Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mechanik War III Talk Influences, Robot Rebellions and Transhumanism!

Interview with Massaker (Vocals) 

Mechanik War III are originally from Europe, but have since migrated to the states and now play a brand of blackened industrial metal in Los Angeles. If you enjoy Gothic acts like Deathstars, mid-era Septic Flesh and Moonspell, as well as hard-hitting industrial metal acts like Fear Factory, Ministry and Front Line Assembly then you might find something here. 

You mention that you had originally come from Europe before you moved to the states and began forming this band. What had you done in Europe prior to this act?

Massaker: Yes, the band started in Europe under a different name. We released two CD’s. I would say they were more like demos. We toured a lot all over Europe. When I moved to the states, I decided to restart the band under a different name. I wanted to add some new elements to the music. I was looking for more black metal atmospheres and heaviness compared to what we used to be.

From listening to the record, I hear a lot of influences from bands like The Kovenant, Ministry and the Deathstars among others. What are some of the bands that you’d consider most inspirational to the music that you’ve written here?

Massaker: I know of those three bands that you mentioned, I was mostly a fan of Ministry back in the day. I would not name those bands as influence in my music, but I can see why some people would think that and that’s cool, those bands are great. For example, when it comes to my dark Gothic voice, it's more inspired by the early albums of Moonspell and some Laibach records. If I had to mention some bands that were a source of inspiration, I would say; Frontline Assembly, Marduk, Dimmu Borgir and Septic Flesh.

Describe the writing and recording process for Xtermination. You mention that this is essentially a demo recording, yet I feel that much of the music here sounds good enough to stand out on it’s own.

Massaker: I also think that this record stands on its own. (Laughs) Because this is the record, the previous was a demo. So it’s good to hear that it sounds like it stands on its own from you, The Grim Lord! The recording process took quite a while because we took a different artistic direction in the middle of the recording. If you listen to anything we did in the past, my voice is completely different. My screams now are more black metallish, but so is everything else on the record. The guitars are heavier, the drums are heavier and the whole experience is just darker, harder and more brutal, incorporating other metal genre influences. The mixing and mastering process took longer than expected, but those are the kinds of problems that you deal with when you are still in the underground and doing everything yourself.

Much of the material seems to be based upon a post-apocalyptic futureworld, perhaps something like that of Fallout or Shadowrun. Where do your lyrics come from, and would you consider some of them to be veiled commentaries on society?

Massaker: Most of my lyrics are inspired from what's going on in my head. Sometimes from the graphic design that I do for the band, I will create an illustration and write a song around that. It is a very uncommon writing process. But there is always a connection between this imaginary world and reality, things that are happening now in this world or could eventually happen in the future.

Yes,“Cyber Chemical Warfare” is definitely about that subject, as well as “Flesh Reich”. But “Cyber” is definitely more related to the matter and yes of course, it's a literal possibility. It happens when we never learn from our mistakes done in the past. History keeps repeating itself when it comes to religion, politics and war. Just take a look at what's going on in America right now. We might have a dictator in disguise running the country within the next few months.

There’s an interesting track at the very end of the disc called “In Memoriam.” It has a much different tone than the rest of the album and is quite melancholic and very melodic. It doesn’t even sound like the same band. Tell me a little bit about this track.

Massaker: I agree with you. “In Memoriam” is a very particular song and it sounds like a whole different band. I wrote this song in memory of my grandmother. I grew up with her and she was to me, like a mother. Since this band was the only band that I had at that time, this song could only be on a Mechanik War III record. Originally it was supposed to be an instrumental. One day I started to sing on top of it and it sounded pretty good, so it ended up being what you hear on the record.

Since we’re talking about the future here, there are about three things I can see a possibility. The first one in nuclear war, which I believe could occur depending on the right situations. Some might say that our failed peace talks in Russia is a major red flag. Obviously there’s a song called “Cyber Chemical Warfare” where the sub-chorus is “We surivive in the underground.” Do you see that as a literal possibility?

Massaker: Well, mankind is already addicted to technology. Now the possibility of the man creating the machine and at some point the machine dominating the man could be a possibility. At this point it's still a theory, but companies are making huge advancements in AI (artificial intelligence). Which of course, points to movies like The Terminator. The time travel aspect may be still out of reach, but machines dominating the human race is not too far-fetched.

The second one I see is robots built to serve mankind. There’s already a lot of discourse regarding the issue, with some experts believing that people might literally become addicted to sexual intercourse with robotic lifeforms. An article just came out yesterday regarding that. The flipside of this, is of course the possibility of a robot rebellion? Should we exercise a bit of caution in regards to artificial intelligence and humanity? Why or why not?

Massaker: This is a very good and interesting question and at the same time very hard to answer. Fear Factory would probably do a better job answering that one!  (Laughs) Seriously though, no matter what good creations come of technology, there will always be an equal or greater negative side as well. A robot rebellion is not so much science fiction as it was only ten years ago. Mankind has always had this “God” complex. This will inevitably be its undoing. It’s unstoppable. The only question really, is how much time do we have until the ManGod’s destroy us all?

The final point I see is transhumanism, which is becoming literally “one with a machine.” I always found it a bit frightening, because what will one do as soon as the lights go out? All that data simply freezes or ceases to exist. Should we upload our minds into machines or a server so that we could live forever?

Massaker: I would imagine something like we could transfer the data that we have in our brain to a different body. By doing that over and over, we could be living forever in different bodies with the same mind and memories. At this point we are not even close to that, but it could be something totally normal in a hundred years from now. To a lesser extent, transhumanism already exists today in artificial hearts and limbs. Electronic brain, ear and eye implants, etc. We are already going in that direction. It’s just a matter of time.

Originally having been European, what do you guys think of the states? Are there things about Europe that you miss compared to living here? What are some of the great things about the states?

Massaker: When it comes to Europe, at least the part of Europe where I lived, I don't miss it that much. I do miss the good food and the architecture of the cities. It’s a beautiful place. Now if I compare the main American cities to the main European cities, I would say that the lifestyle is definitely better here in the States and the people seem to be way more open-minded.

When you’re not writing music, what sort of leisurely activities do you enjoy? Do you have day jobs outside of Mechanic War III?

Massaker: Well as you probably already know, the only bands that can survive with music are the bands that made it twenty years ago. Any band from this new generation will never be able to live off of their music, unless you chose to play radio music, so of course we all have jobs besides the band. In my case, I'm a music teacher and I also mix music for other local artists and sometimes I do recording sessions too. Those are the moments when it becomes handy to be able to play several instruments.

Thanks for answering my questions, and I wish you the best of luck with this extremely proficient recording. It’s definitely one of the best debuts I’ve ever heard.

Massaker: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us.

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