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)