Chain D.L.K.: How did you meet? Have you had previous musical experiences?
Freudstein: Andrew: Our shared love of horror films and music brought us together from an early age, when as a kid I used to rent ’80s video nasties under the pretense that my dad had ordered them. They’d warp my mind then I’d lend them to David and warp his. I guess we’re both pretty warped now!
David: We met at school when we were both 12, we were in the same class together. I had no musical experience until I was about 19 when a friend told me about a cheap guitar in a charity shop. It came with an ancient book about learning rock and roll chords. Back in the summer of ’91….We didn’t start to do music together until much later when we discovered a shared love of electronic music and beer.
Chain D.L.K.: Your band name recalls Frankenstein and your first album Mondo Freudo, the mondo movies. Can you explain how much and how the horror/B-movie iconography influences your music?
Freudstein: David: I am obsessed with all things horrific, especially if they are from the ’70s or ’80s. I have always been hugely into horror films since I was a child. The more sick and twisted the better. There is a whole wonderful world of genres such as mondo, gore and exploitation with their subgenres involving zombies, cannibals and psychos! It’s an amazing world that has such things in it! Horror films have influenced everything in my life, especially music. I strive to honour the atmospheres created in the films I love so much, and take them in the context of today. The world is more horrific than ever and I want to rub peoples faces in that fact using music.
Andrew: The band name is taken from Lucio Fulci’s horror classic House By the Cemetery. It revolves around a character called Dr. Jacob Freudstein who is made up of a mosaic of children’s corpses. A lot of our music is informed by horror films and the sense of foreboding they create. Most bands just use the horror iconography as a visual gimmick and that has nothing to do with horror films or their soundtracks. But for Freudstein, musically, that’s the starting point.
Chain D.L.K.: As your main influences there are also Goblin, the Italian band famous for their Dario Argento movie soundtracks. Do you think you have their same approach to music? I mean, do you think you compose your tracks by taking care mainly with the atmosphere they can create?
Freudstein: David: We both love the Goblin, but have a very different approach to writing music. They have done some great songs on albums like “Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark”, but most of their work is instrumental and soundtrack-based. We are song-based on our first two albums. I think atmosphere is very important to Freudstein, but the actual musical notes and chords have to come first. So many bands bore me to death lately. It seems they use some sort of auto-compose software to get their music! Never any strange chords or progressions, never any experiments or crossing of genres. Everything has to fit neatly into the sound they are looking for, and as a result every song sounds the same. The only difference is that if they are lucky one song actually has a catchy melody and this is their “hit.” So many albums of filler…boring.
Andrew: I imagine the Goblin wrote much of their music to Argento’s visuals, whereas we have no obvious visual reference points; although David is influenced a lot by his nightmares. But we never try and sound like anyone else. What’s the point? That’s not how we work, we want to do things our own way. Freudstein is too eclectic. We mix both our singing styles, electronics, guitars and dance elements without sounding like any one band. We’ve even been accused of being a couple of bands in one which I think is closer to the truth. I mean, why limit your composing to one style of music? We both like all kinds of music and so prefer to axe down the boundaries that separate them.
Chain D.L.K.: I found Mass Market Misery more powerful and with no weak moments, in comparison to Mondo Freudo. What are the steps that brought you to this result?
Freudstein: David: Many years of experimenting with the songs and production. They have all been through different stages of their lives and matured until ready for the public ear. I am very happy you find no weak points! I have had many sleepless nights thinking about the danger of weak points entering into the album…thank God they have all been banished!
Andrew: Thank you, we’re quite proud of what we’ve achieved with Mass Market Misery. It took a lot of work, blood, sweat and gore and I’m still surprised how dark the album sounds. It wasn’t a conscious effort to create that atmosphere, just an extension of our personalities. God, I never knew how fucked up we were!
Chain D.L.K.: Mass Market Misery alternates horror atmospheres with granitic songs. Can you tell something about this choice?
