ELEGY MAGAZINE (France)
<IN>terview with RAZED IN BLACK
May 31, 1999
How such a dark and aggressive band can have been created amongst the sunny and happy Hawaiian landscapes, more famous for welcoming existencila TV soap like Magnum, Jack Garrett, etc...?
Hawaii may be known for it's white sands, crystal clear waters, warm tropical weather, lush green vegetation, and gorgeous and exotic people, but it doesn't mean we doesn't mean we don't have our share of disparity, anguish, and gloom living in such surroundings. Most consider the ultimate paradise helps when trying to escape from your innermost frustrations, but it's easy for me personally to overlook the beauty. Sure I've spent all of my life on this rock. Im not about to take the stance of announcing "Im a sorrowful waif surrounded by sadness and anger. Comfort me!" Im generally a happy person. I just exert and express my aggression in my music wholeheartedly. If I didnt have a means to release what is built up inside, Id probably be talking to you in a seance.
How famous is RIB in Hawaii? Is there any industrial scene over here? Do Hawaiian goth girls become mad when listening to your music?
Well, currently RAZED IN BLACK and TRANSMUTATOR are the only electronic outfits in the islands. Its kinda nice being the only one, though it gets lonely at times. When other aggressive bands come though town (which unfortunately is a rarity these days), RIB or TRANS is always the one asked to share the stage, as weve done with FILTER, TOOL, DEATHRIDE 69, THE TORTURE KING, MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT, ETC.
The scene here in Hawaii is actually quite healthy. Courtney, Hawaiis Gothic-Industrial club king, provides us with a rivet/gloom event every Friday called TEMPLE, fixed in a hidden, dank warehouse. Every so often hell put on a wicked S&M event called THE DUNGEON, which also happens to be an event RIB will frequently perform at. Courtney recently erected a new club called PROPAGANDA, joyfully mixing in new wave with the Goth and Industrial line up. Erik of Angels de Misery occasionally holds his HAVEN and GATHERING nights, always a comfort. CYN of Cyn City will in a blue moon host a great party complete with her smart bar fixins. Daniel of HOLY BODY PIERCING or Gus of PARAGON will adorn these events with their freaky body manipulation shows and suspensions. Pretty impressive considering were on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.]
About the Hawaiian Goth girls going mad when listening to RAZED IN BLACK: they dont get mad, they get HORNY!!
RIB brilliantly mixes a European-straight electro sounds with American industrial rock influences. Is this a deliberate choice? Please explain us your way of composing songs.
Ive always been fond of European electro and the techno that comes from there. Its only natural that its influences will seep in my compositions. With "Sacrificed" I didnt consciously say Im going to write a Drum & Bass track or an electro track. The emotional content of the songs were more of the focus with this album. I wrote the music to convey what I was trying to express in the compositions. If I heard a sweeping acid line, a drum & bass groove, or harsh guitar riffs in my head, thats what I laid down.
How was the "Sacrificed" release party at the Dungeon? Please describe us what is a typical (and untypical) show!
That show was a hell of a lot of fun and a big success. We held it at an evening called the DUNGEON, which in itself is an exciting S&M/Bondage/Fetish event. According to Courtney, it was one the biggest Dungeon hes ever had. There was a line of people that went around the block for the show. We hired pro-audio and lights who provided a un-fucking-believable sound (8-18" subwoofers, mains that shrieked through the city!). The sound was so large, we had to hire an electrician to assure proper power. We had two guys run lights, dudes familiar enough with the set to know when all the punches of the music were. The club provided special staging and re-arranged the club to accommodate the show. Drummer (good friend of mine who flew down from CA on break from STOMP) kicked some serious ass. We just picked up new triggers the day of the show that responded so much better than the ones we've been using. Keyboardist showed up with another NORD and other analog-ish boards. The MESA/BOOGIE gear kicked! So happy the endorsement came through!
Above the stage, friends from Paragon Piercing hook-suspended two guys from the flesh on a single beam suspended by a single chain with a spin pulley. Unfortunately, one of the guys passed out after the third song. We had to stop to let him down for paramedics. Though I was very, very concerned him, he ended up being ok. It was actually really cool it happened. It added so much to the drama of the show. The other guy later climbed up on the rafters and lit pyro-sticks to creep down at the audience.
Cleopatra flew down to Hawaii to enjoy in the festivities. They definitely lost their minds. The party continued on for three days of insanity. It was such a great time.
Why did you create a techno-drum & bass side project aka TRANSMUTATOR? Is "Macho Man" a tribute to the cult male band VILLAGE PEOPLE?
It all started in 1997, after the composition of a track entitled "My Wonderful Friend" which was released on the high profile compilation-Trancespotting. The track, written at the request from Hypnotic Records for RAZED IN BLACK, ended up being so different as to title it under a different moniker. Thus TRANSMUTATOR was born. This track was also chosen by Hollywood Director of Photography, Miguel Delgado, for the production of a cyber-filled music video which aired on MTV "amp". A full length debut, TAKEOVER released via Hypnotic (USA) and Blue Dolphin (JAPAN), soon followed featuring guest appearances by Astralasia, UVX, and LCD. TRANSMUTATOR actually did quite well since its start. MTV, NBC Homicide, SEGA, and CARRIE 2:The Rage have administered. "The Colony of Sluts", the next full length, will be released soon!
MACHO MAN was written more as a tribute to my best friend, MACHO (whom he was named after). He passed this year. He would have been 18 (human years). I immortalized him in song with the track. His picture is also on the inner booklet of "Sacrificed."
