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Revolution State: a Q & A interview by Bryan Erickson. - revolution.blog
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2010-05-24 12:58 pm
Revolution State: a Q & A interview by Bryan Erickson.

Revolution State live, 04/08/10

Bryan: How did you get into industrial music?

Ben: In 1994, I fell in love with Bonnie before I fell in love with Industrial. In order to get to know her, I started listening to what she listened to, and the rest is history…

Bonnie: I guess that's true. Ben was already listening to a few things that I listened to, like Nine Inch Nails, and Ministry, but I suppose I was influential in his taking interest in industrial. I guess my first exposure to industrial was from my brother Brian's roommate Paul when I was 12 or 13. I was at their house one day, and he was playing Pretty Hate Machine, and I was like "whoa, what is this?", and that was it. Before that I was listening to Depeche Mode, The Cure, New Order, and stuff, thanks to my brother Rich, so I guess it was a natural progression. I can remember being 15, having my drivers permit, and driving around with my Mom listening to Suicide Commando. She would say things like "this is morbid", or "this is creepy, why do you like this?'. Come to think of it, she still says things like that. haha

Bryan: What is your favorite type of industrial music?

Ben: Old EBM, and the ever changing new music that is a combination of many genres.

Bonnie: I guess the same goes for me, though I feel I should mention our rather long standing romance with power noise of the Ant-Zen Audio and Visual Arts and Hands Productions variety, which started around 1998.

Bryan: Give us a little background on Revolution State:

Bonnie: Revolution State was founded in 2001 by Ben P. and me. We wrote the music to two of the tracks on the Velvet Acid Christ album Hexangel: Utopia/Dystopia in 2004. We started playing live shows and self released our first split EP in 2005. We signed to Vendetta Music in 2007. Since then we have been working on our first full length LP, "Viridian Resonance", and we've done many remixes for other bands in the interim. We could probably release an entire album of remixes at this point! I guess that leads up up to now. Three more tracks to add vocals to, and Viridian Resonance is done… oh, and I still need to finish the art. Oh dear... I must finish the art!

Bryan: Compare the old club days to the modern club days.

Ben: There is less mixture of cultures now. We used to have punks, industrial kids, goths, ravers, well… you name it, all hanging out at the same club every week. Now you have such segregation that goth isn't played on industrial night and vice versa.

Bonnie: Clubs used to a lot more fun for me. I remember looking forward to going out on Friday nights to The Annex, and Sunday nights at The Underground from the time I was old enough to drive. By the time I was 19 Ben was a resident at Sin City, and then Industrial Nation, and I still had fun, since a lot of new sounds were coming out at the time… stuff we hadn't heard before. Now, it does seem like there is a lot of segregation between underground cultures, and also, it seems like people are no longer at the clubs for the music at all. It's a fashion show, and a meat market, and the music is an aside for most people. I think that's very sad.

Bryan: What is the funniest thing that has happened in the studio while making a record?

Ben: While working so fast and hard on Revolution State vs. Noizekatt, to get it out in time, I required some calming liquids. So, while waiting for Tom to come over to work on the album, I drank a whole 6 pack of K cider in a matter of minutes. Before he got to the studio I went from sober, to drunk as fuck, to vomiting, and when he arrived, I was already passed out!

Bonnie: I was pissed we couldn't work that night! Tom and I had fun playing Super Smash Bros. though, and it was kind of nice to take a night off, since we were on such a tight schedule. I remember this one night years ago, we had just purchased an ASR-X Pro, which was our first and only hardware sampler, and somehow Ben ended up making a demo track that we called "The Upside Down Pyramid of Lame", because that is exactly what it looked like in our sequencer. It was an upside down pyramid, and it definitely sounded lame. It was like a cross between circus music and Funker Vogt, in a very bad way. I still laugh every time I listen to that track. I wonder if we still have it? Actually, I think you may have been at our house that night, Bryan :) High end vodka was definitely involved.

Bryan: What are your favorite Web Sites?

Bonnie: Hmm, well, I'm kind of an internet shopping junkie. I used to be a licensed aesthetician and makeup artist, so I check out Ulta, and Sephora, and Beautypedia.com all the time. I also frequent plenty of anime, and manga and synth websites, but I'll leave those to Ben. I also like design and architecture websites. Ben and I are obsessed with almost all things visual or electronic in nature, so I'm constantly saying "Hey Ben, look at this, look at this!" about some new and interesting thing I've found. We also frequent a lot of animal rights websites, and sign a lot of political petitions!