Freudstein: Andrew: I think these sounds compliment each other and take the genre into new, uncharted territories, mixing in modern dance beats and electronics. The opening song on Mass Market Misery, “Return to the Old Forest,” is a good example of this. It begins with a music box and female operatics that slowly build into a hard dance track before twisting back into the original darkness and relentlessly building once again. In horror there is no escape.
David: The songs and the atmospheres go together, they all have the same message. You are fucked! There is something terrible happening all around you…it is creeping and crawling into all aspects of your life. Wake up now and try to stop this evil before it destroys you! I hope listeners will take their own meaning from the songs. Sometimes the messages are rammed down your throat in an over-the-top assault (like a good horror film rubs your face in gore), other times they are subtle and open to interpretation. Atmosphere affects how you feel, that is a very important part of music. Can you imagine Mozart played on a Rolf Harris stylophone? Napalm Death on a banjo? The sound of the instruments is a large part of the atmosphere. Atmosphere is not just a “spooky” noise at the start of a song.
Chain D.L.K.: Like some horror movies (see Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead) some of your tracks sound like a critique of society. Am I wrong?
Freudstein: David: You are very right. I think modern society is sick. It is totally based on lies and exploitation. I have done lots of interviews recently where I have gone into great detail of my views, so I won’t repeat myself here. Lets just say if you think society is OK then you are either ignorant, totally selfish, or probably both.
Andrew: Yes, Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead is a great satire on consumer society and some of the Goblin’s twisted fairground tunes really compliment that. We’re not trying to copy what they’ve done before but just find our politics to be very left-wing. Capitalism has debased mankind and made him subservient to unlimited base desires in the pursuit of little green pieces of paper. It’s made zombies of us all.
Chain D.L.K.: What are your preferred movies/directors and why?
Freudstein: David: Far too long to list! Here’s some amazing films that are not so well known that I can highly recommend. Barbed Wire Dolls (Jess Franco), the sickest and most nihilistic women-in-prison film I have seen. Men Behind The Sun (Tun Fei Mou), the most powerfully directed and horrific film of all time. The Dirtiest Game (James Bryan/Titus Moede), rare and sleazy, a shocking end. The Last House On Dead End Street (Roger Michael Watkins ), a most beautiful ’70s oddity about snuff films, so corrupt even the film stock is peeling away from the images!
Andrew: Personally, I’m really into Korean and Japanese film directors like Takashi Miike, Kim Ji-Wun and Fruit Chan at the moment. Their work is pretty cutting edge and shockingly revealing about human nature. The plots twists are so incredibly evil and unexpected. They play on morality, atmospheres and your imagination rather than the visceral. A Tale Of Two Sisters, Suicide Club and Oldboy are some of my favourite recent acquisitions. An excellent new U.S. TV show called Masters Of Horror featuring all the great directors such as Argento, Carpenter, Landis and Takashi is also a must-see for any horror fan.
Chain D.L.K.: I read that on live gigs you have also two dancers.
Freudstein: David: Only the sexiest babes are allowed to gyrate to the rhythms of Freudstein on stage!
Chain D.L.K.: You won the BBC South Counties band competition. Did this give you some extra exposure?
Freudstein: David: Someone wrote to us to ask if we could sign a severed pigs head for them! Is this the kind of exposure we need?
Andrew: It was fun to do and pretty weird to get your head around the idea that 10,000 people were listening to us playing live. Hopefully it woke a few people up to what we’re doing now.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s cooking in the Freudstein kitchens?
Freudstein: Andrew: A course of dumplings–if you’ve ever seen Fruit Chan’s film of the same name then you’ll know they’re very good for you! Musically we’re putting together a remix album for release next year with some amazing remixes by Swarf, History Of Guns, and many more. If you catch us live you might even hear the seeds of our next album…but don’t hold your breath…for too long.
Visit Freudstein on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]