Dope Stars Inc. interview (09/2006)
|With:||Victor Love: Vocals, Guitars, Synths, Programming|
|Conducted by:||DerRozzengarten (e-mail)|
This is an interview i had taken for the official Greek Dopestars Inc. fanclub, but since i am no longer administrator there due to lack of discussion and personal things going on as well i managed to post it at www.metalstorm.ee, it's a little bit old interview, some months ago it was conducted, but i will post it here for the support of Dopestars Inc., a band heavy enough to be listened by the fans of industrial/electro metal/rock scene. This interview is about their strong debut album and the big success it had in the industrial rock/metal press, talking about every possible aspect of it and other things as well. Victor Love of Dopestars Inc. is also member of the Suomi Metal oriented band My Sixth Shadow and Alex Vega, guitarist of the band, is also member of Klimt 1918. Some questions might be outdated, just very few concerning some live shows that have passed by now, but in its overall base the interview offers to the members of MS that are interested in this very scene/band to read some things about Dopestars Inc's debut album, "Neuromance", while the band is preparing its next attempt. A new interview will probably turn to life in the near or far future, but that's all for now.
First of all Victor i'd like to congratulate you on your fabulous debut album, "://Neuromance", and also thank you for the chance of interviewing you!
You are welcome !
How did you conceive the name Dopestars Inc.? Does it have anything to do with Marilyn Manson's "The Dope Show"?
Actually no eheh. We just emailed a large number of names and figured out the combination we liked the most. Especially we were looking for something that could express well the attitude of the band. Dope represents the addictive side of our music that is direct and in your face. Stars stands for the rock' n' roll attitude and Inc. is the industrial core of the band.
You are around for some time now and i have known your existence as a band since your demo period and back then i had noticed that you had everything, image, inspired and catchy ideas and everything needed to go on. Do you think that it took you a bit long to sign a really good contract (something that actually happened with Trisol) or everything happened the right moment?
I think that everything happened in the right moment and it didn't take much time either. Consider that bands usually wait for ages for a good record deal while we did everything in less than 2 years. So I can definitively say everything happened quite fast and of course faster than our expectations.
How did you catch the attention of Trisol? They are a well-known label in the goth/dark/electro scene and they have under contract many well known bands just like L'Ame Immortelle, Garden Of Delight/Lutherion etc. How does it feel working with such a good label and being around many well-known bands?
They just contacted us because they heard about the EP and reviews in the German press. We've been contacted by many labels but we inked with Trisol because they demonstrated to be really fond in the band and ready to work hard and professionally for our career. We are really happy to be into the Trisol family and they are doing a great job.
Let's move to the hot topic now, your debut album. There are debuts and debuts around, yet you managed to release a dynamite album by all aspects. It has melody, it is powerful, it is catchy, it is inspired and above all it won't bore the listener, not at all! All these 13 compositions (infection 13 hehe!) are the outcome of a really hard work I guess, for how long have you been working on them?
Hey, you are the only one that finally noticed we had 13 tracks on purpose! Eheh great. Yeah it has been a long and hard work. Songs were ready since one year before Trisol sign, except some of them and bonus tracks. I worked on production and Grace worked on the design/artwork. We spent some months to make it perfect and we had some hard times but we are really satisfied about the work. But of course we are gonna do it even better the next time!
No matter how hard you work on your compositions when you enter the studio there will always be some changes while experimenting with the studio equipment. How much time did you spend in the studio until the final mixing of the tracks?
Yeah you are right. While recording the album we changed a lot of stuff, especially sounds and tested different arrangements too. It's pretty normal when recording the final versions of songs. You try to improve them till the last minute. We worked on songs to give to each number a specific role in order to express the various aspect of our style. So you can find some more rock' n' roll tracks like defcon or infection as well as some more danceable ones as 10.000 watts and plug' n' die and some really hard ones too like Theta Titanium and Self Destructive Corp.
The production is really good, crystal-clear if I may say, something really positive concerning this specific scene since you have to bear witness of every instrument partaking in the song. How did it feel working with Thomas Rainer and John Fryer in the production sector? Are you satisfied with the final outcome of the album? Is there something that you'd like to change if you had the chance?
