Blog

Freebie Friday, featuring Ivan Muñoz of Vigilante

Ivan Muñoz of Vigilante talks about bringing awareness to his audience via “artivism.” Also, rattle your neighbors with free songs by electropunk artists FIGO, professional industrial troll Caustic, & aggrotech up-and-comers BlakOpz and Ludovico Technique.

FIGO at Identity Festival © 2011 Ran Case ~ DOOM! Magazine

FIGO at Identity Festival © 2011 Ran Case ~ DOOM! Magazine

Remember FIGO, from last year’s Identity Festival? They’ve remastered their first CD, Put It All On Black, and put it up for free download over here at their bandcamp. And relatedly, FIGO’s frontman Parag’s mix of Hurt Me Tomorrow’s K’Naan is up for free download over on their soundcloud.

~~

While we’re at it: Caustic (just back from the Very Last Chemlab reunion show ever; a memorial concert for industrial musician Jamie Duffy) has a preview of his upcoming album, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, up for free listen on his soundcloud. And if that’s not enough for you, Casutic teamed up with Android Lust for the awesome song Bleed You Out, which is up for free download over on Metropolis Records’s soundcloud here.

~~

BlakOpz, who just finished a tour opening for Aesthetic Perfection, also just put up a string of freebies. From soundcloud comes the aggrotech floorstomper 200 Enemy Kills–a gift to fans for helping them reaching 1000 likes on facebook. If that makes you want to break out the cargo pants and big black boots, here’s more: a DJ Zircon mashup and a Mediafire download of Virtual Terrorist’s remix of It’s Not Human.

~~

Meanwhile, recent Metropolis Records addition The Ludovico Technique is gearing up for the release of their second CD, Some Things Are Beyond Therapy. One of their promotions is the aggrotech track Wired for Destruction, which is also up for free download on Soundcloud. These guys are touring later this year with Imperative Reaction, and are playing a Halloween show here in Pittsburgh. Will I be there? You bet!

~~

And just in case you missed them so far . . . Vigilante is a Chilean aggrotech/industrial-metal band with a heavy political kick. I caught up with Vigilante’s frontman Ivan Muñoz as he’s aiming their Revolution is Now tour at Russia, Belgium, and France. He says the tour’s been great so far, giving him the chance to see new countries and people–not to mention the chance to go to (let alone tour) the United States for the first time. (And it was here in Pittsburgh where he and I met, as he sang his way through the dancing members of the crowd and I accidentally got him with an elbow.)

Of course, as a musician and a political activist, I pretty much was obligated to pick his brain.

I noticed when you guys were here that you incorporate a lot of political messages into your visuals and lyrics, and that you’ve gone on stage wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. What do you think of music as a way to get your points across, or as a way to open dialog?

Muñoz: I think art in general is a great tool to bring awareness to people or open a debate. I think these days critical thinking is a thing we really miss. And for me it’s great try to be provocative and try to make people ask questions. I call it “artivism.”

As you’ve been touring Europe lately, have you noticed any differences in responses or attitudes between America’s crowds and Europe’s?

Muñoz: Sometimes the language can be a barrier, because not all the people here in Europe speak English. So I think in the United States the people were more receptive to my messages because they were be able to understand it better. But anyway, here the people are great, very respectful and get into the music pretty well. And in a more personal view, with all due respect, I think the people in the USA are a little bit more “asleep” than in Europe.

Do you think it’s that some of the people in the US know/understand less about what’s going on, or that they care less?

Muñoz: I don’t think it’s the people’s fault at all; I think they are only a consequence of a very subtle indoctrination that people have received since they were very young, with the educational system, religion, patriotism, consumerism, and media.

So what’s next for you guys? Are you working on a new CD, or focusing on the tour?

Muñoz: Yes–I’m working on new material and some remixes, and planning my next tour in the USA.

Any idea when that might be?

Muñoz: The middle of next year–around June/July.

Last year around this time we had massive discontent that eventually made the Occupy Wall Street movement. This year we’ve got elections, and it looks like EVERYONE is angry. Next year . . . What do you think the political climate will be like in the US come June/July?

Muñoz: I think in general and not only in the USA we are at a turning point; people are beginning to wake up, and starting to see all the injustices of our current social economic system. So I think the discontent will grow, but I hope that discontent will be transformed into real solutions and proposals. It depends also what the people in power will be able to do to maintain the status quo. When sports, drugs and entertainment are not enough, unfortunately fear is the more efficient tool of control.

And for the last one I’ll switch gears a little–this is the question Doom asks everyone: In the event of the zombie apocalypse, what are your plans?

