Thursday, July 31, 2008

Forgotten Interviews. Part II: Bohren und der Club of Gore

Time for another unearthed gem; an interview with Morten Gass, one quarter of genre-bending funereal lounge-jazz pioneers Bohren und der Club of Gore. Described as "an unholy ambient mixture of slow jazz ballads, Black Sabbath doom and down tuned Autopsy sounds," filed under "heavy."
Read on:

Forgotten Interviews. Part II:
Bohren und der Club of Gore

Could you explain the story behind the name "Bohren und der Club of Gore" and how it relates to your music?

It´s just a silly name and has nothing to do with our music. It sounded cool to us (…well, back then).

How would you describe your style of music to someone who had never heard it before?

To persons who are not so much Into music, I just describe it as "twin peaks music" but slower and more boring and that it is not everybody's cup of tea. So none gets disappointed…
But in the end I would say it´s beautiful quite music, heavy but not in a metal kind of sense. I would describe it as "tavern doom music".

Aside from Gore, who are some other bands or artists that have influenced you musically throughout your career?

Autopsy, Sade, Celtic Frost, Arvo Pärt, The Melvins, Martin Böttcher.

What bands were the Bohren members involved in before forming the current band?

Chronical Diarroea, 7Inch Boots, Deviseinmanner.

Your Website states that before Bohren was formed, you and the other founding members (Thorsten Benning, Reiner Henseleit and Robin Rodenberg) were playing together in metal based hardcore bands, what was your inspiration to start making music that is stylistically so far removed from what you were playing before?

We became some kind of unhappy after a veiw years of copying our favorite bands. That´s why we start experimentating. The whole process of changes took around two years.

In another interview you mentioned that your drummer, Thorsten, used to play in a grindcore band before Bohren was formed, how challenging was it for him, and the rest of the band, to start playing such slow paced songs? Do you find it frustrating to be so restrained all the time, or do you tend to just zone out?

No problem, we always liked it slow. In the end it doesn´t matter if the music is extremely slow or fast. In both ways it´s at the edge of ordinary peoples taste in music.

I imagine the minimalist style of your music would pose a challenge when you first start to form a song. How do you go about structuring your songs? Do you generally begin with one instrument and build from there?

Yes, we start with one instrument (piano or bass). Just as writing music for a rock band where you usually start with some guitar riffs.

Do you use any sort of click track while rehearsing or playing live to keep yourselves at the right tempo, or do you just practice until you are all comfortable with each song?

For the recording process we have to use a click track. Because we record each instrument one after another to get a perfect sound. It Is indeed a pretty hard thing to find the right tempo for each song. We still waste a lot of time about that aspect.

Bohren und der Club of Gore seems to have a certain cult notoriety among underground metal fans, are any members of the band still involved in the metal scene in any way?

Well, we listen to a lot of metal stuff, buying records and go to concerts or festivals. If it's that what you mean. It´s still an exciting kind of music, especially all the underground stuff.

Do you have a strong fan base locally, or do you find that your audience is more widespread, rather than being a part of any particular scene?

It´s rather widespread and we like that aspect very much.

Your music seems to appeal to a very select audience, does this limit your options when it comes to playing live shows? What kind of venues do you usually play live shows at?

Most of the time we play small clubs and it´s best if the audience can take a seat.

What would you consider to be the perfect setting for listening to Bohren und der Club of Gore? Both live and on record?

A perfect live situation is when the audience has chairs and tables and lots of drinks. And at home? Maybe drunken in the bathtub.

Your music has a very visual side to it, like a soundtrack to a very bleak and dark movie. How important do you believe the visual side of a live show is for a band such as yourselves? What visual elements do you use whilst playing live to enhance this atmosphere?

It is important. Because the visual side of our is music very minimal. We play in the dark. No lights. Just a 20watt spotlight above our heads to see our instruments.

What sort of atmosphere do you try to create in your music, and what feelings do you aim to evoke in the listener?

Something like that: Life is a long, slow and stinking river but you shouldn´t let the birds of misery and sorrow nest in your hair.

Your music has been described by many as sounding like a dark film-noir soundtrack, are you all fans of the film-noir style, and do you believe you have taken a lot of inspiration from this?

Our song "prowler" was Inspired by "Blast of Silence", a great noir movie by Allen Barons. Last year I went througt the whole seasons of an old german crime series called "Der Kommissar" staring Erik Ode. I´ll guess this will influence our next record In some kind of ways.

Are you aware of any other bands playing a similar style of music to you?

Well the actual EARTH album sounds like how we dreamed like to sound back in the days where we used a guitar.

Thank you for your time! Would you like to add any last words?

Thank you, too. Stay happy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Forgotten Interviews. Part I: Dsankt

So here's the story:
Way back in '06 I made a fairly half-baked attempt to create my own 'zine. Along the way I picked up a bunch of excellent interviews with some people who I was very interested in at the time, some I am still interested in today. Predictably, the 'zine eventually collapsed under the weight of all my big intentions and eventually was left to rot in some obscure corner of my hard drive.
I stumbled upon a bunch of these interviews recently and decided I might as well put them up here, they're too redundant too publish in any other format these days anyway.

That said, here's the first one; an interview with an Australian photographer known as Dsankt, I think I'll just let his website do the talking. I'd hate to ruin a good surprise...

Andy M.

Forgotten Interviews. Part I:
Dsankt/Sleepy City

How did you first get into Urban Exploration?

