Hello, David ! How are you these days? You have just played synth for Life Cried on two events where Life Cried preceded London After Midnight; how the both show passed?
- They went pretty well! There was a great attendance in the New York show in particular and it was pretty nice to be up there with 4 other people. It felt like a real band experience and I think we all fed off of each other.
You wanted to be musician from the early ages, or did this simply stroked you all of the sudden? Also, what instruments do you know to play and how good do you play them? Also, is there any other music project besides genCAB that have been involved in?
- I dabbled in the typical high school band stuff when I was younger and such, but actually writing, I didn't get into that until later on. I also had friends around my school years that were also into industrial and had a lot of keyboards and samplers and such but they usually discouraged me from touching them in fear that i'd save over their presets! Maybe when i was about 19 or 20. Around that time i moved into a friend's apartment who had a lot of gear and some software. I was living off of money i had saved for a couple of months so I had a lot of free time which i spent messing around on Tracker programs with samples he acquired. It just kind of grew as a hobby like that, but it was so enjoyable that I knew i wanted to take it more seriously eventually.
Ok, tell me now a little more about the genCAB, who exactly genCAB is, and who will remain to be genCAB? Also, when, exactly, genCAB begun his music existence and, most important – why? Also, what’s the meaning behind the name – “genCAB”?
- genCAB has been me since about 2002. Actually, the name is slightly ironic but based mostly off of the book “Generation X” by Douglas Coupland. I originally wanted it to be a collective of friends, almost like a Pigface kind of thing, but the idea never panned out. I always thought of Generation X as the generation in high school before me, so before I knew they were already calling us Generation Y, I chose “Cable”, jokingly referring to myself as being raised on Mtv and Godzilla movies. Anyways after using that name for awhileI started giving out CDs to friends. I forget exactly who started calling it “genCAB”, but it just kind of stuck. Even though the pronunciation changed lol. But I kept the “gen” lowercase just to pay homage to the old name by separating it.
- But I really started writing music because I really wasn't doing anything with my life. I had thought about writing but mostly just came up with a lot of prose. It just seemed that if I rearranged some of the stuff that i wrote that I actually had some songs in it all. But i definitely never intended it to bullshit around any kind of ideology or anything like that. There's no direct message in any of the songs. They're mostly observations about myself to the tune of suggestion. I always kept it very personal to myself. Thomas Wolfe said that we are the sum of all of our moments. And while from the outside my life probably isn't very atypical. But from a personal perspective, all of our lives are full of constant drama. Whether that be fighting with an ex, getting stuck in traffic or being in a helicopter crash. So for this work, I will just write about what i know happening in my life for the most part.
Your influences are mostly from projects that are out of front lights of the industrial stage for now, because they do not belong to the, now ongoing, hellektro thing nor trancy futurepop. Are you scared that your music is destined for same fate: Being recognized by elite, but never reached to some potential hellektrohead, who might, in the light of your recording, finally see some electro beyond screaming and blood on the stage aesthetics? What’s the niche and the audience that you aim at, and, at the very end – what kind of reactions do you expect from the scene?
- Well i never see it being recognized by anyone that's so called “elite” or anything. I've always hated that term. I always looked at it that our opinions are not our accomplishments or anything. If anything I really didn't know exactly who this music was right for, but I'm doing what I love to do and its nice that other people like it. It doesn't matter to me who likes it because to me anyone that does that is limiting their own expectations and thus in the end aren't catering to themselves. I don't want to use gimmicks or cliches to attempt to further myself. I'm just hoping that the music speaks for itself. I'm influenced by my daily routine which relays to the way i think. Its love, anxiety, amusement, and amazement. But it comes from work, going out, music that's in and out the scene. I guess some the more direct musical influences that really made me want to write my own stuff were NCC, Haujobb, Ours, Sneaker Pimps, NIN, Skinny Puppy.. I mean my tastes have expanded with age but it varies.
NCC... a band that has rarely been heard of, but had a tremendous impact on you. Tell me more about this band: what should be considered the genre of this band, how he precisely changed the way you experience electronic music and so on. Also: are you in contact with NCC guys?
- My buddy Justin showed me their stuff a long time ago, and when I heard 7 Steps it kind of changed the way I thought about EBM. I mean, I had always liked EBM but to me I remember that album impacting every preconception I had of that kind of music because there was a lot of emotional depth to it, and it almost seemed like they were breaking rules. Song structures were everywhere but made perfect flowing sens , they didn’t wear any masks so to speak.. it was honest stuff made by regular younger kids. It was so much easier to relate to than songs about war or killing or anything like that and I just loved it. So in that respect it really influenced me into just writing the way that I wanted to rather than trying to please my peers and stuff. I’m not in contact with them, however I did meet them once at a show and I went all fan boy. They probably don’t remember though (lol).
