Period horror flicks always need to be set in England. That’s the rule. The more Victorian the better. That’s the Marshall rule of horror and slasher films. Spend extra on fog machines …
TERMINATRYX SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM’S 8TH ANNIVERSARY (& full free download)
When we started 14 years ago (in 2002) Terminatryx was an artistic outlet and a drive to do something different that is not represented on the SA scene (especially at that time)
We wrote songs, played shows and banged out a few demo discs, having fun – but as with every band, you need to have your music released to legitimize your efforts and have it stand up to public scrutiny (or at the very least have something in your hands to reflect that it has been worth the blood, sweat, tears and cost – if for no-one else, yourself). We’ve never felt we needed to be defined by public approval (especially since we know our aim is not to rack up radio hits), but you know you’re doing something right if you get both positive and negative feedback from all sectors (your music moving something in people while it gets under the skin of others!).
We’d been at it for 6 years between 2002 and 2008, and to use one of Sonja’s favourite phrases, it was a matter of “fish or cut bait” – We had to lay down our music properly, and get it out there, or call it a day. Having been a part of the alternative-indie-DIY realm since the mid-1980s (with V.O.D), the same ethic was applied and we decided to buy a Mac and Pro Tools and get this shit recorded.
We set up in our lounge in Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town, and recorded everything from programming and guitars to vocals.
ENT Entertainment was interested and we inked an agreement with them. While I produced and recorded the album, Simon Ratcliffe from Sound And Motion mixed and mastered it (with me looking over his shoulder!). We took a song a day (and also had simon play flute on “Absinthium”, giving it that special touch, and his assistant Jenna added a few piano chords I felt would give a segment in “Siek+Sat” that extra kick. Lead breaks recorded by original guitarist Tom on one of the demos of “SleepWalkers” and “We Come In Peace” was retained, and initial co-vocalist Christina’s German nursery rhyme intro on “Midnight” was also kept.
The mixing was not without its drama, but not how you’d imagine. Sonja came in on a Sunday when we mixed “We Come In Peace”, by the time we head home she was almost folded double with abdominal pain. We rushed to the emergency room where she passed out from the pain, and it was established that her appendix was well into rupturing! The next day she had emergency surgery and stayed in hospital for a few days – Something she did not enjoy in the least.
What was also significant with the release of the 2008 debut album is that it established Patrick (guitar) and Ronnie (drums) as an integral part of the project when we toured the album, galvanising the line-up up until today and stepping into the next phase (having played with programmed drums and various guitarists before that).
Our launch tour in June and July 2008 had us fly to Gauteng and play Pretoria and Johannesburg, and for our hometown launch in Cape Town did something a bit more special – a double feature of a different kind: We did this at the Labia theatre in front of the cinema screen with our synched video backdrop emblazoned behind us, and was followed by a special pre-release screening of the werewolf movie SkinWalkers (with Rhona Mitra, whom I also interviewed for Fangoria Magazine when she was in South Africa to shoot the Neil Marshall movie Doomsday).
We decided to make the debut album self-titled, as we felt that if we weren’t going to continue or have another release after this, it could stand as this singular entity – But, since then we’ve released “Remyx v1.0” (a full remixed version of the debut), our “Shadow” album (co-produced with Theo Crous), the “Nosferatu” DVD, various compilations (incl. “Kopskoot!”, “Ladies First” & the Ingrid Jonker tribute album “Die Kind Is Nog Jonger”), and a digital anthology from across our catalog to celebrate our 13th anniversary (in 2015).
Currently remixes of the “Shadow” album are underway and work on the next album is set to begin in the very near future.
During the 8 years since the debut’s release we also produced many music videos (some acclaimed and screening at international film festivals & winning awards) – Even in this technological age, we are still very much isolated here at the southern tip of Africa – Videos have helped greatly to get the Terminatryx awareness beyond out borders (compared to the cost involved with the launch tour we linked to the debut release, our main cities extremely far apart).
Since then we’ve supported many international acts from Diary Of Dreams and Sigue Sigue Sputnik to VNV Nation and Ministry, and played some top festivals (like Witchfest), each time expanding the band’s brand awareness.
