Death & Horror, Inc.

Interview by Atolokus

Now that DHI are no more, what is your current situation as musicians? Why was the band brought to a close?

As a partnership of four musicians, the band actually hasn't come to a close. It's just that we're trying to broaden our horizons to their fullest. We don't want to be restrained by the parameters that come with a name like Death and Horror Inc. This is not to say that I have any regrets about creating music as "DHI" all those years. What I mean is that a name like that carries a lot of baggage. It suggests too much. Gives people too much of a preconceived idea about what the music might sound like.

So, the four of us are still together, but we're attempting to explore many different musical avenues under the name Transformantra.

In 1995, when we set out to write more new material, we recognized that the name DHI just wasn't applicable. It didn't "gel" with the music anymore. We had started to explore the world outside of "death" and "horror".

Hailing from Canada, how would you rate the scene there as opposed to countries like Germany and the U.S.?

Well, it's no secret that Toronto is a first-stop for European new music when it is introduced to North America. The Americans seem to catch on to stuff a little later. Germany seems to be a whole different thing all together. Electronic music just never dies there!

Do you think you have acheived the respect you think you deserve as a progressive elektro-industrial band?

All things considered: yes. We were an underground band working with underground labels, which resulted in a fanbase of underground porportions, albeit a very enthusiastic one.

When did you start noticing that you were becoming a part of many fans lives with your music?

After a few years of performing, when people would come up to us and talk about when they saw this gig or that, or would talk about the significance of our music to them.

How were you shown support from fans and other bands?

Over the years we've received a good amount of supportive letters from fans. From time to time, people would even go out of their way to send us their own music, poetry, or live photos that they had taken of us, etc.

Some say it is easy to break into the industrial genre, some say it is not. How do you think DHI were you received amongst the industry?

To be honest, I think that we were only interested in reaching the ears of people, as opposed to being respected within a particular "scene". Our musical interests have always been quite diverse, so concentrating on a particular genre was never a priority.

Why did you decide to go to an American label as opposed to staying on a Canadian one?

The offer came along from Van Richter to re-issue our CD's, and we took it. It's that simple.

What were the advantages of being signed to a U.S. label?

That's a very general question, and it totally depends on what label you're talking about. The advantage of working with Van Richter is that they already had a game plan to deal with our kind of music before we arrived.

Were there other label interests besides Van Richter?

Sure. But Van Richter was anxious to get things going, so we went with them. It's hard to say "no" to people that are go-getters.

Considering you have been around since 1987, I'm sure you have some views on how electronic based music has changed and/or advanced. What are your views?

Yes, most electronic music doesn't sound exactly the way it did 10 years ago (laughs).

How do you evaluate your progression from album to album?

A+ (laughs).

You've done shows with such bands as Front Line Assembly and A Split Second just to name a couple. Do you have a favorite show in particular and what band was it with?

A rather magical gig was with The Young Gods the first time that they played Toronto. The crowd really seemed to be in great spirits. The 'Gods were just devastating!

How do you feel about being compared to such artists as Skinny Puppy? Do you think this comparison comes simply because you were both Canadian bands?

Of course not. We were definitely influenced by them. They had some utterly brilliant moments. We regarded them in the same light as Cabaret Voltaire, Kraftwerk, DAF, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and the stuff coming out on Wax Trax and Play It Again Sam, etc.

Overall, are you content with the amount of success that came with DHI, or do you wish certain things could be changed that would have helped you escalate more as a band?

I'm quite content with the experience that we had. It brought us to where we are today. We've got a wealth of knowledge that we can draw from - a strong foundation.

How do you would you like DHI to be remembered?

As a strong live act with a good amount of presence.

Can you explain a bit about the new band? Eg: Who's in it, what style you're playing, etc...

Well, since you already know how the new project came about, I should probably fill you in on the instrumentation. For a start, we're using a lot less guitars. This decision wasn't a conscious one. It's just that we've been getting all the energy we need out of our synths and samples.

Our sound is a fair bit more experimental than DHI. The mood shifts from pitch black to ridiculously funky. From no beats to the most bludgeoning grooves that we could muster.

There are no vocals, with the exception of "excerpts" dropped into the mix, to retain a human element. Our aim, really, is to give people an environment. So, to lay on a traditional rock vocal part would defeat the purpose of the music. Come to think of it, I think what we're doing is quite noble: no sing-alongs, just a healthy slice of atmosphere for the audience to use as it pleases (laughs).