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Thursday, 14 February 2013

What is 'Love'?


So it is that most divisive of days on the calendar…


Regardless of your position on the validity of such a day, lets talk about love.

Don’t worry this isn’t going to be some mushy monologue about romance and whatnot.

Instead, lets talk about music and the love of it.

I have been in love with music since I was probably about 14 years old when I bought ‘Smash’ by the Offspring and it blew my mind, it was so different to what I had grown up with, or heard on the radio…It spoke to my teen angst in a way that I believe changed me significantly.

MANY YEARS LATER: Whilst my tastes have changed, music remains a driving force in my life, playing a massive part in my personal and professional life…as a music fan, musician and Label owner.

But why do we do it? Why do we spend so much of our money on a collection of structured sound waves, either collecting them or making them?

As any musician will tell you, its not to get rich…that is a 1 in a million shot.

Is it for fame?

I don’t think so; there are easier ways to get famous and certainly cheaper/easier ones.

Why does that kid sit in his room practicing guitar licks for 4 hours a day? Why does that 30 something guy keep getting in that van and playing shitty pub gigs to 20 people? Why does that couple spend every penny they earn to follow their favourite artist around the country on their tour?

I wish I could tell you but I am as bamboozled as to the significance of music as anyone, but I will say one thing…I am glad I have it in my life!

I would love to hear about your stories and your relationship with music, so please comment and let me know!!!

For those of you that are fans of valentines and are looking to spend the evening with your special one, here is the awesome track ‘A Spark In The Air’ by MiXE1:

For those that would rather the whole thing just went away and shut up, here is ‘Parasite’ by Defeat:

PS. Message to the Missus, happy valentine’s day Kathy ;)


  1. "What Is Love?" you say Steve.

    Mmm well that song had a big influence on why i got into music, why i love music and why i wanted to be involved. But not Haddaway. No i'm talking about Howard Jones' version (which is a much better song in my opinion.

    Howard Jones arrived in 1983 and became my first musical hero. And maybe the fact that he wrote purely electronic music is the only reason why my musical tastes went the way they did. And then that year i met my best mate Gary, who was into synths and that's the origins of Defeat.

    The early 80's rise of electronic bands then came to our attention and the mid-80's arrival of samplers to play with whet the appetite and we started writing together. Depeche Mode and Howard Jones continuing to be the main influence until my college years, when heavier influences came to my attention. NIN, Nitzer Ebb, 242,FLA, MBM, etc. Yes it's the usual bands but they were the best at what they did. Still are. Those among us who loved those bands are wet with anticipation when they release something new.

    We all bitch when Trent Reznor comes up with another side project that isn't quite Pretty Hate Machine or the Downward Spiral. But we do it because we love him. Because we love the way his music made us feel. And because he is good at what he does. The fact that after all these years he is getting Oscar recognition for music is a massive achievement. Who predicted that future for him when they firsts heard Closer!

    The crazy Depeche Mode fans love everything they do without fail. Yes, there is a certain amount of 30 year brain-washing going on there but we love the nostalgia of it. We live in hope of another Violator album. I for one love that they are still there. Still doing it. Proving that electronic music can out-do all the mediocre pop and rock bands over the years and continue to be loved. We all know that the will never reach the giddy heights of the late 80's / early 90's but there are three generations of families out there that know their songs.

    Nitzer Ebb. Doug's unique voice and lyrics. That's one of my jealousies. To be able to make a living from a musical style that will never break the mainstream. To be universally loved by a whole genre but not be known. To live your life doing what you do, never compromising, and still be as good as they are. And unlike Depeche Mode, producing an album after 25 years as good and as well respected as their early work.

    But let's get back to the love we have for music. For the art of music. And it is an art. For me it is the emotion of it. The emotions in me that i need to get out, i do through my lyrics and through Gary's basslines, beats and melodies. To scream and shout out my thoughts to the world at a gig or from my stereo let's out those emotions. Some people get in a boxing ring. Some people take it out on other's with a pint and a fight down the pub. Some people beat their wives to let these stresses out. But music to me is that outlet.

