Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Interview with Goth-Industrial Band God Module

Don’t ever change
I like it spooky
Zombies eating brains
I like it spooky
Serial killers
And the insane
I like it spooky
Angry ghosts
Rattling chains
I like it spooky

-”Spooky” by God Module off their Let’s Go Dark album

How can any self-respecting spooky kid resist those lyrics? It’s like a horror-lovers’ anthem! Not to mention that a wicked sample of Trash (Linnea Quigley) from Return of the Living Dead appears throughout the track asking “Do you ever fantasize about being killed? Do you ever wonder about all the different ways Of dying…you know, violently?” as well as her famous “I like it spooky” line.

This song is not only representative of all the horror fiends out there, but it also shows what the goth-industrial/harsh EBM band God Module is all about. Founded by Jasyn Bangert (vocals, synth, programming), God Module also consists of fellow horror-lovers Byron C. Miller (vocals, live keyboards) and Courtney Bangert (vocals, live keyboards), and all three like it spooky!

As the creepy creators of “spooky dance music”, God Module has released the albums Artificial, Perception EP, Empath, Victims Among Friends EP, Viscera, Let’s Go Dark and recently released their new album The Magic in my Heart is Dead.

God Module has been one of my favorite bands for quite a long time, and it certainly was a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with members Jasyn and Byron about crazy tour stories, their favorite horror movies and what is next for the band!

Fatally Yours: Welcome Jasyn and Byron! I’m very excited to have the opportunity to interview one of my favorite bands! 

Tell me, before God Module, what musical experience did you have?

Jasyn Bangert: When I was 14 I started playing drums. No formal training at all other than music class in middle school. I just played along to records like Misfits Walk Among Us and Ramones Rocket to Russia over and over again until I could play them. I was in an assortment of attempts at punk and death rock bands off and on while in high school but they never really worked out for too long. My interests in gothic and synth pop music brought me to be exposed to industrial bands. After hearing 242, Leather Strip, and Skinny Puppy I had no choice, I pawned my drum kit and bought an old shitty Alesis drum machine and set out to learn how to make electronic music and find out what the fuck MIDI meant.

Fatally Yours: Jasyn, you released God Module’s first album, Artificial, in 2000 before Byron and Courtney were in the band. How did the dynamic change after they joined the band in 2002? And Byron, how was your experience with joining the band?

Jasyn Bangert: Originally God Module was collaboration between one of my high school friends Andrew Ramirez and myself. At the time we met we both were really into Belgian new beat, techno and Ambient music. Looking back on those times its hilarious how little we knew about making a CD when we created “Artificial”. The stories of how we recorded our vocals on that release would scare most people who have a clue what they are doing musically. Sadly, people change and our friendship ended, as did his time being a part of God Module. Courtney had actually always been in the band since the first CD. I am very drawn to ideas of duality and the addition of clean, female vocals to my effected vocals was always part of the plan. With my music, lyrics and vocals I always try to exist somewhere in between good and evil, light and dark. I think the female vocal tracks really help to do that. Byron joined God Module after Andrew left due to my need for another live member. We have grown as a live band together since then and I feel Byron has really matured as a performer from where he was when we started. He also contributes vocals in the studio from time to time, as well as handling half the vocal duties live.

Byron C. Miller: I joined the band right around the completion of the Perception EP. I knew Jasyn wanted do something a little different with the next album Empath, and that we shared a great love for Horror in film and literature, and how well the genre can be used to explore, just as much as entertain. It only seemed natural that Jasyn would want to use horror as a backdrop and have always pushed for it in the music. Come to find out Jasyn was thinking the same way.  My overall experience in God Module is an evolution in live performance. The music and themes convey very powerful emotions and I always strive to really give an intense physical interpretation on the stage. I also do what I can behind the scenes to contribute to the albums by writing some lyrics, contributing vocals, finding many of the samples, and in general sitting there with Jasyn as he’s putting the song together and making suggestions.

Fatally Yours: Can you tell us about your main influences/inspirations when performing and/or writing material? 

Jasyn Bangert: When it comes to mood and imagery I am very inspired by artistic imaginaries such as Clive Barker, David Lynch, H.P. Lovecraft, Joel-Peter Witkin and Mike Mignola to name a few. I find myself drawn to these people because they seem to touch on places and experiences that “normal” people cannot begin to comprehend with their art. It’s not just personal or expressive but it is otherworldly at times. Performing live I think that my stage persona is very unique in the type of music we make. I don’t try to emulate anyone else when I am onstage.  I use my physical stature to become a reflection of the music I create. In doing so, I take a very animalistic, intimidating, monstrous approach to my stage persona.

Byron C. Miller: In performing live I strive to completely transform into something inhuman, evil.

