Music Interview

Collide

by Jett Black
Photos By Rick Van Dyke/Bobbie Kitchens, Jack Pedota and Tedwin

CollideCollide, one survivor of recent deadly music industry rampages, launches futuristic creations today. Your favorite local record store may feature music by Collide. Your favorite DJ may have one or more of their recordings burning holes through the plastic. Collide is Sonic the Hedgehog racing to meet kaRIN, the sweet, seductive Siren and Statik the sinister mastermind programming every unanticipated synchronic nuance within the game. Contagious cerebral-dissonance, such as the Distort CD remixes, will have you dancing on the ceiling. Music to make the meek ooze hyper-erotic sex from every pore imaginable. Completely intoxicating electro-atmospheric darkwave matched with the most industrious, cutting-edge synth-pop will wash through your vagrant soul in ceaseless post-atomic shockwaves. If this doesn't sweep you onto the dance floor, you are already post-mortem *dead*! Carpe Noctem Vol 3, Issue 2 proclaims of Violet's Dance; "literally screams for dance club rotation." Beneath the Skin, according to CMJ issue 479; "sounds like...an angel shackled in hell." (http://members.aol.com/xcollide/reviews.html) What more do you need to know? Keep reading...

If you could create exactly what you want in your life and manage to survive through the creative process, what qualities and form would your creation take on?

kaRIN: I love to make things. For me the ultimate in my form of expression is music. I just want to create something that I am ultimately happy with. I would love to have the time to fully devote to music. I find that I never have enough time.

Statik: If I weren't human, I could create song after song everyday and everybody would love everything I did. But the truth is, is that writing songs is not always easy, but it is a labor of love. That being said, we try our best to put the qualities that we like into our songs every time we write one.

DistortHow will your next CD release differ from Beneath the Skin, and Distort?

kaRIN: Who knows? With us, each song is such an individual process and an evolution. It’s hard to say exactly how they’ll turn out. I am hoping for something more on the mysterious and exotic side because that’s where my tastes are.

Statik: It's good to be working on "current songs." On Beneath the Skin, we were unable to work on the songs for extended periods of time because we lived a couple thousand miles away from each other, so the album took a long while to complete. About the time Distort came out, we were ready to work on a new album, but even then it took a long time to compile and finish due to trading remixes, etc. So like kaRIN said, we aren't sure how the new songs will end up, but we're very ready and glad to be working on them.

To you, how does performing live compare to creating music in a studio?

kaRIN: We have not yet performed live with Collide for a couple of reasons. We are a computer oriented band and neither one of us really plays any instruments, so translating that well makes it complicated. In some songs there are over 40 sounds – it’s quite a sound sculpture, so to actually play anything live it would take some arranging or bribing some people to go on tour with us. When we are creating in the studio we don’t stop to consider how we will pull it off live; we just layer, add and subtract until we are satisfied. Even if someone plays live guitar, by the time Statik is finished with it he has manipulated it so much that it’s not even the same animal. I am much more interested in video as a way to provide visuals to our artwork. This is not to say that we will never tour, but it’s just never been a priority – our cats get mad.

What's the key to breaking through the underground and into the big bad world above? How can we make them understand?

Statik: The only way we can make them understand is to support the artists that you like. This means actually buying the CD's you like and not just copying them. Major labels and radio look at sales and decide from that who they will sign next or what songs radio will play. The biggest uphill battle is MTV. How sad it is that they play so little music nowadays and what they do play is mostly crap. Why do they play what they do? I don't know. If they got 100,000 emails everyday from people telling them to play Collide, or any other band that gets ignored by them...maybe they would listen. Maybe not, but you can't just sit back and let them shove their own music down your throat.

kaRIN: All of the art worlds are very competitive and difficult to succeed, but I think that music can be particularly difficult. There are so many artists wanting to get their work out there and so few decent situations. Record companies either don’t have any funds or proper distribution or they don’t give a shit about you and it’s all about numbers. I called a local popular radio station here and asked the station manager, point blank, what would it take to get our music played on commercial radio. He said, and I quote, “Let me be honest with you. It’s all about money.” That’s pretty sad. Why do you think you hear the same things being played over and over again? We really appreciate the exposure through the underground. Without it, people would not even know that bands like us exist – so, thanks so much to all the DJ’s in college radio and alternative clubs out there that do not have to conform to strict rules of what’s popular so as not to any way offend their typical mainstream listener, or challenge thoughts or tastes, but just play the music that they like. Ultimately, that’s why we started making music; we wanted to play what we wanted to hear.

