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Left Spine Down - interview (2008)
2008-02-13 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz and Brian Backlash | e-mail interview
NINa: You've been working on the newest album which is due to come up this year. Will it be heavy, guitar driven or more drum'n'bass orientated?

Denyss: The album we're currently working on is such an even mix of things it's hard to really stick any kind of genre tag on it. You'll find a lot of electronic based
stuff in the way of D&B, Industrial etc. Chris Peterson is hugely instrumental in the conceptual, engineering and processing of all these elements to help us find exactly what we want to do, and Jeremy is such a little workaholic/perfectionist that despite the fact it's still a punk rock take on digital music, everything is scrutinized down to the last detail. At the same time because we're all such rock geeks, the organic instrumentation is still heavily prominent. We're always writing new music, and the newest material is very much the same as what will be going on the current record, just a lot more developed and cohesive as the band has had a lot more time to play together at this point.

-k: It WILL be heavy, it WILL be guitar driven and it WILL be drum'n'bass oriented. So, in answer to your question, all of the above.

Matt: It will be equal parts guitar driven/d'n'b - the perfect balance between the two, I think.

Jared: All of which. Hint of brass.

Brian Backlash: Have you decided on a name for your new record? What are you hoping to accomplish with that piece of work?

Jeremy: Fighting for Voltage.We hope to create an audience that we can play to and rock, all over the world, as well as have it be an introduction to future albums.

-k: We're hoping to make all your ears bleed.

Matt: We have been figuring out how to best put out this record for so long it almost seems like a dream - but it will be called "Fighting for Voltage" and i cant wait for the whole thing to finally come into fruition

NINa: I really enjoyed the song "Reset", which you released on last year's Smartbomb EP. Did you have any general idea for the concept of that recording?

-k: "Reset" is part of the full length's overall theme; when we wrote the song itself I was slowly finishing up on this insane concept and decided to get into character.

Matt: That track in particular i was not really around for the making of save for a guitar take or two after it was made - I believe that was one of the moments where Chris Peterson really influenced us, and his work really shines there.

Brian Backlash: Do you foresee this project continuing for a great number of years? What do you hope to have accomplished at the end of it all?

Denyss: With a band like this it's hard to say. The project has been going for a couple years but the steps that have been taken since the recent incarnation of the band are such a huge departure that it's impossible to say when our job will be done. It could last two more records with the current members and have us all say, "Yeah guys, it's been great but it's time to move on", or there could be more variations of the roster and have it take different influences. Who knows?
All I can say is you haven't seen the last of us for a good while yet.

-k: I see us as a band for at least another 10 years, but then again the future is, to side with popular belief, unwritten.

Matt: Well - we're in year 6 now? 7? It really seems like forever honestly. After various role changes (I was originally a bassist in the band), members coming and going, and a new sense of self discovery - it kind of seems like we're a new band. But we've been here the whole time growing and changing, both personally and as artists. I can only hope were moving forward years from now.

NINa: How did you enjoy the show with USSA and Chemlab in Vancouver last year?

-k: The Red Room is always amazing to play at. The sound system's pretty good, the lights are great... I really like using the flat screen TVs everywhere. The projected speaker stacks are also a bonus.

Matt: Any time you have a chance to play with some extraordinary musicians like them, its an honour. They were super cool to all of us.

Brian Backlash: How has having Jeremy Inkel and Jared Slingerland from Front Line Assembly influenced your sound and garnered you opportunities? Do you think the band's sound and direction and success would be different without them?

-k: Good question. I remember even long before Jeremy was in FLA we were still making a little noise in town. But once they joined FLA and got on the bus with em, it kinda opened a whole new door... I think we would have come to this point in our career about this time next year, with at least one album and tour under our belts. Now we're planning an even more expansive tour our first time around, and I can definitely say it would be a little different otherwise. How, exactly I don't know. We've been writing these songs as this unit for a while now...We've also been forced to pay more attention to things; hiring management and things like that, in order to keep things going smoothly. We also owe a lot to Chris Peterson. We more than value his friendship and contribution to our work. Also, FLA's the first cyberindustrial band I have ever heard (Iceolate, 1991) so you better BELIEVE we'd be different w/o FLA lol.. Funny how things come around full circle.

