End: The DJ has a massive reputation in the States. He’s not only established behind the decks but is also a live member of Komor Kommando and purveyor of Xenomorph Productions. It’s only a matter of time before he comes here to take over our Industrial scene. With his stomping beats, vast knowledge and all the right contacts, the alternative world could be set to explode, one soundsystem at a time…
S] Sounds cliche, but how did the whole image and concept for End come about?
E] Ah – was I born, made or synthesized? The concept of END: The DJ is a bit satirical and symbolic- the satirical bit being the ‘no DJs, kill the DJ, all bands’ mood that some outside the club circuit in the Industrial & gothic music scenes carry. The symbolic meaning being – if everyone were to know all this great underground music that was being released, a lot of what being a DJ of this type would not exist, would it? Plus, I like how it plays off the first initial of my name, N. The look came about on whim at the same time the DJ name was created. By wearing a mask, I’m letting the music do all the talking and expression for me. There you have it!
S] How did your DJ’ing career begin, and are you surprised at your success given that your style is rooted in such a niche market?
E] I am an admirer of many different kinds of music. Ever since I was about eight to ten years of age, I would listen to a tune wondering “who put that together? Was it all of the band? Someone else?” That curiousity eventually led me to New Wave and Synthpop music plus Electronic Dance Music – my first ‘party’ was at a warehouse in New York. I started messing around with my friend’s vinyl collection while slowly started building my own stock of progressive dance & synthpop.Then I decided to give away everything I had to focus on an art career I thought I really wanted, but found that I considered my work too personal to share. So in 2004, I happened upon a local bar that was throwing a weekly Goth night, more of a lounge setting, and wanted to contribute to it on a promoters’ level.
The next thing I knew, I was producing the weekly, booking bands & DJs and a year later in 2005, I found myself behind the booth again, with CDs this time around, as there were a lot of great artists that convinced me that you CAN mix this music and get the same kind of atmosphere going as electronic dance does in the club circuit. I am certainly surprised at the attention I have received – especially as I am being booked in the aforementioned club circuit that before was about the other side of electronic music such as Techno, Trance, etc.. Yet for me, it’s surprising how much others draw such a distinction between these barriers when history shows these styles as very intertwined. Look at the discographies of Gary Numan, Robert Smith, Komor Kommando (Clan of Xymox) or Bill Leeb (Front Line Assembly, Delerium) as examples. These artists are only limited by their imaginations- they did not draw any musical barriers in their work. Whether the music is fun or dark, deep or angry, I think as long as there’s that connection there on the dancefloor, play it. I’m just more of a deeper, darker & introverted sort.
S] Any plans for an international tour in the future and how would you like to expand a live show?
E] There is definitely an international tour in the works for 2009. I receive many comments and requests from many places I would be honoured to go out to, most especially in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Australia. I would love to see about coming over for a festival and then perhaps work a tour around that while I’m out. I can only choose one of the mentioned areas right now- and it’s a hard decision to make. For a live show, I myself would like to keep it in the club circuit. With the right combination of a proper sound system and lighting, people would be amazed how much the darker music styles can do. I will also be touring as part of Komor Kommando as well next year, and our mission is to bring the club experience to the people at live venues & elsewhere. Stomp, thrash & dance!
S] What advice can you give to other DJ’s who want to focus on Industrial and Alternative music?
E] If it’s on Industrial and Alternative music specifically, I always tell DJs that with these styles, being behind that mixer is not only about the music, but this is a true subculture that is community driven. In many ways, DJs and promoters are the gateway to this culture, not only opening up people to different genres of music, but also breaking down stereotypes that many love to list us under. Cliché as this may seem, I truly believe that keeping that in mind translates well to the listeners, both familiar and new to the scene, that this is a night life as crucial as any other out there. I hope this makes sense.
S] Did you teach yourself to sample and mix, and who has been your biggest personal support throughout your career?
E] I did teach myself – for me, it’s all about rhythm and basically mixing a set that hopefully any dancer out there would never leave the floor for. My biggest supporters continue to be my close circle of friends who are as my family plus the artists who I have been fortunate enough to get to know as our professional relationships have grown. I seem to have great supporters from the places here in the U.S. like Tulsa, Seattle and Charlotte to the countries I hope to be at soon, from Canada to Norway and beyond. I am really honoured to know such fantastic people.
S] Tell us about Xenomorph Productions and how that began, and your links with Seb Komor?
E] Xenomorph Productions is Seb’s studio where he has created his magic for years now, from the Icon of Coil days on up. I discovered his music in 2001. When I heard the Moonitor Remix of IOC’s “Serenity Is the Devil”, I flipped out.This, to me, was like Underworld, but with an edge. Seb became my favourite EBM/Industrial dance producer instantly. I followed along with all his production work as I knew that each purchase was a solid one. Then towards the end of 2006, we ran into each other online, and when we started discussing music and we had a lot in common about what we thought of music in general plus the genres we liked & everything. He liked the mixes I had and next thing you know, I was lucky enough to represent Xenomorph Productions when on tour (I tour at least once a year). In 2007, we both met up at Convergence in Portland and that was where everything was really set. I think Seb merely felt bad for dumping Absinthe in my eyes (that really stings), so he felt pity and gave me a break. Or maybe thought I was cool enough to stay in the fold. Maybe. Whether or not Seb and I would have actually met, I would have still had his projects in heavy rotation in my sets, being that his music is amazing. So being a part of the studio is truly a dream, and being a part of Komor Kommando even more so.
