From the ashes of Cyberpunk rises an electronic warrior, DAMAGE. Dark Beauty fans will have his track ‘ANGST’ on repeat as well as two special remixes. Let’s get electric, turn up the oscillators and filter into his planet…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
Wow, is Meatspace still important in 2016? I was born in the year of 20 Jazz Funk Greats in a town I remember as a flat field with an aftertaste of bunkers and lost plastic toys – some 37 years later I’m in a freemasonic ex-lodge which is my studio and DEN OF ROCK. This is also not a joke.
What is the music/party scene like in Budapest?
All in all, the music scene is pretty vibrant and varied – in my 20s I would have said it’s not enough but in my 30s and with all the free time I (don’t) have, it’s just perfect. Let me get this straight: the scene will only survive if someone actually manages to bring a SP-FLA-Haujobb-Youth Code tour to Europe AND to Budapest! Proper mad banger nights are rare in the underground, but this is not 2006 anymore and industrial’s just into its naptime. That’s good, though – only the most dedicated ones keep their vigil, bands and fans alike. It’s a good test of heart. Great Hungarian bands as well – Black Nail Cabaret, First Aid 4 Souls, Nouvelle Phenomene, Noisy Deafness, Ultranoire, The Parameters, Anez, Lazerpunk, Real Giana Brothers… you should check them all out!
You are a fellow journalist/musician, how are you enjoying the ‘musician’ tag and how long have you been producing?
Given that I get to work with the people whose music I love listening to or whose music I grew up on, I’d say it’s damn amazing. So far I’ve worked with text and graphics as creative outlets, so music forces me to think differently and learn a whole lot of new stuff, which is always pretty helpful. As for producing, I’d say something like 18 months – I guess making a lot of rave and happy hardcore tracks in FastTracker in high school doesn’t really count, hahaha!
What synthesizers are in your collection?
Currently just a Novation Ultranova and an M-Audio Oxy 49 for control. I’ve always liked to keep myself as mobile as possible, so to build a proper studio with all the Oberheims and Korgs and modulars I’d want, that’s just the nesting reflex I don’t have, I prefer to use software instead (and I love Renoise, which is my DAW of choice). Going live is different, though, so gearing up has just became somewhat of an issue. I know I’ll use my SPD-SX a lot!
Express to our readers your love for Cyberpunk!
If I had to choose only one thing I could store on my drives: cyberpunk content or porn, I’d pick cyberpunk. If that is not love for the subculture, I don’t know what is!
Genre wise you’re quite close to old school electro-industrial, who were some of the early artists that inspired you and why?
I loved Kraftwerk and the early synth wizards from an early age, so anything that was electronic and had a gritty, futuristic edge seemed like a good find. All the EBM and industrial artists I heard first from acquaintances in the artist/hacker underground – Front 242, Mentallo & The Fixer, Skinny Puppy, FLA, Leather Strip – had all that hypnotic angst, that driving body beat and that spiky revolt that was way beyond anything I’ve heard. So I wanted more – and the more I found the more I knew I found my music. Thank heavens to record shops! (If I had to pick one artist that’s the closest to me because they would sound so much like the inside of my head, that would be M&TF, they are Planetdamage Audio Pills!!!)
Your song and video ‘ANGST’ featuring EMKE is so alluring and beautifully hypnotic. How did you both meet and can we expect more songs from this collaboration?
Thank you! We met a long time ago when I was running point on LD50, a Hungarian alternative community site and during those long years of partying and endless projects we became friends – I watched her build up Black Nail Cabaret brick by brick and I often turned to her for music advice a lot during the past 18 months. So it seemed like this year it was REALLY high time to collaborate on a track! As for more songs – DE-FI-NITE-LY! We have a lot of ideas and we do bounce them off each other from time to time, so expect more tracks from us in the future!
On your new EP, Angst Ambient (Live At The Lodge) you have a 16 minute plus version on a more down tempo vibe. Very nice touch! How did you come to decide to use this particular version?
Actually, this is *the original* version of Angst – I was struggling with insomnia this year and I was trying to lull myself to sleep by making modular arps on my phone with this app called Caustic and this is how Angst Ambient was born (the title itself came a lot later, pretty much when I had to finalize track names on the back cover). When I was jamming live over the stuff I made on my phone, that’s when I came up with the synth parts that also serve as the intro for the track Emke sings on. I was also listening to a lot of Dreamfish at the time – that’s a two-album collaboration between Mixmaster Morris and the late Pete Namlook – and I wanted to make a track that had the same kind of hypnotic, calm vibe.
Outside of music, what are some of your other accomplishments?
I always run a lot of projects simultaneously, which is a total logistical and social nightmare but also a lot of fun! As for the scene, I tried to keep it as alive as possible: founded and ran LD50, a Vampirefreaks-like Hungarian community site for goths, rivetheads and alternative people; made a fanzine called The Dose; promoted and organized parties for a long time in Budapest. As for outside-the-scene stuff, I wrote a book entitled Damage Report, which is a 400-pages long gonzo rant about the future, wrote a NYT-acclaimed movie script and I am also a journalist.
What’s in your iPod?
If I’m careless, probably coffee. If not, you’d find some oldschool albums that I keep for those happy-place moments: LPs like ‘Tactical Neural Implant`by FLA, `Sky Laced Silver` by Index or `Pattern Recognition` by Headscan. I also love to keep new albums (I’m an album guy), I have to force myself to listen to new stuff, I’m deleting new stuff and constantly grabbing new tracks every week! I especially loved the new Scandroid, Clock DVA and DIIV releases, but that’s just three out of many dozens!
Tell us the backstory on your involvement with The Dose Magazine!
It was during the golden days of LD50 when I thought I would like to take community building to the next level and approach the English-speaking music lovers of our genres – and we also wanted to help out tourists who got totally lost – we basically wanted to do a subcultural edition of Lonely Planet for goths and industrialheads. We covered one capital city per PDF issue – the four issues focusing on Budapest, Tokyo, London and Paris, respectively. Community building in those days was mostly focused on MySpace, so all our archives and friends and messages are lost from those days, but it was great fun – this was also the time when you and I first exchanged emails! I also remember our second issue had quite an impact and that was quite a bridge between bands in- and outside of Tokyo.
What’s next for Planet Damage?
Going on stage and flooding everything with merch, that’s for sure! There are quite a few remixes lined up, a split EP with an amazing musician who is like Zoth Ommog goddamn reincarnated and also, a new release which is either a long EP or an LP, still haven’t figured this one out – so, plans aplenty!
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
Hope. Dark Beauty Magazine is still a bastion that withstands erosion and entropy and a good vessel for the young ones to climb on board – or the more experienced ones to travel on and see the new landmarks. So, thank you for your interest – and godspeed!