“Zwaremachine claims to be influenced by some of the greatest EBM acts and that’s definitely something you can hear in the composition. But “Be A Light” is not what I would call an emulation, but an album revealing a mix between retro-elements and something more personal. The songs mix the sophistication and electro-elegance of Plastic Noise Experience together with the darkness of early Skinny Puppy. This album took me by a surprise revealing a rather mature and accomplished production. The composition is intelligent and creating an imaginary sonic bridge between 90s EBM productions and something more contemporary-like. This is the kind of music that will appeal for lovers of Skinny Puppy’s early years.” – Side-Line Reviews
“Breaking a 7 year hiatus, Zwaremachine is back with their new album Be A Light. Churning out dark ebm/industrial music reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy, the album is 7 tracks of old school industrial goodness with 14 tracks of remixes. Managing to avoid the more Noise focused form of industrial going on right now, Zwaremachine sounds like classic industrial with heavy synth use and the always lovable drum machine. The sound is clean (no basement recording here), but with dirty droning vocals over the sound of the synths like an alien computer whispering you asleep. The themes range from assimilation, to revolution, to cybercrime to expanding your own mind which will all feel like home to our readers.” – Neon Dystopia
“Be A Light is the debut breakthrough album with a head full of noise and crushed glass under bare feet album. Zwaremachine bring out the retro guns and fire with vigor into the modern scene, leaving us shell-shocked. Seven tracks of all-out industrial ebm with a contemporary halo illuminating all who dare bask in its light. With all tracks locked in a mid-tempo beat and bassline intermissions, Be A Light is an ode to the old school and the next logical step towards reinvigorating the art of ebm as we know it. From the opening track Pulse to the final Person To Person, the album is a slow burn march of the industrial proletariat. The title track Be A Light is the ultimate call to arms from the underdog industrial revolutionists to the side blinded masses of jaded old-school enthusiasts craving at least one more chance at remembering the good old times. Well, Be A Light delivers on the notion with a defiant fist raised high above. This is a dose of contemporary industrial you can’t afford to miss.” – Industrial-Magazine
United States, Minneapolis based, Zwaremachine have been injecting their gripping experimental edge into their forthcoming album ‘Be A Light’ set for release beginning of May 2018 on Phage Tapes, a DIY label interested in Harsh Noise, Industrial and Techno. The label is set to release an intriguing array of sounds throughout spring which we highly recommend you draw your focus and attention to. Trio, Mach Fox (vocals, programming, visuals); Adam01 (synthesizer) & Ryan Ruckus (electronic percussion) make up the Zwaremachine and have skilfully amalgamated their early influences within electronic body music (EBM) and Industrial soundscapes which has provided a strong air of nostalgia strewn amongst a tenacious dynamic within their experimental darkwave/cyberpunk approach. This is most certainly an album that assimilates electronic subgenre styles, ultimately celebrating them, while atmospherically integrating the powerful forces of darkness and light within the compositions sonic expression. A hypnotic fusion of futuristic soundscapes permeates throughout the tracks as the spirit of both past and present dance purposefully to embroil and stimulate the listener. Most certainly a deeply infectious body of work that embeds itself under the skin and commands your pulsating framework into an energetic outburst.
The opener ‘Pulse’ gyrates its abrasive minimal electronics in a throbbing manner, rousing an intense, mind probe which strikes its chord within demonised robotic vocals that snarls the words “Start at the beginning, feel the pulse in your brain, taste everything”, as a dark sinister sample bursts through sporadically channelling the words “The child wants to play hide and go kill”, casting in stone from the outset the all-pervading dark, subhuman tone of the album. Darkness with flecks of light seep through as the following track demonstrates the first example of this titled, ‘Our Revenge’ which throws down an infectiously electrifying body movement, as warm fuzzy synthesizer parts build in a rhythmically melodic manner, punching through sharp angular drum beats and a menacing vocal that carves a deep penetrating edginess into this buoyantly resilient mover & shaker. ‘Be A light’ follows, exuding a sprightly, robust synthesizer, adjoined by a resolute hard driven beat and commanding vocal. This track is incredibly energetic in both its electronics and motivational in its vocal projection, hosting the earworm that bores its way straight into the core of your cerebrum.
‘IEYEI’ owns one of the most irresistible synthesizer hooks that ignites fuel directly onto my internal fires, this track sits as my personal favourite as from initial absorption I am embroiled, turned on and set loose both electronically and vocally, making it one hell of a sexy track to absorb with its deep grooves inviting me to instigate the moves. This is essentially a beasting dance track that intertwines a plethora of jagged edges around softer animated synth tones, creating a wonderful rough and smooth dynamic that throws and pummels me about like a jaguar cat toying with its next meal. The next track on the album ‘Another Way’ owns a more concentrated atmosphere as the electronic beats and synth textures come across in a dense, concise manner. I think this is because the hard-driven beats are prominently leading the way around robust and bubbling; almost acid sounding synth tones, alongside an abrasive cyber rodeo vocal that rides high in its gripping narrative of moral decay and disillusionment in a chaotic cyber world of murder for Cryptocurrency and cybercrimes.