Also, you have said to me that you showed your demos to few USA labels and they turned you down… I suppose you won’t tell me who those labels were, but if we cannot know the names, could we at least know the reasons that you were dropped down by them?
- Well in all honesty, I think it’s because I put together a sloppy package. I’ve been writing stuff for a long time now but I wasn’t really 100% confident in what I was doing until around last year I guess. So it was one of those things where I was like “If I don’t just hold my breath and send this now, I’ll find another excuse to put this off for another 3 years.” So I pretty much just sent out cd-rs that I DIYed together and mailed them out in non descript packages. I thought at first though that maybe no one wanted it because it was a little different than what’s at the forefront right now. But most of what I’ve heard has been positive so I’m going to pinpoint it to not putting a little more TLC in presenting myself.
Please, tell me more about the way will publish “II transMuter”, yours debut album. As I see it, you will publish “II transMuter” on USA soil through Hive records (label which also deals with Panic Lift, Life Cried in USA, and whose chief also has Hive Design, company which took care of album art for genCAB, Xentrifuge, Panic Lift…), but you still didn’t found good European label because you didn’t had time, right?
- Yes, as of right now the album is only being released through Hive. But yeah as of now there haven’t been any Euro offers. Maybe in the future though!
How do you plan to incorporate live version of genCAB? You told me already about incorporating live drummer next to your synth player. How do you plan to do that? You told me about symbiosis between real drum set, and electronic one in the live rotation. What’s the plan, exactly?
- Well I'd been looking for a full kit drummer for a long time, even before i even had an album ready. I just look back to bands like Nine Inch Nails, and even KMFDM and Ministry or Diatribe and how much the presence of someone playing live percussion can not only add to the performance for the people watching the show but fuel everyone else on stage. Since my music is very percussion oriented though I think it only makes sense. The hardest part though was finding a drummer that was into this particular style of electronic music. I mean even with those other bands, there's an emphasis on guitars, which other than Siren Song (the glitched acoustic guitars) aren't really present in any of the material. Fortunately I found Tim (our drummer) through a friend of mine and not only is he really good and used to playing in Hardcore bands, but he has a background liking a lot of EBM and industrial so I couldn't ask for more! He likes the material and it'll show. As for now though since we are getting started, he'll probably be using a full electronic kit and as we get more comfortable we could possible be switching to a full acoustic set. I love the acoustics myself, it makes for a bigger sound!
How important is for you to play live?
- Well I think it's an important thing to do in most genre's. A lot of electronic music is difficult to pull off live though i can admit, because there's usually a lot going on and it's pretty difficult to play every part live. But even for me, I've been doing this for a few years now and I didn't want to perform until I was confident that we could pull it off in a way where we weren't going to have to rely 100% on a backing track. A goal of mine would be to eventually include more members doing more things but I think now as a three piece is a good place to start off. Besides, nowadays with how impersonal music seems like it's becoming via the ease of taking MP3s and internet promotions (not that I am against that), it helps to get a face out there so to speak for anyone who'd like to see. There were bands when i was younger that i just liked that i grew to love sometimes just by seeing them live.
Daniel Myer told to Sonic Seducer magazine recently that he thinks that your album will be a probably an electro debut album of the year! Now, that’s an honor! What was yours first thoughts when Daniel Graves told you that he read this?
- Ha, I've yet to completely confirm that just because I haven't seen it with my own two eyes, but when DG told me about that it definitely put a huge smile on my face. I've loved Haujobb and Architect and pretty much everything Daniel Myer has done for a long time. So honestly it still surprises me. Here I am recording this stuff in my living room eating Cheerios, watching TV and here is one my music heroes giving me respect in published magazine. It really made me feel great!
You are good friends with bands like Panic Lift, Unter Null, Aesthetic Perfection/Necessary Response, Azrael Trigger/Neuroplague, Life Cried, Xentrifuge etc. Some of these bands originate from NJ/NYC area, and some are scattered all over globe (Erica, I think, is in Seattle? Right? And Daniel of AP/NR is in Austria...). With whom you played with, what was your role within some of this projects; are you to be considered a good friend with some of this peoples? As I see it: the best relationship you have with Daniel of AP/NR, and Erica of UN and Stray. Tell us more !
- I was Necessary Response's keyboard player for most of the last US tour with De/Vision and i recently stepped in for keys in Life Cried for a couple of shows. The LC crew lives pretty close to me so it maybe a thing I play with more. They have a real tight live performance and those shows were really fun to play. But yeah I know most of those other guys by location and had met them at various places or clubs like QXTs, gotten to know them a little better just recently because I was in and out of Philadelphia for a long time.
- As for Daniel and Erica I guess my friendships with them started online and kinda grew from there. With Daniel, I did an NR show with him at Darkstar Festival and we got along pretty well. Erica I had been talking to on Myspace and she came to hang out for a few of the NR shows. They're both people I like to think of more as friends than associates though, for sure.
