Chain D.L.K.: You told me that THE SURGICAL SUITE’s tracks have been composed years ago. Do they sounded the same or, , if you changed something, what have you done?
Stark: I really didn’t change them very much at all. Having so much time between the actual writing of the material and the release gave me a great advantage. I had alot of time to work on other things then come back to The Surgical Suite with a fresher perspective. When I did go back to listen to it all again however I was torn between wanting to update the sounds of the songs and wanting to preserve the artistic output of a period of my life in its original form. I did make a few changes but I think there still remains a strong sense of what will either be perceived as immaturity or youthful exuberance. The only really big change that I can remember making though is in the track “The Cold House”. From the original file attributes I think the first version must have been written when I was about 17-18, a year later I pretty much did a remix of it and that is what went on the album with the original never to be released. Apart from that everything else is how it was written originally.
Chain D.L.K.: Has your sound changed since then? How?
Stark: It has become clearer and fatter. Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to turn up the treble when I listened to music and for whatever reason I find higher frequencies more appealing and that is definitely reflected in the Stark and Neon Womb releases. There is not much point though if you just end up hurting other peoples ears hehe, so I have decided to turn down the screaming-ness a bit.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you decide to open a website not as stark. com but as www. thesurgicalsuite. com? Is the process more important than the creator?
Stark: I wasn’t actually involved with the initial setting up of the domain name so I don’t actually know why it happened that way at first. The only thing I can think of is that there was already a whole heap of Stark-like domain names because it is such a common surname or something. It is cool though and since then it has become like the name for the studio I write from. It is really an incidental but natural progression as since I have started Stark I have expanded into other projects and doing other things like mastering, and it is always good to have a general name for where you are working from.
Chain D.L.K.: It seems to me that the graphic project is an important issue for Stark. Have you collaborated with Tim Staeglich for the SURGICAL SUITE’s design? Do you think he caught the idea of what is behind your music? Are you still collaborating with him? In this case, what are you preparing with him?
Stark: The way it worked is Tim was given a copy of the disc and basically told “do whatever you want”. I had already seen some of his art before and thought it to be damn good, and very suitable to coexist with the album. It is really to his credit as an artist that what he created complemented the album so well. All the art has a very collage-like feel to it, and to my ears TSS also has that kind of feeling as well. I do not really know what I will be wanting for the next Stark releases, because I haven’t finished writing it so we are yet to see what the future holds!
Chain D.L.K.: By reading your info sheet and by listening to your music people could think that Hocico and: :Wumpscut:: influenced you while writing your tracks. Do you feel any connection with them?
Stark: Yes and no. I had heard some: w: stuff like “Embryodead” around the time I was writing finishing TSS, but not the earlier stuff people say I sound like. I hadn’t heard Hocico at all until much much later. I think the funniest thing is when people say I sound like Suicide Commando, who I still to this day have not heard. I do have a great amount of respect for these acts now though, but always being associated with them is a double edge sword. When people say Stark sounds like: w: in a good way I am honoured, when people say it in a derogatory way I feel like pointing out the differences to them which is usually impossible if it is in a review that has already been published or something.
Chain D.L.K.: Thinking about your project do you experience it more like a personal piece of work or did you want it to be considered part of an existing scene?
Stark: Being in Australia means to a degree I’m inherently removed from the industrial scene just by geography if nothing else. Most of my contacts in the Australian scene either lean towards noise music or straighter style electro, and I don’t really know anyone else doing harsh industrial. I am aware that there are people around doing similar kind of stuff that I do in the same city, even people living in the same suburb as me, like Novakill I think lives near me maybe, but we have never met. I am a very antisocial and un-likeable person and I am happy to just do my thing though and not really be part of the scene, and people are probably happy to leave me alone haha.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you think your musical/themes peculiarity are?