Muñoz: I will keep doing what I’m doing now: killing “zombies” and trying to stay alive. ;)

~~

Right now it looks like Vigilante will be back in the states around June or July of 2013. Two of their newer songs are up for free download (and a lot are up for free listen!) over on their soundcloud–and if you like what you hear, pick up some more songs off amazon.com. :)

Vigilante at Garfield Artworks - Cry Havoc Tour, Pgh, PA © 2012 Ran Case ~ DOOM! Magazine

Vigilante at Garfield Artworks – Cry Havoc Tour, Pgh, PA © 2012 Ran Case

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157631532125006″]

Interview With Ted Phelps of Imperative Reaction

Imperative Reaction @ The Rex, Pgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Imperative Reaction @ The Rex, Pgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Founded in 1996, the industrial band Imperative Reaction built itself up from grassroots to one of the better-known, bigger-name industrial shows in the States. It’s easy to understand why: As a whole the band projected a genuine, honest enthusiasm for their work, shouting along with songs even when they weren’t within range of microphones—and this enthusiasm encouraged Pittsburgh’s notoriously standoffish crowd to push forward and start moving. Midway through the set, Ted Phelps—the frontman and remaining original member—told us we were the first group to have the balls to sing along with the new material. His voice sounds a bit like Davey Havok of AFI/Blaqk Audio with a bit of a rasp, and lucky for me, he was able to take a few minutes during the mess and chaos of preparing for the show to sit down and answer some questions.

In regards to your new, self-titled CD: I saw a quote from you saying this was definitive of what you do as well as breaking new ground. Would you like to elaborate on that?

I think that with this album it pretty much sums up our career so far, sound-wise and everything. You can definitely tell it’s us, but it’s also kind of going off in a different direction. It’s definitely different from the last one, which I wanted to do—I wanted to get as far away from the last one as possible. So we added some guitars, and some more rock-like drums. I think that gives it a little bit of a different direction. Also, I hired an outside producer this time, Krischan from Rotersand, and I’m really happy with what he did. It’s a big step forward for us.

How’s the fan response been to it so far?

It’s been amazing. I’m really happy with it, across the board: reviews, fan response has been really nice. I’m happy.

This is the awful question: what do you feel then is the current direction of the industrial scene, and how you are contributing to or combating that?

I think we’re contributing pretty much what we’ve always contributed, which is just kind of trying to forge our own path. There are points on this album where I would say we’re getting away from what’s popular in industrial right now, and that’s fine. I look at us more as an electronic rock band at this point, even though we’re obviously still rooted in the industrial scene and I don’t see that changing. I’m less concerned with what’s popular in the industrial scene at this point as it relates to my music.

Imperative Reaction @ The Rex, Pgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Imperative Reaction @ The Rex, Pgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

With how you said you consider yourself more electronic rock: Are you feeling out different influences through the new works?

Yeah, I’m just working with what I like and I tried to push my voice more than I did on the last one, and work in something I haven’t worked in before: along with my original influences—Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, the Cure—I’ve been working in some AFI or something like that, something far enough removed from the scene that it gives it a new spin on things. My tastes are very across the board, and I don’t want to spend as much time as I spend on an album, and as much effort, to sound like anybody else. To me it’s always been more important to define my own sound than to either copy what’s popular or go out of my way to be quote-unquote innovative.

So no dubstep for you?

Actually, I have to say . . . I’m surprised so many people in the scene seem to hate dubstep as much as they do. Personally, I like some dubstep—I don’t see a problem with it, and it’s funny to me when you’ve got a scene of music that’s literally, boom-boom-boom-boom, and the people in that scene are making fun of music because it does . . . whatever it does. I, personally—if something’s cool, I like it, and I don’t care what it’s called. I’m pretty much open to anything.

From that angle then . . . What are you listening to?

My wife has been playing The Kills a lot, their new album, and I like that quite a bit. I’ve been listening to everything from Sarah McLachlan to Nine Inch Nails, and Necro Facility—I really really like their new one a lot, I think it’s amazing.

I know there’s a number of other bands and projects you guys are collectively and singly involved in. How do you juggle this when it comes time for touring?

It gets interesting. That’s why we start planning months in advance, because we have to make sure we have everybody available. It’s a process.

A matter of priority?

As far as who’s in my band? Yeah—basically, we do share band members and I’m cool with them playing whatever bands they want to be in as long as they’re around when it’s time for us to do something.

It really seems that industrial is a very incestuous genre. Do you think that’s to its benefit or its detriment?

You know, when I first got into the scene there was the whole Wax Trax scene going on, with Al Jourgensen and Sascha from KMFDM and the guys from Thrill Kill Kult who always seemed to work together in some way. So I think it’s just today’s version of that; I don’t think it’s that much different now. And I think it helps, because it’s nice to have sort of a network of people you know and trust and can get along with, who you can call when it’s time to go on tour.

And the most important question: In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are your plans?

My plans . . . I’d consult with Clint on that, because he’s more the zombie expert than I am.

~~

This obviously means I need to talk to Clint Carney again.

