.  Very excited about this.  Beautiful place.  The hardest part of creating my albums has been the mixing part.  That part always drives me crazy.  The most fun part is always the composition.  I love creating new things.  Creating an album makes me feel that I have accomplished what some  people believe to be the impossible.  There are people I’ve met that have been working on their albums for years.  Right now I’m starting a new project and it is working with Dubstep.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and finally have gotten the chance to do.  It’s quite challenging thus far because it is something I’ve never worked with before.”

Diana has been playing music since she was a little girl.  “I taught myself how to play piano and compose my own music at a very young age.  I believe I was around 6 years old.” Music is only one part of her life.  “I paint, I do acting.  Right now I am trying to put my head around creating an iPhone app.  Let’s just say I’ve finished the interface drawings.  I do web programming and graphic arts.  That would be about it.  Oh and I like hiking and running.” She does also listen to some podcasts.  “I have spent some time listening to the Darkest Hours and Stench Radio.  There is also one called BlackRose Radio.”

What advice do she have for new bands?  “Tour, tour tour.  It is fun and worth it.  More worth it than playing crappy dive bars in your home town.”

You can find her homepage at VersaillesBand.net, and find her music in all the usual haunts, like iTunesCDbaby, as well as on services like Spotify, YouTube, and Geezer. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Monster Mash with Valentine Wolfe

VWwide

Singer Sarah Black and bassist Braxton Ballew make up this episode’s featured band, Valentine Wolfe, a Victorian Chamber metal duo. That’s right, I said “Victorian Chamber Metal”. Their last album used the phrase “Steampunk Macabre” — I like that, too. Braxton said, “We also perform Dark Ambient Soundscapes. Usually, if this is too vague, we tell people if they like Emilie Autumn and Nightwish, we like to think they will like us.” Furthermore, we’re playing their song “Annabel Lee” from their new album, Once Upon a Midnight, which is themed around Edgar Allan Poe. Be still my little goth heart.

Braxton told me, “‘Annabel Lee’ is one of the songs off of our newest endeavor. It is a graphic novel plus full length album all about Edgar Allan Poe. The graphic novel tells a story and the music follows along with it. The story puts Poe in an alternate universe where all of his stories and poems are his reality and so we set his work to go with that. Also, we feel it’s a great first ‘single’ off the new album, one that has all of the elements that make a Valentine Wolfe song: beautiful vocals, brooding classical bass, and slamming drums and distortion. The visual artist who did the cover of our last album, Jacob Wenzka, agreed to take a larger role this time around. He has drawn a graphic novel for our story about Poe. The album is not strictly programmatic, but it does follow a story in a very similar way to Silverthorn by Kamelot. I suppose the idea started when we saw a sketch Jacob had drawn of Poe. It was amazing! We thought we would like to see more. We had also been setting Shakespeare to music and that prompted us to think about how much fun it would be to set some of Poe’s words to music. His poems are so lyrical anyway.”

Midnight

For the Horror Addicts who are Deathstalker fans, you may recognize the namesake of the band. Braxton confirmed that, “Valentine Wolfe is a character from the Deathstalker novels by Simon R. Green. He has somewhat of a depraved nature and we relate to that!”

More than just a duo, Sarah and Braxton are married and have been making music together since 2006. “We sometimes collaborate with other musicians and especially other artists, but we like to keep the main core as just a duo. We currently live in Greenville, SC. We moved here from Athens, GA. I would say that living in Greenville has certainly had a big impact on our music. Braxton works as the Education Director for the Greenville Symphony. That huge connection to the classical world has kept us from going in a fully metal direction. We have written music for three Shakespeare plays now: The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, and The Winter’s Tale. All of those were made possible by us living in a city that is so supportive of the arts. We have the Metropolitan Arts Council which really brings the whole community together through an impressive array of artistic endeavor.”

With such an interesting style of music, the venues they have played are rather diverse. “We’ve played venues ranging from dive bars to art galleries. We really love playing fan conventions…it seems that’s the best overall fit in terms of finding people who are interested in our music. I think it helps we’re pretty geeky ourselves. We have played at several different conventions including Raven Con, AnachroCon, Upstate Steampunk, ConCarolinas, and DragonCon. We would love to play at Wave Gothic Treffen or Whitby Gothic Weekend or even Wacken Open Air some day! Our fans are so amazing! They are willing to travel to see us perform in different cities and we really appreciate that. One thing we’ve seen it that at conventions, especially one where we’re new, the crowd always seems to get bigger and bigger while we play. Just about every show is special-cliche, maybe, but true. I think my favorite odd story was a show where I (Braxton) was doing solo bass soundscapes with looping. A gentleman asked me what instrument i was playing, and rejected my answer of electric upright bass to tell me it was, if fact, a cello (Hint-no, it isn’t). I was still playing and looping the entire conversation, which made it even weirder.”

Their favorite bands and musicians are as varied as one might expect: “Bach, Verdi, Handel, Mozart, Debussy, Ives, Copland, Beatles, Iron Maiden, Insomnium, Opeth, Nightwish, Kamelot, Amon Amarth, Dragonforce, Ronnie James Dio. Braxton’s favorite bass player is an amazing player named Renaud Garcia-Fons. He’s also really into Francois Rabbath.”

Braxton summed up his musical tastes with a quote by Duke Ellington: “There’s only two kinds of music: good and bad, and I like both.” Braxton really only gets turned off to music that “seems to prioritize mass consumption to the exclusion of any other interesting features. But he thinks you can learn anything from anything (He listened to a Justin Bieber album for a group of kids, and was astounded at how the meaning of the song could be conveyed in only 3-5 seconds). We both think it’s better not to spend too much time concerning yourself with what turns you off, and just focus on music that really excites you.”

Is there a style of music that they’d like to try? “One style that we would like to explore more of is film scoring! We have written scores for plays so far and have done short movies for the internet, but we would love to do more! Braxton especially is a huge fan of what Philip Glass did for Dracula and we would love to do a film score for a feature length silent movie. We’d love to do an old one or a completely new one that is just in the style of an old one!”

ValentineWolfe

Both have been making music for quite a while. “Sarah started on piano in elementary school and kept up with that up through college. She got a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Composition from UGA. She has been taking voice lessons with Lisa Barksdale most recently. Braxton is a late bloomer-bass guitar at age 14, double bass at age 18, composition at 20 (apart from a few aborted attempts in high school). However, he’s kind of old-he’s been at this for about 20 years as a pro.”

What has it been like to produce their latest work? “It’s always exhilarating and terrifying. You get an idea that sets your passion on fire, and it becomes an obsession. At the same time, you hope and want your peers and your audience to get into what you’re doing. The hardest part is waiting. Works of quality take time. Sometimes, you want to just work and work and work, and the hardest part is knowing when you pass the point of diminished returns. The most fun part has been playing the new songs live, and seeing the savage joy they trigger.”

