Monday, 19 February 2018

Interview: Angelspit

Dead man talking...

“I get the feeling we are moving through a period of despair. Perhaps this is due to the state of the environment, politics, or dealing with being "social" in the electronic age. We are so frustrated, so exhausted...we don't have the energy or money to plan for the future.I wanted to write lyrics that people can related to, and music that would energize that to forge ahead.”

With an already impressive discography to their name, 2017 saw Angelspit crank it up to eleven on their latest and most uncompromising album yet in the form of 'Black Dog Bite'. Ultra-brutal beats, machine-gun sampled guitars, massive dirty synths and scathing vocals combine for an all out assault that doesn't take any prisoners. 
We caught up with Angelspit mastermind Zoog von Rock to talk about cyberpunk, black dogs, equipment and evolving with the music industry.

Intravenous Magazine: Angelspit, Your latest album 'Black Dog Bite' has been out for a little while now. How has the reaction been so far?

Angelspit: It has been great! This is one of the best reaction to an album I've received.
There is now a huge demand for a remix album, so I have recruited the meanest bands around to sonically mash every track on the album. This remix release is called 'Puncture Marks' ( This will ROCK!   

IVM: There is a strong 90s cyberpunk sound at work on the album – how did you arrive at that sound and how do you feel it holds up to the rest of your back catalogue?

AS: Bowie inspired me to make each album sound different. Normally, when I write an album I imagine it with a certain line-up. Eg: my 2014 album 'The Product' was a drummer, guitarist and one synth player and one sample player.

'Black Dog Bite' was a little different, as I chose to set it during a specific time - 1988 to 1992 - the golden age of Cyberpunk. I hunted down samplers from that era and scouted all over the web for sounds specifically from that time. I adopted the process of writing electric music during that time...which was very laborious, but great fun!

Once the tracks were recorded, I produced them with a modern aesthetic - as they need to hold their ground if they're played in a club.

'Black Dog Bite' sounds very different to ANGELSPIT's other material - but it still has that aggressive driving sound.

IVM: Thematically what were your primary inspirations in writing the album? 

AS: I wanted to make the lyrics more personal in this album. I wanted the bass lines and melodies to be simple and memorable, with threatening "storm cloud" synths and vocal harmonies behind it all creating unease. 

IVM: The title is very evocative of the old Churchill quote about depression being a “Black Dog” as well as old legends of demonic “Black Dogs”. How did you settle on that tittle and how does it sum the album up for you?

AS: Well spotted! Churchill's black dog is the reason for the title. Lyrically, this album deals with depression and isolation. I get the feeling we are moving through a period of despair. Perhaps this is due to the state of the environment, politics, or dealing with being "social" in the electronic age. We are so frustrated, so exhausted...we don't have the energy or money to plan for the future.
I wanted to write lyrics that people can related to, and music that would energize that to forge ahead.

Today will be awesome because we will make it awesome!

IVM: The album will also be the first Angelspit album on vinyl – what led to this decision?

AS: I've always wanted to press vinyl! I was lucky enough to work with Ruined Vibes - they helped me with putting it together.

They also encouraged me to get inventive with the design of the record. It's printed on 150g black&white splattered vinyl. It comes with a poster, 16 page zine, and each copy has a numbered Japanese style "Obi". It looks awesome!

More about the vinyl here:

IVM: Will we see a remix companion for this album as well?

AS: I'm kick starting the remix album now! Check it out here:

More details here:

Every track on 'Black Dog Bite' is being remixed by the most bad-ass bands around!
I asked the bands to push the sound as much as possible - to create a new track.

Bands include:
Mr.Kitty, Abney Park, Go Fight, The Gothsicles, Inertia, En Esch, The Mercy Cage, Stoneburner, PlanetDamage, Adoration Destroyed, Erektor, Rodney Anonymous, Adventu Impar, addambombb, The Dead Room, Alter De Ruine, Curse Of Cassandra, Shadowcell Theory...and more TBA!

IVM: How does the recording process of this album differ from your previous works?

AS: Most of the sound design was done on old samplers - mainly EMAX I, Emulator II and Emulator III,  Emulator IV and K-2000, plus Mini Moog and Doepfer Modular.

The songs were build using all hardware synths - no soft synths.

The effects were all old effects units that were manipulated realtime via MIDI. This is what Front 242 did on 'Head Hunter'. When you tweak old digital effects machines live, they produce a grainy, glitchy "gear-change" sound - it's awesome!

The tracks were recorded with the effects. This was key to the big, dirty sound.

This means that I was forced to work with a dirty sound - there was no turning back!
Once the hardware was recorded it was produced on the computer.

