Terror Trax: Scream Machine

TerrorTrax

 

HorrorAddicts.net recently had the opportunity to interview SinDelle M Morte of Scream Machine about their music, inspirations, and of course horror movies.

 

HA: Do you write your own lyrics/where does your inspiration come from?

SinDelle Morte: Yes, I write all my own stuff. I always wrote poetry and things like that as a kid, so this was really just a natural progression of that. Mostly my inspiration comes from current events and things like that, though I have written quite a few songs about serial killers and things like that. Basically, anything that horrifies people. LOL.

HA: What singers or bands inspired you growing up? Who are your favorite artists today?

SM: Are these supposed to be different? LOL. Mostly a bunch of hard rock and metal bands, to be honest. I take some inspiration in certain things, like from Rob Zombie or maybe BILE but most of it is stuff that would not even make sense at this time in relation to my music. Most of the stuff I listen to is the same kind of thing but I also like rap and punk, along with a huge dose of adult contemporary kind of stuff. If you can sing to it, chances are I like it.

HA: When did you first know you wanted to be a musician and how did you start out?

SM: I mean, I was always a singer but I think if I had to pick, I would say when I was about 13 that’s when I really knew that I wanted to make music. I started out just messing around with music programs on the computer. It progressed from there. My early shit is God-awful but you know, luckily it got better. Lol.

scream machine

HA: What non-musical things inspire your music? Is there a place where you go to be inspired?

SM:I read/watch a lot of Stephen King and true crime stuff. I’m what we could call a “real life horror buff” too. I am very interested in that kind of stuff. I used to have a huge collection of crime scene photos and things like that on my old computer. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from that. I think I’ve written at least 3 songs about episodes of First 48. Lol.

HA: What’s been the greatest achievement of your band? Or, where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?

SM: We had a chance to be part of a compilation that benefits people with cancer called, “Electronic Saviors.” We are really proud of that.

HA: What are your favorite horror movies?

SM:Oh man. The first one is probably the Halloween franchise. I love those movies. They are simple and terrifying. The Nightmare franchise is a favorite. I love the Child Play movies and most Stephen King movies. I’m old, man. I really liked the first SAW movie. It gave me hope for the genre as a whole. I saw Sinister a few years ago and was genuinely creeped out by a horror movie for the first time in YEARS, so that was really cool. I think “The Exorcist” is the scariest movie of all time, but I wouldn’t call it a favorite. It’s too scary to be liked. Lol.

HA: What was the scariest night of your life?

SM: I remember I had a dream one night about something in the closet in my room, kind of like how it is in “Cujo”.  I was an adult, not a kid. When I woke up it was pitch black in my room. I was so scared I could not  move. That is probably the most afraid I have ever been. I was too scared to even piss myself. LOL.

HA: If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?

SM: Man, I don’t know. Anywhere where the people are cool and it’s not 1000 degrees. 🙂

HA: What are you working on now for any future release? Are you on tour? Where can they see you?

SM: We have a new release on the horizon called "Savages." That is slated to drop sometime this fall – probably around Halloween, of course. It’s done so we are just waiting for that. Then there might be a hiatus of sorts, because we are moving to an off grid property and may not be able to work on music for a while. We have to see what happens.

HA: What is available now that the listeners can download or buy?

SM: We have a LOT of stuff, from EPs to LPs and singles. About 30 releases.

HA: What is the website we can find it on?

SM: HorrorAddicts can find all of our stuff on Bandcamp . There is some that are free and some that isn’t. Our stuff is also available on most major digital outlets, like iTunes, Amazon, all that kind of thing.

HA: What is the best social media site for listeners to connect with you on?

SM: Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Other? Bandcamp? Facebook is still the best one to hit us up on.

HA: What are your id’s/ web addresses?

SM: Scream Machine Bandcamp ,    Scream Machine Facebook  Scream Machine YouTube   Scream Machine Soundcloud

Monster Mash with SinDelle Morte of godMONSTER

Time for some déjà vu here in episode 76. For this turn around I interviewed the marvelous mistress of musical mayhem, SinDelle Morte of Scream Machine, about her side project godMONSTER. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because not only are we fans of Scream Machine (Best Band of Season Three!), but Sin was the music interviewer here before I failed upwards into the position. 🙂 In her honor, I shall bust out of my usual format and share the full question and answer interview as was her style during her tenure. Love ya, Sin!

DS: Who are the members of the band, and besides the instruments they play or how they sing, what do they bring to the band as a whole?

SM: Well, godMONSTER is my solo side project, so it’s just me. Scream Machine (my main project) is more aggressive and it really allows no outlet for a more ethereal or ambient type of sound. Maybe it would if I allowed it to, hahahaha. But I don’t. So I decided to make godMONSTER as like a counterbalance to that.

DS: Why did you choose to send “Gravedancer’s Nocturne” to Horror Addicts, and what does it mean to you?

SM: Gravedancer’s Nocturne is by far and away one of my favorites off of godMONSTER’s debut EP “The Dischordian Society.” I felt that it really embodied the horror sound, if by horror we mean creepy and maybe sometimes sexy in a dark and dirty way. It has a hypnotic quality that I really try to infuse all godMONSTER stuff with, as well. Horror should be spellbinding. And that particular track definitely is.

DS: Where is your band based out of? Did you grow up there, or what place do you consider your home town? Do you find that it influences your music?

SM: I live just outside Washington DC. Believe me when I tell you there are plenty of zombies walking around this place; just empty faces going to empty places. So yes, you could say it influences me, especially in wanting to create something beautiful in an ugly place. I grew up here from the age of 10 and before that I lived in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It was quite a culture shock to move here, among other things but in many ways I have retained my redneck roots. Hahahahaha.

