Following on from the success of 'Homeland Insecurity', Nick was asked to give an interview to FGFC820. Needless to say, he accepted.

The Brief

Good morning Gentlemen. It's halfway through 2012, and we've really felt the hangover of events in 2011, some of which continue to the present day. As a very outspoken anti-war unit, finding inspiration for songs must be easier than ever before. Let's start this interview with a serious wake-up call - where are your trains of thoughts leading these days?
ARKANA: - ''After "Law & Ordnance" came out, I found it funny when interviewers would ask us what we would write about after the Afghanistan/Iraq crises. I always responded that there was no shortage of injustices in the world. I'm being somewhat geo-centric at the moment, though, with my concerns; every day I watch my country move farther and farther away from the principles upon which she was founded and it makes me physically ill to watch.''


An Introduction to you seems a little unnecessary, especially after such a powerful intro. Regardless, there's still gonna be an audience unfamiliar with you both. The story is that you both came from different musical backgrounds, and were brought together by a common, unwavering connection. After three albums and an EP (should we disregard the limited edition self-releases), the machine seems to be stronger than I've ever heard it. Where are you going from here?
DRÄCOS: - ''Good question. We're taking a break from writing and recording for the rest of the year so we can play some shows and work on other things, so when 2013 rolls around hopefully we'll have some new ideas to keep the project from getting stale.''
ARKANA: - ''Well, apparently we're going to Europe, for one. In terms of music production, however, we've taken a break to focus on Bruderschaft and some of Dräcos' solo material so that we can clear our plate of those projects and move ahead full power in 2013 on new 820.''

I'll personally talk about you as individuals for a short while now, if there's no objections. Rexx, you're famous for your DJ work, and the coming-together of Futurepop 'supergroup' "Bruderschaft".
Something I find fascinating about you is the diversity behind the man we see on stage. Followers of yours online will know what I mean, as you host a section on Youtube entitled "80s Obscurities" - in which you introduce your audience to some of the best music never discovered. It blew me away to see this side of you, as I've always been one to just see what the media shows me (ironically). Perhaps you could talk to us about that?

ARKANA: - ''I am and always will be a child of the 80s in many ways. It was then that synthesized music first became commercially successful (e.g. 'Cars' by Gary Numan) and as such there was an influx of artists working in the field of electronic music that were granted the opportunity to record and release material. As much as people may know the hits and the one-hit-wonders of the era, there's a veritable bounty of undiscovered and/or largely unknown artists and compositions from that time period. I still love the warmth of the synths from that era and spend probably more than half my time listening to that style of music.''


You also teamed up with Arizona's "BlakOpz" on their debut album "Blood, Sweat and Fear", contributing to the track "United". The act have a lot in common with FGFC820, and the track was a clear choice for your input. Having tipped BlakOpz to go a long long way, I now see them as ideal candidates for touring partners. How did this happen? Were you approached by them?
ARKANA: - ''Yeah. We met Alex when we played a show with them in Philly and we really hit it off. Shortly after, he approached me to see if I'd be willing to provide vocals for them. Since they are stylistically (and, to a degree, politically) similar to 820 - and because they're both great guys - I was pleased to collaborate with them.'


What I find essential to the FGFC820 sound is your vocal style. It's harsh, which goes hand in hand with the genre and the aesthetic, but it has a unique quality to it, and I find it drives the music home more crucially than many in the scene. It's also evolved a lot since "Urban Audio Warfare" was released, critically reaching its apex on "Homeland Insecurity". Your vocals are almost always coherent, making the lyrics really easy to get. How did you settle on such a style?
ARKANA: - ''I really lament the fact that industrial music in the contemporary sense has de-emphasized lyrical content as much as it has, given the history and genesis (no pun intended) of the style. For me, lyrics are exceptionally important; which is why I can only tolerate guys screaming nonsense about fucking and basslines for so long before I get total ear fatigue. We have a message as a band (several messages, to be sure), but we can't communicate those messages very effectively if you can't understand what the hell I'm singing. On the first record, the vocals were a lot more distorted, but we keep stripping layers off the vocal effect with each record. I think 'Homeland...' is the most easily understood.


