William Zimmermann

Nov 152018
 

A Place Both Wonderful And Strange is the Brooklyn-based duo whose name, while a reference to the cult TV series Twin Peaks, also exemplifies the dynamic of their personality and sound.  Call it “occult electronica” or “doom gaze.”  Whatever. Call it what you will; they mix electronica, goth, shoegaze, and dream-pop among other genres to create something truly unique.

The new EP is titled The City Smells Like Cat Spit and features the ultra-hypnotic and intoxicating “Kristae” as well as 3 remixed cuts. We’d like to thank them for taking a few moments out to answer a few of our questions.

 

Chain D.L.K.: The new EP, The City Smells like Cat Spit, is due out later this month…how did you come up with the title, and can you talk a bit about the album art?

Russ: The title is a lyric from the song Every Stone A Seance, off our 2017 album What I Speak I Create, presented in a refashioned form akin to how we do it live on this EP. It’s such a weird twist of phrase but it was the first thing I wrote for that song, which is the first and only love song I’ve ever written, so it seemed fitting. It’s something that, I think particularly in New York, registers as a kind of ongoing condition that you deal with, but not in a negative way.

Laura: On tour, we saw this weird little guy on top of a car in the parking lot of the Best Western in Virginia or someplace, and at first I couldn’t believe my luck! I asked Daniel (our tm) to be sure he saw it too! Who is this little guy?? We just had to get a picture, and that’s how the cover artwork came about.

 

Chain D.L.K.: There are 3 remixes on the new EP and 1 new track, Kristae. Can you talk a bit about the mixes and who Kristae is?

Russ: Kristae is a girl with a past, a little bit of history, what all of us can/could be on the proper night out. To some extent, she’s a correction of “American Psycho”.

Laura: We played a show upstate for this great party our friend throws, and it was the middle of winter. Russ and one of our friends who used to be funny started riffing on this idea of post-punk songs. Ultimately, Kristae is every lost girl who our poisonous society of terrible men pushes aside and renders meaningless and helpless within their own lives.

 

Chain D.L.K.: For the new readers, can you talk a bit about the meaning behind the band name and provide a bit of a brief history?

Russ: A place both wonderful and strange started as a solo noise project of mine and has gone through a couple of iterations–essentially processing how to make the leap from noise to a darker leaning of pop. Laura and I met at a Prince memorial party I was throwing, and we immediately decided we needed to work together, and now a couple years later, we’re here. The name is a quote from Twin Peaks, a line spoken by Special Agent Dale Cooper, that I’ve actually had as a tattoo since longer than the band’s been in existence. The love and appreciation for an intersection of beautiful and weird–or wonderful and strange–is really at the heart of this project.

Laura: Which one of us do you think is wonderful, and which one of us do you think is strange? I keep changing my mind about it.

 

Chain D.L.K.: You have some upcoming shows, including the EP release later this month and a special Halloween performance of your David Lynch commission, “Laura Palmer Deviations,” right?  What’s the difference musically and visually with this piece as opposed to your normal show?  What can people expect to be different?

Russ: Yes! The Laura Palmer Deviations performance is one that’s special, and we haven’t done this one in quite some time. It’s a massive audio/visual/movement piece that incorporates Palmer Family home movies, hidden parts of Twin Peaks, and found footage to tell the story of the tragic final hours of Laura Palmer’s life, soundtracked by Laura and I.

Laura: This party is going to be nuts. We have some surprises and some great art lined up at one of the most interesting venues in Brooklyn.

Chain D.L.K.: You recently made an appearance in pop star Robyn’s new video, “Missing U – Message to My Fans” which has now been seen over 200,000 times. How did this whole thing come about?

Russ: This is a long and crazy story that’s kinda captured really well by the film’s director, Danilo Parra, but to try to get the entirety of it: two of my other friends and I have a DJ trio called ADVENTURE[s], and we’ve been doing a Robyn tribute party for about 8 years now. Laura started helping us out with them a couple years back, because she’s a jack of all trades, and lo and behold, in May we got word that Robyn was aware of these parties and wanted to come…the rest is history.

 

Chain D.L.K.: You and your bandmate, Laura, also have other endeavors; DJing, films etc.  Talk a little bit about that.  Where might you be found elsewhere outside of the band?

