Alright, let's start with some basic history; it was back in 2003 that the concept for the band was brought to mind by Mr. Strange. What exactly inspired this act? A circus rock band from outer space is just so odd in comparison to a lot I've seen.

Mr Strange - "I've always loved weird and wonderful bands, bands that stand out both musically and visually. When I was young it was psychedelic bands like Peppers era Beatles, the band H.P. Lovecraft, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Dukes Of Stratosphear. Then British punk bands like X-Ray Spex, Stiff Little Fingers and Sex Pistols, followed by goth bands like Siouxsie And The Banshees, Sisters Of Mercy and Alien Sex Fiend. I later discovered the American shock rock bands that bear the most similarity to what we do with The Shanklin Freakshow - bands like Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and Insane Clown Posse, as well as a healthy dose of cheesy 80's horror movies! I just wanted to start a band that I would like (being a fan of dark, theatrical rock) so I pretty much just combined all of my influences into one band; thus gratifying all of my innermost, twisted desires."

Was there also an idea preset to make an act like no one's ever seen before to grab attention?

Mr Strange - "Absolutely. We wanted to stand out as much as our music suggested. Although our influences are pretty clear without even listening to our music, we've always tried to take existing ideas and run with them in a direction that?s not been overly worn. Whether we've been successful or not is up for you to decide! Our costumes and stage personas also provide a form of camouflage as we all suffer from varying forms of social anxiety. Face paint and masks were not an ever-present feature when we started playing live, but took over as the need to give a strong performance and overcome nerves became steadily more essential."

Now, it was by 2006 that the concept became a fully fledged band. How were all the members gathered? Were they friends or just people with talent you happened to come by?

Mr Strange - "I bumped into Stirling (drummer) and Foul (bass, now lead vocals) on the local music scene a couple of times, both were keen to try something new as there was no other local band(s) that sounded like me, nor were any doing what I was I was intending from a theatrical standpoint. Dr. Dread (original live guitarist) was part of the group of friends I hung around with at the time, he was also playing the local pub circuit and roadie-ing for my close friend's rock band, Jacuna. He was keen to move away from playing covers and try something a little different. So yeah, the band just fell into place really. I did spend quite a while looking for a keyboard player in the beginning, but no one was interested. We've never bothered looking for a keyboard player since, although we may in the future."

As far as gigs are concerned, you've been playing since you could. Are you extremely comfortable on stage? And how does the audience react to your presence? Have you ever received any negative feedback during a live show?

Mr Strange - "No, not at all. I personally had to take a couple of years away from live performance due to the anxiety of performing live. I would begin to dread a gig a month before and it just got worse as the date approached. Once on stage it would all melt away and the character would just take over, but the dread of an approaching gig never lessened as the years passed. As for crowd reaction, most shows take a few songs for the audience to get it, but once they realise we're not taking ourselves seriously and it's meant to be fun, the majority of people seem to enjoy what we do."

Stench - "I think we all suffer from differing levels of stage anxiety. But then, if you don't get nervous before a gig you don't get that surge of adrenaline that gives your performance that edge."

Has playing with bigger acts, such as Hanzyl and Gretel, helped get the Shanklin name out there? And, how does it feel to play next to more well known names?

Mr Strange - It's always good exposure but I can't say that it has opened any doors for us. It's always great to play alongside people you respect and admire but sometimes we feel left out of the loop purely because we're hard to categorise, musically. We're not exactly metal, goth, steampunk, industrial or straight rock, but a blur of all of those genres. We're definitely alternative but promoters like a more precise definition than that, and that has kept us as a very niche act."

Did you ever do anything insane on stage that had the audience shocked, revolted, or maybe even just excited?

Mr Strange - "We've never actually tried to be shocking, I mean, there's no where left to go with that shtick. We did a little bit of Alice Cooper-esque stuff with fake blood & cheesy horror-vaudeville very early on, but it was so tongue-in-cheek and silly that I'm pretty sure no one thought it was shocking. Naked ladies cavorting on stage with us has been as shocking as it gets, which is pretty tame by today's standards! Our awesome circus friend Kwerky Kirk has done some brilliant fire breathing work with us over the years, that always gets people exited, but probably not in the same way as naked ladies."

