Rather be underground
Void Construct's Scott Walker discusses their second album and where he sees the band in the current scene.
Scott Walker is someone that doesn't quite fit in at Dark Jubilee. Visually, he looks more like a roadie than a performer, with his really long hair and baggy clothing one can easily imagine conversations with security: "No, I really am with the band!" Talking to him, he comes across as unpretentious and friendly, someone for whom the highlight of the festival was seeing Das Ich rather than playing his own set.
Musically, Void Construct don't fit neatly into the current scene either. They are one of a handful of bands mixing the '90s industrial/EBM sound with elements of techno and dance music, without going for the all-out synthpop influence of futurepop.
"Futurepop seems to be coming off the back of the popularity of trance and that kind of music, the euphoric feeling to it, I mean it's brilliant to dance to. I regard ourselves as more of an industrial band, but I know people have different ideas of industrial. For me, industrial was things like Front Line Assembly and Cubanate and all that sort of thing, which again is danceable, but you certainly wouldn't say it was influenced by the trance scene."
He points to the amount of film samples and effects on the vocals rather than pure singing as marking the difference between what he does and the more radio-friendly sounds currently en vogue. He says that it is the vocal style as defining whether something is radio-friendly or underground; he'd rather be an underground band because that's what he grew up with.
He fully expects the futurepop scene to make it very big at some point, but it's a success that doesn't interest him. "You'll get it on radio, you'll get compilations advertised on TV, because it's very listenable, it's very accessible. Whereas I think, with industrial music, there's more of an edge, kind of a darker edge, sometimes it's quite nasty. Skinny Puppy are a good example, it takes quite a lot of listening to really get into them, because they do things you don't expect, and that what's I try to do."
The second Void Construct album is due to come out very soon and Scott promises an improvement in sound quality compared to their debut. He points out that "Estramay Aleph" was recorded on a shoestring and that they've learnt as they went along, getting their own equipment, learning to how to use it and getting comfortable with it. "As a result, you get newer sounds. It's a bit more original, a bit more unique and it sounds more like what we're trying to do. You tend to be restricted by the tools that you use, we don't feel quite so restricted anymore."
Some things haven't changed since their first album. They're still trying to create music that's danceable without being dance music, with more substance to it. "We always try to have a few layers in there, so if you listen to it more than once, you hear new things going on, whether it's a sample or a different tune somewhere in the background or whatever. That's what we're trying to do, I don't think that's changed since the first album."
One of the most striking elements of their debut album was the superior quality of the samples used. Taking a step away from the more common sci-fi samples typical in industrial and EBM styles, "Estramay Aleph" utilised large sections of dialogue from the surrealist numerology-influenced thriller, "Pi". Scott likes to bring a little more thought into his stuff, including elements of things he finds profound to help spread the knowledge they contain.
"Like in 'Pi' when he's going on about 'there are patterns in nature', you suddenly think, yea that's actually very true. You think that's a really good point and it should be made, so I'll try and put it in somewhere. I wouldn't buy a CD of someone who just comes up with a spoken word essay, like a philosopher or a politician, but sometimes they have very good points to make. I think this is another way of bringing it into the medium so people can then be exposed to that, and that's what I like about it."
The Dark Jubilee line-up appealed to Scott, set as it was in the midst of a scene he sees as increasingly divided and specialised. He points out that a lot of clubs, especially on the south coast where he's from, are geared towards the Goth scene, while he finds the likes of Slimelight in London more concerned with noise and cutting edge stuff, both ignoring the likes of the new Front Line Assembly material he'd rather hear. He welcomes an event like Dark Jubilee that brings everyone together to have a few beers and make new friends.
"As far as the bands seem to be, backstage, everyone just gets on brilliantly, whether you're a Goth band or a heavy metal band like Paradise Lost, you're an EBM band or whatever. And that's brilliant. You've got English bands and a Canadian band and European bands and everyone just seems to get in and just meet people and make new friends. So I kind of think that's what's going on around generally and that can only be a good thing - when you've got EBM kids making mates with Goth kids making mates with heavy metallers."
by Girl the Bourgeois Individualist