Death & Horror, Inc.

Interview by Tate Bangston

Transmissions from the Chemical Land , on Van Richter Records may be the final release from the Canadian industrial phenomenon known as Death and Horror Inc but it is not a closure in the traditional sense of the word. On the one hand, it is a salute to the past, doing justice to some of DHI's past music that never received a proper North American distribution despite being on the cutting edge of industrial music, boldly experimental yet engaging and listenable. On the other hand Transmissions is a nod to the future, signalling the coming of Transformantra a new project for the members of DHI.

In describing DHI's unique sound, vocalist,guitarist,sampler and Synth pounder Vicar says that "our sound is an organic blend of samples,synths,guitars,treated violin, and belted vocals." DHI possesses a sound that is immediately recognizable despite encompassing a broad sonic scope. 'Most of our songs involve driving rhythms - often with a mechanical funk to them. The material is undeniably dark, and at times quite abrasive. Our two albums also feature a few instumental tracks where we tend to explore a more laid back aspect of our musical sensibilities.'

The conceptual undercurrents of DHI flow through all of its releases,revealing a common thread tying one album to the next and one song to another in a provocative portayal of grim mechanization choking humanity, yet intrinsically tied to it at the same time. Amputating the hand that feeds it. Vicar identifies the connecting force linking all of DHI's music as a "desire to create intelligent sound that, through it's darkness and anger, tried to express the anxiety of Western life". In this, the aggro stomp of 'Regenerate' and the rhythmic aggression of "Light The Touch" reveal the portentous depth to this bleak vision. One of the most distinctive characteristics of DHI was the samples and programming which develop percussive and atmospheric tones from unusual sources. "We've sampled a really wide variety of source material: facial razors,bathtubs full of water,metal drums,acoustic drums and percussion, guitars,basses,violins,my vocals(for backing vocals and effects), rare old records,news clips - you name it".

A name such as Death and Horror Inc brings with it dark and gritty connotations that are appropriate in reinforcing the state of musical Apocalypse that DHI resides in, although the name can be misinterpreted at first glance; images of gore lyrics and shock rock tactics come to mind, although that is most certainly not the band's modus operandi: 'The name was stolen from a rare BBC sound effects record from the 70's. The title of the record had words "Death and Horror" worked into it somehow, and at the time we were pulling samples from it and mangling them".

Vicar continues "As far as the name representing the band goes, I can look at it two ways: on the one hand, I could say that the name does a fantastic job of capturing the dark side of the music,lyrics, and electronic textures. But on the other hand, I could suggesyt that the name is too far gone and it has the potential to give people an unjustly preconceived idea of what we are about." Any question of what DHI's intentions are quickly squashed beneath the weight of the music, which is in yer face and subtle at the same time, with layers of processed sounds and distorted vocals creating soundscapes that explore the dark aspects of rhythm, and hint at dread sagas only half told, whispered taboos coming to the fore in a menacingly violent manner.

Reflecting upon DHI's legacy to the industria scene, Vicar is not sure of the mark left by the band, and chooses to relate DHI's impact on a more intimate personal level. "I only know the impact that our live shows had on me personally, and I think I can safely say that we connected with a lot of people throughout our years of performing". And perhaps in the long run, that is the true measure of a band's worth - not financial statements and airplay, but in the degree that a band's music can affect on an individual level. Transmissions from the Chemical Land is both intellectually and musically provocative, and using the criteria of the impact upon individuals reveals DHI to be a great band indeed. Of course, those that have heard Transmissions don't need to be told this, for it is a fact implicit in the music.