I was recently given the opportunity to interview Speed of the excellent band DEATH AND HORROR INC. What follows is our electronic correspondence from the latter part of June.
How would you describe and/or label the music of DHI?
I think that we personally would rather not label our band as it is so limiting, we like to think that people outside of the Industrial/Electronic scene would also be interested in our music. Having said that, DHI has always used synth/samplers in conjunction with guitars (samples or otherwise) and has now added processed live violin. Rather than describing our music as a style we think it can be summed up thusly; Terror, Serenity, Devastation.
How do you break up the songwriting duties and who is in charge of the lyric writing?
The whole band is part of the songwriting process, each of us adding unique elements of our own personalities. We also have our own specialized skills: Graf: synth programming, sound manipulation. Nocturne: sampling, violin. Speed: sampling, guitar, bass. Vicar: sampling, synth, guitar, vocals. Vicar writes all the lyrics as he is the vocalist and so can best realize his ideas, but the rest of the band does have the opportunity to critique them. We also have varying degrees of production/engineering skills.
What can we expect to see new DHI material?
"Pressures Collide" has only just been released in the states even though it is almost three years old. Our first album and ep ("Machine Altar Transmission/Chemical Land") are scheduled to be released as one CD on Van Richter in the new year. We hope to have a new albums worth of material completed by the fall, then it is up to whoever puts it out as to when it will actually be released.
What can we expect to hear on the new DHI release?
We would expect to hear a continuing development of the DHI sound. For the people who have the earlier material there is a definate development from the first album to the second. Expect a greater exploration of the extremes of the theme: Terror, Serenity, Devastation.
Would you mind discussing the equipment that DHI uses?
We have a fair arsenal of equipment (I am the band gearhead) including: 2 x Ensoniq 16+ samplers, 2 x Roland 330 samplers, Roland W30 workstation, Roland D50, Roland MKS 30, Roland SH 1000, Roland SH2, Roland Juno 60, Roland SE 50, Roland SE 70, Roland Octopad, 2 x Kawai K3, Oberheim matrix 1000, Moog Opus III, Korg ms 20,Koeg DW 8000, Drumkat Xylophone pad, Mackie 16/4, electric violin, guitars, Atari running Notator. Much of this stuff especially the Ensoniq was not bought until fairly recently so look for a wide variety of sonic exploration on upcoming releases. We also have a selection of old effects and other mixers etc.
What would you say to those who still believe that technology has no place in music?
Any recorded music has an incredible amount of technology behind it if it is being put on CD, even if it is a simple as a single drum! To not use technology available seems like a foolish way to miss a huge pallet of sound that are infinitely changeable. We know from experience that if DHI recorded with just four drums it would still sound like DHI. We define the sound the equipment does not define us!
Who is DHI influenced by within the industrial genre?
We all have quite an extensive knowledge and collection of early industrial music but would point to Kraftwerk and Einsturzende Neubauten, not necessarily as direct influences but as two groups that we can all agree on enjoying. I can't really say that we are influenced by bands like FLA and Ministry as we were all involved with this scene before these bands existed! (With an old band I toured with Skinny Puppy, early Ministry, and opened for NIN's first Toronto gig).
Who does DHI listen to outside of the Industrial genre?
We listen to all kinds of music not just limiting ourselves to Industrial. There are only two types of music, music we like and music we don't. The last gig we all attended was a rave at which Autechre and Platicman performed at.
Are you influenced by the writings of Cyberpunk authors such as William Gibson and Bruce Sterling?
These authors have had such a huge indirect influence over many of the latest high tech developments that even if you haven't read them, elements of your life have probably been influenced by them. We wouldn't say that they are more of a direct influence over us anymore than any other good writers. In '95 DHI contributed some live music/performance and interview footage for CBS special on Gibson.
What other media influences the music of DHI?
All of the members of DHI are computer literate, three members work with computers as part of their daily job so we are greatly influenced by developments in computers. We are also all involved on graphics/film etc. so we are probably as influenced by good movies/photography (Peter Joel Witkins springs to mind) as much as other people's music.
What can you tell us of your live performances?
DHI has evolved into a powerful live machine. We use electronics, guitars, violin, and even power tools to reconstruct/destruct our music, not many people have walked away from our shows disappointed and we have developed a loyal following from this in Toronto and the surrounding areas as a result.
Is there anything else you'd like to add in conclusion?
TERROR, SERENITY, DEVASTATION.
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