We’ve also noticed a resurgence in “scene pride” over this time, which is always encouraging.
For the debut album our intention was very much a fusion of electronic and organic sound (inadvertently slotting into the Industrial-Metal region).
Over the years we’ve blended into simply doing what comes naturally, not compelled to lean in one or the other direction. The new material for the next album also looks like it will glide into a new dimension with some exciting prospects.
With the debut we very much dove into it, but it worked in our favour. Between the home recording of the debut to the world-class studio of Theo for “Shadow”, there has been a steady progression when it comes to production – but we’ve always focused on bringing the best out of the songs, whatever the tools or techniques used to get you there.
For “Shadow” we also had Ronnie play live drums while retaining programmed beats and loops to blend with it.
I wrote most of the first album’s songs, but Sonja has embraced her abilities and wrote some of the coolest tracks on “Shadow”.
Thus far we’ve always made our releases available on CD (and download), but this is something we’re not sure whether it will be the case for any future albums. It’s costly and less people are buying discs, so there’s a lot to consider (but at shows people are still looking for tangible merch…)
With the debut we already had many set ideas we always implement, from the cover design having an ‘altered state’ option to link to its remixed version’s cover down the line, to the inclusion of an instrumental opener and a track in Afrikaans on each album (seeing as most of us speak the language).
The Afrikaans track on the debut is “Siek+Sat” (Sick+Tired), a stream of consciousness tirade about some social aspects of the human condition that sticks in the craw.
We already had a video for the song “Midnight” which released along with the album, but I had an idea for a “Siek+Sat” music video of calm erupting into rage. We try to make a point of making our own videos so that our stamp is burnt onto it. My idea was straight forward but with effective possibilities – to have the band perform against calm, green flames in the verses but exploding into red fire and a drastically altered appearance in the faster choruses as disdain exudes. For that transformation the talented duo of Clinton Aidan Smith and Daleen Badenhorst (of Cosmesis) resulted in amazingly detailed undead make-up application and black-out eyes (half a decade before Die Antwoord we need to note!).
The foundation for transformation and horror themes were also established with the “Midnight” and “Siek+Sat” videos, and features in most of our clips (another one shot for this album is the werewolf clip for “Virus”, also with make-up FX by the Cosmesis folks).
This “Siek+Sat” video was however shelved for numerous reasons. HD was not yet commonplace and the video was shot on standard definition DV – this resulted in the detail of the striking make-up FX not fully translating visually on the lower resolution, and the green screen issues (especially with motion and hair was a total headache). It took me quite some time to edit and I think the saturation resulted in the clip being shelved. I wanted it to be perfect (something I always have to remind myself is as relative as the length of a piece of string!). We did screen it as an opener to our Makabra Ensemble’s live silent film performance of Nosferatu at Oppi Koppi, and ended up included it as our synched live video backdrop for the song.
Ironically our live version of the “Siek+Sat” remix by Battery 9’s Paul Riekert (shot live at the Ministry show) saw light of day before the 2008 video!
But when the 8th anniversary of the debut self-titled album dawned on us, we decided to revisit the clip. On watching it, it was actually not as bad as originally thought, and we decided to dust it off and throw it out to the public for the very first time, 8 years after its creation! Nothing was changed except for the addition of English subtitles. One could still whittle at it to improve the sticky bits, but just like mixing a song, you can keep at it forever and give yourself a stroke! – Eventually you need to let it go.
I feel original content not shared is a waste – sure, you’ll have many jumping on it taking aim from behind their keyboards, but there will be as many who will get a kick out of it in one way or another. With this video I felt we shouldn’t leave it in silent obscurity forever, especially since many people put in their time and talent to make it happen, from Silver Bullet Lighting supplying the lights, to Roice Nel shooting it, and of course Cosmesis and their cool make-up FX.
Free debut album download: https://terminatryx.bandcamp.com/album/terminatryx
(free download window closes 16 July 2016)
Tags: Anthology, Best Of, Collection, Download, Fangoria Musick, Lucky 13, Music, New Release, Terminatryx
TERMINATRYX HITS LUCKY 13!
