(aka. "Destroyx" of Angelspit)
- Dark Electro Industrial CyberGoth Hip Hop
In this episode we're chatting with Amelia Arsenic - also known as "destroyx" the lead vocalist of Sydney group Angelspit who made the big leap in the '00s to re-base themselves to the much larger markets of Europe and North America. As of early November 2016 Amelia is about to embark on a tour of her solo material in 5 Australian cities along with SNUFF - fellow Sydneyites of dark electronic music. We discuss the past, present and future and also feature below the brand new video for "Carbon Black".
Interview by DJ Robot Citizen -
Hello Amelia, let's start with a quick summary of your works so far: have you kept count of how many published albums and songs you've been involved with?
Amelia Arsenic: Not exactly, but with Angelspit I think we put out about 3 full length albums, 4 remix albums/EPs and I canít even being to put a number on the guest vocal spots, remixes and collabs Iíve done. As soon as I finish a project or a song Iím straight onto the next thing without blinking. Iím lucky enough to have worked with a lot of different producers and friends over the years and will continue to do so at this pace for as long as I can. After taking a hiatus to write new stuff Iím just excited to get back into it!
Robot: Secondly, about your change of artist title from the name that many people are familiar with - "Destroyx" - what brought about the change of name?
Amelia Arsenic: You can still call me Destroyx if you want! Itís my stage name for when I was in Angelspit and represents that part of my career and stage persona. A lot of people ask me this question and the main reason for the name change is because on tour, and when I would be going out and about, fans would yell Ďdestroyxí at me and I wouldnít turn around and respond. I just didnít want to be rude! So I thought I should probably change my name to be closer to my actual name. So thatís how Amelia Arsenic came about.
Robot: That makes perfect sense to me! Let's turn to your recent EP titled "Carbon Black". What would you like to share about that, like how did it come in to being? Who was involved?
Amelia Arsenic: Carbon Black is my debut EP written with my buddies Pete Crane and Ben Bulig, both exceedingly talented humans. What started out as a fun thing that happened when I was visiting Pete and Wendy (from Shiv-R) in Sydney turned into a little side project.
Robot: Many people are familiar with your previous work in the genre styles of electro industrial and cybergoth. With Carbon Black you've branched out to explore some more music styles; am hearing electro and hip hop in the mix. Were there some particular influences behind that?
Amelia Arsenic: Pete and I had quite a lot of youtube parties where we were exchanging different influences and favorite songs. At the time our favorites were Death Grips, Die Antwoord and Clipping. After spending so much time in the United States I was listening to a lot of hip hop, so some of those influences became apparent in the music. My main influences and drives havenít changed, I just wanted fresh inspirations.
I also wanted to try and do new things with my voice because after doing the same sort of vocal delivery in Angelspit I thought it would be fun to try vocal styles in different registers, some singing, rapping (kind of!), just push my boundaries a bit. I think some fans might freak out and be confused with all of the experimentation but theyíll come to realise pretty quickly that even if I say Iím influenced by hip hop it still sounds like an Amelia song, particularly live.
Robot: An artist must do what an artist must do - like to push boundaries and explore new realms! Do you have plans for a second EP or album? What might we hear on those?
Amelia Arsenic: Yes! Most definitely. Iíve been working on a release with Sean from Glitch Mode Recordings in Chicago. These upcoming recordings will be heavier than the Carbon Black EP and are designed to be performed with a band and be pretty brutal live.
Robot: Awesome! With the new tour about to start let's talk some more about performing live. I gather it's been several years since your prior gigs - how do you feel to be getting back "on the road"?
Amelia Arsenic: I canít tell you how excited I am to be doing this run of shows as itíll be with my brand new band. Iíve got my good friend Gregoroth coming on tour with me playing some pretty heavy guitars. Heís got a real metal background so itís awesome adding his guitar tone to my electronics. I also decided to fly my collaborator Matt James from the USA to play drums with me. Weíve played so many shows together in the past Iím sure itíll be kickass.
Robot: Sounds great - I'm familiar with Greg's work with Viral Millenium and am looking forward to the live show. What can people anticipate? New, old, or a mix of material?
