Death & Horror, Inc.

Interview by Miki Griesbauer

DHI began in 1987 in Toronto Canada with Vicar (vocals,samples,guitars, synths) and Graf (samples,airwave appropriation) collaborating on improv compositions. The band is Vicar, Nocturne (samples, violins) and Speed (guitars, tractor bass).

Naming themselves after a 70's BBC sound effects record, DHI became official in 1988 and after almost a decade of releases and shows, decided to retire the band in 1997. Transmissions From The Chemical Land is the band's swan song to this chapter in their careers.

The band's direction has transformed over the years as pioneers in industrial/electronic music, and DHI has evolved personally and professionally as well. The new direction the band is heading into is the root of their new name, Transformantra with a self titled debut released in 1998.

Over the past 10 years with DHI, Vicar has been involved in the creation of many songs. "Pain and Courage" is one of the many songs that stands out for him. Lyrically Vicar said, "I think Pain and Courage, the first song off the Bitter Alloys/Pressures Collide disc, probably stands out. I favor alot of the sentiment on that album over the first one, simply because it was two years later for us as a band".

"There is another track on that album that actually stands out. The last track on the album portion of it, because it was a combination, an album preceding the EP. It was called "Red Carnival" and it was more of an observational song. I was riding home from the recording studio one night at about 3 or 4 in the morning, and I witnessed somebody being beaten up pretty badly at the side of the road. I had never been that close to violence before and at first, I was not drawn in by it much and I had to kind of give myself a slap and say 'Hey you are not watching this on TV, this isn't a movie.' This is the real thing and what are you going to do? I didn't know what to do. It was such a bizarre scenario because I was waiting at a red light beside 2 or 3 other cars and this one carcame out of nowhere and somebody was being thrown around against the back of the car. It definitely touched me."

Vicar describes DHI's music as "unquestionably dark, aggressive, experimental in terms of arrangement and sound creation as well as atmospheric". Thr band's style is pure industrial, with all the sounds,time changes, and samples expected from the genre. Being one of the pioneers of the sound, DHI has contributed greatly to the proliferation of the genre.

DHI's arrangement and sound creation is what sets them apart from the rest. Vicar explained "For one thing our albums were generally divided up between more song based lyrical compositions and then there were always two or three instrumental tracks which we never considered to be filler or interludes. Those are laways full - fledged pieces of the album. I think in the instrumentals, we could really take the music from one place to another without having a reprieve or chorus because we were not restricted to verses or chords. I think we took some of those ideas and tried to break up more traditional lyrical based songs".

Sound creation is also another area that DHI exceeded at. The band relied on creating their own samples versus relying on sample CD's. Vicar said, "We were really interested in creating our own stuff from scratch, whether it was sampling ourselves playing guitar or violin or percussion, or sounds such as pieces of metal or water in a bathtub. Anything that made an interesting sound that could be used as is or sort of contorted into an unknown type of sound. We were always interested in exploring and juxtaposing the more bizarre sounds with metal influenced guitars".

Vicar is looking forward to his work with Transformantra. "The reason why we made the change was because we found that all of us have much more diverse musical interests than a name like DEATH AND HORROR INCORPORATED would allow." Vicar said, "We really want to take a big step further from where we had been on the two DHI albums and we found that the music we were coming up with was so much broader in scope than we had done before. It just seemed inappropriate to keep calling it the music of DEATH AND HORROR INCORPORATED because to me, it's a pretty weighty name and it can give you a pretty clear indication of what the concepts and music will be about. Our music is more spacious, quite a bit funkier and a bit more open to whatever the hell we want to do. So we are working under the name Transformantra which is Transform and Mantra mixed into one word. It's all instrumental with the exception of some vocal outtakes and textures. The reason why we have kept it instrumental is to explore as much in the way of arrangement as possible. I've found over the years that dpending on or relying on verses and choruses just ends up limiting the final results".