Lucky, lucky! This year, following the liberating discovery of talented and local (aye, local!) industrial metal band Digicore, this writer has the privilege of talking (and drinking) with all three members. Danny Carnage (guitars, vocals, synths, programming), Matt Bastard (bass) and Cell (drums) join us at the pub, where we work very hard to seclude ourselves from the loud boisterous folk – because we are more than just apes and require silence and respect – and chat about the new album, the underground scene, and the future, amongst a plethora of other things!
Firstly, how do you define success? The underground scene is highly respected by the true music enthusiasts (that’s you, reader!) but do Digicore, a band who have caught attention in that scene, have the same values? Drummer Cell claims, “We want people to like our music. You do it ‘cos you like it but you do it ‘cos you want other people to like it.” Solid words, and a philosophy many creative people hold true, and of course, as bassist Matt Bastard adds, “You don’t need Universal Studios to put your albums out there. If you are in it for the money, then fine, but it’s not like the music scene is gonna die if they go away.” Music is a natural thing that we all crave, and certain is the fact that without it we would die on the inside and then off ourselves. And hell, those gigs are a great laugh too. Danny Carnage elaborates, “If you didn’t have the underground scene, you wouldn’t be able to watch someone in a horse mask scream into a mic, then watch someone else too drunk to stand clambering over tables and showing their cock.” Matt Bastard exclaims: “Long live the underground music scene!”
It’s fantastic that a label such as Nine Inch Nails supports so many niche bands. We ask the lads about this, and much to our delight, they have nothing but compliments for it: “It’s really benefited us,” Carnage explains. “Giles [Moorhouse], the guy who runs it, is a shining golden god. He supports us, gets us in touch with people, and does a bit of everything. He looks after us, feeds us, and occasionally lets us out of the Armalyte dungeon to do stuff like this.” Bastard says, “He keeps us on track but without pushing too much. He’s more than happy to listen to it, and makes sure things progress in a timely fashion. It’s good that he leads you down that path.”
Speaking of creative guidance, what was the thought process behind the new album ‘More Than Just An Ape’? “There was a conscious decision to do something different,” says Carnage. “It’s a concept album, I’m fond of that. There’s a sci-fi element, I’m fond of sci fi, and I know Matt Bastard is fond of sci-fi. What I tried to do was have a narrative going through it, but every song is also something else.” It’s difficult not to reminisce those tracks, surely there’s something to be said for the philosophical aspect, in tracks like ‘Flesh Is Weakness’ for instance? Surely that song is about the emotional pain of being human, of living life? Surely we’re not alone here?! Bastard says, “I don’t think it really matters.” Oh. “If people get a deeper meaning out of it, then good for them.” Cell adds that the underlying story dictates the music videos too, and that statement only excites us for the forthcoming video. More on that later…in the year.
“I was sick of listening to it after two years,” Carnage continues, referring to the development of the album, “and it’s a little bit aggravating that people keep saying it’s from the nineties and that it’s Petrol Bastard, which is obviously the immediate comparison. It was released in 2013, it’s a 2013 sound. I’m glad that people like it. People just seem to get it.” Cell is just relieved that the album incorporates subtle aggression rather than the speed of ‘Without Freedom’ (the gigs were an agonising cardio workout at times) says, “It’s really different to ‘Without Freedom’. That was more nineties.” Matt Bastard adds, “Whereas now it’s more wub.” More dubstep? Yeah. ‘Disconnected’ springs abruptly to mind here. Speaking of the live gigs, is there a favourite one to play live, or something that gets the crowd going? DC laughs, “For a while we’ve had a block of new stuff at the beginning, and a block of old stuff at the end. I like playing it like that, because people think they get us, but then suddenly we go into the fastest one off of the old album, and everything goes apesh**.”
Let’s talk influences now then! Carnage immediately mentions Leeds band Petrol Bastard “They’re not nearly as sh** as they try to pretend they are. The way they produce really influenced what I was doing.” Cell adds, “There’s definitely elements of dubstep, and I’m not saying Dan walks around with a Skrillex haircut, but ultimately there’s elements of synth programming which would be akin to dubstep programming.” Carnage goes on to talk about grindcore and powerviolence. If Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt (R.I.P) were still around we’re certain he’d make the effort to call us all gay. “Because I’ve been playing guitar live for gigs I listen to a lot of grindcore and punk and stuff like that, and I play in a powerviolence way. I listen to Petrol Bastardand try and play a bit like that, which is not necessarily the way it should be done for our stuff. There’s lots of just letting it ring out and feedback, but maybe that’s just me not being a good guitarist, I don’t know. Come to your own conclusion!”
Digicore have always had a punk element to their music, and in this spirit, we talk about anti-establishment. Cell explains: “There’s always been an anti-establishment theme, even from the really early stuff, and the punk stuff got picked up with the ‘End Of Days’ EP. I think the punk guys get it more than anyone else.” Matt Bastard animates and yells, “F*ck the Tories, they’re a bunch of f*cking c*nts!”
From here, the band takes a turn for the reminiscent, those “F*ck society!” vibes bringing the underground scene back to the forefront. Matt Bastard adds, “When we played DV8 Festival we didn’t go down well at all, ‘cos everyone there was a proper cybergoth. They were like ‘urgh you don’t have keyboards? You’ve got drums and guitars and stuff? what IS THIS? F*CK OFF!” Cell continues, “Those were arguably the best gigs, because everything back then was just strobe. It was ridiculous ‘cos you’d just bomb the hell out of everything and then the lights would come up at the end and you’d realise that the entire audience were plastered to the back wall,” and Carnage elaborates, “We’d see the Kryten surprised face more than anything else. We can play here and people who we know come and see us and they dig it ‘cos they know what we’re about. We play anywhere else and people don’t know what we’re about, and it was that Kryten face! Those gigs were cool, ‘cos everyone would be at the back having their faces slowly ripped off.” After a time, Bastard says, “I saw a man dogpile another man.”
Who’s up for some underground bands? We bring this insightful conversation to a close with Carnage’s recommendations: Petrol Bastard, Ghost In The Static, Be My Enemy , Skat Injectorand Skat Injector.
Is this the beginning of some very exciting times for Digicore? Looks like it! “We’ve got the video coming out later in the year, which is gonna be a single off the new album, with a new track on it with some remixes – somewhere between an EP and a single. We’re trying to improve our live show – we’ve been talking to someone about joining the band to play guitar, so I can go back to not shitting up the live set. We’ve got Alt-Fest next year, we’re really excited about that. That’s a big deal.” Carnage is adamant: “I’m not going to take two years writing the next album.”