Two of the nicest & hardest-working people you could wish to meet on the UK electro scene are Reza & Alexys, better known as 2/3 of the EBM act Inertia & head honchos of the Cryonica label. As the band's fanbase becoming more & more global with strong fanbases in the US, mainland Europe plus exciting future plans including gigs in Poland & even Japan planned the forthcoming Dark Xmas festival, featuring loads of UK bands from different genres, proves their commitment to up & coming homegrown talent is as strong as ever. CARL JENKINSON finds out more about what makes them tick & their increasing thespian ambitions. (November 2004)
|Congratulations on "Black Ice Impact" which I consider to be your best album to date. I guess you must be feeling pretty satisfied at the moment.
Alexys: Thank you, yes. All three of us are very pleased with the outcome of this.
In general, how has the album been received?
Reza: They have mostly been really good and luckily people have noticed that we do have our own Inertia sound and style, and have stopped trying to compare us to other bands. I am glad the message is getting through! It was quite daunting releasing this CD as it has more than just our trademark harsh Industrial sound, we experimented more musically and tried to incorporate better songwriting into the album. Which I think was successful.
It seems that you're constantly adding new elements to the Inertia sound such as the rock n roll stylings of "Seven Sin VII" & even a duet of sorts on "Hypno-Suck". Do you see this as a natural evolution or has what seems to be the increasing participation of Alexys & the arrival of Andrew Trail been a telling factor here?
Alexys: We've had a lot of time over these past two years to experience working with a really diverse style of music and it only seemed natural to let it progress into what we were doing as well. You're the first person to see the rock and roll aspect of "Seven Sin VII". I had a bluesy kind of riff in mind for that. I love it!
One of my favourite tracks is "Hot Hot Hot" which, when I first heard it, I thought might have been inspired by the tornado you encountered in the USA but is this a cover too?
Alexys: This is a cover that was orginally made for Cleopatra Records but we loved it so much that we decided to keep it on the album. Reza doesn't really like doing covers which says something for this one.
Reza: Exactly.. and no, it was not inspired by the tornado!
I guess everyone is familiar with the Bollywood number "Shakalaka Baby" which has quickly become a live sinaglong favourite. Where did the inspiration to make a cover of this track originally come from?
Alexys: At the time, I was just beginning to work with SAB TV in London dancing in an ensemble for ads and pop promos. I've always loved Bollywood and I wanted to record a Bollywood song that has not been covered in the traditional way. I was really excited when the cast from Bombay Dreams said they loved it even more than the original. I only hope this means that Myra Syall will ask me to be in her next project.
In fact, you both seem to have taken up acting, it seems.
Reza: Yeah, we are both trying to do new things at the moment, in addition to Inertia and Cryonica. We just want to experience more things within the arts. Alexys has been doing quite a bit of work on the series Holby City, and I am just about to play one of the Sharks in a production of West Side Story, which I am really looking forward to!
Actually cover versions seem to be an important part of Inertia, what with "Shakalaka" &, of course "Fly" (from "Advanced Revelation") which was another popular choice. I noticed that was co-written by Tracey Lords, the porn star, did she have a successful music career too, then?
Alexys: Sadly, Traci's career as a singer was short lived.. The music was great, but she just wasn't cut out for singing.
Do you plan to do more covers, anything outlandish or something that might surprise us perhaps?
Reza; We are doing quite a few covers for our US label Cleopatra Records. They release a lot of tribute albums. Recently we have done covers of Bauhaus, Metallica and U2 but as I said, they will be featured on these tribute albums. We probably wont do any new covers for our own releases for while.
To further promote the album you've got some pretty exciting gigs coming up, tell us more about those.
Reza: At the moment we only have 2 gigs left for the rest of the year. One is in Poland at a mini festival with bands like Hocico, Spetsnaz and Stin Scatzor. The other is our own festival, Dark Xmas in London.
I did hear that either Fixmer & Mcarthy or Pzychobitch were going to headline that, what happened
Reza: Well we decided to make it more of a British event for the first year. There are some really good British bands out there, so we wanted to focus more on that and show. We are still planning on putting on Pzycho Bitch but a little later next year.
Do you plan to make this an annual event?
Reza: Yep, thats the plan well see how the first one goes, then probably make a real decision from there on..
As an aside, will anyone be dressing up as Santa to mark the occasion?
Alexys: *Grins* Maybe....
I guess that Inertia & Cryonica keeps you pretty busy within the electro scene. What are your personal viewpoints on how the scene is progressing, both as business people & fans?
Reza: I think there are some interesting bands out there but they are very scarce. I dont see anything new coming into the scene, a lot of it is either bands who sound like other bands, or music which is not well crafted. I think people are becoming very lazy when they discover electronic music equipment. Yes it is easy to hobble a track together with a computer but you really need to spend time with a track and make it your own instead of releasing something put together with the factory presets and arppegiators of a keyboard.
On the business side, the scene is certainly not progressing. People are more apt to download a free track or album off the internet than go out and buy a CD and support the band and label. The music industry is in a sad state at the moment.
You also seem pretty popular in the States, undertaking some pretty big tours over there. Have you found the US crowd are more into your music & are there more organisations/labels etc over there that make such things possible?
Reza: I actually find the US crowd more open to different styles of music. They also tend to have a good working knowledge of bands in the scene, be they well known or not. I have always found the US to be a very supportive audience, which is probably why we tend to go back every year.
Alexys: Touring with Swarf was a really great experience. It was their first time in America and they were an absolute treat to be on the road with.
There's also a planned 'best of' Inertia, to be released on Cleopatra. Are there likely to be any unreleased tracks, remixes etc on here?
Reza: Yeah, this is planned for next year. It will be double CD called Decade of Machines, one CD will be the best tracks, and the other CD the best remixes. There are some new and exclusive remixes on that CD including ones done by Aslan Faction, Terrofakt and Implant.
Your association with Cleopatra must have helped greatly in getting you established in the states
Alexys: We managed to gain success in the States on our own by hard work and a lot of touring. Our association with Cleopatra is only pretty recent.
You also started up the club Hard Drive but that seems to have gone a bit quiet, what's the story there?
Reza: We are looking for a new venue at the moment, keep posted .
To finish, is there anything I've missed that you'd like to mention or do you just have any message for "Hard Wired" viewers?
Alexys: Namaste Hard Wired readers.