Thanking Rexx for his answers, we move on to interrogating Dräcos for a while. Dräcos, you're from more of a punk/metal background, if memory serves me correctly. This works to great favour as you often deliver your deep, metal-style vocals as a direct counter to Rexx's style. You use this sparingly at key moments, such as on "Martyrdom" and "Call To Glory". I'd be interested to hear how this dual-assault came to be, and how it was planned so well - I feel if used on every track it would lose some of its edge, but FGFC820 has always been about edge and direction.
DRÄCOS: - ''Well 'Martyrdom' was originally a metal song that I wrote back in the 90s and that's just the way I've always growled on that song. But as with a lot of my metal tunes, some of the guitar riffs in those old songs ended up turning into FGFC820 tracks since I had no plans to turn all of that material into a live band project. As far as using death metal style vocals on other tracks, I think it was to add a bit of emphasis here and there on the recordings, or to change things up a bit. Seeing as how vocals can be quite routine with the way they are delivered in harsh electro, it didn't seem like too bad of an idea to try out something different.''


Just as Rexx lent his talents to BlakOpz, you lent your talents to Detroit Diesel, on the latest release "Coup D'état". You featured on "The Playground". It's interesting to see both of you lending your voices to bands doing similar things. Again, how did you come about working with DD?
DRÄCOS: - ''Their label asked me if I'd be interested. Jamie over at Deathwatch Asia told me he had received this mp3 from the band along with a message that they were 'looking for a backing vocal a la Dräcos' for that song, and if he knew of anyone who would be interested. So instead of finding someone that sounded like me, he just asked me. Maybe it was just a ploy to indirectly ask me if I would record backing vocals for them.''


We spoke on Facebook, and I recall you saying that you've been involved in various other projects. The more astute out there may recognise the name "Disciples of Astaroth". What else do you lend your talents to?
DRÄCOS: - ''There have been different projects over the years from metal to gabber. I even did a house remix for this r&b artist that did fairly well on various DJ charts years ago. These days I'm just working on 820 and the new Bruderschaft as well as a couple of solo projects.''

The Assignment

Perhaps the first thing I want to do now that we are discussing the group proper is stamp the importance of stressing your politics to the audience. You are simply an anti-war, anti-violence act, and there's no room for compromise. This message has been lost to a select few, sadly. For me, a huge, huge part of FGFC820 is the lyrics. Firstly, are these a joint effort, or does one of you tend to have more say than the other?
ARKANA: - ''I write all of the lyrics for the project, although sometimes Dräcos will suggest an alternate take on something I've written and that may end up making its way into the song. On the more political or social issues tracks, I don't think I'm really saying anything altogether different from his personal views on the subject. The more personal tracks, like 'Relapse' or 'Love Until Death' are definitely...well, more personal to me. Most of those are directly written about or inspired by the relationships in my life. Dräcos usually just calls those our 'emo' songs. He wouldn't want to write anything that betrays his sensitive side.''


Other than the lyrics (which went on to heavily inspire my own lyrics for Cortex Defect), your attention to detail is one of the other big reasons why I chose to be a follower of FGFC820. A brilliant example of this falls with the "Resolution" instrumentals that are littered throughout your releases. The titles could be an ironic statement about American policy and law (You guys LOVE your country, but have clearly had enough of how it's operating overseas and internally), but I've found that if you put them together, they pretty much make an entire album by themselves - like you've hidden an album within an album. If so, that's a pretty powerful statement to make. Am I off the mark here?
DRÄCOS: - ''There isn't any album within an album. Those Resolution tracks are just instrumental interludes. On Homeland Insecurity we used the Resolution tracks to break the album up into four sonic chapters.'