2015 celebrates the 13th anniversary of TERMINATRYX.
Below is an article originally posted at Metal 4 Africa on this milestone and the release of the Terminatryx collection “Lucky 13: Anthology I” (an exclusive digital release via Fangoria Musick, feat. songs from across the band’s catalog) – get the anthology here: goo.gl/j6sc71
The piece includes quotes from all band members reflecting on the band’s 13 year journey.
(Access the original news article HERE)
Terminatryx “Lucky 13: Anthology I” Launches Worldwide
Cape Town’s industrial dark rock/metal quartet of Terminatryx celebrates the worldwide release today of their Lucky 13: Anthology I on this suitably spooky Friday the 13th, November 2015. The 13 track digital collection celebrates the band’s 13th anniversary and includes tracks from across all albums including the self-titled Terminatryx debut of 2008, Remyx v1.0 from 2011, and Shadow from 2014. This first Terminatryx collection is being released by Fangoria Musick – the digital audio imprint of the world’s foremost name in Horror since 1979 (visit the Fangoria announcement here & album link here).
The band founders had this to say:
“In the mid-‘90s I spent several years in Europe with my band V.O.D (Voice Of Destruction), playing drums – here we recorded for our German label and did a full tour with Katatonia and In The Woods supporting our Bloedrivier album. We were quite saturated and I was relieved to return home. During my first year back I spent time having fun with a solo project F8, using a bass guitar I bought in the UK.
I had no serious plans to start another band. But after meeting Sonja at Oppikoppi Trek 2000, within a year or two she indicated she wanted to do something band-wise; something SA music never really had; an electronic / hardcore blend with female vocals. I constructed some songs and approached it all as just some fun with my new girlfriend. Never did I expect us to reach thirteen years, outlive dozens of bands, release 3 albums, open for Ministry or win international music video awards! Time surely flies when you’re having fun!” ~ Paul Blom (writer/instrumentalist/backing vocals, Terminatryx)
“In thirteen years of being a member of Terminatryx there are a few things I know for certain. Nothing happens without sacrifice, sometimes even hard work is not enough and there will always be those that love you and those that hate you. If you manage to keep your head, take on good sincere criticism and ignore the rest, the experience can be amazing. The last thirteen years have been a period of learning and developing. More than anything else it has been a period of playing and creating, having fun and most of all making friends and building relationships. Out of Terminatryx came our Makabra Ensemble project and my A Murder acoustic project. Life, for me, would have been so dull without Terminatryx and here is hoping for many more years with great songs and killer music videos.” ~ Sonja Ruppersberg-Blom (writer/vocals, Terminatryx)
Long-standing band members also had some words to share, marking the momentous milestone:
“There are many things that I can say about the past thirtten years with Terminatryx. Being part of such an amazing band has challenged me in numerous ways, always with a positive outcome. For instance, drumming for Terminatryx is a ‘one of a kind’ job, with many technical aspects to consider such as in-ear monitoring when we perform live. This can be very demanding, as I have to keep constant focus – if I skip a beat, or go out of sync with the programmed backing elements, everything will fall apart. Luckily I have undertaken this challenge with a very disciplined approach, which has pushed me to become a much better drummer and musician. Feel free to buy me a tequila after a performance, not before! All the work that we have put in thus far has certainly paid off and we have an amazing team of people that we work with; from photographers, film-makers, sound engineers, designers, etc. I believe that we owe a majority of our success to these individuals that have given us their time and knowledge. I am also very fortunate to have such amazing band-members; Paul and Sonja certainly know how to spoil Patrick and I, and we are lucky to have them at the helm. I am very proud to form part of the Terminatryx machine and look forward to the next thirteen years!” ~ Ronnie Belcher (drums, Terminatryx)