Fatally Yours: Many of your songs are influenced by horror movies and it is obvious you are all big fans of horror. What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Jasyn Bangert: Some of my favorite horror films are: Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its sequel, Phantasm, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Halloween, Clive  Barker’s Hellraiser 1 and  2, Lord of Illusions, Stewart Gordon’s Reanimator films, Dagon, From Beyond, Return of the Living Dead 1, 2, and 3, Pumpkinhead, Trick R Treat, The Resurrected, etc., etc. I am also an insane Jason Voorhees fan, so I love all the Friday the 13th movies but, Part 6: Jason Lives is my favorite, followed closely by Part 7.

Byron C. Miller: I have many favorites for many different reasons, here’s a taste: Dust Devil, John Carpenter’s Halloween, The ThingNight of the Creeps, Dawn of the Dead (‘78), Return of the Living Dead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (‘78), Near Dark, Fright NightThe Haunting (‘63), The Exorcist, Re-Animator, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (‘86).

Fatally Yours: Was there any specific moments and/or events that made you the horror fans you are today?

Jasyn Bangert: When I was really young I saw the trailer or TV spot for Phantasm somewhere and I became obsessed with seeing it.  I bugged my Mom constantly, every day trying to get her to take me to see this movie. From a very young age, I couldn’t wait for Saturdays so I could watch Creature Feature on Channel 50 in Detroit, where I grew up, in the suburbs. So it wasn’t that I had never seen a scary movie,  I just  had never seen anything other than what was shown on TV, which was mainly older Hammer or Universal films with the occasional 50’s B monster movie thrown in. So I think my mom finally gave in and took me to the movie in hopes that it would scare the shit out of me and I would shut up…and it did, I couldn’t walk past a mirror for a long time without expecting the tall man to jump out and grab me. Rather than turning me against being scared of things, it did the total opposite. I loved that feeling even more than ever and that is still going till this day.

Byron C. Miller: I attribute a lot of it to growing up for half of my childhood in Owensboro, KY. It’s a small town with plenty of legends and ghost stories, and my Grandma on my Dad’s side would always tell me of these stories and I could never get enough. Her house at the time was haunted and located on a hill next to an abandoned cemetery. Sometimes it’s like I was a kid in a horror movie and I loved every moment; I love to be scared! The late night horror host Sammy Terry was my hero, and Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I would even build haunted mazes in my room and have the neighborhood kids go through them. I suppose it’s just in my blood.

Fatally Yours: On the subject of horror, could you give our readers examples of your songs that directly relate to the genre and what inspired you to write them? 

Jasyn Bangert: From the beginning, God Module has been directly tied to horror in the sense of the majority of the themes I use in my song writing are in one way or another connected to the genre. Even our first CD, Artificial, which many people place in the sci-fi category is mainly based around ideas I got from movies like Aliens, Event Horizon, and Cube. After that CD, the title track on the Perception EP is based in the paranormal and uses ideas like telekinesis and ESP to express other more personal matters hidden in the words. This has become very synonymous with my work with God Module. I take extremely personal thoughts and feelings that I need to expel from my own self. I just use very dark imagery through words to get these things out of me. So while a song that seems like it is about the end times of the world (“Skeptical”), evolving into a fish person in Innsmouth (“Forseen”), or murder and rape (“Lucid”), they just might really be about very different aspects of my personality at their core. Then there are songs that are more obviously inspired by specific horror films I love like: “Your True Face” (Nightbreed), “Orange and Black” (John Carpenter’s Halloween), and “Brains” (my favorite zombie films like Return of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc., etc.).

Byron C. Miller: The song “Spooky” had an interesting evolution. Jasyn and I had always wanted to sample Trash and Suicide from Return of the Living Dead. When Jasyn sampled the “I like it spooky” line I started thinking of what the lyrics to such a song would be. I left a voicemail one day with the phrase “Don’t ever change I like it spooky.” This was a message to everyone that’s a little different to always be themselves. It was an anthem for everyone, and for myself as at the time I had just gotten out of a relationship that made me feel like I couldn’t always be myself. Jasyn liked it and thought that it could be the basis for a song that was not only a message, but also a fun tribute all things Horror that we enjoy. It would be like a trip through a haunted house. He then wrote the first verse, I wrote the second verse and the rest is history. I like that despite it’s more tongue in cheek approach, “Spooky”, like all God Module songs, is about much more than what it appears on the surface.

Fatally Yours: On your many tours, what has been your most memorable concert experience? 

Jasyn Bangert: There have been many. One of my Favorites was when we toured with the Mexican EBM band Hocico as part of the Out Of Line festival throughout Germany. At the time I was such a fan boy of Erk and Racso’s music that it was unreal to be driving around Europe on a bus performing with them every night. Sitting on the side of the stage watching Hocico every night after our set was over is something I will always remember as being fucking amazing. Also a lot of the early shows we did with my good friend Alex Matheu’s band Negative Format are very special to me.