As far as your live act goes, I need to ask: have you ever considered doing a huge concert where a full circus is involved; clowns, trapeze artists, acrobats, train animals, unicyclists, etc? Because, after hearing "Carousel" for the first time, that's exactly what I would want from an act like this.

Mr Strange - "It has always been a dream and we used to have stilt walkers, fire breathers, jugglers and clowns but the logistics were a bit of a nightmare. It's something we'd all love to bring back to the live shows, so never say never!"

Now, onto your actual music. When I went looking for "Act I" online to take a listen to, but was unable to find it at all. Is it a rarity to find? Or did you not like it and just get rid of all traces of it? Or is it something completely different?

Mr Strange - "Although the releases were meant to be in chronological order, 'Act II' got released first due to 'Act I' sounding so rough at the time. Act I is actually our 'Welcome To The Show' EP released in 2011. This is available through the regular channels such as iTunes etc. We don't make sense in anything we do, although sometimes we wish we did."

"Act II", however, is available directly on your site. And, while listening to it, I can still hear your trademark sounds within each of the songs. Some come out more rock oriented, and some even come out with a few influences to harder rap. Do you decide which songs are going to get what influence, or do you just create, and whatever the product is, it's just that?

Mr Strange - "These days I usually have an idea of the overall sound of an album before work starts, but 'Act II' was just a compilation of what finished songs I had ready at the time - people were getting impatient waiting for an official release back then, so I threw out what I had finished at the time. Those songs were really just the result of me playing around trying to find a sound for the Freak Show, so I guess it's a kind-of Frankenstein album."

Your latest release, "Welcome to the Show", cancelled out the "Act" prefix. Was that because this album takes a different direction, or did you just not want to continue on with the "Act" title.

Mr Strange - "To be honest, I thought 'Welcome To The Show' had 'Act I' on the front cover, and if not, it was meant to! Most of the songs on 'Welcome To The Show' were written before the release of 'Act II' in 2008, they were on the rough demo version of 'Act I' that was never released. We rerecorded and remixed the old demo songs and also wrote a couple of new songs that ended up on the EP. So yeah, the Welcome To The Show EP was meant to be the first album in the Freakshow cannon but it was split in to two parts at the last minute due to time constraints the naming of it became messy. Alas, we never finished the second chapter / EP of 'Welcome To The Show'. There was always a plan to have three 'Acts' and who knows, maybe there still will be."

Also, with your latest release, it's considered an EP, but is still 9 tracks. Some artists would consider this an album; what constitutes a full length release compared to an EP to you?

Mr Strange - "It was quite a feverish time. The 'Act I' album was taking too long to finish, so we split it in two and released the first part as an EP, with the second part to follow as an EP also. The idea was to release an EP every 3 months for 2 years and with the addition of Stench on guitar, we found that we had a co-writer in the band so we figured it would be easy. It was not."

And then it's said that a single has also been released, in which an album of the same name is to be released. Do you when the album is going to be released? Or have any dates planned for release?

Stench - "Aha! 'The Last Show On Earth' To be honest, it's been a labour of love for us and we want it to be as close to perfect as we can get. We've done this the hard way, re-recording the original demo in a makeshift studio and we're still writing and mixing. I have also been working with Mr Strange on the 'Wonderful World Of Weird' album and some forthcoming projects. It's been all go and all I can say is it'll be ready when it's ready. We're probably our own worst critics but we wouldn't want to release a sub-par single or album. "

Aside from that, do you have anything else you guys are planning aside from gigs and the album? Something special for the fans?

Mr Strange - "I'm working on a new Mr. Strange record with help from Stench (guitars), Stirling (drums & programming), and Kronik (bass), which is probably going to raise a few bewildered eyebrows. It should be properly announced by the time Alt-Fest rocks the English countryside in a few months and will be out soon thereafter."

Stench - "I suppose we could do a naked calendar, if that's what you're suggesting. *tuts*.... Perverts, everywhere."