S] What was the best thing for you about creating the album, ‘The Chrome Elemental’ – in what ways has it opened up a new chapter in your career, do you see it as a pinnacle of sorts?
E] ‘The Chrome Elemental’ mix album is what I consider a great beginning. Putting it together was pleasantly surprising. Other than Seb’s work that I used on the album, I had approached other artists I love hoping to have permission to use their work for this official release. Not only did the artists who contacted me agree for their work to be used, but they submitted brand new material, and some with a video as well! I was stunned. Alien Vampires really surprised me. I’ve been a fan of their work since their first release and I would not have ever thought they would send me something new & unreleased- a great beginning indeed.
The reaction to the mix album has been great- it shows that this kind of release is a viable product out there- people have responded not only to certain tracks within the album, but the entire mix in general, which means they’ve listened to every artist from beginning to end, which I could not be happier about. I also like the fact that they’re responding to well to this mix, because I insisted on recording it in one take- no editing. I really try to keep the live set experience. This is what I continuously try to do- push the great music that I love out there while giving you something to stomp to.
S] What is your opinion on the world’s Industrial and dark culture scene at the moment?
E] I think the days of combining the Gothic and Industrial nights should be over. I know that these genres originate from much of the same sources, but each one is now proving to have unique qualities, music, atmospheres and tones that, if paid full attention to separately, would give a much better event to each respective audience. As mentioned, I myself love all styles of music and at first, as a DJ, I would try to have myself at many different kinds of events, from Gothic to Industrial to alt-80s nights to dark Neo-Renaissance themed nights. Along the way, I realized that, although I love each of these styles very much, I was not able to completely focus on any one thing as much I wanted to or as much as the night deserved…and there’s no way you can truly combine all genres to have the full effect of your evening. If I’m at a wonderfully themed & decorated Goth night, listening to a great track from The Last Dance or Ego Likeness while candles are lit and having a nice glass of red, I would feel a bit disrupted if, say, Front Line Assembly blasted right in. The reverse works as well- any cyber night would have a bit of a hiccup if, right in the middle of Suicide Commando, something comes on from Voltaire. Alternating nights & styles each week or month is ideal, but you’re not maximizing the type of atmosphere and tone you could be having with your audience to make the night a true experience, be it in a ballroom or nightclub. I have focused now on the nightclub scene, where I believe the darker styles of electronic dance music should have as much respect and draw as the other styles of dance out there. It surprises me that it does not…but I hope I’m changing people’s minds.
S] We noticed you are a fan of Uberbyte, are there any other UK acts you are a fan of at the moment?
E] Should there be anyone else? Uberbyte kicks ass – I’m glad to be helping Uberman meet some great remix producers out there. No, I am REALLY liking the direction that Gary Numan has been taking lately, and I think a good portion of that is because of Ade Fenton. They are simply on fire right now. On the Synthpop side of things, I am loving what I am hearing of Cybercide so far. Seb Komor has actually done a remix for them, by the way, which is quite something and, if we are spanning other genres here, then let me say that I have been a longtime fan of The Cure (ever since Head On the Door) and Faithless.
S] What about personally – in what ways could End:The DJ be seen as an alter-ego of sorts for you?
E] When I am not at an event, I am very introverted and very sensitive to the crazy ways of human behaviour, especially in this scene. END: the DJ is completely alive in the music, ideally sharing a sort of symbiotic relationship with the dancers and those really getting into the set. It is a great way for me to open up to them, and hopefully vice-versa. That kind of relationship or expression or emotion is sorely lacking in the everyday world.
S] How does working live with Komor Kommando and the general feeling you get differ from when you are DJ’ing? – Can you elaborate on how the ‘buzz’ is different in each case?
E] Komor Kommando will be touring as soon as the EP is released early next year by Alfa-Matrix. I am already nervous- I’m basically Seb’s backup and side man. It is all about getting my cues down and making sure the samples and structure stay on full blast and the entire set is like one overall experience. Komor Kommando takes off from the first note and does not come back down to Earth, so to speak. DJ’ing is different- the set ebbs & flows depending on where the crowd wants to go as well as how far they want to journey with you. I feel more flexible in that, but that’s why I’m in 2K (Komor Kommando) to begin with- sometimes you have to take the lead and blow people’s minds. The upcoming tour will do just that.
S] What kind of visual art and themes inspire you in general?
E] Every style has its right fitting, yet I am not personally a fan of much realism unless I am in a really calm and balanced state of mind. I like for most art and themes to be completely expressive and raw. So much is not said even with spoken language. Arts and themes can convey what we cannot put to words and I love seeing and/or hearing something like that, because there’s no mistaking its honesty.
S] Do you have a message for UK fans?
E] Thanks so much for reading and thanks to my dear UK fans who keep sending messages and keep requesting. Know that I will be over that way soon – have your promoters contact me and hopefully we’ll share a bottle of port soon. Until then…
END will be live with Komor Kommando next year, for more information on his work please visit the Myspace and website links.