11th Log

TERMINATRYX SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM’S 8TH ANNIVERSARY (& full free download)

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TERMINATRYX self-titled debut album (2008)

 

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!).

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TERMINATRYX 2008/9 – Pic by Dr-Benway

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).

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TERMINATRYX debut album launch tour (Zeplins, Pretoria, 2008) – Pic by Trevor Charles Miller

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).

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TERMINATRYX live 2003 (with former guitarists Brett & Malcolm)

 

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).

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TERMINATRYX debut album launch tour (Zeplins, Pretoria, 2008) – Pic by Trevor Charles Miller

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.

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TERMINATRYX 2008/9 – Pic by Dr-Benway

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.

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TERMINATRYX debut album launch tour (Zeplins, Pretoria, 2008) – Pic by Trevor Charles Miller

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).

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TERMINATRYX debut album launch tour (Zeplins, Pretoria, 2008) – Pic by Trevor Charles Miller

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3AP8PPqF9s

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.

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On the airport heading to Gauteng for the debut TERMINATRYX album launch shows – 2008

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)

10th Log
TERMINATRYX LIVE VIDEO CLIP OF “SIEK+SAT” REMIX, WITH ITS REMIXER PAUL RIEKERT (of BATTERY 9) ON GUEST VOCALS (shot at Terminatryx support slot for MINISTRY’s first South African tour)

On 4 March 2015 TERMINATRYX supported iconic Industrial legend Al Jourgensen’s MINISTRY on their first ever South African tour (hosted by Witchdoctor Productions, at Carfax, Johannesburg).

In 2015 it had been 6 years since Cape Town-based TERMINATRYX toured up north, so the band took the opportunity to get South African alternative legend Paul Riekert (of Battery 9) on stage with them. The TERMINATRYX debut album got a full remixed version in the shape of “Remyx v1.0” (2011), and Paul chose the band’s first Afrikaans song “Siek+Sat” (translated: “Sick+Tired”). So a live version of this track was the perfect choice with which to include him on this auspicious evening for guest backing vocals.

Battery 9 are South African Industrial pioneers and hadn’t played live for years (since band member Huyser Burger’s sad, untimely death) – So it wasn’t just a thrill to have Paul on stage with TERMINATRYX, but also get him back in front of people who hadn’t seen him there in a while.

This live clip of the “Siek+Sat” remix was edited from a fan shot video and includes a cool range of photographs.

Thanks to everyone coming out to support, many flying in from all over South Africa for this one night only event.
(The SlashDogs were also on the bill)

A quote from Battery 9’s Paul Riekert on the experience of that night (4 March 2015):
“To do a guest spot, playing a remix I did, with a great band supporting Ministry, seemed like a really far-fetched idea 25 years ago… What a rush that was! Mind still blown. My eternal gratitude to Terminatryx.”

Produced & Edited by: Paul Blom (for Flamedrop Productions)
Shot by: Sophia Engelbrecht
Photography by:
Christelle Duvenage Photography
Henry Engelbrecht
Chris Acheson Photography
AGS Photo
Leigh Taylor Photography
Adaze
Royal Lens Photography
Muhammed Valiallah
Shaughan Pieterse

TERMINATRYX is:
Sonja Ruppersberg – lead vocals
Paul Blom – bass, programming, guitars, backing vocals
Patrick Davidson – guitars
Ronnie Belcher – drums, programming

Official site: http://www.terminatryx.com
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/te…
Music: http://www.terminatryx.bandcamp.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Terminatryx
Video: http://www.youtube.com/Terminatryx
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Terminatryx

9th Log
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)

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TERMINATRYX – “Lucky 13: Anthology I” (cover image by Dr-Benway)

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)

Connect with the band Terminatryx on facebook
Connect with M4A’s True Believer funding initiative on facebook
Connect with the author Patrick Davidson on Google+

 

Alright, here is the third and final part of my stream-of-consciousness reflection on music, my (partial) perception of it, my affinity for music & movies, whether music is losing its “worth”, and stuff like that!
I’m not claiming to have a solution, as the issue is as wide as the world’s population, and as long as the internet…

8th Log
MUSIC’S WORTH  Part 3 
– Paul Blom
Access Part 1 Here
Access Part 2 Here

Access Part 3 Here

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Paul Blom

Just like fashion, music and movies follow trends where the public is spoon fed something that is mostly just a regurgitation of what came before – and the people gobble it up…

Even Prince recently proclaimed that it’s “a bad time for music” – but, it depends where you look.  If you try to find it on the commercial and mainstream airwaves, then it’s been fucked for ages!
Sometimes I feel all the best music has already been written, and out there to be discovered and collected – the rest is just filling up time and creating money making impulses. You can only listen to that much music in one lifetime, or not?

