Hot off the heels of our premiere of Xentrifuge's 'Circles of Dust' music video and just before the release of their next album "Desensitized Parallels" (Pre-Order HERE), Chris X and Lisa Hellen sat down with us to discuss with us their harsh industrial visual spectacle and their latest and greatest work of art. Be sure to stream the video for 'Circles of Dust' directly below as you read:
Hello Xentrifuge and welcome to Brutal Resonance! Though you have been active in the industrial scene I've realized that we first covered you with the premiere of your music video “Circles of Dust”. So, let's start off with the basics. Who is inXentrifuge, how would you best describe your music, and what's your favorite album of all time?
Chris and Lisa: Thanks for having us! Xentrifuge is a duo consisting of Chris X and Lisa Hellen. We are broadly described as industrial and more specifically as Harsh-Industrial/Dark Electro, blending elements of heavy noise structures with dark synth work, infused with fierce vocals. One of our favorite albums would have to be Diary of Dreams' "Bird without Wings II".
I saw that Xentrifuge started back in 2005 by Chris X. Chris, did you have any prior musical experience or was Xentrifuge your first project? What was the initial inspiration behind Xentrifuge when you formed it?
Chris: I've been in countless projects throughout many years in multiple genres, mostly Industrial projects with limited success. Xentrifuge was actually an experiment of sorts while learning to use software-based writing platforms. I really enjoy both power-noise and harsh industrial and at the time I just dove in with the idea of combining these elements. It just flowed without force, found a niche and decided this is what I need to be doing. After pushing a three song demo around, the potential became clear and never looked back.
Through those years you released a bunch of music but it was not until 2012 that Lisa Hellen would join the group. Lisa, what made you join up with Xentrifuge and how did you and Chris meet?
Lisa: Well, back in the late 90s, Chris and I actually worked together on some music - we had met as teenagers. In 2012, we reconnected after a few years apart and everything just clicked.
When you first started working with one another did you guys butt heads often trying to work with each other's ideas? Or was it relatively smooth?
Chris: Xentrifuge was very chaotic with unstable band members, until Lisa joined. It was and has been a very smooth and efficient process ever since. Everything just fit right from the beginning. She knew what she wanted to do and I knew what was needed, so it's definitely a solid and permanent line-up.
Now we're in the present and you've just released your music video for 'Circles of Dust'. I compared the video to the films “Hellraiser” and “Blade”. What were your aesthetic influences for the video?
Chris and Lisa: Honestly, '"Hellraiser" was not even a thought in our minds while writing the video concept/storyline, as we're actually not too familiar with the "Hellraiser" movies (or "Blade" for that matter). Of course we know who Pinhead is and the Hellraiser box is legendary, but it wasn't until the first review from Brutal Resonance that we noticed it certainly has that vibe. It wasn't intentional, but regardless it's still pretty cool. So now we have to watch the Hellraiser movies of course. We tried to really give the lyrics a visual concept.
'Circles of Dust' is also the first music video you guys ever created. What was the experience like? Was it difficult by any means, or was the overall experience fun and worthwhile?
Chris and Lisa: The experience was incredible. We are now addicted!
Lisa: Chris didn't really know what to expect, as this was new to him. I had done some modeling/acting work in the past but our crew and DP were especially helpful.
Chris and Lisa: It was quite a big production with hair and make-up crews. We had a script and storyboard, but the performance takes were not rehearsed. As soon as we entered the set we just started shooting. No specific plan, no rehearsal, just pure in the moment performing. We went in as if the film crew were an audience in a huge machine room. We couldn't be happier with the results and already working on our next.
Xentrifuge has always been a project with aggrotech roots – as seen with the whisper screaming you have embedded in 'Circles of Dust'. However, from what I've read and seen there's a lot of negative connotations regarding aggrotech anymore. Do you guys experience a lot of foul remarks? What's your opinion on the aggrotech state?
Chris and Lisa: Well we never really embraced the "aggrotech" description. There was also the "terror EBM" phase that we also never really used to describe ourselves.. Sure we can fit into these categories, but we can also fit into "Harsh Industrial" and "Dark Electro". In most cases you will find that we describe ourselves as just Industrial, this keeps us under a broader umbrella and reaching more listeners. There are always haters out there, for sure. We have not had any subjective foul talk our way yet (not to our faces anyway). We can't please everyone, but of course we always welcome constructive criticism. If not constructive, why bother?
Now let's talk about your new album “Desensitized Parallels”. The album is turning out to be one of the finest produced albums Xentrifuge has ever released. Did you guys record or make music any differently this time around? Did you have anyone help you along the way?
Chris: This album was written in a much better mental/vibe conditions due to Lisa's involvement, incredible hard work, and an almost identical work ethic. Our approach for this album is what I always wanted. Lisa brought it together. Had some studio upgrading done after our studio suffered a pretty bad blow, heavy water damage due to a neighbors house fire. This is also a very big factor in why it took so long to finish this album, but we're proud to say everything except the final mastering was all done ourselves in our very own small studio. From beginning to end, the experience was a new one with what we agree to be Xentrifuge's finest work all around.
And what is the album about? Are there any major themes within it, or do the songs individually tell their own tale?
Chris and Lisa: This album is more of a collection of art rather than a concept album. Each song is it's own and some touch on the same topics through different perspectives. There was about a good five year gap with Xentrifuge at a standstill, while battling personal demons and this subject is easily conveyed within the album. Some other topics are not so easy to pin down, all that being said we try to keep the listeners' experience open to interpret our work as it relates to them. Very abstract yet very personal. We would like to point out, there are no spoken word "samples" in this album at all (as typically done in much Industrial music these days) as to not set a certain tone that would resonate from that sample.
What's next for Xentrifuge? Do you have any tours or gigs lined up in support for the album? Are you planning any remixes, EPs, or singles for the future?
Chris and Lisa: We have quite a lot in the works. We certainly plan on touring (announcements in near future). We have a few dates locked down now including 'Dark Side of the Con 2', Sat. March 17th; 'Stimulate NYC' our Album Release show on March 31st; 'Dark Night 2' with our friends Chmcl Str8jckt on May 11th; and a very exciting show June 2nd in Philadelphia supporting Suicide Commando - news coming soon. New material for sure, tossing around a few ideas but definitely be on the lookout for several yet to be released remixes, compilationappearances, and of course, more music videos
Lastly I'd like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck with “Desensitized Parallels” and leave the space below for you to include any final words.
Chris and Lisa: Thanks so much for speaking with us and helping to spread the word. Much gratitude. Thank you to our incredible fans, hope to see a lot of long time fans and new fans on the road later this year! Thank You!
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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