Riding around the suburbs as a kid on my bike, doing wheelies and jumping gutters! We'd ditch our bikes outside the empty buildings and wander in as far the light went, then feel our way a lil deeper. I never really grew out it. The same sense of wonder and curiosity that drove me then still drives me now.

Have you had much, or any, formal education in Photography?

None. I bought a camera and started shooting about 4 years ago. I was inspired by people like Siologen and Trioxide of Sydney (Australia) because they were doing something different to everything I'd encountered before and capturing such surreal images. I figured I could teach myself all the techniques but my artistic understanding it probably a bit fragile. So I picked up a point and shoot digital, then evolved to a film slr as I began to demand more from my camera. Today I've got a high end dslr and a medium format camera so I have the best of both worlds. It worked out pretty well though I could use some artisitc grounding.

Have you ever been caught somewhere you shouldn't be while taking photographs?

I've come so close a few times, but amazingly escaped without too much drama. We tend to leave on the sneak, we're skulkers. Even when people are encountered they're usually fairly understanding - photographers can be an odd bunch and I think people accomodate that.

Do you generally go exploring with members of the Cave Clan, or do you often go on trips alone?

I explore with a group of friends, some of who are in the Cave Clan and some who aren't. It usually depends on people's schedules more than whatever affiliation they claim to any particular group! That being said there are some sites (or locations) which I'll explore with carefully chosen people. It's almost like a secret little sub group of us who do the scary stuff.

Where are some of your favorite places to take photos?

Massive underground spaces. Cityscapes, buildings, ruins, abandonments, sunsets etc have all been done before. Over time the styles and techniques refine but it's all repetition. It's a bit like pop songs. They're usually about the same thing (love/relationships/sex etc) just updated for whatever style is currently popular. Same with a lot of your stock type photography. I'd prefer to figuratively stay underground, to examine subjects that others ignore. The literal underground seems so untapped, so raw. There are massive tunnel system hardly explored and even less documented, it's a wild frontier! Plus while underground you often have complete control of the lighting types, position, intensity and style. It's like having your own ghetto studio which is also the subject.

In your opinion, what do you think is the best Australian city in terms of exploring?

Tough! Sydney has more variety and feature packed drains while Melbourne has bigger and longer drains. Overall, the winner is Sydney! However, why limit yourself to Australia? International flights are cheap.

Would you consider some of the places you photograph to be dangerous, such as underground tunnels and rooftops?

Everything is dangerous to some degree. The manner in which you approach it and the knowledge you possess mitigate the danger. Sure there is a whole bunch of risk you cannot control, and factors you cannot anticipate but that's what makes it exploring instead of being a tourist. The dangers and the risk make it fun!

Do you plan to take this hobby overseas in time?

Sure, I've been travelling now for 2.5 months - Japan, Britain and North America. It's been one of the most rewarding things I've done. It's a cliche but it's true!

Though your photographs all feature urban/man-made subjects, people seldom feature in your photos. There's something very haunting about the lack of people in places so reliant on them to function. Was this your intention?

At a basic level I find people boring, or more specifically I don't have the patience or the time to understand each one. For the most part portraits of people are meaningless to me, they're just people. There are 6billion of us on the globe and while each might have a story worth hearing I don't really have the time or the inclination. My attitude comes across even in that statement - I've just classed people and their stories as some form of entertainment. I'm not really this cold, but I find the spaces more interesting devoid of human subjects. From a practical point of view I'm either exploring alone or I feel bad asking people to be in photos. It seems like I'd be putting them there for the sake or it - like a warped tourist photo.

In the photos that do include people, they're always inanimate - appearing captivated or overwhelmed by their surroundings. Another message there?

None at all, though I can see that interpretation. It's purely practical - the exposures are pretty long so people have to stay still and very static poses are easier to hold for 20-60 seconds. And if the person in the shot is lighting the space you get crisper shadows and more defined lines when the light source doesn't move! Also people give scale to what otherwise is an alien environment so they're included more to assist the location than be the subject.

Is there a point at which a photo stops being a picture, and becomes a message or even a story?

Definitely, there are messages embedded in photos whether intentional or not. You're giving stimulus to the viewer which acts as a catalyst for their imagination. You can only effectively tell a story if the viewer plays along. They're the key in the end. A lazy, bored viewer will get nothing from the photo. I hope to provoke in the viewer the curiosity that drives me, or inspires them in some way.

Do you try to follow one prevalent theme or mood in your images, or do you adapt to each location differently?

I will choose a location if it suits something I'm specifically chasing, but usually I adapt to a location as it dictates. You're presented a bunch of scenes and I find that working with them is more productive. Can I use the word synergy without sounding like I'm a clueless management bot? hahaha.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps and start exploring all the more hidden areas in their cities?

Walk out your house take notice of the places around you. There is stuff to explore all around. People get caught up trying to learn too much about it, searching the internet for clues. They would do better to escape the shiny screen and go forth and simply do.

Thanks for your time, keep up the great work and we hope to hear much more about you in the future! Any last words?

I'm sure my future will be exciting - that's what keeps my going. Last words? Hassleblad and Fuji if you're reading hook a ninja up!

Monday, July 28, 2008


I want one...

And a smaller one to put on top!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Beach House

Saturday 23rd August - The Troubadour

$25 + BF
+ Bachelorette (New Zealand) + The Rational Academy

Tickets on sale Monday June 2.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Good Ol' Days...


mmmmm, cup of bland grains anyone?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Northern Shadows #5

Issue 5 of Northern Shadows 'zine.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Cover design for the first Lilly's Ether demo, likely to be only used for promo copies though, if and when they see the light of day.
Drawn by HC.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008