“When I was approached to join Terminatryx as a performing guitarist in 2007, all I was thinking was that it would be an excellent opportunity to grow musically, and become better educated in the industry for a couple of years before the thing fell apart as most bands do. It has been both of those and so much more, minus the falling apart, amazingly. I had no long term plans or ambitions with the band, yet I find myself still here… despite even announcing my resignation in 2012. Funny how that worked out! These people are just too magnetic. Paul and Sonja’s devotion to each other spills over into their band as well, and obviously touches those who are attached to it. In that regard, my education continues still, but it’s become about more than just the industry; but about something far more important – people.” ~ Patrick Davidson (guitar, Terminatryx)
Tags: Alternative, Apple, Celtic Frost, F8, iTunes, Lars Ulrich, Live, LP, Music, Napster, smart phone, South Africa, Taylor Swift, Terminatryx, V.O.D, vinyl, Voice Of Destruction
The 2nd part of my ramblings on music, my perception of it, and whether it is becoming a throwaway commodity…
To some music is a calling, to others a gift… Many are so fascinated with it they simply need its presence to the extent that they want to become a part of it, by creating it… Not everyone can be successful at it, sadly… Some have a natural feel for constructing tunes, beats and words that will attract the most listeners, while others can get lost in the process, leading to epic swathes of virtuoso technicality (that the everyday listener simply won’t grasp when simply looking for a thumping beat and a phrase to repeat)… The former will get media coverage and sales while the latter will have a niche following that appreciate their craft but are not enough in numbers to sustain it.
Almost all Metal musicians have to hold down day jobs (especially in South Africa). Why should it be an expensive hobby rather than a career? Live shows can’t keep an alternative band afloat – there are only as many venues, as many supporters, and playing 3 times a week is impossible (unless you have a cover band on the side).
Album sales are essential to enable a band to develop into an established act. Is that possible on our turf? And is it possible if hundreds of people rip and upload it to be accessed for free by all, downloaded to thousands of other listeners who can also do so until it’s saturated? Terminatryx discovered some locations like one in Russia that had our “Shadow” album up almost the same week of its release! – its download counter racking up eye popping amounts that outweighs our actual sales.
On a related illustrative issue, the quality of many porn companies’ output dropped dramatically because of on-line piracy – they simply cannot plough money back into new content because that stream is drained…
For a band, if they can’t at least break even on their current album, how do they fund the next one? (let alone pay rent or eat). Racking up more debt for people to hear their music? Does it make sense? No wonder so many bands go as quickly as they come. Would you blindly agree to work for your employer without compensation?
Some would say: “If you can’t draw enough listeners, then you suck and shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing” – It’s not that simple.
Would you feel offended, violated, outraged if the same guy that made the new Carcass album available for you to download for free hacks your computer or smartphone and rummages around your personal files, taking it and making it available to the rest of the world without your permission?
I’ve been in Metal / Alternative / Industrial bands since the ’80s (incl. Moral Decay, Metalmorphosis, V.O.D – Voice Of Destruction, K.O.B.U.S., Terminatryx, The Makabra Ensemble, my solo project F8) – I’m no accountant and haven’t done a debit and credit spreadsheet of the last 30 years, but I reckon it’s safe to say that I’ve put more into it than I got out (in financial terms). But, because I love the music, I keep doing it, resigning to the fact that here in South Africa that seems to be the norm (although it shouldn’t be). Most bands get despondent and give up. Would it be a different story if they could sell their music like any other product and get fairly compensated for it? Or get equal radio spins like that which everyone deems to be acceptable or “normal” music?
It is also interesting how people outside of South Africa seem far more enthusiastic about our music than the locals – don’t get me wrong, we have die-hard local fans and love each and every one of them, but foreigners on the one hand find the location intriguing, but are even more impressed when the music actually speaks to them (as we found with our IndieGoGo supporters on our Terminatryx “Shadow” album). We’ve had people who initially grabbed an illegal download of our music, but then ended up ordering hard copies and merch from us afterwards – Granted these are isolated cases, but encouraging.