Another 'Easter Egg' I've found lies with 'Law and Ordnance'. I own the Japanese edition with limited artwork (via Deathwatch Asia), and I believe this exists only with the exclusive art on that pressing. On the front cover of the extended booklet, there's a tank in the background with tiny yellow print on the cannon. Further inspection reveals it to say "Chuck Norris". I didn't notice that for years, but when I did it truly amused me. Whose idea was that?
DRÄCOS: - ''My Japanese edition was still shrinkwrapped, but I had to see this for myself so I unwrapped it. Who the hell put Chuck Norris on the tank?!''
ARKANA: - ''Charlton Heston would kick Chuck Norris in the balls. ''

Your first release covered "Hanging Garden" by "The Cure". Further into your career, you took on "Ich Bin EinAuslander" by the legendary "Pop Will Eat Itself" - a track closer suited to you guys with its perspective view of immigration. There's a long line of songs that you could really do justice to - are any more planned?
DRÄCOS:: - ''We also covered Boys From Brazil's 'We Don't Need No World War III' as well as Nitzer Ebb's 'Lightning Man' which was included in the 'For Emergency Use Only' tactical assault kit. So no, I don't think 820 needs to record any more covers.''
ARKANA: - ''Despite what Dräcos says, we actually did think a bit about another cover or two, but it just didn't work out. Who knows what might happen before the next album.''

Law and Ordnance was generally about protecting yourself, your home, and your country. It also bought us "Killing Fields" and "The Heart of America". With all the chaos of 2011, the next album "Homeland Insecurity" was guaranteed to be political. A lot of the uprisings were triggered via the power of social media, and of course, the internet. This brings me to talk about the track "Legion". I may be way off the mark here, but it uses the line "We are Legion", which was made famous by the internet collective, "Anonymous". It almost paints a DIY style approach to the release, stating that anyone can start a revolution. Intentional or not, it drew a contrast for me with the previous release, and as such, i'd be interested to hear your points of view.
ARKANA: - "The line is/was definitely sort of a wink to 'Anonymous,', but it has applicability way beyond them. I'm more of an upfront kind of person, not one who hides anonymously in the background plotting and executing mischief or protest. If I don't like you, or your politics, it won't be hard for you to know that. A lot of what I write has this kind of double meaning, if you will. Phrases and passages that have immediate, specific reference to me, but which I construct with some level of ambiguity that makes it more generally relatable for the listeners. I always enjoy it when fans explain their take on the meanings of certain things, or how certain lines affected them personally in different ways. I also feel in some way that our position as a group affords us with an opportunity to speak on behalf of those who have been silenced.''


With "Homeland Insecurity", you've hit the apex of bleakness. The artwork shows a lowly child standing alone in a destroyed city, next to what was once a Playground. The very first thing you hear is a sample of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau discussing what is arguably one of the countries darkest moments - The October Crisis. It's a punch in the gut before the first note even starts, and it's a stark reminder that we are so lucky to sit at our desks, gorging ourselves, taking the world for granted. To further surprise the audience as only you can, you then make the album into a whole new, Hardstyle influenced sound. I bet that was a decision that wasn't taken lightly?
DRÄCOS: - ''I'd say there are maybe only three or four tracks on the album that have a hardstyle influence. But I've been mixing hardstyle with harsh EBM at the clubs for the last ten years, so it was only a matter of time before that influence finally started making its way into 820 tracks.''


You've both seen my review, so you know my thoughts on it. I'm adamant that it's the best work you've recorded to date. Feedback has been mostly positive, although there's always the odd moaner here and there. Time will reveal the true effect the album has. Are you both as pleased with it now as you were when it came out?
DRÄCOS: - ''Yeah, some evenings I still crank it up and listen to the whole thing start to finish. Even though I spent a long time tweaking some of the songs over and over again, I'm pleased with the way the album turned out and am glad that it wasn't rushed.''
ARKANA: - ''I like the album, which is to say that I'd listen to it even if it wasn't ours. That's the kind of barometer that I generally use to measure success.'

