Hello, Artemis, and welcome to Brutal Resonance! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It seems you're going to have a busy year but before that let's get our audience to get a taste of your personal playlist. Give us three of your favorite albums of all time and tell us why you like them so much.
Artemis: Decree's "Wake Of Devastation". It’s raw, harsh, brutal, aggressive, unrelenting—so incredibly in your face. The album feels like one continuous nonstop assault on the senses, smashing you against a wall of harsh noise when it’s not trampling over you with unrelenting percussion made industrial rhythms. To me this album has everything; enough rhythm/electronic elements throughout to appeal to those more in to beat oriented music and enough noise to appeal to the purist of noiseheads. John McRae’s distorted, screaming vocals only add to the album’s dense maelstrom of sonic fury, enhancing the mood/feeling of absolute devastation. I was blown away when I first heard this back in ‘97 and I still can’t recommend it enough.
Panasonic's "Kulma". As the first track “Teurastamo” begins, it’s easy to think that this will be another one of those countless “experimental” albums full of white noise and bits of feedback that never evolves. There are so many of these that sit in the same place and stagnate, every track near identical to the one before it, dragging on and on for the album’s entirety... After about a minute in you realise that this is certainly not the case as modular sounding noises begin to slowly change, clicks, buzzes and pops start to become rhythmic, drones build and mutate and suddenly you’re locked into this weird static groove that shouldn’t really work because of its simplicity but it’s actually this very complex and well thought out structure of lo-fi techno goodness. Tracks move flawlessly from heavy rhythm compositions to chilled out mechanical ambiences encompassing every sound imaginable; amongst them bleeps, test tones, factory hums and surging electricity. A truly fascinating and captivating listen that culminates without disappointment in the final track “Moottori”. Absolutely brilliant sound art at its finest.
Gridlock's "Further" I bought Gridlock’s debut album The Synthetic Form and aside from one track I didn’t think much of it—to me they sounded like Skinny Puppy clones. So when Further was released I wasn’t expecting much at all—and was I ever wrong! Imagine floating through the cold, lifeless vacuum of space but at the same time experiencing this hauntingly beautiful, fascinating and utterly captivating journey as each track seamlessly flows into the next. Suddenly Gridlock had redefined their own sound and pioneered a new sound altogether— what would later become better known as IDM. The synthwork is hypnotic, the rhythms are harsh, aggressive and irregular and the vocals are now very sparse but immensely effective when they do come into play. A gritty, emotional Industrial masterpiece. Initial listening of this album when released was so new and different at the time I didn’t know what to think except that I loved it. For fans of IDM or Industrial, Further is an essential listen and still sounds amazing today.
You told me you have a ton of vinyl releases coming out this year. One of them is called "Kek". You're collaborating with Nocturnal Emissions and PBK on this one for the A-side tracks. What was it like working with these artists? What strengths or weaknesses did you guys use or toss out in the process?
Artemis: I was speaking to PBK a few of years ago about working on a follow up to our V.1 project release Noise Pigs. In the course of this conversation we spoke of some of the collaborations that appeared on Pigs-- Katrin Radman of Coptic Rain, Martin Bowes of Attrition, Artem Pismenetskii of Dao De Noize, Håkan Paulsson of Sanctum-- and how great we thought those turned out; what interesting artists could we collaborate with on our next release? During the course of these conversations Phil (PBK) mentioned that he had some source material from Nigel Ayers (Nocturnal Emissions) that he never used. He sent me the material and there were a number of elements I quite liked and was certain I could work with. I contacted Nigel about incorporating some of the source into a composition and he was quite happy for me to use whatever bits I saw fit.
Although I supplied sound sources, my role in the collaboration was also as an arranger. Both Nigel and Phil agreed to let me take the reins in setting up the basic framework and direction of the song. Phil wanted somewhat regular updates with progress and I would send him what I had at that point in time whereas Nigel was mostly interested in the final product. As Nigel’s sole contribution to the track “Monsters Don’t Exist” was providing sound source, he was very easy to work with in that regard. Some things worked brilliantly and those remain in the track whilst others did not and were scrapped. I see this track as a two part composition with a distinct changing point; the 2nd half really shines and brings everything from the first half together and would not have worked without Nigel’s material. Phil would also send me source to incorporate but as he was listening to how things were evolving on a more frequent basis he was able to better sculpt sounds to fit the mutating beast closer to real time. Without Phil’s material many of the segues would not have worked and we’d likely have a much different animal.
