The return of the US-based duo of Noise Process with their current CD “Groundzer0” out in March was for sure one of the most outstanding releases for the Electro/Industrial genre of this year. It has taken almost 5 years in mostly unclear contractual situations after their last studio release “Neural Code” and the remix companion “Synapse (The Dead World) EP”, both out on the now defunct German Wire Records label, until Michael Renfield and Tim Garelick could find in the NM-based DSBP label (www.dsbp.cx) a trustful and reliable partner to start a promising comeback. This interview done with Michael Renfield will explain and offer some background of the unexpected time-out for this band…
Chain D.L.K.: Although I know mostly about the difficult details, I need to ask if you would explain to our readers why there was an unexpected time gap between your last EP “Synapse (The Dead World)” and your current release “Groundzer0”. Where have you guys been and what has happened?
Noise Process: Actually we were working on “Groundzer0”, even during the creation of “Synapse”. We absolutely did not want a long waiting period between the LP’s. Unfortunately that is exactly what we ended up with. Many problems in communication fouled up the process and strangely (considering how well “Neural Code” was received) our label then (Wire Prod) was extremely difficult to get in touch with. We have never received any profits from them past the initial release of “Neural Code”. Tim and I were pretty frustrated with the situation. He really wanted to play more shows and I was more interested in writing new music. Then you can add the fact that our full time day jobs were not conducive to being in an active band. Noise Process was on the brink of being a “one hit wonder”, and I was completely against that fate. I had just gotten married, my wife Keri and I used the gift cash to get a new computer and start a studio for my own projects. I got all the GZ0 files from Tim and put it all together myself in about six months. I sent it out to my good friends and some hardcore fans, waited until our contract with Wire was up, and then (with Vince Pujol’s [from E.S.R.] insight) started to push the project to Tommy T at DSBP Records. Tommy is professional, dedicated, and motivated for the Industrial/Electro cause and Tim and I both have our mind set in that direction. So we worked out the “Groundzer0” release and are now part of the DSBP team!
Chain D.L.K.: Is it not difficult for a US-based band to gain knowledge and acceptance in your home country, if all your previous works have been released in Germany? I guess you’re still relatively unknown, so can we say, that you’re starting a US-career nowadays with the release of“Groundzer0”?
Noise Process: For years everyone thought we were a German band. I think we have developed a very “Euro” sound being that Tim and I both were heavily influenced by European Electro and not as much into the US variants. I think we have worked a niche in being the “underground of the underground” *laughing* We are fortunate that many people that ARE in the lifeline of the scene do know and appreciate our work and that Wire really did an extraordinary job with promotions for us early on. We are a U.S. band though and we have always really wanted some support from the States. DSBP is a great opportunity for that to happen.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve heard about that Tim and you are living now in different states of the US. How is the situation and how do you manage to fulfill the idea of being a band?
Noise Process: Yes, I am currently in New York, and Tim is in Arizona. I am not one to drop very deep roots where I live and I felt that I had exhausted my resources in AZ. NY is even just a pit stop before the next move planned later this year. As for the band, thus far it has been positive. Tim and I are exchanging files online and working on several new tracks and ideas. Tim is also planning to play some live events on the west coast in support of “Groundzer0”. And with a little luck and persistence I am going to form a band at my next destination and work my own version of Noise Process live as well as my solo projects.
Chain D.L.K.: “Groundzer0”? Well, is it not a bit late to start such a reprisal on this often used theme? Why do you feel the need to refer on the tragedies of 9/11?
Noise Process: GZ0 was formulated just after the horror of 9/11 but was not planned as specific to that event. Only certain tracks deal with terrorism and the subsequent U.S. reaction. “Groundzer0” was an idea I had about how extreme events in life had a focal point to discuss. Every war has a “ground zero”, every explosion, every emotional breakdown, every tragedy. It was the cause and effect of things that I wanted to explore. Tracks like “Desolation”, and “Sufphoric” are realizations on a person’s own inner demons. “Half-Life” is about a monster realizing its purpose. “Wall Of Tears” is about the soldiers we lost in Vietnam. “The First War” is about the biblical war of the angels. “Humanity” is very destructive and I was attempting to interrogate that idea to its core.
Chain D.L.K.: Turning to some of the content on “Groundzer0” – the track “The First War” seems to deal with the imperfection of religion generally. Maybe the first war that ever happened was the one in God’s garden? I guess you aren’t that kind of a God-fearing man that you would waste too muchthoughts on this. Tell us a bit about your views and the meaning behind this track…
Noise Process: I actually do believe in a sort of god. Not the simple definition that we are supposed to blindly follow. I also do not support worship or religion. I think it’s a waste of our precious time on this planet. We are on this planet for a certain reason, and for us to spend so much time trying to find out our purpose, actually detracts from us learning or understanding anything. We get too tied up in the “now”, and never realize the big picture. The point of “The First War” is to bring the idea of “Heaven” to a very real and violent level. Not as a paradise, but as a war zone. As is our very nature. We like to deny it, we tend to shuffle our intentions under the carpet… but in the end we are all creators and destroyers… why would our gods and angels be any different?
