The still-rising scene of Terror-EBM/Hellektro has its new darling with the US band Retractor. They are based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but originally they hail from Puerto Rico. With their debut No Resistance released on the Polish label Black Flames, they have proven their talent to create destructive EBM tunes in a similar line to known acts like Agonoize or Tactical Sekt. Both members, Milton Sanchez and Anthony Stewart, are also active in some other music projects with different styles. Time to bring some light into the musical world of these two individuals….Latest news: the label Black Flames has quit its buisness and Retractor are now signed to the German label Infacted Recordings (www.infacted-recordings.de)
Chain D.L.K.: Please tell us a bit about your point of origin, Puerto Rico, in light of its political and economical situation. You guys are now based in Fort Lauderdale, so would Retractor ever have continued to exist, were you still living in Puerto Rico? Do you visit your home island from time to time?
Retractor: Yes, we do!!! Puerto Rico is very similar to the U.S.A. except in language and culture. We are a commonwealth of the U.S.A. It’s a very tough place to live since it is overpopulated. On the other hand Puerto Rico is amazing to have vacations and visit friends and families. Plus it has a very decent scene of EBM, Gothic, and Industrial music. But we decided to move on for the benefit of our music, and also to seek an independent way of living. WE WOULD LIKE TO GIVE YOU SOME QUOTES!!! Puerto Rico is an Island 35 miles wide and 100 miles long, just to have fun and party!!! Can we handle the traffic? No! It is the only thing that we hate about it!
Chain D.L.K.: Retractor was anticipated to release their debut on BLC Productions and the artwork of “No Resistance” is still done by Wilhelm “Deaddreamer” (www.deaddreamer.com), who is mostly responsible for the artwork at BLC. Why the decision to join the ranks of the Polish Black Flames label? And why did you still decide to use that Deaddreamer artwork?
Retractor: Yes, the Retractor debut was anticipated to be released on BLC Productions and Brandon L. Clark decided for our benefit to release our debut under Black Flames Records. The reason why? Well, I think we have a more European sound than American. It was the best choice for us to approach the fans and DJs. The artwork and concept was by Wilhelm “Dead Dreamer” and we paid him for his excellent service. So we are very happy with the results. The final concept and ads and extras were made by our team work between Black Flames and our good friend Jason Litsinger from Fury 161.
Chain D.L.K.: Next to Retractor you guys are also musically active in another band, Les Anges de la Nuit, recording for Infacted Recordings for Europe and Static Sky Records for the USA. The musical difference between Future-/Electro-Pop and harsh EBM is clear. But how do you decide which track fits more to Retractor, which more to Les Anges…?
Retractor: The matter of fitting tracks and composing songs for our side projects are made by choice of each member and responsibility of each one of us. Milton and Richard are in charge of writing music for Les Anges de la Nuit, Milton and Anthony are responsible for Retractor and Jason is responsible for Fury 161. In that way there are no mixed feelings and ideas or concepts.
Chain D.L.K.: I would also like to ask about the lyrical content of both bands. For instance, could you think to use the lyrics of the track “Apocalypse” from Les Anges de la Nuit also in Retractor? Where do you see the inspiration differences between both acts?
Retractor: Retractor lyrics are more dark and cold broken poetry! It is a raw concept with meaningful ideas about the material world. Les Anges de la Nuit lyrics are more sensitive, like touching souls and life expressed through music…. It is the search for the meaning of life through more rhythms and more harmonies….
Chain D.L.K.: Which of both bands is more important to you? And if you had to choose for any strange reason, which band’s existence would you cancel?
Retractor: We like all our projects equally since we are very open to many different styles of music. The excitement of experimenting and expressing negative and positive ideas is good for us. It give us the opportunity to expand our musical skills with no limits. The only reason that any of our side projects’ names will probably be no longer making music is that we get screwed by political rules. But that doesn’t even exist with us. We have full freedom and creativity plus the most important thing is that we have good relations with everybody amongst and outside of our label mates.
Chain D.L.K.: With the previous questions in mind: Please try to explain the musical difference between Retractor and Fury 161, your other side project. Can we also expect a release soon by this band, and which label will bring that out?
Retractor: The concept of Fury 161 is projecting the future of EBM music with less melodies and less Hi-energy concept. We are using instead more drums and more bass lines patterns. At this point we are still working on the music and we did receive good feedback — so soon something will happen….
Chain D.L.K.: Your debut “No Resistance” did also earn a few critical reviews which described a lack of own ideas and thoughts. How do you get along with those and how would you comment and discuss such reviews?
Retractor: We respect every opinion in each review as everybody has to respect our opinion on interviews. We get comments from both sides all the time: “That we are a good original band with our own signature” and the other side is: “That we are just another generic band copying others”.At the end every band gets bad and good feedback! Plus electronic music is all recycleable and it will continue with different signatures…. That’s what makes the difference! So if I ask you how many bands sound like Leaether Strip and The Klinik it will be a lot of them as, at the same time a lot of artists will sound like Depeche Mode and Cetu Javu! So EBM will remain EBM, no matter what will happen! It is all about the signature. And supporting the scene to make it better, not hating each other and making the scene smaller. So all we have to say is that we are sure that Retractor has found our own signature and it stands alone from other great minds.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it about live gigs for Retractor? Any plans to start a US tour and will you guys get the possibility to roll over Europe? And give us some insight of your stage action, for all those who did miss previous events….
Retractor: Yes, Retractor is now open for live gigs and we are getting offers, it is all about organizing material and dates. We are looking forward to be in Germany first and we are working on our main concept right now for stage performance and we know that we have to win the crowd with the naked stage first…. Then after that we will have all the props and the cool stuff.
Chain D.L.K.: You seem also ready to release a new remix EP. How is it going and can you already confirm any dates?
Retractor: Dates not yet but we still receiving remixes and we have to review all of them! We are also very pleased with the participation of all the bands and artists. You can check the track remix updates on our site for reference, www.retractoronline.net.
Chain D.L.K.: Your wishes for your future, musically and personal?
Retractor: Go on as far we can on music, reach as many fans we can, make a living on music, and travel the world.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words you would like to add…?
Retractor: Thank you, Marc and Chain D.L.K., for your time, is was a pleasure to reply on your interest in Retractor. “Remember, there is no Resistance”.
Chain D.L.K.: Thank you guys, and all the best for your future.
Visit Retractor on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]