Check out Imperative Reaction’s youtube playlist, or see all their releases over at amazon.com.

More pics from the Tryptich tour!
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627910415298″]

Trolling for Musicians: I:Scintilla and Company vs. The Undead

I:Scintilla at 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

I:Scintilla at 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

I went to the I:Scintilla show in Pittsburgh on a mission to ask all the bands there Doom’s favorite question: In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, what are your plans?

Shutterdown @ 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Shutterdown @ 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

Shutterdown, the openers, are a four-piece local band that brings an etheral touch and occasional Middle Eastern kick to their EBM. When asked about her zombie survival plans, New York native Antisa said, “I would head north, or to the jungle—get out of cities, go for extreme cold. And I’d get a unishovel.”

Local industrial-metal band Wreckreation, though, are Pittsburghers—and as such, they’ve got some serious planning done. Vocalist Kirsten—who’s one of the few female fronts I’ve seen with the pipes to hold her own in front of a profoundly heavy band—had this to say: “Because I totally believe it’s possible, I bought a good pair of running shoes, I learned how to shoot a gun, and I already live in the middle of nowhere in a place with reinforced doors and natural disaster supplies.”

“I’m prepared for anything. Pittsburgh’s the zombie capital of the world,” she added. “That’s why I love being here. You can’t live in Pittsburgh and not be prepared for the zombie apocalypse.”

Wreckreation @ the 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Wreckreation @ the 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

Guitarist Aric added, “I have so many plans it’s unbelievable. First off, I’d go open up the gun safe. I’d grab the AK47, about fifteen magazines, the shotgun, as many rounds for that as I could carry, and the glock 40. Then I’d grab my belt with the two machetes on it. I live in the country and have lots of guns—I can’t wait.”

And from Tom, the other guitarist: “I have a good friend who’s a great shot but I’m more of a melee guy. I’d just grab a battleax or a claymore and go total Viking. I just figure, if you’re gonna die, at least make a sport of it, have fun with it.”

Synth/bass man Josh’s answer was much more succinct: “Drink and masturbate furiously.”

The Gothsicles are a part of an interesting phenomenon within Goth/Industrial music: the embrace of geekery, outright silliness, and self-parody. But even when he’s screaming an industrial remake of the Badger Badger Badger song or bouncing around amidst the audience singing about the trials & tribulations of being a graphic designer, Gothsicles frontman Brian puts on a hell of a show. And in celebration of Jim Semonik’s continued cancer-free status, the Gothsicles brought him up for the official last performance of their Electronic Saviors 1 track, Jim, Let Me Know When You Can Drink Again.

Brian of The Gothsicles @ 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Brian of The Gothsicles @ 31st Street Pub, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

Their response to the zombie question followed the same whimsical theme, as Brian passed the question to the new keyboardist Mike, who answered, “I’m gonna live in the Chicago subway and become the Rat King.”

At that, Brian grinned and nodded. “I would become the Duke of the Rat King.”

The headliners of this show were the metal-edged, synthy post-industrial group I:Scintilla, and while they put on a solid and entertaining show—up to and including trolling Jim Semonik with a (somewhat inebriated) voicemail he’d left ’em—they’re not Pittsburghers. When asked about his plans, drummer Brent said, “I’d run for my life—“ then shook his head and went again. “Kill people and eat brains and be all, ‘See, I’m one of you guys!’”

Frontwoman Brittany’s option was a little more fatalistic: “Just have a huge party, and go out in a blaze of glory and debauchery.” (more…)

Twitch the Ripper @ The Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA

Twitch the Ripper @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Twitch the Ripper @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

Twitch the Ripper, a synthpop duo based out of New Haven, Connecticut, opened the Tryptich Tour’s Pittsburgh stop with a solid, moody set that with overt notes of earlier Depeche Mode. During the show I ran into their programming/synth guy Lonn Bologna and, well, you know how this goes. After a chunk of written interview on his musical influences in a noisy hallway we commandeered one of the Rex’s back rooms so I could learn what these guys are about.

I apologize, I feel terrible because I’m making this up as I go—

Lonn: Yeah, but that’s the best way to do it: make it up as you go along and you end up somewhere—at least you don’t end up nowhere.

So as we were: You were talking about hip-hop and music from the late 80’s, early 90’s?

Lonn: I feel like things that came from the 80’s and 90’s were more raw, less processed. That’s why it’s hard for me to pick modern influences because I don’t really have too many. But—on the record, now that it’s recording I’ll say it—everything from Siouxsie and the Banshees to Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode, Massive Attack . . . But me personally, I’m influenced by Wu Tang Clan, stuff like that—because it’s something raw that people built themselves from the streets, from the ground up, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We have no label, we have no backing, it’s just us out here. We self-released our CD Bodiless in February and getting to this point now, having done our second tour to support it, was a big personal victory for us. We wanted to prove we could do it with no label and from the ground up ourselves. That’s what I always live by. Some people are just independent artists, they do what they want to do regardless of if anyone wants to put them up or not. We find a way to get in there somehow . . . This is our third time playing Pittsburgh this year, so I guess we found a way to get back here. It’s really good—Jim’s been really awesome, really helpful too . . . All right, I’m babbling.

