Goteki have long been hailed as one of the most affecting bands on the Industrial and electronic scene in the UK. Having reformed and come back with a new approach and style the four-piece have just released a collection of EPs titled the ‘Summer Of Santa Muerte’. We have a chat with three members of the band to talk about the themes and ideas behind this new material…
“The Industrial scene is so insular, it hasn’t been able to absorb external influences”
S] In your years as musicians from the formation of Sneaky Bat Machine to the re-formation of Goteki, how has your opinion on Goth and Industrial music and culture changed?
Ross] That’s tricky. Like all music there are high point and low points, I feel that 2000-to-2004 was a high point, all those awesome bands like Apoptygma Berzerk and Covenant touring, writing great stuff. Although I probably just remember it so fondly because I was doing a lot of supporting gig slots and drinking their riders. It does feel to me like there’s almost nobody in Goth, EBM and Industrial right now doing anything of any merit. But, always the optimist, I think it’s these times that breed the bands that really push out into something new. To be honest though, I think electro is where it’s at right now. The Ed Banger fraternity with people like Justice at the helm are making far more interesting stuff than anything coming out of the Industrial scene. The irony is, Justice are a lot heavier than a lot of bands Industrial kids listen to, but they’re terrified to branch out. If you’re not familiar with bands like Justice, Kavisnky and Bloody Beetroots. Give them a listen on LastFM or Spotify, after checking out the new Goteki tracks of course.
Ali Star] It’s kinda changed but kinda stayed the same.. As long as the Sisters still tour and The Cure release more ‘last ever’ albums then everything else just ebbs and flows, really.
Crash] It’s stagnant and stale, and that’s not just me being harsh, go on any of the numerous Industrial forums online and you’ll find hardcore fans saying exactly the same thing. Sometime in the last eight years the innovation stopped, the music became formulaic and mediocre and the ‘look’ of bands became uniform. Which is hilarious for a genre that prides it’s self on individuality and experimentation. The scene is so insular it hasn’t been able to absorb external influences and mutate and grow, which is such a pity as amongst the arpeggio hammering dross there a many really talented songwriters.
S] Obviously we are based in the north, do you see a difference between the scenes here and in the south?
Ross] Not be a traitor to my beloved Bristol, but there seems to be a really great attitude around the Midlands and North at the moment. Going out in Nottingham right now with my Goth friends reminds me of what was so cool about the Goth and Industrial scene in the 90s. Lots of people who’ve made an effort to look cool and are out to have a great time. What more can you ask for?
S] What are your most exciting plans for the end of this year and into the next?
Ross] Ah man, there’s so many, many plans. The biggest and most important is ‘Santa Muerte’, the full album that follows on from the ‘Summer of Santa Muerte’ collection of EPs. I’m just starting work on it now, and it’s one of those wonderful projects that immediately has a life of its own. It’s aggressive, intricate and shoots off on all kinds of crazy tangents, but has a strong overall sound all the way through. I think Goteki fans are really gonna love it.
There are a few other possible plans in the pipeline that I’m looking at. Over time I’ve collected a few tracks themed around films that I might release as an EP. Tell you what if anybody reading this can name the five films the songs come from, and emails me at [email protected], I’ll send them a link to grab the four new EPs for free… the songs are called ‘Light Cycles’, ‘Destroy Something Beautiful’, ‘Reservations At Dorsia’, ‘I Was A Teenage Baseball Fury’, and ‘Fiorina 161’. Get thinking. I also have plans for an album of cover versions, and a Bowie-specific covers album, but we’ll see…
S] How do you think Goteki’s sound will develop further in the future?
Ross] Who knows. We have always evolved, but the core Goteki sound is always there. The newly reformed Goteki has a slightly darker edge to our previous album ‘Revolution’, but strangely at the same time feels more poppy.
S] Your remix work has been very well received internationally – do you have plans to release another whole remix album – any ideas?
Ross] Yes actually, you scary mind-reading SPHERE people! I’ve just started work on the rather dull process of clearing the red tape to get it into action. I’m assembling a collection of remixes I’ve done for other people that’ll appear as a digital compilation album. I’ve done a lot of remixes I’ve been really happy with so it’s a cool chance to get them together in one place. So far, The Delta Fiasco and Zoot Woman (awesome electro band that featured Stuart Price of Madonna and Les Rhythme Digitales fame) have cleared the usage of their tracks, seven or eight more people to clear with and it’s go go go. I’m not going to tell you what it’s gonna be called yet because it has the best name ever, but as a clue, it’s gonna have me in my pants with a rabbit head on the cover.
S] Can you explain the concept behind your new 4-EP collection, ‘Summer Of Santa Muerte’ as whole?
Ross] It kind of grew organically into the expanded concept release schedule that it now is. The songs kept having recurring themes of death, celebrity and the juxtaposition of love and alienation. The music that went with these started to have a harsh electronic sound and a kind of Vegas and Tijuana vibe. I really like that combination. It’s ended up sounding like a dark desert night with neon lights glowing in the distance. I love it!
S] If you could each sit down and listen to the new material with anybody and have a four-course dinner, who would you pick and why?
