Thursday, February 16, 2017

Steel Hook Prostheses Take a Moment to Reflect on Their Latest Album with DOTD

DOTD: For starters you have a Hell of a discography, can you tell me how you keep the band going and what's new with Calm Morbidity? Perhaps even a few favorite moments in SHP history?

SHP: I've been life-long friends with my partner L. Kerr in SHP. It's been easy to keep things going since it’s just the two of us. We are all electronic based, so we get together every so often and record some jam sessions. We'll then go back and deconstruct the recorded material, manipulate it and start multitracking for songs. It's a lot easier producing music this way. No need for expensive recording studio time. We've been able to produce so many releases over the years using this method.

Calm Morbidity pretty much sticks to the same formula we always use. As we age and gain more life experience it affects the overall tone of the album. We never set out to say.. Hey we want this album to sound like this. We just start engineering tracks and let a natural organic process run its course. It is all based on intuition. Lyrics/Vocals happen last in the process. I will listen to the tracks and let my imagination take me where it will. I try to loosely stick with an archaic medical/occult theme. 

Probably my favorite moments in our history would be the relationships we've formed with peers in the scene over the years. Marco Corbeli (now deceased) of Slaughter Productions in Italy was a big influence in the start. He released one of our early albums. It was a collaboration with Richard Ramirez called Explorations Into Deviance. Also hooking up with Jason Mantis at Malignant Records was crucial to our career. He's released 3 major albums of ours over the years, although we have released a handful of things on other various labels. We consider Malignant our home base and will most likely maintain a close relationship with the label for as long as we can.

We've done some great live performances over the years that were memorable. I'm terrible with dates but Apex Fest in NY was a great one. Live performance is not my favorite aspect of the business. I prefer creating and producing albums in my home studio.

DOTD: I was going to ask about live performance but you pretty much summed it up. In terms of medical/occult themes in your music, where do you find your inspiration specifically? I read that you got hooked on Skinny Puppy in the beginning.

SHP: I just always gravitated towards that type of imagery. I was really into Skinny Puppy in my formative years in the 80's, also really into Carcass as well. I guess I've always been pretty open minded when it comes to extreme music. I was into Metal and Punk just as much as industrial as a kid. My mom worked for the Dallas VA Medical center and would make me volunteer during summer break from school. I saw a lot of nasty medical Shit there in real life that affected me profoundly.
 As for the Occult aspect, I always found it interesting. Coming Up listening to metal and watching horror films only amplified this. I am an avid reader and have read extensively on the Occult since I was a teen.

DOTD: As a long time fan of industrial/HNW/Power electronics it's kinda funny that I don't know too much about how it's made, I’m a straight ahead guitar and bass person myself. What type of equipment would someone need to start doing it?

SHP: You really don't need a lot. Just a recording device and some effects pedals. A synthesizer is a plus. We have ammased a pretty nice collection of synthesizers, effects, samplers and stuff over the years. We use software to record. Software to further manipulate and design sounds. We are sound designers as much as we are musicians. But anything go's. Anything that can be recorded and manipulated in the computer is fair game. The possibilities are infinite with electronic music.

DOTD: Let's talk about some of the tracks on the album. Are there any that stand out in retrospect? Can you personally recollect some of what went into making them?

SHP: This album came together rather quickly. I've been dealing with some heavy duty life changes over the last 2 years. Going through a divorce. Reuniting with an old friend that quickly turned into a serious relationship. Lots of moving parts going on in my life. Some devastating, some fantastic. Music has always been an escape. A release of anxiety, depression etc. When Shit gets weird I always have SHP to escape to. I just let nature take its course and started arranging tracks. I'm in a new place with a new set up.. Sold off some gear and bought some new.. This album literally poured out of me in less than 6 months time. That's pretty fast from how it typically comes together. 

 One track that particular stands out is Cancer Maiden. Someone very close to me found a lump in her breast. Those were some very tense and scary weeks going through testing, waiting and waiting for results. It was gut wrenching. There is simply nothing to do but wait and wonder. Completely at the mercy of a Fucked up, cold and indifferent medical system. The test came back negative.. Thank Odin! But it was the inspiration for the track. The possibility something so insidious can take hold of someone so beautiful and whither it down to nothing.

DOTD: How about some of the collaborations such as Explorations Into Deviance with Richard Ramirez, Crown of Bone, or Tuskegee Syphilis Study with Breaking The Will and Nyodene D, any details on some standouts on those?

SHP: Explorations for sure.... Richard had sent up a cassette I believe of his trademark harsh noise wall sounds. We digitized it and used it as sound source for building tracks SHP style. It was a fun album to work on. We were super stoked to have it coming out on Slaughter Productions and really paved the way for us way back when.
We did another with legendary harsh noise artist Goat called Bloodletting The Altar Of Lies. Same type deal, deconstructing Goat's source material, layering in tracks on top of it. Even some black metal style guitar I recorded found its way on there.

DOTD: Do you have anything you'd like touch base on at this point?

SHP: No plans on stopping anytime soon. Will continue to create and record sound for as long as I'm able. I look forward to a day when I can retire from my real world job and focus only on art. I have a few irons in the fire but nothing that I would like to announce at this time. I'd like to make one thing clear. I don't have the time or the energy to work on things that don't inspire me. It's pointless to produce anything artistically without true motivational inspiration. At this point in life I believe I've earned that luxury.

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