That’s okay—you should’ve seen Jim’s interview. It went for forty-five minutes.

Lonn: Forty-five minutes? (laughs) You know, I could listen to him for a while too. That’s what I told him, I like playing shows for him because he has such a positive energy, a positive vibe, he’s not about any kind of anything—no ego, no pretension, nothing. He’s just super-cool about everything. That’s what we try to be—really laid back, appreciative. He seems to appreciate everything, obviously, after what he’s been through.

You feel that there’s . . . I don’t want to use the word, but more of a purity to the people who are producing on their own?

Lonn: Yeah, definitely. I think when you have a label behind you it’s a lot easier, but . . . It’s kind of a cliché thing, but the people who would do it with no label will be the people who always do it, whether they make a dollar for it or lose a thousand. That’s what you have to do for your life. That’s kind of where I’m coming from. We have a small project studio in Connecticut, where we’re from, and I pretty much spend my nights there. I’m always trying to get better, to find a way to connect with people. I think when you’re independent you’re doing it for the right reasons. It’s not somebody handing you a contract. That’s why it’s cool that every band we tour with is a self-made band. Especially with Imperative and God Module and everything—they’re just people that love music, and they do what they do, and they’ve been lucky enough to take it this far.

Lonn of Twitch the Ripper @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

Lonn of Twitch the Ripper @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

So of the places you’ve gone . . . Where have you been that’s been your favorite, or fun?

Lonn: I’m gonna say Chicago because we had two really awesome shows there this year. One was actually three days ago, we played with Imperative and a couple other bands . . . That was super-awesome. Chicago seems like a good music town, the food is amazing, just . . . Everything about it. It’s like another New York! Coming from Connecticut we play New York all the time, but New York is hard because there’s eighteen shows in a night, every band plays there all the time and every tour plays there, so people are so spoiled it’s hard to get them to give a shit about your little corner of music, your little niche. People are jaded because everybody goes through there—especially Brooklyn, because they have their own kind of exclusive scene. We tried really hard to get into that, somewhat successfully.

But yeah, I’d say Chicago is really cool, and Los Angeles just because people are about arts out there. San Francisco too—we’ve had a couple really good shows there in the past year. It seems like anywhere that’s about their arts and culture . . . Not to say anything about Connecticut, but it’s a little bit stifled as far as culture sometimes just because it’s not really as progressive as everywhere else that we’ve been. But I do love it.

And for the final and most important question . . . In the event of the zombie apocalypse, what are your plans?

Lonn: My plans? Well, I don’t know . . . I live mostly on a starvation diet, so I’ll be pretty good as far as survival technique. Zombie apocalypse . . . I’m at a loss. (To Trevor from Imperative Reaction) If there’s a zombie apocalypse, what are you gonna do, man?

Trevor: Forget condoms!

