Sunday, January 11, 2015

Band Interview: OF BEAUTY AND MADNESS

Interview with Of Beauty And Madness

From what I’ve heard so far, the music written and composed by Of Beauty And Madness is quite dark and introspective. Is this intended to reflect the social environment the band works in, or intended as something much more personal?
Dmitry Kurov: I would say it's a bit of both. The dark underground scene some of us come from influence the darker tone you hear in the melody. Even the happier songs have an underlying tragedy. I don't write the lyrics but I prefer the sonic tones of gothic and metal to fill in the calmer aural sections. To me the beat down on one’s soul and body is always waiting around the corner. This perspective comes from my own life experiences and people can relate to that. Take the beating, recover and emblazon the scars.
Charles Cudd: Personally, I’d say a bit of both. "Godless" is a social commentary about what we go thru in a society of double standards and mindless sheeple and the music business as a whole. Then take a song like "Be There" which is about a love that no one can understand but you... or "Who Wants To Live Forever?" which is about our former keyboardist, Aleister, who died from tongue cancer within a year’s time. Also see songs like "No Demands" which is about Nora's former band and how she felt being there. "Broken and Beaten" was a suicide note. "Achilles Heel" is about lack of trust. "Face Down" is screaming at the top of your lungs how you’ve finally reached realization and your breaking point. Musically, I write either brutal riffs or very melodic (ie Face Down), but always a lingering somberness to them; a heavy down-tuned groove and a melody. I come from a background of solitude and darkness and I found kinship in the dark rock/goth/metal scene because I was rejected by everyone else… although now we strive for a different type of acceptance musically, not just the New York Dark Rock scene. We’ve gone way beyond the genre we came from, and we are happy with the direction of diversity that we have chosen.

Have you lived in New York your entire lives, or were there other locations where you lived prior to forming Of Beauty And Madness? Do you find city environments similar in many respects or are there differences between each of them?
Nora Stock: I’m a born and raised New Yorker. Lived in Texas for a year and then came running back. Texas was total culture shock. It was a real bad time in my life. Some of my darkest writing came from when I was there; “White Noise” is a good example. The song comes from a feeling of my home no longer existing, like I could never go back, and the loss of naiveté. New York and Texas couldn’t be more different than each other.
Dmitry: Born in the former USSR, where folks ran away for our lives. I was eight months old. I lived in Brooklyn for two thirds of my life, and rest in Queens. I was part of the metal scene for ten years with a prior band whose members got on with their lives.
Charles: I was born in Stuttgart, Germany and came here as a little boy. I was raised here. I don’t remember Germany.

How exactly was Texas a culture shock for Nora, and what circumstances led her to write songs like White Noise?
Nora: Texas and Queens couldn't be more different. Just the speed of life alone seemed completely bizarre to me. There was also this expectation being a woman in the south to be a lot more demure than I'm capable of being. I left New York during quite the existential crisis. I was severely unhappy with my life and where things were going for me musically. I didn't really know what to do, but I knew I needed change, which led me to move to Texas. I felt like New York had seriously kicked my ass and that I couldn't go back, but at the same time I lamented the familiarity of home.

How long were you acquainted before the band formed? What were the reasons you connected aesthetically and decided to work together as performing artists?
Nora: Charles and I met about ten years ago when the band I was in participated in a battle of the bands and he was the sound man. He helped us out a lot and we ended up being friends. Carlos Rubio (drums) and I worked together briefly on another project a few years ago. Part of why we work so well together is that we have a mutual respect for each other’s talent and ability, which is far more important than any aesthetic.
Dmitry: I actually saw Dead Emotion play once, over ten years ago, at CBGB Gallery I think. When I was looking to get back into music 3 years ago I found an ad and applied. Things went smoothly from the start and it all clicked somehow.
Charles: I’ve known Nora for ten-plus years by now. Dema we just met almost three years ago and Carlos we just met a year ago. Nora was in a previous project with him. We’re all very diverse in what we love in music and we don’t feel like we should be limited to what we can do...we do what we want when we want and how we want... it’s just up to what hits our fancy - we have our own recording studio and we do what we want. Then upload it to our site... but we have to love it. We do what we want because we’re art, comedy and music snobs/slobs... kind of like a modern Zappa... but we’re not nearly as good as him! (laughs)