Ben: Revstate.com! Umm… Gear Slutz, Vintage Synth Explorer, RPGamer, Matrixsynth, Nova Musik… Anime Suki, Anime News Network, Discogs.com. Bonnie and I have our entire anime list archived on ANN, and our entire music collection archived in Discogs. We read a lot of manga, so we make a lot of trips to amazon.com and borders.com, and to read brand new scanlated chapters we like Manga Traders. Also, I pretty much go to any websites where I can look at, and research, cool gear, or look at other peoples studios.

Bryan: What do you like to eat?

Ben: Being vegan, I have lots of veggie choices. My absolute favorite home cooked vegan food is Bonnie's mother Sue's blackbean burgers and fries. My favorite restaurant is Aux Vivres in Montreal, and their veggie "butter" (not butter) and their veggie lox sandwich on their chapati are my favorite. Bonnnie is the best baker in the world, and i eat myself to death on all of her baked goods (especially the blueberry muffins).

Bonnie: Well, I can't really argue with what Ben said. We have to go to Aux Vivres every time we're in Quebec, because it's the best. Also, I am a pretty damn good baker. It's in my Pennsylvania Dutch blood! My Grammy was living out here in Colorado for about a year before she died, and that Thanksgiving we had 3 generations making pie in my Mom's kitchen, which was awesome. Other foods Ben and I are almost always up for are vegan sushi, Indian food, and Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern food. I've been thinking about writing a cookbook of vegan versions of traditional Japanese foods, because no one has done that yet that I know of… I think the world needs to know how to make vegan Taiyaki!

Bryan: What color is your underwear?

Bonnie: Right now, I'm wearing black boy shorts with an outline of Hello Kitty's face on the front, and a pink felt embroidered bow that is actually attached separately to the Hello Kitty face. They say Hello Kitty in hot pink across the butt. I actually have quite a few pairs of Hello Kitty underwear. One of my female fans even brought me a set of two matching Hello Kitty thongs to a show once as a gift, which was a really cool surprise!

Ben: I am wearing the only pair of Revolution State boxer briefs in existence, unless someone made themselves a pair. That would be weird... They were a test to see if we should sell them as part of our merchandise, but as it turns out the American Apparel boxer briefs are too stretchy, and the logo starts breaking apart pretty quickly. Or, maybe putting the logo on the crotch was a bad idea? I'm not sure, but they are asphalt gray, to answer your question.

Bryan: Tell us a funny story about DJing.

Ben: When I was 8 or so, I was helping out my Dad at a wedding gig, and I remember listening to everyone shout out "common baby, wanna get fucked, get laid" in the gaps of Mony Mony by Billy Idol. I didn't really know what the hell to think about that at the time. I guess you could say I have a lot of years of experience as a DJ, so I have many weird stories to tell. My Dad was a radio DJ in the 70s and 80s, so I was practically raised at the radio station when I was little. My parents have pictures of me as a baby sitting in one of those bouncy chairs in the doorway of the control room, and then pictures of when I was a little older sleeping on the couch there … I was raised around DJs and my parents were always listening to music, so DJing came naturally to me.

Bonnie: Hmmm… well, I suppose I should preface this with the fact that if I ingest any amount of vodka I become… mischievous, I suppose you could say. It's always a good idea for me to either DJ sober, or do a tag team set with someone else. Otherwise, I will more than likely wander away from the DJ booth to make out with a pretty girl, or perhaps convince all the girls in the club to take their shirts off. My sets are always an adventure in sound, and some sort of exhibitionism. It has all happened before, and it will happen again!

Bryan: What is your favorite synth?

Ben: The Minimoog Voyager is the best ever, period, with no rival.

Bonnie: The Voyager is definitely the best, and I love it, but it's not my favorite. My favorite is actually the first analog synth we ever bought, the Akai AX-73. I have always been a champion of the underdog, and the AX-73 is definitely an underdog of the synth world. We just recently got one of my dream synths though, an Oberheim SEM patchpanel version, so I really love that as well.

Bryan: What DAW do you use and why?

Ben: Logic 9. I think it is the best DAW out there, and it has the best built in plugins. It works perfectly for us and we have very little few, if any problems.

Bonnie: I love Logic 9. I always found Cubase very awkward, and I have never found that to be the case with Logic. Also, we used Mainstage 2 for our last two live shows when we opened for VNV Nation, and I thought it performed exceptionally well.

Bryan: MAC OR PC?

Ben: Macintosh, no contest. I have been in IT for years and nothing beats the power and reliability of Apple products.

Bonnie: The DAW question speaks for itself, since Logic is Mac only. Sometimes I find it really hard to believe that we used PCs for so long. What the hell were we thinking?

Bryan: Who has played the cruelest joke on you?

Ben: The Manitou Springs school system as a whole. I learned very little real world, practical things. On top of that I was treated horridly by the staff and students alike. K-12 is the biggest joke in the academic world.