Russ: Well, I’m a DJ with ADVENTURE[s]–we do parties monthly at Brooklyn Bowl (in, of course, Brooklyn)–and I work in fitness. Then, with my wife Vanessa (who has her own band, knifsex, and under that name she’s worked on music with APBWAS for quite some time here and there) I co-run the New Jack Witch site (newjackwitch.com), that’s essentially magical workings for the oncoming apocalypse. I started working on a non-fiction book, so we’ll see how this goes.

Laura: Oh, I’m always knocking around the tabloids in one way or another.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Other than the EP release show this month and the Halloween shows, what other plans do you have for live shows?  I heard a rumor about a mini-tour in November.

Russ: Hometown shows–we’re performing at one of our fave local spots, The Footlight, Sept 6, with a bunch of really great bands: www.facebook.com/events/1512717505499832 . On the whole, though, we’re working on new music–it’s a change of pace for us to be in a situation where we start writing, try a song out live, then take it back to the studio to tinker, and then take it back out.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How do you think that the new material differs from your previous work?

Russ: See above–it’s all cohering together in a really cool way. If you’re looking towards our way forward, Kristae was definitely a song that as we hammered on it was like, “more like this”.

Laura: I get to go hog wild on a guitar!

 

Chain D.L.K.: This summer you did your first real mini-tour of the US. How was that experience? Any noteworthy shows or spinal tap events?

Russ: Actually, our second–the first was in 2017, for the What I Speak I Create tour–this time was with the covers EP under our belts and the desire to try new things live, where it feels more electric. Let’s see, we stole a tambourine…I don’t think I can talk about that…

 

Chain D.L.K.: What other plans do you have for the rest of the year and next year? A full-length release, perhaps?

Russ: The rest of this year is writing, performing, writing, performing, rinse and repeat. Ultimately I think we’d like to get something that’s cohesive together for next year, then tour en force behind it.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Many many years down the road, a very distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old home.  In that box, they locate some of your recordings and something to play them on. What would you like this person to know about your legacy simply from listening to your music?

Russ: That this band was more than the sum of its parts. We scoop a lot of genres into our bands, then smear them on the wall, and what comes out is uniquely this sound.

Laura: That this is best friend music and that idea is massive.

 

visit A Place Both Wonderful And Strange on the web at:
www.aplaceboth.com

www.facebook.com/aplaceboth

Nov 152018
 

When I first came across the video for “Hive” by Seattle’s Murder Weapons, a couple of things stood out: the brilliance in simplicity for what really is a memorable song and the undeniably powerful vocals.  Murder Weapons blends industrial/rock/goth elements and then some for some pretty moving, powerful tracks. We went to the band in an effort to dig deeper, so we’d like to thank Jesse and Dawn from Murder Weapons for their time.

 

Chain DLK: It has been three years since your last release. Why that long, and have you been working on new material?

MW: If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. We had a few personnel changes and have been focusing on a number of behind-the-scenes endeavors as well as dealing with the adversity life throws out. We’re always working on new material but it’s not always up to par and needs fine-tuning before we present it live or record it. We have also been refining our methods, and the next release should be out much faster.

 

Chain DLK: For the readers and for people who might not have heard your work before, can you give us a brief history of Murder Weapons?

MW: I started composing music on my own and slowly accumulating musicians. Dawn was recommended to me by mutual colleagues, and after, she wrote lyrics to all the songs in the month before our first show opening for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. After that, we did a number of shows to tighten our sound and performances. Billy Mace started playing drums for us in 2016 and Shon Shiv joined in early 2017, and they’ve both brought some interesting new sounds to the fold that we’re looking forward to showcasing on our upcoming release.

 

Chain DLK: You recently released a video for the song, “Hive.” Why the decision to do a video now, and what can  you tell us about where it was filmed and such?

MW: Basically, we got tired of not having a video, so we made one. Tetraknot is a professional cinematography firm that has a lot of experience and we know them very well, so when they suggested filming at the Georgetown Steam Plant by Boeing Field, we were all for it. The building is amazing and we’d love to go back.

 

Chain DLK: Dawn: You have an extremely powerful voice and it’s fairly unique for this music. Who inspired you to take up singing?