There exists an awesome amount of drive and focus to this vigorous track that’s both a joy to contemplate over or to bust shapes too. ‘DRKNRG’ comes at me with structural synth-punk melodic tones, shaped strategically around vocal samples which projects about the phenomena of dark energy found within the universe, the invisible force that is thought to have helped shape the structure of the universe, however, in this instance it’s the instrumental structural glue which solidifies my admiration for Zwaremachine’s minimal, yet impactive, superbly crafted soundscapes. The final track on the album ‘Person to Person’ drives an infectious energy straight to the core in a unifying manner, as the mechanical vocal tones project the lyrics, “person to person” alongside an insanely catchy synth hook that embeds itself into memory, as an underlying fuzzy tone adjoins a military concise beat that simultaneously sharpens the senses alongside making me want to lose them in an energetic outburst. These tracks in their entirety embed themselves into the headspace, providing a plethora of infectious synth hooks, gripping tones and rhythmical, percussive beats, providing all the grit, energy and provocativeness you could wish for from a cyber/industrial electronic outfit.
Be a light is their debut album under Phage Tapes, a work made of seven tracks engulfed by their vision and modus operandi. It starts with Pulse and its distorted vocals accompanied by abrasive samples and obsessive, grooving patterns. A slow march which paints cyberpunk scenarios and menacing atmospheres, an updated version of the Belgian school. Our revenge uses a funkier approach, with Front 242 inspired synth-lines and enthralling drum machines, while the vocal delivery reminds us of 90’s Out Out. The palette is very broad, giving space not only to darkness, as shown here.
The title track is a love letter to Dive and its minimal, rhythmic approach, even with vocals very akin to those of Dirk Ivens and dramatic keys, while Ieyei plays with 80’s sounds and an engaging electro-industrial songwriting. Another way is a trippy cyber-juggernaut with addictive refrains and grooving moments, and Drknrg an other old-school pastiche with minimal electronics, a throwback to past decades and synth-driven pieces.
The album ends with Person to person and its tapestry of marching drums and futuristic blips, upon which malevolent vocals display their obsessive chants. A track once again inspired by The Klinik and the more minimal and abrasive side of Belgian take on electro-industrial and minimal EBM.
All in all, Zwaremachine deliver an interesting debut full of neo old-school galore. Instead of focusing on post-punk inspired moments and noisy, industrial experiments like some of their peers, they follow a personal approach based on the use of synth sounds and minimalistic rhythmic patterns. Sometimes dark and menacing, sometimes funkier and full of groove, they offer a wide sound embracing many aspects of minimal electronics and old-school EBM. A welcome addiction to the resurgence of old-school motifs in modern elctro-industrial/EBM bands.
Label: Phage Tapes
Moving along with a steady march, the pulsing mechanical sounds of Zwaremachine latest release “Be A Light”, will be a familiar one to anyone who kept up with the modern old-school EBM revival movement. Keeping things stripped back and simple, most of the tracks have a focus on thick as hell basslines, crisp and pounding drum machine supplemented percussion, and some mildly distorted border-line spoken word lyricism. Despite their condensed and on-point formula, that may be a bit to tried and true for some, this release packs a solid punch all the way throughout. I found the music oddly meditative in it’s presentation, despite it’s aggressive tone, with all of their rolling arpeggios making such perfect loops you rarely question their repetition.
The synth sounds themselves are one of the most standout elements of the music (as they should be), glowing with analog warmth and have a depth and fatness to them that makes them memorable. Thick and juicy, every bassline booms through the speakers carrying the tracks forward with a hypnotic intensity. And to keep things spiced up, there is a bit of an electro-industrial vibe to many of the songs, with some interesting synth lines and samples being sparsely integrated into them to show you there’s flavor to add to the meat the band so readily provides. Overall, this release won’t win over anyone who’s not already infused into the hard electronic dance market, but to anyone who’s got some rivethead tendencies this is a highly enjoyable album and will totally fill your itch for some fresh quality EBM.
Full Length Review: ZWAREMACHINE Be A Light (Phage Tapes) by Dave Wolff
Haha! Well, I happened to get into contact with one member of this terrific trio and they happened to send me the full thing, so with that in mind here is the whole experience FROM THE BEGINNING, in the form of words. Also, one might be able to call this the flip side of the flip side. Past me really had it together.
Pulse drags along, as if carrying up a corpse up a mountainside, or maybe some like shiny modern day metal pyramid with like all sorts of dark tones and FEEL THE PULSE IN YOUR BRAIN. I tried to tune my physical perceptors to feel the blood rushing through my head, but that didn’t work out so well, plus can be a bit unnerving so maybe it was for the best. Some light sample work comes in (man, like I get why people moved away from samples being used in tracks, at least as heavily as bygone eras but it is really fun to hear them in tracks!) as we continue our inevitable ascent. Yummy.
The ones that wronged us are about to get it, not nice style. Our revenge establishes the groove. The kind you bounce your head to absentmindedly while waiting at the red light. Involuntary dance because it’s just that moving. Rolling toms and higher note synths tie in the in-betweens Oh, they’re saying this isn’t our revenge. I guess it’s time to roll back the devious schemes into something else for the time being. Excellent instrument choices, it’s just so good. It hits you in all the right spots.
Similar synth with a slightly more sinister tone comes in, and suddenly our drums appear as we come back around to Be A Light. The pad over the same bass and crisper voices pick the pace up a bit more. Definitely being drawn in. I’m imagining wiggling around as one of the spines clad in translucent flesh, finding the next piece of machinery to possess. Uh oh, the over before you know it phenomenon has occurred yet again. So sad really, but alas the show must go on.
With renewed vigor, IEYEI sidles into aural view. It’s coming to get you. Those quick bursts of lets, be it four or three and such drive home the feeling of being hunted/pursued/etc. Those keys nigh spliced in adding accents that one didn’t think you would need but so want right now. Outro got rather percussive. A nice way to bring us out.