Bonnie: I honestly don't recall. That may be because it is almost impossible to embarrass me! If I had to guess, I'd probably say my eldest brother Brian. Awhile back, he said I couldn't pass for 25 anymore, and I was so pissed I spent an entire week looking in the mirror for crows feet and marionette lines. I didn't even realize he was messing with me until my Mom pointed it out. So yes, my brother can still completely fool me! I'm not really the type to leave myself open to cruel jokes or pranking though, so I'm rarely a target. That is probably because of the real life training I received from my brothers. They made me pretty tough :)

Bryan: If you could teleport any where, where would you go first?

Bonnie: I haven't seen my brother Rich for almost a year and a half, and he's going to be in Japan this month, so I think I'd like to teleport of Tokyo while he's there. I have longed to go to Japan for many years now, so that would be ideal! I'm just bummed that I didn't get to see the full scale Gundam replica before it was taken down. That should've been a permanent display, damn it! The Eiffel Tower (which I actually have been to) was originally supposed to be a temporary structure, so I see no reason that the Gundam had to be taken down! Unless is wasn't actually a replica, and it's actually the secret weapon of the SDF! I have a vivid imagination. What can I say?

Ben: I would like to teleport to San Mateo, California, to visit my best friend Raymond, who I have known since I was 6, and I'd like to walk to the local Ramen House in his neighborhood for some real Ramen! We used to have the only authentic Ramen House in Colorado, here in Colorado Springs, but it closed at least 8 years ago. Damn, I miss that place! I miss Raymond a lot more though, since he moved away.

Bonnie: In that case, lets go see Ray first, then we can hit Tokyo later!

Ben: Ok. Then can we hit Vince Clarke's studio, so I can steal all his synths?

Bryan: Favorite shoes?

Bonnie: I have always been an obsessed shoe junkie, and I hate shoes of subpar quality. I have been wearing my 14 eye steel toed boots from Vegetarian Shoes for over 8 years on a almost daily basis, and they are still going strong, so I can attest to their quality. I bought a pair of knee high vegan New Rocks a few years ago, which you can buy exclusively at FashioNation (www.vixensandangels.com), and those are really cool, although sometimes they make me feel like I should be in a black metal band! I also have an affinity for impractically high heels, like 6"-7" high, but they must never ever have anything tacky on them like clear heels, 'cause I'm not a frakkin' stripper!

Ben: My vegan steel toed boots by Vegetarian Shoes, or my vegan New Rocks, or my New Balance 790s.

Bryan: What do you think the alternate universe versions of you are doing?

Ben: Depends on if you believe in alternate universes. If you do believe in them, and enough of them haven't been eaten up like in the anime Noein, then they are doing everything and nothing.

Bonnie: So essentially, the alternate universe versions of you are like Schrodinger's cat? Dead or alive? (Bad band name pun intended…) Meow, meow! =^.^= String theory is precisely that, a theory, so who knows? To quote Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory "according to my calculations, more than one of me could be a clown made of candy". While I wouldn't mind being made out of candy, I sincerely hope none of the other Bonnies are clowns. The mere idea is creeping me out.

Bryan: Who makes better music? Covenant or VNV?

Ben: Both, depending on the era. PTF 2012 is one the best albums of all time, and so is Sequencer. Sooooo hard to decide.

Bonnie: Thanxx Bry… that's not a loaded question or anything :) I prefer Covenant's most recent to VNV's most recent. Conversely, I prefer VNV's first album to Covenant's. So, I must agree with Ben. It entirely depends on the era.

Bryan: Would you kill Lady Gaga?

Bonnie: No, but I think she at least deserves a slap for her performance with the Pet Shop Boys, where she completely butchered Dusty Springfield's parts on "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" … and for wearing a phone on her head. Oh, and also for not knowing how to use spirit gum or fashion tape to prevent "wardrobe malfunctions".

Ben: I don't know her music, and I don't watch TV that much, so she hasn't bothered me like she has so many others. I wouldn't kill someone for something so trivial. Life is precious, and murder should be left for people who really deserve to die.

Bryan: What is your take on Modern Music?

Ben: I love a lot of it. BPitch Control's bands are some of the best out there right now, especially Ellen and Telefon Tel Aviv.

Bonnie: Obviously, there is a lot of complete drivel being produced today, but there are still rare gems amongst that drivel. I don't mind having to seek out the rare gems, as long as they are there to be found.

Bryan: What is your favorite anime?

Ben: FLCL and at least 100 others (check out our ANN account, username: noizekatt).

Bonnie: Oh, wow. That's impossible to answer! Some recent favorites have been Kimi ni Todoke, Bakemonogatari, Kobato, Michiko to Hatchin, Eden of the East, and Real Drive, but there are so many more.

Bryan: List your top ten lps.