MW: I started singing gospel in church at a very young age. KISS was the first band as a little girl that inspired me to want to be in a theatrical band. From there, soulful voices like Alison Moyet, Stevie Nicks, Bjork and Eric Martin. My first band was in high school.

 

Chain DLK: I’ve heard that your live shows can often be fairly intense, and it would certainly seem so after having seen some clips on YouTube. What can fans expect who go see you?

MW: Blood, confetti, nail bats and splash zones are common elements. We’ve had cage dancers, murders and body parts on the stage with us, and you can always count on Dawn to be in the crowd singing on her wireless mic.

 

Chain DLK: On YouTube, there is a clip of you doing a very dark, creepy track called “Come Little Children.” Talk a little bit about that track if you don’t mind, especially since it does not appear on the “Guilty” album.

MW: That was one of the earliest tracks I composed; it used to open every show. It’s our version of the song Sarah Jessica Parker sings in the movie Hocus Pocus, only ours is about Albert Fish. It will probably end up on some release at some point. I do like that song.

 

Chain DLK: What’s more important for you? To leave a visceral or emotional reaction for your fans?

MW: For me, the two are linked. I want people to be excited and want more.

 

Chain DLK: Are you involved in any musical side projects or endeavors in other forms of art?

MW: I’ve been doing some remixes lately for various bands, I write horror stories for a few publications and I like to make landscape videos with my drone.

 

Chain DLK: If not already mentioned, what plans do you have for the rest of 2018 and into 2019?

MW: We’re playing at the Hard Rock Cafe Seattle’s first industrial music night on September 14th; we are also headlining Fright Fest at Louie G’s on October 26th in Fife. We’re preparing for our next video, which we hope to shoot before the end of the year as well as release our new music. We’re going to be playing the Mechanismus industrial music festival in Seattle in mid-2019. Our music video has been selected for Wasteland Film Festival and the Oregon Short Film Festival. I don’t want to make any promises yet, but look for us at Crypticon 2019 as well.

 

Chain DLK: Many, many years from now, a very distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old home.  In the box they find a Murder Weapons album and something to play it on. What would you like this person to know about your legacy simply from listening to your music?

MW: We did our best to make songs that would make people think and that they could identify with, one way or another, or just listen to and enjoy. There’s something there for everybody, and I hope this person will find something there for them as well.

 

visit the artist on the web at:
https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5/link

Jul 192018
 

Mikey Antonio – AlterRed

UK industrial/rock act AlterRed returns with the hard-hitting Trauma; Trauma Reinforcement available now on WTII Records. Definitely reflective of today’s hostile world, Trauma; Trauma Reinforcement takes the listener down a dark path filled with rage, instability, resistance and angst. This more aggressive AlterRed combines dirty guitars and heavy beats over thick layers of synths and noise. Their innovative sound was first introduced with the release of “Breaking News” and continues to morph on tracks like “Speed Test,” “Wait for the Recoil” and “You Get Nothing.” Topping off this release is a cover of the Duran Duran classic, “Wild Boys.

Lead vocalist Mikey Antonio was kind enough to take some time out to answer a few of our questions.  We very much appreciate his time.

 

Chain D.L.K.: The new album, “Trauma; Trauma Reinforcement” was just released on WTII Records and is the first release since 2015.  Talk a little bit please about the evolution of these songs since then.

AR: Hey! Thanks for speaking with us! Well, after the first three albums, which were a bit spooky-electro-cabaret, and very much fantastical and riddled with metaphors for mental health issues, we wanted to go back our electro-rock roots, which we did on our last album, “In the Land of the Blind.” Then, when I began writing Trauma, there just seemed to be so much social discord, misogyny and general intolerance in the air. In global politics, in Hollywood, in TV and Music in general – years of social inequality, injustice and abuse had come to a tipping point, and while I’ve always had strong political views, I’ve usually kept them out of the music. It seems with Trauma I just couldn’t contain it!

 

Chain D.L.K.: The cover art for “Trauma…” is pretty provocative with the people with the bags over their heads.  What was the inspiration behind that?

AR: Vix Vain has always been the creative mind behind our imagery, and between the two of us, we have designed all of the concepts and stage theatrics. For Trauma, though, Vix had a very specific idea of what she wanted to do based on the title. She wanted to base the cover on the experience of the surrealist artist Rene Magritte. It is said that Rene Magritte’s mother committed suicide, and when she was pulled from the river her dress was covering her face, which young Rene saw. This is thought to be the source of several of Magritte’s paintings where cloth covers the face, such as his painting “The Lovers.”