    And then it's the feelings you get from music. I don't care if it's a House tune, or D&B, or Techno, or even Rap or R&B. If a song, or even just a "track" or tune moves me in some way, and it is well put together, then what's not to love. Having said that i am very single-minded and brain-washed towards electronic "industrial" music. You play something enough and you'll love it. But only if it's good. We are drawn to nostalgia. Those early influences are inbred into my brain. If i hear something new to replace those early bands i loved then even better. More to follow and look forward to.

    I do ramble and rant. And go off subject a wee bit. But that's why i do it. That's some of the reasons why i love it.


    Lord Anthony of Defeat.

  2. Why do I love music? Simply put because of how it can make you feel. Some songs can evoke a memory or a feeling that words alone cannot.

    A simple example: this very morning whilst driving in to work I was in the mood for some old 50s and 60 music - dunno why, I just was. So I tuned the radio to Gold 1548AM - a station my dear old mum used to have on constantly at home.

    So after a few songs the DJ announced he'd be playing some Bachman Turner Overdrive, which caused me the start laughing and quoting Harry Enfield sketches to myself - I will forever associate that song with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse playing "Smashie and Nicey". The only song they ever played was BTO's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet", as it was their "all time favourite song of all time" by the "Three Wise Men of Rock - Mr. Bachman, Mr. Turner and Mr. Overdrive". I spent the rest of the drive into work thinking about those sketches fondly, as I remember them as being very funny.

    Coming back to a band nearer our "genre" as it were, hearing "Stripped" by Depeche Mode live in their heyday during the Violator tour makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I've always wanted to try and convey that feeling myself in the music I write.

    Gary (Defeat)

  3. Great post, Steve! I'll try to keep it short and sweet but my musical love story.. Before I was proper *into* music when I was a kid I was listening to pop music, Queen (still love them today actually), Madness for some reason.. Then one day I heard the song 'Blind' on the soundtrack a Street Fighter II anime movie.. and I said "Thats really different, what's that?" ...I found out the name of the band was Korn and phoned the nearest Virgin/HMV (whatever it was back then) and asked if they had any and they had the most recent album at the time 'Issues'. I went with my dad and bought and BAM! From then on fell in love with music.. It was a totally different feeling to everything I'd listened to before and threw me headfirst into alternative music. Through the years went through a variety genres from alt, metal, pop, electronic, whatever :)

    Echoing the statements from the Defeat, music to me is very much about the feeling - how the music, the lyrics resonate with you personally and make you feel. I'm fortunate that I can find the things in music that inspire me in a number of musical styles and urge people not to limit themselves to just one genre :) Hey it only takes one band to spark you off!

    Mike (MiXE1)

  4. Music is a huge part of my life, and the journey began when I bought my first CD,which was Queens Innuendo in 1995. This began my first musical passion, classic rock. I spent all my after school job money collecting classic albums by The Doors, Pink Floyd and The Who among others. My teenage years was dominated by music, and spent the whole summer holidays listening to whole records with friends while having a few brews or a smoke.

    Inevitably, tastes changed, and began a new love affair with metal. The harsher, more aggressive guitars and extreme lyrical themes would resonate more with me. In my later teenage years, I would always carry a copy of Machine Head's Through The Ashes Of Empires with me to house parties and to bung on my walkman.

    The first record that really made me go "wow" was NINs The Downward Spiral. It was the album that really made me fall in love with electronic music, and ultimately, to become a musician. From there, I discovered Warp Records, and bought as many of their artists as my limited Virgin or HMV stores stocked.

    Music to me, and more specifically, certain albums have been the soundtrack to my life. Too many albums and occasions to mention, but music continues to be a love that fills my life. As time goes on, music will always evolve and change, the way we buy and listen to music is ever rapidly changing, and as an individual and my tastes diverge. It's a continuing journey, and one that will always enjoy

    Matt (Digital Deformation)

  5. 'Music is an outburst of the soul' - Frederick Delius

    For me this sums up everything about music. There's a reason that music can remind you of your first dance, your first kiss or a lost relative. Music enters our brains and touches the very fabric of what makes us human. Very few stimulus affect us in such a way.

    Mankind's ability to make music pre-dates our ability to communicate with words. Languages are manipulated and changed constantly to keep up with new expression. The foundation of western music and it's 12 tones has not needed to be changed since 1585 when equal temperament was introduced and devised. This says it all for me about how perfect music is for us.

