You are a coldwave aficionado. Is that where the Cold comes from in your name? Yes. Yes it is. I've been trying to make a point of specifying AMERICAN coldwave lately, in part due to the recent resurgence of French coldwave and similar styles. French coldwave, of course, has basically nothing in common with American coldwave and the French style predates the American by like 20 years.
Do you have any plans for Edgar G. Chillingston outside of the band? His own show or movie has to be inevitable! Stitchmind and I are in planning stages for a mobile app/game featuring Edgar and probably The Cockblock. We'll start working on that in earnest when I get back from the All Sides Closing In Tour!
You've been known to to the occasional cover or two. Any new ones on the horizon? We have one more nearly complete as the last exclusive for the Ice Brigade members (and you can still get Ice Brigade Membership Packs from Fixt.com or from us on tour!) I have a few ideas kicking around, but I'm trying to focus one new material for the album at the moment.
So how many bands HAVE you played live with? Gabe Shaw (Chemlab/VNV/Ayria/Modulate/Thirty zillion other things) and I were just comparing notes on this after the Jamie Duffy Memorial in Chicago! Okay, not counting bullshit I did in high school.
Bands I've toured with/been a full-ish member of at one time or another:
1. See Colin Slash
2. Deathline International
3. Psyclon Nine
7. Unter Null
8. Everything Goes Cold
Bands I've played at least one complete show with but I wouldn't consider myself a proper member:
Bands I've done "serious" guest appearances with (meaning I had to rehearse or prepare in some manner):
14. The Gothsicles
15. Alter Der Ruine
16. Life Cried
Bands I've randomly invaded (well, been ~asked~ to randomly invade) on stage and sang one or two songs with:
19. Rabbit Junk
20. Left Spine Down
I'm pretty sure that's it. Every time I make one of these lists I eventually realize I've left something out.
Do you think infusing humor in this kind of music has created its own genre? No, because, as I always say, the humor has ALWAYS been there. We just collectively forgot about it for a little while. Throbbing Gristle, Monte Cazazza, Laibach, Foetus, Skinny Puppy, PIG, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pankow, SNOG, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Meat Beat Manifesto, who knows who else. All those acts used (or continue to use) humor and satire prominently, so if anything we're just continuing a long-standing tradition. In the early 2000s, as futurepop, power noise, and terror EBM started really gaining prominence, I think we as a culture lost perspective on that because those genres don't lend themselves to humor as easily.
Now, that said, it does seem that The Gothsicles, Caustic, Alter Der Ruine, ourselves, and a few other current bands are doing something with our humor that's a bit distinct from what, say, SNOG does, and that might be worthy of mention. I think we're a bit more self-aware and self-referential than the older bands, and that makes it feel different... But I'd hesitate to call it its own genre.
What's your favorite piece of gear you use right now? I've been mostly rocking softsynths lately, so there's not much "gear" to speak of. I still use the Nord Lead3 I bought for See Colin Slash when I was in college when I play keys live... I'm very enamored with the Plogue Chipsounds softsynth right now, though. It emulates a huge number of 80s game console and computer sound chips beautifully, and has a great wave sequencer. It's a ton of fun.
Who would you most like to perform on stage with? I really want to play with The Gothsicles again. As for bands I haven't played with... Man, that's a tough question. I've been wildly fortunate in that I've actually played with so many of my favorite bands. I'm crazy about Necro Facility right now, and the live videos I've seen of them have just had the vocalist and the keyboardist, so I'd love the opportunity to beef up their show! I'd volunteer to join the genCAB lineup in an instant if we ever convinced David Dutton to get that back together, and Seibold knows I'm at his disposal for anything Hate Dept.-related that ever comes up.
This question has too much pressure! I feel like if I forget somebody who's reading the article, they won't think I want to do it and will never ask me! Let's just say I love doing guest appearances, I love touring, and if they need me and don't completely suck, I will probably be up for it!
What's your favorite thing to do outside of music? I read a lot of comic books- specifically mainstream American superhero books, mostly Marvel. I love classic video games (and some modern ones- especially the Zelda franchise). I collect G1 Transformers toys, I like playing with small dogs, and I love fine dining. So if I could do all of those things at one time, that would be my favorite thing.
How did the first time you ever performed on stage go? In high school, I played in a cheesy goth band with some of my friends. We used to play this tiny coffee shop in LA (The Cobalt Cafe, somewhere in Woodland Hills or something) that booked almost nothing but ska, because it was the mid-'90s in Southern California, so that's what everybody was in to. Every show we had there would have like five bands, and we'd usually be somewhere in the middle, so kids would be hearing two hours of "pick it up pick it up pick it up!" with super fast happy guitars and horns, and then we'd come on and sing these draggy, swirly vampire songs. We listened to a lot of London After Midnight and early Christian Death.