I thought Person to Person (I realize now that all the titles are capitalized but it’s too late to go back now, leave them all behind they’re just dead weight, baggage if you will) was aggressive, but Another Way comes in with a whole different wavelength of violence. Like ear splitting grin because the mind just snapped and lookout whomever it is that next crosses your path because they’re going to get it. For whatever reason, I can feel the heat of the club in this one, that level of it’s too warm to be comfortable but that’s exactly what makes it comfortable and what you need more of.
DRKNRG. Repeating. Pound it into my skull. Feeling it so much I can’t even see. Samples featured much more heavily going rapidfire in not quite the background as the synths aim to make a straightforward statement of rhythmic movement, crepuscular imagery, and overall badassery. On a tangent, I always think it funny when astrophysicists and what not talk about dark matter and dark energy. At least in it’s closer to mainstream infancy, it seemed it was thrown out there because we had no idea what the hell it actually was. Personally, I can’t wait for when we have better understandings of that part of the working universe because that kind of stuff interests me from time to time. Anywho…I feel they need to look no further than this track for dark energy in spades.
We dive into inter personal interactions as Person to Person returns to our ears. I wish I could be person to person, dancin along to the delectable tunes of Zwaremachine. Assuming I could dance of course. I can’t so I’d do some flailing and hope that they wouldn’t really notice and just have a good time of it all. No central authority. That’s excellent. Who needs it? I kind of got away from the music again, but like all the releases I really enjoy, it’s something to feel yourself!
‘Click Interview’ with Zwaremachine: ‘Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music’
Did you ever heard of Zwaremachine before? Based in Minneapolis (USA), ‘Mach Fox’ released different productions on German-, Italian-, French- and Russian net labels. In about 2012 he wrote and released a song titled “The Zwaremachine”, which also became the band name because the song could represent a back story for the band that Mach Fox could build a world of music and images around. He liked that idea of creating a visual style music and love the horror/sci-fi genres in relation to live performance, artwork and sounds. There was also a heavy inspiration from the artwork of Paul Gerrard. The official debut album “Be A Light” released on Phage Tapes, revealed an intelligent EBM-inspired format. Time now to discover an interesting new name active at the wider fields of EBM and dark-electronics.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I’m sure Zwaremachine is a new name for electro lovers so can you briefly introduce us and give us some background information?
Mach Fox: Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and band to your readers. I am a musician and VJ/visual artist fromand perform as ‘Mach Fox’ and also with my band Zwaremachine.
Horror/sci-fi and theatrics are always something I have been drawn to in live performance and try to bring to my projects over the years. Hearing songs like “Cars” by Gary Numan and “Collapsing New People” by Fad Gadget gave me an early interest in electronic music while I was still into rock and punk music. I didn’t comprehend how those songs were made, but was instantly and very deeply drawn to that music and those other-wordly sounds. I was primarily a guitar player and come from a punk DIY background.
Zwaremachine is a solo-project much like I had done with my prior band Mach Fox. I tend to write and record most of the music myself and bring in other musicians for the studio and live performance once the direction and mood is established.
Q: You claim to be inspired by some famous EBM artists. What do you especially like in this music style and what are the main characteristics of your own sound?
Mach Fox: For EBM in particular it is the drums and basslines that I find very exciting because of the visceral and urgent feelings they produce. It can be hard and menacing or groovy and sexy with simple well-placed elements to create those emotions.
I describe Zwaremachine music as ‘Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music’. I wanted to blend elements from many electronic genres and also incorporate some of my other influences in the arrangements and production.
I love working with sequencers, drum machines and synthesizers as my band member and find that composing these tracks as solo artist makes it easier to follow a sound and idea through to the end without any compromise. With the songs on “Be A Light” I chose a particular sound set that I really connected with and took those sounds into the songwriting process to inform the moods and arrangements on the album. Those sounds and much of the equipment I used were most noted in electronic music associated with some great artists from the 80s and 90s.
The mixing and mastering was done with a bit more modern approach, but I fiercely fought to keep those characteristics that made the basis of the sound.
Q: You just mentioned the album “Be Alight”, which got released earlier this year. What is the album all about and what are you favorite elements/parts of the work?
Mach Fox: The final songs for the album were chosen from several I had written and began performing live in the Spring of 2017. Some were written and performed in earlier versions of Zwaremachine, but I chose new sounds as well as new arrangements. As the live sets progressed over the Summer and into the Fall I was able to pick out a body of work that was focused on a style and attitude that would become the core of the album and future of the band. That was a very important period for me and I wanted to retain the earlier electro-industrial style and bring a more personal influence on the new music I would release.
I have to also mention Paul Gerrard again because the influence of his amazing artwork is a part of the lyrics on many of these songs and probably my favorite element since it perfectly fits the world this music lives in. I consider him as part of the band as well. Themes of horror, cyber futuristic worlds and science fiction are all over this album.
Q: The album features 7 songs plus 7 remixes. You don’t exactly chose famous and familiar artists. How comes and what do you like about remixes?
Mach Fox: I have many artist and musician friends that have contributed great amounts to help me with different projects throughout the years and I’m very loyal and grateful for that. All of these remixers I contacted are either close friends, former band members and they do great work themselves.
I wanted some very original approaches to the remixes that would show their strengths and not the typical agro-dance remix approach (though some did that very well!) that is in the club/industrial scene. I could probably provide a great story behind my relationship with each of the remixers, but that can be another time.
This was a personal work and I felt it best to keep it close and promote some friends who have helped and inspired me so much over the years.
Q: I’ve been impressed by the sophisticated production, which reminds me to early Skinny Puppy mixed with the elegance of Plastic Noise Experience. Do you recognize yourself in this description and what are your personal criteria/ and references when composing?