Amelia Arsenic: All new! I havenít played an Angelspit show since 2013 after deciding to take a break so Iím just more focussed on my new material at the moment.
Robot: Have you kept count of how many live gigs you've done and in how many cities/nations?
Amelia Arsenic: I know Zoog [of Angelspit] has kept a pretty meticulous record, but I stopped counting. Itís in the hundreds for sure and we lapped the United States I donít know how many times! Itís rad to be able to travel to so many places. I used to make it a habit to take a photo of the crowd at the end of every show so it might make an interesting record to be able to collate all of those pictures.
Robot: I'm sure it will - a project for a rainy day or month! Now if someone were to ask ;) "What were your favourite 3 gigs/concerts/events you performed at and why do they top the list for you?"
Amelia Arsenic: 1) Any show at Slimelight, Electrowerkz London - 2007 - 2011 - Anyone that has ever played at Slimes would know that itís not the fanciest of venues. In fact itís pretty grimy and the stage is so low if youíre wearing platform shoes itís easy to hit your head on the roof. However itís a venue that has a lot of great memories for me. We had our first ever show in London; was pretty amazing. We played with our friends from Ego Likeness from Baltimore and Ayria from Toronto. I remember how crazy it was to fly from the other side of the world, where we were mainly playing club shows, to a completely foreign country and have a tonne of people singing your lyrics back to you. It made me realise that the band had progressed further than our tiny scene in Sydney to something much bigger.
2) Mera Luna, Hildlesheim, Germany - 2010 - Playing on the main stage at Mera Luna was one of the best days of my life! We were able to share the stage with some of my idols like Sisters of Mercy and Placebo. That was also one of the moments when I realised we wanted to have more members in the band because the stage was so huge and we were just a two piece from Newtown [Sydney]. I remember saying to Zoog something like ĎSydney is pretty far away from here donít you think?í We wheeled our tiny rig case onto the huge stage. I had never been on one of those catwalk things that go into middle of the crowd before and I made the mistake of not using a wireless microphone. I got to the middle of the catwalk and realised my microphone cable was way too short, so then I had to inch my way back to the stage in a way that didnít look too dorky. (Lesson learnt, if they offer you a wireless microphone on a giant festival stage, take it! Donít use your baby SM58 out of pride or because itís more punk rock).
3) KMFDM tour - Supporting KMFDM in the United States in 2009 was a total game changer for me. I think this was the tour that I went on that made me realise that Ďtour lifeí could be a thing! After seeing how such an amazing band brought their best show to their audience night after night made me realise that a similar goal could be in my grasp.
Robot: Very awesome, thank-you for sharing those memories. Over the years you've engaged with several other art-business related projects - what would you like to share about those?
Amelia Arsenic: Iíve worked a lot in fashion styling, production design and with designing my fashion brand A is for Arsenic.
The thing Iím most proud of at the moment is the video for the track "Carbon Black" that I worked on with my best friends, and it was then edited and co-directed with my partner Oliver Heath. It was a huge learning curve to learn the ropes of video editing, through to professional colour grading. Grading is like mastering an album, it makes all the difference.
Robot: Here's the link to the video for Carbon Black! :)
Robot: About the 2016 tour - where are you venturing to?
Amelia Arsenic: Weíve got a string of East Coast Australian shows with Snuff [link to facebook event] to start off with. Iím so optimistic about the tour because Snuff are an amazing band and itís cool to have two strong kickass female fronted bands touring together across Australia to being a femme edge to an often male dominated industrial scene.
These are our Australian dates coming up:
Nov 4 Fri - Hermannís Bar, Sydney
Nov 5 Sat - The Vault, Newcastle
Nov 11 Fri - Club VAMP @ Lobrow Bar, Canberra
Nov 12 Sat - Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
Nov 19 Sat - New Globe Theatre, Brisbane
Then early next year weíll be touring to the United States and are still open for extra bookings, so any promoters reading please get in touch!
Robot: Congratulations on making all this happen and best wishes for a very successful and grand adventure! To close, what are your websites where people can learn and hear more?
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