Montreal QC, May 23-26 - It’s time once again to stow the earplugs, apply shoe glue to your big stompy boots, and take stock of another Kinetik Festival, Montreal’s 6 year old premium industrial electro music festival. This year I was very selective in the bands I partook, but I managed to get swept into the electric current of the event, enough to connect with old friends, enjoy some truly outstanding acts, and catch the awesome vibe.
Life Cried live at Kinetik 5.5. The new smaller venue made for delightfully intimate performances.
2013’s festival was an interesting experiment with scaling down, but not necessarily scaling back the scope, or quality of the four phase event. This translated into a smaller venue, The Belmont, closer to the West of downtown, as opposed to the traditional, grittier stomping grounds in the city core.
Happy faces in close quarters combined with world class industrial performances!
We went into this year with clear warnings that 5.5 was scaled down (hence the .5 moniker) so in all fairness, the beacon was clearly lit. In previous years the luxurious venues of Usine C and Metropolis facilitated more of a convention-like atmosphere, allowing for a strong social culture to establish with lounge areas, vendors, and well-lit free flow movement. So for those who really enjoy this aspect of Kinetik’s unique culture, there was perhaps some disappointment. On the other hand, satellite events such as Plastik Wrap’s weekend long Bazaar of the Bizarre alt marketplace and the numerous and ubiquitous, ever popular after party, filled this void sufficiently for me and while I can understand the concern, I don’t think it’s entirely warranted given the clear communication by festival PR long before the festival even started.
Toronto’s Displacer. Kinetik is known for covering the spectrum of subculture electronic music from IDM to industrial electro to power noise and more.
Let’s face it, Kinetik is a “music” festival, so those coming for the social fashion show are missing the core point. The Belmont served the music purpose well. For me, I admit it did take some adjusting from the expectations built from former years, but I was pleasantly surprised at the true “underground” feeling of the venue. It made for some really intimate performances, which I believe, was a nice change from the big stages of the past. And yes, the room was packed, especially during phase 2 with popular headliner Suicide Commando, but at no point was mobility completely encumbered. If you take the fact the festival dropped fair warning with an excellent price point for the quality of the line-up, this was a very good event. The room had some sweet sound spots, visibility was relatively decent, even from the back, and there was a cozy “pub” area to escape to if you needed a break. In my opinion, if you were coming for the music this was pure fun and well worth it.
Shifty Dave’s dubious sheep returns, Kinetik’s unofficial mascot, popular among acts and festival goers alike. This time, with FGFC820′s Rexx Arcana!
But in another light, over the years, one of the great things about Kinetik has been the grassroots atmosphere. This festival has never lost that feeling, whilst it has grown in stature and influence, rising to become one of the flagships of the North American industrial festival circuit. This can be attributed to organizer Jean-François, a man who carefully retains operational control of the festival, working tirelessly year after year (sometimes thanklessly) to produce it. In previous years the stress and logistical concern of such a beast has been apparent. However, with 5.5 being parsed down, an equilibrium seems to have been found. I had a brief handshake with Jean-François during phase 3 and it was nice to see him considerably less stressed, in the crowd, enjoying the show. It just seems so right for a festival commander to be enjoying the fruits of his labor. His entire crew was bubbly and energized and we all know, happy organizers hopefully means everyone wins and more festivals in the future!
As a music fan, that’s what I want and I’m really looking forward to how next year will develop. I have to give Kinetik 2013 and all those involved with putting it together the highest of marks within the context of the scaled back experiment. You guys did a fantastic job! I got what I wanted which was great music, fantastic performances, and lots of smiley moments.
photos : Adrian Onsen
Montreal QC, May 23rd to 26th - This festival is the crème de la crème of North American industrial electro festivals featuring the best in class from across the broad spectrum of alternative electronic music worldwide. 2013′s four-day event is really the hot ticket and could be sold out as we write. Those lucky enough to grab a pass will enjoy near twenty acts including headliner performances from Suicide Commando, Project Pitchfork, and Aesthetic Perfection. The festival is in its sixth year, this year being billed as a mini-fest (version 5.5) due to a scaled down venue and line-up; but judging by the bill, this year will be as kick-ass as earlier festivals, no doubt! If you are feeling lucky and think you can snag a ticket, go to their website or check out the festival Facebook group.
In 1982 Douglas McCarthy founded Nitzer Ebb with Bon Harris. They combined a variety of genres to build their own unique sound within the then still young EBM genre. Over the years they evolved, took breaks, collaborated with other artists, and solidified themselves as a pillar in the industrial community. Thirty years have passed and McCarthy has only just released his first solo album, Kill Your Friends. It’s a morose and melodic collection of songs that have only minor similarities to his work in Nitzer Ebb, bringing something new to his legacy. We met up with McCarthy at LA’s new venue Complex for an interview and later that week elsewhere in LA for an exclusive photoshoot.
interview by : Diamond Bodine-Fischer
photographer : Saryn Christina
How did the idea of doing your first solo album after all these years come about?