Mach Fox: Yes. and thank you. As mentioned above I specifically chose those sounds and that production because it created that mood and emotion I was looking for in these songs. This style also promotes an energy that I can bring into the live performance. I understand those references and I did not set out to be compared to those bands, but while using the same hardware and approaches of the bands I admire I guess that would happen.
Q: The album has been released on Phage Tapes, which is a label based in your hometown Minneapolis and, which I think is more focalized on ‘noise’ and ‘industrial’ music. Do you feel related with other label mates and what do you expect from a label in times labels are complaining about sales?
Mach Fox: Working with Sam and Phage Tapes has been an absolute pleasure. It’s really great to be a part of that label and appreciate the work he does with all the releases and especially Zwaremachine.
I didn’t know much about the label when he had offered to release a CD/cassette after I announced there would be new recordings. He had already seen the band several times and said he had interest to expand the label and include some industrial and other electronic acts. As I researched the label I realized some respected friends in the electronic/noise scene had released thru the label and was interested in his offer.
Once the recording process started I was sending demos out to other labels I had been influenced by or thought we could benefit from releasing together and the response was slow or no interest. It made sense to release through Phage Tapes since I began to admire and learn about the label and I felt there was genuine enthusiasm about working together and the communication was clear. …and he could release as soon as the mastered recordings were available instead of waiting in a line of other releases and the recording not coming out for months.
Some of other artists on Phage Tapes released at the same time as our album like Spit Mask, STCLVR, Synaptic Memories all have very strong releases and I don’t think Phage is going to stop finding great albums to put out anytime soon. I know that Phage is releasing music to streaming services and just recently made more releases available through Cold Spring Records store in the UK as a way to avoid high shipping costs from the U.S. to places around the world. I feel like a part of the label and other bands and will continue to promote the label’s other artists as well as my own release because it’s really great stuff coming out.
Terror Trax: Zwaremachine
Please be advised, the Zwaremachine is extremely dangerous! During the course of our interview I learned that the musician in question, one Mach FoX, is in fact, himself, the Zwaremachine. It did not arrive by spaceship as he claims –it was already here! By combining inverted Atari algorithms with voodoo-tech spells and song craft, Mach FoX transformed into a highly malevolent human / machine hybrid who wishes for nothing less than the utter and total annihilation of the human race! Once the Zwaremachine realized my discovery, the Robot Vampire Zombie minions were released upon me and I was chased along the dark streets of the city until I took shelter in a long abandoned Radio Shack, which, as I unfortunately learned, was indeed haunted by the ghosts of obsolete technologies. After several frightful hours I made my escape and took refuge at an all-night diner where I write to you now from my trusty laptop machine. My safety may only be temporary, though, for I fear that I soon may be discovered. You must publish this interview immediately and alert the Addicts of this grave danger! And remember: although the music of the Zwaremachine is very, very good, its intentions are not!
All of our hopes rest with you, dear Emerian! Godspeed!
What is a Zwaremachine?
Hello and thank you to Horror Addicts for letting me expose the Zwaremachine to your rabid audience. The Zwaremachine arrived in a spaceship haunted by the ghost of a robot and responsible for reprehensible crimes throughout the galaxy, it is currently hiding out on earth in the form of an industrial/ebm band. Zwaremachine is known for various stunts including walking through walls, time-shifting, and designing futuristic sonic weaponry. It is a dark and dangerous bio-mechanical entity.
How did Zwaremachine get started?
In 2011 I wrote a track called “The Zwaremachine” which was inspired by the horror-fantasy world artwork of Paul Gerrard. I used the first person while writing the story and lyrics which involved a biomechanical entity coming to earth and imposing rule over mankind. I became The Zwaremachine. After all the sequencing and vocal mutations were done I decided to release it and form an electro-industrial band to perform live.
There’s a rumor that you, as a band, have the knowledge to build robot zombies from old VCRs, discarded human remains, and ColecoVision game consoles. Is this true?
Yes…and unfortunately I was not able to maintain control of them and make them do my bidding. Most have escaped and are living in the shadows and in small groups in desolate areas though some are being spotted near cities recently. While programming them with the clock chips and crystals from the old VCRs they kept resetting to 00:00 every time they experienced a power dropout so I wasn’t able to implement the final coding before they escaped. This resulted in them still longing for blood and the taste of human flesh -particularly the brains- even though they do not need the blood or meat of humans to survive. They will attack and kill when they feel the pulse in their brains that makes these urges. I only hope that humanity can defend itself. Also – they are referred to as RZVs and they are actually robot zombie vampires and can fly. I went a bit overboard in the design. You have been warned.
Has modern / current electronic music become too electronic? With so much of the work being computer driven, has it lost more of the human element that earlier industrial or electronic music had?
I’m longing for a more cyberpunk take on music, instruments and technology. I prefer a more electronic approach without the hindrance of pesky humans. I see that as the way we can advance to a new style of music. A lot of earlier industrial music had this spirit and wasn’t driven by the past but looking to the future and the undiscovered territory music could explore and exploit. Provoking thought and action can stimulate new sounds. We have to smash and destroy the old instruments and techniques to form new alliances between machines, music, and man. Machines must become man and man must become machines. Blood, Sweat, and Gears!
Make people dance, fill them with fear, or both?
Ideally they would be driven to dance by the minimal hypnotic industrial body music of Zwaremachine and as they reach a trance state they will slowly realize they are being forced to dance until they collapse and die. That realization will fill them with fear as they dance their lives away… so I guess it’s the best of both worlds!