When everyone grilled Metallica’s Lars Ulrich for lashing out at Napster, I understood where he came from, having struggled in bands for many years up until that point (but hardly reaching their level of popularity). Sure, they were millionaires and wouldn’t technically miss the income, and he did go about it in his somewhat arrogant ‘Lars’ way, but that’s not the point. The oil companies of the world are some of the biggest money spinners (not musicians or movie-makers) – does anyone drive in at a gas station, fill up and leave, telling the attendant not to worry because the oil companies make enough money? That would be a conversation with the cops or the hot end of a bullet a block down the road…
While his bank balance was not exactly in jeopardy, Lars in effect spoke up for all musicians, including the smaller struggling bands whose music was also being shared without their permission – bands who are struggling just like Metallica did when they started out. If a band says: “Sure, here it is, do with it as you please”, that’s fine – it is not however a declaration of carte blanche for all music.
When Taylor Swift recently had a mini furore with Apple regarding musician remuneration (whether it was a marketing ploy or not), she was hailed a heroine… but Lars was deemed a whining wealthy pariah who just wanted more money…
So why is it so easy to grab someone’s music (or movies) from a file-sharing location or elsewhere at no cost? Is it because these files are virtually invisible (and not tangible and packaged like a CD), that it seems harmless?
Has music become worthless? Or at least perceived as such? It is hardly a scarce commodity. Shouldn’t musicians be able to make a living with their craft? (whatever genre). It is the norm with every other job, isn’t it? From truck drivers to video store clerks or insurance salesmen. The starving artists schpiel is not a romantic notion. And to create original music can be even harder – A friend from a prominent ’90s rock band recently revealed he’s made more money playing just a few shows in his new cover band than his entire early band “career”…! Fucked-up or what?
So, there are hundreds of different ways we justify grabbing a song, an album, a movie or TV series from somewhere on-line, but deep down, does our conscience gnaw at us? If not, should we be worried that this is having a global effect on our moral compass? And can this expand to other parts of life? Just like we won’t stroll out of a record store with a stack of CDs or DVDs, is it that faceless anonymity that makes it so much easier to do via the internet?
Is a new generation growing up expecting their music to be free at all times?
Sure, the music industry is going through serious changes and large exploitative labels that cashed in on artists for decades have to reconsider their approach. Whether the musicians will really take it back, we’re yet to see. Marketing seems to have outweighed the actual music, so those who reach the people wins…? Some bands eventually have to resort to gimmicks to get attention amid the clamouring horde, or bending their identity to sound like the flavour of the moment – Selling out is relative, and I won’t condemn someone who decides they want to adapt their music to get more listeners – It’s their business (literally!). But they run the risk of losing their hardcore fans that may have been with them since the beginning – Celtic Frost and “Cold Lake” anyone?
Vinyl’s resurgence has added a tangibility to music. I loved the gatefold sleeves, large format artwork and details you got to peruse while listening to your brand new album for the first time (and if it strikes a chord many more spins thereafter) – and the smell of those import sleeves and vinyl still lingers – an all round sensory experience. Even if this resurgence is just a fad, a hipster trend, or another way to cash in, in one way piracy in that particular format is not as easy as ripping a file.
By playing a vinyl record, you regain a physical connection with the music. An iTunes playlist on random becomes mere background wallpaper and can drone on for weeks non-stop. With the records you peruse the shelf, pick out what you want to hear (to fit the current mood), physically cue it up, and at the end of side A, you have to get up and turn it over. Lazy asses would scoff at this laborious, antiquated task. But, I feel this reconnection brings you closer to the music again.
Sure, we live in a world of fast-faster-fastest, more convenience, quicker this & that. Sometimes you need to kick back and take it easy. When you go out to see live bands, you get ready, drive out, link up with friends, maybe queue outside, have drinks, chat and catch up – only several hours after your journey began do you get to see the band, starting when they’re scheduled – the entire night’s experiences wrapped around this group and their music, sometimes resulting in indelible and lasting memories. This could be the moment you fall in love, meet someone who will impact your life forever, or simply have an experience you can think back on as “one of the best nights of my life”.
That’s surely worth something…?
Drop us a reply if you agree or disagree with any of these ramblings…
To be concluded in the 3rd and final part