Byron C. Miller: It’s a tie. Playing the WGT festival in Germany, performing for about 5,000 people was amazing and so much fun. However I don’t feel that I had reached my full potential at the time, and in a way that show and its success helped give me the strength to finally become the performer I always knew I could be. So the tie is with performing at DAS BUNKER in Los Angeles. The last two shows (this might be considered a threeway tie…) were just great. Such emotion and power from the crowd, and something overall about that venue just really makes me come alive. I love it!

Fatally Yours: Do you have any favorite venues/cities you just love to play?

Jasyn Bangert: Das Bunker in Los Angeles because the crowd is always fucking crazy! Sadisco* in Arizona is really cool too. When we first played there they asked me if I had a choice which movie would I want to play a concert in and of course I said The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2..because who wouldn’t? So when we got there they had turned the club into a rendition of the underground world beneath the old the Texas Battleland amusement park the Sawyer family lived in. Bones, Christmas lights and body parts were everywhere. They even had one room set up like the dinner scene. Then of course playing bigger festivals like Wave Gothic Treffen, Kinetik, Infest etc are always really fun. Not only is it nice to play in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people but getting to see and perform with many bands we are fans of or friends with or both is awesome.

Byron C. Miller: Los Angeles, San Antonio, Montreal, Mexico City, Leipzig – Germany

Fatally Yours: If you could pick any bands that you would want to tour with, who would they be and why?

Jasyn Bangert: I would have to say I would need a time machine to get the full effect out of this question. With that said the incarnation of the Misfits when the line up consisted of Doyle, Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Robo. Their music has been such a huge inspiration on so many aspects of my life. I would even settle for the opening spot for Danzig on tour for their first record. Runners up include touring with The Cure for Disintegration on the Prayer Tour, Christian Death for Only Theater of Pain, Skinny Puppy for Too Dark Park, Front 242 for Front By Front and Marilyn Manson for Antichrist Superstar.

Byron C. Miller:  Calabrese, it would be fun to tour with a great Death Rock band. GhoulTown for the same reason as Calabrese. Imperative Reaction, because they’re awesome and it would be lots of fun to hit the road with our friends Ted and Clint and the gang, and we’ve been talking about it forever, time to do it!

Fatally Yours: Oh yes please! Those would be great tours! So, tell us about your new EP, The Magic in My Heart Is Dead which is out now!

Jasyn Bangert: The new EP is based around 4 new God Module songs that after finishing I felt were strong enough to be released as their own entity and not part of the next CD:

“The Magic In My Heart Is Dead”: This songs title, which is also the title of the EP, comes from the name of a painting done by my good friend Ashley Kitchens. I was inspired by her work to write a song that I planned on using as the instrumental opening for our upcoming shows. I ended up simply speaking the words – “The Magic in My Heart is Dead” – on the song and I really liked the way it turned out. The title of her painting really appealed to me at the time. There were things I was dealing with in my personal life that had left me feeling as if parts of me had in fact died. I see this song as a funeral march of sorts. Mourning the loss of a very important person in my life and also as chance to become stronger from my own loss.

“Skeptical”: Is about the doubt, anger and fear I experienced after losing a very important person in my life. There were times when I felt like I was not sure I would ever be able to get over what I was feeling. Of course at times like these people are quick to tell you how these feelings will pass and in time they do. But this song is not about that, rather it is about me expressing my desire to be nothing like these people who can easily accept such things and move on. While I believe everything that does not kill us does make us stronger, I will never accept the belief that things happen “for a reason” or that any part of being born, growing old and dying is fair or just. There are many magical things to experience in life but at the same time no matter what your belief or faith is, you have to accept that we are brought into life to lose it and everything else we find while we are alive. That is how we are made and how the cycle of life works. And it’s really catchy and you can dance to it!

“Art”: In this song I used metaphors such as film and my nightmares to express some very intense emotional problems I was experiencing when writing the song. These are far too personal to detail here but let’s just say the lyrics “I’m breaking, I’m falling apart, all for the sake of my art” in this case were very true
“A Minute to Midnight”: Is a dark, twisted Halloween song about spooky sex and depravity. Right now I think it is close to being my favorite God Mod song I have ever done. While it’s nowhere near the most complicated or meaningful song I have written, I love the fact that it’s really deceiving in that at its core it is written simply as a pop song but at the same time it’s very perverted and kinda fucked up…well depending what you’re into I guess.

I also did a cover of the Gary Numan song “Me! I Disconnect from You”. It has been one of my favorite songs for over the last 20 years and i have always wanted to break it apart and recreate it in my own image so to speak. There are also remixes by some amazing artists and I did a more club oriented remix of our song “Spooky”. To sum it up, people can expect a crazy, fucked up ride through the haunted and sometimes deranged chambers of my brain. That every once in a while will show them that there might be a light at the end of their own fucked up tunnel. The trick is that I try to make the things hiding in the dark so appealing that they will lose all interest in ever wanting to leave.

