by Jett Black
Hailing from two continents Martha Arce, formerly of Deep
Red (Florida, USA), and Christian Kobusch (Bielefeld, Germany) inter-weave
darkening synth-pop and goth-tronic harmonics with sumptuously impressive
vocals and lyrically eloquent themes of heart-breaking romance. Rotating
patterns in the darkness, Distorted Reality emerges to engulf music enthusiasts
everywhere in alternative waves of passion and sorrow. The self-titled
demo-debut by Distorted Reality offers layers of dark, dominating feminine
vocals and hyper-electronic entirely danceable gothy synth-pop. Through the
static of ethernet, Martha and Christian integrate responses to a handful of
inquisitive Nocturnal transmissions...
Where and how did Distorted Reality find its
M: Chris and I met at one of the shows while I was on
tour in Germany with Pitchfork. It was at the Kick club in Herford not far from
where he lives in Bielefeld. We talked after the show and exchanged emails. We
kept in touch and one thing lead to another and we began working together.
Describe the music culture growing up around Miami,
M: Well, this is a complex question, because I think
it's more then just growing up in Miami. Obviously, there is not much of a
gothic/industrial darkwave, whatever you want to call it, scene in Miami. I
grew up in a musical family and I've been singing for as long as I can
remember. My mother also sings and plays guitar and my father is an excellent
classical guitarist, although he's very modest about it. My aunt (dad's sister)
is also a concert pianist. I grew up with various musical influences until I
was old enough that I could actually seek out music on my own. I remember
listening to a lot of classical and fifties music like Nat King Cole, The
Platters, Elvis, etc. As I got older I always liked what some people considered
to be weird music, mostly eighties synth-pop and new wave. But Miami is a city
that has been influenced a lot by the Cuban culture, therefore I grew up with
that style of music as well.
In what ways has performing in Europe differed from
performing in the U.S?
M: Well, the most obvious thing for me are the size
of the crowds. In the U.S., the crowds I have performed for, which are few,
have been small, but in Europe they ranged from maybe 300 to 4000. It is
difficult to compare the two because I've never toured in the U.S.
With Zillo festival approaching soon in Germany, do you
plan on visiting for the annual festival?
C: I'm not sure yet. I might not be in Germany
M: I will not be attending. However I will be in
Germany for a smaller festival held in Hameln on June 19th. It's called the
Balou festival and De/Vision will be performing along with 3 other bands I
think. Chris and I are going together along with some other friends.
From where have programming influences for Distorted
C: The most I got inspired by 80's Electronic and
Industrial Music and 90's Drum'n'Bass and Breakbeat Music, by innovative bands
like Depeche Mode and The Prodigy. But also music from NIN and Massive Attack
influenced me a lot.
When not completely focused upon Distorted Reality, how
do you support your personal life?
M: I am the Product Development and Approvals Manager
for a corporate licensing firm here in Miami; well actually it's Coral Gables.
Chris is a student of business at the University of Bielefeld.
Your recordings with Deep Red cover a lot of musical
territory. What aspirations have you been working toward for Distorted
M: I personally wanted to do something new and go in
a different directions while still holding on to what inspired me lyrically and
vocally. I wanted to work on songs that were more "danceable" without being
just your typical monotonous dance music. I also wanted to expand my vocal
style by working on songs that are more aggressive and not always slow to
mid-tempo with long instrumental introductions. I think Chris is extremely
talented and I love the way we can work on songs that have different influences
while keeping the feel of our project.
Which geographic musical markets are most targeted by
Distorted Reality at present?
C: Germany and USA.
Reflecting back upon the Deep Red tour in Europe with
Project Pitchfork, what are some of the more memorable moments?
M: The entire tour was memorable for various reasons.
It is difficult to pinpoint a few. There were some memorable "bad" moments
which I try not to think about :-( but there were also many exciting and
thrilling moments. I think the first show was definitely memorable for me.
Although it was not our best show it was our first show in Europe! It is
difficult to describe what it felt like to be back stage seconds before we were
to go on and then to have such a warm reception from the crowd was amazing; it
really left me breathless. I always felt like that when people were really into
a song and were enjoying themselves. We played to a crowd of about 4000 people
in Dresden. I remember looking out at the crowd and not being able to see where
it ended. That was incredible! But being the only female on a tour bus with
about 15 men was an experience. At first it was a bit intimidating, but the
guys from PP and the crew were all so nice to me and treated me so graciously
that I felt right at home. I have stayed friends with some of them and they are
very dear to my heart.
Where has Distorted Reality been taking you so
M: Not too far, but far enough considering we're just
beginning. Because of the way we work, especially in the beginning, it took a
lot of time to get material together. We have only been at a stage where we can
actually present material for a short time. We have a long way to go but we are
optimistic that Distorted Reality will take us there.
What types of gear are used in the programming and
electronic development of Distorted Reality compositions?
C: The basic instrument is the Sampling Workstation
standing in the middle of a couple of periphery machines like synthesizers, a
drum machine and effects. In the meanwhile, the computer became very important
as well (sample editing and hard disc recording). I really like working with a
sampler 'cause it allows us to use every sound that I like for our songs. It's
a very intuitive and creative instrument.
Describe how Distorted Reality recordings evolve from raw
compositions to completed tracks.
M: Chris composes an instrumental piece of a song
while sending rough mixes to me for feedback and changes to the structure for
the vocals. I work on lyrics while he is finishing up. When it's done Chris
sends it to me on a DAT (or CD) and I go into the studio, record the vocals,
mix and then master the material. We only work this way for demo purposes. We
intend to come together either here in the States or in Europe to work on the
actual album production.
What would you like to accomplish through Distorted
Reality during remaining months of this millennium?
M: We would like to sign a deal with a record company
that will put forth a strong effort and support us in every way. Does that
What imagery might best describe your conceptions of
M: Distorted Reality is a great name for what our
concept is and it's actually pretty straightforward if you think about it. I
love to challenge people to think and to explore their intellect as well as
their emotional side. Don't believe everything you hear, nor accept things at
face value. Make a conscious effort to examine and explore. I know from
experience that it's easier to just make up a false reality in your mind simply
to deal with the true reality of your situation.
C: I want to make music that reflects reality,
although a lot of people might not see reality as I do. Reality is full of joy
and happiness, but also fear and anger. I don't like naive people who only
think positively trying to suppress reality.
More and more, dark and progressive electronic bands
advance into film and video production. Where might Distorted Reality seek to
entice existing and new audiences in the future?
M: We would love to work on music videos for our
songs of course, but I also think Chris would be great for a film score. I
wanted to be an actress for several years; maybe this can lead into that.
However music is really my main focus and passion.
How many tracks can fans anticipate receiving on
Distorted Reality's full-length recording? When and where will the new release
M: Probably around 11 or 12, the usual. 'When' are
'where' are still in the works and yet to be determined. :-)
Open secret doors and reveal a few influences upon
lyrical compositions for Distorted Reality.
M: It's funny because often I have an idea for a song
rolling around in my head for a long time, but once I put it down on paper it
never ends up as I envisioned it. This is not to say that I wasn't able to get
my idea across. It's just that as you put words to your thoughts they seem to
change and take on a life of their own. Similar to your thought patterns at
times, you come up with an idea but when you recall how it actually evolved
many times the original thought is very far apart from what you end up with.
But to be honest most of the songs come from raw emotion, passion and
How can readers contact Distorted Reality for more
In general: Dreality98@aol.com
In America: Martha
In Germany: Christian Kobusch