Posts Tagged ‘hardcore motherfucker’

I’m on the right sitting in the courtyard of Sheffield Corporation with Leighton, co-promoter of Resistanz. Leighton’s first gig as promoter was Ultraviolence back in 2004, and he invited me up to Resistanz last year as a guest. He offered Ultraviolence the chance to play on April 8th 2012, effectively a comeback show as we hadn’t played live for seven years, because of my ill health. I had hoped to be completely cured for over a year before committing to the huge task of getting a new band together and mixing the music up to date, but it was too good an opportunity to pass on.

Here we are on the Sunday afternoon, dressed down rather. Our new singer Sam has chosen a post-post modern  fairisle number, whilst I’ve gone with a blue “save the tiger” T! The show sold out, so an audience  of 1000+ would have intimidated anyone not used to large audiences, however Sam remained composed and sang singing Elektra and Separation, as well as handling the soundcheck well. Most people get embarrassed with the inevitable “one-two-ing” which are part of the job. Sam will be performing more tracks at our next show and I’ll be writing new material for her voice shortly. Being part of an all day line-up can make getting a good sound difficult – my long time sound engineer John Paul did a brilliant job on the mix, along with assistant Tristan and the Corporation’s Pete & Mark.

One big change from the last time we played out is the speed of information with use of smart phones – here Mel Allezbleu has been caught miscommunicating. Mel was Ultraviolence grinder in 2004-5, now repatriated to keyboardist, a role she had performed many times in shows with Icon of Coil and The Chaos Engine, amongst others. Some might be expect that bands with female/pretty keyboard players would be miming, but we didn’t consider that as an option here – it’s all done right or not at all. It’s tough to learn keyboard lines the Ultraviolence way as I tend to go with intricate drones, as opposed to the simple melody approach favoured by much electro-industrial music. After much work we got there, all sounding killer. Luckily Mel’s fave synth, the K-Station as a virtual equvilant in the V-Station so we were able to bounce sounds around via email.

With the band now being a four piece there won’t always be room (or venue licencing) for angle grinder or fire swingers, so we’re hiring on a show by show basis. Here are the brilliant and charming Asha Tank and Eve Dearbhail Travis, master portraits of health and cool. Asha and Eve her good enough to agree to angle grind for us at the last minute when it became clear that the show demanded it, performing on Macochist Fury, Stigmata and Hardcore Motherfucker 2012.

Guitarist and keyboard player Paul Bachelor has been a friend to Ultraviolence since his previous band Ion played with us at The Electric Ballroom, Camden in 2001. We were larking around on Facebook when we came up with the idea of having live guitar in a UV show. This was a pretty big step – I made no secret in previous years of the fact that most of the music was played off a digital tape so to risk the pitfalls of live performance was always a risk. However, I really didn’t want to comeback the same as 2005, so more live stuff was an exciting challenge. We all needed eye protection from the grinding sparks and here Paul sports a pair of shades in a photograph that  brings to mind a cybernetic John Lydon.

A few minutes before stage time and nerves were a bit raw – first live show for seven years, completely new band, six people on stage, fast festival equipment changeover – what could possibly go wrong? I really did think I’d been a fucking idiot and over-reached myself completely at various stages of preparation, but when the lights go down and the music comes on everything changes, the world as I know it ceases to exist and my only purpose becomes to express the side of my personality that I do not otherwise show. To expose the inner soul and to attack. To make the bass drum reign.

I had worried that I would be nervous when onstage but was not so at all and felt completely at home by the end of the second track, Joan. The audience were tremendous – I hope you all know how grateful we were for our awesome reception – we really had no idea what to expect. My muscles were all tensed for the entire 45 minutes but I didn;t notice any discomfort at all at the time. I once came off the stage with a hand covered in dried blood from a hand injury but noticed no pain for hours.

The set worked out that there were quite a few tracks for my vocals, but I still had a fair bit of kit to operate as well. I mixed the live electronics through a 12 channel Mackie mixing desk, along with a Novation Xio keyboard and a Korg Monotron hooked up to a Behringer vocoder. Fucking Beheinger broke, though so no electronic voice sounds. A shame as I spent considerable time and money getting it all going, but on the other hand the show went so well without it’s kind of got that hassle out of the way and I’ll be leaving the stupid thing at home next time. The Xio has a nice XY pad for sound manipulation wich I enjoyed using, especially on Death of a Child. I might expand on that idea and use an iPad next time out in London this August but we’ll see.

Mel looking magnificently imposing with her K Station perched upon a gun metal Ultimate Support stand,  complete with custom LED’s. The live keyboards added unpredictability and potential chaos to the show, although I detected no mistakes whatsoever. The live filters are never the same twice. Some smart clothes choices and excellent lighting by Tom Arnold helped all of us to look our best.

Paul looks every inch the rockstar here. He even brought along a Marshall amp which sounded totally kicking, a supercharged V12 of a noise. Paul had a bit of a torture test learning the apparently random attack bursts of Electronic Death Resistanz, amongst others but was more than up to the challenge.

All these great photos were taken by Dokka Chapman, who was kind enough to put up with us for the weekend – this is my favourite. I do the occaisional guest lecture to music tech students and I always say that to follow the route my life has – writing and performing leftfield electronic music – you can’t expect to earn than a basic living – possibly not even that. But you may get to keep moments that you  absolutely cannot buy with any amount of money. I have a few – the first playback of my finished first album was the best but what you see here runs it close. I had been in some humbling physical and emotional pain for a long time and to have my music appreciated isn’t something that I’ll ever take for granted. To see myself and the band like this – built from nothing –  is an achievement I’ll always treasure, no matter what happens. In many ways I am very lucky.

Thanks again to the band and everyone else I’ve mentioned as well as Phyll, Stuart, Gadge, Sian, Jaf, Lee and Sam for helping to make this the best Ultraviolence show ever.

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