Lonn: I’m gonna get my shotgun and just fuckin’ get ready to hole up. I’ll go out like Return of the Living Dead, where you just hole up in the basement and once they come in and overtake you that’s it. I’m not gonna flee, like Dawn of the Dead style—you end up just getting killed anyway. (laughs) You’re fucked. That’s my response.

~~~

I picked up a copy of Twitch the Ripper’s CD Bodiless, and while a few of the tracks seem to strain vocalist Jon Dobyns’s vocal range—warping his sound from breathy to groany—I’d still recommend people who like synthpop or Depeche Mode give it a listen.

More photos from the Tryptich tour:


[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627910415298″]

Occupy Wall Street Arrests Highlight Need for New Media

Wall Street Arrests Highlight Need for New Media - The First Arrest of Occupy Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case - DOOM! Magazine

The First Arrest of Occupy Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

On November 3, 2011, I witnessed the first arrest of Pittsburgh’s Occupy Wall Street movement. After Pittsburgh’s Oakland Solidarity march had concluded and split up, the group of protesters I was with were invited to see speakers at a public Student Justice for Palestine meeting—only to be partially blocked by Pitt police, who told us we weren’t allowed in campus buildings. Some of the group made it in before the block, some made it in as others were arguing with police, and some were snuck in through a back door by event facilitators. Among the latter group was Bud, an Occupy Pittsburgh camp resident and ‘zine writer who’d just told me he had cell phone video of the cops swearing at and threatening him.

At one point those of us still outside thought things were being cleared up. I got a message that the Pitt Police Chief Delaney was inside talking to the group about the “confusion”—and when I turned around a group of cops had Bud bent over the hood of their squad car.

His girlfriend kissed him as they were cuffing him; he told her he loved her, and to tell their son he’d been arrested for a good cause. None of the officers there would tell us why he was being arrested; one mocked the protesters who demanded a reason. Less than ten minutes after he was shoved into the backseat of a squad car and taken away, we were all officially allowed into the building—and when Bud was finally released, he reported the incriminating videos on his phone had all been erased.

But if not for the attention given here, online, the only record of what went on is a line in a police report: a guy cited for trespassing.

A few days later, I discussed this with a friend over tea. Monetarily, he told me, stories like that weren’t worth much for a news organization or site to run. The attention they’d draw would be nominal. To me this sounds like part of the reason it took mainstream media so long to run OWS stories, and why attention to the goings-on has so often been minimal and/or dismissive. This is also why I’ll make a point of writing about what’s happening out there—and why others should do the same. The Occupy Wall Street movement has brought to light any number of unpleasantries: just how ready cities are to use militarized police against their citizens; just how delinquent mainstream media is when it comes to covering social issues and movements; just how bad spin and misinformation can be when those two intersect.

So to whoever’s listening, from indie media to any of you bloggers with revolutionary inclinations or half-considered daydreams of photojournalism: Our media has overwhelmingly become farcical. Far too many news outlets repeat whatever they think will be easiest to digest or whatever they’re told, no matter the reports from people on the ground. Thus the videotaped beatings of UC Berkley students become “nudges” of police batons; the mass arrests of reporters and legal observers and medics and bystanders morphs into the arrest of “anarchists and provocateurs.” For all of our safety, this can not be allowed. You’re the new guard, the ones who’ll not flinch from telling the entire story; the ones who’ll keep the rest of us from being in the dark. You are of dire importance. Our words and our cameras and our share buttons are the only things that can guarantee police accountability. Be there.

(more…)

Horror in Oil – The Art of Clint Carney

Clint Carney with God Module @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

Clint Carney with God Module @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

To call Clint Carney an overachiever feels like a bit of an understatement. When I met him at the Pittsburgh leg of the Triptych tour, he was in three of the four bands of the night: Fronting System Syn, doubling up with vocals and keyboard work for God Module, and playing keyboards for Imperative Reaction.

So yeah—on this tour, he opened for himself twice, then headlined. He’s positively vibrant in action: owning the stagefront through pacing and gestures, projecting the songs’ emotional tones even when masked. It’s easy to watch him and get the impression this guy can do whatever he damn well puts his mind to.

And that impression isn’t far off. Carney’s also in the band Fake, and is a writer, a tattoo artist, a painter, and possibly Batman. Pittsburgh is currently hosting an art show of his at Robinson Mall, and rather than ask him about everything he was doing (which would certainly degrade into my forgetting all questions and just repetitively telling him he’s wonderful), I decided to ask about that aspect of his repertoire.

So I understand you currently have an exhibition in Pittsburgh?

Oh, yeah, I have some pieces up at Get Inked which is in a Pittsburgh mall, I believe. So it’s kind of been an ongoing exhibition for a while. I actually haven’t been out to check it out yet but I sent htem some art maybe a year ago and they’ve been showing it ever since. (laughs) So you can go in and check it out!

You plan on getting out there anytime over this weekend?

I really hoped to get out there today but it didn’t happen; it’s a little hectic with the tour and stuff. I’m hoping to check it out tomorrow before we head out.

A friend out in California said you’re doing a bit of mixed media—that you’re making your own frames now.

The things at Get Inked aren’t that way, those are just paintings—but the new ones I’m working on I build the frames, and I sculpt pieces that go with the frames, and each frame relates to the painting in some way. I just had an opening the weekend before the tour started, at a place on Melrose in Hollywood called Congregation Gallery. I had my new paintings on display there through the end of the month. (Editor’s note: He also has a few pieces in their permanent collection.)

Clint Carney with System Syn @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

Clint Carney with System Syn @ The Rex, Pittsburgh, PA ©2011 Ran Case

And when it comes to inspiration for your artwork—what drives you?

I just paint from my imagination a lot of the time. I’ve always big into horror and . . . Weird, violent, fucked up shit. Yeah. Things that pop up in my head, things I think about at the time just kind of spill out onto canvas. So . . . I’m a bit of a weirdo. (laughs)

Your favorite media so far?

Oil. Oil paint. I started painting in oil when I was a kid and then I abandoned it for a while because I was never really good at it. I kind of went from media to media until I found one I was really comfortable with—which was at first tempera. And then I moved to acrylic, and that’s what I painted in for years. And just in the last couple years I was talked into going back to oil, giving that a shot again, by some of my other artist friends. Now that I’ve gotten back into it I’m really hooked on it.

It’s just . . . With acrylic a lot of times you can finish a painting in one sitting. It might take ten hours, but you can do it. With oil it’s more . . . You’re gonna be working on it for weeks and months or whatever because of dry time in between sessions and things like that, but in the long run being forced to spend that much time on a painting forces it to be a better painting.

Have you had any kind of formal artistic education or anything?

No. My dad painted and showed me the ropes, and I read every book I could get a hold of. That’s it. I’m addicted to reading books on painting, and watching tutorial videos and stuff like that. And I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of people who are now my friends, who are painters as well and are cool enough to show me some things. That’s about it—that’s how I learn.