What was it like finding people you could relate to when you discovered the goth and metal scenes in New York after living in solitude for many years? Was it a case of finding like-minded friends you could connect with on that level? How did this lead you to wanting to found a band and express that solitude through music?
Charles: Well..."like minded" was actually never the case. The people I found just like the music that I was cranking out... they didn’t know WHAT it was because it stood apart from so much of what they heard. I was always into the underground scene and everyone else was always more mainstream. they didn’t know the seedy underbelly of the NYC scene in the 80s / 90s... virtually anything went in those times. They never knew "Goth" or played it... they just knew they liked what they were playing with me. In college, it was either metal or hardcore and rock n roll... while I was listening to the NWOBHM and the like... many were just into strictly American music. The European Dark Music scene like Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Katatonia, Black Sabbath and Diamond Head, Angel Witch and other Doom acts was where my head was and still is to an extent. I still don’t know many people who relate to what I listen to except my guitarist Dema. That's why we play exactly the same and relate very well musically. It wasn’t done purposely. The music just came out naturally. It still does. I don’t try to write songs at all. It was all a natural progression to what I was listening to. I just write about what I know. End of story! Sometimes I’ll write fantasy but it won’t be something really outlandish. I used to write lyrics and music furiously... especially because I had the time and just a LOT to say. I still do. But I just don’t have time like I used to.

Did your immediate environment and/or the metal/goth/dark underground scenes influence your naming the band Of Beauty And Madness? How does the name represent your music and lyrics?
Nora: I think the name works well for us as we strive to be a true amalgamation of all of our influences. I know that I’m always working towards full emotional presence in our art, so in a way our name reflects the gamete of mental and physical states.
Dmitry: Call me shallow but I liked the band name a lot, it stood out and did influence an approach to the music. There are the ambient elements that I would call the Beauty and the in your face, gonna rip your skull off, Madness sections. With our new aggressive drummer our influences swung a bit on the harder side. Still I believe we are standing to our roots and continue to throw out melodic sections in the music. The balance between the Beauty and the Madness.
Charles: Not at all. I came up with the name after a long time of tossing many ideas around. We were called Until Death Do Us Part at one point, and we are in the Mick Mercer book Music To Die For as such. I create everything by concept (album covers, song arrangements, albums) so everything runs by storyline. I wanted something to be "in the middle" of something... like an explanation or a reasoning of sorts. Our legal band name is “...Of Beauty and Madness..." There’s no beginning and no end. The group as it stands now still runs everything by storyline. The three albums we have put out are transitional from song titles to album covers. Some will get it, some won't. That is up to people’s perception. We present music that is beautiful and then turns ugly and hits you in every range of whatever emotion you can feel...we know how to make you feel love, hatred, disappointment, triumph...it’s a pure skill while at the same time, we are actually living these songs so it’s not like we sat there and said "I’m writing a pop song today". Personally, I have never tried to write a song... I pick up an instrument and it speaks to me.

Was it a lengthy process to find like-minded musicians who understood where you were coming from and wanted to create with you? Who is in the band at present and how long has this lineup been working together?
Charles: It was a lot of trial and error over the years... people come and go. People have their own views of what they want to do, be, sound like, you can’t control people... finding someone who will agree to disagree with you is quite the challenge! "The concept" of OBAM has been here for many years; since 2006. Out of the ashes of the previous band I was in for fifteen years, after the last of it had deteriorated, I wanted to start over badly... from the top of the game one day to complete self-destruction... incredibly sad... I found the original vocalist, Kerry Kerr and we put out four albums with various musicians... those albums are on the ofbeautyandmadness.com website. Easily some of the most amazing music I’ve ever penned... such memories! The current lineup aside from Carlos has been around for about two and a half years. We had some fallings out with some of the previous members, but whatever y'know? It happens. You move on and progress... you have to handle it as adults not children. This is just music. It’s not like were making millions off of this... we’re still striving. People take things too personally for some reason. I’ll never get it.