Most albums these days have a host of remixers, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how varied and different the choice was on here. In fact, some of the remixers on here are either new to me, or haven't been heard of in a while - I was particularly impressed to see Kevorkian Death Cycle, Aslan Faction and the earlier mentioned BlakOpz on the release. It also has offerings by smaller tracks such as the Ukranian act "Dirty Bird 13". Were the remixers all hand chosen, or did the label have a say in this?
ARKANA: - ''All of the remixers were hand-chosen. I've known Roger from KDC, Lee & Ant from Aslan Faction and Steven from Hate Dept. forever. They all recently reactivated their projects, in some sense or another, and so it was a great opportunity to work with them and I'm glad we did. Plus, as was the case with Bruderschaft's 'Forever' EP, I always like to give new up and coming bands a chance to get involved. Dirty Bird 13 is just one band that made me thankful for continuing that practice. ''


You played in the UK earlier this year, at the second Resistanz festival. I missed that, and I will probably never see you live unless you visit us on another occasion ( I'll take you out to a Brutal English Breakfast). I've not actually been able to find out what you played at the show, or how it went down. Do you wish to tell any stories about your time in these sodden, rain-swept shores?
DRÄCOS: - ''This dude from Scotland brought chilli vodka to the festival. I never knew what hate tasted like until I tried that vile shit.''
ARKANA: - ''The moment that stands out to me most from Resistanz actually occurred in the hotel after. We had an early shuttle to the airport to return home, after very little sleep, and I remember wondering if Dräcos would end up making it to the plane. Then, around 5:30 AM, he emerged from somebody's room along with an entourage of festival goers, who followed him down the hallway and entered his room behind him. Then one of them stuck their head back out and looked at me and said "Hi...um, we're going to help Dräcos pack." I'd never seen any of those people before in my life, and here they were packing up his shit.''

The Final Brief

I could talk to you both for hours, but I think that in order to fulfil my aim here (to deliver a long interview that is both full of original questions and ends at the right time), I'll have to start wrapping it up. I'll reiterate my earlier belief that you two are at the pinnacle of your career, but i'll also express the obligatory concern about the future of the group. "Homeland Insecurity" leaked onto the internet weeks before I reviewed it, or got my copy. This meant that before I even got to hear it or promote it, half of the internet had already judged it. Like all serious acts, your stance on file sharing is well known - it's taking away your livelihoods. Is there anything you want to say on the subject that hasn't already been said?
ARKANA: - ''Regardless of how evil stealing music can be, people aren't going to stop doing it. With all the horrible things going on in the world, in this life you have to make judgement calls as to what to get fired up about. For example, someone recently acted inappropriately with my wife/ex. My first instinct was to reduce him to a pile of his own body fluids, but that wouldn't have changed what happened and it wouldn't have eliminated the underlying issues that upset me so much in the first place. So instead, I issued a fair warning not to do it again and bought the guy a shot. It's critical that people take an active role in their own lives and that they stand up for what they believe in, but that has to beget a deeper maturation process. You can still inspire revolutions and uprisings from the innards of a jail cell (see Nelson Mandela), but it's a hell of a lot harder to do.''


I have to ask this - my personal collection is missing both "Hanging Garden" and "For Emergency Use Only". I doubt there's anyway I can get copies of these limited releases anymore. Is there any scope for a petition to re-issue them? Maybe a Kickstarter or something?
DRÄCOS: - ''Those were self-released and put together by us. If someone really wants a copy then I'll put one together. There's still a box in my closet full of the ammo pouches that we used for the tactical assault kit, but I think we're almost out of the dog tags and name tapes, so we'll need to get more of those made to include in the kits if a lot more people end up wanting copies.''


Finally, I'd like to end this interview on a personal note. This has been one of the most fun interviews I've ever arranged, and thinking of questions has been a great, great source of enjoyment for me. I hope you both find this as refreshing and enjoyable as I have. I'm grateful that you've given so much time to talk to us, and thank you for approaching us to request an interview. As is tradition on Brutal Resonance, we wish you both well and hope you have continued success.Please close this interview as only you both can, in an uncensored manner. This is YOUR soapbox.
DRÄCOS: - ''Seriously, don't try that chili vodka.''
ARKANA: - ''Thanks to everyone for their support over the years. I hope we can continue to inspire people with our work.''
FGFC820 interview
July 29, 2012
Brutal Resonance

FGFC820

Jul 2012
Following on from the success of 'Homeland Insecurity', Nick was asked to give an interview to FGFC820. Needless to say, he accepted.

