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An interview with AXIS – Industrial Electronic Rock Band – Part 1

by on Apr.09, 2011, under MUSIC, UPDATES

AN INTERVIEW WITH AXIS part 1
MARCH 24, 2011

This interview was recorded March the 24th of 2011 at the Cherry Street Coffee House in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Axis Industrial Electronic Rock Music

I’m Brian Copeland – lead singer of the progressive industrial group Euphonic Dissonance. I’m conducting this interview with Axis to expose people to other great industrial/electronic bands from our home state of Oklahoma.

Axis has shared the stage with some of the most influential bands in the industrial and electronic genres. These include Slick Idiot, Mankind Is Obsolete, Lords Of Acid and My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult. Filled with meaningful melodies and emotional depths, Steven Blackwell’s programming, producing and studio sound experience along with Vixx’s resonating vocals combine to create their unique sound.

I’m having coffee with the members of Axis in a back room of a very busy and – needless to say – noisy coffee house. Let’s meet the members of this mind warping electronic rock band – Steven and Vixx.

CLICK HERE to hear the AUDIO MP3 INTERVIEW with AXIS – industrial electronic rock band from Oklahoma

Steven:  I’m Steven.

Vixx:  And I’m Vixx.

Brian:  Steven and Vixx. Steve Albini once called industrial music disco through a fuzz box. This type of music came into style in the early 90’s and is now 20 years old. Some would go as far to say that industrial music is dead. Give us your take on the current state of the industrial music scene.

Steven:  Um, it seems like it’s going pretty strong right now. It’s picking up a little bit of momentum as of the last 6 months to a year. It’s hard to say with the music industry as a whole being on kind of a down curve but I think it’s not dead at all. You can look it up and search it on any given search engine and you’ll pull up a ton of bands. Some of it good – some of it bad – but dead? I don’t think it’s dead.

Brian:  So you think it’s just the economy?

Steven:  I think it’s just the economy and the music industry as a whole.

Vixx:  With things being so accessible online it’s a lot harder for bands to generate any business for themselves.

Brian:  That’s true and it seems that a lot of it is no so much album sales as it is singles sales. You guys find that you’re having to put out a lot of new songs just to keep up with things as they are?

Steven:  Sort of. With our new EP out that was kind of where we were going with it. We figured and EP would be a good way to get back into things and try to make some money off of it. Try to get our music out there and it’s a lot easier with a single or an EP than try to just release an album.

Brian:  What is Axis doing that is different from previous industrial oriented groups?

Steven:  I don’t know. I’d like to think that we’re a little bit more creative than a lot of stuff that has happened over the last several years. I like to say that I’m musically A.D.D. and so I can’t stick to one particular style for too long. The EP is a little bit more of a narrow version of what Axis really is. We have an upcoming album – it should be out in a few months – and it’s going to be pretty all over the place.

Vixx:  We like to write things that are more personal to us and things that we feel have a little bit more meaning than just the surface – dance hits.

Brian:  You just released a new EP. What’s the name of the new album and what will people hear when they download the new EP?

Steven:  The EP is titled POLAR. It is the dancy side of Axis. It’s the really gritty, dancy stuff. Um, I feel like there should be more of an explanation to all that… *looks towards Vixx*

Vixx:  Okay, well, the reason we decided to name the EP POLAR is because we had these songs that we had made but we didn’t like but they really didn’t fit on the album. They were just a little more on the surface than going into the depths of the actual album so we decided “let’s just throw them on an EP” and since they’re a little bit different we’ll call them POLAR cause they’re not so much the opposite of what we’re doing on the album but they’re definitely different.

Brian:  So, not so much B-sides as just different?

Steven and Vixx:  Yeah.

Brian:  Right. Okay. How is the current EP different than the previous LP album? I think you kind of covered that just then.

Steven:  Well, the last album we released – we had a five piece band and it was a lot more rock oriented. So it’s different in that the EP is pretty straightforward electronic. The next album is going to be more rock oriented. It’s going to be a good mix of electronic and rock. Whereas these songs stuck out as being overly gritty and electronic  – so then I thought – well, we’ll just stick these songs together on an EP as it just made more sense that way. But yeah, the previous album is much more guitar based drums – you know rock band with a decent amount of electronics.

Brian:  You say that’s the full five piece band. I gotta assume losing the full five piece band has considerably changed the sound. Has it caused you to stroke out in a different direction?

Steven:  A little bit. The next full length album’s gonna sound a lot different in that the musically production has evolved a lot since that first album but the overall sound in some ways isn’t going to change a whole lot. I like staying in the vein of electronic rock I guess because if you classify yourself as an industrial band too much people have an expectation. Say something like electronic rock and people don’t know what to think of that so it gives us a broader umbrella of what we can do.

