I:Scintilla are an up-and-coming band on the worldwide Industrial scene with their anthemic brand of rock-tinged electronic sounds. Having created a renowned reputation for themselves with their debut album ‘Optics’ the band are now about to unleash their follow-up ‘Dying And Falling’. We thought this would be an excellent time to catch up with vocalist Brittany Bindrim along with guitarist and programmer Jim Cookas to talk about the new record and the band’s aspirations.
“Artists in this scene need to return to their roots” – Jim Cookas
S] Can you tell us about the themes and ideas that dominate your forthcoming record and how it shows a progression from ‘Optics’?
BB] I think the title of the new album is a good place to start in the discussion of the themes and ideas behind the release. It was named ‘Dying And Falling’ as a play-on-words of “dying and rising” or resurrection. Religion has inspired a lot of the lyrics on the album. I personally have atheist beliefs, yet I am certainly not against Christianity or organised religion entirely. It is a necessity for many people. I am a strong believer in the golden rule and understand the importance of a moral structure. But I also think organized religion can do great damage to society, keep people from making the most of their lives, and put followers in the hands of manipulative leaders and authority figures.
Still, I don’t want to pretend like I think have the answers. The whole topic of religion is an extremely complex issue. But here is just one opinion. I think it is important for people to explore the ideas of life and death and why it is, and all too often, taboo to do so. I think that asking questions and expressing ones beliefs, be them atheistic or not, is healthy and shouldn’t be automatically met with such negativity. In the end the whole idea behind ‘Dying And Falling’ is not to demonise religion; the idea is to praise open dialogue, acceptance and hope. Additionally, there are also many very personal songs on the album. But I won’t get too deep into it here.
Some of the lyrics involve self-destruction, hardship and healing. Many of these songs I needed to write to “exorcise my demons”. Although some the same topics found their way on ‘Optics’ as well, for me ‘Dying And Falling’ is different because of recent life experiences and I am now more comfortable with the examination of concepts such as life and death. The songs on the new album are more electronic and raw. The band has grown since ‘Optics’ through touring, writing, and just the impact of our daily lives. The music on the new album collectively reflects the changes we have gone through as a band.
S] You have had some interesting collaborative opportunities in the past with the likes of Combichrist and Seb Komor, will there be an this time around?
JC] Music is more fun when created with lots of talented people. ‘Optics’ was primarily an effort from Brittany and I, but this time around we’re making the writing and production a group effort. Our new member, Brent Leitner, has written several tracks that appear on the new album. We’ve also been writing with our drummer, Vince Grech, and we’re using his electronic drum kit tracks on many of the songs.
In addition, we’ve also brought in the talents of external musicians. Chicago-based electro musician and DJ Bounte contributed amazing programming and vinyl scratching to one of our tunes. We also employed live cello from Johnny Hollow and we’re hoping to collaborate again with Die Warzau‘s Jim Marcus. Oh, and we have a song co-written with Broken Fabiola (Manufactura side project).
S] What do you think of the state of the global Industrial and dark music scene currently?
JC] In general, I feel the current scene is fairly bland, plastic, and lacking innovation. When I want industrial and dark music, I typically look to the 1980-to-1995 era. I think a good portion of the current scene has lost its roots of a punk rock aesthetic and instead has opted for style over substance. This can spill over to live performances as well. Often times I’ve noticed the amount of personal outfit and makeup preparation is directly proportional to the amount of music being played back by a band’s laptop.
I think the artists in this scene need to return to their roots a bit. They need to stop striving to write club hits and get back to using music as a statement on the world. They need to stop using the same synthesizers and drum sounds. And it wouldn’t hurt if there was a bit more guitar (winks). That’s not to say that all is lost. I think we’re just in a bit of a trough of the creative wave right now. But there are some artists that continue to blow me away. For starters, everyone mentioned in the collaborator question falls under that list.
S] How has your attitude to making music changed since you began creating?
BB] I think we are wiser and have a bit more hardened attitudes. I have been through a few hardships this year, but have somehow found a way to come out of them stronger. I think all of us in the band have gone through major tests and trials since writing the last album. These situations only fueled our writing process and made us more determined. These songs are more biting and raw than previous material. We wrote the songs we needed to write despite the preconceived notions of who the band is.
JC] We’re more comfortable with who we are. We’re not trying to sound like anyone particular. We know what we’re capable of creating. We know that no matter how much we try to explore different sounds and genres, at the end of the day it will still have our sound. All of these factors have made us better artists.
S] If you could share your latest album ‘Dying And Falling’ with anyone – family, friends, celebrity or whoever – who would you pick and why?
BB] I’d love to pop in the album over drinks with Charles Bukowski. Even though he’d most likely hate it since he mostly listened to classical music. Bukowski has been such an inspiration to my writing and his poetry and novels have changed how I view the world. RIP Hank!
S] If there is one song on the new record that defines the band right now, what is that track and why?
BB] ‘Ammunition‘. It’s pissed off and full of passion and drive.
JC] I agree with ‘Ammunition’. Not only is it energetic and harsh, but it was one of the purest songs we’ve written. We were quite angry with a certain entity and the song basically wrote itself very quickly. It’s also amazingly fun to play live.
S] So, for potential UK fans, why should they check you out?
JC] We have cookies?
S] What are you most looking forward to about coming over to the UK?
BB] Hot accents! Just kidding… I have longed to visit the UK ever since my grandmother would tell me stories about growing up in England. I am very curious about the country and the music scene. We can’t wait to visit!
S] Apart from the release of the new record, what are your biggest and most exciting plans for 2010?
BB] We hope to tour the US and get over to Europe as well. No plans are set in stone yet. Stay tuned.
S] What do you want for Christmas?
BB] Fraggle stick car.
JC] Plane tickets to the UK!
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