For some reason we actually did pretty well with this- I think mostly because the kids didn't really WANT to hear that much ska, it's just all they had! Our guitarist, Jon Stout (who's directly responsible for me hearing industrial music for the first time) went on to become a well-established big band musician, and we still hang out when I'm in LA. Check him out here! http://www.campusfive.com/
Who's playing live with you now? It's me on vocals and keys, our long-suffering guitarist James Webb, Josh Ostrander is back on keys after a hiatus of four years, and Mike Blodgett, who played keys from '09-'11, is now on drums. We'll also have Valerie Gentile of Angelspit, Cruxshadows, and Black Tape for a Blue Girl as a guest guitarist on a few of our upcoming dates, and our friend Erica Mulkey/Unwoman on electric cello on a few more!
As an audience member I always love seeing bands mix up and do guest appearances, so we do that whenever possible. Matt Fanale hopped on with us several times during the Caustic tour, and we also had appearances by Severina X Sol from Cylab/The Breakup, Conan Neutron of Replicator/Mount Vicious/Victory and Associates (on tour now!), Tom Napack from Dangerous Muse/Aesthetic Perfection/Vanity Police, and Kerry Peterson from Stiff Valentine. I'm sure we'll have some crazy surprises like that on the upcoming tour as well.
How do you handle touring? Practice? Very carefully? This sounds like a lead-in to a really terrible joke.
I have the very good fortune to be a sysadmin with a very cool employer and an awesome boss, so I actually work on the road whenever possible. It's exhausting, but it lets us do things that most bands can't- we can go do difficult stuff that loses money and I don't have to worry about how I'm gonna pay rent when I get back. I guess that's the main thing people wonder about.
When people have problems touring, 99% of it stems from poor planning- you have to presume that everything is going to go wrong, and that you're going to lose 100% of your monetary outlay. If that can happen and you can still make the shows, have a good time and not find yourself stranded in some cornfield in the middle of Nebraska, you're ready to go on tour. Otherwise, you need to stay home and prepare more.
What's next for the band? We're opening a taco stand.
Did you get any response to wearing Caustic's 'Stop Sampling Full Metal Jacket' while performing with Grendel? Everybody loved it! I didn't think of it until about a week before Kinetik and I didn't actually have the shirt, so I had to have Matt rush one to me at some expense, but it was well worth it. And that show was awesome. The new Grendel album is one of this year's best discs, so playing it for a huge crowd was just amazing.
Working / performing with so many bands, do you have funny inside info / stories that stand out for you? Oh there are hundreds. It's hard to narrow it down. With Ayria of course there are all the stories about Mike Wimer randomly getting naked. With Psyclon we had I don't know how many vehicle breakdowns leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere, we had an experience where we went to about ten progressively grosser and grosser sex shops in seattle in one night looking for liquid latex because we ran out, a time where some US customs agent in Europe was convinced that Josef's keyboard was a bomb and took several weeks to ship it back to us, an endless array of crazy fans and an even endlesser array of crazy Nero stories. Oh, and Josef once convinced some girl working for EasyJet at Gatwick Airport that we were Metallica. We had Sensual Batman on the Caustic tour in July, which... Well you can just look that up on Youtube if you weren't amongst the lucky few who saw it. I recommend the SF performance. I have a bunch of stories involving Marco from XP8/Faderhead that can't be repeated here, as I'm sure you'd imagine. I once walked through a giant crowd of furries with Ben from Terrorfakt and Rachel from Tonikom. Count0 from Deathline got deported from the US in the middle of a tour.
I could write an entire article on any of those things.
Seen any good music videos lately? Phil Barry from Be My Enemy/Cubanate recently played guitar on "Pyramid Eye" by Malakwa, and that video's pretty awesome! I'm looking forward to the new Caustic video for Bury You Alive, my favorite track from the new disc.
I don't watch that many music videos so I can't think of much else on that front that I've loved lately. Last year's new Angelspit video was great, X-Ray by Left Spine Down is fantastic... And no music video conversation is complete without me mentioning Relax and Ride It by Alter Der Ruine, one of my all-time favorites.
Any words of wisdom for the VF community? DENY ALL IRRITANT! LIKE SALT IN AN OPEN SLIT! GO ON AND SWIM IN!!! Oh I'm sorry, you probably meant actual advice, not just words from the 16volt song "Wisdom".
Okay first of all, if you only read one X-Men title this year, read "Wolverine and the X-Men". It's great, and has nothing to do with the decent-but-not-amazing animated series of the same name. Mike Allred did the last issue! Second, if you want a really fantastic burger in Chicago, go to Grange Hall Burger Bar. Seriously, it's goddamn amazing. Third, if you have even a passing taste for 8-bit/chiptune music, see Anamanaguchi live. You won't regret it. And check out Crashfaster, an awesome chiptune act from San Francisco.
Also, stop making those damn cyber dance videos. They make my heart hurt