How has producing their latest album been different than their previous work? “There are two basic differences: we blended the composition/performance approach. Generally, in the classical world, you write a piece, sending it out into the world more or less fully formed, and then you learn and interpret the piece through rehearsals and performances. Sometimes you get to revise in a rehearsal, but not often. This time, we played everything we wrote either live or in the rehearsal studio several times through. It enabled us to add small and significant touches to everything. On our first two albums, we wanted to explore EBM and electronica. As such, there’s synth basses and other electronica textures we play with. For Once Upon A Midnight, we fully embraced our inner metalhead. There’s still electronica, but almost all limited to double bass (there’s a bit of piano here and there). So while we’re still very much a band who loves electronica, I’d say this album is definitely gothic metal.”

Duo

Music is so much a part of their life, working together as a couple and a band, there’s little time for diversions. Sarah said, “Not working with the band? We didn’t even realize that was an option! We are a married couple and we spend just about every waking second involved with some aspect of music making. It is nice for us because we both have the same passion and drive to immerse ourselves in a non-stop musical adventure. We do also enjoy reading and movies. That is where much of our inspiration comes from. Braxton says pretty much just music, books, and movies. I’m into video games, too. I really have ambitions to make a silent movie one of these days.”

They do occasionally listen to podcasts, but only “sporadically, and we listen to those done by people we know. Jim Ryan is a good friend of ours who has several podcasts he is involved with. Here’s a link to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/every-world-news/id328217881  I think the only ‘celebrity’ ones we subscribe to are Mr.Deity and when they were active, DGM’s Hot Tickles. We’re much more likely to check out the individual episode here and there; most of the time, we’re listening to demos, sketches, or inspiration. We really want to make time to listen to more podcasts because Neil Degrasse Tyson also does podcasts and he is so interesting to listen to!”

So, what is next on their radar? “We need to finish up the recording and mixing on this current project but after that, we’d love to travel around for more shows. We played at several conventions last year, but we want to try to get to twice as many this year! So we have some great new music that we are finishing up and the next step will be sharing that new music with as many people as we can reach.”

They have some great, practical advice for new bands. “Watch the Ira Glass video on the gap between taste and execution as much as you can. If you want to make this your main source of income, limit your debt as much as practical. Follow your own instincts as a fan-in other words, what kinds of shows do you like going to? What kinds of sounds, experiences, etc, do you value; that is, more importantly than even money: where do you invest your time? If you can get a clear answer to those type of questions, you can get a pretty accurate road map of your trajectory. Oddly, don’t obsess too much about being ‘good’. Everyone defines that differently. As long as the best show you play is your next one, that’s a pretty good way to think about it.”

Listeners can find out more about Valentine Wolfe on their home page, ValentineWolfe.com, and listen to their wonderful music on BandcampiTunes, Amazon, Google Play, last.fm, and YouTube. You can also stalk them on Facebook, but beware, they might just stalk you back.

Monster Mash with UNVEIL

For episode 91 we are happy to bring back one of our favorite bands, Unveil. The goth-punk metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, was formed by songwriter and guitarist Alain Robitaille, a drummer named Pom, bassist Mr. Lee, and now includes lead vocalist Jow. Alain explained, “Unveil is a rock band with a dark edge. One could say, we are metal heads playing gothic rock songs with prog influenced arrangements. The band was officially born in 2004 out of the desire of good friends to play music together. This gave me an outlet to use songs I had stashed in my ‘secret garden’ for the past 20 years.”

The song we are featuring for this episode is “Empty”, from their album CODEX NOCTEM, which was just released in June 2013. Alain sent us “Empty” because of its theme which is near and dear to my heart: vampires. As he put it, “vampires [are] my favourite horror character. But you won’t find bats, fangs or red lined caps here. You have to listen carefully to ‘unveil‘ the truth. This is our first official album and it was entirely self-produced. The only outside help we got was for the mastering. We are now working on material for a second album.”

Unveil CD

The band thrives on playing gigs. “Playing concert halls is always fun because you get the chance to bring the full stage show. But what we really enjoy is playing the odd gig in town. Record stores, radio stations, you name it. Last year, we played at a Zombie Walk. Now that was a totally different experience. One song that stands out at every show is ‘Hide’. It’s the kind of song that makes you jump around. On Halloween 2010, we presented a very special event called ‘The Story of Sarah‘; a multimedia production combining a short film within a rock concert. More than a year of work went into that show and we got a fantastic reaction. We are looking at the possibilities of creating an acoustic version.”

Dust-to-Dust

Alain’s many musical influences have shaped the band, including the name. “I am a big fan of the 70’s prog movements with bands like Genesis and Pink Floyd being major influences.  From day one, we knew that we wanted to combine elements of storytelling into our show. Stories shrouded in mystery in which you unveil clues to uncover the truth.”

As for the album’s title, he added, “A codex is the first incarnation of the modern book. So CODEX NOCTEM is a fitting name for a first album built around a collection of songs about the night. Producing an album is a lot more work than I first envisioned. The hardest part is the same as with any artistic creation: letting go. You can always improve your creation, but you have to let it go to let the magic begins. Only then can listeners get an emotion out of your work. I am involved at every creative level with this band. Anything related to Unveil has passed through my hands. That includes recording, video editing, web design and a whole lot more. For the “Story of Sarah” project, I actually wrote two short stories. Who knows, maybe one day they will become audio books.”

What music does he like to listen to? “I listen to a lot of music and my favourite artists continually change. I would say Black Sabbath, Katatonia and The Mission are major influences of my song writing style. Alice Cooper and Rammstein are my reference in stage productions. I’m also a big fan of the Finnish Rock scene (Charon, PoisonBlack, etc.) I like many styles of music. But if you want to grab my attention, any type of music with a little dark side will do the job. Emilie Autumn, Birthday Massacre, Peccatum, etc. I personally think that there is good stuff in every music style, but you sometimes have to dig a little deeper to find it. We are currently working with a local DJ to create a dance floor version of one of our songs. Now that is really far from our comfort zone. A dark ambient track would also be a fun thing to make.”

He also listens to podcasts, including some familiar to us. “I listen to very few podcasts asides HorrorAddicts. I really enjoyed the Night’s Knight series and I’m looking forward to sink my teeth into Lilith’s Love. I am also a big fan of The MetalCast.”

Unveil live 2

So what’s next for Alain and Unveil? “Now that the album has been released, we can start working on our new stage production. We are working with a set designer to create a show where storytelling is woven into a rock show. I am reading various fairy tales to get the creative juice flowing.”

Finally, what advice does he have for new bands? “Don’t be afraid of who you are. Create music that you like, not music to be liked.”

Unveil’s new album CODEX NOCTEM is available now for download from their Bandcamp page. CDs will be available at Musique Cité in Sherbrooke: the last independent music store in town, and also from CDBaby. You can follow the band on Facebook and MySpace.

Summer Goth Fashion Basics (No Pixies Allowed!)