Of the releases featured on the official Of Beauty And Madness site, which are the most downloaded or streamed and have gotten the most feedback from people?
Charles: They've all been downloaded a lot. The first two OBAM records are bootlegged heavily, same w the Dead Emotion one. There are other sites in Russia selling them as digital downloads. Whatever. I’m glad to be out there in one form or another. Litany is the most commercially accessible. I wish it was the most successful. "Like" wise, it is; now if people would just go download it! Better off, I wish people would buy it. It’s such a give and take. It’s unpredictable.

What band was Charles a member of for fifteen years? Were you releasing full length recordings and touring with them? What were the reasons this band eventually deteriorated?
Charles: Dead Emotion. Some of those are also posted on our site along with my three solo records. Dead Emotion also was invited to do the Warped tour at one point, but we didn’t have the ten Gs they wanted to be there. We also did some live Japanese TV that put us in front of 30,000 people at a time. Also the New York Marathon... more live TV. We played CBGBs and CB’s Gallery at least 25 times. Many tri-state shows. So much ground covered musically... a huge loss for me. The vocalist Marina Tchernova and I were married and our marriage fell apart for numerous reasons to do with some previous band members, also our living and job situations and typical interband issues.

Describe what it was like to play at CBGB and CBs Gallery? Do you regret that those clubs were evicted from the East Village?
Charles: CB’s was rundown, dirty, nasty, broken, filthy, gross and the most respected club in the industry. You couldn’t fuck with it. It was always the place to be at any time. Everyone who was anyone graced that stage. Whatever musical style you played...you weren’t shit til you played CB’s! CBs Gallery was the opposite. beautiful, lush, mirrors, paintings, clean, upscale, for being right next door to each other, they were night and day! The sound systems in there were awesome although it depended on the sound guy you had that night.

On the same subject, is the gentrification the Lower East Side has experienced over the last ten years taking the edge from free expression? Or can we figure out how to salvage it?
Charles: Yes and no. There’s good and bad. There’s always good and bad. A lot of the music things kind of went the way of the modern hippy - if you will - and the more brutal sounds moved out with the folky acoustic sappy stuff with a coffee shop moved in. Modernizing and revamping areas isn’t bad as long as the culture isn’t affected. You can kinda take that as there's not a thing we can really do. The times change and wait for no one... you either move with the times or become a victim of them. It doesn’t mean you have to cater to them... but you have to survive them. Don't change if that's what you feel. You have to always do what you want to. It’s all really what’s in your heart and mind and how strongly you believe in yourself. Times always repeat themselves, so everything old will be new again.

Granted times change, but they always change back. Around the time CBGB was evicted Patti Smith thought it should not discourage people to create on their own terms. The club might be gone, but what it stood for still exists. There are places like it that support free expression in New York and across the country, and there will always be a need for them.
Charles: There’s definitely a need for live outlets. People need to escape reality of sorts. One three hour session per week for us at a rehearsal is a cure for a lot of aggressions pent up during the work week. The same with live shows, clubs etc. With CBGB and the other clubs that have been demolished, rebuilt, moved or just totally gone, there will always be a need for artists to get heard or seen. This is our culture! If everyone wanted to kill it so bad, it could logistically be done but... why? The CBGB festival just ended today with some big popular group finishing it out. It was weekend long as far as I know. There’s even talk of them rebuilding a new CB’s somewhere. There’s always room for one more.