~~~

You know who was too busy grinning and not outright fangirling to remember DOOM!’s all important zombie apocalypse question? This girl! (This just means I have to catch up with him again later.)

System Syn’s new CD, All Seasons Pass, is now out on amazon and I highly recommend giving it a listen. And don’t forget Carney’s part in God Module, whose new CD is Séance, and the self-titled new Imperative Reaction CD. Also, here’s a list of places where his art has been and is being shown.

More photos from the Tryptich tour: (more…)

Do Boise Police Think Beating Occupy Wall Street Protesters is Funny? (UPDATE)

Do Boise Police Think Beating Occupy Wall Street Protesters is Funny? - DOOM! Magazine

"Occupy: Halloween"

This picture went up on Facebook as a funny Halloween joke. For those of us keeping track of the growing number of Occupy Wall Street protesters assaulted by police, this display is a special kind of tasteless and insensitive.

But what if one of the people in that picture making fun of police beating protesters is also a Boise police officer?

The person who posted the picture alleges this is the case:

Boise and Anon, we need verification—if this is true, Boise police think beating you is funny.

Update: The person who initially claimed one of the people in that photo is a police officer has since retracted their statement.

The heart of the problem lies beyond someone wearing a uniform. At best, the general public thinks occupiers getting beaten within an inch of their lives is fucking funny. At worst, the police think so too. Belittlement is a viable weapon: Reduce a movement to a joke, to a Halloween snapshot of two cops laughingly beating some silly hippie Wall Street protester, and the concerns of actual protesters are effectively denied validity.

Somehow, people—including law enforcement–are managing to ignore how poor Scott Olsen is still in the hospital. They’re looking straight past the snowballing numbers of videos where people stand up against the police and are slammed face-first into car bumpers and concrete walls, maced, punched, run over with motorcycles and thrown around like rag dolls. It doesn’t matter to them that “To Serve and Protect” has become the most unfunny of ironic jokes. They’re content to blow it off with a laugh and a photo op at some party in Idaho, then post it online because it was just so great it needed to be shared.

This, guys, is why Occupy Wall Street simply can not give up and go home. If protesters pack up their tents and go home, afraid of police violence or ridicule by a willfully ignorant public, this guarantees the method used to control them shall be escalation. If fear of violence makes people stay home and stay quiet, the violence brought to bear will just increase the next time anyone dares to speak out. If fear of ridicule gives them pause, then surely further bullying will render them compliant.

But if the people out there, with their tents and their cardboard signs and their hopes for a better future, can put fear aside and continue to stand together, even in the face of the mockery and violence of the people who are supposed to be protecting them . . . Well, that’s when things get interesting.

 

More #OccupyWallStreet coverage and photo galleries on DOOM! Magazine

Furries EVERYWHERE–Anthrocon 2011, Pittsburgh, PA

Fast Fur-riends (YES I WENT THERE) @ Anthrocon, Pittsburgh PA @2011 Ran Case

Fast Fur-riends (YES I WENT THERE) @ Anthrocon, Pittsburgh PA @2011 Ran Case

Anthrocon’s the biggest and probably most well-known furry convention, drawing national news coverage, any number of jokes from the locals, and no small bit of trollery. (For example, if an out-of-town baseball team is playing the Pittsburgh Pirates here at home, The Powers That Be put them up in the official Anthrocon hotel.) But say what you will–the costuming some of the attendees come up with is fantastic.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627865673214″]

Datsik at the Rex Theater–Pittsburgh, PA

Datsik @ the Rex, Pittsburgh, PA; © Ran Case, 2011

Datsik @ the Rex, Pittsburgh, PA; © Ran Case, 2011

Datsik’s internationally-known for his dubstep, but the almost casual house party atmosphere of his weeknight show wouldn’t have given that away. After Doverspike and Buku got the ever-increasing crowd moving and local favorite Sean 2:16 thrashed them properly, Datsik took the stage to melt everyone’s faces. People brought him gifts–hand-made shirts, a bright rainbow plastic candy bracelet that he immediately put on and wore through the rest of the show–and after the first few fans popped up on the stage to give him high-fives, he came around the tables to give high-fives to the entire front row. Twice.

This is a guy who values his fans: he stuck around after the show as well, shaking hands, giving hugs, and taking pictures, where other artists have been known to immediately skitter off the stage and out into the night. Add on the DJ skills and the tendency to produce tracks that make you sit back and gleefully go, “Ohh, that’s sick,” and it’s no wonder this guy’s become a force to be reckoned with.