Yeah it has been a really hard work. One thing is to work just on electronic stuff or rock stuff but when you have to mix together... man.. it's hell! To find the correct combination of sounds and eqs and effects has been not that easy but working with Mr. Rainer and John Fryer we figured out a good cocktail. It has been a great experience where i learnt a lot of new techniques and tricks and we are really satisfied. Of course the next time and forever we'll try to improve more and more even on this side.
The album consists of three sections, the "Code Capricorn: Rise Of The Machines", "Code Saturn: Ultraviolent E-volution" and "Code Cancer: Epicenter Gigahertz". Let's talk about each section:
- About Code Capricorn, i think there lie the more melodic, emotional yet still upbeat and danceable, and more catchy songs of the album. What's your point of view on this?
Yeah the 1st section contains more easy, danceable and direct songs. They are a sort of introductive numbers to let the listener enter gradually into our style.
- Concerning Code Saturn now. The guitars become really heavy and lend power to the compositions reminding of your demo era when you sounded heavier, something really positive because you show that you actually haven't forgotten your beginning as a band. "Theta Titanium" as a song escalates the whole album in my opinion with its imposing and bombastic feeling, I really love this song! Unfold your thoughts on Code Saturn taking into consideration my point of view, if I were wrong, right etc.
Yeah you got it. On Code Saturn we throw out some hard stuff again in the mood of the old-school sound. There are more guitars and more aggressive vocals and so on.
- And last but not least comes Code Cancer. I think in this section you harmonize elements from both the aforementioned sections sounding either heavier or melodic in the songs consisting of this section. What's your point of view?
Yeah and at the same time songs are faster (Defcon 5 and Trance-Former) till they reach the end with the slow tempo instrumental C-beams.
Was this separation in categories intended or it just came out when you gave final form to the songs and you listened to them?
This separation came out when we decided the final tracklist. So we just wanted to explain in some ways the reason why we selected such a disposition of songs. Besides 10.000 watts, Self Destructive Corp. and Trance-Former are part of a trilogy and there is one in each section. The trilogy is about the tales of an electro dandie and his artificial pleasures, a guy that become so slave of synthetic substitutes of emotions till the point he collapse cause of a synaptic overload.
On the second CD of the limited edition of "://Neuromance" we can find the newer version of "I'm Overdriven", a song that comes from your demo period. Why didn't it make it to the "Disk 1"? I find it a really strong composition.
We put it just in the 2nd cd because we had already too many tracks in the 1st one besides it's a song we over-promoted in the past. So keeping in mind the further release of Neuromance will contain just the 1st cd we preferred to put this song in the bonus set.
Concerning the cover versions of "Disk 2", you chose a gothic/alternative club favorite, London After Midnight's "Kiss", and
HIM's "Right Here In My Arms! Why did you chose those two compositions? What's your opinion on those two bands?
We really love both the bands. WE did these songs because we noticed we share the same fan-base of these bands so it can be considered a sort of gift for our fans. And it worked really well too cause they liked them a lot.
Concerning the remixes and alternative versions by other bands that appear on "Disk 2" which would you choose as your personal favorites and why? I personally loved the fragile version of Sidearctica on "Make A Star".
Definitively Spiritual Front. He provided a fucking crazy version of Vyperpunk. What about other remixes I loved a lot the Siderartica and Carmilla ones as well as the Funker vogt and Deathstars too. But actually there is no remix in the album I don't like. They are all very cool and help to show a different and interesting side of each song.
Something i noticed is that in the guitar riffing there's a dirtier edge at times. Does this have to do with the fact that some members of the band are Mötley Crüe fans as I have read somewhere?
Our guitars are always dirty eheh. And yeah the Motley Crue influence is in the back our head always!
The use of electronics is well-conceived and well-executed, everything seems in the right place; the synth-born melodies, the sequencer's FX, the programming of the drum-machine. You and Grace Khold deal with this specific part of the band, how do you co-operate and work together?
On recordings of Neuromance I did all the programming of synths and drum machines. It's since some years now that I got some good experience with audio software. In fact, I've even recorded part of the album too in my home studio. I usually work with Cubase for recordings and midi, and some softwares for drum sequencing and synthesizers.
As we can see you use the drum-machine. Is there a chance of having a drummer from the next album and on or do you feel complete as you are at the moment and you will continue this way?