Summer is hot but that’s no reason to abandon a Haute Goth look and our beloved black. Better still, summer sales are in session so I’ve gone a-hunting for you…

The secret is to mix and match according to the temperature and occasion. Collect some new key pieces from my 31 handpicked ShopSense favorites, since I’m guessing you may already have some similar goodies in your closet. I’ve chosen things that will take you from the gym to a fancy date-night, key pieces that can be dressed up or down.

Go hunting locally and thrift some black jeans to distress (cheese grater and bleach spray, anyone?) and cut them to fraying bits! Grab your favorite Dr. Martens. I’m going to try and snag the Victorian Flowers for Moi-self, don’t you know!

Stay tuned to the next HorrorAddicts Podcast for tips to accessorize these time-tested basics.

The Gothic Tea Society: Keeping the ‘Net Macabre

The Gothic Tea Society: Keeping the ‘Net Macabre

By Kristin Battestella

Kbatz here taking a midnight brunch this evening and spending a few moments with Wednesday Black, mistress and founder of The Gothic Tea Society website!

The Gothic Tea Society Page describes the Society’s focus as attention toward “all those Macabre, Arcane, Creepy, & Dark things we can’t get enough of” in addition to the promotion of the Gothic Culture and arts. How did the creation of the blog come about? Why did you feel the need for such a site back in 2009?

I created the blog as a vehicle to explore, discuss and visualize those things that I define as Gothic.  While there is a general conception of what is Gothic in our shared cultures, there are also many subtle and not so subtle differences that just add to the complex beauty mixed with macabre that to me, defines Gothic.

My own concept of ‘Goth’ has a pretty wide angled lens, so I knew that there would be others who might appreciate my eclectic tastes. I was right, there are lots of people with a similar view.  I try to include all leanings of Gothic, from the most basic old school to the Cyber-goth crowd. I really think there is room for everyone.

One thing I focus on are dark and alternative artists. There are some really talented gothic leaning artists out there and I have had a great time over the last few years being introduced to them, usually by the people who read The Gothic Tea Society Blog and FB page. This year, I have started a series of interviews with Artist whose work I have found incredible. They are all so creative and talented, but they all have a different eye, and they all have interesting stories. I also use The Gothic Tea Society to promote Artists, Gothic shops ( Online as well as Brick and Mortar) and Events world wide. All readers are encouraged to share their own wares or favorites.   Of course I always appreciate efforts to spread the word about The Gothic Tea Society FB page and Blog. Anyone who follows The Gothic Tea Society Facebook page knows that I also welcome ‘shameless self promotion’

IMG_8426

The Facebook companion page for The Gothic Tea Society has over 20,000 likes.  Did you ever think there was such a huge online community in need of refined Goth media?

Yes, I did. The great thing about The Gothic Tea Society is that there is something for everyone. As a result there are many readers who have a sense of ‘gothic appreciation’  but would not consider themselves to be Goth. I have had people write to say that they are ‘Goth curious’  or that they enjoy things with a gothic feel but due to a variety of reasons they aren’t comfortable openly expressing it in their daily dress and decor.

Once considered the nonconformists of the club, Goth stylings have become much more mainstream and wow, I want to say popular. Do you think there are still misconceptions about the Goth and underground communities today?

Sure there are. Most commonly that anyone ‘Goth’ has something to do with Satan or some sort of Anti- Religion agenda. That if some one finds beauty in ‘darkness’ it is because they are depressed and unhappy. In our culture (western) wearing black is for funerals and mourning so if you wear black all the time you crave sadness and despair.

Speaking for myself, I do adore death culture and by that I mean the  beautiful art, history and ritual associated with it.

I am an avid cemetery lover and photographer. I also love skulls, skeletons, halloween and bats too!  I find quite a bit of beauty in things macabre. But all that said I do not enjoy slasher and bloody horror or violence. That surprises some people, but to me one is natural and the other quite unnatural and unnecessary.

How do you handle some of the hateful spammers and normals who erroneously think that any and all Goths, folks who dress in black, Halloween enthusiasts, Wicca practitioners, Satanists, Zombie survivalists, punk, emo, etc. groups are one in the same evil and scary people?

Actually, to date, I have rarely encountered that sort of  internet troll harassment. The way I see it is , if my blog or page offends you in any way. .  then click off of it! You need not expose yourself to something that upsets or offends you. We all have that free will.

I am careful to keep clear of anything political and I will delete any post that attempts to get political. I will also not allow rants or porn posts on The Gothic Tea Society. There are lots of pages and places for those things, GTS is not one of them.

Anyone who groups all the people that you mentioned under one label does so out of their own ignorance. I personally don’t have time to debate with the uninformed.

IMG_8308

The GTS offers news, interviews, and photos both Victorian and sophisticated and modern or punkish in humor.  How do you define Goth for yourself and the Society? Are the sub divisions, Goth specializations, and new labels good or bad do you suppose?

As I mentioned, I try to include photos, stories, and links that someone with very eclectic Gothic tastes might enjoy. I am sure not everything is for everyone, but I try for a good mix and I think I do ok.

I have a pretty encompassing Gothic scope. In my view,  something is ‘Goth’ if it has a certain, sometimes undefined dark beauty, or melancholy aura about it. It is more of a feeling of macabre esthetic that defines it for me.  I feel it as much as I see it.

I think the various sub divisions are great. Each one exists because someone said ‘ Yes, this feels like me, but I also want to add this twist’. They add it and a new look, music or piece of art is created!

You also helm several more creepy sites and pages including The Daily Witch, November Obscura, and Wednesday’s Attic.  How do you manage such an online active lifestyle? Do you have a specific schedule or is it certain arcane material per page?

The Daily Witch is a fun eclectic witchery page on Facebook, created for the sole purpose of sharing my favorite witchy finds from around the net. I try to post at least one thing daily, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

November Obscura is a company that my husband and I founded together as an outlet for our photography and travel projects. It has a Blog and a FB page as well. We have a plethora of blog posts upcoming on that one. Currently there are all sorts of topics in the Blog, including lots of cemeteries!

Wednesdays Attic is my personal Blog. There I post about things that I find interesting. I find many odd things of interest so I include things like that. It is somewhat macabre and strange because , well, it is my blog.

Schedule! That is a word that follows me around quite a bit because I spend at least 5 days a week on a tight one! I work full time with a very long commute. I use the commute to plan blog posts, interviews and projects. Ok, sometimes I talk on the phone too, but hands free of course!

I use a little time before and after work each day to check in with my funny creative and interesting friends on FB on my own page, then share, and post on The Gothic Tea Society’s FB. If I have a Blog to post such as an interview I usually do that after work on a weeknight. I also have a few incredibly clever friends that I have met through The Gothic Tea Society that contribute to the blog. I have taken notice of them for their original style, creativity and keen wit and I invite them to become contributors to the Blog. They are marvelous!  I am open to guest bloggers as well.  It can be time consuming but it is a labor of love.

IMG_8382

Who are some of your inspirations or favorites of the aforementioned Macabre or Creepy in literature or television and film?  What music are you listening to right now?

Literature- I was always a huge Anne Rice reader. My favorite books are ones about death rituals, art and cultural mores. History, religion, and folklore.