I don't think a "new" CBGB would be the same. The fest carries on its spirit and purpose of the club. But the retail store and the movie based on it piss on its grave, since it was not around to make money, and only to make money. It's not so much an escape from reality, but that reality is what people make it, and the changes spearheaded by CBGB are undeniable, even if the spirit it stood for was symbolically destroyed.
Charles: If they "modernized" CB’s, it really wouldn’t make sense to call it CBGB cuz... it’s not CBGB! The old club was legendary because it was run-down. beat up and a taste of grime and grit which is how we all grew up in this town. There were no silver spoons for us… more like rusty ones. CBs was blue collar or no collar... a ripped shirt, blue jeans, crowd surfing, moshing, pogo, loud raucous music...  I didn’t see the CBs movie… meh, we’ll see what I think about it. It just wouldn’t be CBs; they would make it "upscale" and trendy and then it would just close, and change the name or something.

You showed me a few Youtube clips of Dead Emotion recently. Explain the origins of these videos and anything else you would want to say about them?
Charles: “Bytch” was an interesting thing. We had no intention of even doing a video for this song. It’s originally not even our song! It's a friend of mine named William Hatfield who found me on Myspace and we started talking. One of my songs "Nights Edge" and his song "Bytch" had very similar feels...he was going around asking people if they could remix or rerecord some of his songs so he could sing on them and put out an album. I agreed to do it and just asked my drummer, Robo, to come over and do the track. I played and sang everything else. I then emailed him the track and showed it to the rest of the band and they were like "Fuck this! This song is awesome!" We wound up playing it and it went down at the shows so well, we rerecorded it again... we then were putting out the album and we were like "OK, what song will be a video?" Some bright light said "Bytch" and it was made a reality... we flew in William and had all the local popular Goth models and people in the scene in New York and Philly get in on it. This was also the first rock video that Axis Video's Christoph Chaoss did for us... we did many videos with him afterwards for music and different comedy things. "Nothing To Die For" was unfortunately Dead Emotion's swan song. After that everything went to hell. The videos went on to get hundreds of thousands of plays in Europe and locally on hundreds of websites. Dead Emotion was one of the first local bands to have an MTV type video all over the net... There’s not one thing I could ever regret about my musical/video history... lemme tell ya! William’s material is psychedelic/art/punk/goth... all very Lo-Fi done on purpose... he did some other projects for a while that tanked but were really good. I think he had two or three releases.

Were you familiar with Axis Video before you and Chris Chaoss began corresponding? How did you hear about his company’s video production and what made you and Dead Emotion decide to work with them? What was the filming of your video for “Bytch” like? Who were the Goth models and local New York/Philadelphia scenesters that arrived for filming? How did you spread word this video was going to be made?
Charles: Not at all! They were just starting out and we were searching for a company to do a music video. They never did a rock video before and were going to do it FREE cuz this was their first. So… boom, there ya go. We took their cherry. “Bytch” was a chaotic drunken naughty time; I’ll leave it at that. We filmed some of it. The models were Cyndie Myst, Danny Nemesis, Key Fitz from The NME, Carpet Boy, Oz from Vulgaras and then a bunch of newbees. You’d have to ask Chaoss for an extensive list. What we had back then was Myspace, Facebook, Friendster and Yahoo groups.

Having listened to Bytch and watched the video I perceived some elements of both Danzig and Vulgaras. Does this song remind you of those bands or do other bands come to mind when you hear it?
Charles: Danzig, of course. Vulgaras... we were a band way before them so definitely not. We all just happened to be friends in the same scene is all. Dead Emotion, Folk Fiction, Vulgaras, Curse and a few other groups were always playing together or around each other. We always looked at each other but never copied each other. We were all individual groups with totally different sounds. Dead Emotion always had the swagger and slut strut of Danzig. Vulgaras was much heavier than we were and theatrical; Folk Fiction was arty and Broadway oriented; Curse was rock n roll with classic goth/punk. Danzig's "Wicked Pussycat" video was a heavy inspiration for Bytch, as well as my vocals. Danzig was always an inspiration. Overall we just kind of visualized what the lyrics contained and put out a fetish video!! Haha, I forgot to mention that Thera from Folk Fiction was in this video. She plays two or three different girls with wigs she brought, creeps around a chair and looks at Aleister.

