Straight outta Chicago by way of Madison, Wisconsin come The Gothsicles! Characterized by their spastic live shows and cheeky, video game inspired lyrics, the project has claimed a spot at the vanguard of industrial artists who aren’t afraid to spike their tunes with a healthy dose of humour. On the eve of the release of the new album Industrialites and Magic, the dude behind the band Brian Graupner took some time to answer a few of ID:UD’s questions about the new record and what it’s like to be a fun band in the spoooooky scene.
ID:UD: You’ve consistently used humor front and center in your lyrics and song titles. Is that a direct response to the evil-hate-everything-super-cyber-serious attitude of a lot of scene bands or or is it just what comes out when you write? Do you find your use of humor deters people from taking your music seriously, and does that matter at all?
Brian: Right. I think maybe it started out with that reactionary mindset, but really this comedy bullshit is just what’s in my heart. I’ve actually been slowly experimenting with darker material lately, but wacky ass industrial dance music is just what I do.
I’ve talked a lot about humor as a deterrent to acceptance with other similar artists and there’s a pretty good discussion of it between me, Eric of Everything Goes Cold and Matt of Caustic on the “Caustic’s Detox” podcast. To actually answer your question, though, yeah, I get some people wtffin’, but it’s not like I don’t get it. It’s pretty niche shit and not everyone’s gonna dig it. Comes with the territory.
On the other hand, though, “fun” industrial or whatever you want to call it is really kinda picking up right now. Caustic, Everything Goes Cold, Boole, Alter der Ruine, Santa Hates You, The Dark Clan, etc. are all putting out super, super shit and we’re all really supportive of each other as people. It’s actually a really exciting time to be alive.
ID:UD: While we always like to tell friends outside of the scene that nobody laughs at themselves as much as goths, we have to imagine that not everyone has appreciated having been taken down a peg by you guys, directly or indirectly (personally, after years of joking about starting an English translation service for European EBM bands, we were overjoyed to hear “English License”). Without naming names, do you have any stories about pissed off bands, promoters, label owners, etc.?
Brian: Dude, due to that track, I completely thought I fucked up this really fantastic opportunity for guest vocals with this band I was amazingly excited to work with. It turns out he was just fuckin’ with me and it was hilarious. People are awesome sometimes.
ID:UD: On the flip side, who’s the person who’s been the most receptive to your guys’ humour that you might not have expected? Tom Shear remixed and did some extra vocals for your “Mix This Song Into A23’s ‘Maps of Reality'”; is there anyone else who’s notable for being a good sport?
Brian: Rexx Arkana is one funny motherfucker. Before I ever met them, I set The Gothsicles’ myspace profile pic to an old picture of FGFC820 from when they were doing the whole bloody tears thing, just to see what would happen. Not only did they think that was hilarious, they introduced themselves on stage as The Gothsicles at this festival we both played a couple months later in Chicago. Rexx later did some live improv guest vox on a ‘sicles track at the Triton Festival in NYC and I just about laughed my nutsack in twain. Mad love for FGFC820.
ID:UD:You wrote “Holy Shit We’re Playing Kinetik!” for your 2010 performance at Festival Kinetik in Montreal and “The First Band Ever To Play Resistanz Festival (We’re #1)” for Resistanz. Any special story for those, or is it just to have something special for the festival goers, and compilation CDs?
Brian: When festivals of that caliber want me on their bill, I get amazingly effin’ pumped and those songs are the result. It would be dishonest of me to write any other kind of track for those comps. I should’ve done one for Triton, but didn’t have time ’cause I suck.
ID:UD: You had a song on Sega Lugosi’s Dead called “It Could Definitely at Least be Argued That the Whole Video Game Thing is Getting Kind of Old”. Is that just you guys being self-deprecating, or was it something you tried to get away from on the new album Industrialites and Magic?
Brian: Self deprecation has always been my go-to move, so there’s at least a hint of that in most of my tracks, but yeah, you’re absolutely right on the idea of getting away from the whole idea of being strictly “a video game band”. I’m never going to stop doing songs about Nintendo games, ’cause that comprises a lot of what I love, but it’s like, I like other stuff, too.
ID:UD: Speaking of video games, are you still an avid gamer? What are some of your formative systems and games?
Brian: Classic NES is forever my jam for forever. River City Ransom, Megaman 2, Double Dragon, GI Joe, Dragon Warrior, Bucky O’Hare, Shadowgate, and M.C. Kids are all extremely close to my heart. The sight of an original Galaga arcade machine galvanizes my entire body.
ID:UD: You’ve done tons of collaborations, both as guests on your albums and on others records, including some vocals on the upcoming Santa Hates You album. Are those just grassroots types of meet-ups, or are you out there approaching artists you like to work with?
Brian: Santa Hates You kinda came out of nowhere and just about caused a cardiac event ’cause Project Pitchfork is my fuckin’ band. Jim Semonik of Rein[Forced] introduced Peter Spilles to our stuff via the Electronic Saviors compilation and then Herr Spilles sent me an email and then magic happened. Look for the album Jolly Roger, coming out August 12, 2011 on Trisol Music Group GmbH.
I don’t think I’ve ever approached anyone about me doing guest vox on their albums, but I’m always happy to oblige. I think this community we have is really, really great.
ID:UD: Your music and sensibility has always reminded us of Atom & his Package and you also seemingly take some influences from chiptune. Is going beyond industrial for inspiration important?
Brian: Atom was a big influence early on, certainly. But yeah, I don’t think anyone would say that going beyond a particular genre for ideas isn’t phenomenally important. To paraphrase the great Louis CK, it’s important to be on the fringe because that’s where good ideas come from.
ID:UD: What can you tell our readers to expect from “Industrialites and Magic”?
Brian: Just a bunch of horse shit.
Industrialites and Magic is out today on Wax Trax II. You can purchase the CD with full download direct from the label’s website.