Ross] Bowie. He’s always been my biggest inspiration; I’d love him to hear my music. Maybe Nick Cave for this one, since it’s pretty death and murder-tastic. Actually, I’d like to get Sneaky Bat Machine me and Goteki O/S me to listen to it. They’d probably hate it. [laughs]
S] Can you explain the inspiration behind a few tracks, ‘Loose Cannon’ (from ‘Journey To Storyville’) ‘Take Me To Your Lover’ (from the EP of the same name), your Kasabian cover of ‘Lost Souls Forever’ (from ‘Atlantic Pacific’) and ‘Nevada Dawn’ (from ‘Shoot Me Dead’) – all of these tracks have a very upbeat electronic feel?
Ross] Sure! Well firstly, I guess they are all pretty upbeat, and the material needs it. Writing 35 tracks about death, darkness and murder was pretty heavy so occasional lighter moments were a must.
‘Loose Cannon’ is a song I’ve wanted to write for ages, just because I thought it’d be funny. It’s a song from the point of view of a chief of police in a movie, running through a series of 80s action film clichés. Then by the last day of work on it I was a bit drunk and just added me shouting the names of action flick heroes. I’m proud to have written a song that involves me shouting ‘Gary Busey!’
‘Take Me To Your Lover’ is a song about how I can write love songs, and quote some of my favourite writers of classic love lyrics and say how I like them, but I couldn’t write as well as them. I suppose in a very roundabout way, it is a love song. There are an awful lot of mentions of being an alien though.
For our third EP of the summer, ‘Atlantic Pacific’ I thought a nice slice of bimboid electro-rock would be a good final addition to round off the EP, and I’ve always fancied a crack at one of the tracks from Kasabian’s first album. Most of my friends hate Kasabian but I think they’re fantastic and they translate well to pure electro.
‘Nevada Dawn’ is one of a number of songs through my writing career that I’ve had the idea for like, six months before I managed to get it into a song in a way that felt right. ‘Geisha Deconstruct’, ‘Phuturestar’ and ‘Journey To Storyville’ were the other ones, all songs I’m very proud of. ‘Nevada Dawn’ is a song about a guy seeing a girl dancing in Vegas, he spends a night with her then she takes him out to the desert and asks him to kill her with a shotgun. Dark! I love it though. Banda’s vocals in it are so sexy and seedy; they add a real visceral quality to it.
S] As one of the most respected and established acts on the UK scene, we’d like to ask you how you would advice a new Industrial and electronic band who are just starting out?
Crash] Don’t limit yourself to ‘scene’ gigs. It’d be hard for a new band as there just isn’t the same number of willing promoters around the country as there were when we were starting out. When we started out with Sneaky Bat Machine the Goth and Industrial live music scene was really healthy, there were loads of really hard working promoters dedicated to bringing live bands to their part of the UK, now they are a dying breed. it’s hard enough for an established act like ourselves to find people still willing to put on a gig, I can’t imagine it would be much fun for a debut band to find gigs. So if you can get on an indie gig, or a dance gig, or an electro gig, do it!
Ali Star] Don’t wear Nazi uniforms.. It’s not big, It’s not controversial and intelligent people will probably hate you.
Ross] Ah guess I’d say, listen to EBM and Industrial as much as you want but make sure that’s not all you listen to. Big fans of bands like Combichrist and Covenant would be very surprised to hear what those guys listen to in their spare time. Nobody innovates in their scene by only listening to their contemporaries. Get some Creedence [Clearwater Revival] down you. Some Justice and some Hendrix! Think about some Grinderman, Some Cohen, Some Morbid Angel and some Supremes. Fucking listen to shit!
S] You have worked as a sound designer on videogames before, how is your focus different when you do this, in contrast to working on Goteki?
Ross] It’s my full time day job, I’ve just started work for Crytek doing sound, after stints with a couple other companies. So far I’ve worked on ‘TimeSplitters’ 2, 3 and 4, ‘Haze’, ‘Rogue Warrior’, ‘Battlefront 3’ and ‘Alien vs. Predator’ – I had huge fun working on all of them. It’s very different from doing Goteki. It’s precision work, I’ll spend a day making slight adjustments to the sound of a shotgun firing or the squirt of blood from somebody’s brain – yeah! But when you listen to all the sounds coming together in a game it’s the same thrill as when you realize you’ve written a cool song. Pure happiness, pure adrenaline.
S] What would the perfect Goteki robot require?
Crash] It would have Tregenza‘s head, My arms, Banda‘s torso, leaving Ali‘s legs. It would run on Open Source software and be able to transform into either a Transit van or a Mustang. It would be a grotesque monstrosity but, boy, would it know how to party.
Ali Star] A bottle opener, some kleenex and a lot of patience.
Ross] ‘Fight The Saucermen’ era Goteki – Anti-Alien rockets and a pink furry jacket
‘Goteki O/S‘ era Goteki – Airbrakes, and laser shuriken
‘Revolution’ era Goteki – Hovertank with room to seat rebels with AKs and a pornstar’s face on a mega screen for a head!
‘Santa Muerte’ era – A female android lucha-libre fighter with a scythe!
Goteki Robots Done! And remember kids, we’re half way through our ‘Summer Of Santa Muerte’ release schedule. The ‘Shoot Me Dead’ and ‘Journey To Storyville’ EPs are available now on iTunes, Play and Amazon, to be followed by the ‘Atlantic Pacific’ and ‘Take Me To Your Lover’ EPs in September, and finally ‘Santa Muerte’, the 15 track album, whenever I finish it. Oh yeah and join us on Facebook, and chat to us, we won’t bite.
For more information visit the official MySpace.