By Bob Gourley
Back in the early 80's Controlled Bleeding were one of the
pioneers of dark, electronic music on this side of the Atlantic. The group's
extensive body of work encompass three distinct styles; aggressive, electronic
dance music, gothic, soundtrack-like work and harsh, wall-of-noise
compositions. While Controlled Bleeding were between labels members Paul Lemos
and Chris Moriarity started up Skin Chamber, a side project that further
explores the latter. Skin Chamber's music is much darker and noisier than
Controlled Bleeding's recent work and reminiscent of the "Knees and Bones" era
of Controlled Bleeding. Their debut album, "Wound," came out in late 1991 and
now they have followed it up with "Trial." The following is a telephone
interview conducted with Lemos about Skin Chamber.
Q. Why did you start up the Skin Chamber side project?
A. Skin Chamber developed when Controlled Bleeding had left
Wax Trax!. It was a tough situation for Wax Trax! and everybody involved and so
the band took a rest for about 11 months - we just stopped. Chris and I have
always had a very volatile relationship from the time when we were recording
Knees and Bones together and I think this kind of level of frustration that
started out in our early music was very much happening at that time. We had
just gotten together, playing drums and bass, no programming, no keyboards and
were just playing. What started developing would become Skin Chamber. It really
was just a different face. To call it Controlled Bleeding was very
inappropriate and it kind of harked back to the early music that we did on
purpose - it had that same kind of venting. We just had a need to do something
that was completely different and much more visceral and maybe a different
Q. When you originally started up Skin Chamber did you see
it as a one-off or a continuing project?
A. Oh yeah, Skin Chamber to me is at least as dominant,
maybe more so in the major market. I think Skin Chamber is something that's
new; it has no history behind it, there's no big catalog of obscure releases.
And so it's kind of in a way a fresh start in a whole new orientation for us.
Because none of us are tech-heads and we don't really like computer music that
much in terms of creating it and so Skin Chamber is the way we like to work in
an organic manner. I don't know if we'll be working with Roadrunner anymore,
but we'll certainly pursue the group.
Q. Why don't you think you'll be working with Roadrunner
Q. How would you describe the new Skin Chamber LP?
A. It just kind of continues where Wound left off. It's a
lot more focused than Wound. There's not nearly the variation on the record.
But I think the songs are straighter in certain ways but sonically a lot
better. I think the production is a lot more interesting and within it are
certain structured frameworks; there's a lot of experimentation going on. I'd
say there's much more experimentation than on Wound. The textural aspects of
the record are much more interesting.
Q. Do you keep the different projects completely separate or
do you tend to come up with ideas and then decide which project to develop them
A. Oh, never. Controlled Bleeding can go a number of ways.
It's like Controlled Bleeding is almost three combinations. Joe and I work on
semi-choral, progressive music. The Controlled Bleeding music I work on myself
is generally very noisy, very experimental and the stuff Chris and I do under
Controlled Bleeding tends to be more rhythmic-yet-melodic, like what's on
Penetration. Skin Chamber is a completely different entity; it's a completely
different creative process.
Q. Do you see the two groups aimed at the same audience?
A. Well, I suppose. I don't really think about audience very
much when I do any kind of music. I mean Roadrunner being a metal label, even
though Trial is not a fucking metal record, they're going to market it to a
metal audience. That's the audience that they know, that's their tried and true
audience. I would say that people that are interested in any kind of noisy
guitar-driven music would find Trial interesting, but I don't know if those
same people would find Controlled Bleeding interesting. I tend to think that
the Controlled Bleeding audience has found Skin Chamber maybe a little
difficult to deal with.
Q. Will you be doing any live dates as Skin Chamber?
A. We want to. It's just hard going from two people to the
necessary six or seven people. It's real hard to find a band for the live
setting that can commit to going a month or two on the road. So it hasn't been
easy getting the thing off the ground. We did one show and we really want to go
on tour this summer. We might go out as Controlled Bleeding/Skin Chamber doing
music from both, but it's been hard getting the number of people involved that
we need for a long term tour.
Q. What is the current status of Controlled Bleeding?
A. As far as corporate music we're quite possibly going to
sign with a major label or another large indie sometime in the next five to six
months. We'd like to be contractually able to continue the smaller kind of
artistic projects that we've been pursuing.