I think there were a number of ideas and sounds that were great on their own from all parties that didn’t fit with what was happening with the track as a whole and many of these were not used. At one point we seemed to reach a creative roadblock and the track stalled for a bit at the end of part one. Later, PBK and I went back and forth about whether or not to incorporate a vocalist to the 2nd half (and to whom we should use if at all) a number of times—but ultimately we decided on Yoko Nono and I think she works brilliantly. As with any collaboration, there were highs and moments of creative blocks but we arrived at an end point that we are all extremely proud of.
What can expect on the B-side of "Kek" and when can we expect this record to be out for purchase?
Artemis: The B side will feature remixes of the A side tracks by veteran electronic musician and sound artist Jason Sloan and his Cold Synth project L’Avenir and Jan Carleklev, former member of Sanctum, Mago and Azure Skies, with his new searing electronic project Haus Am Rand. I’m very excited to have these 2 brilliant artists involved in this release. Fans of either project will not be disappointed with these 2 exclusive and amazing remixes! I am currently shopping for labels to release the material (if anyone reading this is interested please feel free to contact me) but am hoping for a mid-year release.
The next release you have in the works is a 5" split lathe with sound artist Antony Milton. This one will be out on Humanhood Recordings in April. What can we expect to hear on this? Can you compare the sounds to anything in your current discography or perhaps another musicians career?
Artemis: Although this album will be released before Kek, it is in essence a continuation of some of the ideas and processes explored in the sound design of that album. It also carries on in a similar vein with ideas presented on the track “Not As Brightly Lit” from the Cleopatra Records release The Unquiet Grave 2019 (minus the vocals); darker evolving atmospheres interlaced with abrupt chaotic noises, designed to give the listener a sense of panic or urgency amongst the calm. I hate to say a feeling of claustrophobia as I’ve heard a number of projects use this term to describe their music but hopefully it provides a bit of unsettling tension akin to watching a good horror film. Music is a journey after all so I feel it should take you through a gamut of emotions when listening to it. As far as comparisons to other artists, perhaps some of the more atmospheric/abstract works featured on Numb’s Blood Meridian album like “Alien Hand” or “Spasm”. If you find Don Gordon’s less dance friendly tracks his true gems and as intriguing and interesting as I do, this should definitely appeal to you.
An interesting project that you have coming up is a tribute album to 80's industrial noise band Master/Slave Relationship that you're working on with Military Position. Give us a brief lesson on M/SR, why they and this project are important to you, and what it was like working with Military Position.
Artemis: Debbie Jaffe’s Master/Slave Relationship was an Industrial Rhythm/Noise project active in the American Noise scene during the 80’s and 90’s and was part of the now infamous 80’s Underground Cassette Culture. She was one of the earliest people to blend harsh noise with more rhythmic elements, such as distorted synth lines and harsh rhythms in addition to her own vocals. She was perhaps the only female in the American Noise Scene at the time, which is especially impressive when you think of all the male dominated acts in noise and the associated machismo that must have existed during that period.
Debbie’s works are very raw and powerful and for me were great releases that blurred the lines between Noise and Industrial music; her material was perhaps one of my earliest stepping stones into harsher noise releases by other artists. Her Bed of Perverse Dreams, for example, is an amazing album that exemplifies rhythm and noise—it's DIY all the way and even though the recording has nowhere near the level of mastering experienced today it helps, not hinders the listening experience. Rhythms, noises and vocals are so hot they’re clipping but it only adds to the aural assault and brutality of the release: this was Master / Slave Relationship. I find her material a must have for those into harsher Industrial and I’m extremely happy to try and re-introduce people to her works.
When I first started imagining this release I was trying to think of a female vocalist that would compliment the material. There are a number of women performing Noise/Industrial Noise type music these days but I didn’t feel like any of them quite fit what I was envisioning and trying to convey/achieve. And then I remembered Harriet (Military Position) over in nearby Australia. She’s creating harsh but interesting music, I like her vocal delivery style and the themes of her music and visual stage aesthetic is actually similar to what Debbie was doing. It was quite interesting upon initially contacting her about the project because she said she was actively re-visiting the M/SR catalogue! I reckon some things are just meant to be. As we are both huge fans of MS/R, the collaboration couldn’t have been better as we both seemed to be on the same page throughout the process in terms of sound design and direction. I would send mostly structured pieces to Harriet which she thought were quite good. Then she would work her magic deconstructing them and adding vocals and send them back to me, to which I would say this is really fucking good! And the whole album seemed to flow beautifully like that. A real pleasure to work with Military Position.