If you break down the route music takes, it’s quite an extensive process, where (almost) everyone gets paid for their services along the way – The short version is:  various biological organism (us humans) crawl around on its habitat (planet earth) >  within the minds of some of these creatures, beats, notes and melodies formulate, influenced by their personal experiences, other sounds and songs they hear or images they see, an emotion bursting forth in notes and measures > from here these need to be expressed, from whistling to singing, to banging and twanging it out on instruments created from raw materials like wood, metal and carbon pulled from the earth, processed, molded, shaped and cobbled together into guitars, drums, keyboards, saxophones, processors, valves, transistors, hardware, speakers and a million other components > pointed at microphones or plugged into amps linked to mixing desks and computers, captured on magnetic tape or a digital timeline in I’s an O’s, translated and mastered into a file like a wav > then sent off to a factory where it is transferred onto a CD or vinyl, or compressed into an mp3 file for the end listener, sent off to brick & mortar shops or on-line download stores (and illegitimate ones)… at the end of it landing in the hands or music folders of people who choose whether this long process is worth paying for or not…

Do musicians create music as a career, for personal enjoyment as a hobby, or play the role of a philanthropic purveyor of entertainment?  Which of these should you support?

Some of the biggest artists in the world say they got into music to impress girls, others to be rich, many to be famous.

Twitter, Instagram and other applications have made it possible for anybody and everybody to become “famous” – It is no longer for the elite, but a vacant selfie stare with nothing to back it up is an empty jpeg of a generation.

Fame is never something I’ve found appealing, and I create music for its cathartic expression, its content, potential emotional impact and effect it may have on a listener to enrich their lives in some way, even if it’s fleeting.  It is also an artistic expression which we fuse with music videos and photography, as a whole.  If you don’t like my creations, no problem, move along to something that speaks to you, or go make your own. (If you haven’t heard what I do, check out our most recent Terminatryx album “Shadow” below)

YouTube has also created a new kind of celebrity directly linked to it – granted, far too many of them are mind-blowingly stupid like Cutie Pie…
It’s a great platform for bands to get their music and videos out there, but some also have the perception that if it is on YouTube, it’s a free for all – Where someone uploads a band’s music or a director / producer’s movie in its totality without their permission, those who find it on YouTube believe it is now a legitimate free product.  Not so.  I’ve seen on-line publications that are deemed as reliable and legit, but their reputed contributors are not exactly clued up – For example, I came across one with a list of “free documentaries” to watch on YouTube – half of these were missing because the owners of the work got wind and had it removed.  If Slayer’s new ‘Repentless’ album pops up on YouTube the same day of its release and the band didn’t post it, it’s not legitimate.

Some would feel music is integral to our existence, just like food, oxygen and sex.

It sometimes feels as though musicians are expected to fulfill a public service… Free prostitutes as it were?

Fast food servers don’t do their job for free (and most musicians earn less than they do, if they don’t have a day job to pay the rent… no guaranteed hourly rate I’m afraid).

I find it interesting how almost daily I see people publicly proclaiming on social networks where they grabbed a new release for nada, and where others can do so… Or a friedn offering to bring around their terabyte of movies and music…  I find it strange, since we think career criminals are idiots when they pose & post pics online with their stolen goods – is this any different?  Is it such a victimless crime?  Jay Z and the Rolling Stones don’t need more money, but the indie band from Chicago, Durban or Tokyo does…

I like to have my media collections (CD, DVD, Blu-ray, Vinyl, PlayStation, X Box etc.) visible on a shelf, like my books.  I love libraries and accessibility of my favourites – being able to see these collections, various bands, artists, authors, directors, genres grouped together… And I love box sets!