The Brief

Good morning Gentlemen. It's halfway through 2012, and we've really felt the hangover of events in 2011, some of which continue to the present day. As a very outspoken anti-war unit, finding inspiration for songs must be easier than ever before. Let's start this interview with a serious wake-up call - where are your trains of thoughts leading these days?
ARKANA: - ''After "Law & Ordnance" came out, I found it funny when interviewers would ask us what we would write about after the Afghanistan/Iraq crises. I always responded that there was no shortage of injustices in the world. I'm being somewhat geo-centric at the moment, though, with my concerns; every day I watch my country move farther and farther away from the principles upon which she was founded and it makes me physically ill to watch.''


An Introduction to you seems a little unnecessary, especially after such a powerful intro. Regardless, there's still gonna be an audience unfamiliar with you both. The story is that you both came from different musical backgrounds, and were brought together by a common, unwavering connection. After three albums and an EP (should we disregard the limited edition self-releases), the machine seems to be stronger than I've ever heard it. Where are you going from here?
DRÄCOS: - ''Good question. We're taking a break from writing and recording for the rest of the year so we can play some shows and work on other things, so when 2013 rolls around hopefully we'll have some new ideas to keep the project from getting stale.''
ARKANA: - ''Well, apparently we're going to Europe, for one. In terms of music production, however, we've taken a break to focus on Bruderschaft and some of Dräcos' solo material so that we can clear our plate of those projects and move ahead full power in 2013 on new 820.''

I'll personally talk about you as individuals for a short while now, if there's no objections. Rexx, you're famous for your DJ work, and the coming-together of Futurepop 'supergroup' "Bruderschaft".
Something I find fascinating about you is the diversity behind the man we see on stage. Followers of yours online will know what I mean, as you host a section on Youtube entitled "80s Obscurities" - in which you introduce your audience to some of the best music never discovered. It blew me away to see this side of you, as I've always been one to just see what the media shows me (ironically). Perhaps you could talk to us about that?

ARKANA: - ''I am and always will be a child of the 80s in many ways. It was then that synthesized music first became commercially successful (e.g. 'Cars' by Gary Numan) and as such there was an influx of artists working in the field of electronic music that were granted the opportunity to record and release material. As much as people may know the hits and the one-hit-wonders of the era, there's a veritable bounty of undiscovered and/or largely unknown artists and compositions from that time period. I still love the warmth of the synths from that era and spend probably more than half my time listening to that style of music.''


You also teamed up with Arizona's "BlakOpz" on their debut album "Blood, Sweat and Fear", contributing to the track "United". The act have a lot in common with FGFC820, and the track was a clear choice for your input. Having tipped BlakOpz to go a long long way, I now see them as ideal candidates for touring partners. How did this happen? Were you approached by them?
ARKANA: - ''Yeah. We met Alex when we played a show with them in Philly and we really hit it off. Shortly after, he approached me to see if I'd be willing to provide vocals for them. Since they are stylistically (and, to a degree, politically) similar to 820 - and because they're both great guys - I was pleased to collaborate with them.'


What I find essential to the FGFC820 sound is your vocal style. It's harsh, which goes hand in hand with the genre and the aesthetic, but it has a unique quality to it, and I find it drives the music home more crucially than many in the scene. It's also evolved a lot since "Urban Audio Warfare" was released, critically reaching its apex on "Homeland Insecurity". Your vocals are almost always coherent, making the lyrics really easy to get. How did you settle on such a style?
ARKANA: - ''I really lament the fact that industrial music in the contemporary sense has de-emphasized lyrical content as much as it has, given the history and genesis (no pun intended) of the style. For me, lyrics are exceptionally important; which is why I can only tolerate guys screaming nonsense about fucking and basslines for so long before I get total ear fatigue. We have a message as a band (several messages, to be sure), but we can't communicate those messages very effectively if you can't understand what the hell I'm singing. On the first record, the vocals were a lot more distorted, but we keep stripping layers off the vocal effect with each record. I think 'Homeland...' is the most easily understood.