Matt: Funny thing about that is, FLA actually stole them from us! Again, we've always valued their opinion and music, so when they were brought into the FLA fold it only seemed natural. I've never once felt jealous, I was only too happy to see our boys up there giving 100% like always. Its been quite an experience getting to work so closely with such pioneers.

Brian Backlash: You have a lot of Canadian shows lined up for the near future. What are your prospects for playing in the States and elsewhere at this time?

Denyss: We have irons in the fire. And they will leave permanent marks on you.

-k: Work is being done to lock some US dates down. Nothing's confirmed as of yet.

Matt: One of the biggest rushes I've been able to experience is playing for a fresh crowd, one that has never seen us play. It gives me a sense that I have something more to offer people because the Vancouver crowd have always been the ones "weathering our storm" so to speak.

NINa: What difficulties have you come across in terms of running your own music business?

Denyss: The real challenge really comes in simply not getting disheartened when things don't go as well as you had hoped. Keeping band morale up and making sure everyone is still excited and motivated to keep working as hard as we do. On top of that, I suppose now that music is so accessible now, it encourages more bands to start, record and promote themselves. Unfortunately, there is a percentage of these bands that are absolutely atrocious and really have no business even giving it a shot. Bands who are more concerned with "being a band" for all sorts of reasons besides actually making good music. So that just congests the whole industry with bad music that shouldn't even be getting thrown into the funnel at all. We have a few advantages so it's not as difficult as it would be say for a band who is starting out fresh and really has to put their noses to the grindstone to get things happening, but knowing that even getting a demo hand delivered to someone at a label is still, one out of a hundred that month can be discouraging. In the end, we just want as many people as possible to hear what we've done.

-k: It'd be easier if it was my day job.

Jeremy: It gets hard sometimes, when there are so many bands online, trying to market themselves, get shows, and get a label interested. As well, labels don't give as much as they used to, so you are constantly on, and pushing, and it can get to you sometimes.

Matt: Obviously we don't have the luxury of a tour bus or guitar techs or people running our lighting/sound for us. So at this point that is a major obstacle for us. But I think we can pull off almost anything. Punk music isnt supposed to be nice or perfect anyway.

Jared: Gettin paid!

Brian Backlash: It's often said that industrial music is either dead or dying. What are some ways to expand the style's audience and generate new blood to carry the torch?

-k: I don't think it's dead. I hear it's still doing great. Skinny Puppy and FLA playing a 3 day festival in Oregon, OK it's not Woodstock but who cares? The digital pirate revolution is blamed, I know Jeremy has a thing or two to say about that, but when you look at music as a whole nowadays, it's more than just downloading, it's something else that can be felt everywhere. On every record, every radio, podcast, broadcast, bounceback or pre-recorded ringtone.

Matt: Its all about crossing over into different audiences and styles. You need to give people a reason to get interested. I really believe we can appeal to alot of different tastes, so that someone might listen to our record or go to our show, and then go find an old FLA album or something.

NINa: We haven't heard about any music revolution since the Seattle scene in the 90's. Previous revolutions which influenced a huge amount of bands were punk, cold wave, gothic and new romantics. Mostly these were 80’s music scenes when record labels helped the artists and there was no Internet like today. What inspires an artist to rebel and think creatively? Is it about a political lack of freedom and other difficulties created by the government?

Denyss: Personally I think trying to write and create within a parameter is a really stupid idea. You limit yourself to what possible outcomes could be generated will stifle you. Things are a bit different these days in the industry it's true. There is hardly any more artist development, you have one shot to make your mark and recoup. If you come close, you might get kept on for a second album. As far as political inspiration, while we in Canada do have our shortcomings , we don't have nearly as much to complain about in local government as so many underprivileged and impoverished countries do. I would feel like a fucking jerk to turn everything on, write a scathingly furious anti-establishment anthem then walk down to the store without having to look over my shoulder, have a cigarette buy myself some dinner and a six-pack then go home to bed feeling secure that I won't be attacked by vermin or killed in my sleep. Just saying.

