Comatoserose <in>terview with Razed In Black

1. The last time Razed in Black performed in Canada was in 1999, since then your Canadian fan base has grown - especially since you had music on the Ginger Snaps soundtrack, a movie filmed just outside of Toronto. What can your new fans expect from a live RiB show?

Wow, I had no idea Ginger Snaps had an impact as such for the Canadian fan base. That’s great. I really dig that movie and honestly feel it should have had bigger attention in the U.S. We’re all definitely excited for our return to Canada, especially Toronto. We’ve got a bit of a new line up for the live act — in particular, a guitar player from Toronto, Phil G. Things have been great with him so far. To make things even more special, one of our touring support acts, AYRIA, is based out of Toronto as well. Ivan Delaforce joins us again behind the drums. With more pounding experience on the road with STOMP since our last visit to Canada, we’ll definitely have a much more intense show to deliver. Hope to see everyone there!

2. The new album 'Damaged' contains a wide variety of music. Why did you choose to have such an eccletic mix on the CDs?

I’m open to all kinds of genres of music and never close my ears to anything new to me. I’ll have my preferences of course, but I feel that the more you’re exposed to, the more you’ll have in your arsenal of creativity. The cool thing about our music scene is that most of us are open to the incarnations and transmutations the genre has gone through over the years. The scene encompasses such a vast mix of styles. Most times you’ll need to specify what kind of Goth or what kind of industrial. As an artist, the freedom to write without any rules is great! For me it’s really never a conscious effort to mix styles though. If I hear something in my head, I put it down. As long as it expresses what I need, I’m good. It’s nice that you’ve noticed this as well. I often need someone to point things like this out to me for me to realize it.

3. The song 'Blush' on 'Damaged', is a very beautiful composition with its crisp beats and haunting melody. How did you come about writing this song? What was your inspiration?

Thank you. I appreciate that. The music I write as Razed In Black are all based on experience, expression of emotions, releasing thoughts and feeling from inside. ‘Blush’ in particular is what it is lyrically. Something that happened to me that stuck with me … "I’m crushed with the thought that I made you blush." Musically I base beats, progressions, textures, etc. to support the content of the song, to best express the feeling I’m trying to invoke with the lyrics. I honestly never really thought about where the inspiration came about musicially for ‘Blush.’ It was in a club setting that the experience happened. Maybe there.

4. On 'Damaged' you have included remixes by other musicians such as, Assemblage 23 and Spahn Ranch, why did you choose to include works by other artists on the album?

Having music as my outlet allowed me to remain sane, maybe even prevented me from jumping off the cliff a few times. My biggest compliment is hearing that someone connects with a song or was able to cope with some drama in their lives because of it. I write for me and I’m always beside myself with comments as such. With Damaged, I wanted to offer a bigger album to those who’ve supported Razed In Black and those interested in discovering. I work hard on the album doing everything from songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering. I designed the artwork and digipak layout as well. Photography was done with the help from a special girl to take the nude shots. The second disc contains 2 videos of past live Razed In Black live shows, playable on your computer. I’ve put together the second video from live footage shot from people we’ve met on tour in different U.S. cities. So many of them were nice enough to send us copies of the shows. It was quite a task to sift through so many tapes, but it turned out pretty cool! Raw! The first video (live in Hollywood) was produced by ex-Christian Death/Mephisto Walz member — fellow Cleopatra labelmate. I’ve received so much mail and kind compliments since the first Razed In Black album. I wanted this album to have extra treats.

5. RiB is touring all over North America with many different bands. Is there any one particular group or artist that you are excited to be performing with?

I’m just excited to be out there again. It’s been some time since I’ve taken the live outfit on the road, and we always have such a great time. I’ll be meeting some of these bands for the first time on the road. Being so far away, most of the line of communication hasn’t extended past an e-mail or phone call. It will be great to finally meet them in person.

6. Will you be touring overseas to promote 'Damaged'?

I’m crossing fingers with that one. I’ve always received flattering mail from abroad and have done quite a handful of remixes and projects with labels and artists overseas. It is definitely in the plan. Hopefully for the upcoming new year!