CollideWhat features of the music industry today, or tomorrow, would you like to explore and develop through Collide?

kaRIN: Once again, I hate the fact that music is primarily about business. I just would like to be an artist afforded to create, but then that would be an ideal world and everyone would like to do it wouldn’t they? I hope that with the access of communication and information on the Internet that the situation of record companies dominating the artists will change. I would like to see each artist have the ability to have more control and still make a living at it.

Statik: I would like to somehow make it easier to get our music to people. Not just through downloading a file through the Internet...because as much as we would like to do that and give away everything it's just not the way it works. We've had a hard time getting our music into stores and keeping them in stock in some of the on-line outlets. Some of the stores in our local area would sell out and they wouldn't re-order. I don't understand why, but that has been the biggest uphill battle...just keeping our music available.

Tell us about some of your other creative interests outside of Collide.

kaRIN: I also run my own design company that absorbs major amounts of my time. I design Jewelry and Accessories and stuff. I also love to paint.

Statik: Someday, I would like to paint, or maybe sculpt, but I don't have any other drive to do those right now. I'm putting most of my energy into our music now. I'd like to do some furniture design actually. I went to a H.R. Geiger exhibit last year and saw some chairs that he did that were very inspiring.

What were some of the ideas that you brought together in the production of Son of A Preacher Man, the song and the video?

kaRIN: Well, vocally and emotionally, I felt like putting my own warped twist so I gave it a bit of an abuse feel in my slant. I do not like to just present the nice side of life. It makes me suspicious. As for the video, we wanted something surreal. It actually went through several concepts before the director Kevin McVey told us two days before about his new concept to use people dressed as large stuffed animals and fruit. We absolutely hated the idea. I told him, in my best imagination, it sounded to me like a Fruit of the Loom commercial gone bad. He was adamant and reassured us if we did not like the footage he would not use it, so we agreed. He did such a great job the first day of shooting it that I would have trusted him the next day if he wanted to shoot earthworms. When I drove up to the location it looked bizarre...all of the weird characters fighting on the lawn of a very Southern looking Church; I knew that I loved the idea. Ultimately, we are really happy with the video and owe thanks to the director who was really the one who pulled it off.

Statik: I have to say that I didn't have much to do with the video production. The song, on the other hand, came about from kind of a different way of working. I did most of the remix first by piecing things together from a DAT that I made from just letting the sequence run for a while. And then I cut up the vocal and added that afterwards. After the remix was done I went back in and re-edited down to the version that was on Cyber Punk Fiction.

Son of A Preacher Man...was this your first video production? Where are you going with video now?

kaRIN: Actually, no this was not our first video. It’s just our first that that was fit to print. We did one previously for “Beneath the Skin” and it was soooooooo bad that we choose to just leave it as a skeleton in our closet. The main reason why it was so intolerable to us is because it was shot on video and not film and that makes quite a large difference. As for where we will go with it...who knows? I love the art of photography and video even more; it’s like this small piece of artwork that’s finished.

Statik: I'm not even thinking about any future videos yet. I think right now we are concentrating on finishing the new songs. And when they are done, the songs will call out to what the images should be. Like cowboys and fruit.

If you were to tour and perform live, visually what would you like to incorporate into your stage performances and why?

kaRIN: I would like to incorporate some sort of interesting or abstract stage visuals. There are so many elements that interest me, but I would want it to be an experience or not at all.

CollideStatik: Exactly. I know more of what I would want it NOT to be than what would actually take place. I wouldn't want it just to be the two of us on stage faking the music that was all on a DAT. I've never liked watching a show like that and I wouldn't want to be a part of it. I know that there has to be some way to get all of the electronic elements to come across live, but I'm just now sure how I want to do that yet.