“Cervello Electronico“, “Life Cried”, “Cenotype”, “Xentrifuge”, “Hazmat”, “Porcupine Defense”, “Terrorfakt”, “Azrael Trigger”, “Tonikom”… NYC/NJ has some really fine industrial artists. Which would you point out as unheard and perspective new names? I mean some new projects, some that hasn’t been noticed so far by some major label, and you think needs more attention then he receives currently?
- Well I think you covered a lot of ground for the NJ/NYC area. Another band from that area that isn’t really Industrial but has roots in Industrial is Lightfromadeadstar. In Philadelphia there’s also one half of the band Flatline Skyline that’s one of my favorites. They were a big inspiration to me as far as writing lyrics, I even remixed a song called “Math Grenades” for them. I also want to point out Encephalon, even though he’s from Canada, but he’ll be released on Hive as well. The best EBM I’ve heard in a long time.
Is it just me, or NYC/NJ scene is pretty united and cohesive? It seems to me that most of you guys are friends…
- There's a lot of comradery in the NJ/NYC area which i think is pretty awesome. They're all very real people who are grounded without egos. Everybody helps out everybody else. I guess with some people, maybe everybody there's a slight competitive nature to their music, but so far everyone out here seems to do what they do (including me) for the love of it. Not to say we don't think we shouldn't be treated with respect, but we take joy in each other's success and celebrate it.
Tell me, please: in NYC/NJ area, what are good venues, clubs and festivals? Also: tell us yours experience with some electronic/industrial festival that you attended; which ones are good, which once were good (dead now), etc...
- Well I'm going to also include the Philadelphia area as well since I was attending things out there for awhile more so than NY. In Philly, Wednesday nights at Shampoo have been going strong for a number of years. There's also a record store in Philly that I like called Digital Ferret that carrys a lot of Inudstrial releases that when I goto I end up staying and chatting around for a couple hours. There was a place in Trenton called Conduit that is now closed that I used to goto everyweek. Unfortunately a lot of the nights in the Philly area that I favored closed down. Up north in NJ you have QXTs which i tend to have a good time at, and in NY a lot of the semi annual stuff and once a month nights are pretty decent like Contempt and BYTE. I stay in a lot more lately though because I'm about 50 miles from everything and gas prices have shot up! But when i go out now I try to make the best of it.
Tell us little more about your tastes: what kind of movies do you like to read, what kind of comic books / graphic novels etc… a little insight into your personal art taste…
- I'm actually a big movie addict. Its stupid but i didn't really even realize until i signed up for Netflix and noticed that I rated almost 1,500 movies within a few days of joining. But I take a lot of joy in my personal free time and I feel like I'm always watching them. My favorite is this Italian movie called “Dellamorte Dellamore”. Actually the song “Of Love & Death” is about that movie! Some other favorites are Oldboy and Before Sunrise/Sunset. I used to read comics a lot when i was younger, and a lot of my friends still do. For me after I read the series Preacher, I felt that nothing could be better so I stopped with that. As for art, I tend to prefer sculptures and things made from found objects. Christopher Conte is doing some great stuff like that. I also like to collect biological artifacts and stuff. Actually probably some stuff that would offend some people. Also like a lot of the steampunk stuff I've been seeing.
Tell me, how did you get into this kind of music in the first place? Is this scene growing, falling, or the same like ten-fifteen years ago, here on East Coast?
- I got into it with Nine Inch Nails. My sister and I, totally from the Mtv generation, were watching music videos and the video for “Wish” came on. I was hooked and compelled at that point. Everything was so aggressive and different in a way that seemed to distrub most people. It kind of grew out of that. Even as i still listened to other artists, I checked out their influences and liked mostly the guitar oriented stuff at first, like Ministry and KMFDM. I discovered Skinny Puppy after hearing about some of the similar stage antics that Marilyn Manson used, which led to the internet and finding Frontline Assembly, Wumpscut, etc.
- The scene seems to change up a lot every 5 years or so, and while I wasn't too into where it was going the past couple of years, i still have faith in it. I can only gauge it on my own experiences, shows and clubs. There seemed to be more larger company backing a few years ago as it's turned a lot more DIY lately. Maybe some bands are scared of that because it's a lot bigger of a risk to travel out anymore. But i seem to think one problem with is a trend with people trying to disassociate themselves with the scene. Even when they refer to it as “scene” with the quotations lol. It is in fact a scene, regardless of whether or not some people are embarrassed by what they think the state is. Don't get me wrong, I love the growth and idea that people want to be writing and producing new original hybrid material, but alienating a fan base just because of what it's associated with seems wrong to me. And I'm talking about any fanbase! It seems like more of a challenge for an EBM band to play with a rock band, even if they have electronics and sometimes i wonder if it's because a lot of people are afraid to leave their comfort zones. Though it might not seem as successful as playing to the same crowds all the time, you're certainly expanding your horizons. Even Nine Inch Nails opened up for Guns N' Roses at one point!