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Some of my (and Sonja’s) DVD box sets

Perhaps many of us have more of an organized hoarder affliction than others.  Thousands of songs and movies lying hidden on a hard drive makes you more detached, forgetting about their existence.  Walking past your shelves and spotting something you love to revisit, or another you’ve not heard or seen in a while and relive is a great experience.  Due to space restrictions I have hundreds (maybe thousands) of DVDs and PlayStation games pulled from their boxes and stacked in 200-capacity disc folders.  I forget what’s in there, so like a geek I have to alphabetize them in case I’m looking for a specific flick(!)  Getting rid of a chunk of these is pointless, as the second hand resale value is pitiful – I’d rather hang on to these as part of my library.  An album that was sold for the top value on CD yesterday drops to 10% of its value the day after – almost like a new car driven off the lot.

Like movies having to open big on the first weekend to capitalize, not everyone has the marketing muscle to let every corner of the world know about your latest album and sell enough of them quickly, before they’re littered on every free download site…

I’m also a completist in the sense of I want to own all my favourite’s, like all the movies by David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, all the Metallica albums, Slayer, The Prodigy, Rammstein etc.  It feels as though the collector mindset is dwindling and the fast-food music grab and discard – Hey, we wrote a song about this on our debut album: “CONsume”!!
Check it out here, track 2:

This connection to material objects may seem weird, but within these plastic constructs lie moods, experiences, emotions, memories, notes, scenes, lines and lyrics that touch you in profound, fun, entertaining, or frivolous ways, and owning it holds a certain attachment.  Mere throwaway entertainment to some, but a connective force to others, especially if you have a deeper interest in film- and music.

It’s also a case of the practicality of formats, cost effectiveness, demand and durability.  It took large factories and plants with thousands of workers to produce tapes, albums, video cassettes, CDs etc., even more in the chain to distribute and reach the stores around the world.  A digital file is almost unfettered, all that labour and those costs stripped away (yet still sold at the same price…?).  And did all those factory-, transport-, admin- and retail workers land in the unemployment line when these antiquated formats fell by the wayside?

Some sound purists would love all their music on reel-to-reel tape, some would dig to have their old 8-track tape player again and let the nostalgia flow back…

But unfortunately the production of all these formats is not practical, or economically viable.  I’d love it if you could have the format you like – hell if you prefer VHS, why can’t you have that option?  Alas… (PS. I still have a ton of my favourite movies on VHS! – New formats also enable companies to cash in on the same content over and over – and if the quality is still good on one format, no way in hell am I going to buy it again on DVD… and again on Blu-ray… and an HD download… or whatever else they may have waiting in the wings).

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A portion of my movie collection (on DVD, Blu-ray and VHS)

The digital world has drastically jacked up audio and picture quality,  however, to the ears of many, music recorded on analog tape, printed to vinyl is the only superior way they can truly feel the warmth and reality of the songs captured in time.

Back in the on-line domain, free tracks made available as a promotional tool seems to have spiraled out of control, in that bands started to dish out their songs and full albums for free wherever they can (some of excellent quality, some atrocious) – but the mindset of the listener and consumer has made a shift for many, in that they now begin to expect all music to be free of charge.  We regularly create special free download occasions, but also don’t want to sell ourselves short.  Then the argument flares up that bands now have to start relying on playing live to make a living.  Why?  What about recording artists that don’t always play live, or bands that simply don’t play live as often?  And in South Africa, anyone who thinks an alternative band can exclusively tour and play regularly for a living is gravely mistaken.

When it comes to musicians in the live environment, the norm is that everyone else is sorted first, from the sound engineer to the barman.  The catch-22 is that without the band, the sound guy wouldn’t have anyone to mix, and without the sound guy, the band will sound like shit…

But hell, who doesn’t like something for free?  Although, a gift from someone is far more gratifying than grabbing it on the sly, isn’t it?  So if a band makes a track or an album available for zip, directed at you, it should mean more, shouldn’t it?  Then, if you like it, is it not fair to then pick up the entire album for a reasonable price?

Millions upon millions get their music legitimately via iTunes and many other platforms like Bandcamp, CD Baby etc. – but even more do so the sneaky way.  Spotify and similar platforms pay ridiculous royalties compared to radio with only the huge commercial bands cashing in down the line.

Sure, we all know how the economy bites our asses, but if you budget your food, cigarettes, beer, video games etc., shouldn’t your music consumption be rationed accordingly?  Again (not all of us) walk into a bar and leave without paying because the booze companies make enough money, do we? (man, these analogies can go on for an eternity!)

A friend of mine has no qualms in proclaiming that he buys his music, but rips the movies he wants to see…

Once you’ve paid your monthly data fee to M Web, Telkom, Verizon, whoever – you want to get your money’s worth and download whatever you can to get the most out of your allocated data… In the end the adsl and broadband providers may be the only ones profiting.

Terminatryx Live

Terminatryx Live

The other day Sonja mentioned that we’re one of the last generations to grow up without the internet – so naturally we’ll see things a bit differently to kids exposed to an iPad in stead of a book, an mp3 file in stead of a CD…
Somehow music has become this public domain entity floating around the web which we demand to access and have when we want it.  With a CD it is a physical, tangible thing you can keep, study, page through and listen to all at once (or get autographed by the band if you get to encounter them – further expanding your connection with the music).  To a great extent the invisibility of on-line music has removed that realness, and perhaps its worth.  You don’t get to stack your favorites on a shelf anymore – it’s listed on a hard drive, a phone, or floating in the cloud…

Do we want music to lose its worth?  I don’t believe so.

I was reminded about this recently when we set up an Indie Go Go crowd funding campaign for our latest Terminatryx album – having no expectations.  We were truly surprised how people from around the world saw the value in supporting something they like or believe in (even before its completion!), with contributors from South Africa, the UK, USA, even Japan, Switzerland and Australia backing part of the recording cost (not charity, but receiving albums, downloads and various other perks).  While one can often get despondent when you’re unsure of how people value your work, this was a big reminder that all is not lost.

If I had a solution, I’d slap it right at the top of this piece and make it one quick and easy paragraph (and if you’ve reached this far, thanks!)

So, all I can do is try and remind everyone reading this that whether you love the music of a specific band, or even if an act does not exactly fall within your taste confinements, or a specific album does not meet your expectations, every band puts their heart and soul into their music, and for the most part, do so out of their own pockets (again, even more so here in South Africa).  So when you’re poised to grab that track illegally, keep in mind how the accumulative compound effect of many people doing the same thing may have on a band and their future.

Supporting bands by physically being at shows are great – even though the R20 – R50 entry fee is often scoffed at (that’s under $2 – $5! (while R500 to a grand get pulled out without flinching for a touring international act), but buying local music as opposed to ripping it, you place a value on it, something you want to keep and in the long run it will not only make it easier for the bands to continue creating music you love, progressing and evolving, but also have you value it more and appreciate that product you acquired legitimately, knowing you’ve invested in the advancement of artists who will never get backing from the Arts & Culture department.

We all love music – but don’t always show it….

> a few days after posting this, I stumbled across this image:
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Access Part 1 Here
Access Part 2 Here

Access Part 3 Here

The 2nd part of my ramblings on music, my perception of it, and whether it is becoming a throwaway commodity…

7th Log
MUSIC’S WORTH  Part 2 – Paul Blom
Access Part 1 Here
Access Part 2 Here

Access Part 3 Here

Paul Blom

Paul Blom

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.

Band_live_4up_1

Terminatryx Live

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

Access Part 1 Here
Access Part 2 Here

Access Part 3 Here

(Initially this piece was pushing 4000 words… but I though maybe it’s best if I edit it some more and split it up into 3 parts to make it easier on you! The word count actually grew – So, here goes Part 1)

6th Log
MUSIC’S WORTH  Part 1 
– Paul Blom
Access Part 1 Here
Access Part 2 Here

Access Part 3 Here

TERMINATRYX_Paul

Paul Blom – Terminatryx co-creator

Music…  something most of us cannot live without, yet it can so easily be devalued in so many ways.  From dismissing something as shit because it doesn’t fit your genre preference, to illegally downloading it.

 

My love of music and movies are very much on a par.  And while the music I make usually have a Metal edge or movie soundtrack elements, and music videos or movies I produce and direct have a Horror flavour, my taste in audio and cinema is as wide as Weird Al Yankovic’s prosthetic butt in his “Fat” music video parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad”… OK, even wider – from Classical music to Grindcore, or Romantic Comedies to Eastern Extreme films – and loads in between.