Fatally Yours: What kind of touring have you done or do you plan to do for the new EP? 

Jasyn Bangert: We just finished a 24 date US tour in support of the EP. Overall it was an amazing success. We played some really big shows and a couple very small shows but they all were really fun. In June this tour will continue with 4 shows in Mexico followed by 3 shows in South America. Also we are already planning our next tour in support of the new CD that I am working on now.

Fatally Yours: What kind of hardware/software do you use to create your music?

Jasyn Bangert:  My current studio is based around my PC running Cubase 4. I use far too many software synths, samplers and insert effects to name them all. Hardware wise I have a Korg MS2000B, Access Virus B, EMU Audity 200 and X-treme Lead 1 all hooked up into my mixer for the new CD.

Fatally Yours: I love all the movie samples you use within your songs. Do you find a sample and build a song around it or do you search for samples to fit into song after it has already been written? 

Jasyn Bangert: Sometimes a scene in a film or television show will just stick out right away and I will know I have to use it in a song. Other times I just use what I or Byron has collected recently where they seem to fit when the time comes. Usually I try to do this after the lyrics have been written if I am using something I didn’t already have planned for a particular song.

Byron C. Miller: I find a great deal of the samples and it’s usually a process of me going through a number of films I love and going to scenes where I remember something interesting being said, and then if it seems like it could work for something I sample it. Then I give Jasyn all of these samples and he goes through them when it’s time to add one to a song. Sometimes him or I will be watching something and be like “man we have to sample that!” Or Jasyn will occasionally give me a certain thing to search for like someone talking about the end of the world, or someone talking about fucking and eating somebody.

Fatally Yours: Byron, I was surprised to learn you made a vampire film not too long ago called Night. Can you tell us what that experience was like?

Byron C. Miller: I’ve been writing scripts and making short horror films since middle school, so it was a great feeling of accomplishment to Write, Produce, Direct, Shoot, and Edit a feature length motion picture for under 7grand and get distribution for it. It was a lot of hard work and a huge learning experience, and I loved every single minute.

Fatally Yours: I hear that many industrial bands also contributed to the soundtrack and that Jasyn actually did the soundtrack for Night. Byron, can you tell us what it was like putting together the music for the film?

Byron C. Miller: It was really just working with Jasyn, explaining what each scene meant to me to give him as much insight as possible for him to create the music for the film. As far as the bands go, some were on Sector 9 Studios, the record label then owned by Jasyn and Alex Matheu (Negative Format), the rest were on our European label Out Of Line. So we had an idea of the bands and some of the songs we wanted and once we had permission we simply began plugging in the songs where they worked best.

Fatally Yours: Byron has also directed several God Module videos. Do you plan to direct more and make more films, Byron?

Byron C. Miller: As far as the videos go, yes I certainly hope to do more. We talk about new videos constantly, and I’ve probably had 5 ideas for songs for each release. It’s just that sometimes we get too busy with other things, and the videos go to the background.

Fatally Yours: Jasyn, you scored Byron’s film Night. How did that experience differ from writing music for God Module?

Jasyn Bangert: It was very different from writing for God Module of course but at the same time it was something I have always wanted to do. Night was a very early version of the work I hope to be able to do in the future and it was a very good learning experience. I want my style to fall somewhere in-between the simple and ultra effective electronics of early John Carpenter film scores and the unsettling beauty of the work that Angelo Badelamenti has done with David Lynch. I think music and sound add just as much to a film as the imagery if done correctly.

Fatally Yours: Where do you see God Module going in the next few years? What are each of your plans and goals for the band?

Jasyn Bangert: After a few years of not being as active as I would have liked to be I am very happy with the current direction of the band. We just finished our first US tour in quite a while and it was very well received. The new EP has gotten great reactions from fans and critics and I think the next CD will take us even closer to where we are supposed to be within the realms of music we exist in and beyond! I plan to keep pushing God Mod everywhere possible in the next couple years and exposing my music to people who should already know about it but don’t. I think we have the ability to crossover and appeal to many different scenes if given the chance. I want people to find out that not all good hard, dark music has to be metal.

Byron C. Miller: My goal is to help make it bigger, starting with our recent tour it’s time to really push things to a whole new level. A new world of gods and monsters.

Fatally Yours: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jasyn Bangert: Thank you for your support of my music and long live the HORROR!

Byron C. Miller: Stay evil.

Buy the new album on Amazon!

God Module on:
Myspace: www.myspace.com/godmodule
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/God-Module/189868733492
Vampirefreaks: www.vampirefreaks.com/vorhees
Online store: www.godmodule.org
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/xGodxModulex
Out of Line: www.outofline.de
Metropolis: www.metropolis-records.com

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