Stark: Up until recently I was into very minimalist themes. I was into the idea of creating a specific mood or affection using the least amount of expressive elements possible. In a way this was more of a rebellion against my musical education, and I didn’t see electro music and the music I study at uni as being one of the same. Since then I have reconciled the two and the new Stark material has much more complex musical themes that take their inspiration directly from jazz and classical music.
Chain D.L.K.: On your infos I read as your recurring themes: human depravity and suffering. In what way are they inspiring your music?
Stark: Usually in the from of projecting something I see in my everyday life into general terms. A more potent expression of this idea would be in a song like Pattaya off the Wield Ep. I am part Chinese even though you wouldn’t really pick it up from looking at me. I often meet White Australians who are openly racist towards Asian people to my face. Then at the same time these people tell me they have a fetish Asian girl and are spending every holiday in Thailand screwing desperately poor Thai whores. Anyone who uses a prostitute is fundamentally a cunt, but anyone who gets off on using a girl because they feel they are somehow racially superior to her is much much worse. It makes me incredibly angry so although the track seems somewhat impersonal and generalised it really is coming from a personal feeling, and that is how these things inspire my music.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve also got another project called Neon Womb: what made you feel the urge to play music with another monicker and what are the main differences with Stark?
Stark: Neon Womb is a hell of alot more noisy! ! After I wrote TSS I thought I began to realise the importance of song writing skills and developing coherent song structures and things like that, and taught to myself that that would be something I would need to work on in the future for Stark. I knew it would be a while before I would need to write more Stark material though so I decided that in the meantime I would do something that would be the antithesis of that, so I started Neon Womb. Neon Womb is much more about experimenting with sounds and song structures, hence the reason there are no vocals in it.
Chain D.L.K.: Neon Womb’s first album, “Intimate Moments”, is even more extreme than Stark’s music. What’s behind this decision and is there a different concept concerning Neon Womb or do you think about it as something that musically didn’t match with Stark?
Stark: When I started writing “Intimate Moments” I was really preoccupied with the James Bond sort of idea of masculinity. I mean that character is found to be attractive by millions and women and men alike. Yet what does he do? He just goes around killing people, sleeping around and generally behaving like a bastard. If I was to do that I would probably end up in jail very quickly and nobody would think I’m cool. That is musically in tracks like “Seduction”, where there is the electro noise type beats mixed in with cocktail bar style piano representing two different facets of the way Bond would seduce a girl. The whole album is like that with appropriation from operas mixed in with samples of arabic singing all over pretty brutal beats. The whole syringe thing came in later. After thinking a lot about it the natural conclusion seemed to be that James Bond is really some kind of super psychopath, in that he is cold and precise in his actions, but at the same timw insanely decedent. To me the needle represents both of those things because it is on one hand a surgical instrument, and on the other hand it is also used to take various kinds of drugs.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you preparing new tracks? Can you describe them?
Stark: Yes, I am writing what will be the next Stark releases as we speak. The new Stark material is much more concerned with thematic development and actual song writing. I think the most obvious difference to the current releases will be that the newer tracks are alot more rhythmically creative. I had never thought that much about rhythm before but since then it has become one of my main concerns.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you think will Stark’s evolution be?
Stark: Hopefully it will sell many cd’s and I will grow fat from much good food and women, and all other fruits of the world haha. It is certainly something that is dynamic though, and the new tracks, although definitely still sounding like Stark, are very different at the same time. And when I come back to write more it will be different again. I do not see the point of writing the same thing twice, but I think a lot of acts are forced into that position because of critics etc slam them if they change. I think that is a great pity and I will make sure that Stark will always be an evolving entity.
Chain D.L.K.: What are your future projects?
Stark: I’m not sure at the moment. For the time being Stark is taking up most of my time and I haven’t really given any thoughts to what I will do after the next round of releases. I have been doing a bit of remixing lately and I really enjoy that and would like to do more of that kind of thing in the future. After that I guess maybe another Neon Womb disc, and after that I don’t know, it all depends on what I feel like doing!
Visit Stark on the web at:
www.thesurgicalsuite.com and at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marc Urselli]