Statik, I understand your love of books and lack of time to read books. I still collect Anne Rice books hoping with each one that I will someday find myself with nothing to do but read a book. I have not allowed that to happen for several years, now. Share with us what it is that you like about Anne's many writings. And if you were to recommend one of her books, or any book, which one would it be and what would you hope the reader would find and explore?

Statik: I suppose I like the characters and the psychological part of what it would be like to be "immortal" and live for so many years. Not only that, but in order to survive you must actually kill people and drink their blood. I think that would really mess you up...it would be like being made to be a serial killer. Even so, I would like to be given the chance to live for so long. I think that a lifetime goes by too fast. And even at this point, it seems to have gone by in a second and it's really 1/3 of the way done. I figure that it would take me at least 500 years or so before I started to get really bored...and maybe not even then. I would recommend the book The Vampire Lestat. If I'm not mistaken, it's not actually first in the series, but it's the one that I read first and the one that got me hooked. What would I hope the reader would find and explore? I'm not sure. It was interesting thinking about how people were in the different ages....going from Ancient Egypt to the age of Rome to the Middle Ages to modern times, and how one person would act and what they would do being alive in every time. Just think what you would actually think if you had been alive for 2000 years.

Now is the time to be thankful. Who or what has helped you the most, thus far?

kaRIN: That answer is easy. It’s Chase (quirky label slumlord) of our now dead label, Re-Constriction. When we first were working on “Beneath the Skin” we sent it out to friends, family and several record companies and he was the only one to truly get behind it and believe in it and give us a chance. For that, we deeply thank him. By the time we did “Distort” we had tons of really amazing people, DJ’s, writers, etc., that had gone out of their way to be supportive.

Statik: I must also thank my family. They never forced me into anything and were always behind my pursuit of music. At one point, I was even able to use money meant for college to buy my first real sampler.

What do you find inspiring in life, whether it be real or imagined?

kaRIN: The thought that you can have the power to make changes in your life.

Statik: I find imagination more inspiring. That's why I like science fiction...movies of the future, artificial intelligence.

What does your imagination do for you? And for Collide?

kaRIN: Hmmm...what does imagination do for me? I am not sure, but if you are late I’ll envision you dead on the road. As for in my writing, I think I write like a painter…it’s very visual, at least to me anyway. I like to be able to say things in slightly different ways, or even create my own words.

Statik: I think imagination is very important. It really makes life a lot more tolerable. It gives Collide a future. Imagination gives me a way to, well, imagine what I want for the future. It lets me think about how I want a song to turn out, or what the best possible mix would sound like. The future is built on imagination. Without it, we can't progress.

I must say that I find both of you to be two of the most intriguing artists of which I know so very little about, save through your music and the creativity of your fascinating style. I imagine other music enthusiasts enthralled by Collide feel quite the same way. How will we come to explore more about Collide, and you its artisans, in the future?

kaRIN: Actually, I am a private person; however, I am open about my art. I do not like to define or limit myself. I am always changing. I prefer sometimes that which is left unsaid – I find it more interesting. I feel that life is about conflict and balance. I am often dealing with these issues while confronting my own demons.

Statik: At the moment we aren't in any kind of real public eye so anything you want to know about us we try to show through the music. We find that the Internet has helped us a lot to keep in contact with people. We try to keep our web page updated regularly and let our listeners know what we are up to at the moment. We appreciate feedback and try to respond to our email in a timely fashion.

From where, from what, do you derive “passionate noise?”

kaRIN: Honestly, I don’t even understand music; it’s all beats and notes and all I hear is emotions and visuals. I suppose that’s what makes Statik and I a good team. We approach things in a totally different way and sometimes it’s a fight to the finish.

StatikStatik: We both put a lot into our music. We both give 200% into it. In one way or another, we're both very passionate about it. Sometimes people have trouble discerning a lot of our sounds from one another and a lot of the sounds do get "blended" together to make a wall of sound which people hear as noise. Although I like very dense music, I'm trying to make an effort to keep our new songs a little more sparse. We'll see how successful I am when we get done though.

kaRIN, from Toronto? How interesting. I recently returned from Toronto (Aug.'98/C4). What features about Toronto capture your heart and imagination.

kaRIN: I remember Toronto to be a very artistic, cultured city that focused attention on individuality rather than blending in. I like that, but I also like change and I do not like being cold...it makes me shiver.