Most of my TV watching consisted of documentaries or historical biographies, that was until I became hooked on Six Feet Under and then Dexter. (I am sensing a theme!) 

I confess to being a rather Burtonesque style Goth. I give Mr. Burton quite a bit of credit for bringing black and purple out  into the light of day, and making it ‘cool’ to love the arcane and creepy!  His movies and characters have allowed a great many people to embrace the creepy they didn’t even know they had in them.

As for music, unlike most who find their way to Goth through music, I found my way through Art and other visual media. My preferred music is found between 1920 and 1950.  I particularly love Violin, Cello and piano.

I am not listening to anything now, except my cat who is complaining to me.

What social advice or styling tips would you give to the budding Goth enthusiast? How is one to stay true to themselves and not be a poser in today’s era of trends, changes, and wannabes?

Find what you like, what feels good for you and go from there. I don’t think there are hard defining lines on things like ‘what is gothic’   anymore so terms like poser and wannabe are obsolete.  The only boundaries that exist are the ones you put up or allow. It’s ok to be eclectic.

IMG_8325

What’s your favorite part of administering the Gothic Tea Society?

The fabulously interesting readers! I have met so many fascinating people!

Thanks Again Wednesday for taking the time to speak to Horror Addicts!!

My pleasure. Thank you for your interest in The Gothic Tea Society!

To get in on the Goth action yourself, visit The Gothic Tea Society at the following links:

http://gothicteasociety.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GothicTeaSociety

http://novemberobscura.blogspot.com/

The Cemetery Photos featured here tonight are also from Ms. Wednesday and November Obscura.  Awesome!

Monster Mash with À Rebours

For our season finale, I could think of no one finer to conclude our musical meanderings than Ian Stone of À Rebours [ah reh boor]. I discovered his music in 2007 and I have endeavored to keep in touch with him through the years. It was a real treat to be able to tap him for the finale.

Of the band itself, Ian is “the founder, singer, guitarist, programmer, and songwriter. Ryan Holmes is the bassist, and John Cole is the drummer. Ryan and John both bring that outside viewpoint along with an expert-level of musicianship to the mix. I write the songs from start to finish and I present them with pretty much a finished product, with a bass part and drum part already written. Although I’m proud of what I create, I’m still insulated in my little creative cocoon. Ryan and John generally play what I’ve written, but when either one tweaks something or suggests a change it’s always fantastic. Both of them are outstanding and we all like textures and unexpected left turns, so their perspectives are welcome. They’re really the first ones I’ve felt comfortable letting in to the creative process in that respect. I’ve had such bad experiences with band mates before that I always had the idea that À Rebours wasn’t going to be a democracy. Haha! Thankfully I am privileged to work with a couple of guys that will add taste and texture instead of cliché and mediocrity.”

His debut album, Vanish, is always in my listening rotation (not just around Halloween) and the songs are deep, sometimes playful, always hauntingly beautiful pieces. It was difficult for me to choose one song to feature on Horror Addicts. In the end, I picked the song that seems the most Poe-inspired to me, which is “Cardiac Thanatosis”.

What was the inspiration for this song? “Naturally heartbreak is the general theme, but I wanted something that took the feeling in a different direction. At the time the music was starting to take shape, I was reading The Villain’s Guide to Better Living by Neil Zawacki and there was a section in there about how important it was to get rid of your heart before someone got to it. The book suggested cutting it out and hiding it so that good guys couldn’t poison you with things like regret, sympathy, kindness and those types of things that would kill your evil mojo. I thought, ‘There we go. How do you protect yourself against heartache? You’ve got to make sure there’s nothing to break!’ I was reading this in early 2005 or so, I think, or early 2006. It wrote itself from there. My songwriting tends to go like that: once a seed idea has germinated the whole song just kind of unfurls out of itself.”

He added, “Incidentally I’ve had many late night, alcohol-saturated discussions with friends and fans about whether or not the song is figurative or literal. I like for the listener to derive some of his or her own meaning from it, but if you ask me I suppose my response depends on my mood. I’ve defended both sides. The sketch animation video I did for that song ends with an image of a screaming guy with a massive suture on his chest. Is it symbolic, or literal? Hmmmm…”

I first discovered you about the time you packed up and left Phoenix, AZ, for the “bright lights” of New York. How has NY treated you since then? “Haha well let’s clarify that I went to upstate NY, not New York City. Going to NYC would’ve been a significantly different experience—better or worse, I’m not sure. But I would say that as far as the band goes it was a setback. I built up the beginnings of a solid fan base in Phoenix, and then I left it behind and never really built something as good here. The decision to move had nothing to do with music, and in the long run it’s been overall good for my life…not easy, but good in the end. I met my new wife out here after all. For my music, though, it’s been difficult, and may very well have been a blow À Rebours won’t bounce back from. That’s depressing. I have a lot of music still inside clawing at the walls to be let out. I have some stories to tell about the things that happened to me in New York and about the things I’ve discovered about myself. You can’t, however, spend too much time dwelling on the whole ‘coulda-shoulda-woulda’ thing, or playing ‘what if?’ all the time because it’s pointless. It just causes emotional unrest, you know? So I suppose now I just need to get to making lemonade, if you know what I mean. I just need to release my music and keep trudging forward.”

Where are some of the places you have toured/played? “Played all over Phoenix before I left. In the North East I’ve played all over the Southern Tier, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, some places in PA, all the way down to Ohio, Connecticut and over to Michigan.”

Where would you love to play that you haven’t yet? “I haven’t gotten to play in NYC yet, which I’d like to. I really want to play in Europe, too; I think audiences there are more in tune with À Rebours’ musical style and I’ve just fallen in love with Europe every time I’ve traveled there.”

Do you have any stories of any gigs that stand out? “Haha not any good ones! Any band will tell you that there are more clusterfucks on stage than visits from angels, so lets just say that we have our share of those! But, to answer you, I guess one that stands out in my mind was when we played Mohawk Place in Buffalo alongside Tearwave, who at the time was on the Projekt label, and Woven, who were from LA and touring. Overall the show was an epic dud because, like, five people came. Total bust—and Tearwave were hometown heroes there. It kind of baffled all of us. Bad timing, I guess. It happens. But each band setup nevertheless, played like we were playing to a stadium and were cheered on by the other two bands. It was kinda cool. The energy from fellow musicians and the enthusiasm and support for what each band stood for was just awesome. We played so great that night, haha of COURSE!”

I know that “À Rebours” is French for “against the grain”, but what does it mean to you, and why the evolution of name from “Maxwell’s Demon”? “À Rebours stands for being fiercely unique and independent. To me it means not only trying to find an oblique way of doing things, but also making a point to do things differently. It’s about existing on a level apart from the everyday ignorance, mediocrity, and herd mentality. It’s about being an outsider by choice and savoring the delicious experience that offers.

“I switched from Maxwell’s Demon because À Rebours just resonated with me and more accurately described what I was aiming for. I figured I’d have one shot—my fifteen minutes—to say what I wanted to say to people so I’d better make it count. Or at least be as accurate as possible.