Did Chris Chaos work on Dead Emotion’s promotional video for Nothing To Die For? What kind of experience was it to produce this video?
Charles: He did Nothing To Die For around six months later I believe. That video is kind of prophetic. We were battling with each other about a lot of things. People were not getting along... it wasn’t a happy time. We tried to make it work but it just wasn’t happening. Doing the video was amazing though. We shot that around five different locations, made costumes and had a lot of people put in a lot of acting hours. We always had an adventure making the videos. We put a lot of work into them. It’s too bad that all our work never panned out to anything BIG. Again, if the whole group doesn’t make the effort, you fail. We splintered after that.

What about the band you were in known as Iconicide? I saw a live clip of them filmed at Tompkins Square Park. Were you involved in the activism there (the organizing of free shows or the production of independent zines)?
Charles: Nah. That was a fun time though. I was on guitar for them. I changed the sound of the band when I was there. Chris couldn’t figure out why he was having problems singing in key w the music. I said "let’s down tune it to C#". Nobody else who was there before me cared about what tuning they were in. You always have to cater to your vocalist. It gave the band a new tone and aggression. He sounds great now!

In 2010 Of Beauty And Madness released an official video for your song Time Has Come. Is this yet another promotion that Chris helped film and produce? Do you remain in touch with Chris today?
Charles: Yet again, another Axis Video production! We always had a good time in the past so, we figured, we had a new project going on, and we tried yet again! The video did moderately well as anything else we do but you know how it goes! All you can do is throw it out there and see where it lands. If he and his wife didn’t live so far away we'd be hanging out, but distance and time kills all that unfortunately.

Quote the lyrical content of Godless (OBAM) and explain what they say about today’s society and the music business?
Charles: "A herd of sheep is good to come by.... assembly line atrocities... media controls what you see... mindless, blind and mute... off the cliff into the fire, kill your roots." I’d be printing ALL the lyrics here... if this song actually DID get enough attention, it would cause quite a stir... the chorus truly says it all "I believe, you believe, we believe... America... in them no trust, godless America". I saw a sticker on a bumper of a car driving home after work... I looked at it quickly and it was in some weird script...I thought it said "godless America"; that is where the title came from... the lyrics went full steam ahead from there. Same as “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

How about quoting a verse or two from Be There? Does this song capture the emotions you wanted to express through it?
Charles: "Look into the past to see the future today/someone said the end is here but I still watch the sun rise/if you fell off the world today, I’ll be there for you/when it comes my time to go I hope you’ll be there for me/if you fell off the world today, I’d be there for you". Basically, it’s looking into the past to see what you’re going to repeat. We ALL do it. It’s subconscious... We have to make a conscious effort to make change... most of us do not. Also, it’s about someone you can’t stop loving because they are SO ingrained in you. Even though you both know it’s over and moved on, that little gleam is still there. Even though you would NEVER go back with them. You’re civil and would still be there for them if they fell on their face... here’s hoping they might do the same for you.

What can you say of the emotions displayed in Face Down? In what ways do the lyrics and music complement each other?
Nora: Face Down is about accepting the end of a relationship. There was something about this romance that felt sort of dream-like; the kind of cheesy romance you would see in old movies, slow dancing and candle light, the whole nine yards. And it fucked with my head. I saw this woman with blinders on. In a way, we fell in love with each other's potential, not the reality. So when things finally fell apart it took me a long time to accept and I was angry. I think Face Down shows this well with the alternating spaciness and hardness of the music, complimented by the lyrics. I think of the opening verse "Do you remember when I breathed you in? I drowned in a pool of love..." and the dream of a perfect love, to the sadness of reality in "No, I cannot live in the past, knowing that nothing can last, face down and drowning in love..." realizing I had lost my identity in the relationship, and the rage in knowing it's over forever in the chorus, "I cannot wait forever for what I know will never be... I will not wait forever for what was only just a dream." Then the end of the song is the culmination of everything already said, telling the ex "my eyes are open." The dream is over.

