Bringing back the dark, fuck-all rage of old school industrial, this Canadian one-man assault is definitely leading the way in the rebirth of industrial. No EBM, no Techno Future Pop beats, this is the real deal, folks. Now for some words of wisdom let’s turn to John Mortimer…
Chain D.L.K.: So, first off, how are you today? Never hear that in other interviews haha!
Toxic shock Syndrome: Haha then you can consider yourself the man who brought formal salutations back into interviews!
Chain D.L.K.: Well, I read where you are now touring with electro titans Funker Vogt on their tour in Canada. How does it feel being a newcomer supporting someone with such a reputation?
Toxic shock Syndrome: I would say that there is a fair amount of pressure. Funker Vogt has a number of tours under their belt and it is difficult to consider that my show will not absolutely pale in comparison. On the other hand, I have played a considerable amount of live shows over the last 3 years and can only appreciate the fact that both the band and promoters deem me competent enough to be on the same bill. Definitely a good opportunity and it will be on hell of a fun show.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us a bit about the group, how you got started, likes, dislikes, etc.
Toxic shock Syndrome: I got started by scoring plays for a theatre company in town. That work progressed into a more evolved soundtrack style sound that had a large industrial influence. I have always been a fan of ‘epic’ music and that was incorporated into the sound as well. Eventually after a number of demo recordings I ended up meeting with some local DJs who gave me airtime, opportunity, and encouragement. Over time the sound has evolved more towards a rhythmic base [note that I will refrain from calling the music dance] but has maintained the dark, epic overtone.
Chain D.L.K.: The title “Dead Animal Sodomy” is ummm… Unique. Why the title choice?
Toxic shock Syndrome: The title reflects my attitude towards what I believed the state of music to be in at the time: kind of like flogging a dead horse. When DAS was released there were a million Front Line Assembly and VNV Nation knockoff bands that I wanted to make the point of “Hey, this really IS different”.
Chain D.L.K.: You seem to carry the old school ethic of industrial, which is tried in Canada a lot but rarely done. Have you gotten a hard time for that, given the synth pop resurgence up there?
Toxic shock Syndrome: Absolutely. There is a local DJ that refers to me as EBM even and wonders why I am not going in the VNV Nation “FuturePop” direction. When I write music it simply does not manifest like that. I always term industrial as heavy, angst ridden, dark music, and Synth Pop is quite opposite of that.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you bump into InterDimensional Industries?
Toxic shock Syndrome: About 4 years ago I sent a demo disc to a DJ in Edmonton (Nik Rofeelya) and he hooked me up with Regan MacLeod (IDI label manager). I was immediately attracted towards IDI’s general attitude towards artists (particularly Canadian) and the general consensus that they were involved because they simply wanted to release music, not to take over the world like some labels.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell me about that moment in time when you knew “this is the music I want to play, this is what I want to make of my life” and what CD made you realize that.
Toxic shock Syndrome: This will sound really arrogant, but the moment came when I realized that the music I write spends more time in my CD player than music that others write. I write the music that I want to listen to. When it stops becoming interesting to me is when I will move on.
Chain D.L.K.: The CD also separates itself from the pack with it’s lack of danciness in favor of ambience. Was this an intentional step away from the made-for -the-floor dance music out there today? Seems like an industry mandate anymore!
Toxic shock Syndrome: In the case of DAS, yes, it was intentional. I wanted to release a CD that did not rely on a kick drum and had almost a retro sound.
Chain D.L.K.: As a whole, is there a particular theme to “Dead Animal Sodomy”?
Toxic shock Syndrome: Yes. To me, DAS represents the failure of a relationship and the feelings that it encompasses, and the effects that it has on yourself and those around you.
Chain D.L.K.: Are “Trial: Fire” and “Trial: Execution” one and the same or two totally different songs? Anyone in particular being executed?
Toxic shock Syndrome: They are built upon one another. Trial: Fire represents the crescendo of trying to get where you are, and Trial: Execution represents that things are not always the way you expect them to be.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us a bit about the new CD, “Static”.
Toxic shock Syndrome: I had a much better chance to play and tweak the material on Static in a live situation and see how people react to it. There are tracks on it that are definitely more suited for a dancefloor. The material is more polished and I think the disc is much more fluid and coherent than DAS.
Chain D.L.K.: Any news additions such as synths, more sequencer usage, some guitars or anything else in mind?
Toxic shock Syndrome: There is a lot more synth usage than previously and the arrangements are more structured. It still has the epic sound from DAS but it is more focused.
Chain D.L.K.: How would you compare the scenes in Montreal versus Calgary?
Toxic shock Syndrome: Do the scenes variate in Canada from city to city like they do in America? The scenes do seem to vary from province to province, and in some cases there is a huge disparity. I think that overall the common factor is that there are a great number of people who put time, energy, and money into promoting industrial music and culture. The focus should really be on them.
Chain D.L.K.: Any French songs on the new CD for our friends in Montreal and Quebec?
Toxic shock Syndrome: Non, je ne parle pas Francais. If I put a song in French it would probably end up translating into “please the world bathroom is water” (my extent of the French vocabulary).
Chain D.L.K.: Would you say the new songs are made for the studio or for being played live?
Toxic shock Syndrome: I have separate mixes for each track that is played live. I prefer presenting the material in a live situation.
Chain D.L.K.: Ok, I toss one of the news songs at you like “Front”. Tell us about it in detail to give us out there a bit of a preview and thoughts in your own mind on it.
Toxic shock Syndrome: The song Front is about the rampant elitism that almost everyone in the industrial scene has experienced at one point or another. It is fun as hell to play because of the cadence on the vocals!
Chain D.L.K.: My roommate’s going on vacation soon to the Calgary area. Any recommendations for her on places to see and things to do?
Toxic shock Syndrome: Keep your eyes peeled for “Ballet Mechanique” and “Anathema” – both are industrial nights run by DJs dANDROID and GenocideX, respectively. Also, Calgary is home of Comatose Rose which is Canada’s only goth/industrial print culture mag.
Chain D.L.K.: So at the end of the day, what in your mind puts TSS up there with Canadian greats like Frontline Assembly and Numb?
Toxic shock Syndrome: I would say the only thing that would put me in a grouping like that would simply be that I am not like them or trying to be like them. TSS is TSS. It has a very distinct sound that I don’t think can be directly compared to other acts.
Chain D.L.K.: Any side projects planned?
Toxic shock Syndrome: Not planned, but I do work on other projects from time to time. My last side-project was with a pure noise project called “Angels on Toast”. Fun, messy, and involved fire.
Chain D.L.K.: Any words of wisdom or good jokes for everyone out there?
Toxic shock Syndrome: If you don’t believe your shit doesn’t smell no one else will.
Visit Toxic shock Syndrome on the web at:
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton]