As we cover many different genres, there are some we hold dear to us more than the others. And for today, we bring you the interview with EBM/electronic artist SpankTheNun, courtesy of our new member, Zed Mann. Enjoy!
Hello and thanks for your time. Could you start by giving us a bit of a background on SPANKTHENUN, the name and any other projects you had prior to this?
This the third incarnation of SPANKTHENUN, it has always revolved around me and my brother. Rather changing band names when we made major changes to the direction and sound we just kept the same name and changed everything else. The first incarnation was a purely live version where we sounded like Joy Division meets Love and Rockets with some punk rock to sharpen the edges. At that time, we were just thinking of creating the band, we had the name and idea for songs, but we needed to a guitar player and a drummer… so we reached out to some friends that had just left their previous band. We got together wrote and practiced for a couple of months and played our first show to a sold out crowd at a place called The Vampyre lounge. It was a an early success. We played around with that format for a while, different drummers and such, then we went our separate ways. A few years later I got my first sampler, an Ensoniq EPS 16, and a drum machine (Alesis DM5) and started writing new music that was more loop based, got my brother back into the mix and we went heads down in the studio for a year just recording and messing with a new sound that was loop based yet still organic. We reached out to our old guitar player and we hit the clubs for a couple of years with that sound. That was a massive learning experience for us. Eventually, we all wanted something different and went our separate ways. A year or so ago, I put together a new studio and started experimenting with a new sound and reaching out to musicians I respected and wanted work with. My brother still contributes and is key to the process, but it is mostly me now heads down in the studio cranking out new music and working with other artists… it is almost like a collective with a cohesive vision.
So far you’ve got a couple of singles and an EP out on bandcamp now. Are you planning a full-length LP or are you steering away from that format as some are these days?
We want to do something different, not the normal single, single album thing. But, may get trapped into it. Its a creative trap for many. On one hand, you have schedule you have to work to and it bleads your creativity dry. And, on the other hand it limits how much you can put out too. I want to put out music when it is ready and sometimes before it is ready. I want to break traditional models, that is why some of the music is only on social channels and not on traditional streaming services. Yes, we will have a full length out in November, but it will be digital only. We currently have several singles/EPs out now and one more on the way. We might do a physical Deluxe Version only release in early 2020. We have so many versions and remixes of the songs we are working on now we could do a massive deluxe package for all of it.
The full length INITIAL DECAY CONTROL will be out in November, we are working with Scott from iVardenpshere fame, as the primary producer and collaborator, but we also have production and contributions from Leather Strip, Slighter, Jay Ruin (Ruinizer), Angelspit and a few others. We are really going all in on the collaboration with other artists with this new music. The album is full of club bangers.
Is SPANKTHENUN strictly a studio act or do you think to ever do any special live shows in the future?
We are strictly a music making machine 🙂 Right now the focus is on studio, besides the releases this year we have several projects planned for next year already, so the focus is to make sure those get out. We might do a couple of one off shows next year, but not planning to tour at this point. We will be traveling around the world to work with different artists, so you never know what might happen when we are in town.
You seem to be creating a lot of activity within a relatively short about of time considering your Facebook and the number of videos and visualizers you have on YouTube. What other kinds of things are you doing that perhaps might be stretching the boundaries of traditional promo?
I have a marketing and social media background, so I am taping those tools to help leverage the right platforms. Most musicians/bands don’t promote or use these tools very well or they are relying on a record company to do it for them. My goal is to find 1000 dedicated fans and cater to them. I can do that on social, I can make it personal. It’s not just about producing the music, its about producing the whole brand. I look at SPANKTHENUN as a brand, that is focus on industrial/goth music and things that come with that lifestyle.
Take us back to the very first recording that drew you to this music. What was it and what, from your perspective have been the most landmark recordings for ebm/industrial?
It was Joy Division, I liked the repetitive drum beats with the raw instruments. It was raw but full of emotion, and it didn’t have the normal polish most over produced music does. I was a huge fan of Bauhaus and I always like the experimentation Kevin Haskins did with his drums and the loops and SFX, but Joy Division, set the drum machine and played to it… it was less organic in a way but still felt organic and real. Then when I heard Isle of Man from Ministry I knew I had to make music. Everything seemed to be a landmark record in the late 80s and early 90s.
What’s next for SPANKTHENUN in the coming months?
We have a new single/EP for SLOW SUICIDE coming out imminently… we have two bad ass remixes on their that people are going to love. Most bands would split these up and milk them longer, but fuck it, I believe in putting your best out there and not saving it for later. We got a great goth darkwave remix from Assemblage 23, it sounds amazing. I have been a big fan of Slighter for years, I reached out to him and we got this amazing mix back from him, this will most likely be the album version. It is a powerful mix and evokes that emotion I would get back in the mid -90s when KMFDM was releasing hit after hit. Our plan from the beginning was to tap some legendary producers and musicians to help us make a big splash and these two remixes are part of that plan.
There seems to be a resurgence within the ebm/industrial arena. Where do you suggest that the boundaries of PR/promotion for this music will possibly develop to?
I would like to see a lot more bands and PR folks work together to help promote each other. If you like industrial and EBM music, you will like our music even though we don’t stick to a true formula of one type or the other. For example, Angelspit is packaging our promo cards with their merch and new CDs, we certainly get way more out of this than they do. But the idea is that their fan base gets exposure to new music, and we are giving them free songs to download. So, Angelspit fans get extra value from their favorite band. I have reached out to several well established acts and they were more than happy to co-promote. We don’t have a lot of to offer yet, but as we grow our influence will grow too. A number of producers are putting out weekly mix shows to showcase their music along side others, that is a good idea. I see others creating playlists and sharing those as well. In general social and PR is not being tapped very well right now. We have new tools and need to use them in a way that helps us find our fans.
Do you do any remix work? If so, what elements from your perspective do you try to draw from when you get a skeleton track from an artist?
Remixing is new to us and is an incredible experience. I have personally learned so much from breaking down other bands tracks and learning what makes them work. Even getting a remix back for one of our own songs is a learning experience. Take the track Rotting Meat, we put out too vastly different versions on the first E.P. But when you hear how Claus Larsen interprets it and were he finds the hook in the Mind Control vocal, iVardensphere finds an equally powerful hook in focusing on the Rotting Meat vocal. Two different perspectives, vastly different than ours. And at the same time a great learning experience. These guys showed me were the perfection was in simplifying the song. We are currently working on remixes for Diverje, Circle Burn, Miss Suicide and several more I can’t talk about yet. Each track we approach differently, but it always a great wave to get the creative juices going and something fun to do when you need to step away from your own music for a little while.
What do you think might be the most surprising musical or non-musical influence of yours to a listener?
Phil Collins. The other day, my brother sent me a demo he did for a cover of a Phil Collins song… we are working on several cover songs right now, none of them will be released officially but will “leak out” to social or a mix show or a DJ here and there. Back in the early days when we were trying to get started and were learning how to record, we asked a writer/producer we new through a family friend. He was a real pro and fun guy to hang out with, he used to be national kick boxing champion too. He was one of the many ghost writers for Phil Collins, obviously we couldn’t compare to that level of genius or the style or the genre of music… but he found us interesting and spend a few months showing us the ropes of recording to tape and using electronic gear.
What sort of themes or concepts does SPANKTHENUN draw from?
Sci-Fi, sex, horror and serial killers… you know the staples of good Christian up bringing. When I write it is very different than when my brother writes. I like to take the listener down a path that seems like one thing but can be interpreted entirely differently when you listen again. For example is Rotting Meat a horror song, a serial killer song or a song about sex and drugs? Each persons hears something a little different, and I like that. But, other songs like Spiderbaby are more straight forward, on the surface, it is based on a old horror movie of the same name, but it is really about going to a strip club.
Thanks so much for yr. time. Where can ppl find you on the net?
Facebook , Twitter and Bandcamp… come find us. We are the only SPANKTHENUN out there so it shouldn’t be too difficult.