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Spotlight: BELLHEAD

In the spotlight this time is BELLHEAD and their tag line of "Male-female duo band. Two basses and a drum machine. No Guitar, No BS." is one of the most effective and accurate I've come across.

Never sticking to one genre or style, the band is difficult to pin down and label but with their no B.S approach to their music, you can tell there's no need for labels. I recently reviewed their EP 'Unicorn Bones' which I suggest should be read first HERE; In which I stated.. "Bellhead are an unexpected find who have impressed me almost instantly with a twist on traditional genres that I have not quite heard before and the passion Ivan and Karen have is very clear throughout."

Now the band have struck us with the tolling of their new EP in which they cover Bauhaus' legendary 'Sanity Assassins' as a Halloween offering; Still being fairly relevant today despite the original song arriving in the 80's. The very real exploitation of people's fear by the media and building upon the strength of those in power as they continue to stamp out opposition.

Sound familiar?

The visual effect compositor Scott Fedor has directed the music video for the cover.

Fedor’s impressive resume includes working on movies such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America 2, Bloodshot, X-men: Apocalypse, and Stranger Things.

'Sanity Assassins' music video:

Complimenting this track is 'Knife (Beware the Light)' which is another take on the track 'Knife' from the previous EP. This time twisting it in to a more upbeat, dancier and even darker evolution to the original.

Check out our full review of 'Unicorn Bones' HERE


Q. For those who don’t know you, who are the real Ivan and Karen and how did you come to find yourselves in the alternative and Gothic world, and who have been your inspirations in the past?

Karen: Growing up I was surrounded by good music, crazy fashion, and the alternative scene. I’ve always been heavily influenced by the 70’s glam and post punk into 80’s goth and synth.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for artists like David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and Lou Reed, I probably wouldn’t be doing music.

Being a Chicago native shaped my view in music; We’ve always had a strong scene that’s rooted in alternative, industrial, and metal. As for who the 'real' Karen is, I’m not sure yet. When I find her I’ll let you know.

Ivan: What Karen says and add Todd Rundregen & XTC. I read a lot of comics so Dazzler & Kid Eternity were my friends. I spent a lot of time at the library, the thrift store and anywhere else that didn’t cost much money. I’m left handed but learned bass on the right cause I would never afford a left handed bass. I found myself at shows gravitating towards acts that brought a showman ship to performing. Anything done with panache from David Bowie to Ministry.

Q. Bellhead is a band that really stands out by not sticking to any particular genre and indeed, blending genres in such a way that there isn’t any one easy label to place upon your sound. Is this the way you intended to be and is it the direction you will continue to follow?

Karen: When we started the band, we never really had an intention to be in a specific genre, or blend genres- we just wanted to make music that was enjoyable for us, and that we hoped people would also like. Ivan and I both have so many influences and music experiences that it just makes sense you’ll hear aspects of anything from Nine Inch Nails, to Magazine, to Death from Above, to Johnny Cash. It’s actually pretty freeing not to have to be pigeon holed in one specific genre.

Ivan: If ‘Zooropa’ was a genre we would fit right in. Unfortunately you’d never find us at the end of the search engine, so we pursue whatever excites us on any given song. It all makes sense from the crows nest.

Q. Have there been any special moments or turning points that really made Bellhead materialise and any subsequent moments that made you feel that all the hard work was paying off?

Karen: Everything has really been a special moment for me. The first time Ivan and I got into a studio together we actually wrote the beginnings of 'Knife'. It was a quick realization that this was going to work, and be a fun project.

I think recently, all the press and positive reviews from ‘Unicorn Bones’ EP has really been humbling (and a bit of a driving fire combined with more pressure and higher expectations) to want to keep writing material everyone will continue to love.

Ivan: I got Karen to finally talk to me about a future project outside of the bands we were in at the time, it was delayed by her being hit by a car. Karen is an unstoppable force...or maybe an immovable object...either way her stranglehold on a Thunderbird bass was immediately a lighting bolt for me creatively. We are both lifers musically so teaming up doubled our personal enthusiasm to create. First day in the room 'Knife' was born and the songs keep spilling out there after.

Q. With Unicorn Bones and now Sanity Assassins, there seems to be a recurring serial killer type vibe, almost in the way SKYND sing directly about certain individuals, Bellhead seem to have a love for the darker side of the world in general, would you say this is the case?

Karen: It never really was our intention to be on the darker side of things, and actually, we didn’t even realize that this was the case until it was pointed out to us. There was a show we played at a really cool microbrew outside of Chicago where we debuted a cover of Prince’s 'I Would Die4 U', and I thought it was a pretty and lovely cover. After the show, my fiancee said.. “That was unnerving and super dark”.

I guess we’ll keep doing what we’re doing since people enjoy it so much.

Ivan: This band is a lot like the Addams Family, It may seem dark from the outside but from the inside we are having a really great time being ourselves.

I’ve been told we are dark and I understand where people are coming from as they tell it, but for me, Karen, and the audience, we are the Addams Family.