Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Jason Pearson AKA Dr. Magic joins us to speak about the new album due out in June 2019. I was privileged enough to see you play Resistanz 2016 as well as a show at the UK home of all things industrial music ‘Elektrowerkz’ Slimelight shortly after.
Has the band been active in the last two years, and now you’re back where can we expect the direction of this new album to take us, what kind or ride should we expect?
A. Two years, jeez, has it been that long? Yeah, I’ve been gigging and doing a lot of stuff. I’ve been incredibly busy. I’ve written two Kara and The Wolves EPs with the second one to be released soon. I’ve finished this current album and I’m also nearly finished the follow-up album too, currently named ‘Machine Ready’. For some reason I can’t stop writing music. I just need to have more self-discipline and get out there and gig more, but now the new album is finished I hope to give people one hell of a ride…
This new album is probably the finest music I’ve written and mashes up all my favourite influences, from hardcore punk, tribal metal and those banging nights in sweaty dance clubs. I guess I wanted it to feel like a discovered flip book survivors in the future would find, capturing all the things we used to do… before the apocalypse happened, before we fell.
Q. Listening to this album, I feel it would be a great soundtrack to a Mad Max universe film set in Britain, a lot of the riffs remind me of the Doof Warrior in Fury road.
The Mad Max universe is an ever growing influence in the industrial music world that we have all come to love. Would you say this was an inspiration for the album, and what is your take on the post apocalyptic undertones that flow so well from songs you’ve made for it?
A. Hah, that’s a brilliant compliment, thank you. I feel very much like Doof. Sometimes I’m surprised at the pics I see of myself at gigs. I look like a LARP Mad Max super-villain. But I’m one of the good guys, honest!
Mad Max has a special place in my heart, since watching Mad Max 2 when I was about 13 years old in Zimbabwe. Growing up there was bleak; Lowest life expectancy on the planet, everyone prematurely aged, ruined and abandoned cars, and buildings everywhere, and a sense of society slowly rotting, political debate replaced by mobs with machetes. It was surreal.
I guess in the West, we can safely fetishise collapse like this as something cool, but for many its not. The Lords Resistance Army in Uganda was very post-modern and looked ‘cool’ but it was terrifying. Even ISIS made their own Mad Max style gun trucks and improved weapons that would be straight out of a film. Its frightening as hell.
I guess the biggest apocalyptic influence on me is an article called ‘The Coming Anarchy’ by respected journalist Robert Kaplan and published in 1994. He had traveled to many places in Sub Sahara Africa, Turkey and the Middle East. He utterly nailed the predictions for the collapse of many nations such as in Syria, Libya etc. He warns that all this chaos would spread.
In the West, we can just see the first stages of our own collapse as we trust politicians less and less and are keener to rely on rumour and manufactured loathing of others. Our society is incredibly fractured and becoming split into emotive tribal factions, far more willing to cause violence to others for the sake of our own side. That’s how it always starts. In that regard, my Mad Max influence is more of a warning of the future to come unless we fight for a better world. I guess I’m saying that although the cars and clothing etc in Mad Max are super cool, I’m deadly serious in my message.
I’ve noticed your album ‘Start a war’ is not on Spotify, can we expect streaming releases such as Spotify when the album arrives in June?
A. Ah, cheers for noticing. Its proper nice to know its missed.
I took all my stuff offline as I asked for a Consent Order to be agreed with the former label, whereby I retain copyright of all my back catalogue. Its such a relief to be able to do that. I was also looking for the right digital distributor and was in two minds about signing with a new label or not. I ended up not approaching anyone and decided to self-release as I can outspend any smaller label, hire my own PR guys, fund my own merch, music videos etc so whats the point of letting anyone else have a final say In my music unless they can bring something unique to the table that I cant provide myself.
All my music will be back online again soon, ready for the release of the current album as I found a good digital distributor run by A.I. programming. Now there is nothing more cyberpunk than that!
Thank you for you time Dr. Magic. Elektro Vox looks forward to a more in depth interview in future for the official release.
First impressions: This album feels full of meaning from the second it starts to the moment it fades out. In the world of industrial music it is always a pleasure when bands experiment or accidentally set their own niche sub genre.
There are countless variations to our world of music and this is what I can only describe as Neo Speed Punk Industrial, do with that what you will; yet this album incorporates many style and its hard to pin down specifically which only adds to the richness and satisfaction I have found in listening to it.
There is the constant feeling of rage against the system that is destroying our world. An outcry of anger at the politicians and greedy 1% snuffing the world in to extinction, it is albums like this that spread the necessary anarchistic outcry for change. Many of the tracks put me somewhere between the punk aggression era of the ‘Sex Pistols’ and the Drum and Bass illegal raves of the 90’s, and early 2000’s. Yet with the modern sounds of heavy metal bass and industrial synths thrown in to the entire album, it could not only be the backing track to a new Mad Max universe film as I have mentioned in the interview, but it could also be an ideal backing to a cyberpunk future based film where collapse was always inevitable. I even get a slight hint of that crazy Japanese band ‘Guitar Wolf’ coming through. All I can say is, this isn’t the future, this album is a call to wake up NOW, we already live in the Neo dark ages...
1. Being Human An almost emotionless female synthetic voice narrates ironically on what it is to be human over a steady beat, building up the tension and expectation. The voice telling us that
"To be alive is to feel loss, that our own apocalypse is what defines us." It sets the album up for the dissociation between humans who suffer and the uncaring machine of the world that does not, and nor does it care. Such is the world of cyberpunk. You are stepping in to an album of Orwellian nature, or are you? This is going to be a very powerful track to warm the audience up before the Doctor rips them a new one.
