Original interview conducted via conference call - 9-26-2015 -
By: Mike Hernandez
Rendered to print - 9-28/9-30 2015 -
By: Dave Mills
All visual art:
Detest is : Aaron Burke and Gordon (Mark) Lazarus.
Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or
genres you do?
Aaron: Detest is a rather old project I originally started around the summer of 89 while spending time in a mental health facility, however due to various unfortunate circumstances I didn’t have the means or time to do much of anything with it, keep in mind I was spending most of my time either in hospital care or on the streets battling bulimia and other ongoing physical/mental health issues I carry with me today. Detest grew from this and all the other personal shit I was dealing with, the name came naturally with the years of abuse I have put my body through long before I started creating the basis of the project, it was almost second nature to adopt it as my own creative outlet. This past year things seem to have fallen into place just enough to where I was able to bring in an additional member/close friend (Gordon Lazarus) and focus on writing and recording material that carries a personal aesthetic.This being the case we don’t focus on working under a specific genre of music, or focus on a specific sound rather then what we are feeling and how both the audio and the visual art coincide to represent Detest in all areas of creativity.
After listening to the amazing sound sample’s from what is to be your debut release “Confession” and reading lyrics sent to us from your project member Gordon Lazarus I almost feel Detest carries a since of self-hatred and concentrate’s a great deal on topics such as self-harm to living with bulimia and dealing with mental illness from anxiety to paranoia from what seems like a woman’s point of view. Would you say such topics are all focal points for Detest?
Aaron: You are absolutely correct, Detest is woman, a woman scorned beaten and ruined not by man but by self, we see how women today are consumed with looks and how damaged they have become to look like that 90 lb air brushed corpse on the cover of Vogue magazine. It is sad watching most live under such pressure thanks to the hypocrisy and scrutiny of T.V shows that force women to feel less about themselves unless they fit into a certain size and category.
Gordon: There is still a nurturing aspect we are also concentrating on, woman as power, that survival instinct men do not embrace as much as a woman protecting her child, her home. Detest may be self-infliction of womanhood but also she is the voice of reasoning when things start to make very little sense, as with the closing track on the “Confession” e.p, it may come across as abrasive but that’s the point, there is a sense of beauty in hatred and with that beauty we are hoping to allow women to feel less alone and connect to what it is we are doing and possibly understand the importance of why.
Do you write out your lyrics? Do you ever change a song’s lyrics in live sets?
Gordon: Aaron and I write lyrics together and edit each other’s work until we feel they are complete and make enough sense to us both though we each lack confidence when it comes to recording vocals, something he can further elaborate on I’m sure, regardless we do work on everything with the objective of bringing in outside vocalists depending on what a specific track may call for.
Aaron : Lyrics are always a personal challenge so a majority of what is written Gordon handles, working together is also still pretty new and we are still learning the best methods of writing and recording together as partners rather than him or I working separately and coming together later and seeing if what we have done individually works or not. It is a unique situation since we both have our difference’s and opinion’s how things should be done but mesh rather well when it comes to getting material completed on a timely schedule, lyrics are the most important part of Detest, being such whether we are recording at home or eventually playing live the lyrics and audio will remain the same as presented on tape, the only difference will be who may be handling vocals on a CD to performing them live. One of the main reasons for this decision aside from the obvious fact that I hate my voice on tape, in the very beginning for these and other personal reasons Detest was never supposed to involve vocals or have any “:human (more so male)” sounds involved aside from an occasional sample. Gordon changed that in me with my admiration I have towards his style of writing and how he can take a simple subject and make that much more sense of it by allowing just enough breathing room for our listener’s to an artist involved to follow what we are doing without getting lost in words that make absolutely no sense at all. Performing live is going to be a challenge but one I am interested in seeing happen within the next few months, we both have our inhibitions and insecurities regarding playing our material in a live setting however we both agree for one to grasp what it is we are doing and why it is almost a necessity.
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
Aaron: Depends, I gather almost all inspiration from personal experiences, whether it be something that hit me hard in the past or something I could be dealing with currently, everything I put into the project has to come from inside myself otherwise I feel like what I would be doing wouldn’t be authentic or a valid representation of Detest as a whole. Song writing also is done with the same principles involved, there are times I may be feeling a certain way and Gordon isn’t or vice versa and nothing gets done sense there is nothing that needs to be poured out onto tape at that very moment, as with lyrics we work together either at my place or his and we both have to be in a similar head space, working with a person who shares so many similarities we are able to feed off of one another no matter how fucked up things may be, it’s almost like playing with fire at times, I have literally watched him completely fuck himself up and he has had to deal with all of my emotional/physical baggage yet things somehow always get accomplished without anyone getting carted off to the Emergency Room.
Gordon: Inspiration is drawn from a lot of the same things Aaron already touched base on, there are other things I try and incorporate into the project as well taken from other less personal places, music is a good place to start for example and weather an artist chooses to admit it or not anything a person listens to becomes a part of that person’s sound, as with “Confession” there is huge Industrial Ambient undercurrent that lends a nod towards Skinny Puppy’s earlier confrontational atmosphere’s to Aaron’s own musical influence’s that bleed onto the album. Recording is always sporadic and un discussed, only time we can’t get our shit straight is when one of us is having a good day (laughs), at that point everything goes to shit and we end up either reading Batman comics,whacking off to German midget porn or completing avoiding each other all together.