Now, let's get onto your appearance at Alt-Fest. You'll be playing on the Steampunk stage. You're the first from that stage to be interviewed on this site. Tell me; what do you think the Steampunk stage can offer up more than the other stages?

Stench - "Well, the steampunk scene is quite open for interpretation, there's no set musical formula yet as such the diversity of steampunk music is great! Take your pick from almost dark soundtrack-like epics, new wave synth rock, folk-inspired ballads, psychedelic crossovers, hip-hop to out and out punk and...erm?...us! It's like a box of chocolates, you don?t what you're going to get...Except that it will be brown."

Not only that, but what can your band offer up the audience that others on the same stage won't be able to?

Stench - "Sandwiches. Isle Of Wight-made ploughman's sandwiches."

Do you think this is the biggest event you've played at so far? And what are your thoughts on the fest? Do you really like the idea? Is there anything bothering you about it?

Mr Strange - "We've played the Bestival main stage but this has got to be the biggest event we have been involved with. We love the whole ethos of Alt-Fest and you have to give it to Dominic & Missy Void and the team. They've certainly delivered. We literally cannot wait. The only worry is which bands we won?t get to see if there are stage time clashes and those that won't get to see us for the same reason!"

Are there any of your favorite bands playing at the fest that you're hoping to go and see?

Mr Strange - "Personally, I'm looking forward to Manson, Gary Numan and Killing Joke. Not to forget my awesome friends, Global Citizen! But there are too many to list.

Stench - "It's all about Killing Joke for me but I love being introduced to new music."

And, well, this is the end of the interview. I tip my top hat to you. Have you anything you wish to say to your fans, friends, relatives, or just a general message at all?

Mr Strange - "Thanks for all your support, and one day we PROMISE that we'll release some kick-ass new music! Oh, and come and see us at Alt-Fest 'n get yer freak on!!"

The Shanklin Freakshow interview
June 11, 2014
Brutal Resonance

The Shanklin Freakshow

Jun 2014
Alright, let's start with some basic history; it was back in 2003 that the concept for the band was brought to mind by Mr. Strange. What exactly inspired this act? A circus rock band from outer space is just so odd in comparison to a lot I've seen.

Mr Strange - "I've always loved weird and wonderful bands, bands that stand out both musically and visually. When I was young it was psychedelic bands like Peppers era Beatles, the band H.P. Lovecraft, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Dukes Of Stratosphear. Then British punk bands like X-Ray Spex, Stiff Little Fingers and Sex Pistols, followed by goth bands like Siouxsie And The Banshees, Sisters Of Mercy and Alien Sex Fiend. I later discovered the American shock rock bands that bear the most similarity to what we do with The Shanklin Freakshow - bands like Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and Insane Clown Posse, as well as a healthy dose of cheesy 80's horror movies! I just wanted to start a band that I would like (being a fan of dark, theatrical rock) so I pretty much just combined all of my influences into one band; thus gratifying all of my innermost, twisted desires."

Was there also an idea preset to make an act like no one's ever seen before to grab attention?

Mr Strange - "Absolutely. We wanted to stand out as much as our music suggested. Although our influences are pretty clear without even listening to our music, we've always tried to take existing ideas and run with them in a direction that?s not been overly worn. Whether we've been successful or not is up for you to decide! Our costumes and stage personas also provide a form of camouflage as we all suffer from varying forms of social anxiety. Face paint and masks were not an ever-present feature when we started playing live, but took over as the need to give a strong performance and overcome nerves became steadily more essential."

Now, it was by 2006 that the concept became a fully fledged band. How were all the members gathered? Were they friends or just people with talent you happened to come by?

Mr Strange - "I bumped into Stirling (drummer) and Foul (bass, now lead vocals) on the local music scene a couple of times, both were keen to try something new as there was no other local band(s) that sounded like me, nor were any doing what I was I was intending from a theatrical standpoint. Dr. Dread (original live guitarist) was part of the group of friends I hung around with at the time, he was also playing the local pub circuit and roadie-ing for my close friend's rock band, Jacuna. He was keen to move away from playing covers and try something a little different. So yeah, the band just fell into place really. I did spend quite a while looking for a keyboard player in the beginning, but no one was interested. We've never bothered looking for a keyboard player since, although we may in the future."