The last vinyl that I've heard you're working on is a 7" with Athan Maroulis from Noir. Details on this one are scarce from what I've seen; can we get any information on that or is that all hush-hush?
Artemis: Ha, well it’s not hush-hush but I suppose we are both keeping it a bit low key at the moment. The 7” will be a few covers of punk and proto-punk songs — I’ll leave it at that for now without revealing which songs/artists we are covering. We’ve completed one of the tracks and the other 2 are in progress. We’re trying to capture the intensity of the originals, so we haven’t altered them drastically by making them more electronic sounding; however, in keeping with the spirit of old punk music we have made them a bit noisier. The tracks are fairly stripped down but at the same time we think we’ve done enough that they are fairly dance/club friendly. We also have Sean Haezebrouck drumming on one of the tracks for us. He was in Batterie:Acid, a Detroit tribal industrial band from the 90’s. More recently he’s filled in drumming for part of Black Needle Noise’s American tour so it’s great to have him aboard. We think people will really enjoy this release and we are all very excited about completing it.
Aside from all of that, you've had an album release this year via HumanHood Recordings titled "Dreams Of A Mad Titan". What is this album about? From the cover art and the title, it sounds like it was inspired by Greek mythology.
Artemis: I started working on Titan in 2017, which was originally inspired by the activity of NASA’s Cassini space probe. It was transmitting amazing photos and sounds of Saturn and its many moons, the most notable among them being Titan. The concept was to incorporate Cassini’s audio recordings into an album, which feature throughout the release. The album explores deep space: Saturn and its moons, of course, but also the vast cosmos beyond the outer planets. It’s about the neutrality of the Universe offering both the creation and destruction of cosmic bodies equally.
That being said, I believe that most people are aware the moon Titan refers to the Old Gods preceding the Olympians; many of Saturn’s moons are named after the Titans. The Titan Cronus is also equated with the Roman God Saturn—so yes, in that sense there is a thin connection to Greek Mythology; however, the title Dreams Of A Mad Titan was inspired by the old mythos and conjured up many wonderful memories of tales I read as a child. My early imagery revolved around Saturn and Titan but Humanhood label owner Thaniel Lee created the final artwork for the release, which is beautiful and really compliments the album. He chose to focus on the mythology aesthetic and I’m happy with that.
What is your favorite track on "Dreams Of A Mad Titan" and why?
Artemis: 'The World Eater'. I manipulated some of Cassini’s audio travelling through Saturn’s rings and I was really happy with the results on this track. It’s a somewhat simple piece that moves very slowly and has this ominous feel to it— but it’s not the material’s intent. It’s perceived as this sinister force as it unfolds and plays out but it’s simply progressing, indifferent to what you might think you are hearing. I envision it as a Black Hole; light can’t escape it, it’s swallowing stars, destroying worlds... As an observer to such an event it’s a horrific vision: the annihilation of everything within its gravitational pull. But this is what it does. It’s not calculated. It’s not malevolent. It just is. This is its nature. Musically, somewhat rhythmical pulses signal its approach but it’s not dramatic, just very matter of fact. By showing restraint and not turning the track into a full on sonic assault, I feel the track makes much more of an impact on the listener, who is perhaps surprised, much like the aforementioned observer would be, by the duality of the experience: cataclysmic destruction vs the absolute banality of the universe going about its never ending business.
Aside from all of this, do you have anything else in store for the rest of 2020? Any live shows, gigs, remixes, or singles that you care to mention?
Artemis: I’ve had a recent fascination with creating MIDI files for songs (hence some of the above mentioned cover/tribute albums) and have a few more tracks I’d like to reimagine and get out of my system, so I plan on one last album of widely varied covers, a few of which are completed with various guest vocalists. I'm also doing some darker collaborative work with a member of Ukrainian Industrial Noise act Kadaitcha and we have just finished the album— so will be shopping that around for potential labels. Amongst all this is work on a follow up to 2013’s Noise Pigs with PBK and a full length Acclimate album. No immediate plans for live shows at this stage but I'm always open to the possibility of performing live if the right opportunity presents itself... Of course with all this C-19 carry on live performances seem unlikely at the moment.
Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck! You may use the space below to say anything that I may have failed to question. Cheers!
Artemis: Thank you Brutal Resonance for the interview and thanks to everyone that has supported this project over the years! For those interested in an online and/or social media presence or would like to hear past works, Acclimate does have a website, a Facebook and Bandcamp page and a YouTube channel that I post to on occasion. Links are here:
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.
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