2. Walk amongst rebels
Drum and bass in the style of ‘The Prodigy’ comes at you for the title track of the album. It feels like a remix of the generation we have experience this past thirty or so years and it sounds brilliant. This is a deep bass acid trip with the riffs to back it up.
“We are fallen angels who walk amongst rebels.”
3. Hate is a goldmine If the political nature inherent in this album was not already apparent, it is now. With powerful lyrics playing on the UK parliament such as.. “The lies to the left, the lies to the right.” ..A wonderful hint towards the house voting on the ayes to the left and the noes to the right possibly? This being followed by the chorus which is going to be a great sing along piece live.. "We will not quit, when the world turns to shit!" This is a pulse pounding track to get you moving and worth spilling your drink over.
4. Unrepentant anger It is in this track that the Doof Warrior first came to mind. The guitar, although not powerful throughout the entire song, makes a huge impact that comes in to focus occasionally for even better effect. It’s hard, it’s fast, it’s dirty, it’s industrial and it’s one to lose your mind to as it fades out to contrasting Victorian fanfare music.
5. Angel 41
In a change from the rest of the album we find the perfect midway rest. It’s a beautifully melodic track with vocals that underlie a deep sense of emotion for the story it is trying to put across. It makes a lot of use of the more synthetic sound of industrial music and it does it well, putting you in a peaceful mindset.
It’s a great piece to reflect on not only the album so far, but what might be going on in your own world at the time. This once again feels like the mixing of genres and experimentation that add to the cyberpunk feel. Even if the rest of the album isn’t for some, this track will probably be loved by most, if not all electro-heads.
6. Fight for the future Electronic synths throw down in the mosh pit with punk in this aggression filled piece and if Dr. Magic doesn’t get a mosh pit going to this track then I will be surprised! “I don’t want to, but I’m gonna, fighting for our future!” sums up the attitude of the entire world right now. We never wanted to get to the point of violence, but what else can we do to save the planet and our species? In this gut ripping track the true spirit of Anarchy shines.
7. Scavenging our ruins Another great song for a crowd to sing along to no doubt. At this stage in the album you get the sense the world is too far gone, what hope left is there? But of course, the spirit of carrying on and fighting still prevails in the music, ending in a cacophony of musical chaos in correlation with the state of the story so far.
8. Bulldoze Everything
Have you ever played a Devil May Cry game? The second the demons show up, the heavy guitar riffs build and send sheer excitement through your veins. Hell, even Combichrist ended up doing a whole album for one of the Devil May Cry games so the link to the industrial is there regardless. The opening to this track is that same kick ass sound and feeling, only it’s not time to kick demon ass, it’s time to tear down the elite who caused all the world's problems. The true evil. A very powerful track that is more punk metal than industrial but it fits perfectly with the ebb and flow of the album’s experimentation. I have to say this song is brilliant and a must listen.
The official music video for this BEAST of a track is already on YouTube via the link below!
9. Before we fell The electronic female voice returns to narrate how mankind was before it collapsed, sounding almost remorseful this time. This is the warning from the future that we seemingly will never listen to. The tragedy starts to creep in. This mix up of Drum and bass, industrial, and even hard style dance influence will be enough to put crowds in dance frenzies and I see this being a floor filler for many DJ’s in the future.
10. The Leviathan And just like that I was blown away. I thought I had this album figured out, that the messages of concept were already strong and there were no surprises coming now. How wrong was I? This track opens up to several quotes of Thomas Hobbes, from the book Leviathan. Hobbes was a 17th century English philosopher who questioned to what extent should people be patient in obeying corrupt rulers, and what point and extent should we stand up in revolution to form a better world?
In Jason’s own word’s:
Looking at what he wrote, its depressingly relevant for these current times with Trump and Brexit. I used a selection of his phrases for the verses of each track:
“Hell is truth seen too late. Fact are good or vicious as fortune sees them. Where we build on false grounds, The more we build The greater the ruin. The passions of men are stronger than their reason. A man is a wolf to another man. A world that cannot be divided must be shared. Desire of praise brings terrible deeds. Forsake the end if you abandon the means.”
For the vocal styles I wanted to do two personalities – a sort of Emanuel Goldstein (1984), older man who has seen it all and will be ignored despite carrying warnings for humanity. The second persona is a shouty one again. I wanted to channel a classic cinematic bad guy – the one that used to be good, but has seen too much shit and has been driven insane by it all. In my mind, he is burned, scarred and a shadow of the person he once was. Almost like if Mad Max went all Gollum. I was so nervous about doing vox on that track as I kept getting emotional but I decided to keep the rawness in, even if my voice kept breaking. My own lyrics for the chorus were improvised in the studio by just channeling what I see is going on in the world – ignoring the lessons of The Leviathan will be the end of us all.
“I’ve seen it all In The Leviathan Man’s Inhumanity to man.
A silent dying world. Sounds decay like fading embers”
The more game orientated among us will remember when Thane in Mass effect 2 also quoted Leviathan when talking about his own dying planet and people.. "When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death."
The wonderful thing about this track however is not just this wonderful remembrance of history repeating itself but the sheer anger and subsequent tragedy of the the state of the world that we all know in our hearts. This track mixes piano, spoken word, screamed lyrics, guitar riffs, synthetics, and even breaks down slightly for a much more traditional cyber / industrial goth sound.
There is no way I can further describe it to you but this is my favourite of the album, wrapping everything up perfectly in a bitter sweet come down.
If you only listen to one track by SYD.31 in the future, let it be this.
This is a great comeback from SYD.31 and much more refined and perfected than before. It may not be to everyone's taste as punk is not a genre that often mixes with industrial, and the more traditional dance or rave expectations of industrial music don't stand out. However this album is a fine example of the unity that industrial music can bring to all walks of life and ideas. I highly recommend it to everyone in our community. 'Specially Da WARBOYS!
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