We've been thinking a lot on it lately. Probably we'll get a session drummer for live shows but it's still not sure. It's just a matter of having a better sound live. With drum machine tracks you got a good sound already but with a real drummer there is more punch coming. For example when it comes to cymbals the real one always got more dynamics and can provide a very cool effect in the overall sound.
Alex Vega became part of the band after Brian Wolfram left Dopestars Inc. Why did he leave the band and how did the co-operation between you and Klimt 1918's Alex Vega came to life?
Brian did not leave the band. We decided to change guitarist because we wanted a different guitarist. With Alex Vega we've finally found our final line up and he contributed a lot for Neuromance even if he joined so late.
Some days ago you confirmed for the most important Gothic/Industrial festival, M'Era Luna2006.I guess you're excited about that, what are your expectations?
Yeah we really can't wait to hit these festivals!
Which bands would you consider as your greatest influences?
Can't really say.. There are too many bands we listen to…just consider the best of metal, rock' n' roll, ebm, techno, electronica, synth-pop, industrial and some hardcore.
How did it feel supporting Apoptygma Berzerk in Germany? Are you satisfied from the result? How did the crowd welcome you? Also, the opinions on Apoptygma Berzerk's latest album vary from really good to the worst. What's your opinion on it?
It has been a great show. Great stage, a lot of people and we had a great sound too. We really enjoyed it and everything went really well. I personally think that the new Apoptyhma Berzerk is a really cool album with a lot of melody, besides they are a fucking great band live and they are very cool people. They invited us to join their after-party and we had a lot of fun. They are really great!
What should someone expect from Dopestars Inc. on stage? Is your live show filled with intensity and electrocuted feelings?
Ehehe I don't know. We just set some hell on stage. But we are still at the 1st few live shows. With time we want to bring a lot of stuff but it requires some budget tough.
All the reviews you have received from the music print that have caught our eyes were very positive and really encouraging for the future, how do you find this? Is it the outcome of talent? Hard work? Or maybe both of them?
Hard work for sure. Talent I hope hehe. We are really happy to see so many good reviews. At least all the hard work is receiving some good feedback!
How is the album going in the gothic clubs of central Europe? As we all know these dancefloors are the most important in the world concerning the Industrial/EBM/etc scene!
The album is practically sold out right now. They are going to press it again in standard edition soon cause there are a lot of people waiting for it. What about gothic clubs I do not have a clue but sometimes we receive reports from our fans telling us we've been played here and there. wink.gif
Are you planning to change anything in the line-up of the band or the structure of the compositions in order to address to a wider or less wide audience? Which are your plans for the future and which are your predictions on the decisions you will make?
Right now we are working more on the live-side of the band. There is no change of line up in our schedule. We are working to bring a fucking cool show to the upcoming festivals and we have just recorded some new stuff for a special release that will be announced soon.
Are you aware of the Greek electro-EBM/Industrial/alternative scene? You know, bands like Iambia, Forkys, Siva Six etc. If so, what do you think?
I'm not much into the scene in general. Not only the Greek one. Unfortunately I do not have much time to follow what's going on in the scene lately. I just receive some suggestions from my bandmates and friends when something really spectacular comes out. Really focused on my music right now.
How do you find the Italian scene? I personally adore Kirlian Camera and I really enjoyed their new album, "Coroner's Sun"! Any other bands that you'd like to mention as worth-checking?
The italian scene is very good but there are really few bands that made it cause of the crap business going on here. No good label here to support bands and practically no support from the italian public. They just want to hear the so called "cover bands" and big bands. There are a lot of good acts tough. Spiritual Front, Kirlian Camera, Xp8, Syrian, Pulcher Femina, Aquefrigide, Deflore, Inferno, Lacuna Coil, Klimt 1918, Novembre and so on.
You are a member of My Sixth Shadow as well, would you mind telling us a few words about them? Also, which band would you consider as more important to you, the one you care for the most and is your first goal, Dopestars Inc. or My Sixth Shadow?
There is no difference to me. I'm in both the bands and I love both of them. Besides just these days we are fixing the songs of the new album. It will be a really big surprise for everyone. It's a lot different from our latest one and more special. I really can't wait to see it released!
Concluding, i'd would like to thank you for this interview, i wish you all the best!
Thx for the interview and keep spreading the infection!
||Posted on 26.09.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."|
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