 

Datsik’s Facebook fanpage
Datsik on Amazon or Beatport

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627664228075″]

Method & Madness–The Crystal Method at Identity Festival

 

Ken & Scott of The Crystal Method @ Identity Festival, Burgettstown PA @2011 Ran Case

Ken & Scott of The Crystal Method @ Identity Festival, Burgettstown PA @2011 Ran Case

Composed of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, The Crystal Method has been roiling at the periphery of pop culture for closer to twenty years, steadily gaining more fans, more clout, and more levels of awesome. They’ve been the gateway for electronic music for countless people–myself included–and have made any number of radio releases and high-profile remixes, as well as been a part of numerous movie scores and TV show soundtracks.

Or, in short: Holy shit, you guys! It’s The Crystal Method!

This Identity Festival happened to be Ken’s birthday–so because of that, and because he’s a hockey fan, and because he was in Pittsburgh, he decapitated a penguin pinata on stage with a hockey stick. I’ve seen the Method play before, years ago; I went in expecting a fairly danceable big beat/breakbeat set. Nope: they went to an awe-inspiring degree of crunchiness, dropping a brutally glitchy set (as well as random cans of water) on the people who packed together in the full sun to see them. Also, they debuted a strange new instrument that looks like two guitar necks on a DJ mixer. I was curious, so I had to ask about it first.

Let’s start with the inappropriate one: So, your equipment out there–I’ve noticed it’s not quite like everyone else’s!

Ken: That’s right!

Scott: Yes. The CDJ 2000 . . . Honestly, I don’t even know–

Ken: It’s the longest name in the world.

Scott: I’m glad you gravitated towards that . . . The CDJ thing was part of an art project we did for Pioneer. And the rep at Pioneer said, “Let’s make two more of these, and get the USB & keyboard working!” The original piece was a piece of leftover keyboard from a tour that I‘d smashed–you remember that tour (note: the Community Service tour), I was smashing things all over the place.

Ken: But the project, the first one of those things is up for auction right now–it’s a VH1 Save the Music kind of thing.

Scott: That one’s the genesis of it, because then we decided, “Hey, these could be the things we DJ on!” So then the guy who helped fabricate it–who makes amazing custom guitars–he was like, “I’ll put a bass pickup in it so you can actually play it.” It was this really organic idea that came from us having a bunch of leftover gear at the studio, and this guy was able to fabricate the original one, and then it was just like, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba and things just started happing. It’s like, you know . . . The keytar is one of the worst designed objects ever. They mean well, but . . . Playing keyboards, I would love to figure out a way of doing the keytar the proper way. But this is beyond that: this is like putting a CDJ in a keytar, then making it multitask. I love to be able to do things, change the song up . . . And the people can see the music’s coming from that thing.

You mentioned something towards the end of the set about the promoters’ choice to put an electronica festival on in the daytime. What were your thoughts on that?

Ken: First of all, much thanks to everyone out there in the sun just totally enjoying the music and not caring about how hot it was. It was hot out there, and they were totally unaffected–and that’s just really amazing, and a sign of the love of the music for everybody who came out.

It’s great that you were reminding them to hydrate.

Scott: If nothing else, I had to be a PSA.

Ken: “You broke my nose–”

Scott: No, this guy–

Ken: I didn’t understand what he was saying! He’s like, “Broke my nose–” and I’m like, “What? What do you mean? What are you talking about?”

Scott: No, what happened was I went to throw it (note: a can of water) to him and I was throwing– There’s people out there who I know are looking right at me, and I’m looking at them, and there’s someone maybe two or three feet in front of those people who are like, “Oh, he’s talking to me!” And they’ll go up to catch it, miss it, and because of the deflection from their hand . . . It wasn’t me who was the last one to touch it, it was the guy in front of him. I try to pick out people who are paying attention, and my arm is sometimes not accurate, but–

Ken: The other guy got the assist!

Scott: Exactly.

Ken: We normally throw them plastic bottles of water, but the water that we have is those Red Bull cans–

Scott: No, no, no no, Rock Star.

Ken: Why do I keep saying Red Bull? I clearly know the difference! Why am I saying that–

Scott: The thing is, I kept going, “Can you bring me some water?” And Josh kept bringing me these Rock Stars, and it says “Contains water” . . . And I’m like, “I know it contains water!”

Ken: Of course it contains water!

Scott: And he’s like, “This is the water for the tour!” And I went, No, I want water, I want bottled water– “No, this contains–” Yes, I know it contains water! Fucking every–fucking Coca-Cola contains water! And it wasn’t until Caesar at the booth was like, “No, it’s only water. Drink it!” And I was like, “Ohhh.”

Ken: It looks just like the Rock Star energy drink!

Scott: I get it now. It should say, “ONLY contains water.”