Vixx:  I’d say it’s quite a bit different because on the last album I wasn’t involved in the music writing process at all and now it’s just the two of us. It’s a lot more focused and a lot more of just our ideas without having to go through five other people to agree on something and try to get a little bit of everyone’s input in. It’s kind of more of a collaboration of just the two of us and we’re very similar in our tastes.

Steven:  Actually, it’s much more focused. That’s a really good way to sum it up. It’s gonna be a lot more focused than the previous album.

steven_of_electronic_rock_band_axis

Brian:  My favorite song from the new EP is BURN. Can you give us some insight into what prompted the creation of this particular track?

Steven:  Ah.. man. I’d like to say there’s some really awesome back story but really I was just super pissed off one day and got home and wrote a song.

Brian:  It kind of sounded that way. I think that’s why I liked it.

Steven: Yeah, it was really just written from a bad day. I had been working on a couple of sounds and a couple of patches. Just kind of pieced it together over the course of a day – ran it by Vixx – she really liked it so I moved forward with it and it kind of evolved over the course of a few days.

Brian:  That’s my favorite song. What’s your favorite song off the new EP?

Steven:  Ah, that’s tough because I actually ended up liking BURN a lot.

Vixx:  We got a really good response from RX. A lot of people on the past couple of shows that we’ve done said that was their favorite song live. I don’t know if they’ve heard it recorded but it definitely got the crowd going. It was the best response that we’ve had from a song in awhile.

Steven:  Yeah. And I think TRASH is kind of the other favorite on the album because it’s more experimental. Out of the five tracks on the EP it’s the most experimental of the bunch and it’s a good combination of the two of us.

Brian:  What will you be working on next?

Steve:  We’ll be finishing up our album titled 23 DEGREES and we should have it out this summer. There’s no exact date as we’re still polishing up the recordings and finishing up all that. And since we’re an indie band we’ve got to pay for it. We’ve got a tour planned for June and July 2011. It’s pretty much an east coast tour of the United States. Hopefully a break after that.

Brian:  Do you have any concept of exactly where you’re going on the east coast?

Vixx:  It’s been set up for us so we haven’t got the full details on it yet. All we know is that we’re starting in Philly.

Steven:  Our booking agent just gave us the thumbs up on the tour two days ago. It’s something like two and a half weeks long. Starts in Philly and ends back in Oklahoma.

Brian: Are you going on the road with somebody else or just yourselves?

Steven:  Yeah, we’re going on the road with Man And Machines.

Brian:  I’ve heard of them.

Steven:  Yeah, they’re pretty good. I like them a lot.

Brian: Yeah, yeah. *approvingly*

Steven: We had just met our current booking agent. Apparently he really liked us so he immediately threw us on a tour that he had. They’re based out of Philly so we’ll meet them in Philly – go up the east coast and into the central U.S. and back down to good ol’ Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Brian:  Do you compose your music using hardware or are you more into the computer software thing?

Steven:  Oh man, you see, I could go on for hours and hours on that. I’m a total tech junkie. Both, uh, both is the short version.

Vixx: Yeah. We still have our favorite hardware synths that we like to use. You can get a lot of different sounds from VSTs but nothing takes the place of pushing down all the keys and tweaking everything and getting it just the way you like it.

Steven:  We do record everything in software. There’s a lot of effects and some VSTs that are used in the process. We play bass, guitar and drums on some of the tracks so it goes back and forth.

Brian:  I don’t want to get too into a tech discussion because we’ll bore people to tears with that but I do have to say – I noticed you posted on Facebook that you got a new keyboard.

Steven:  I did, yeah.

Brian:  Want to tell us a little bit about that?

Steven: Ah man, I’ve really only got to spend a couple of hours cause we’ve been so busy. Since we got it we’ve maybe spent two hours with it. We just picked up the M-Audio Venom and I don’t want to sound like a commercial but the thing is awesome. It blew me away in the two hours that we did get to play with it. Just on the fly, it’s really cool in that it’s a good combination of hardware and software. It’s set up to where you can install the software on your computer and use the keyboard as a controller or you can use the keyboard as an independent unit so I’m totally loving that thing.

Brian: M-Audio’s a great company for covering both side of that – with the computer and the hardware solution – which is nice. *looks at Vixx* Do you have any input on the keyboard?

Vixx:  I really like it because it has a few knobs but you can really get in depth on the software and import it back into the keyboard. So you don’t have to sit there and like twist the knobs and make sure they’re exactly where you want them. On the keyboard itself you can go in and click on it – turn it whichever way you want it – listen to it that way and then put it back on the keyboard to actually use.

Steven:  Please sponsor us M-Audio. *everyone laughs*

Brian: That would be nice – wouldn’t it?

Stay tuned to our blog. You don’t want to miss the next episode of this spell binding interview with Axis. You can SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG by CLICKING HERE. By clicking you can become a subscriber and learn about the time that AXIS tried to kill their audience during a live show but you’ll have to wait until PART 2 of our INTERVIEW WITH AXIS.

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