Angelspit: Hideous and Perfect
Angelspit's ZooG and DestroyX took time from their overloaded schedule to discuss their album "Hideous and Perfect," their tour and inspirations.
Hideous and Perfect promises to be your most riveting release to date. What about this album separates it from the others?
ZooG: In this album, we set out to do something bare, rough, mean and punk... punk with synthesizers! One of the advantages with being back is Australia is access to space and to Australians. Australians like to go into wide open spaces and make lots of noise. Our guitarist is Graeme Charles Kent from the band The Grand Fatal – he's considered a punk rock star here. He has a gloriously vicious sound and his twin Marshal stack is as loud as fuck. Graeme is also very awesome because he likes to experiment. For several tracks, we recorded his bare naked electric guitar, then mutilated it with our modular synth, then fed the modular synth into his poundingly loud guitar amp. It’s a technique called re-amping... and it can result in some very tortured and aggressive guitar sounds.
Destroyx: Another thing with Hideous and Perfect is that we purposely set out to make it sparse....more sonically empty than anything else we’ve ever done. All of the space in the music has allowed the listener to hear the layers of random bleeps and squeaks that hold up the music....this detail is like the mortar between the bricks. We design our music so you cannot hear all the details in the first few listens – this gives the music the effect of growing on you. Plus, we lace the music with 'Ohrwürmer' (small catchy melodies), so although the song makes a small impact on its first hearing, the Ohrwurm make it memorable.
Was there a new theme you had in mind, or did one emerge as you were creating the music?
Destroyx: Through presenting highly polished almost hyper-real imagery, we are attempting in a way to use the language of advertising that we are so constantly bombarded with in society. However, we are subverting the message in a disturbing way. People seem to be repulsed and confused by the message which is our intention. It's meant to be an alluring yet terrifying image... it's basically 'Hideous and Perfect'.
How did you choose the title for the album?
ZooG: Hideous and Perfect is a lyric in a track called Sleep Now. It supports our concept of The Beautiful Grotesque – that is, something that is so confronting that it can either be beautiful and grotesque, or Hideous and Perfect.
Is there any particular song that raises a lot of emotion or passion in you?
Destroyx: The last track is called "As It Is In Heaven." ZooG sings in it, the music is dark, unsettling and pulsating. The lyrics are about Heaven going insane. It's calming, beautiful and creepy. It's laced with subliminal messages... it will give you nightmares.
Why did you decide to do some recording in an abandoned shipping yard at Sydney Harbor?
ZooG: There's a deserted island in Sydney Harbour. It's covered in huge old factories, warehouses, rusting cranes, massive turbines and half built boats and submarines. It's mostly abandoned, but sometimes they have a rock concert, art festival or shoot a movie there. We were so inspired by the surroundings of the island, we decided to go back and make recordings of bashing these huge metal turbine, boats, submarine corpses and cranes in the massive warehouses in which they were housed. These recordings were used as percussion, loops and ambiences throughout Hideous and Perfect.
Destroyx: We wanted to get back to the experimental roots of industrial music. We also built many acoustic metal instruments from junk found in back alleys. We built a two meter high cello from a long metal rod and a metal salad bowl... it sounds really freaky. It forms the basis of an ambient and evil song called "As It Is In Heaven". When you listen to the album you might notice that it sounds quite organic, this is because we decided to keep most of the sampled sounds as raw as we could. The effect is quite unsettling. Instead of distorting a sound with a distortion pedal, we tried to do it physically. For example, with our home made cello, we wrapped a spring around the tuning forks, or threaded nuts and bolts to the strings. These elements produced harmonics that naturally perverted the sound. This is a technique called 'Prepared Piano' (pioneered by composer John Cage)... It's good fun – we encourage people to try it.