Ben: I don't have a top ten that's permanent, just what i'm listening to at the time, and whatever RevState we are currently working on. As of now:

01. Telefon Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself
02. Ellen Allien - Thrills
03. Machiste - The Italian Stallion
04. Portishead - Third
05. Bob Marley - Legend
06. New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies
07. Moderat
08. Haujobb - Polarity
09. Miss Kittin & The Hacker - Two
10. various Gridlock

Bonnie: I also don't have a permanent top 10, and so I think I'll just be filling in the blanks where Ben left off… some of these albums are actually worth mentioning twice, like the Telefon Telaviv, but I don't wanna take up two slots! These are NOT in any particular order.

01. Crystal Castles
02. Beefcake - Coincidentia Oppositorum
03. various Vector Lovers
04. Imminent - Cask Strength
05. The Presets - Apocalypso
06. Vitalic - OK Cowboy
07. S.K.E.T. - Depleted Uranium Weapons
08. various Einstürzende Neubauten
09. various Front 242
10. Asche - The Easter Island Phenomenon

Bryan: If you could change anything in the world, just one thing, what would you change?

Ben: Making it so nothing was ever killed, harmed, or forced, for food for all.

Bonnie: That sounds about right...

Bryan: Will you ever get into circuit bending?

Ben: Never. I like to make my own cables, make small mods on our analogs, and eventually I'd like to make our thing-a-ma-kit. I like to do things like what we did to your Micromoog and Multimoog Bryan, and things like adding an fx input for Revstate's Poly 6. Bending a Casio or a Children's toy is about as exciting as hitting the random button on the fm synth in Logic and running it through a bit crusher.

Bonnie: I think the circuit bending ship has sailed, for the most part. I mean, Klangstabil released Giacomo Gambino years ago, so I think bending a Game Boy at this point would be completely unoriginal and redundant. I think the appeal of circuit bending was originally it's novelty, and it no longer has that. If I wanted to make a record with a handheld system, I could with our DSi… we have the Korg DS-10, and there is a basic sampling device built in, but I view those things more as amusements than tools for a serious musician.

Bryan: How do you come up with your songs?

Ben: They just flow out when they want to. Sometimes when playing synths, sometimes when trying out a new technique, it just happens. Lyrics and vocals are a second and completely different beast that makes no sense.

Bonnie: We don't really have that much control over our songs. We don't really come up with them, so much as they come out of us when they want to… and they can't be forced. With lyrics, we have a bunch of notebooks, and little bits of paper, and when it comes time to do vocals we have to gather those up, and they usually get pieced together with things that we come up with on the fly. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, that's just how it happens.

Bryan: Why has it taken so long to get your 2nd lp out? At this rate I think you are as slow as VAC! LOL.

Ben: Vocals, lyrics, death, life, wanting the perfect product to release… so many things have gone wrong in the past 5 years, I am just happy to have my sanity, and a studio to write in, much less a finished CD.

Bonnie: Oh man… let's see, we've been in two weddings, we have suffered at least 5 deaths (3 of whom were family members), and two close friends had children, one of whom is now our god son, so death and life definitely slowed our progress this time around.

Bryan: What are your favorite Fx?

Ben: UAD-2: plate 140, Roland Space Echo, Cooper Time Cube. The new Sound Toys Decapitator (and the rest of the 4.0 Native pack).

Bonnie: UAD completely revolutionized the way we make music, and that pun was actually not intended :) Then UAD-2 came out, and it was even better. I am an admitted distortion junkie, and we keep a UAD-1e around just for Nigel, because it is really cool for amp head and cab modeling. Also, I love Ohm Force, from France. We've been using Ohm Force stuff forever, and I always want to put Ohmicide on everything… Ben always has to keep my distortion lust in check, or it would be out of control and would overwhelm everything in our mixes!

Bryan: Fashion?

Ben: American Apparel. They make the best shirts in the world. We print on them, and there you go… the best shirt ever.

Bonnie: My wardrobe is an ever evolving being, and sometimes I fear it breeds inside my closet and produces odd garments. Somehow, I can go into the closet every couple of months, and emerge with yet another entire black trash bag full of clothing to donate. Sometimes I like to deconstruct and reconstruct clothing myself to make a completely unique piece. I dislike the idea of being dressed the same as anyone else, so I don't typically by "scene" related clothing. I prefer modern and minimal cuts to over adornment, and I would be more likely to accidentally start a trend, than to follow one.

Bryan: Anything else to add?

Ben: To everyone out there: PLEASE recycle, buy recycled goods, and PLEASE, try going vegetarian. ^_^

Bonnie: Change is the only constant. I have a way of making the impossible possible, and so do you. If there is something you don't like about your life, or about the world… change it.

Revolution State live, 04/08/10