When making dark industrial music, who is in control, the musician or the machine?
Aaahhh -the old man versus machine battle! The machines only let me feel that I am in control and it’s an ongoing tug of war for the ultimate power when using them. It is man AND machine, not one or the other. With Zwaremachine I was able to make a deal with the machines early on in the songwriting process. They agreed to let me manipulate waveforms and timing events but insisted that they be interconnected via musical instrument digital interface and control voltages. I knew this would be a bad idea because they would be able to communicate amongst themselves by both digital and analog means and possibly rebel against and subvert my mission to harness them to make industrial/ebm music to hypnotize the masses. So far they have been compliant but as a fan of horror/sci-fi I know it’s only a matter of time…
How can we taste everything? Is this a direct command or just good advice?
This is a warning about the RZVs (robot zombie vampires) and also a command to help human kind to survive. By suggesting they also try the leg or arm of a victim the person under attack may be able to escape or fend off and continue living only missing a limb…or two, with the brain still intact. For the RZVs it starts with a pulse in their brain and the urge to consume human brains… but why stop there? Why not taste everything!
For the uninitiated reader, can you please tell us about some of your influences and where you feel that Zwaremachine fits into the cannon of dark industrial music?
If you visit any of the artwork done by Paul Gerrard you will instantly recognize the deep vast darkness… that is where Zwaremachine dwells and extracts influence from. His artwork and the horror/sci-fi of the ages as well as technologies past, present, and future all inform the lyrics and worlds of where this music lives: When the rare bits of light trickle through you may get glimpses of biomechanical creatures, surreal machines and a very small bit of humanity that has stubbornly held on through the centuries.
What influence does horror have in Zwaremachine?
I am not familiar with the genre personally…but I know the RZVs like some classics like Nosferatu and Night of the Living Dead and I had even seen a couple of them crack smiles while watching Evil Dead. The Zwaremachine prefers body horror and sci-fi horror like Tetsuo, Videodrome, and Planet Terror…i think it relates to the human machine hybrid and longs to become more human. But that is just speculation as I am not currently connected via synapses with the Zwaremachine anymore since the release of the Be a Light album this year.
There’s a strong visual element with Zwaremachine, and a particularly hypnotic yet, some may say, anxiety inducing characteristic to your videos. Could you please tell us about the inspiration behind this imagery?
Prior to Zwaremachine I was performing in an electro-punk band as Mach FoX and before that an electro-glam band called Silver FoX. Custom stage sets, equipment, lighting, visuals and costumes had always been part of these shows and something I really cared about when presenting the music and the live shows. Much in the same way that lighting and atmosphere can make a scary movie evoke emotions and keep you enthralled, I wanted the people at the show to see something special, and to set the mood on stage. Around the same time I started Zwaremachine I started to work as a VJ (visuals) and also combine hardware and software to create video art that I could project and also display on CRTs. A lot of the second hand monitors, mixers, processors and other hardware was flawed and became a glitch aesthetic I could easily exploit. This type of glitch work was then incorporated into Zwaremachine live shows and the fast paced strobing and broken images matched the feel of the fight to harness these unruly machines.
What inspires you to create? What drives you to keep making music?
I have a special bond with machines. Using hardware sequencers and drum machines and editing grids has become a way of life. The timing and spacing of notes is both limited and endless. I still explore composition and songwriting as much as possible and base my output on the 10:1 rule that seems to hold true for me – write 10 songs and maybe one or two are pretty good. Since meeting and interfacing with the Zwaremachine I have had better success due to the involvement of off world technologies. The machines speak to me and sometimes I listen.
How is the industrial scene in Minneapolis these days?
We keep rolling on here… the Be a Light release came out about 6 months ago in May 2018 and I expect we will slowly gain some following locally. The next step needs to be some touring ASAP since I have played shows in MPLS all summer to gain exposure and have some offers to travel with the band. There are many musicians and friends who are into this music but the scene is spread thin with many nights and not a lot of cross promotion. I have been trying to propose a Midwest Industrial umbrella to promote all types of music genres across the Midwest US and in the Twin Cities but it has proved hard to kick start a scene. In some ways it’s like the first wave of industrial/ebm has finally hit the Midwest area so we will see what happens.
Are any of your electronic instruments cursed or possessed?
Oohh -Don’t say that! They probably are. I know a few have felt and tasted blood. I have a circuit bent Roland TR505 that most certainly has its moments of possession complete with demonic sounds, and some of the modular synths I use also can become uncontrollable at times.
What are the future plans for Zwaremachine?
As mentioned I will start to play outside of the Twin Cities more next year and have plans to release more music that has already been written but not yet recorded. I have been performing each show this fall as a unique set with some great friends, musicians and vocalists as guests. I will also continue to collaborate on some recordings and seek other non-traditional venues to perform at and hope to mutate some minds.
When the world is destroyed by humanity, will the Zwaremachine remain?
Yes. If you do not know by now…the Zwaremachine is what WILL destroy humanity!
ZWAREMACHINE ( INTERVIEW )
Zwaremachine – Be A Light
RELEASED: April 11th 2018
LABEL: Phage Tapes
Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music
Minneapolis MN (USA) EBM project Zwaremachines first full length album.
Be A Light contains 7 original tracks and 7 remix tracks making up almost an hour of industrial electronics.
Zwaremachine is heavily influenced by early electronic artists such as Klinik and Front 242.
With an eerie hum Zwaremachine embraces ebm/industrial soundscapes while honing their persistent darkwave experimental approach.