Thanking Rexx for his answers, we move on to interrogating Dräcos for a while. Dräcos, you're from more of a punk/metal background, if memory serves me correctly. This works to great favour as you often deliver your deep, metal-style vocals as a direct counter to Rexx's style. You use this sparingly at key moments, such as on "Martyrdom" and "Call To Glory". I'd be interested to hear how this dual-assault came to be, and how it was planned so well - I feel if used on every track it would lose some of its edge, but FGFC820 has always been about edge and direction.
DRÄCOS: - ''Well 'Martyrdom' was originally a metal song that I wrote back in the 90s and that's just the way I've always growled on that song. But as with a lot of my metal tunes, some of the guitar riffs in those old songs ended up turning into FGFC820 tracks since I had no plans to turn all of that material into a live band project. As far as using death metal style vocals on other tracks, I think it was to add a bit of emphasis here and there on the recordings, or to change things up a bit. Seeing as how vocals can be quite routine with the way they are delivered in harsh electro, it didn't seem like too bad of an idea to try out something different.''


Just as Rexx lent his talents to BlakOpz, you lent your talents to Detroit Diesel, on the latest release "Coup D'état". You featured on "The Playground". It's interesting to see both of you lending your voices to bands doing similar things. Again, how did you come about working with DD?
DRÄCOS: - ''Their label asked me if I'd be interested. Jamie over at Deathwatch Asia told me he had received this mp3 from the band along with a message that they were 'looking for a backing vocal a la Dräcos' for that song, and if he knew of anyone who would be interested. So instead of finding someone that sounded like me, he just asked me. Maybe it was just a ploy to indirectly ask me if I would record backing vocals for them.''


We spoke on Facebook, and I recall you saying that you've been involved in various other projects. The more astute out there may recognise the name "Disciples of Astaroth". What else do you lend your talents to?
DRÄCOS: - ''There have been different projects over the years from metal to gabber. I even did a house remix for this r&b artist that did fairly well on various DJ charts years ago. These days I'm just working on 820 and the new Bruderschaft as well as a couple of solo projects.''

The Assignment

Perhaps the first thing I want to do now that we are discussing the group proper is stamp the importance of stressing your politics to the audience. You are simply an anti-war, anti-violence act, and there's no room for compromise. This message has been lost to a select few, sadly. For me, a huge, huge part of FGFC820 is the lyrics. Firstly, are these a joint effort, or does one of you tend to have more say than the other?
ARKANA: - ''I write all of the lyrics for the project, although sometimes Dräcos will suggest an alternate take on something I've written and that may end up making its way into the song. On the more political or social issues tracks, I don't think I'm really saying anything altogether different from his personal views on the subject. The more personal tracks, like 'Relapse' or 'Love Until Death' are definitely...well, more personal to me. Most of those are directly written about or inspired by the relationships in my life. Dräcos usually just calls those our 'emo' songs. He wouldn't want to write anything that betrays his sensitive side.''


Other than the lyrics (which went on to heavily inspire my own lyrics for Cortex Defect), your attention to detail is one of the other big reasons why I chose to be a follower of FGFC820. A brilliant example of this falls with the "Resolution" instrumentals that are littered throughout your releases. The titles could be an ironic statement about American policy and law (You guys LOVE your country, but have clearly had enough of how it's operating overseas and internally), but I've found that if you put them together, they pretty much make an entire album by themselves - like you've hidden an album within an album. If so, that's a pretty powerful statement to make. Am I off the mark here?
DRÄCOS: - ''There isn't any album within an album. Those Resolution tracks are just instrumental interludes. On Homeland Insecurity we used the Resolution tracks to break the album up into four sonic chapters.'


