Will: So what news can you tell me about DHI
Skol: Well, as an entity, it doesn't really exist anymore
Skol: We're working on a new project called Tranformantra these days
Will: So what's the story there?
Skol: Back in the summer of 1995, we started writing for a new DHI album and we just finished doing some shows over the last year, year and a half supporting the last album Pressures Collide. I guess we were just looking for something new to explore. We didn't want to re-write the last DHI album. We just ended up getting away from the traditional rock song arangement and we just sort of broke out of the style of song arrangment we'd used before. all the doors were open. We no longer had to worry about verses or choruses for whatever reason. It was very organic, very laid back and it actually started off in a real ambient vibe which we didn't expect. we just felt that "whatever happens, happens" and we had about four songs down and Speed kept saying "you know, this really doesn't sound like DHI. Do you really want to use this on a DHI record?". I was saying "of course I want to use it on a DHI album. That's the only way the band's going to keep going from one album to the next and keep it interesting and to keep it going." one thing was VERY true about what he said though which was that since we weren't using traditional song arrangements, it was difficult to see how words would fit into it. In the end, it turned out to be an instrumental project. We were looking at the song arrangements and thinking that if we put words to it, they would sound forced, which is the last thing you want to hear. There just something about a ten minute instrumental passage
Will: Similar to some of the Mentallo And The Fixer material. It just sounds better without a vocal line being forced overtop.
Skol: Essentially, we just liked the sound we were writing and didn't want to fuck with it. Once we loosely agreed that we'd start off without any vocals, it proceeded from there and things started getting a little wilder. We kept getting deeper and deeper into experimenting and we kept discovering new sounds and atmospheres. By the time we got to song six and seven and then went back to the older material, it just kept getting more and more experimental and further away from what DHI was. But we were having the best time we'd ever had writing music. And so much more happened when we were all sitting there working on it together. It worked so much better than when someone would walk in and say "hey, i've got a verse here and a bridge here and a break here, let's see what you guys can do with it". it wasn't like that at all. It was more like somebody coming up with one thing here, and me coming up with something and it all coming together organically.
Will: Why did you choose to release this new project on silver records instead of say...Metropolis?
Skol: Well, we know Paul Adams and i've gotten to know him better over the past few months and since we've known him for about ten years, we decided to try working with him. He's got an incredible positive energy about the things that he does as opposed to some of the other people i've worked with in the past who just have this bad negativity about them all the time. Even though they're selling records and are out there trying to support your music, you sit down and try to have a meeting with them and all they can talk about is how bad the state of the industry is and how hard it is to do this and that. With Paul, there's none of that. You just want to go out there and get the stuff out and move on. It's a very positive atmosphere. I think that was the main factor. He's excited about it and so are we.
Will: Will it be available in Canada?
Skol: Yup. Through Outside Music.
Will: So about Transmissions From The Chemical Land. Is it just a re-release of Machine Altar Transmission?
Skol: It's Machine Altar Transmission plus the first EP (Chemical Land). It's thirteen tracks in total and the thing I really like about it, is that the Chemical Land EP will finally see the light of day again. There were only ever 500 copies of it printed.
Will: What could you compare your new material to in terms of other bands or songs?
Skol: I really don't want to do that. I guess, at time it's soundscapish but I tend to think of a soundscape as something without any groove to it. It's definately more funky than DHI was. It's a lot more adventurous in terms of rhythm. It loosened up a lot more. There's a pretty strong dub influence present. A bit of a drum and bass influence. Those are thing that were starting to show up in the new DHI material but once we let go of the vocals, we found we could progress further down that road do things we couldn't do with the vocals. It's hardly DHI. People who know DHI say "I can spot the DHI in that" and I personally like that a lot. It's not as dark as DHI most of the time but that fact really emphasizes the darker aspects of the music when we do use them. The impact is that much stronger. There's a lot more contrast.
Will: Something the electro-purist out there will be very interested to know. Did you use any guitars in it?
Skol: There is a guitar in one track but it's nothing like the DHI guitar sound. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to identify it as a guitar sound at all. That particular track has a sort of twangy-60ish feel and the guitar plays through some of the breaks in the song and sort of crawls around in a reverb somewhere in the background so most people don't even pick up on it. It sort of humanizes the feel of things.
Will: When's the Transformantra album going to be available?
Skol: I think the official date is sometime in January. the 27th I think.
Will: Moving back to Transmissions Form The Chemical Land, why did you choose to release Pressures Collide/Bitter Alloys before even though it was written afterwards?
Skol: You have to ask Paul Abramson. It was probably because it had just been released up in Canada on Fringe and he wanted to keep things fresh I guess.
Will: There seems to be a distinct difference in the amount of vocals from Pressures Collide to Transmissions From The Chemical Land. Why is that?
Skol: Well, the material on Transmissions was actually written back in 1992 and when we started working on Pressures Collide in 94, I wanted to put a lot more vocals in. It was at a time that there were a lot of things that I wanted to get in the songs and I didn't want to limit it to just four words. I'd had enough of that and I wanted to give people something to chew on because I found that there wasn't enough of that on the first album.
Will: What were the initial DHI influences?
Skol: I'd say the most prominent influences on us were definately Cabaret Voltaire, Skinny Puppy, and Front 242. There's also the post-punk, keyboard rooted agrression of DAF, Nitzer Ebb, Killing Joke, Gang Of Four.
Will: I found that there was a distinct difference between the feel of Pressures Collide and Transmissions From The Chemical land. Whereas Pressures seemed to have a much more agressive, in-your-face kind of feel, Transmissions seemed more laidback by comparison.
Skol: Personally, I'm in the mood for a bit of rage and a bit of ambience and a bit of space which is quite different from what DHI was trying to do. Essentially, DHI was a wall of sound and I don't need that all the time.
DHI PAGE | NEXT INTERVIEW