    As for me personally, music was all around me growing up with my Father always having the radio on in the house. It wasn't until I was around 14 that I discovered the emerging Nu-Metal scene with the likes of Linkin Park and Papa Roach that I began to fully take notice and find my own tastes. From that point on music became an obsession.

    Now 10 years later after numerous musical failures and the realisation of dreams and inspiration that may never come true I still pursue music as strongly as ever. Maybe if if I had chosen a different path I might have more money, regular guaranteed work etc but I still stick with music and as I speak have very little money in my bank account.......

    Quite honestly I couldn't be happier.....

  6. Music is my religion. The only pure thing left in this world. We speak many languages, but music is the only universal one.

    My first CD ever was a Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits CD before their album "One Hot Minute" came out featuring the hits "True Men Don't Kill Coyotes," "Fight Like a Brave," "Fire," etc.

    I grew up listening to Metallica with my Dad, and then when the original Mtv came on, I had been exposed to 90's artists like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, the Offspring.. and one day I saw this music video by Marilyn Manson for their cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and I was scarred for life.

    I caught myself thinking, "I want to grow up and be like that."

    My brother got me into Korn in 1995, so I naturally went the metal route. Finding White Zombie, Deftones, then Fear Factory, Pantera, Slayer, etc. The only industrial bands I liked were NIN, Manson, KMFDM & Bile--I hadn't heard anything else. When Antichrist Superstar came out, I had to find a version that did not have the slipcover--which had the explicit lyrics warning--so that my step-Mom would let me buy it. She wouldn't let me buy Smells Like Children because of "Rock & Roll Nigger," "Fuck Frankie," & "May Cause Discoloration of the Urine & Feces."

    Listening to music was/ is the only way I knew/ know how to feel alive.

    In 1998 I moved to Seattle from Colorado Springs, this is when my love for music really blossomed. I wouldn't listen to anything if it wasn't metal before Washington. In 2000 I saw Mindless Self Indulgence open up for Korn on the Sick & Twisted Tour (another life changing experience) which really opened up my mind.

    In middle school, I started working for street team companies like Streetwise Concepts & Culture, Bandbitch, and various bands official street teams. This is where I developed my keen promotion skills, and my ability to network.

    It wasn't until KMFDM's "Attak" came out that I really started getting into Industrial. I thought Combichrist was annoying as fuck until I saw them open up for KMFDM on Halloween in Seattle in 2006.. Combichrist's live performance completely blew KMFDM's out of the water.

    When I listen to music, I listen for the vocals, what the lyrical content is, how the music is arranged, how the music is presented, the mixing and mastering.

    My tastes have vastly changed, and expanded over the years. Currently, I listen to a lot of dark electro, deathcore/ metal, conscious hip-hop, psychobilly & a lot of female vocalists.

    My favorite album of all time is Nine Inch Nails "the Fragile" -- Wax-Heart Records Ltd. has secretly been gathering artists to cover the aforementioned album in it's entirety, 32 songs. Only 6 songs are left, and we're only accepting applicants who are not American artists for these songs.

    Most Influental Albums for my music:
    Nine Inch Nails "the Fragile"
    Marilyn Manson "Antichrist Superstar"
    Cradle of Filth "Midian"
    Suicide Silence "No Time to Bleed"
    Atreyu "the Curse"
    Combichrist "What the Fuck is Wrong with You People?"
    the Dillinger Escape Plan "Option Paralysis"

    Top Anticipated Releases of 2013:
    Demona Mortiss "???"
    Asylum Black "Omen"
    God Destruction "Novus Ordo Seclorum"
    the Dillinger Escape Plan "???"