You and Nora appeared on Kink E TV in 2012. How was the interview arranged and was it on cable or internet TV? Kink E host Marabele Blue said you and she have a long history of friendship.  How many viewers got to watch this interview? You touched on your views of religion among other subjects. What else was discussed?
Charles: I’ve been friends with Marabelle Blue for a long time. We met at a Dead Emotion record release party at the Raven Bar in New York City when it existed. We did a lot of projects together as well... photo shoots, videos at clubs etc. She was doing this cable show for Mad House TV at the time and it hit some X amount thousand viewers. On the website I don’t know, but ours, not many. It’s hard to compete with Twerking videos; it’s stiff competition. As good as that was, it’s difficult to get noticed when you actually have something to say. Why, I don’t know. We are a good conversation group. Religion, the Chik Fil A incident, music of course, homosexuality, homophobia, messages in music, style, yellow journalism, politics today, fetish stuff, a lot of worldly subjects. You’ll have to watch for the full scope; it’s an hour long! And of course Nora and I did "Broken And Beaten" acoustic. We met at the Raven bar and after a bit she said "I run this fetish mag; I want to interview you for it." She was a Dead Emotion fan and is still an OBAM fan. Here’s the direct link to her show: youtube.com/MarabelleBlue.

Do you remember what you discussed about the Chik Fil A incident? I’ve heard a little about it in the news but not that much. If the opportunity arose for you to appear on Kink E TV again, would you and the band take it?
Charles: Basically the owner of CFA was opposed to gays eating at his restaurant for some reason! That’s just absurd! There were all these protests and stuff... I mentioned there must have been whatever slump in sales and he had to say something outlandish to get his name in the news for free so... there ya go. Yellow journalism at its best. Any promotion we can do is great. We were going to do a live performance on her show w the full group but, the location changed and we had no time. We're always in touch with her so it’s inevitable it’ll happen again.

You mentioned Blackie Lawless, Gene Simmons and Nikki Sixx as some of your idols. What appealed to you about their onstage personalities? You likewise cited Harley Flanagan of Cro-Mags and added you were a big hardcore fan.
Charles: With Blackie, Gene and Nikki... it was their groove laden, melodic playing and songwriting. The rhythms were just straight up dirty! Bass being my favorite instrument... and their being the main songwriters of the band, leader, heartbeat, front person, creative genius.... all fit my motif. Their tones are just sick They were badasses and always got the girls hahaha. Same with Harley; his tone, playing... The aggression of the instruments in their hands was crazy! I discovered that’s how I was. Steve Harris... major kudos. The way the drum and bass grooves are wired in all their music is the way I arrange mine... orchestrate the guitars on top of a hot groove... or the other way around... Songwriting has no real right or wrong way.

On the subject of bassists, some I admire are Geddy Lee (Rush), Cliff Burton (Metallica), Joey DeMaio (Manowar), Peter Steele (Carnivore/Type O Negative), Martin Ain (Hellhammer/Celtic Frost) and Cronos (Venom), not just for their stage presence but their ability as musicians and songwriters. Is there anything about these personalities you appreciate?
Charles: These guys are legends! Their playing, feel, tone, groove... their mastery of the instrument. The confidence, the domination of their playing was crazy. They said something with that bass. They set the standard and went miles above what the "back bone" of a song was. They laid down that funk and orchestration in the back of those guitars and gave those drums something to live for! HAHAHA! If you took the guitars and keys away in those guys’ songs, you’d have a completely different song.

