Hailing from the North-East of the USA, the duo Derma-Tek could recently grab someone’s attention and some nice reactions on the dance floors of the dark Electro/Industrial clubs with their own released EP “Lost Cause” and their new full-length album “Corpus Technological”. They are maybe the first “real” Hellektro-inspired act signed to the DSBP label (www.dsbp.cx ), but for sure sort of the better ones. International reactions are also coming, in March this duo will take part with a compilation appearance on the German Rupal Records label (www.rupalheads.de). A highly professional working act whose international break-through seems to be only a hand-sign away…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Joe! First, would you like to introduce us to you, Miranda and your music project Derma-Tek? Please include the how, when and why to give some background info to our readers…
Derma-Tek: (JC) Derma-Tek has been around for quite a few years now, but only really worth mentioning within the last few years. We’ve had a few self-released CD’s as well as a few compilation appearances. We have recently signed with DSBP to release our debut CD “Corpus Technological”. I’m Joe Cains, and I’m basically in charge of all the music for Derma-Tek as well as all the vocals for this recent album. Then we also have my friend and colleague Miranda St. Croix who wrote all the lyrics for this album. (MSC): Hi all. Joe is too modest. His music has always been fantastic. I heard some of his music on a CD playing in a friend’s car one day and decided I had to find out who this guy is. He’s very talented. So Derma-Tek really started as a solo project and then I came along.
Chain D.L.K.: What are the reasons that you decided to join the stable of the DSBP after your self-released debut “Lost Cause”? What makes it comfortable to work with Tommy T.?
Derma-Tek: (JC) Tommy T has been great to us from the very beginning. Even before we signed with him, he has always supported Derma-Tek on his radio show, Cyberage. Tommy was willing to take a big chance with us, as a new band and sign us. Which in these days with sales as low as they are, it really is a big chance to take. He is a very down to earth kind of guy, so naturally we work extremely well together. I can’t say enough nice things about Tommy T and DSBP.
Chain D.L.K.: One stand-out point for Derma-Tek is surely the fact that you are taking care on real compositional efforts with engaged lyrics. Miranda is responsible for the lyrics in Derma-Tek, but why doesn’t t she sing one or another track?
Derma-Tek: (MSC) Honestly, we tried but my vocals just weren’t working for this album. There were a lot of raw emotions that went into this. We wanted the harshness of those emotions to come through and I, sounding all la-di-da, would have undone what we were trying to get across. Perhaps on the next album.
Chain D.L.K.: And with the previous question in mind I would like to ask for the content of “Rise From The Ashes”, from which I guess it features a personal, maybe private background. I think this piece is rather difficult for a woman to find the right direction, isn’t it?
Derma-Tek: (MSC) “Rise From The Ashes” is very personal. Joe and I have been friends for a while and because of that it was easy to write the lyrics. I don’t think it’s difficult for a woman to be able to understand. That’s like saying a woman only very rarely hurts the one she’s with. Women hurt people all the time. I think what is more rare is someone having the ability to look inside themselves and want real change. “Rise…” is symbolic in its story in the sense of turning into someone new, a rebirth. In that sense, you can take away from it whatever you want.
Chain D.L.K.: You tend also to discover some political-influenced themes like on “T.W.E.P”, which offers a clear statement against the current politics of your government. Is it only a tendency of our life time or does it hold a deeper personal meaning?
Derma-Tek: (MSC) It’s really both as far as I’m concerned. I mean I’m not going to give my opinion here as I think it’s very clear in the lyrics. However, I will tell you that I live in NYC. Joe lived pretty close to NYC on 9/11. It was his idea to write about it so he was obviously affected by it. On 9/11, I was at work, stood on the roof of the building I worked in, and watched the Towers burn. My job was turned into a shelter. People were showing up covered in ash, hysterical. It was pure chaos. I won’t go into much else but those images will never leave my mind. That day, my emotions ranged from terrified to pure rage. Since writing is really therapeutic for me, it’s only natural that this would come out this way.
Chain D.L.K.: Alex Matheu of Negative Format for doing the mastering, Willi “Dead Dreamer” doing the art, it seems the best are just good enough for you. I think the results erase any doubts, so how did you come in contact with these fine people?
Derma-Tek: (JC) Alex has been a great friend for many years now, and has been very much a mentor of sorts to us – always lending a helping ear, or sharing certain techniques. It just made sense to have him master the album since he was aware of what we were looking to achieve. As for Wilhelm, I contacted him after he did the artwork for “Interbreeding Vol.7”. This compilation featured a track by us and I got to see his work up close for the first time. I already had a theme in mind for the artwork, and thought that he would be perfect to execute this idea. So we discussed it and he was totally into the idea that we had, and we decided to work together.
Chain D.L.K.: A question related to this Hellektro thing, in which you’ll be surely sorted in. Why to your opinion, is this trend of harsh EBM currently that successful? How do you explain the phenomenon that this trend grows currently that unexpected in the USA, if you think on the fact that all last related new signings of a label like NoiTekk are hailing from the USA (Life Cried, Distorted Memory, FGFC820, Dawn Of Ashes)? What do you like to point out of being the difference between Derma-Tek and other related acts?
Derma-Tek: (JC) Really, I don’t think it’s a new trend at all. Most of those bands including us, have been around for a few years now. The thing is, with these sub-genres it all comes in waves. If you remember a few years ago future pop was big, then old school EBM, and now harsh EBM and they all seem to come back around eventually. When I first got into Electro/Industrial, I was into bands like Yelworc, X Marks The Pedwalk, Leaetherstrip and bands like that. They had a nice size following then. It died out for a few years and now that sound is back again. As for what sets us apart from the rest, I can’t speak for those artists in particular, but with our album, “Corpus Technological”, we tried to tie everything together in with one theme. That theme is that it’s basically a death, a rebirth of myself and Miranda, a retrospective of our lives, and a new beginning for us. We spent lots of time making sure that the subject matter, the lyrics and titles, the music, and the artwork all convey this common idea. We’ve never claimed to be anything groundbreaking, but I think what we do, we do well.
Chain D.L.K.: After receiving some fine comments from the DJ’s of the dark clubs, how is it with some plans to present your music on stage? Any conceptual idea for this?
Derma-Tek: (JC): We are currently planning our live presentation now. We’ve never been a gimmicky type of band, so no fake blood or things of that nature. But we do promise an entertaining show, and I believe we will be adding one or two additional live members to enhance the experience.
Chain D.L.K.: Your thoughts and wishes for 2K7? Any new stuff already in the pipeline you like to confirm here?
Derma-Tek: (JC) 2007, it will definitely be a busy year for Derma-Tek. We are currently getting together a surprise FREE downloadable remix companion EP, just as a thank you to all the people that have supported us thus far. We also hope to start work on our next album and play some shows when possible.
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words of you to conclude this interview?
Derma-Tek: (JC)Thank you to Marc and Chain D.L.K. for supporting Derma-Tek and thank you to everyone else who has supported us and helped us out and bought our CD. Keep your eyes peeled on: www.derma-tek.com , www.dsbp.cx for lots of upcoming news concerning Derma-Tek.
Visit Derma-Tek on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Kevin J. Cazier]