With the digital and on-line age, access to music (and movies) has become effortless, swift, and also, potentially at no cost…

It’s not up to me to condemn anyone when they decide to grab illegal downloads in stead of buying it, but in that respect can only relay my perspective on it from the other side.

Across the 1980s when we took the weekly pilgrimage into Cape Town’s CBD by train, we’d head straight for Ragtime Records looking for new albums (located in the Old Mutual underground mall, below the Golden Acre on Adderley Street), raiding the import bins, searching for our favorite bands at the time (incl. Kiss, Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Metallica, Slayer, Overkill, Megadeth, Anthrax, Manowar, Accept etc.) or discover new ones (sometimes just judging by the killer artwork alone! – often less successfully so, as with the Krokus live album).  Still in school, pocket money was tight then, and when you managed to find that gem that very few people would have on their record shelf (with only a few of them flown into the country), you cherished it and savored every note (and I still have most of those vinyl LPs).  And when friends and acquaintances surfaced with rarities like Venom’s live Hammersmith Odeon show on Betacam videotape, or Hardcore / Punk EPs from Sweden on 7-inch, these were copied onto cassette (something many compare to the current on-line sharing habits – albeit a much faster, unencumbered and easily proliferated trend than the old-school method).

 

LPs

My vinyls

 

These trips into the city hunting for music was an adventure with a great reward at the end of it – the music becoming an integral part of our lives, identity and soundtracks to our youth (with albums like Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” and Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” still as brilliant as they were on their release 3 decades ago, and not just because it has a sense of nostalgia attached to them, but because they really are fantastic albums with great songs and production).

Virtually anything you’re looking for today can be found on-line with a few key strokes.  Searching for new music however can become a task as you now have to wade through a vastly increased morass of bands – some brilliant, some good, but most terrible imitations of imitations in a perpetual cycle of regurgitation – buying all of these albums blindly is obviously not practical or financially viable (that’s why there are sample streaming options to check out first as a test drive – like the headphone listening corner record stores used to have).  But with technology’s advances everything is speeding up and we all demand everything right here, right now, no waiting period to be tolerated – even on-line stores race to ensure overnight delivery of your physical CDs / DVDs / Blu-rays… I still find an excitement in waiting for something you ordered, like an import taking longer than usual – maybe forgetting about it as you get on with other things, you know, like life – pleasantly surprised when the courier arrives with your package(!)

But, when looking at what it takes to create an album, be it a work of genius or a bland offering, one produced in a home studio or at a multi-million dollar professional facility – is one of lesser value than another?
Then of course the shift towards digital files as opposed to physical CDs are an issue (not just related to cost, accessibility and space).  And we all have our preferences – yet I don’t understand why we cannot embrace all of these formats to serve different purposes… Maybe because the hardware producers need a new component to sell us each time, scrapping the previous one in favour of the “new and improved” technology?, and with living spaces shrinking, can we all fit a variety of players on the shelf? (Ours contains: a DVD player, PS3/Blu-ray, X Box, PS2, Wii, HD Media Player, and yes, a VCR – with all the discs, tapes and files to go with it – While I have loads of vinyl records and still a few cassettes from back in the day, I haven’t re-purchased a turntable yet).


TX_Shadow_CDs

Terminatryx – “Shadow”

 

It is often assumed that the musicians and moviemakers on these media delivery systems are wealthy… Even Metal bands you consider to be huge are not all millionaires.  Industrial acts can be even more niche (unless you’re Trent Reznor or Al Jourgensen, running your own show).  Record companies don’t throw money at non-commercial bands and musicians.  They have to work their asses off and whatever the record company puts in, they take back tenfold before the musicians can profit from their art.  So if the cost outweighs the return – the band can end up owing the record company! (while none of the executives and employees miss a paycheck or bonus).  A master-slave relationship often resulting in relentless touring to pay the bills, not necessarily for the joy of playing to fans and making a living at it (some record deals even hijack the band’s merchandise rights).  In the early-’90s when my band V.O.D (Voice Of Destruction) was (kind of) signed to local label Inhouse Records, we had to get up to Johannesburg on our own steam, record, play live shows, then having to hint with label owner Philip Nel that we’ll need cash for gas on the long drive back to Cape Town!  We never saw any returns from album and compilation sales.  When we took the plunge in the mid-’90s and flew off to Europe to record for our new German label Morbid records and do a full Euro tour (with Katatonia and In The Woods), again, all costs had to get covered first.