In the last decade I’ve noticed an increasing number of internet TV programs appearing on Youtube or other social networks. What do you think internet TV offers that national and cable TV doesn’t? Will there be more internet TV shows in the future?
Charles: Definitely the way to go. Especially with so many people with something to say and show their ideas and talents and the TV/cable stations being as repressed/suppressed as they are and just strictly funds and ratings driven while people can be seen worldwide free, even collect donations and make revenue from whoever... and not even need any other outlet but Youtube or similar channels... Same with record companies unfortunately! It’s an advantage to have their capital and their promotion power... But if you work hard enough eventually you can achieve similar and make more of a living. Independence is really the way.

What is the current recording the band has out, and how is the material an improvement from your previous releases? How do you go about arranging the concepts and storylines you mentioned at the beginning? Is this a process you’ve developed since the band started? How much publicity has it gotten the band since you posted it on the net?
Charles: "Litany" is the current one; it’s the first where I really didn’t do much guitar work because I wasn’t the guitarist or bassist at that point! I did play some guitar and bass tracks here and there and I did the drums and congas for the entire album. We didn’t have Carlos at that point... he came in right after it was completed. Song-wise there are a lot of things we accomplished here whereas past lineups had their hang ups about things "not being our style" etc. They were afraid to push the envelope and break down walls. I’m personally consistent quality-wise... same with everyone else here, although I’ve put out albums and recordings for twenty years... The one vast improvement I’d say is Nora being our singer! I’d say it’s kind of automatic /subconscious, but we try to string things together a bit lyrically and conceptually... but we don’t overdo it meaning we don’t try too hard to make the square block fit in a round hole, for me personally when I did most of the songwriting. It hasn’t done badly, but there’s just so much you can do without a lot of money and little advertising. It’s a glut of ads and info so we never know where to look anymore, so we miss all the good stuff and see all the trash.

How accurately was the band able to translate their ideas on record without a larger budget? If you had more funds to work with, in what ways could the sound have been improved upon?
Charles: I’d say we did rather well actually. I’ve done great things with less. We were getting fidgety in the studio after two years and we really wanted to wrap up. I think the mix could have been better, but you do a lot of experimenting the first time around with an extremely new line up and way of thinking. We could have done better with a few more pieces of gear that would have shaped some tones... but we have them now. So definitely next time. Our new drummer makes the foundation stronger. That really makes all of the difference.

I see your point about not overdoing it when it comes to pushing the envelope. When bands try too hard to be “open-minded” the results more often than not sound false. When bands simply go with their creative instincts it’s more genuine and honest. To me that’s more worthwhile than going out of one’s way to show how “versatile” they can be.
Charles: If it doesn’t flow naturally, it’s going to make you look like fools. All of us have different ways of song writing and also different styles but they work well together because we are open minded with each other’s songs. We always listen to each other when we present songs and give everything a shot. But we voice our opinions with no pretense. It’s either yes, no or save it and see for two years down the road. It’s never that big of a deal. We are hardly dried up songwriters. We all have hundreds of songs we can whip out. There will never be enough time to do them all.

In the last twenty years you have released your material on record, how many trends have you seen come and go in the underground and the mainstream? And how have you remained consistent in getting your work around?
Charles: We’ve seen Nu Metal come and go, wanna be hardcore, deathcore, terrible glam rock, rap rock, faux gawth, I dunno. There’s so much dick that a major label will hop on when they smell money... anything for a fast buck. Get in make a million on a trend and get out. Our outlets have been limited for a while until MP3.com showed up and then went under... then Bandcamp and all these others popped up and finally gave indies an outlet to get heard and make money. Bandcamp is the most accessible and easy to utilize.

How does the band intend to develop their songwriting and lyric writing on the next full length? Are there any ideas you have thought up to create new songs with? How well do you think they’ll be received by people who like the band now?
Charles: We have around twenty new songs demoed and they are pretty much running amok stylistically shape shifting from musical adventure to musical adventure. Whatever we have, just rushed out of us like a dam broke. No plan was made and no real experimentation done. It just flowed. I think they will like this stuff more actually. They won’t not like the old stuff anymore, but they will hear and feel the progression of our art.

Photo by Christine Meyers

Of Beauty And Madness

-Dave Wolff