Updated: May 7, 2020
John Stancil of Seraphim System has featured a lot on Elektro Vox and for good reason, he churns out music of all shapes and sizes at an industrial pace...Yea bad pun, point's still valid however.
Seraphim System was the very first content to grace the Elektro Vox site where I spoke about his music, performance at Resistanz festival 2016, and interviewed him in detail here, below is the beginning excerpt:
He kicked of Resistanz 2016 with an outstanding Terminator 2 remix.
You can also find a review of the album Xibalba here.
There is also an interview and review for the recently released powernoise album Obsidian Frontline here, again there is the beginning excerpt below:
In quick succesion and hot off the heals of Obsidian Frontline comes the album Relay Toxicity and a third edition of the EP set MUTANT MTHRFKR. The former being an incredibly brutal metal cacophony of aggresive vocals and throat wrenching lyrics performed in only the very artful way that John can pull off, where as the later Is a real satisfying industrial dance floor filling set of tracks. Both of these albums are availbe for just $1 on Bandcamp at the moment, such is the meaning and emotion behind his work that getting his music heard is more important to him than the income it brings. It seems that no matter what style of music this man plays his hands at, he approaches it as a prodigy in his ability to smash boundaries and amalgamate styles flawlessly.
Q. As is ever the case with your album releases, there’s a real undercurrent of a story, or a message you seem to be putting across. In Relay Toxicity it seems to be a lot of anger directed towards superficial attitudes in people, is that right?
A. I feel poisoned by the individuals who the album is based upon. Not particularly people in general but certain individuals who have created an anger within me. The transference of their bullshit into my life. I try to forget their impact on me but it’s like a sore on the inside of my cheek that I can’t quit running my tongue over. I want them to know what they’ve created and helped shape. I want them to know they are part of the reason I drink and live to forget.
Q. Which songs are the most important and meaningful to you on the album?
A. Orchid, the first track; Also Gypsy Energy Moon Magic WiFi. They’re both aimed at people who have inspired a lot of anger over my time of knowing them. They’re people who control and manipulate and the world needs less people like them. My feelings towards them is so unbelievably vitriolic that I have to stop what I’m doing and refocus my thought pattern onto something else once I start thinking about them and shit they’ve done. It’ll usually just makes me mad when I get into a thought pattern concerning them and I hate that they can live in my head in such a way. Even talking about it right now has me gritting my teeth.
Q. In yet another different direction for you, there’s a couple of more ‘emo’ style songs with ‘Midnight cigarette’ and ‘Style and Grace,’ were these tracks you wanted to be in the album from the start or were they later additions? - As it’s quite rare to see a more vulnerable side to your music.
A. Coming from my humble beginnings as an emo teenager with hair swept over one eye and wearing eyeliner and jeans three sizes too small, it made a reappearance on this album. I just want to do some different shit. I like trying out new stuff. Midnight Cigarette is actually a song I wrote when I was 16 years old and in an emo / screamo band called “A Failed Proposal.” Blah. Cringey and full of angst, I know. I wanted these songs on this album. Style and Grace is the only track not filled with any malice or hurt and is my thank you to an individual who helps calm me down when the anger sets in. See what I did there?
Q. MUTANT MTHRFKR III is your latest offering so soon after Relay Toxicity and is much more of the rave industrial you started out with, therefore I absolutely love it. What made you want to release MUTANT MTHRFKR in separate pieces, and will it continue with a part 4?
A. I’m not blind to the fact that some core fans and people who follow my music don’t like the metal I make. I get that. The Mutant series is my tribute to the people who still want to hear me make club bangers like I initially started out doing. I make the Mutant EPs specifically for those people who don’t like the fact that I’m making more metal now. Period. The Mutant series is for them. I still appreciate them as fans and want them to still enjoy what I’m doing, so I make music they want to hear or at least what I think they want to hear from me. I’m still going to make them sporadically for people to download and enjoy who don’t want to hear me scream and shout.
Q. You’ve also been working on some hip hop recently under the name NCROMNCR and I believe you tried your hand at synthwave, how did those come about and how have you found making such different styles of music?
A. You’ll be the first to read it here- I’m actually focusing all of my energy on NCROMNCR right now. I’ve got a 14 track album I’m currently writing lyrics for and producing that sounds like 90’s hip hop. That New York “boom bap” style sound. SERSYS might have to be put on the back burner for a bit as I flesh out more of this music. My rap / hip hop friends all agree that there’s something to this NCROMNCR pet project and I intend to put it out and see what happens with it. I haven’t had this much fun writing music since I first started Seraphim System back up in 2013. 2020 onwards might see more NCROMNCR than Seraphim System, but I’ll try my damndest to still keep making industrial tunes.
(Check out the NCROMNCR soundcloud page below with more to be added soon but having listened to one of the tracks not available to the public yet, dare I say it, I found hip hop enjoyable again for the first time since Immortal Technique.)
Q. You’ve also remixed a lot of unexpected tracks such as Billie Eilish – Bad Guy, as well as tracks by The Weeknd, and Rihanna. Is this an experimental way to learn new ways of making music or is it just more of a hobby to bring some darkness to the mainstream?
A. I’d say most of what I do is a question of “Can I do this?” and the answer is in the form of these remixes. It also breaks up the monotony of making aggressive industrial metal. It’s a fun way to still create something enjoyable and challenge myself. These are actually songs I listen to and enjoy. I listen to a lot of pop music, hip hop, and country music when I’m playing video games or working out. I can only take so much metal and industrial before I’m like “okay let’s just shift gears for a second and listen to something else”. I can’t do metal all day.
Relay Toxicity continues the very dark and vicious dark metal direction that Seraphim System has taken in the past with albums like Lucifernum and Xibalba but once again has that distinctly different edge to it as each album does causing itself to stand apart from the rest. He contiunes to formulate and experiment with new styles and pushes his creaative talent in ever expanding directions. This is definitley an album for those who enjoy the thrashing and screaming carthasis that only heavy metal can bring; and with the calming notes from the two more emotional songs mentioned in the interview, the album is a vindication for anger and the need to bleed it off through music, not just for John, but for the listener as well.
As mentioned before, the shorter MUTANT MTHRFKR offerings are faithful to the industrial club dance floor sound Seraphim System started off as with such incredible albums as 'Deadly Force, Automaton assisted annihilation, and friendly fire.' They're worth having a look for in the bandcamp catalogue where there are no less than 24 releases! Which can be a lot for someone new to the artist so my suggestion would be to check out the digital album 'Force Fed Annihilation' which contains many of his best hits and a lot of remixes containing the 'Swaggrotech' sound that puts himself and Ruinizer in a very distinct category with a large portion of their musical catalogue.
If you only try one song however, try 'Rio5 in Progress', especially the Grendel remix (track 2 below) and if industrial club tunes are the vibe you love the most.
Seraphim System is a one of the truly deserving artists in the world of industrial and is a real star waiting to be recognised as any great artist should. I certianly hope to see him be able to play in the U.K again soon.
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Elektro vox presents a celebration of it's first successful year of industrial journalism with E.V.M Fest in aid of the Beat:Cancer charity, now that Beat:Cancer festival has played it's last.
Join us in our first music event as a perfect warm up before Resistanz festival.
Also in aid of Beat:Cancer: (Now with more Bitman!)
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