DS: How do your fans react to your music?

SM: People seem to like it. Not just fans of Scream Machine but also people who have never heard of Scream Machine and that is always nice. A lot of people say that it is not what they expected from me and that suits me just fine. I like to bring people something they weren’t expecting. And if they like it, that’s even better.

DS: I love to hear the story behind band names. What’s the origin of “godMONSTER”?

SM: It’s about the duality and dichotomy of man, which is why “god” is in lowercase letters. Human see themselves as both: gods AND monsters. And they are both. I am a human and no more or less flawed than anyone else and considering the fact that this project was created as an opposing counterpoint to Scream Machine, it seemed to fit. 

DS: It may be hard to choose, but which of your songs or albums is your favorite?

SM: On the upcoming godMONSTER release Lucid State there is a song called Audrey that I made for my grandmother. I think that may be my favorite.

DS: Outside of the usual labels describing music, how do you describe your music?

SM: Usually as ambient or dark electro. To be honest, I’m not sure what other people would call it. I fail miserably at labeling or categorizing things. In the description for it, I will usually write: “Featuring sonic soundscapes, rich ambience and macabre subject matter, godMONSTER is best described as music for the darkness in us all. Music to raise the dead, godMONSTER is an auditory tapestry of bewitching sounds and fully-developed emotionally harmonious apogee.” Boy, that sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? Hahahahaha. 

DS: What was the inspiration for creating your latest project?

SM: On Lucid State I really want to create a tranquil vibe, sort of the electronic equivalent of a 10-track Pagan lullaby. There are lots of ethnic type sounds, like pan flutes and things like that. It’s almost my attempt to make meditation music but a little more emotionally-charged than that. I have an interest in “alternative” or earth religions and most of the godMONSTER tracks are about catching a feeling or an idea and holding onto it. So you see more of that on Lucid State.

DS: Who are your favorite bands, and who has influenced your music?

SM: To be honest, my favorite bands would not make much sense here. Hahahaha. It’s mostly metal and rock bands. In industrial and electronic, I like BILE, Suicide Commando, Grendel, Project Rotten, Diverje, Lord of Acid, Roughhausen, Lockjaw… all great guys and all good music. People often compare godMONSTER to electronic bands but I don’t really listen to that much electronic or industrial music at all, so I never know who they are talking about. Some might not believe that but it’s very true.

DS: What other styles of music do you like?

SM: Metal and rock are my first and true loves! Metallica, Slayer, Guns n Roses, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Exodus, Danzig, Maiden… I also like more contemporary stuff like Matchbox 20, Three Doors Down and things like that. Lots of punk. The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Billy Joel. I like rap and r&b; Scream Machine covered a Snoop Dogg song. I even like country like Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride… there are a lot of types of music I listen to and it all influences me somehow. If you notice, there isn’t a whole lot of industrial in there. 🙂

DS: What type of music turns you off? Is there a style that you haven’t worked in that you would like to?

SM: There is really no entire genre of music that I don’t like but I don’t love the new style of rap that they do now. I’m more old school. I don’t like gabber that much and I don’t really dig powernoise or that kind of thing but I can usually find one project or artist in any genre that I can stand. And if I could make metal or rock music full time, I would do that. I would also like to do punk. I would like to make any type of music that I have no yet made. I love it all. 

DS: How long have you been writing, composing, or playing?

SM: I have been writing poetry for a long time. Since I was about 6 or so. I’ve been singing about as long. I started making music with Scream Machine in 2008. So since then. 

DS: How has producing your latest album been different than your previous work?

SM: When godMONSTER started, it had no real form or goal. It was just floating ideas put into audio. Now it has a more concrete structure and a defined goal. That makes a difference. And of course, it’s very different from Scream Machine. And it’s nice not having to work overly much with vocals. Hahahaha. 

DS: Do you listen to podcasts, and if so what kind and which ones?

SM: I sometimes listen to the HorrorAddicts podcasts because I love Emz!! I don’t faithfully listen to any though because there is always so much noise in my house that I can’t hear them anyway. If I have a few minutes here or there I will catch it though. And I will listen to some that are metal or rock-oriented. 

DS: When you aren’t working with the band, what do you like to do? Do you have any other creative outlets?

SM: I am always working on music! I have Scream Machine that I do with Cosmo, godMONSTER that I do by myself, then another one that is just an experimental noisemaking thing called Hardcore Glitch Mechanism. Most people probably don’t even know that one is me and Cosmo, so surprise! It is! I do a lot of collaborations with people; I did one recently with James [from the bands WHORE and DIVERJE], Scream Machine collaborated with Dave Sussman from BILE and I am currently working on a new side-project with Medavon [from the bands Lockjaw and Murder Love God] that we are announcing very soon. When I’m not doing that, I write and hang around with my family.

DS: What’s next for you and the band?

SM: Lucid State will be out sometime this year. Hopefully another music video or two, too. 

DS: What advice do you have to new bands?

SM: Don’t try to imitate anybody. Do you own thing, even if you don’t think it will be popular. We could use more originality around here. 

DS: Where can the listeners find your music? List all websites and local stores that you can think of.

SM: You can download godMONSTER albums on http://www.digitalpain.moonfruit.com/. The debut EP and first full length EP are free. 🙂

To find out more about godMONSTER, you can also visit her Facebook page. Thank you Sin for a great chat!

Inside Horror Music with Factory of Dreams

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

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

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

SM: How did Factory of Dreams come to be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And also, from anoter track called protonic Stream:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside Horror Music with The Dark Clan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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