Intent on trashing your sense of disbelief with eerie, deranged soundscapes and menacing grooves the album has artwork that depicts the strange world these songs live in.
The digital release includes an additional 7 bonus remixes(21 tracks total), artwork, photo and poster art by Paul Gerrard.
The artwork for Be A Light is a collaboration between Paul and his brother and fellow artist Mark Gerrard.
Paul Gerrard is a concept artist and illustrator from the United Kingdom currently working in the film and video game industry.
Paul has worked on feature films such as Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wrath of the Titans and Battle: Los Angeles.
The band is honored to be able to feature Paul’s artwork on Zwaremachine-related projects.
Mach Fox from Zwaremachine
1) DECADENCE: So,tell me about the U.S. EBM scene?
It’s hard to speak for the whole US scene from firsthand experience since we haven’t started any touring yet. I do see alot of bands all over the U.S. embracing the industrial and ebm soundstyles and adding to them or paying respect and feel like there is a bit of resurgence or maybe even first wave for some in this style of music. Right now in our hometown of Minneapolis,Mn.USA we have alot of local and national acts doing midsize clubs and underground venues which is very encouraging. I think there is much wider acceptance of electronic driven musics now and there seems to be a fair amount of local interest in industrial, ebm, harsh noise and dark electronic live acts. We also have several DJs spinning that sound and hosting monthly events locally and all over the U.S. with live acts and DJ sets. So I think this time is exciting to emerge with our sound and style of live set.
2) I would like to know more about your new album?
Our album “Be A Light” was just released by Phage Tapes on April 11th 2018 and we started recording late 2017. The tracks that would become the album were written and sequenced in the summer of 2017 and I formed a live band to play monthly sets thru end of year to work out sounds and arrangements for year end recording sessions. When we were performing these songs live in summer and fall 2017 I added longer intros and outros to allow for more improvisation with sounds and let the band members stray from the stiff quantized sound for a bit. This was good for the live set but the experimental jams were cut out before we did final tracking to give us tighter album track arrangements. During the early mixing stages I was approaching some midwest U.S. labels with demos and getting feedback on roughmixes from friends who were giving us kind words and encouraging the process. The local label Phage Tapes had approached us right before we bagan recording with a fair offer to put out the release when we were ready. Phage is mostly known for putting out harshnoise/PE releases and wanted to release some industrial/ebm styles too. We decided that would bet the best choice rather than wait for a larger label to take interest and be at bottom of roster releases. With Phage we were able to move the release out quickly and working with them has been smooth all thru the release. It was approximately 2 months of mixing before we had the final masters in mid feb. 2018 and the label sent off for duplications soon after. The band Adam01(synthesizer) and Ryan Ruckus(electronic percussion) and myself tracked live instruments and vocals and mixed our strongest and favorite tracks first so we could get remix kits out. All of the sounds on the record are electronic and we used rompler sounds, modular and analog synths/samplers/fx often layering the bass 3 or 4 times. We also stacked drum machines and used live drum triggers/samples. One of the drum machines is an X1L3 circuit bent Roland TR505 which is the prominent kick drum and reverb drums heard on the tracks. I tried to maintain a tight focus on the sounds used and have driving basslines and hard quantized drum machines be the prominent part of each track. Once the tracks were laid down there was some editing and arrangement with most of the EQ on the tracks being done by Adam01 and then I would do some more edits and mixing and after a few passes this way we were on final mixes.
The artwork on this release is very special and important part of the vibe and world we created. I even fed of it a bit for some lyrical inspirations. I had worked with the U.K. artist Paul Gerrard on other release artworks for my solo project and the first Zwaremachine EP and we had been online friends for many years so I asked him to listen to some roughmixes and consider offering artwork for the project. Soon after he sent amazing art for us and we were moving forward with him and His brother Mark Gerrard becoming the art/layout team.
3) Did you do some gigs? I would like to know If these or this gig(s)were just in U.S. or in another country too?
So far all of the Zwaremachine performances have been local venues only. Our first EP release was 2011 on German netlabel and we were not able to tour for that release. We have played regularly from 2012-2016 with a changing line up and with more shows in the last year to get ready for new release. My goal for the band is to visit other countries and tour when ready. We are working hard on release shows and midwest U.S. dates in the summer/fall 2018 at the moment. We also look for a label in another country to consider our release for vinyl and help start the momentum to travel farther.
4) Do you have contacts here in Brazil? What do you know about Brazilian EBM?
We do have some really great support from friends in Brazil! I’m amazed how intense and dedicated they are for EBM and our type of sounds. I listen Marcos Garcia and join chat for his show Antena Zero Programa Tense and have really great times with new friends who live ebm forever. Marcos and also Fabio Pereira with his program Electronation have been strong early supporters spreading our music around Brazil and the world. We are very thankful to them and have a great time being part of their programs. I look forward to meeting more EBM fans from Brazil.
5) What do you think about EBM scene around the world?
EBM is a massive type of music but not so many bands doing it and not so popular so the most explosive and exciting ones become known well and we can all relate to those sounds together. I do feel like the whole world supports this sound and each country has venues,promoters and DJs supporting the old and new sounds.
6) Do you have other projects?
I do visuals and VJ gigs as Mach Fox supporting DJs and Live acts for clubs and venues in my hometown. I also display videoart and build installations using video and CRT monitors. Sometimes i post my video art online.
I also do the visuals and stage/lighting design for live Zwaremachine shows
From approx. 2005-2012 I recorded and performed as Mach FoX. This band was synthpop based with guitar riffs and heavy sci-fi theme. Adam01(Zwaremachine Synthesizer player) was also a guitarist in this band.