“About that time, oh I’d say 2005 I think, I was also submitting an early version of ‘This Winter’ to Projekt for their unsigned band compilation. Again, I wanted a name that cast the light I wanted cast on the music I was presenting. It was the first time I was putting my music out there. That compilation never materialized, but it was the thing that solidified the name. In retrospect, Maxwell’s Demon probably would’ve been easier for people to pronounce!”

It may be hard to choose, but which of your songs is your favorite and why? “On Vanish, I’d say my favorite is ‘Dust‘. Amongst the newer songs, my favorite is ‘The Parliament of Rooks.’ That tune is split into two parts and bookend the album, but as a whole I’d say it comes the closest to capturing the bleak, melancholy sound I’m always trying to create. There’s a live version of the second part on YouTube, if one is interested in hearing it.”

Outside of the usual labels describing music, how do you describe your music? “Way back on MySpace I used to describe it as ‘deliciously melancholy rock.’ On our Facebook it says ‘If Edgar Allan Poe had a rock band, this would be it.’ It’s a collision of rock, shoegaze, goth, progressive, and probably a few other things in the mix. Sometimes it’s bleak and introspective, sometimes it’s dense and defiant. Put equal parts haunting, Tesla experiment, postmodern romance, and message from space into a shaker with ice, strain into a chilled soul and garnish with loud amps.”

Who are your favorite bands, and who has influenced your music? “Oh my God that’s asking for an encyclopedia recital! My favorite band of all time is the prog band Fates Warning. I grew up on them, learned so much from trying to play their music and they still capture that same vibe lyrically and atmospherically that resonates with me. I have everything they’ve done and just about every side project from the members.

“Outside of that I could name a ton of artists that inform my style: AFI, Bethany Curve, Jean-Michel Jarre, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo, Trivium to start. I’ve had stages where I couldn’t get enough of things as widely different as Jack White, Iron Maiden, or VNV Nation. I’ve got a huge music collection. Real honestly, anything that I hear that I like is a potential influence. It all enters some kind of mental cauldron and bubbles back up somewhere.

“I know Ryan and John are both big fans of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Iron Maiden and Rush (as am I). Ryan has a Jazz degree so there’s that side of his playing that figures in. John is a high school band teacher so he naturally has to command a ridiculously huge repertoire and that kind of knowledge naturally informs his playing.”

What other styles of music do you like? “Classical. Middle Eastern. Ambient and atmospheric. Electronic, Industrial and Dance. All kinds of rock and metal. I’ve been getting into sick and sleazy blues—not like Stevie Ray Vaughan or Eric Clapton kind of blues, I mean like chilly, raw, remote, bar on the edge of town at 4 in the morning kind of blues. Just to name a few things.”

What type of music turns you off? “I just CANNOT get into contemporary country. Old C&W has some valid merit and of course great musicians; I still don’t much care for it though. The stuff nowadays we call country just completely turns me off. Induces nausea, even. Most contemporary R&B and pop music kills me a little inside, too. Outside of those I can usually find something I like in just about every genre.”

Is there a style that you haven’t worked in that you would like to? “As far as genres that I’d like to explore, I’d like to go in a couple of different directions. One, I’d like to do more electronic. There are more keyboards and sequenced parts in The Parliament of Rooks album than in Vanish, but it’d be fun someday to go full on industrial-EBM or something. Second, I’d love to do something totally and unapologetically heavy metal. Something like Trivium or In Flames. Now, I don’t believe À Rebours is the medium to explore those avenues, so there might be side projects in the future, or perhaps a revival of Maxwell’s Demon outside of À Rebours. I need to get Parliament of Rooks out and the third album done as well, though, before I even entertain those ideas!”

Speaking of, how soon can we expect to have The Parliament of Rooks available? “Well that, my friend, is the million dollar question, LOL! 2013 at the earliest, hopefully not 2014 or beyond. I’m trying to balance optimism with realism. At this point that’s the best I can offer.”

How has producing The Parliament of Rooks been different than Vanish? “Compared to this, Vanish was a breeze. With all of the times that files have been lost or corrupted, that life has gotten in the way and shut me down, and now of course factoring in the physical distance from my label and their resources…it’s been very frustrating. The songwriting aspect is always the most time consuming because I obsess over so many aspects of a song. That being said, writing definitely went faster for POR than for Vanish. However, once Vanish got the green light to produce, it went fairly quickly. This album has been anything BUT quick or smooth. It’s been terribly frustrating. The music was all written three years ago!”

Do you listen to podcasts, and if so what kind and which ones? “I have listened to some, but I just don’t feel like I have the time to subscribe to them. I’ve tried before, and iTunes just ends up full of podcasts I never listen to. Then I get so fed up I just delete the whole lot. I feel lucky to have time to read a book for crying out loud.”

When you aren’t creating or playing music, do you have any other creative outlets? “Absolutely!! Music is actually my second avocation. I am a freelance illustrator/designer and I run a business called Moulin Diesel. I did all the artwork for Vanish from the tray card and J-card to the disc. Moulin Diesel did À Rebours’ website and graphics, too. Art is really the thing that feeds my soul. Music is a side dish. I’m passionate about both, don’t mistake me, but my art definitely takes precedence over my music, especially at this point in my life where the music is caught in a swamp and my art is doing well. Not to mention art actually creates an income, whereas the music most definitely does not. But alas, we don’t do creative things for the money, only for the enjoyment. Nevertheless, one has to eat, n’est-ce pas?”

Indeed, so what’s next for you and the band? “Finish recording and release The Parliament of Rooks. That is job number one. And then, of course, play shows to support it. Given Ryan and John’s schedules, however, that second piece is tentative. Ryan’s in Connecticut playing with the band Echo & Drake which is dong fantastically well. I’m really proud of him. John, as I said, is a high school teacher so he’s really only free during the summer. I need—NEED—to release this album though and tell the story of the third album, of which I’ve already been writing for. We’ll see what the live schedule looks like, but one way or the other I need to keep sharing the music I write.”

What advice do you have to new bands? “The ‘music business’ is a sham designed to grind you up and package you as a money-making commodity for the people running the business. Avoid it. Be your own boss, learn some business practices and run your band like a business. It won’t be any harder work and you’ll be happier in the long run. And when I say treat it like a job, that means full time at the very least. It’ll require that much and more to make it into something. I think that’s why À Rebours hasn’t done better: life got in the way and I never put the 110% it took to make it. When I tried, other things suffered and cost me emotionally. For better or worse, I believe the band could’ve been more and probably still could be. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that presently it’s not and shouldn’t be my main focus in life.”

You can download their music from iTunes and Spotify, or purchase the physical CD directly from CD Baby or from their website in a merch bundle. Merchandise is available at their website: maurautius.com, as well as some other stuff on Cafépress. They are also on ReverbNation and MySpace. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

New Theme Song Band: Cancer Killing Gemini

So many bands entered this contest and had awesome tracks,
that it was a super hard task to choose our new theme song band.
Some of the bands were so good, we asked them to be featured next season
and they will be reaching your earbuds soon.

