Coming back like a phoenix out of the ashes of the PA-based Electro/Industrial act Forced, Rein[Forced] is the official follow-up project. Still led by Jim Semonik, this trio again got signed to the US label DSBP and could recently release their debut “Futile Longings of a Condescending Man”. Musically, the relationship to Forced is still strong and alive. Hard and danceable Electro bass lines go in a common way with dual male voice attacks and some D ‘n’ B flavors. Unfortunately, only a few weeks after the release of “Futile Longings…” the band had to bear the loss of their band member Ben Bloom, who passed for some mysterious reasons. So the time is right to ask Jim some questions about the band and the current situation.
Chain D.L.K.: Jim, only a few weeks after the release of your new CD “Futile Longings of a Condescending Man” a tragedy happened because your band member Ben Bloom died suddenly. Our deepest condolences from the whole Chain D.L.K. crew to you. Now, several weeks after this sad happening, could you bring some light behind the mysterious loss of Ben?
Rein[Forced]: Well, it has been a rough few months since Ben passed. His talent brought so much to the band, and I am glad to see his work is immortalized. Ben passed in his sleep due to complications of alcohol and medicine combinations. We recently played a tribute show for him (our first since his passing) and the crowd was amazing. Our fans are the best on earth.
Chain D.L.K.: What does the lost of Ben mean for your band Rein[Forced]? Do we have to fear another long time in hiatus?
Rein[Forced]: Funny that you say “Hiatus” as that is our current single. We are trying to play live as much as possible now. Turner and Ben were very close and we have had our time out. Our next show is with our good friends Cesium 137, then a Cleveland fest with Terrorfakt, Caustic and Andraculoid. As far as new stuff, we are already starting on our 3rd full length called “X Amount of Stabwounds in the Back”. Till then, we have a Terrorfakt remix of “Hiatus” on Futronik Struktures Vol.5 and a remix of “The Weakening” for a Glitch Mode comp. I hope the new album will be out in 2007 on DSBP.
Chain D.L.K.: People surely would like to know some background info, why Forced in its classic formation has split up…
Rein[Forced]: Forced split in 2003 because Dave had already left the band and Matt no longer felt the passion. I do miss those guys very much because I couldn’t have done it without them, but this is a major part of my life that I could not let die. This occurred to me when we opened for Pigface and co on the “United 1” tour. This was our final show as Forced. It was the crowd that made me feel that we are a band that shouldn’t die. It was one of our best shows ever.
Chain D.L.K.: Why wasn’t it possible for you still to remain with old and known band name Forced?
Rein[Forced]: The Forced guys wanted to move on with other things in their respective lives. Matt and I are still good friends and he might even appear on the next record. The name change took place to accommodate those who left the band. I still have great respect for Dave and Matt and hope they are happy with their current endeavors.
Chain D.L.K.: Again signed with the nice DSBP label, it seems that you’re very satisfied with Tommy and his label work. Where do you the advantages to cooperate with him?
Rein[Forced]: Tommy is the best! I’ve known him for a very long time, 7 years I think. He has always been there for us. I am the buyer for a large Indie record store called Eide’s here in Pittsburgh. We sell more DSBP stuff than anyone apparently. The label is a very good place for us to be. Optikon Records also helped us out in the old days and I still wish to do more work with Andraculoid.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve heard about a special Forced CDR which features several remix works you have done and received through the first years. Please fill in some info on this item…
Rein[Forced]: That item was only to be sold at shows, it has 15 tracks + a hidden track. We did a remix for The Strand which appears and some of the tracks feature Wendy Yanko (keyboardist and vocals, now of Flesh Field). John from Optikon/Andraculoid has 10 copies and we are trying to dig up more but I think there are only about 20 left or so. It is hand numbered and limited to 100. We sold some at the New York Chemlab show but after that…I think they might be gone.
Chain D.L.K.: Now some words on “Futile Longings…”. The Forced debut “Cherophobia” was released in late 2002 and although we have it now 4 years later, I don’t hear too many changes regarding the music style generally. Not that is can be seen negative, but also the members of the band have changed. It seems, Jim, that you are mainly responsible for the musically outcome of the band. How would you review and compare both releases?
Rein[Forced]: The style and sound of the band is unique in and of itself because EBM bands tend to make albums with more of a club aesthetic. You know, not really focusing on song writing and lyrics. Turner and Ben were hell-bent on maintaining that sound because it was special to us. It took studying the sound and knowing good hooks that brought that element to “Futile Longings…”. As far as comparing both releases, I think the songwriting is much stronger on the new CD. It is much more introspective and written from experiences and people that I have encountered in the last few years. I find myself, as I get older (I am now 30), I am having trouble accepting that people act the way they do. Every day I read some thread about some self absorbed scene-star or band that wish to be the next big thing. I am quite tired of it. Bands that were miniscule 3 years ago that are huge now never take the time to acknowledge the people who help them get there. Fuck that attitude. Hey bands out there…DJs and promoters and fans are everything to you, STOP TRYING TO RIP THEM OFF!! I am just bitter I guess.
Chain D.L.K.: “Futile Longing…” is also dedicated to – I think – your father, Sgt. John N. Semonik. Would you like to explain to us the deeper meaning and background behind this?
Rein[Forced]: There is so much pain on that record. My father passed away on April 28th, 2003 after a lengthy battle with cancer. All I can say is it was an incredibly surreal experience and I was writing the record when this happened. Life is short and though I am not optimistic about my future, I feel like I have to do what I love while I’m here. I have to make some kind of a difference. My father made me realize that. I miss him.
Chain D.L.K.: I would also like to ask about the deeper meaning of the cover artwork which obviously describes a lost and disappointing relationship?
Rein[Forced]: The character from the artwork was designed by the great Urbanite by Design genius Byron Winton. It is hard to explain that particular painting but those who have been in love so deeply that it hurts may see themselves in this cover. I just hope I can reach those people with the overall theme of the record.
Chain D.L.K.: I think you are also running your booking agency, Jim. But why do you use the name “Distortion Productions”?
Rein[Forced]: It is one of the things I love most about this music…that distortion…there is nothing like it…gritty and raspy and angry as fuck. That is Distortion Productions in a nutshell. Any band who has dealt with us has a great time, unless they are rock stars, in which case, they are probably disappointed. Oh well, rock stars suck anyway.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides being active with your music project, what does the private life holding for you?
Rein[Forced]: Well, I DJ 3 nights a week, work 45 hours a week, have a great and loving relationship with my girlfriend who I hope will be my wife someday. On top of that I am a huge fan of all things Star Wars and enjoy video games. I’m a nerd like that.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans from you to do some live performances in the future? Describe your live performance for all those who aren’t able to watch your stage actions?
Rein[Forced]: I try to make our live shows as confrontational as possible. I love going into the crowd, shaking people. I LOVE mosh pits so when there is one, I’ll throw the mic down and go for it. We also like to make it as live as possible. Turner now plays Ben’s old parts as well as his own. It is quite something. I just love to get my message across.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans for a new release you can already confirm here? What do you expect for the future of your project?
Rein[Forced]: The next album will be harder, faster, louder and angrier than anything we’ve ever done.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words you would like to fill in here?
Rein[Forced]: I just want to thank you guys for this. And to all other bands out there, the underground is your home and your fans are your family. Treat it as such or you will pay the price.
Visit Rein[Forced] on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tate] [proofreading by Kevin J. Cazier]