7. After listening to the song 'Visions of our past' the Break beat remix on the new EP, do you think industrial music will take on a more break/trip hop sound in the near future?

It’s difficult to say where the music scene will take us all. Actually the thing I admire about our genre is that we’re able to evolve more dramatically than most other musical genres. The ‘Industrial’ term alone at this point is so vague. You need to be specific what kind of ‘Industrial’ or related sound. As a scene, were lucky that so many of us are open-minded to new forms or transmutations of the sound. I don’t think any other music scene has such an open quality.

8. You have written before that you used to listen to old electronic and metal music. Being influenced by these, what made you decide to take Razed in Black down an Industrial path?

Exactly for that reason. I’m a fan of both, and when I became closer to ‘industrial’ music, the appeal of both was intertwined into one. Even if the music I was listening to didn’t have metal guitars, the intensity of the it was there. Hard synths and harsh vocals still held the power that I liked with metal. These days of course I personally wouldn’t put Razed In Black in the raw ‘industrial’ category, but I’m proud to declare my roots.


9. Romell, you write many of your songs from personal experience, do you feel it's important for an artist to write about what they've been through and why? How do you feel the fans respond to songs writing from experience?

I always find myself writing a majority of songs based on a particular experience in my life and the feelings that graduate as time goes by. People who know me personally know exactly where it comes from. I’ve actually met people who’ve pinpointed my experiences from digging into my lyrics and understanding. It’s really not that difficult to find, I guess: from SACRIFICED — "Caught", "I’ve Suffered Long Enough", "Never Meant", … even the ‘sutures’ have a deeper meaning (most don’t realize it). DAMAGED — "Share This Poison", "There Goes My Head", "Am I 2 Blame?" … The weirdest thing about this whole thing is that I never realized ‘theme’ it until someone pointed it out to me. I usually write lyrics when my emotions are at it’s fullest intensity. Music has always been a sort of therapy for me. Well, after all the music for the new album was written, my closest friend (after listening to the record) asked me if I meant to write a sequel to SACRIFICED. It was only then that I even realized that, and that there was even a connection — thus the title of the record was born, DAMAGED. It’s really not that difficult to find, I guess: from SACRIFICED — "Caught", "I’ve Suffered Long Enough", "Never Meant", … even the ‘sutures’ have a deeper meaning (most don’t realize it). DAMAGED — "Share This Poison", "There Goes My Head", "Am I 2 Blame?", "Why?" …

11. RiB have done numerous covers and tributes from 'Back in Black, Cherub Rock' all the way to Switchblade Symphony. Why do you take the opportunity to "remake" certain songs? Do you still have a particular song that you would love to cover?

Most of the covers for the tribute albums were special requests by the record label or producer putting out the project. Most times I’ll have a choice of the track. Some of the artists to be covered were a bit of a challenge to do, but I enjoy doing them. It allows me the next level of skills to remixing by singing and sometimes rewriting even the melodies … and puts more money in my pocket. I’ve done a handful of covers with different vocalists like Kelly Hanson of Hurricane and Taime Down of Pretty Boy Floyd. Strange mix, but the web within the industry gets tighter and that’s always a good thing.

12. After winning the 1999 AVN award for "Best Music in a Movie", would RiB ever consider doing more soundtrack music for adult films?

Razed In Black music in adult films actually came to us as a surprise. One of the staff at Cleopatra Records attended an AVN awards show in Las Vegas one year, and found that Razed In Black was awarded ‘best music in an adult film.’ Quite a cool thing to discover, but we had to knock on some doors to say ‘hey man …!’ Someone came to me recently sharing that he had rented a porno that slated Razed In Black in the music credits, and it was a different video than the one recognized. I have yet to discover which video it is. I guess it’s nice to know people out there feel a strong inclination to have sex with Razed In Black music, but it would be nice to go through legal channels when necessary.


Azriel J. Knight

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Comatose Rose Magazine