Chain D.L.K.: “Wall Of Tears” covers especially the wall of Jerusalem? Or don’t you like to cover the message of this track on this specific monument? I want to explore your special dedication to developing themes that at least roughly seem based on regions that are currently experiencing religious crisis…
Noise Process: “The Wall Of Tears”, is another name of our Vietnam War Memorial. Tim and I both are ex-military. I wanted a nod to the sense of honor, sacrifice, and commitment to our soldiers, now and in the past. As for religion, you can refer to what I said above. Our world is in crisis. It is most violent and terrible when it comes to countering ideas of extreme religions. Though no one ever blames religion, they like to point the finger at music, movies, violent video games…etc. The world does not see the wall we have erected between ourselves. The wall that keeps us from evolving spiritually. We are too busy consuming our planet and each other.
Chain D.L.K.: Focusing now on your groundbreaking artwork which you like to present on all of your releases so far. How important for you personally is the visual work to support your music? Will it ever be thinkable that you would give away the art that you have created to a third-party? Why have you decided to collect all of your efforts under the Soillodge moniker?
Noise Process: I gravitated towards art and music as a child. I have always seen them as equal and I spend about as much time on the artwork for each release as I do for the music. The theme of both is always tied together. Being that it’s all digital art and photo manipulation, I can give it away to whomever I wish. I have often thought about making some large prints for display in my home studio. Maybe in the future I will pursue this further. As for my “Soillodge” namesake, it’s a respectful nod to the band Coil and their views on art and music. My screen name for as long as I have been involved in the internet world has been “soil”. Not as the filth and garbage, but as the very earth that allows everything to grow. Growth is extremely important in this life. Especially a growth in spirituality and awareness. This is the soil I try to represent.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve created through the years some side-projects like Re:course and R010R. Re:course for instance represents the calmer, maybe Futurepop-inspired side of your music and it is already active for many years. But why have you never officially brought out any stuff withthis project?
Noise Process: I find this funny, because often we forget how the outside perceives us and we only recognize how we see ourselves. In reality, Re:course and R010R are my main solo projects, and Noise Process is a side project. When Tim originally came to me with the early Noise Process tracks, I was at a turning point with one of my projects and decided to lend him a hand realizing his own vision. However Noise Process took off rather quickly, it just seemed to come together with precision. My own solo projects however have always been difficult to accomplish. Re:course was created at a time of great emotional turmoil. I was doing a lot of soul searching and really changing my life priorities and personal relationships. At the time it was a project that had a real purpose for me but as time continued and I started a new life with my wife and a new understanding of purpose, the project ran its course and was replaced by R010R. A much harder more direct impact for my art to shine. R010R’s purpose is understanding your past but not dwelling or copying it. Moving forward with great intentions and the idea of crashing through boundaries of comfort. R010R attempts to reach that edgy gritty level of unrest and explore that territory efficiently.
Chain D.L.K.: Relative to R010R, the start with an appearance of the track “Brain Death” on the NTP compilation “Noise Terror” compiled by Johan Van Roy was promising. What to expect from this project for the future? I had the suspicion that you’ve built this project to bridge the unclearsituation with Noise Process…
Noise Process: R010R as a concept is very much an anti-label idea. An anti-genre focus. This is very difficult when it comes to labels that need to categorize and market everything to a specific audience. With R010R I want to appeal to the experimental industrial fan as much as the EBM/ Synthpop fan. Johan Van Roy is a friend of mine and has always supported Noise Process. With his creation of Noise Terror Productions I saw a great fit for R010R and sent him a 4 track demo. He really enjoyed the demo and added the track “Brain Death” to his new compilation. Now my plan is to polish up the entire album, get some real feedback from insightful points in the scene and either find a label home for R010R, or self-release the project with the help of some friends and promotion through word of mouth (and internet) alone. Hybrid or crossover electronic music is on the rise right now and I know my audience exists. My focus now is to go against the grain of tailoring and marketing my sound. I am offering it raw and disturbing at times and challenging people to expect more from their music and musicians than the same meat and potatoes Electro.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s discuss your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details, relationships, hobbies, and further interests…
Noise Process: Ah, the gritty details…heh I am not nearly as aggressive and angry in person as in my music. I’m a very relaxed person, I try not to stress myself. I have been married now for 3 years, it is the greatest accomplishment. No children yet, but it is in the future. So we have a great ferret named Mortimer. My wife and I both enjoy video games, we read a lot, we also both love movies in the horror/sci-fi/extreme styles, especially Asian extreme films. Also we are vegetarian and we try to be eco-conscious. The most damaging bio-toxin on the earth is probably humanity. On that note, we also love to travel. I have been to many countries already and we have many plans to see more. The different states in the U.S. are also worlds apart so we have quite a bit left to discover.
Chain D.L.K.: Please let us know about your upcoming plans, some new releases in the pipeline you’d like to confirm here? Any plans to storm some stages in the States?
Noise Process: We always have plans in mind. With the cross country move and new demanding day job I am pretty much out of the live arena. I am good friends with the crews in I, Parasite, and Android Lust and could probably push them to help me figure out a live presentation. But everyone here is very busy with music, and I am taking all this time to just keep writing. However, Tim is planning to set up some shows on the West Coast U.S. I will get more info on that soon. As for next releases, keep your eyes and ears open. I have a lot to unveil yet…2007 will be a great year for us!
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Noise Process: Thank you for your support. It really means everything to us! Feel free to come by the MySpace or livejournal pages and say hello!
Visit Noise Process on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Brandon L. Clark ]