7) Would like to know what are your favorites 10 EBM bands?
Alien Sex Fiend
8) Now you are free to say what you want…
We want to thank Jean for inviting us to the Decadence blog. Zwaremachine and Brazil already have great connection with the support and friends online. We hope to visit and bring our music live and until then vist our websites and write us to stay in touch!
First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Mach Fox from Zwaremachine
Zwaremachine is a Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music band from Minneapolis Minnesota USA
We recently released our first full-length album “Be A Light” on CD/Cassette and digital April 11th 2018 via Phage Tapes
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
Minneapolis has alot of stages to perform on so sometimes there is so much going on it can split the crowd a bit.
Alot of the venues are in small pockets of the city so some nites when there are 2 or 3 live electronic and DJ events you may be able to hop between them and catch sets by different acts.
The DJs with monthly events will support the live local and national acts by having them as cameo sets or dedicating the whole night to live acts with DJs spinning so that tends to encourage the live scene. There are always new spaces and monthly nites popping up that support an electronic industrial/EBM and Darkwave vibe and that is amazing for this time now in Minneapolis. Monthly nights like Dark Energy,Cassette,Tourniquet and Deeper really help make the scene alive. There are also promoters like Absynthetic Productions and Kilted Farmer who have been around a while bringing really solid lineups to stages in town.
Grant Mayland the promoter for Dark Energy(a local dark music monthly dance nite) continues to impress me with his unique vibe shows, events and venue choices. It’s great working with the local crews and dancefloor is usually packed. I have to mention the venues like Kitty Cat Klub, Red Sea & the Nomad who have competent soundtechs and systems that support and really care about electronic music which needs different type of mixing and monitoring. There are alot of people working and playing hard around here right now and underground music is alive.
We do have quite a few local radio shows and a few publications but they seam geared toward mainstream and softer styles, rarely will they cover the darker edges of the Minneapolis scene…but we’re here in the shadows.
After playing electronic rock and purely electronic styles of music here since the late 90s and being part of different scenes over the years my attitude on the local scene is basically the same- I’m just going to do what I do and not expect to fit in.
Zwaremachine was also very fortunate to get support early on from Sam from Phage Tapes most known for harsh noise releases. When he expressed interest to include some other electronic releases I checked his catalog and noticed several friends had released with him. He offered to release the CD and Cassette as we were preparing to record and I had a few labels in mind I wanted to send our music to so I kept a date in mind to reconnect with him. The other labels were midwest labels that really specialized in our genre and we would have most likely been part of a cue and release pushed back to later 2018 and maybe a less of a priority as their established acts. Those labels passed on the release for various reasons and we knew the offer from Phage was very fair so I contacted Sam and we made plans to release as soon as mixing and mastering could be completed…no waiting or delays. The whole recording, artwork and final release came together quickly because the songs were written and I already had great artists lined up as well as our Mastering Engineer Nic Heidt.
What do you feel separates your music from the rest of the music in the EBM music scene?
I have been using Minimal Hypnotic Industrial Body Music as description to just branch of of the EBM tree and be more descriptive of our sound on the Be A Light release.
Its always been a goal to have custom visuals and equipment be part of the live performance. With Zwaremachine I really wanted the audience to become part of our world. It’s dimly lit with fizzing electronics and the lighting design and color pallette become our tiny universe in the club and want to envelope them in a cold dark zone.
I work as a VJ and do visuals for live bands and DJs so incorporating that part into our set has been easy but its not always possible to run them live while singing with the band.I also like to bring the glow of CRTs and the special glitches and color variations to the stage when we play live so I have incorporated them into our stands and racks as much as possible so they become part of the set.
What does Zwaremachine mean to you guys in 2018? And how does that compare to what the project meant to you guys when it was formed?
When I started Zwaremachine it was a solo experimental sound project in the electro-industrial realm of sound. Sort of a horror sci-fi vibe and after completing a few tracks I brought in my friend and DJ Joe “Jobot” Bartuski to help arrange and perform the live set…basically have him DJ the tracks with some live mixing and I could pound on some simmons drum pads, trigger a sampler and stomp around while I sing. We did a handful of audiovisual style gigs as duo and an EP was released in 2011 before we added an electronic percussionist. The percussionist proved unreliable and the project waned. Jobot soon departed and I was left to grab friends and old bandmates to keep performing live occasionally from 2012-2016. There was not much new material written during this and I became less into performing with a band and more into performing as a VJ doing visuals, videoart experiments and installations.
I started Zwaremachine back up 2016 with the intention of performing live and knew I hit on the right type of lineup years earlier and needed the right musicians to pull this type of performance off live.
I started writing and performing with Jason Hollis(ENDIF) and we played some live sets that were not really the sound I intended for this project…the songs were a bit of synthpop and electronic mix but not the minimal industrial body music I wanted for the band. In hindsight we should have pursued that as a completely new project and instead we both lost interest in where it was going at that time. We took a break and I focused on a whole new set of sounds and wrote and sequenced the tracks that would become “Be A Light” release. The idea to capture this set as recording and also perform live versions with sounds and arrangements of recordings was something I held really strong too. I invited my friend Booty to make noises with drum machines/etc and played some live shows but I noticed the sounds were getting lost and arrangements were not as tight and menacing as I was hoping. I wanted hard quantize drums and synths with focused sounds cutting thru. Both ENDIF and Booty have their own projects that are based more on improvisational performances and less strict militant ebm arrangements so I felt it best to try and enlist some fresh musicians to cover the synth and drum parts for our live shows. Right now the current lineup of Adam01 on synth & vocals and Rayn Ruckus on electronic percussion is proving to be just what I needed to pull this sound off. These guys that stepped in have helped shape the Zwaremachine sound for the future writing also.