RIB is also well known for making weird and powerful cover versions (AC/DC, CURE, PRINCE, S. PUPPY, METALLICA). What do you think of this tricky to cover such "classic" and "genuine" songs? Same question for the remix vogue.
I actually have fun with the tribute tracks.
MADONNA "Erotica" (Featuring Michelle on Vocals)
MADONNA "Frozen" (Featuring Gene Loves Jezebel)
SKINNY PUPPY "Assimilate"
THE CURE "Disintegration"
ABC "Look of Love"
DURAN DURAN "A View To Kill"
DEPECHE MODE "A New Dress"
METALLICA "Damage Inc."
METALLICA "The Thing That Should Not Be"
AC/DC "Hells Bells"
THE VILLAGE PEOPLE "Macho Man"
BEETHOVEN "Symphony #5"
Its also interesting to hear other artists renditions of the tracks, though sometimes songs are better left unscathed.
Remixes are fun as well for me. Im up to 25 remixes at this point, from groups like INFORMATION SOCIETY, MISSING PERSONS, BERLIN to SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY, NEW MIND, ELECTRIC HELLFIRE CLUB.
Heres a strange one: I was hired as TRANSMUTATOR to remix a side project of Stephen Pearcy (RATT) called VERTEX. I wrote the remixes for Corey Glover (Living Color) to lay the vocal tracks, since RATT was touring. My remix was so different from the original Corey decided to lay down his own melody and lyrics. The track ended up being an original. Through this process, an entirely new project emerged entitled DIGI-WNI, which was released in Japan. Trippy, huh?
Youve been featured on the cover frontpage of the highly recommendable porno magazine DIRTY and interviewed by them. How did it happen? Are you fond of porno movies>? Will we see one day a Rocco Regulacion fucking pierced industrial sluts in a Cleopatra porno production with RIB soundtrack?
Apparently my manager is somehow connected with the adult scene. DIRTY took advantage of one of my trips to LA to include a layout and article in an issue. It was great! We took the shots at an actual porno shoot between sex scenes. When I first walked in the studio a few of the porn stars thought I was going to star with them in the next scene (he-he). Unfortunately, my girl at the time was watching like a hawk across the room.
I just recently took photos at Taimes PRETTY UGLY CLUB in LA for an upcoming issue of DIRTY. Not all the girls were able to make it, so were continuing the shoot at a later date.
By the way, RAZED IN BLACK won the highly acclaimed AVN award for "Best Music in a Movie 1999". An adult film called Strange Life: The Breech. Got music in a porno, appeared in a porno mag, starring in a film??? Rocco Regulacion??? ... I dunno. It depends on how fucked up you get me. (ha-ha-ha)
Speaking about "Sacrificed", how did you reach that level of intensity as far as music is concerned? Please comment your musical evolution when compared to your two previous releases.
"Sacrificed" is definitely my most personal album to date. The music took much out of me emotionally. Each individual track bears some significant meaning to my life. Those who really know me and know what Ive been through this past year understand. Maybe thats where its intensity is derived from. Even the suture tracks, "Snooze" "guilty"... , have a much deeper meaning than it is on the surface.
Musically, Ive let myself go as well. Writing as TRANSMUTATOR opened my horizons to experiment with different things. Ive consumed myself in techno more than anything these days. Ive also been religious with New Wave and electro-pop. The aggression is still within me no matter what. I guess it makes for an interesting mesh. Much of it wasnt a conscious effort. If I heard it in my head or felt it in my bones, thats what was put down.
Your lyrics deal a lot with pain, suffering, lust, did you have such a painful year in 98 as we could understand it when listening to a song like "Ive Suffered Long Enough"?
Yes, as mention before much of 98 was fucked for me. "Sacrificed" was definitely my therapy. The lustful tracks are just another part of me (actually a big part). They go hand in hand ... pleasure and pain.
"Ive Suffered Long Enough" was actually the first song written for "Sacrificed". It was written soon after the trauma, no erased or scratched out lines, one take in the studio after gathering the emotion. Its strange when I receive comments on this song from people. This track is a track I thought Id be the only one to understand. I guess it shows, youre never alone.
What is the link between the car photos and dog + nice girl ones? Do they belong to your private life?
Well, you know about my dog, Macho. I just wanted his picture in there for me. No relation to the music or the album ... just me. At a time when it was the worst possible moment for anything more in my life to go wrong, my new car which I had just replaced was stolen and crashed 1 week after I got it. I ended up having to fucking recondition a 3rd MAZDA Rx7. Pain in the fucking ass. Because I just got the car, insurance wasnt established yet. Fortunately the third is running and looking great now. The cars dont have much of a relation to the music or the album, just to me. The girl is Michelle Pagan, who provides vocals on the album as well. We were once exclusive to each other. We still see each other. Were close. Were good friends. She provides more sensuality on tracks on the new TRANSMUTATOR "The Colony of Sluts", and new RIB track "Oh My Goth!" (featured as a bonus track on the second pressing of "Sacrificed" - new versions in the Summer! Pick it up again! Its remastered and the artworks is tricked up!).
What are your next projects? When will you dare to face the European audience and especially the French one?
Im continuing on with RAZED IN BLACK and TRANSMUTATOR music. Before all of this, I fronted a synth-pop outfit in college called RIME. Im considering unearthing the project. Were touring US in the Summer supporting SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY. Definitely looking forward to that! Im hoping Europe is in our future! If were there, youd better be there too!!!!