  7. Posted on behalf of Digital Diktator ;)

    Part I

    Well then my friends, let‘s talk about love.....for musick:)

    Since i was born into a family of musicians, my love for musick began at an early age, somewhere around the age of 2 or 3. Back then, i was touring around with my dads band and every time they took a 5, i went on stage to pound that snare or kick back behind the piano/synth.:) Of course, back then i just wanted to produce sounds/noise, without any sense of direction:) Started listening to the usual suspects - Iron Maiden, Guns N Roses, Megadeth, Anthrax,etc.... and quickly wanted to form a band of my own. And, i think it was the year of 1985, when i, as a 5 year old kid, heard a death metal tune on the radio for the first time and i was mesmerized!! One could say, i was born into it, because i never had a "gateway" band or genre from which i would start gradually towards metal like the majority of people. I was born and became an occultist and metalhead. There was nothing before:)

    As the years went by, i noticed that i do not see music in the same way others do. For me it was always a more spiritual thing rather than entertainment. And it was at about the age of 8 that i discovered, that i am more of an occultist than a metalhead, and that other genres, like the already explored Death and the newly emerging Black Metal, should have the "Lucifer Effect" too, where i could experience other infernal sounds and frequencies for my mind, heart and soul, produced by likeminded people, but who maybe went a different direction musick wise. But since there was a lack of info about that ( no internet or magazines on that subject ), i continued my metal journey until Max and other musick stores began popping up in our part of the forest:) And I could finally find out a lot more about a number of different bands and genres, unknown to me before.

    And so it was that, as i was searching for other genres and bands thereof, which would propel me into the farthest reaches of the galaxy, where Lucifer would welcome me into his realm and show me the secrets of the universe, in the year of 1993 i stumbled upon the amazing genre of DarkWave! Well, i bet there are a number of new genre names for these bands by now, but for me, it will always stay DarkWave! The best genre name ever.....in my opinion. So with bands like Blutengel and Das Ich, i started my journey through the world of electro, while constantly upgrading my Metal repertoire. Because i always believed that one should expand rather than devolve. And as a musician, listening to one genre, degrades you.

    To Be Continued...

  8. Part II of Digital Diktator's comment:

    A few years and hundreds of new bands and a few new genres later, i expanded through the world of Metal and all its sub-genres, into and throughout Underground Hip Hop and Horrorcore, through the vibrations of DarkWave, Industrial, Drum N Bass, Dub, Dubstep and so forth. One should never limit themselves, because every genre has one or more bands/artists which one could like. I‘ve proven that a number of times:) And since my musickal search is still ongoing i believe i will find new and exciting bands/genres in the years to come. But ok, this is me, i see musick as something spiritual, something beautiful and just a part of my daily life, almost something paranormal. Maybe if one is into musick for entertaining purposes, he or she sees/feels musick in a different way and never find likable bands other than those in the preferred genre. So, to each its own, but i never understood hating on bands. If one doesn‘t like it, one shouldn‘t listen to it. Because there are probably thousands of people out there who do like this certain band/genre.

    And i apply the same principle into my music. In both bands, the metal band Lycanthrope and my own electro project/band Digital Diktator i choose not to limit myself. Although in the metal band i am "only" the drummer and am one of five people involved so i am just responsible for the drum/percussion elements other than that, we do everything together, since only me and the singer see/feel musick as something spiritual and do not want to limit ourselves. With Digital Diktator on the other hand, where i am The Diktator and puppet master, where all three of us see musick the same way, AND REALLY HATE LIMITING OURSELVES, we go with our hearts and souls, to create something which would make us extremely uplifted, enlightened and fill us with tranquility, excitement and happiness.

    So, do i love musick? YES I DO!!! More than humanity, more than this planet, more than my country, more than anything really. Even food:) Why? Because I sometimes didn‘t eat in school or an entire day - i rather spent the money on cds:))) Occultism and musick - these are my weapons:) And the internet is a double edged sword when it comes to musick. Ok, when digital downloads were actually illegal or non existent, it was heaven!!!! You had to really dig in and find what you wanted and only people who knew about it, the die hard fans, were listening to it. Nowadays people just download whatever they want and make nothing of it. For them, musick is something for fun, the noise in the car, that helps you not to fall asleep, etc..... I know i‘ve said it COUNTLESS OF TIMES, but, I REALLY DON‘T LIKE DIGITAL DOWNLOADS!!! They destroy the essence of the artist, the atmosphere of the album, the artists vision of the album through the layout, cover, etc... there is nothing. It‘s like watching a sci fi movie but instead of the movie, u see the actors in front of a blue or green screen. It‘s like eating a burger without fries. And i really don‘t like it... Would prefer if it all went back. Ok, yes, i don‘t have any problems with artists who release albums on cds, vinyl AND digital download. And i am a fan of a couple of artists who still don‘t have enough resources to release cds, but still, for me the CD will always prevail, and great bands will always release albums on cd along with other media. And that‘s why i am still not a serial killer:) Because of my daily supply of "meds", spirituality/occultism and of course, MUSICK!!!

