Five Minutes With… Eric Powell [16Volt]

By Editor
By November 16, 2008 December 11th, 2021 Features

SPHERE recently had the privilege of chatting with the legendary Industrialist Eric Powell about his ground-breaking project 16Volt. We discussed England and the future of the Industrial genre that he adores.


S] 16Volt material is often played in even the most obscure alternative clubs in the UK, rather than just asking, when will you be touring we would like to ask, how difficult or easy would it be for the band to come here and what has been the main problem?

EP] There are two things really. We have had very minimal interest from any agents or contact from clubs over there. We haven’t really sought out going over. For one thing, I hate flying but the main issue is that we feel like if we are going to do it, we want to do it big and we want to do it right. I am really hoping that we can hook up with another band this upcoming year and get over there and do a big tour. That is in our hopes and we are going to try and make it happen.

S] The band are rightly hailed as a driving force within the Industrial genre the world over, are you pleased with how the scene has developed since you started in the early nineties? – Are there any UK Industrial/Electronic acts you are fond of?

EP] I think the scene changes and morphs and waxes and wanes, but the bottom line for me is that I still love this sound. I love the electronics and I love the guitars and the beats, and I love to mix that all up and add in melody and harmony. I find that even distortion has a melodic quality and with this kind of music, finding the nuances in the sound is really cool. Another thing that I like about this scene is that it’s very tech heavy. You don’t really interview
Metallica and talk about what their favorite tube mic pre is, but in this genre of music, most of us are also engineers and I love that about it. As for the UK, there is a lot of great stuff coming up but off the top of my head I’d have to say Clock DVA, Killing Joke, PIG and VNV have always been favourites of mine.

S] The band are known to have a very close relationship with fans and you use the mediums of Vimeo and your website to keep them up to date with your progress whenever possible – has there been a memorable instance recently where fans have directly influenced and inspired the work of the band?

EP] Well our best of CD was made up entirely from fan picked tracks. They directly influenced what was on that CD. I am constantly inspired by the fans though, there is nothing like walking onto the stage and having the fans cheer you, it’s bigger than life, bigger than me, bigger than you, it’s that universal language and passion that we all share for this art.

S] 16Volt have contributed to video game soundtracks and also currently, movie soundtracks like REPO. Given your vast industry knowledge is this something you would like to be involved in more in the future in terms of directing your own feature, would that be possible – any ideas?

EP] In my life plan I would love to see myself getting into that later on more and more as I get older. I can’t see myself touring when I am 50. I’d like to be setup in a nice house with a studio, just working on cool stuff. that’s my dream.

S] 16Volt are a great inspiration to many young musicians who want to get into electronic music, however some are nervous and are not sure about the best equipment for example? – How did your studying of the subject help and what equipment did you first begin working with – did it come together easily? How would you advise others to begin if they are set on the Industrial genre?

EP] Well, these days it’s entirely different than when I started. My advice, which is entirely subjective, is that it’s better to have less of the best gear than more of the crappy stuff. Really all you need is a computer that can handle audio and a nice mic pre with a nice mic. That’s a basic setup. You don’t need a ton of samplers and synths and all that. I am an extreme minimalist when it comes to gear. Most importantly, make music for yourself first and foremost. Love what you make and others might love it too.



For more information on the band’s progress as we head into 09, please check out the links above for their official Myspace and Vimeo pages.


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