As far as gigs are concerned, you've been playing since you could. Are you extremely comfortable on stage? And how does the audience react to your presence? Have you ever received any negative feedback during a live show?

Mr Strange - "No, not at all. I personally had to take a couple of years away from live performance due to the anxiety of performing live. I would begin to dread a gig a month before and it just got worse as the date approached. Once on stage it would all melt away and the character would just take over, but the dread of an approaching gig never lessened as the years passed. As for crowd reaction, most shows take a few songs for the audience to get it, but once they realise we're not taking ourselves seriously and it's meant to be fun, the majority of people seem to enjoy what we do."

Stench - "I think we all suffer from differing levels of stage anxiety. But then, if you don't get nervous before a gig you don't get that surge of adrenaline that gives your performance that edge."

Has playing with bigger acts, such as Hanzyl and Gretel, helped get the Shanklin name out there? And, how does it feel to play next to more well known names?

Mr Strange - It's always good exposure but I can't say that it has opened any doors for us. It's always great to play alongside people you respect and admire but sometimes we feel left out of the loop purely because we're hard to categorise, musically. We're not exactly metal, goth, steampunk, industrial or straight rock, but a blur of all of those genres. We're definitely alternative but promoters like a more precise definition than that, and that has kept us as a very niche act."

Did you ever do anything insane on stage that had the audience shocked, revolted, or maybe even just excited?

Mr Strange - "We've never actually tried to be shocking, I mean, there's no where left to go with that shtick. We did a little bit of Alice Cooper-esque stuff with fake blood & cheesy horror-vaudeville very early on, but it was so tongue-in-cheek and silly that I'm pretty sure no one thought it was shocking. Naked ladies cavorting on stage with us has been as shocking as it gets, which is pretty tame by today's standards! Our awesome circus friend Kwerky Kirk has done some brilliant fire breathing work with us over the years, that always gets people exited, but probably not in the same way as naked ladies."

As far as your live act goes, I need to ask: have you ever considered doing a huge concert where a full circus is involved; clowns, trapeze artists, acrobats, train animals, unicyclists, etc? Because, after hearing "Carousel" for the first time, that's exactly what I would want from an act like this.

Mr Strange - "It has always been a dream and we used to have stilt walkers, fire breathers, jugglers and clowns but the logistics were a bit of a nightmare. It's something we'd all love to bring back to the live shows, so never say never!"

Now, onto your actual music. When I went looking for "Act I" online to take a listen to, but was unable to find it at all. Is it a rarity to find? Or did you not like it and just get rid of all traces of it? Or is it something completely different?

Mr Strange - "Although the releases were meant to be in chronological order, 'Act II' got released first due to 'Act I' sounding so rough at the time. Act I is actually our 'Welcome To The Show' EP released in 2011. This is available through the regular channels such as iTunes etc. We don't make sense in anything we do, although sometimes we wish we did."

"Act II", however, is available directly on your site. And, while listening to it, I can still hear your trademark sounds within each of the songs. Some come out more rock oriented, and some even come out with a few influences to harder rap. Do you decide which songs are going to get what influence, or do you just create, and whatever the product is, it's just that?

Mr Strange - "These days I usually have an idea of the overall sound of an album before work starts, but 'Act II' was just a compilation of what finished songs I had ready at the time - people were getting impatient waiting for an official release back then, so I threw out what I had finished at the time. Those songs were really just the result of me playing around trying to find a sound for the Freak Show, so I guess it's a kind-of Frankenstein album."

Your latest release, "Welcome to the Show", cancelled out the "Act" prefix. Was that because this album takes a different direction, or did you just not want to continue on with the "Act" title.