Douglas McCarthy : It sounds trite, but being in a band for thirty years where we had a group identity, there’s a sense of frustration, though frustration is a strong word. My first knowledge of pop and rock music growing up was the 70s. There was glam, and then it went into punk and disco at the same time, and all of it, brilliant. Then there was go-go and New York b-boys, I just loved it all. I wanted to take that same journey I made as a kid, and include all of that in Kill Your Friends.
Where does the album name Kill Your Friends come from?
DM : Well, you know us, we talk absolute nonsense all the time. I collaborate with Hazel [Hill McCarthy III] quite a lot and our general approach to creating things is this rambling conversation that never really ends. So one time we were talking about some friends of ours that are not very nice. We talked about the old adage, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. We switched that around a bit and said love your enemies, kill your friends. We thought it was really funny. When Depeche Mode posted about it on Facebook it was great, the only thing the Depeche Mode fans took offense with was the album name. People were saying it was negative, and insensitive to today’s violence, particularly school shootings.
AUXILIARY ONLINE CONTENT
[ additional images not seen in the April/May 2013 Issue ]
read the full interview in the April/May 2013 Issue
Having always been a fan of Implant, the new music video and single “c.c.c.p.c.c.t.v.” didn’t strike me as much as I hoped it would. Perhaps I was expecting something a bit more fun. The social political nature of the video footage used in the music video for ”c.c.c.p.c.c.t.v.” gives the track a darker tone. But with lyrics like, “oh baby I’m on,” and the kidnapping sequences, there is some good old Implant playfulness in there. Implant release their new album The Productive Citizen this week on May 17th!
- Jennifer Link
Jinxy and PS of Santa Hates You have been pounding out their unique brand of electro-industrial since 2007. This year sees them kick it into overdrive with their new album It’s ALIVE!.
interview by Mike Kieffer and Jennifer Link
Santa Hates You easily gets labeled as a side project of Project Pitchfork. Was it? Is it now? Do you see this label as negative? And do you do anything to combat this label?
PS : Santa Hates You is a fully fledged band. Jinxy writes most of the lyrics and I write the music to it. So it’s a team, a band. A side project is something you do “on the side”, while my working scheme is always fully concentrated on one project at a time.
Does Santa Hates You and Project Pitchfork have separate types of fans, and if so is there any conflict between the two, Pitchforks vs. Santas?
PS : There are various types of people in the scene. Some love Santa Hates You and also know and love Project Pitchfork. Some love Santa Hates You and hate Project Pitchfork. Some love Project Pitchfork and prefer not to know Santa Hates You. And there are of course people who hate Santa Hates You and hate Project Pitchfork as well. It’s still a mystery to us what kind of music they are listening to. Perhaps country and Western music.
read the full interview in the December/January 2012/2013 Issue
This week’s featured release actually came out December 7th but it is definitely the album I listened to the most this week, and that album is Klonawelt by Klonavenus on EK Product. This little known duo from Rome, Italy embrace the classic EBM sounds and mix in more modern futurepop elements giving it a nice fresh sound. But really the bouncy melodies and vocals have a fun element to them that seems to be lacking in most newer releases. This album is perfect music to cheer you up and get you moving!
Klonawelt is available for purchase online and can be listened to online on Bandcamp at www.ekproduct.bandcamp.com/album/klonawelt.
- Mike Kieffer
De/Vision has long been known as a quintessential cornerstone of synthpop. In a frank interview, De/Vision speaks openly about their recent album, Rockets & Swords, their longevity as a duo, and the future of the band.
interview by : Jessica Jewell
De/Vision has remarkable longevity. What do you feel has kept the project going for 24 years and how do you keep each release fresh to retain your fan base?
Thomas Adam : I’m not sure, I never thought about that. We simply love what we do and somehow we always managed to reach the hearts of the people. We have always tried to evolve, to go new ways, and re-invent ourselves every once in a while. Not every fan has always been happy with that but it is not our job to fulfill anybody’s expectations. Maybe that’s the secret why we are still popular after 24 years.
Your upcoming album, Rockets & Swords, has a different mood compared to past albums like, Noob. What was it that drove you to explore the softer, poignant territory expressed in the track “I Want to Believe?” I personally love the change of pace. It provides an interesting mental shift at the right point in the album.
TA : Of course it has a different mood, which has to do with the fact that it contains different songs. The way you’re describing it, the change of pace and exploring the softer, poignant territory, it could be almost any other D/V album; it sounds like a typical D/V release to me. I have no idea what drove us to do this or that. This kind of approach is too intellectual to me. When we start writing new songs we never know how the result will be like, we don’t have a plan or formula. We’re only trying to write good songs, that’s it.
read the full interview in the October/November 2012 Issue