However, the HorrorAddicts.net staff narrowed it down to
the song we thought best emulated the show’s spirit.

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to announce our newest theme song band:
Cancer Killing Gemini!

Listeners will find out more about these blokes on the
premiere of HorrorAddicts.net, Season 7
beginning in April 2012.

Until then, check out their site where you can hear a new song monthly
and listen to the new HorrorAddicts.net theme, “Horror Movie Song”.

http://www.cancerkillinggemini.com/wp/

Hug A Goth Day

Hey Horror Addicts, Wednesday, August 24th is Hug A Goth Day. So if you know a goth or see a goth walking down the street, make sure that you give them a hug.  Hug a Goth Day is meant to pay homage to Sophie Lancaster who was brutally killed after being attacked by strangers for being goth in the United Kingdom.

On August 11th 2007, Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Rob Maltby we’re walking home when they we’re brutally attacked by thugs just because they we’re different. Rob tried to stop the attackers but they overpowered him. Sophie cradled her boyfriend’s head and begged their attackers to stop, but instead of stopping they kicked her until she was unconscious.

Both Rob and Sophie we’re beaten into comas. Two weeks later, Rob came out of his coma but Sophie did not. Sadly Sophie died on August 27th when her family decided to take her off of life support. The teenagers who participated in the attack bragged to some other teenagers saying that they did “something good.” There we’re also other kids who witnessed the attack.

Thanks to the witnesses, two of the attackers we’re sentenced to life imprisonment and three others were sentenced to prison terms for the attack.  A police detective said that the attack was one of the most violent murders that he had ever come across and the attackers did not feel the least bit guilty and joked with their parents about what they had done.

Though Sophie Lancaster’s life ended in a very tragic way, she will never be forgotten. Her boyfriend Robert Maltby put on a display of his art that was inspired by Sophie to honor her memory. Also on October 6th 2007, a concert was held in Sophie’s honor featuring 10 bands. Also a fund was set up in her honor called: S.O.P.H.I.E.(Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere).

So in honor of Sophie Lancaster hug a goth on August 24th and think of all the people who have been discriminated against just because they were different.

For More information on Sophie Lancaster and Hug A Goth Day, check these websites out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Sophie_Lancaster

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125094830909524

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzAj4WsF3VE&feature=related

Horror Fashion: Steampunk / Fetish Swimwear

This isn’t exactly promoted as swimwear,
but any addict could be proud going to the beach in one of these beauties.

If you’d rather not go out in leather,
this will give you some nice inspiration to make your cotton and
spandex into unique outfits that are more Horror Addict
friendly than your regular old beach wear.

‘Course, if your tastes lean towards hanging out in an old
steam-powered factory, you’ll know just what to wear!

Monster Mash with Plasticoma

“I think I am decay
I am evil
My thoughts are never pure”
— From the song “Champagne and Razorblades” by Plasticoma

Our featured band this week is Plasticoma, a dark electronic trio based out of Johannesburg, South Africa, also known as Jozi. Plasticoma was founded by vocalist and writer Jaco Brewis. Rounding out the group are guitarist Shawn van Staden and bassist Derik Nel. Their song we are featuring this episode is “Champagne and Razorblades”. Much like the song from our previous episode, this song also embraces the theme of insanity. (Both songs really speak to the Malkavian in me.) However this is where the similarities end, as “Champagne and Razorblades” is a much darker, heavier track.

In Jaco’s own words, “I thought it was a good track to go with the theme of horror. I came up with the idea at work one day when I was feeling really sad and depressed but happy at the same time, so I thought this is ‘Champagne and Razorblades’. So that was the concept — happiness in darkness but slightly more psychotic. When we were recording the track Shawn had this idea to take the concept further and make it like a mental institution song, where in the verses we would talk like background voices of me the patient and Shawn the shrink. We also recorded some throwing of chairs and things. It was a lot of fun and it come out the way we wanted to.”

Plasticoma got its name when Jaco recorded a song for a gothic compilation album and then realized he needed a name for the then solo act back in 2006. His girlfriend Emma had suggested “Plasticoma” among others. He said, “I immediately liked it as I pictured someone in a coma but wrapped in plastic, kinda like a plastic morgue. Also I liked the name as it sounded fresh and it was the direction I wanted to go in, full electronic dark music.”

He described their music as “experimental in a lot of ways, as we are fusing heavy guitars and a lot of synths. It is still electronic music but also alternative and sometimes even rock electro if there is such a thing.” About his band mates he added, “we work well as a team. Shawn is a bit of perfectionist and I tend to quickly just write riffs and chord progressions. After that, me and Shawn will normally put a lot more work in, finer details and textures will be put in. Derik adds some solid bass lines that makes the sound fatter.”

Their album, Frei, and its title track comes from the German word for “Free”, and was written as Jaco puts it, “when the first member of the band and I parted ways, and I was well let’s just say very p* off. So I wrote the song to make me free of all B.S. But I never write songs about singular events so it became my break away song from all that bothers me in life, to make me free from this pain, make me free from this flesh, and so on.”

Jaco has some great advice for new bands, “Keep going! Write the music, don’t judge the music. It’s easy to be over-critical, keep your dream alive. See where you’re going and you’ll get there.”

For fans of the band in Johannesburg, you can find them most of the time playing gigs in nearby Pretoria at Full Moon Lounge under V.A.M.P. parties. Their record company, Koffin Kidz Records (how can you not love that name), books all of their shows and also owns the club. Jaco added, “we haven’t played Cape Town yet, and as a goth cliché, I’m going to say we would love to play in Germany, like a tour. That would be amazing I think.”

You can find the band online at http://www.plasticoma.co.za/, as well as on ReverbNationMySpace, and on Facebook.

Press Release: Veronique Chevalier Update

Veronique Chevalier Update

* * * Veronique Announces Partnership with SJS Promotions * * *
Ms. Susan Soares, Founder of SJS, shall now be conscientiously bombarding vous with all news Veroniquey. We are most honoured to welcome her & look forward to a lovely working relationship, as we pick up greater eSteam!

* * * PDX Gear Con & Back to The Pacific NW! * * *
Excitement is at hand, as well as a-foot! The event producer of Portland’s first-ever Steampunk Festival – PDX Gear Con, July 23rd-25th, (who happens also to be the producer of the acclaimed Rose City Steampunk Film Festival), had the excellent taste to include La Moi as one of his first invited Honoured Guest Perv-ormers! Also appearing are Erica UnWoman Mulkey, Vernian Process, Wanderlust Circus & Vagabond Opera, among many others!