Mr Strange - "To be honest, I thought 'Welcome To The Show' had 'Act I' on the front cover, and if not, it was meant to! Most of the songs on 'Welcome To The Show' were written before the release of 'Act II' in 2008, they were on the rough demo version of 'Act I' that was never released. We rerecorded and remixed the old demo songs and also wrote a couple of new songs that ended up on the EP. So yeah, the Welcome To The Show EP was meant to be the first album in the Freakshow cannon but it was split in to two parts at the last minute due to time constraints the naming of it became messy. Alas, we never finished the second chapter / EP of 'Welcome To The Show'. There was always a plan to have three 'Acts' and who knows, maybe there still will be."

Also, with your latest release, it's considered an EP, but is still 9 tracks. Some artists would consider this an album; what constitutes a full length release compared to an EP to you?

Mr Strange - "It was quite a feverish time. The 'Act I' album was taking too long to finish, so we split it in two and released the first part as an EP, with the second part to follow as an EP also. The idea was to release an EP every 3 months for 2 years and with the addition of Stench on guitar, we found that we had a co-writer in the band so we figured it would be easy. It was not."

And then it's said that a single has also been released, in which an album of the same name is to be released. Do you when the album is going to be released? Or have any dates planned for release?

Stench - "Aha! 'The Last Show On Earth' To be honest, it's been a labour of love for us and we want it to be as close to perfect as we can get. We've done this the hard way, re-recording the original demo in a makeshift studio and we're still writing and mixing. I have also been working with Mr Strange on the 'Wonderful World Of Weird' album and some forthcoming projects. It's been all go and all I can say is it'll be ready when it's ready. We're probably our own worst critics but we wouldn't want to release a sub-par single or album. "

Aside from that, do you have anything else you guys are planning aside from gigs and the album? Something special for the fans?

Mr Strange - "I'm working on a new Mr. Strange record with help from Stench (guitars), Stirling (drums & programming), and Kronik (bass), which is probably going to raise a few bewildered eyebrows. It should be properly announced by the time Alt-Fest rocks the English countryside in a few months and will be out soon thereafter."

Stench - "I suppose we could do a naked calendar, if that's what you're suggesting. *tuts*.... Perverts, everywhere."

Now, let's get onto your appearance at Alt-Fest. You'll be playing on the Steampunk stage. You're the first from that stage to be interviewed on this site. Tell me; what do you think the Steampunk stage can offer up more than the other stages?

Stench - "Well, the steampunk scene is quite open for interpretation, there's no set musical formula yet as such the diversity of steampunk music is great! Take your pick from almost dark soundtrack-like epics, new wave synth rock, folk-inspired ballads, psychedelic crossovers, hip-hop to out and out punk and...erm?...us! It's like a box of chocolates, you don?t what you're going to get...Except that it will be brown."

Not only that, but what can your band offer up the audience that others on the same stage won't be able to?

Stench - "Sandwiches. Isle Of Wight-made ploughman's sandwiches."

Do you think this is the biggest event you've played at so far? And what are your thoughts on the fest? Do you really like the idea? Is there anything bothering you about it?

Mr Strange - "We've played the Bestival main stage but this has got to be the biggest event we have been involved with. We love the whole ethos of Alt-Fest and you have to give it to Dominic & Missy Void and the team. They've certainly delivered. We literally cannot wait. The only worry is which bands we won?t get to see if there are stage time clashes and those that won't get to see us for the same reason!"

Are there any of your favorite bands playing at the fest that you're hoping to go and see?

Mr Strange - "Personally, I'm looking forward to Manson, Gary Numan and Killing Joke. Not to forget my awesome friends, Global Citizen! But there are too many to list.

Stench - "It's all about Killing Joke for me but I love being introduced to new music."

And, well, this is the end of the interview. I tip my top hat to you. Have you anything you wish to say to your fans, friends, relatives, or just a general message at all?

Mr Strange - "Thanks for all your support, and one day we PROMISE that we'll release some kick-ass new music! Oh, and come and see us at Alt-Fest 'n get yer freak on!!"

Jun 11 2014

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

Share this interview

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
8
Shares

Popular interviews

Psyclon Nine

Interview, Mar 24 2017

Kite

Interview, Feb 10 2017

God Destruction

Interview, May 17 2016

SHIV-R

Interview, Sep 21 2017

Bornless Fire

Interview, Jul 09 2017

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016