V.O.D Bloedrivier

The indie route is becoming the norm with more freedom, but even so, that places all the burden on the band.  It takes focus, determination, double the hard work, and a thick skin to take many hits.

Even though it has a more visceral approach, Metal / Industrial / real alternative music is more challenging and (yes) intellectual than your average shit-pop tunes aimed at the lowest common denominator (although generic satanic content can be negated as equally frivolous as mainstream themes of dancing or proclamations on how much “swag” you have… a line screeching “Satan!” often coming across just as meaningless as “Up in the club!” – but each to their own).  The musical input and technical execution of Metal far outranks commercial drivel following whichever trend seems the most likely to cash in with a single release or (the once popular) ringtone download.  I accidentally passed Idols while channel flipping and judge Jennifer Lopez’s vacuous new video was being screened – holy shit, the same old pathetic crap with the most soulless “music” behind it, and yes, the “lyrics” are about fuckin’ dancing!.  At the end of the day, that song is literally worth gold to her (in revenue earned), however base, simple, dumbed-down or commercially pandering it may be – while to me it isn’t even worth a turd, and I wouldn’t want it for free (even as a legitimate give-away, let alone an illegal download…)

The days of an album that was constructed to take the listener on a  journey of musical and emotional highs & lows across 9 to 12 tracks seem to be disappearing in favor of an instant fix.  But it looks like Metal is the bastion where this experience would survive (with concept albums also not forgotten).

And besides, Metal was never radio’s friend – Iron Maiden and Metallica built their fan base on the road with a lot of blood and sweat (and I’m sure quite a few tears).  While on-line stations have done a lot to get new music heard, not many pay the artists royalties like regular stations (who also knew how to cut corners).  So, the discrimination of heavier music being barred from regular airwaves (and removed from the revenue stream where others benefit), increased plays and streaming on-line may get them noticed and heard, but not necessarily paid – so, the hope would be that listeners do further investigation and buy the album if they like it – but, increasingly, in stead opt to find it somewhere for free… So, if your job doesn’t pay that well or payday is still far off, and a cool new album comes along that you can’t afford, how easily do you hit the browser and see where someone has uploaded it?

Paul Blom

Paul Blom

I’m still puzzled as to how anyone justifies taking someone else’s work, dropping it on-line for anyone to do with as they please… Do they feel they’re doing the musician a favour to get it out there?  Or get ego points for being a sharing person, or maybe even get it out there before the official release date?  Or even think they’re fulfilling a public service?  Is it a power trip? Who knows…

Creating an album however, is not exempt of substantial cost.  Even if you record at home – the equipment, software, your instruments and the many hours dedicated to writing, rehearsing, recording, honing your skills, as well as mixing, the mastering, the reproduction (if you press physical CDs), all add up to a handsome sum that has to be covered.  Recording in a professional studio ups that even more.  Terminatryx has done both of these and the recoup process can sometimes lead to simply taking the hit and writing it off… Is that right and justified?  Even with merchandise sales, new T-shirts need to be printed with the income from those sold, so the cycle rolls on.

It costs a lot to do what you love, and to have fun at it! – but debts can take the joy out of making music, and lead to so many bands throwing in the towel.

Drop us a reply if you agree or disagree with any of these ramblings…
To be continued in Parts 2 and 3…

Access Part 1 Here
Access Part 2 Here

Access Part 3 Here

5th Log
Ronnie’s Recipes: Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies

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Recipe #1 : Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 x Cup Sugarron_cookies

1 x Cup Butter

1 x Cup Flour

2 x Cups Oatmeal

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

1/2 Cup Choc Chips

1 x Banana (Optional)

1 x Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (Optional)

Makes about 15 – 20 cookies.

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Lightly grease baking tray.

Add all ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly mix with your hands until it forms a nice uniform dough.

Take a spoonful of dough and roll it into a small ball with your hands, slightly smaller than a golfball.

Place the dough balls onto the baking tray and press it flat with a fork, or your hands.

Make sure there is enough space between each cookie as they do expand in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let it cool down for about 20 minutes before eating.

Enjoy!