What do you think of the music on the radio (Especially in L.A.)?

kaRIN: Boring, boring, same, same. For commercial radio they seem to offer only one flavor. There are more interesting College radio stations, but in some cases their airwaves are not strong enough for me to really listen in.

Statik: I agree. I can't find anything on the radio to listen to music wise. I usually listen to talk radio more because I can't stand to listen to anything else that’s on.

As artists and creative individuals, how critical are you of your own aural soundscapes?

kaRIN: I think that we are both highly critical. Writing songs is really a process for us.

Statik: As critical as I can be. I don't want to put out anything that we're both not 100% happy with. A song has to pass our listening tests a few thousand times before it goes out.

Your music is rather diverse, even comparing it to itself. How do you account for the diversity evident in your aural creativity?

KaRIN: I think we are both just comfortable and like pulling from a lot of different influences.

Statik: Yes, I would have to say that it's just our influences. I like everything from Cocteau Twins to Queen to Ministry to Massive Attack.

(Devil's Advocate) Statik, tell us what it is you have against trusting your computers.

Statik: Anyone who has used computers for a long period of time knows how untrustworthy they are. They know just when to crash, right before you save anything. There's still too much voodoo involved in getting programs running 100%. When you think about how easy computers should be to use, they are still really barbaric. And it really comes down to the computer programmers, not the computers themselves. I really wish that companies would test their programs in real world environments more before they release them. I can't tell you how many times I see where it takes 6 months and 2 software updates before a program is running all right and doing 80% of what it's really supposed to do.

Dance is clearly one of the main compulsions I get from Collide. How does this come about for you? Do you dance in the studio? What happens while you are creating new music?

karIN: I first started going to underground clubs. I never liked the mainstream (the mentality is way too stupid) when I was extremely busy and I found that in a few hours time I could release all my pent up emotions and totally lose myself. Dance became a very important release for me and it also became my very favorite place to listen to music. So, if our music works on the dance floor I am happy; I am very close to dance.

Statik: Our motto is no chairs in the studio. I program and do all of the music while dancing. No, not really. I don't really see most of our songs as necessarily "dancy." But I do always want the song to have a good groove. It's really important for me to have the backbone, the meat of the song, to be solid. After that we can build it up, but I like to start with a good base.

I have read where you mentioned Virtual Reality. How have you explored VR? Was that just a passing fad? Has it hit a slump, or is there actually a lot more going on with VR today that I am, unfortunately, missing out on?

kaRIN: I am not sure that I mentioned “Virtual Reality,” but I have always loved the idea of levels of reality as evidenced by dreams and the subconscious. It makes me believe that we are capable of having some control over creating our lives. Everything is cause-and-effect and you are responsible for the outcome.

Statik: I haven't really done anything that I consider virtual reality. I suppose it does have a great potential for some great games though, but I haven't seen any yet.

What visions loom on the horizon for Collide?

kaRIN: Just to be able to create more in a way that is satisfying to the both us and is able to be heard by others and survive somehow while we do it..

Statik: I have a vision of Collide flying through the galaxy on a super galactic space ship. That's my vision. Flying through space making music.

What would you like to accomplish before the end of the millennium?

kaRIN: I would like to finish the album we are now working on.

Statik: I would like to find that space ship.

kaRINYou could take a cab ride across town with anyone. Who would that someone be and what would you choose to talk about?

kaRIN: Actually, that person would be my Mom She was the coolest person ever and I would like to talk about her journey in the afterlife.

Statik: You know that's a really tough question. Tougher than it should be. I can't think of anyone right now. I've had the chance to meet a lot of “famous” people in person – those who I've read about or listened to as a kid, and more often than not I was very disappointed. I'd almost rather think about people through their art and music instead of real life. It's easy to put someone on a pedestal and think about how great they are, but everyone is just human and has the same everyday problems and flaws.

How can readers here best contact Collide?

kaRIN: E-Mail is a wonderful thing; we even write back…usually.

Collide, P.O. Box 2684, Van Nuys, CA, 91404-2684
http://members.aol.com/xcollide/home.html
E-Mail: xcollide@aol.com