    I know i wrote another novel, but it is something i really love and no blog about musick is short enough in my opinion:))

    And in conclusion as always, i wish you all the best in your audial journey, Shemhamforash and may the ancient ones bless thee

    yours truly,

    The Diktator

  9. PART I:
    I’ll take the daunting task of explaining my complex love for music:

    Whether it be the new wave and alternative of the 80s (some of the earliest memories my family has of my music obsession was drumming along to Psychedelic Furs madly as a 2 year old), or hair metal and pop music on Saturday morning tv like Solid Gold & Soul Train (Twisted Sister and Gary Numan come to mind), my earliest childhood memories had music somewhere in the background, if only to take a backseat to my love of Transformers and the pop cartoons of the decade.

    When I remember music really taking over, was when I turned around 11-12: a few things happen- I got a cassette of Nirvana- Nevermind for x-mas from my aunt, my sister didn’t like her Cure ‘Wish’ album (but, needless to say, I became obsessed with it), and my dad played me ‘Unknown Pleasure’ by Joy Division on vinyl. Almost overnight, I became this weird amalgam of periods in music: grunge flannel worn over Joy Division t-shirts while listening to lots of Bad Religion and other forms of punk rock (though never Offspring or Green Day, let’s be clear ;) ); it is a dichotomy that has characterized me my whole life.

    My teenage years were largely shaped by The Cure, Joy Division, Love & Rockets, the Psychedelic Furs- at a time when my friends were rocking the Pearl Jam and grunge stuff, I was listening to Standing on A Beach on vinyl, annoying anyone who would come over. I never fit in, but once Marilyn Manson hit with Antichrist Superstar, teenagers came around to the whole “goth” thing, and I was on much more comfortable ground. I started getting into Cleopatra Records at this point a lot, and as my teenage years were entering the college years, Beggars Banquet and Cleo re-issued all the old Gary Numan albums, and I found a new idol. In the last year of high school into college, I started getting heavily into the 90s goth coming out at the time, as well as electro bands like Laeatherstrip, Hocico, Apoptygma Berzerk, etc…

  10. PART II:

    I saw as much music as possible live- we saw everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Cracker, the Cure, and Marilyn Manson to Killing Joke, Rammstein, Stabbing Westward, the Creatures, and KMFDM, etc… At a Killing Joke show in 1995 I first heard ‘Headhunter’ by Front242, and started my first explorations into industrial music. During all this time, I started to discover more and more bands through my dad and through my own exploration: Nick Drake, early Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Ultravox, Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch, Patti Smith, etc…

    My dad always fostered my love of music- I started taking guitar lessons at 13, and mastered guitar, piano, keyboards, bass, and more through the years. When I first started college, the first year I majored in commercial music management, and did take some audio engineering courses- I soon decided I was more interested in learning about history and religion (I had my heart set on going to Seminary by that point) than EQ and mastering though, and my destiny was changed again. This was partly due to changing intellectual interests, but also due to the fact that I saw downloading was on the rise, and I had a billion-to-one shot to actually make a living at music in any way (underground or not)- so a few months after switching from hardware recording to my first DAW, I turned in my rocker badge for a theology geek badge.

    While I drifted away from music for a few years because of my studies and by choice, I never really stopped following music. Music has always been there for me- when you’re depressed, when you’re alone, when you’re feeling the world crashing down, the music is the glue that keeps your world together.

    Sorry to write an essay, but to wrap things up: when I finally came full-circle to supporting music again, I wanted to do something more than what I had been doing to show my appreciation for what music has done for me. I started a group, I started a podcast, I started helping to promote bands… None of it seemed to be enough to me, so I started Engraved Ritual. The label has done pretty good and we’ve helped a lot of people. I’m proud of that. Hopefully others will like what we do as well- I’m grateful for those that do:

    Web presence:



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