 

Chain D.L.K.: You have a really interesting hybrid of sounds. Can you talk about the collective influences from the different band members?

AR: Jack Hell has been our bassist from the start. We initially didn’t want a guitarist but instead chose a distorted bass guitar with throbbing electronic basslines beneath them. Then, when we wrote the “In the Land of the Blind” album, we added the electro-rock element and acquired a full-time guitarist. Trauma is the first album for which I have worked with a producer, Sheldon Trinder. Sheldon’s band I Will Leave No Memoirs has a particularly disturbing darkness to it, so I thought it would be interesting to see what his take on my songs would be. I initially sent him one track that was simply a basic piano piece with a throbbing bassline behind it – what he sent back absolutely blew my mind. I wrote lyrics for it and that became “The Only Way is Down.” We’d been looking for a project to work on together for a few years (some of which were so insane, I really hope we do them one day!) so we began working collaboratively on the album. Sheldon’s work on the album really does deserve a lot of credit! It would have been a very different album without him.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Why the decision to cover “Wild Boys” by Duran Duran?

AR: Hahahaha, OK, yeah that probably does seem like an odd choice. In a nutshell, I’d been toying with the idea for so long (I had tried it with four different bands!) so it was a case of just getting it down with the right line-up and producer. The crowds love it live, too!!

 

Chain D.L.K.: How would you describe AlterRed to someone who has never heard your music before?

AR: Electro-Rock-Industrial. Music to lose your mind to!

 

Chain D.L.K.: Tell us about some of the emotional dynamics behind some of the tracks on the new album…i.e. joyful, therapeutic, sad, etc.

AR: There is a bit of a range, from some very personal stuff (like Down and Bohemian Class) to the more punk and anarchic songs like PS Fuck You, Mad Dogs and You Get Nothing. There’s also my take on rolling news media (Breaking News) and how disposable and meaningless it is making something as essential as informative, objective and challenging journalism. The lyrics are a simple set of news clichés!

 

Chain D.L.K.: The first single and video from the album is “Speed Test.” What can you tell us about this song, the idea behind it and the upcoming video?

AR: Well, the video is in the hands of Duncan Catteral, who has worked with us on all of our videos. We usually sit down and hammer out a concept, but Duncan had a very specific idea for this based on some movie imagery we both love. It’s still in post production, so I’ve not seen it yet. I can’t wait to see the finished results, though.

The song itself is a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, who died in 2015. It was the first song I wrote for this album, and I wanted the lyrics to be fitting of his lifestyle and the style of the song to be an industrial take on Motorhead’s punk-metal sound (which I am a HUGE fan of).

 

Chain D.L.K.: What equipment and software went into the writing of “Trauma; Trauma Reinforcement” and how was it different than the previous albums?

AR: I write pretty much everything on my trusty Korg Triton, then we re-orchestrated at the mixing and production stage.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What other plans have you for 2018 and possibly into 2019?

AR: So, 2018 will see us play a few showcase shows around the UK. We kicked off with the album launch in Dalston, London, on Friday the 13th July, which was a really great night. We’re putting a few more shows on, including at the very awesome Club Antichrist in London. We’ll play in Glasgow, Cardiff and Winchester, too. Then, of course, there’s the video to come!

2019, we currently have plans for two tours with two different bands, one in the spring and then again in the autumn. We also have a few festivals penciled in, so watch this space.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Many, many years from now, a very distant relative finds their way to the attic of an old home. In the attic they locate a box labeled “AlterRed” and inside find some of your recordings. What would you like this person to know of your legacy simply based upon listening to your music?

AR: Wow, what a question! I feel this box should come with an explanation and apology!

I’d like the music to be perceived as punchy, energetic and catchy, with a point to make, but for some of the more personal and complex songs, I hope the person would be able to connect the dots with many of the stories, images and metaphors.

 

visit AlterRed on the web at:
https://www.facebook.com/AlterRedMusic/

To Buy Trauma: Trauma Reinforcement:

https://wtiirecords.bandcamp.com/album/trauma-trauma-reinforcement