Gaining ground and taking the world by storm, Vampirefreaks’ little darlings Nicky Phoenix and Krista Veronica Button are climbing their way to the top as 00tz 00tz. Their project, a harsh industrial infusion of heavy dance beats and synthy goodness offers much for the rivethead. Plotting their takeover of the world and their assault on the genre, this industrial power couple is poised for a massive dance floor assault. Sitting down with Nicky and Krista, our conversation turns from their continued innovation, library filing systems, and the dance floor. With the release of their latest, a remix album called Frequency Repaired, 00tz 00tz is quickly becoming a name which will be talked about round the scene.
First off, thank you for sitting down and taking time out of your day to talk to us. It’s greatly appreciated. Can you give us a brief introduction to 00tz 00tz?
Nicky: 00tz 00tz is harsh industrial dance music project that consists of two members, myself, and Krysta Veronica button.
Krysta: We started out as an instrumental project, but 00tz 00tz has progressed to become a complete musical experience with the addition of vocals.
I’d like to talk about the name of the project. Why specifically “00tz 00tz”?
Krysta: We named our project 00tz 00tz because that is the sound of the beat in our music, it’s a sort of tongue-in-cheek reference to the genre.
Nicky: 00tz 00tz is spelled with zeros because our music is electronically based, hence the zeros which is used in binary language.
When I first heard 00tz 00tz through the album Death By Numbers , the project had Krista V. Button behind the lines acting in the background with you. I’d like to ask, what made Krysta step out into the forefront and add vocals for the second release Frequency Damage?
Krysta: I’d had a lot of vocal ideas for Death by Numbers, but could never actually get up the courage to put my voice to the tracks. By the time we started focusing on Frequency Damage, I decided to put my fear aside and step up to the plate so to say, so we gave adding my vocals a try, and we liked the result, the rest is history.
Nicky: “Death by Numbers” was more an experimental album that was geared to be more of an instrumental album while Krysta provided samples and worked with the arrangements of the song. She did have some good vocal ideas for it, but it wasn’t until “Frequency Damage” , where that album was written with the intent to have vocals on it and for it to be a club dance Industrial album. This is where Krysta shined with her ideas and really felt confident to bring them forth.
What do you each bring to the 00tz 00tz project and how does your vision coincide?
Nicky: I bring the energy and emotion to the overall sound by providing distorted beats and melodic synths while Krysta uses her poetry to create a blend of passionate and thought provoking lyrics further pulled together by her vocal melodies.
Krysta: I also help to put the final “polish” so to say on the overall final project by helping with the final arrangement and adding samples here and there.
Since the beginning, 00tz 00tz has been gaining massive recognition here on VampireFreaks, and the release of Frequency Damage has only helped solidify the project’s grip on the VF charts and as a staple in industrial dance. Are you surprised by the recognition?
Krysta: Yes, we are very surprised. This project started out as something we were just doing for fun, now it has become a very serious and big part of our lives. We still find it hard to believe that so many people out there love our music as much as we love writing it.
Nicky: I’m glad to see people getting into our music, it makes me feel what I do is worthwhile, especially at this point in time, where I personally take 00tz 00tz very serious.
I understand that you’ve now gone further with the release of Frequency Repaired which contains remixes by the likes of Aesthetic Perfection, Assemblage 23, and others. Without playing too many favorites, what was it like working with these artists and which remix is your favorite?
Nicky: We have a great amount of respect for these artists and it was an honor for us that they took the time and spent their energy to do these remixes for us. Each remix brings a different element to the table so it would be impossible for us to name a favorite; overall we were thrilled with Frequency Repaired as an EP release.
Can you tell us what it’s like working with Island City Records and some of the advantages of working with labels for releases?
Nicky: Island City Records is a very small indie label, but we think they do a fantastic job in helping to get our music to our fans, and heard by future fans as well.
Krysta: I would also like to mention as a side note, that in addition to the great job the Island City Records does for us, CircuitHeads Promotions also does a fantastic job in helping to promote our music.
I noticed on the track “Cyber Zombie” off of Frequency Damage, you use samples from the movie Doomsday (2008). Are you guys big horror fans, and what films are your favorite? Can you also give us a brief introduction to how you find and choose your samples for tracks?
Krysta: I personally am a huge fan of the horror movie genre! As for me naming favorite films, it would be very hard to do, I will say this though, I am a big fan of such directors such as George Romero and Sam Raimi. I also deeply admire Tim Burton’s work although I am unsure if you could classify him as a director of the horror genre per say. I try to select samples I feel are memorable and catchy that also fit the feel of the track we are working on.