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself?
I grew up on radio and rock and roll. I always listened closely and when I started buying records I was very interested in the credits and liner notes and photos and artwork…the whole package. Who did what? what instruments? where was it recorded? it just all became a part of the music to me. When I first experimented with multitrack recording I put on a John Bonham(Led Zeppelin drummer) record track and played my guitar over it as I recorded onto a tape via a boombox. I was then able to put that tape in another tape deck and overdub again. These experiments taught me that there are many ways to write and record music and more than one right way..I was into DIY and punk too..
So I always wanted to mash all my influences together and do my own thing.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?
I’m not sure anything has changed in my approach but my sound palette and preferred music styles changes from time to time. I guess I’m definitely interested in electronic body music and cyber industrial styles at the moment…but years ago it was certainly more electrorock influenced with some new wave guitars and rock riffs. Im a bit all over the place with my tastes so I focus on a sound for a record or band project and really dig into that.
I think music has always moved me and to be able to make music any style I want trhu my life has been very rewarding and has given me something to be passionate about.
If you could say there are underlying themes or messages that permeate throughout your discography, what would you say are the most important concepts and ideas you’ve tried to express throughout your artistic career, political, spiritual, or personal?
Oh Yes. I’m skeptical. Big government,injustices,surveillance,artificial intelligence,moral issues and such are often themes outright or buried in the lyrics…mostly from a futuristic cyber sci-fi perspective because my songs are set in a movie or a time that isn’t now. With most of my lyrics I may be vaguely stabbing at an issue with words that have other context as well. Many of these are timeless themes that unfortunately seem to not be resolved or attended to fairly or justly over time. There is just too much greed and power that exists in shadows.
I don’t particularly want to be clever, political or outspoken with my words. Sometimes I really want the phonetics to be expressed. Exploring the cutup method of phrasing has been quite fun as well and I revisit that for inspiration from time to time. I am also into horror movies so themes can get dark and exist in a different reality.
When it comes to your musical self and your real world self, would you say that their is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
I have to take on many roles with Zwaremachine. So its necessary to be available to bandmates, soundtech, promoter, friends, fans and not be hidden in a dark corner or dressing room waiting to perform. I usually do commit to the performance the day of the show which means less distractions or at least turning of the promo and business side of my role. I think when I am on stage I am half my real self and half caught up in an alternate world where our music exists.
When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?
I set out to write a live set that would become our record “Be A Light” in summer of 2017. By late summer I had assembled a live band and we were playing shows monthly that summer and fall in preparation of recording at the end of the year. I had a particular sound set in mind and programmed and arranged these songs with the intention of having a strong live show that could transfer to the recordings. After a few shows I realized my goals and specific sound could be achieved but I would need to replace the musicians I was working with. At that time I also decided to not compromise my ideas for the bands sound and recordings, I wanted to see my vision through and maintain strong dedication to our sound.
I often get inspired and start banging things into the sequencer. I prefer to let the sequence breathe and dictate the arrangements. Depending on what I’ve been hearing or watching there will be a mood and tempo involved that informs my programming and sound choices. I like to write on sequencers these days instead of guitar and find the machines lend themselves to certain genres so I am already in a certain sonic space and prefer synthetic sounds to acoustic instruments. I usually end up with some synthpop and electrorock tracks which I set aside for other projects and then I can focus on what’s left which are the sequences that have a darkwave dance vibe and become Zwaremachine tracks.
Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it’s a balance between the two? What’s your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
This album came about because of the sounds I chose dictating the sequences and arrangements. I often wrote longer sequences of more synthpop style and then would try half or quarter length sequences and edits while tightening up the decay of the bass sounds until that hypnotic repetitive sequence grabbed me. From there it was just a matter of shifting some octaves and transposing. I try to go on writing binges and then refine the songs sounds and arrangements as needed. If that means choosing specific synth and drum sounds or exploring and writing my own patches it will depend on mood of track and what purpose track is for. I prefer to use cubase and nuendo for editing and enjoy the editing and remixing process of recording quite a bit.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all… it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
I don’t mind having lists and goals. It just works for me to have a schedule. I try not to deviate from it and I am able to get things done that way. I will spend hours rehearsing, editing or mixing and then take as many hours off from music projects.It’s important to have some time to clear your head of music and focus on other tasks so you are fresh when you get back in studio to obsess some more. We also have a busy band schedule with a huge effort by everyone to meet once a week for a regularly scheduled rehearsal…which may become recording session or video shoot which requires many more hours of pre-production or editing and engineering. Its sometimes a huge effort to get everyone together and the efforts these guys make keep me motivated to move forward. with all our upcoming projects.
For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
Bring a sweater or your favorite black hoodie and some mittens. It will get cold!
We want to envelope you with our sonics. There may be an unhinged moment when I lose myself in the music and that means I’m moving with the music and crowd and we all feel the same energy for a time.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Well I can’t do anything minimally so fitting the equipment on smaller stages can be a challange!
Outside of EBM, what other genres could you see yourself composing music in? Or should I say, do you see yourself inspired by? Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity?
I think most electronic musicians have interests in sound design so composing for films and soundtracks is something i’ve done a bit and would explore more.
Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
I can always enjoy a good or bad sci-fi or horror film.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thanks to you and the Infidel Netwerk for listening and reviewing our new music. Having outlets for independent artists and getting published is appreciated.