Visit the Official PDX Gear Con Website for further info:
http://pdxgearcon.com/category/performers/

Well, that’s enough excess “braggage” for this round. Please feel free to send moi an Aetheric Telegram with any questions/comments/kudos! (Complaints shall be duly ignored- forewarned is four-armed. 😉

With great affectation, er, affection & eSTEAM,

MADemoiselle Veronique
The Original Mad Sonictist

Monster Mash with Witness the Apotheosis

“They say I suffer from insanity
Just between friends
I’m not suffering at all
I kinda like it here”
— From the song “Asylum” by Witness the Apotheosis

Witness the Apotheosis is a darkwave/industrial duo from Athens, Georgia and consists of Terance Schmidt and Zak Vaudo. Both provide vocals, electronic programming and compose the music. Zak also plays cello while Terance plays other instruments. In describing their synergy, Terance said, “Zak is certainly better with beats then I am, I tend to get things started, then Zak will bring a lot to the rhythm. I tend to do pretty well with creating melody – basslines, arpeggios, that sort of thing. Zak has much more experience with the genre of music that we make; he’ll pull us back in that direction when I go too far towards my rock roots.”

The song they shared with us is “Asylum” from their debut album Monomyth. The voices inside my head that scream at me from behind my eyeballs totally love this song. Apparently I’m in good company. Zak told me that “aside from being a fan-favourite, ‘Asylum’ has always just jumped out as one of the more unique songs in our lineup; it showcases our blend of style backgrounds better than any of our other works.” Terance added, “it’s the song that we have the most fun with on stage. My favorite memory playing that song was one time we completely freaked out our audience with it. After the song they just stood there, silently. I looked back at them and said ‘your silence is all the applause I ever wanted.’”

Both Terance and Zak were originally from Queens, NY, but met in Athens, GA. Terance is a fan of the music from Athens. He said, “I enjoy the B-52s, REM and Pylon especially. Music Hates You is also an influence. The bass in Pylon and REM is something I think I may draw from somewhat.” Zak noted that there isn’t a lot of electronic music in Athens to draw from, saying, “the last one that had any influence on me was Unavox. I let Terance pull the rock elements; electronic music tends to resonate the most with me.”

Myself, I love the little references to Greek myth in their band name, album titles, and such. Terance mentioned the time he sought advice from an oracle, in this case, a tarot deck. “I did a tarot reading to get some idea of how things might work out with Zak and I doing a band. It came up with the World card, which is the best card in the deck to draw. In the explanation book for my deck, one of the lines was that ‘they will all come to witness the apotheosis’, so that was a good sign. Apotheosis means becoming god-like. I like to say that when you get up on the stage and do your thing, you transcend ordinary humanity and become something more, so the name really makes sense to me.”

Even though they enjoy playing gigs, they both agreed that creating new music was more fun. Inspiration has come from many places. For Terance it has even come from just walking down the street. “Asylum started out with the line ‘I really like the flowers but what did they do with my mind?’ I was walking down Washington Street in Athens to Hot Corner Coffee when it came to me. I started writing lyrics for it and thought it would be funny. Then it got more serious, and yet still funny. It’s rare that I sit down and say, ‘Now I’m going to write a song about X.’ Instead it’s usually things that come out spontaneously and then we’ll build on them; that seems to work best.” Zak added that “the album Monomyth draws its inspiration from Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces, as does the band’s name (the Apotheosis is one of the many steps on the Hero’s Journey). The Monomyth is the singular idea, the foundation of the myth. This debut EP is our foundation.”

Witness the Apotheosis

After Monomyth, they created and released When the Night Comes. As Terance puts it, “Monomyth was a ‘gotta have something done for Frolicon,’ a convention we played. I was literally finishing it up just in time to burn it and go.  When the Night Comes was more of a remix album of the title song. It was really cool to hear what other artists did with this song that we wrote. The track I find most interesting on it is “Modern Prometheus”, which is some very out-of-genre music for us that I started playing with late one night and Zak reading a poem over it. I never imagined I’d like it as much as I do.” Zak added, “for me, I really wanted to create a single that showcased one of our favourite songs and the transition it had undergone (with the ‘New Wave Cut’ being the first draft and the ‘Album Version’ being its reinvention). It was imperative to me that any remixes of the track were strikingly different from anything else on the single; I hate remixes that sound like they’ve been added in as filler. The Dark Clan and Creation bring extremely unique sounds to the track, giving the song new and engaging faces.”

To check out the band, visit their Bandcamp site at witnesstheapotheosis.bandcamp.com. You can also find them at ReverbNation, MySpace, Facebook, and in all the dark corners of Athens, Georgia.

Do Goths Have To Work Harder Than Norms To Get Respect In The Workplace?

Do goth or alternative lifestyle employees have to work harder than the norms?

I am a gloom cookie, a mistress of the dark, a “goth” as the norms call us. I wear black clothes, color my hair, and sport elaborate makeup. I’ve worked for employers that don’t care what I wear and ones that have dress codes that make me alter or tone down my look, but at the core I am still me and I will be me whether they like it or not. Those of us who live alternative lives… whether you be a goth, lolita, punk, gay, or have an uncommon religion, are different. We see things differently. We process things differently and have different answers to mainstream questions. Some of us hide or disguise our differences so that we can have a simpler life, but in the end, we are different and you have to be a pretty good magician to hide it at all times, even in the workplace.

I don’t have to tell you that the “norm” perception of us is bad. Apparently we are evil, devil worshiping, spell casting, curse making, sexually perverse, murderous fiends who will stop at nothing to “turn” them     (fill in the blank- goth, gay, evil)   . God forbid you fall into two or three of these different alternative categories. To them, a gay male, goth, pagan, has one intent: To corrupt their way of life and turn their sons into flaming voodoo priests! I’m not going to tackle how we change that impression in this post… that is so much bigger than ourselves. However, given that the impression of the general public is this, do we have to work harder in the workplace to prove our usefulness? To earn respect, do we have to be better, faster, and sharper than the “norms”?

I think we do. Because not only do they think we are “weird”, they also believe that we spend our work hours thinking “weird” things. It doesn’t matter that your cube mate is obsessed with her pet tabby cat and has pictures of the feline plastering her side of the cube wearing sweater sets. No, that is an acceptable hobby. Yet if we mention just once about a concert, book, or a movie we like, they instantly place us in the antagonist position. I can hear the conversations by the water cooler. “Omg… she said she just LOVES the Saw movies. What do you think her house looks like? Do you think she has meat hooks and table saws? Do you think she’s going to kill us all?”

Something that goes along with their perception of us is that we are lazy or try to get out of work. You know, because we need time to plot our destruction of their lives. Do you feel like, as a goth in the workplace, you are treated unfairly or held to a higher standard? Or perhaps judged more harshly because of your outward appearance or special interests? Do you find that you have to work harder for respect when your “norm” co-worker is constantly late and plays Farmville on Facebook all day but earns kudos easily? Do you think the way you dress or things you enjoy on your off-time hinder you from getting raises, promotions, or special incentives?

I once worked for a company where I was the token goth. I was the person they liked to put on the forefront to show others how diverse they were, but even known as the diversity proof, the stereotypes didn’t end. The fact is, unless you are willing to abandon your look or personality completely, you will be discriminated against. Until our general populace starts to really accept people’s differences in truth- not just in word, we will have to continue to wear down the prejudices that plague people of our kind.