Ken: They should have a different label, it should be white–

Scott: They want everyone to think you’re sucking it down–

Scott of The Crystal Method @ Identity Festival, Burgettstown PA @2011 Ran Case

Scott of The Crystal Method @ Identity Festival, Burgettstown PA @2011 Ran Case

(Note: This was the point Afrobeta came back from Pittsburgh, and Cuci presented Scott with a pink unicorn pillow for his daughter. The pillow promptly ended up decorated with the penguin piñata’s head, and the audio from the interview degraded into hysterical laughter and noise.)

Scott: We’ve gotta put that out on the set for the rest of the tour. It’s part of the family now.

Ken: As Seen On TV, thank you!

So I haven’t seen you guys for almost ten years now and in the meantime you’ve gotten crunchy as hell. What are your thoughts on your own musical evolution?

Ken: We’ve always kind of leaned towards the two extremes, the hard and the beautiful soft, so I think the music we’re making, the music we’re playing is still kind of natural to us, and what we gravitate towards.

Scott: I agree with everything he said.

Ken: And with the development of dubstep, I think that kind of gives us permission to be as hard as we want. Because that style is just so hard, so it’s kind of a free–

(Note: This was where Tony Smurphio of Afrobeta rolled back through with a birthday card for Ken, and where things once again degraded into pandemonium, with bonus talk of plumber’s crack and Bill Murray movies. This was probably the most organic, most chaotic, least formal interview I’ve ever done, and it was amazing.)

Ken: It’s so much fun when you play on your birthday. That means you’re living off this shit.

So as for plans for your next work: I think it’s been two years since Divided by Night, and you played a new song tonight . . .

Scott: Yeah, we played a new song tonight, it was Play for Real. We did two songs for this big Dreamworks movie that’s coming out in October called Real Steel; we worked with Danny Elfman–or he worked with us, it’s hard to say how it worked out.

Ken: And Hugh Jackman is in the film.

Scott: Yes, it’s a futuristic robots thing. We did two songs– This director, Shawn Levy, was a big fan of ours. We had a meeting with him in January and the first thing he said was, “I can’t believe I actually have The Crystal Method here! I’ve been making movies for a long time and finally have a project where I can bring you guys in.”

Ken: One of those songs on the soundtrack we contributed is . . . It’s an awesome track.

Scott: We should play it. We’ll play it right now. If I had my phone?

Isn’t that your phone–no, that’s my phone.

(Note: We never did find the phone.)

I do remember when Divided by Night came out there was a rumor bumping around that you guys were only going to make a set number of CDs, then stop. Is there any stock in that?

Ken: Like a set number of albums in our career, then stop? I hadn’t heard that.

Scott: Maybe we should do that.

Ken: The funny thing about that is, REM for a long time said for sure, early on in their career, that their last show was gonna be like New Year’s Eve 1999, 2000, and they kept going way past then.

Scott: REM, TCM . . . We get confused. I don’t know how many times people have come up to me to tell me about how they lost their religion to my songs.

I’ve got one more question–the absolutely most important question: In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are your plans?

Ken: It happens when?

Whenever it happens.

Ken: The plan?

Scott: The apocalypse will not be televised?

Ken: The apocalypse . . . And we live?

Like, how are you going to survive the zombie apocalypse?

Ken: We live in California, and my wife’s really good about getting the whole earthquake thing together.

Scott: We’ll be good at making friends with zombies. “Dude, don’t you remember? I played for your fucking zombie party, like, ten years ago.”–“Raah, I won’t eat your brains because I like you!”–“Thank you, appreciate it, high five, whoa, your arm just fell off.” I figure that’s the best plan.

Ken: I’ve gotta change my earthquake plan–I’ve gotta make sure my earthquake plan now has a sign that says, “We love zombies!”

Scott: You’ve gotta plan early for the zombies, because they have short memories. Or long memories, I’m not sure. They might be like elephants, but dead elephants.

~~

Need I reiterate how awesome these guys are?

Check out their new song, Play for Real
Like them on Facebook–they’ll let you know when new songs are out!
Pick up some songs on Amazon! There’s years and years of back catalog to enjoy.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627525840105″]


Music

Freebie Friday, featuring Ivan Muñoz of Vigilante
Freebie Friday, featuring Ivan Muñoz of Vigilante

Ivan Muñoz of Vigilante talks about bringing awareness to his audience via "artivism." Also, rattle your neighbors with free songs by electropunk artists FIGO, professional industrial troll Caustic, & aggrotech up-and-comers BlakOpz and Ludovico Technique.…

Conventions

Furries EVERYWHERE--Anthrocon 2011, Pittsburgh, PA
Furries EVERYWHERE–Anthrocon 2011, Pittsburgh, PA

From the strange to the clever to the outright mind-bending, the furries came to Anthrocon dressed to impress.…