What do you think are prime differences between European, America, Asian and so on scene? It seems to me, for instance, that Americans call Skinny Puppy Industrial, while in Europe it has been mostly called EBM, so I guess Americans have different perception of EBM"
Unfortunatly I've never been to Europe or to the far east to really compare,
but from what I've gathered it seems like the rest of the
world viewing American Industrial music I had always thought associated it with guitars and cowboy hats ala Ministry and even the
coldwave movement. Might wanna know how Canada sees it too actually as they're Canadian. For me I guess it's hard to say what i consider EBM.
I always thought it was more dance oriented. I usually group it altogether anyway. But I think that Skinny Puppy is grittier and
didn't really stick to the 4 on the floor beat for the most part, so thats probably why some people have differing views.
would be your 10 of best electro artists today, the ones one who will breach
the barrier, cross the invisible cannons, and create
something new and different?
Thats hard to say ha, active ones?. I probably can't really think of 10, but
off the top of my head, I think Encephalon will break a lot of
barriers with songwriting and production. Flatline Skyline's stuff has really metamorphosed into something maybe even more unique than their
first album. Panic Lift is putting out a great album that i think will at first appeal to an aggro crowd, but there's so much more behind it
with differing vocals and breaks and guitars. Its one of my favorite albums. The new Aesthetic Perfection album seems like its going to be
his break out work. I mean don't get me wrong, there's a lot of stuff i like that expands on itself but i think those are the ones that will
really push the boundaries of work put into EBM and such. These are the releases that will help people be themselves I think.
Recently I talked with your friend Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection/Necessary Response fame, and he told me he moved to Europe because scene here is, by his own words: “HUGE!”… Do you ever considered moving from the State for sake of making music and understanding the scene better?
- I've never actually been to Europe but that's what i hear a lot ha. I'd definitely love to go for a multitude of reasons even beyond music. I mean for a period of time I was averaging a move every 6 months or so who knows. Though i feel most comfortable in quieter locations. I tend to work best too. I got very little done trying to work in crowded situations. I don't know, call it anxiety i guess.
How much your production skills have evolved since your beginnings? What musical equipment have you changed during the years?
- I feel like it's become more focused to tell the truth. Even when i first started out I kept thinking “epic” in my head but when it'd come out, it'd just be a discombobulated mess. Nowadays when i write, unless the melody comes to me at random, i start with the percussion. I usually end up writing the hook first. I still don't necessarily do everything “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus”, but i try to keep some order yet just let what comes out come out. Though sometimes I go back to an old technique I used which I used to jokingly call “Frankensteining”. It's actually still how i retain ideas. I write something at any time in day at any time and make a lot of fragments. Then a couple of weeks later I listen back to rhythms and arrangements and alter key changes and BPMs to see how some of the unrelated ideas would sound together. I'm sure it's pretty common, that technique actually, but at the time everyone i knew just worked through songs linear and as quick as possible. Over the years I also learned to write in a way that pleases myself more than anyone else in mind. Trying to impress anyone else but yourself is unpure i think, and even if it's not right away, others will notice it after some time.
Your attitude towards piracy?
- Well, at this point it's apparent that it's inevitable that it's here to stay for a while. Some people call it a defeatist attitude to accept that as the next technological advancement but I think that it's completely rational and necessary to accept MP3 piracy in order to move forward. I mean people said that the CD would kill music when that came out. It makes certain things harder such as being able to make a living. I'm sure 90% of the people solely making this kind of music, including me, have day jobs. But for me personally I never looked at this like I would ever be able to make a living off of it. Granted it would be pretty nice to recuperate the money I've put into it such as production costs and travel to now help with the rent. It gets a little skewed with the next generation of fans, and I refuse to believe that the majority of people are cheap or selfish. Piracy has just become such the norm that most kids just don't know any better. So their perspectives on “doing it for money” or “doing it for the love” gets lost. On the scale that this music is trying to present itself, it really does cost a pretty penny to get out there. So while it would be great to have someone purchase the CD after they have downloaded it, I'd say that if you don't feel you love it enough to purchase it than it's just wasting space on your harddrive. And in the same vein, if you're ok with the pirated MP3s and can't find the album, maybe buying a T-Shirt can help promote the band and still keep you looking cool out in public (lol ;) ).
And, at the very end, tell me… is that air freshener still smells good?
- Yes, I still can't believe someone just threw it away! ;)
PRE-ORDER genCAB's debut CD II Transmuter
Interview made with David Dutton in July 2008. by David Kirinic Rodic for Elektronski Zvuk.
2008. Elektronski Zvuk