I’ve worked with people who thought my dress code had something to do with my religion and they were shocked when I handed out holiday candy. Hum… do all Catholics wear pink? Not really… so why would all people who wear black be Satanists? It’s a color people! Just saying. A lot of these stereotypes are not even logical.

I’ve been blamed for bad business deals because I like the number thirteen and good friends (or not so good friends it turns out) have accused me of putting curses on them. I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to plot against you. If I had the ability to cast voodoo magic, I would definitely use that power to improve MY situation in life… not bring yours down. Here’s an interesting thought: If the majority of norm public doesn’t believe magic or spell casting is real, why do they assume we can wield it against them?

I’ve worked for good people too. Ones that understood or at least try to allow for my way of life, but these are not common. Why? What’s going to happen if you get close to a goth? I have to admit, there is a slim chance of getting black eyeliner on you, but beyond that, we are good people. Sure, there are the bad apples, just like any set of people, but for the most part we are kind, imaginative, interesting people and you are missing out on some terrific friendships.

I pride myself on being good at my job. No matter what the task is, I take time management and execution very seriously. I am a perfectionist and list maker and I rarely slack off. I work hard and I expect to be treated kindly and respected by my co-workers and managers. For these reasons, I have been able to earn respect at several companies by showing what I can do, but it wasn’t easy. If I was the cookie cutter worker, would I have more opportunity for advancement sooner? Who knows. It feels like it. Being a goth in the workplace almost feels like being on probation from day one. Guilty until proven innocent.

Because we are constantly trying to break down the stereotypes and work harder to prove we are not flakes or idiots, do alternative lifestyle people in the mainstream workforce have more stress in their lives? Do you find yourself getting sick more than others do or feeling exhausted at keeping up the charade? How long is the life expectancy of a goth in the modern office? I bet that’s one they haven’t tested! Why? Because we may melt in the light of day?

I’ve been very sarcastic in this post, but I really want to know. I’m interested in your view on this subject. How do you feel you are discriminated against in your office? How have you dealt with the hurdles you’ve faced? If you are not a goth, and are scared to get to know us, why? What fears can we break down for you? What makes you so scared?

THE EDWARDIAN BALL 2011

THE EDWARDIAN BALL 2011

The original, turn-of-the-century extravaganza returns with a two-city celebration of music, dance, circus, Gorey & more!

SAN FRANCISCO :: Friday & Saturday Jan 21-22
at The Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness, San Francisco
Doors & Show 8pm-2am both nights, all ages welcome
Plus — FREE daytime shopping Sat Jan 22, 12-6pm

LOS ANGELES :: Saturday Jan 29
at The Music Box @ Fonda, 6126 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
Doors & Show 8pm-2am, all ages welcome

FRI 1/21… THE EDWARDIAN WORLD’S FAIRE (SF)

Exposition of Technology by KSW * The Edwardian Midway * Dark Garden Corsetry * DJ GlobalRuckus (PDX) * Flynn Creek Circus * Vima Vice Squad * City Circus * Vernian Process * Shovelman & more.

Tickets $28-38 + very limited $75 VIP, all ages welcome, doors/show 8pm.

SAT 1/22… 11TH ANNUAL EDWARDIAN BALL (SF)
Featuring a live, original performance of Edward Gorey’s “The Eleventh Episode” by Co-Hosts Rosin Coven & Vau de Vire Society * “Belle of the Ball” Jill Tracy * Miz Margo * Fou Fou HA! * Delachaux *
The Gomorran Social Aid & Pleasure Club * Portrait Studio & more. Tickets $38-48 (VIP sold out!) All ages welcome, doors/show 8pm.

BOTH NIGHTS (SF)…

Steam Powered Tea Garden by KSW * Cabinets of Wonder * Hall of Fine Arts * Sideshow Oddities * Ballroom Dancing * Vendor Bazaar * Gaming Parlour and much more!

AND… FREE DAYTIME SHOPPING SAT 1/22! (SF)

Find that perfect outfit, accessory, trick or treat for The Ball, or for anytime! Free daytime shopping hours in between the Friday and Saturday nighttime events. Changing rooms available. Full bar for 21+ with ID. Entrance at 1270 Sutter Street, lower level of event only. FREE, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, NO TICKETS REQUIRED!

SAT 1/29… EDWARDIAN BALL 2011 LOS ANGELES
Featuring a live, original performance of Edward Gorey’s “The Eleventh Episode” by Co-Hosts Rosin Coven & Vau de Vire Society * “Belle of the Ball” Jill Tracy * DJ Xian (LADEAD) * Miz Margo * Fou Fou HA! * Delachaux * Dark Garden Corsetry * Ballroom Dancing * Vendor Bazaar * Parlour Games & Special LA guests!
Tickets $28-35 + VIP Packages * 21 & up w/ID, all ages ok with adult chaperon.

THE EDWARDIAN BALL is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author Edward Gorey. Set in “Edwardian” times, this multi-media festival has grown over the past decade from a small underground club night into an internationally recognized event, even earning the blessing of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

The Edwardian Ball has been called “the quintessential must-never-miss event of the year,” “a defining annual San Francisco tradition,” and “a literary circus of the highest caliber” for good reasons… come see for yourself!

Tickets & Info: www.edwardianball.com

Edwardian Vendor Bazaar Daytime Hours
A leisurely day of shopping & gaming – FREE -12-6pm

Find that perfect outfit, accessory, trick or treat for The Ball, or for anytime! Free daytime shopping hours in between Friday and Saturday nighttime events. Changing rooms available. Full bar for 21+ with ID. Entrance at 1270 Sutter Street, lower level of event only. FREE, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, NO TICKETS REQUIRED!

We have just a few vending spots still available for both San Francisco and Los Angeles but they are going fast – more information here or contact Anna the Vending Queen anna@edwardianball.com.

Learn to Dance for The Ball!
Vima Dance offers group & private lessons to all

Step out in style and learn to dance for the Edwardian Ball!

Vima Dance Studio is once again hosting ballroom dance classes for the aspiring Edwardian. Classes run from November through January, at a very special rate for Edwardian Ball-goers, including:

FREE Intro to Ballroom Classes. Learn the basic step in six partner dances. This is a great class if you are not sure what you want to learn and want to sample a bit of everything. Early Bird Special – Free Classes in November and December. Drop-ins are welcome!

$8 Salon and Variety classes. These group classes will offer a more in-depth look at some of the classic ballroom dances: Viennese Waltz, Tango, Slow Waltz, Fox Trot and even some Rumba! (Group Package 16 classes for $128)

Edwardian Intro Package: 1 private lesson for $30 (single or couple). One on one introduction to ballroom dancing, or refine dances that you already know.

For schedule of classes visit www.edwardianball.com/dance

Vima Dance Studio

560 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

415-977-0203

www.vimadance.com

www.facebook.com/vimadance

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 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 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!