Reverse Records UK / November 25th 2014
Interview with – Steel Hook Prostheses
BAND NAME: Steel Hook Prostheses
BAND MEMBERS: J. Stillings, L. Kerr
GENRE: Death Industrial / Heavy Electronics
BAND WEBSITE: http://www.steelhookprostheses.bandcamp.com
OTHER PROJECTS: Metaconqueror, Caduceus, Pharoid, VERMIIN, K.S.K.N.P., Black Moon Halo, Habeeb.
RRUK: Let’s start with your band name, what made you choose it for this project?
SHP: I spent a lot of time around the Veteran’s Hospital where my mother worked when I was a little kid in the 70’s. Her office was next to the prosthetics ward. I saw a lot of maimed and disfigured guys in there. It always made me feel uneasy and stirred strange feelings in my head. I try to translate that feeling of unease into sound. The image that stuck with me through all that was a guy with a prosthetic hook arm smoking a cigarette with the hook.
RRUK: How would you describe your sound and working process?
SHP: I think our sound is heavy and oppressive at times while ambient and introspective at others. It starts with a feeling or mood, coupled with an idea and channels the sound into a natural flow with a seamless effect. Sounds can convey beauty, violence, mental Illness, the occult. It just depends where the natural flow of progression takes it. All of our tracks are built on multi-tracked layers. Once a foundation layer is established, it’s a matter of building on top of it.
RRUK: About the instruments and technology you use to produce the sound, do you constantly update them, or are old synths and the like still good for your purposes?
SHP: I have some synths at my place that I’ve used for many years. An old Korg Poly 61 and MS-2000 have been used on every album. It’s been a pretty exiting couple of years with a lot of great gear coming out at a reasonable price. Some recent additions are the Arturia Minibrute, Korg Volca Bass and Akai Rhythm Wolf, Korg MS-20 mini. All will be useful tools for years to come. I have a pretty nice collection of boutique noise boxes and custom made boxes that I utilize a lot these days. Also added some nice Eventide Time Factor and Space reverb boxes into the chain. I haven’t taken the plunge with any euro rack modular gear yet. It looks and sounds amazing. I could see myself getting lost in that shit, obsessive about collecting and never getting anything completed. I get distracted easily sometimes.
RRUK: Who or what influences you and your sound?
SHP: You know, I think it’s a result of seeking out extremes in music over the last 30 years. I’ve always gravitated toward obscurity from a very young age. Anything having to do with horror or sci-fi. Synthesized sound tracks from the 70’s and 80’s growing up. I discovered metal around age 12. Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, British wave stuff. Progressed to early hardcore punk in the beginning of the 80’s. Discovered Skinny Puppy around 87 and was into the whole second generation industrial movement that followed. The rise of Norwegian Black Metal in the early 90’s. The rise of the internet making everything accessible lead to the discovery of obscure Power Electronics in the UK and Italy, the Death Industrial rumblings of C.M.I. in Sweden, Genocide Organ / Tesco Organization in Germany etc..
All of these were and are an influence on Steel Hook Prostheses.
RRUK: With regards to electronic/experimental artists, which band did you discover first? How did you come across them?
SHP: Back when I was a kid growing up everything was word of mouth or taking a chance on picking up a record in a shop based on artwork and titles. I started hearing about a band called Skinny Puppy during the summer of 1987. A friend turned me on to the Bites album. After that I was hooked, started delving into anything I could find that was similar. I was deep into the Wax Trax stuff, Ministry Psychic TV. Godflesh came along soon after merging heavy guitars with electronics.. great times. I was still getting into metal as it evolved around that time. Carcass, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower all the early Earache stuff.
RRUK: Do you have a preffered format for your work, e.g. vinyl, cassette, CD, download. And is there a format for which you would never use?
SHP: I have released stuff on every format you listed friend. I like to keep it diverse. Vinyl Records would be my personal preference. Least favorite would be cassette. Just for the fact that I remember when CD’s first started taking over the cassette medium. Tapes would get worn out and unspoole in some shitty tape player you had. CD’s were superior in sound and durability.
RRUK: What is your opinion in particular of Power Electronics, Noise, and Japanoise, looking at their main artists like Merzbow, Masonna?
SHP: I prefer Power Electronics, Whitehouse, Sutcliffe Jugund, Genocide Organ, Atrax Morgue.. all greats. I like the aggressive screamed vocals with the Punk “Fuck You” ethic. Or the sick and squeamish maniacal style.
To be completely honest, I don’t listen to a lot of harsh noise stuff. My taste lies more on the Industrial end of the spectrum. I own a handful of Merzbow releases but haven’t listened to them in quite some time. I certainly respect what artists are doing in the noise scene and I have a lot of great friends who are serious practioners. I enjoy watching harsh noise in a live setting. But to just sit back and listen..it makes me nervous or on edge.
RRUK: I would like to ask you if you are interested in which kind of people listen to your sound, I mean, how do you imagine him/her to be?
SHP: I guess I imagine the majority of people who would be interested in SHP would be similar to myself. Guys in their 40’s who have been evolving within the genres of extreme music for 25 years or more. However, the reality is I haven’t got a fucking clue these days. The people who have been out to our shows over the past few years seem to have a very broad age range and appearance. Anything from skinny hipster type guys in pointy shows doing some crazy stomp dance to traditional Punk types, metal heads you name it.
RRUK: Are you interested in serial killers? Do you think they are a typical product of 20th century society, and what is your opinion about in particular American serial killer cultures?
SHP: Sure I’m interested in them. I’ll watch the documentaries they show on TV or biopic films about their lives. I’m not too preoccupied with it. I don’t invest a ton of time reading about serial killers or doing research. I do think it’s good entertainment. As for American society, anything that will bring the ratings. Violence in the media = $$$
RRUK: If you could perform live anywhere in the world it where would it be?
SHP: Would love to get over to Europe one day. We have never had a show outside the United States.
RRUK: With regards to other sound projects, is there any country in particular that inspire you more than others?
SHP: So many great sounds out there across the world. Probably inspired most from German and Swedish Industrial music.
RRUK: Do you listen to different types of music? A secret Elvis collection, perhaps?!
SHP: Ha, no Elvis collection but I like a few of his songs. I have a pretty wide range of musical taste. Really nothing mainstream. I wouldn’t have a clue what people listen to in popular culture. No surprises, I listen to pretty much what you would expect a guy like me to listening to. Punk, Metal, Experimental, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Old kraut rock stuff…
RRUK: What first, chicken or the egg?
SHP: The Cock
RRUK: Ha! Anything else you would like to add here?
SHP: Thanks for your interest.
RRUK: Thanks for your time, mate. I look forward to working with you, and the possibility of catching SHP live in aktion – should you venture to little Britain…
Interview: K. Mitchell [RRUK]
2014 Reverse Records UK
2015 We kick start the year with a split EP between ‘Steel Hook Prostheses & White Walls’. Both artists are in the process of creating these works, so there’s no mini review as yet. However, insanity awaits. Enough said.
Format: presented in Mini CD (8cm) | Expert media / Mini DVD style casing.
(More info on new releases, merchandise, and interviews will be added over the coming weeks)
View Discography – http://recordsreverse.wordpress.com/released/