Hello Heavy Halo and welcome to Brutal Resonance! Since it’s your first time here, let me ask my favorite question. What are three of your favorite albums of all time and why?
McKeever: Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Straight-up bipolar. This record goes from searingly loud to dead quiet and back again in an instant. The sheer range of emotional ground it covers is unforgettable.
Gosteffects: The Prodigy - The Fat of the Land: A nuclear bomb blast — the first electronic music we were exposed to. It had the aggression and energy of grunge but with a completely different sonic signature. Still sounds futuristic today…
McKeever: Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral: Raw soul and brutally honest songwriting trapped within a cybernetic exoskeleton. The struggle between human and machine, a concept which has only become more relevant…
I read that you two had very different origins. McKeever was playing in sweat-soaked DIY venues, and Gosteffects was performing at illegal raves. How did you two meet, and when did you decide to make Heavy Halo a thing?
Gosteffects: We were orbiting around different corners of the NYC DIY scene. I was DJing hard techno and throwing raves in burned out buildings. Mike grew up playing in noise rock bands then studied classical composition at Columbia. We met at an after-hours goth night, started showing each other tracks, and that was that…
McKeever, I read that you went through a chaotic spiral which included a trip to the psychiatric ward. Do these experiences ever pop up in your music or lyrics?
McKeever: I hit a wall where every bond in my life disintegrated. Flailing around in lost, manic desperation led to dark corridors and the inevitable crash & burn. From there, I had to reassemble my identity. This album is me digging my way out of that fucking hole…
Gosteffects, when Heavy Halo was getting going, you built a studio in a former hospital. Tell me how that was possible and what kind of equipment you had.
Gosteffects: The building was a historic Jewish hospital built in the 1800s. If you were born in Brooklyn at that time it was probably in this building. Albert Einstein was also treated here in a life saving procedure where they wrapped part of his brain in cellophane. It worked and he lived another 5 years.
This neighborhood we live in was plagued with race riots in the 1990s around when the hospital was closed down. The laundromat in the basement was the morgue. The super of the building told me when they took over the building a body was left in the basement. Apparently the city or whoever owned it before just completely abandoned the building. That’s how bad it was here at the time. He said he just told people in the neighborhood to come take the computers and beds and everything.
As far as what type of equipment we are using here, we record with an arsenal of hardware synthesizers, guitars, and whatever else we can get our hands on.
You eventually signed with Negative Gain Productions. How did you find them or vice versa, and what led you to make a deal with them?
Gosteffects: Our close friend Alex English introduced us to Micah and Roger from Negative Gain. We signed with them because they truly understand what we’re trying to say. They’ve been killing it in the industrial goth scene for 25 years and have put out so many records we love. We’re grateful to be a part of their community.
On Negative Gain, you released your debut, self-titled album. Tell me the overall theme of the album and what it meant to both of you.
McKeever: We wanted a band name that was two opposing words, representing dark and light. When we hit upon “Heavy Halo,” we knew that was it.
You try to transcend and overcome your self-destructive tendencies, but you get pulled down to hell anyway. But somehow there’s defiance deep in there seeking revenge. Heavy Halo is the revenge.
The cover depicts an angel with a halo falling. Obviously a nod to the band’s name, how does the image correlate to the album?
McKeever: Our visual director Wrekluse ( https://www.instagram.com/wreklusetattoo/ ) did all the artwork. He’s basically the 3rd member of the band and he really nailed it with this image. We got the initial idea by looking at statues depicting Icarus falling to his death after flying too close to the sun.
Shortly after the album was released, you added a ton of remixes from the likes of Xavier Swafford of 3TEETH, Morris Black, Atari Teenage Riot, and more. What was it like working with these producers and what did they add to your songs?
McKeever: It was a dream to work with these unreal producers who completely obliterated our tracks and reassembled them into something completely new. Songs crushed into shards of glass then fused together into gleaming shapes…
And what else do you have planned for 2022? Any other remixes, singles, EPs, tours, shows, etc happening anytime soon?
Gosteffects: Album #2 is written and we’re deep into recording it. We’re also playing live around NYC, and are especially looking forward to playing with Aesthetic Perfection and our labelmates Josie Pace and GenCab at LPR on October 12th.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck. I leave the space below open for you to mention anything I may have missed. Cheers!
McKeever: Not much else to say, listen to the music… ;)
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.
Share this interview