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g o t h i n d u s t r i a l d a r k w a v e 8 0 s
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| i n t e r v i e w - t h e c h a o s e n g i n e |

You are releasing a new album Obstinate on the 19th July 1999 are things running along smoothly?
Yes, touch wood - so far everything seems to be going with a really sinister military precision...
When and where was it recorded? Was there any drama or high tension in the making of it?
It's been recorded over the last 6 months at our own Parental Advisory studios. Not working in someone else's studio has allowed us to spend as much time as necessary getting the sound just right, and to get away with some sonic lunacy that a studio owner would certainly have not allowed!
The whole thing hasn't really been fraught with incident, except that as it approached completion, I kept having ideas for new sections of music and different mixes, so every time we thought it was finished, I'd go back and bolt another section onto it - right down to when we were doing the final mastering session. Overall though, I'm really thrilled with the end result.
What can we expect from this album?
If you've already heard The Chaos Engine or seen us live, you'll know the musical style already. It's a natural progression from our first album 'Difficult', and the songs are more extreme and inventive in the way we've put them together.
There are some really nasty tracks on there, but also some that are much more beautiful than anything we've done before too. It's still as maddeningly diverse as always without losing the essential Chaos Engine-ness of it all and I think it works much better as a whole than the first album.
You are releasing Obstinate on your own label Wasp Factory what is the reason behind this?
The music scene at the moment is incredibly vibrant, however the music industry has entirely lost the plot. Sitting around and waiting for a record company to finally understand what The Chaos Engine are about and sign us for megabucks, only to misunderstand us and try to get us into Smash Hits was never really an option...
The Chaos Engine has always been much more than just a band - we've always done our own management and bookings, designed our own record sleeves, worked on our own videos and website, and so this was just the natural progression for three total megalomaniacs!
What has been fantastic is that we sent Iain Banks, the author of The Wasp Factory, a copy of the CD and he entirely understood where we were coming from, saying that he "Loved the cut of our musical jib", and giving us his blessing to use the name of the book for the name of the label.
Can you elaborate on the time you played with teeny-band MN8?
Lordy, this is going back into the mists of time...
It was for the opening of a local Virgin Megastore, and we were on this little stage area in the Jazz section - they were late arriving and so they put us on late... our fans got a bit upset, and the store weren't used to having so many black-clad be-pierced punters in the store - they thought they were going to have a riot on their hands, so they gave everyone who came to see us a 5 gift voucher!
Anyway, when we did go on, it was fantastic! All these little girlies who'd come to get their pre-pubescent cleavages signed by MN8 came up to the stage and started moshing! And we'd edited some of the songs in the set so they had MN8 samples in them - top fun!
What has been your biggest influence, musically?
It changes regularly, although I like artists that have the ability to change their style and keep people on their toes - hats off to Moby for causing much confusion, with an honourable mention to Bjork for the same thing.
I've always been a big fan of Nine Inch Nails, and the way that Trent Reznor works in the studio seems to echo the way that I work, only I like to get albums out faster than two a decade...!
I've also been massively influenced by PitchShifter and Ultraviolence, and if it doesn't show so much on this album, I'm sure it will on the next one.
What has been your best gig to date? Your live shows are famous for being energetic to put it lightly!
We all have our favourites, but unusually we've started to find that 2 members of the band will have a great time while the other one is really struggling onstage and having a nightmare - there only seems to be enough good karma for 2 people!
To be honest, I've loved every single show this year (with only a couple of notable exceptions...), especially Sound Republic in London and the Damage all-dayer in Birmingham, despite blowing the fuses at BOTH shows on exactly the same song!
Who would you most like to play with past or present?
Tricky question, that,as I'm notoriously bad at jamming with anyone!
As I mentioned before, I'd love to spend an afternoon in a studio with Moby, Bjork or Trent Reznor, but I'd also love to work with Ivo Watts, who did all the This Mortal Coil albums - call me an old goth (if you dare!), but I'm a big fan of strings and big orchestration - I'm planning to throw that into The Chaos Engine later this year.
The Chaos Engine are clearly an amalgamation of rock/ industrial/ techno how far do you think this genre has developed in recent years? Is there now a wide market for it?
I think the genre is developing outside of the genres that people are trying to push it into - I find a great deal of what The Chemical Brothers and The Propellerheads do more industrial and interesting than what is categorised as industrial in Europe.
If you stay open-minded, there really is a lot of fantastic music lurking just outside of the genres you'd normally listen to - that's why I'm planning to do more DJ'ing with Lee from Judas Kiss, to do our small bit for broadening the musical tastes of the goth & industrial club-goer.
Having said that, I think it's excellent that bands like Pitch Shifter are starting to push through into the mainstream at last, and with the release of our new album, we're sort of counting on there being a market for it in the new millennium...!
Do you ever feel like packing it all in?
Occasionally, yes I do. But I worry about what I'd become without The Chaos Engine.
I'm not joking when I say that it is my life - I have given everything to get this band where it is; I have no car, no mortgage, no family, no stable relationship. But I have seen friends of mine that have all of that and have become so crushingly dull that my conviction in what we are doing is instantly restored.
The Chaos Engine brings together everything I love - the white-hot adrenaline rush of being onstage, the poetry of lyric-writing, the intricacies of programming an song construction, and allows me to share that with hundreds of people.
Without the Chaos Engine... I barely want to think about it.
I'd probably become the next Fred West.
What constitutes success for you and how far would you go to achieve it?
Success for me is doing what we're doing without compromise and being in control of it, from start to finish, and we have that.
It's just having the stamina and courage to hold on to the reins when it all goes ballistic, and I have every faith that will happen soon.
What are your most important material possessions?
The tools of my trade - my studio and my lyric books. I have a ring that belonged to my grandad that never leaves me. Apart from that, nothing.
How do you see The Chaos Engines sound developing in the future?
More extremes - we'll keep stretching the musical canvas until it starts to rip.
I'm planning excursions into gabber, chamber music, acoustic performances, tribal drumming, tape-loop experimentation and found sound. But all these things will become elements in the sampler, and will end up seamlessly blended into a sound that is unmistakably The Chaos Engine.
What are the bands long and short-term ambitions?
Long term: Chaos Engine PLC buys out Microsoft and establishes its own republic.
Short term: Getting the new album launched and hyped until we collapse of exhaustion.
Any questions?!
What is it all about, really?
Staying sane. Without The Chaos Engine, you'd be talking to a very dangerous, unbalanced man...
Any thing you would like to add/ delete?
I'd like to add a Chaos Engine CD to every household in the world, I'd like to delete the music charts and start again, and I'd like to have Bill Gates reformatted...
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