Returning to the music, you’ve been doing a lot of touring lately at gigs on the East Coast, your latest being in support of Mindless Faith. What should a listener expect from going to an 00tz 00tz gig?
Krysta: You should expect to move on that dance floor! Energy is reflective; the more you give us back the energy we put out at a gig the better show you’ll get from us. I’ve been known to jump off the stage and join our fans on the dance floor during a set, when I feel like doing that you know a gig is going well.
Nicky: We put a lot of emotion and energy into our music which I’m sure is can felt when we perform.
As up and coming superstars, what does the future look like with 00tz 00tz? What can we expect in the near future?
Krysta: I would say the future looks bright for 00tz 00tz, the continuous outpouring of support from our fans continues to inspire us. We are constantly booking and negotiating gigs, (we love to play out as much as possible) and we are currently working on our next album.
Nicky: Progression. With each of our albums we strive to bring a different feel to the table. Death by Numbers was an experimental instrumental exploration of what we wanted 00tz 00tz to be. With Frequency Damage we specifically pushed to make each and every track a four-on-the-floor Industrial dance club anthem.
Krysta: So far our next album, as it comes along, is seeming to be focused more so on the technical construction of each song and less on just making every song specifically for the dance floor.
Nicky: Yes, the next release is geared to being more melodic song orientated, with more beaks, time changes and slightly less club style, but still harsh industrial 00tz style!
You’ve both done a wonderful job capturing the zeitgeist of terror EBM/cybernoize in your releases; so on a typical day, what’s rocking your stereo?
Nicky: Week to week, the artists constantly change for me, but as for right now, I am very into, older Grendel, new Combichrist, Aesthetic Perfection, Assemblage 23, FGFC820, and Nachtmahr, amongst many others.
Krysta: I have an exceedingly diversified musical interest, I try to keep on the forefront of the new releases within the industrial/EBM scene (Which Nicky is always providing me with) such as Aesthetic Perfection‘s new album, at the same time I keep my old favorites handy such as VNV Nation, The Cure Grendel, The Misfits, and Big Electric Cat.
Also, I’ve read that the lyrics for 00tz 00tz come from Krysta’s poetry. How long have you been writing poetry and who have you been reading lately? What are some of your favorite poems and poets?
Krysta: I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember, but I really don’t have a favorite poet nor have I been reading anyone lately. I tend to use my poetry as an emotional outlet, writing down my emotions within the guise of rhymes and prose is a great release for me.
Going back to the live shows now, how do you get psyched up for performances? I’ve read from different interviews for other bands that there are certain rituals they do before they go on stage…what do you guys do?
Nicky: Drink. Um…get drunk, and mingle
Krista: Try to pretend it’s just another night out for me, I’ll maybe have a drink or two, dance a bit, and mingle…if I think about it too much I just get nervous.
Nicky: No seriously, I have a great fear of technical problems so I do more than a few checks that all of our gear is set up and running well, call it OCD rather than a ritual.
And in the studio – what sort of mood do you each try to channel for sessions?
Krysta: We try to channel the same energy we put into our live shows in the studio, it makes it fun for us and gives our music that extra oomph that I feel comes through when you hear the final project.
What sort of gear are you guys using for performances anyway? I know that inquiring gearheads would love to know.
Nicky: An Hp Laptop with an I7 processor Baby! Also, Reason 5 complete with an outside the box collection of refills, Traktor Pro, a Mackie mixer, a distortion pedal for my vocals, along with various midi controllers.
Krysta: I use a Shure beta 58 mic, and the Boss VE-20 Vocal Performance Pedal.
As both a musical partnership in 00tz 00tz and a marriage, how does this arrangement inform the music? Do you feel it helps inform the musical output, and in what ways?
Krysta: It helps to inform the music because we don’t have to schedule practice or recording sessions, because we spend most of our free time together, we work on 00tz 00tz when we have and idea or want to even if it’s three in the morning mid week. 00tz 00tz is a passion for both of us and I feel that shines through in each and every track.
Nicky: Being in any band dealing with any band members requires a commitment and is like a marriage in itself. So our situation makes for a comfortable environment to creating music, knowing each other that well, helps to bring our music together that much easier.
I want to thank you both for sitting down with us, and I wish you all the best of luck in the future. I look forward to one day seeing 00tz 00tz. Before we go, are there any words of advice you’d like to give your following and any aspiring musicians?
Krysta: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. What you may perceive to be some obscure musical experiment you did just for fun could become the next big thing, or just something you and your friends laugh about twenty years down the line. Regardless, you’ll never find yourself wondering “What if”.
Nicky: If music is truly your passion, stick with it no matter what, because if you lose your passion, you lose what it means to be alive.