Managing to fuse together the driving beat of dance with the doom and gloom of gothic and industrial music, Toronto's D.H.I. (Death And Horror Inc.) have been hard at work since 1987 to promote their own brand of aural innovation. Their quest continues.
The band, comprised of singer/sampler/guitarist/keyboardist Vicar, samples/violinist Nocturne, guitarist/bassist Speed and sampler Graf, are afficionados when it comes to their work. Listening to the band's most recent work, Pressures Collide (1994), it is quite evident that music is something dear to their hearts. Previous D.H.I work on Fringe includes two EPs, Chemical Land (1991) and Bitter Alloys (1993), and a full-length debut album, Machine Altar Transmission (1992). The band has sinced signed with Kk Records (Belgium) and Van Richter Records (California) for distribution/licensing of the Pressures Collide CD, thus allowing the band to enter both the U.S. and European markets simultaneously.
Both Vicar (VC) and Speed (SP) took a few brief moments before a local show to talk to CoC about their music, touring and future plans.
VC: We have been around for a couple of years now. I got working with Graf in the summer of 1987 and from there we had added another Graf in the summer of 1987 and from there we had added another member, Max, who handled sampler/synths. We put together some demos and shopped them around Toronto and they did really well. Fringe Product heard how well the tapes were selling and we later hooked up with Fringe after putting together a deal. In 1991, we released an EP called Chemical Land and by then Max had left the band and Nocturne stepped in and that was a big improvement for us. We then released Machine Altar Transmission, another EP Bitter Alloys and then onto Pressures Collide. Speed joined us following the release of the Pressures Collide CD and toured in support of that and other previous releases.
CoC: How difficult is it for bands, especially ones not on major labels, to tour Canada?
VC: Canada isn't ready for this type of music. They are not ready for this music. Canada is a huge country and the population is really small so it doesn't make any sense to go out and tour. Even the States is more worthwhile. With this kind of music, we aren't expecting a lot from this country which is why we have to look elsewhere.
SP: The problem with touring in Canada is that you can't afford a loss on tours. And that usually happens here with playing in small places after travelling so far to get there.
CoC: And how has signing to Van Richter Records and Kk Records helped the band?
SP: Those labels have good bands on their label. The key thing is that they came to us and wanted a license deal with us. The key aspect of licensing your material is getting it to mass people and somebody was gonna pay us for that material and help us reach those people. We still owed money to Fringe for recording and any money to help pay those bills is good for us.
VC: Both of those labels are good for us because they advertise extensively, with Kk in Europe and Van Richter, well, their coverage seems good within the States.
CoC: So in order to get the word out about D.H.I. with support from both labels, what form of commercial medium are they looking into?
VC: We want to focus on both radio and video play in the States and Europe.
SP: The album has already been out two years here [Canada] but hopefully we will get some play in the U.S. The problem is that college radio is very commercial right now. So it is hard when college radio stations are subsidized by record labels.
VC: Even before we signed to Van Richter, we were receiving lots of mail and feedback from fans. And hopefully with Van Richter, that will go one step forward.
CoC: And the influences that helped create D.H.I.?
SP: Everyone nowadays is influenced by a lot of things. Our musical tastes are very broad. It is not just industrial music.
CoC: The band has been known to have quite a live performance. Is there a reason for this or is this live performance brought on by the intensity of the industrial flavored sounds of the band?
VC: There is no point going onstage if there is no visual. There are enough bands being like statues and performing the way bands were 20 years ago.
SP: I mean we aren't gonna have Eddy [reference to Iron Maiden mascot] pop up over our shoulders or anything like that. Even when we rehearse, we have fun and jump around. I don't want to go see a band stand around 'cause I can then just hear the record at home. Our live show is a performance ... it is entertaining music as well as a show rolled into one. When I perform, I think of it as a show that I would want to go see.
CoC: Future plans for D.H.I.?
VC: There will be a new release this fall. We are writing for it right now and we are happy with the mew material and things seem right now and we are happy with the mew material and things seem to be falling right into place. We aren't planning our direction. We are going with the groove.
SP: D.H.I.'s music has always had music that is hard-edged but when you listen to the album, it is not just one-dimensional. It is not teen boy angst music. We plan to go on our merry way with what we have been doing and hopefully there will be an audience for the music that we are creating.
DHI PAGE | NEXT INTERVIEW