-k: What about CRUNK!? lol J-Rod's all about the CRUNK! I don't really see it from a political point of view. I mean, I make music because I LOVE it. I'm inspired by the sheer ability to get in a room with these clowns and create something that sounds really cool. I may have some wild ideas that may involve some sort of socio-political reference but most of it's personal. Scenes were the lifeblood of any band or genre, and they still are today. I think the market's saturated based on the fact that there are about 1,000,000 active bands around the world now as the 500,000 occupying the same amount of space 10 years ago. But somewhere, in a dingy club, there's a stupid or clever or funny or exciting band or duo or project that's not going to be on American Idol but will impress the 300-500 kids in there and there'll be at least one guy in a skinny tie and a blackberry in the crowd saying "Hey that's something I can sell". Things may look different but they're still the same, in a manner of speaking.

Matt: I think its all of the above honestly. It might be impossible to pull off nowadays because everyone with a computer can make an album. You really have to weed through it all in order to get what you`re looking for. I think the revolutions are moreso internal at this point.

Brian Backlash: What's your opinion on podcasting and downloading music?

Denyss: It's been great as far as making things accessible to a wider audience. A kid can pick up a song they heard and scope out the band with a few keystrokes and explore things a little further. It's when it gets abused that things go wrong, just like everything else. One SHOULD buy music from the artist if they find that they like and want to support them. Unfortunately, it's so easy to simply download the whole damn record including all the artwork and not pay one fucking cent for it. It's hard enough to make a go of this with record sales on your side. When you take that away, you've got one less resource to help you continue to make music.

-k: Andy Warhol was right. We all now can have our own 15 minutes of fame.

Jeremy: Podcasting is interesting, but I still think downloading is wrong. Would you steal from a record store? Do you want bands to be able to afford to entertain you? Bands post music for you to hear, and then you buy it, thats how it works, thats how it should work, don't tell me otherwise. You can still hear it, without stealing it.

Matt: I just now got a 4GB iPod for my birthday. Don't have a clue about podcasting, but were available on iTunes, so thats only going to help us build and audience in parts of the world where someone might not be able to order a CD from us, or can't afford to.

Brian Backlash: Do you see as the Canadian music industry and musical artists as particularly different from other parts of the world? Is there anything Canada has musically that no one else does, but should?

Denyss: We have longer drives between cities haha. Having said that though, our provincial and federal governments do have programs and grants set up and available for legitimate working artists. I'd say the only thing we're really lacking is a concentration of population that other major countries have. I've toured a good chunk of the planet, I've found that Canada and Europe are similar in a lot of ways, mostly in the way that bands are treated on the road. It's nice to pull up to the venue after a 10 hour drive and have someone to help you with your gear and have some food ready for you. Small things like that are so crucial.

-k: We must differ based on our geography. It takes a lot longer to drive out to the next major town so tours can be expensive and almost futile. But then there's a bright side as well; when we went to Alberta we had a really grateful audience who appreciated the fact that we trucked all the way out there just to play a show.

Jeremy: Not really, its all the same to me. However, Canada, does have more grants from the government, for art, versus the USA.

Matt: Vancouver in particular has been know to be home of some of the best music the world has ever seen, not to mention a large chunk of that music was not only birthed here, but out of towners often make their records right here in our home city.

Jared: Good music is good music and it comes from anywhere. Same goes for shitty music.

NINa: If Hillary Clinton wins the US Presidential election, do you think she has the potential to become another Margaret Thatcher-like person if she won the US Presidential election, so some young subculture could rebel and create a new revolution in music like what happened in the UK in the 70's and 80's?

Denyss: That will have such a third party effect on me, that I can't really say anything until something starts to happen. But you can bet I will be watching veeeeeery closely when this whole thing goes down.

-k: If she wins I'll vote we revive our God Save the Queen hack cover (retitled "Hail to the Chief") for kicks ;) But as far as comparing Clinton to Thatcher, I can't really say anything. I'm one of those people who won't be able to tell you if you looked good with short hair until you had short hair.

Jeremy: I'll let kAINE handle that one too, lol.

Matt: ...yes? really don't have much of an answer here - ask kAINE.

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