Do you have a band website? Why or why not? Do you have a Facebook or Twitter? Do you use Bandcamp, Spotify or SoundCloud to share your music?
Aaron: Personally I despise social media and refuse to use it, Gordon took it up on himself to utilize Facebook for promotional purposes but I try hard to avoid that place, Twitter and Instagram like the plague.
Gordon: As much as Aaron hates Facebook and all social media outlets I believe it is a tool to at least house our music and share our thoughts with people who have similar interests as ourselves. Eventually once “Confession” is completed I plan to create a bandcamp for streaming/purchasing full albums and maybe post a track or two off of the full length on Soundcloud. Nothing has been set in stone yet but we have toyed with the idea of launching an official website sometime early next year, though Aaron isn’t fully convinced there is a good chance this could very well happen…
Do you think that online presence is important for fans to find you and critics to find your music to write about?
Gordon: Definitely, we live in times where social media has made it easier for artists to build intimate relationships with their fans, general media and labels that may cater to a specific genre of music help find artists easier.
What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
Aaron: Legal downloads are the best thing the internet has to offer musicians, especially in certain scenes of music where labels and artists work on a strict budget, this creates a means for releasing quality music for those who no longer care about purchasing physical releases. You will always have a specific few who look at downloading as ruining the music industry but in the same token there are plenty of people of still like to buy albums. Most of the releases under Detest will in fact be digital downloads, we may charge a bare minimum to go towards touring and gear but we honestly don’t care about making much if anything back, people taking the time to listen to our work is payment enough.
Gordon: We have discussed this many times amongst ourselves and in the past I have had issues with the idea of downloading, within this last year alone I started to realize many artists are actually quite successful in delivering their music through this medium and it does work for helping maintain an audience, if your putting out top notch releases people won’t so much care about the format, the music is what’s important and the conviction behind your project. This does not mean we are opposed to the idea of physical albums, we have more than a few we plan to release such as a couple limited cd-r/7’ packages through my own label Oppressive Resistance, we also have hopes of seeking out a larger label to help with our full length album we will start shopping around early Spring.
If you can list 10 influential albums you may consider being beneficial factors within Detest:
Aaron: SPK -Last Attempt at Paradise, THROBBING GRISTLE – The Second Annual Report, BRIGHTER DEATH NOW – Innerwar, SEWER GODDESS – Painlust, LEVIATHAN – Scar Sighted.
Gordon: SKINNY PUPPY – Remissions, NWA – Straight Outta Compton, SKM-ETR –The Rugged Meat Cleaver, GENOCIDE ORGAN – Leichenlinie, ABJECTION RITUAL - Psychiatric Failures
Anything you would like share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?
Gordon: Currently we are wrapping up our debut e.p “Confession” due out years end on limited cd-r through Oppressive Resistance, we are also recording our half of a split 7” vinyl project with STEEL HOOK PROSTHESES we will self-release around the X-mas holidays as well as mixing down material for a free digital download entitled “Dog Food” consisting of Detest remixes of a couple Skinny Puppy tracks to include a 45 min mega mix due out Spring of the upcoming year. Early December we plan to begin recording our first full length album entitled ‘An Intimate Repulsion of Human Flesh” we hope to find a label interested enough in releasing it sometime mid-2016.
Aaron: Touring is going to happen at some point next year regardless how I feel about playing live, this is something I have to make happen, as I mentioned this is a must and just as important to Detest as any one release we are working on. Merch is something else happening in the form of high quality posters, stickers and girly tees around the same time we start working on “An Intimate Repulsion….”,I have no artistic bone in my body but Gordon and I have put our heads together and have a couple different designs in mind that follow the themes of the project without being stylish or overtly attractive.
Can you give our readers an idea of what can be expected sound wise on the “Confession” e.p to the difference’s if any at all that can be found on the full length album?
Aaron: “Confession” is more in tune with traditional Death Industrial/Dark Ambient sonically then the concepts regarding our approach to the full length. With the e.p we focused more on creating a slow moving rather personal palette that has taken a huge emotional toll on myself as well as Gordon, same with the work we plan to finish for the split with SHP. Both of these releases will greatly differ then the more guitar driven Industrial aspects of the full length which is the ONLY album besides the Skinny Puppy remix project where we are not fueled by emotions and physical struggles rather than approaching this particular project with an open mind. “An Intimate Repulsion….” Will be a bit different and much heavier, with this release we plan to incorporate actual percussion, I started off as a drummer by trade and this last year have rarely left my kit, this album will also include some pretty interesting guitar/synth arrangement’s, and hopefully the addition of female vocals, in between midget porn and comic books we have started fucking around with different arrangement’s and we pretty much know what to expect when we get into the studio and begin the recording process.
Who creates your artwork, do you do your own or do you venture outside of Detest?
Gordon: It is not uncommon for Aaron and I to sit down for hours and discuss our ideas I try and lay out into a simple rough draft, once we have decided on a visual concept we have someone who knows what they are actually doing, take these ideas and create a professional looking product. Eventually we would love to have the means and know how to do a majority of the work ourselves.
If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone one person in any genre of music who would it be and why?
Aaron: Sonia Dietrich (BRUT) “Woman is a weapon”.
Gordon: Same as mentioned above……
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and we look forward to hearing more Detest, we will be keeping our eyes and ears on the progression of the project, any final words?
Aaron: Null form sexual device.