Another 'Easter Egg' I've found lies with 'Law and Ordnance'. I own the Japanese edition with limited artwork (via Deathwatch Asia), and I believe this exists only with the exclusive art on that pressing. On the front cover of the extended booklet, there's a tank in the background with tiny yellow print on the cannon. Further inspection reveals it to say "Chuck Norris". I didn't notice that for years, but when I did it truly amused me. Whose idea was that?
DRÄCOS: - ''My Japanese edition was still shrinkwrapped, but I had to see this for myself so I unwrapped it. Who the hell put Chuck Norris on the tank?!''
ARKANA: - ''Charlton Heston would kick Chuck Norris in the balls. ''

Your first release covered "Hanging Garden" by "The Cure". Further into your career, you took on "Ich Bin EinAuslander" by the legendary "Pop Will Eat Itself" - a track closer suited to you guys with its perspective view of immigration. There's a long line of songs that you could really do justice to - are any more planned?
DRÄCOS:: - ''We also covered Boys From Brazil's 'We Don't Need No World War III' as well as Nitzer Ebb's 'Lightning Man' which was included in the 'For Emergency Use Only' tactical assault kit. So no, I don't think 820 needs to record any more covers.''
ARKANA: - ''Despite what Dräcos says, we actually did think a bit about another cover or two, but it just didn't work out. Who knows what might happen before the next album.''

Law and Ordnance was generally about protecting yourself, your home, and your country. It also bought us "Killing Fields" and "The Heart of America". With all the chaos of 2011, the next album "Homeland Insecurity" was guaranteed to be political. A lot of the uprisings were triggered via the power of social media, and of course, the internet. This brings me to talk about the track "Legion". I may be way off the mark here, but it uses the line "We are Legion", which was made famous by the internet collective, "Anonymous". It almost paints a DIY style approach to the release, stating that anyone can start a revolution. Intentional or not, it drew a contrast for me with the previous release, and as such, i'd be interested to hear your points of view.
ARKANA: - "The line is/was definitely sort of a wink to 'Anonymous,', but it has applicability way beyond them. I'm more of an upfront kind of person, not one who hides anonymously in the background plotting and executing mischief or protest. If I don't like you, or your politics, it won't be hard for you to know that. A lot of what I write has this kind of double meaning, if you will. Phrases and passages that have immediate, specific reference to me, but which I construct with some level of ambiguity that makes it more generally relatable for the listeners. I always enjoy it when fans explain their take on the meanings of certain things, or how certain lines affected them personally in different ways. I also feel in some way that our position as a group affords us with an opportunity to speak on behalf of those who have been silenced.''


With "Homeland Insecurity", you've hit the apex of bleakness. The artwork shows a lowly child standing alone in a destroyed city, next to what was once a Playground. The very first thing you hear is a sample of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau discussing what is arguably one of the countries darkest moments - The October Crisis. It's a punch in the gut before the first note even starts, and it's a stark reminder that we are so lucky to sit at our desks, gorging ourselves, taking the world for granted. To further surprise the audience as only you can, you then make the album into a whole new, Hardstyle influenced sound. I bet that was a decision that wasn't taken lightly?
DRÄCOS: - ''I'd say there are maybe only three or four tracks on the album that have a hardstyle influence. But I've been mixing hardstyle with harsh EBM at the clubs for the last ten years, so it was only a matter of time before that influence finally started making its way into 820 tracks.''


You've both seen my review, so you know my thoughts on it. I'm adamant that it's the best work you've recorded to date. Feedback has been mostly positive, although there's always the odd moaner here and there. Time will reveal the true effect the album has. Are you both as pleased with it now as you were when it came out?
DRÄCOS: - ''Yeah, some evenings I still crank it up and listen to the whole thing start to finish. Even though I spent a long time tweaking some of the songs over and over again, I'm pleased with the way the album turned out and am glad that it wasn't rushed.''
ARKANA: - ''I like the album, which is to say that I'd listen to it even if it wasn't ours. That's the kind of barometer that I generally use to measure success.'