Normally I record the hardware to the computer much earlier in the process, and use the effects on the computer - which are much cleaner.  'Black Dog Bite' was an experiment in old skool lo-fi was awesome fun!

IVM: Your website and now patreon has a lot of studio tips, gear reviews and other goodies. How important is it to you to have those conversations with your fans and share that knowledge?

AS: Very important! It's not just about me inspiring and educating Angelspit supporters - it's also about them inspiring and educating me. I learn so much from my supporters. They always inspire the lyrics and give direction to the music.

The Patreon is great because it's a way to communicate with people who want to be involved. 
Much of the content on the Patreon is free for everyone. People can get involved for as little as $1.20 per month.

ANGELSPIT's Patreon is here:

IVM: Speaking of your studio – what is your setup currently like and what are your most indispensable bits of gear?

AS: I am re-designing for the next album - hopefully due this year!

This album is experimenting with synthwave - I call it Cyber Wave. I am focusing on the technology and process of 1978 to 1982.

I am using mainly analog synths (Jupiter 8 and Prophet 5), Doepfer Modular, Mini Moog and Emulator I - all these existed in that time period. I am also using more analog sequencing, but the big change is that I am playing most parts, so it has a real, organic feel to it.

My indispensable piece of gear is the Doepfer modular synth. Many sound originate on it, and most sounds are processed through it. I am also using it more for drums. I love what Doepfer builds!

IVM: You've recently released lyric videos for the tracks 'Satanic Aesthetic', 'Ugly Deeds' and 'Sexy Tragic Muse' – can we expect to see any full music videos in the future in support of the album?

I've done lyric videos for all tracks. You can watch them here:

Chris Davis (HumanTwelve) has done an awesome animated video for Scorpio Machine - we are hyped to release that that soon.  Watch the trailer here:

Keith Jensen (BrainWomb) is also signed on for a video. More details about that one soon. 

Chris and Keith have done several videos for ANGELSPIT before - I love their work!  

IVM: What are your tour plans in the near future?

AS: I am hoping to tour the USA again later this year. I am hoping to also do some UK/European dates. Details coming!

IVM: In addition to writing and recording for Angelspit, you're also a prolific remixer. How important do you feel this practice is for an artist such as yourself?

AS: Remixing is a great way for bands to work together, build relationships and swap ideas. 'Puncture Marks' is an exercise in pushing each track. It's awesome to hear a band completely re-interpret the song. The Gothsicles data mashed it, The Mercy Cage gave it a soul, Mr. Kitty made it synthwave, Go Fight made it sexy, StoneBurner made it tribal, Abney Park made it steam punk.
Remixing is way for a band to introduce another band to their audience. It is so important that we keep this cross pollination alive.

IVM: Do you have a particular favourite track you've remixed, and have you ever received a remix of one of your own tracks that has blown you away?

AS: I remixed 'Clockwork Man' by SNOG a few years ago. I was very proud of that one.
Ministry asked me to remix 'Stigmata' the hell can you improve that track?! I butchered it. They loved it. I was so honoured.

There are 3 bands who's remixes always blow me away:

The Mercy Cage - from New Zealand. Josh is a brilliant composer and producer. 

Erector is the project of Robert Wear from Los Angeles. He write movie soundtracks for a living. He is remarkable.

Adventu Impar from Florida. Katie and Danny are working on her their first album. I am so impressed with the quality of their work.  

IVM: There have been rapid changes in the music industry since the first Angelspit album was released. How have these affected you as an artist and where do you see the future taking bands like Angelspit? 

AS: The changes have been hard, but definitely add excitement! It's hard because my professional contacts are constantly changing/retiring, so I am constantly trying to make new contacts. The high turn over of magazines, blogs and DJs makes it especially hard, as these are crucial to getting the word out.

It's hard for Record labels to keeping upward bands are moving into platforms like Patreon and Kickstarter.

Bands need have more of a "collective" approach. They need to freely and openly help each other out with contacts, remixes and advice. ...but the problem with that model is that some bands work MUCH harder than others, and end up pulling all the weight... and get disillusioned when they get little or nothing back from the other members.

IVM: Finally is there anything else you'd like to add?

AS: Remember to check out ANGELSPIT's new remix album 'Puncture Marks". Not only do you get a bunch of awesome remixes, but you also get an introduction to some very cool bands. Check the Kickstarter:

Last word:
AS: Keep making your art and music! More than ever, our society needs freedom of speech and creative expression. Someone, somewhere will love what you do - so keep doing it!



'Black Dog Bite' is available now through Black Pill Red Pill. You can keep up-to-date with the latest news from Angelspit, including live dates and releases, via their official website

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