Most albums these days have a host of remixers, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how varied and different the choice was on here. In fact, some of the remixers on here are either new to me, or haven't been heard of in a while - I was particularly impressed to see Kevorkian Death Cycle, Aslan Faction and the earlier mentioned BlakOpz on the release. It also has offerings by smaller tracks such as the Ukranian act "Dirty Bird 13". Were the remixers all hand chosen, or did the label have a say in this?
ARKANA: - ''All of the remixers were hand-chosen. I've known Roger from KDC, Lee & Ant from Aslan Faction and Steven from Hate Dept. forever. They all recently reactivated their projects, in some sense or another, and so it was a great opportunity to work with them and I'm glad we did. Plus, as was the case with Bruderschaft's 'Forever' EP, I always like to give new up and coming bands a chance to get involved. Dirty Bird 13 is just one band that made me thankful for continuing that practice. ''


You played in the UK earlier this year, at the second Resistanz festival. I missed that, and I will probably never see you live unless you visit us on another occasion ( I'll take you out to a Brutal English Breakfast). I've not actually been able to find out what you played at the show, or how it went down. Do you wish to tell any stories about your time in these sodden, rain-swept shores?
DRÄCOS: - ''This dude from Scotland brought chilli vodka to the festival. I never knew what hate tasted like until I tried that vile shit.''
ARKANA: - ''The moment that stands out to me most from Resistanz actually occurred in the hotel after. We had an early shuttle to the airport to return home, after very little sleep, and I remember wondering if Dräcos would end up making it to the plane. Then, around 5:30 AM, he emerged from somebody's room along with an entourage of festival goers, who followed him down the hallway and entered his room behind him. Then one of them stuck their head back out and looked at me and said "Hi...um, we're going to help Dräcos pack." I'd never seen any of those people before in my life, and here they were packing up his shit.''

The Final Brief

I could talk to you both for hours, but I think that in order to fulfil my aim here (to deliver a long interview that is both full of original questions and ends at the right time), I'll have to start wrapping it up. I'll reiterate my earlier belief that you two are at the pinnacle of your career, but i'll also express the obligatory concern about the future of the group. "Homeland Insecurity" leaked onto the internet weeks before I reviewed it, or got my copy. This meant that before I even got to hear it or promote it, half of the internet had already judged it. Like all serious acts, your stance on file sharing is well known - it's taking away your livelihoods. Is there anything you want to say on the subject that hasn't already been said?
ARKANA: - ''Regardless of how evil stealing music can be, people aren't going to stop doing it. With all the horrible things going on in the world, in this life you have to make judgement calls as to what to get fired up about. For example, someone recently acted inappropriately with my wife/ex. My first instinct was to reduce him to a pile of his own body fluids, but that wouldn't have changed what happened and it wouldn't have eliminated the underlying issues that upset me so much in the first place. So instead, I issued a fair warning not to do it again and bought the guy a shot. It's critical that people take an active role in their own lives and that they stand up for what they believe in, but that has to beget a deeper maturation process. You can still inspire revolutions and uprisings from the innards of a jail cell (see Nelson Mandela), but it's a hell of a lot harder to do.''


I have to ask this - my personal collection is missing both "Hanging Garden" and "For Emergency Use Only". I doubt there's anyway I can get copies of these limited releases anymore. Is there any scope for a petition to re-issue them? Maybe a Kickstarter or something?
DRÄCOS: - ''Those were self-released and put together by us. If someone really wants a copy then I'll put one together. There's still a box in my closet full of the ammo pouches that we used for the tactical assault kit, but I think we're almost out of the dog tags and name tapes, so we'll need to get more of those made to include in the kits if a lot more people end up wanting copies.''


Finally, I'd like to end this interview on a personal note. This has been one of the most fun interviews I've ever arranged, and thinking of questions has been a great, great source of enjoyment for me. I hope you both find this as refreshing and enjoyable as I have. I'm grateful that you've given so much time to talk to us, and thank you for approaching us to request an interview. As is tradition on Brutal Resonance, we wish you both well and hope you have continued success.Please close this interview as only you both can, in an uncensored manner. This is YOUR soapbox.
DRÄCOS: - ''Seriously, don't try that chili vodka.''
ARKANA: - ''Thanks to everyone for their support over the years. I hope we can continue to inspire people with our work.''
Jul 29 2012

Nick Quarm

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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