Industrial alternative metal act TERMINATRYX (pronounced: "terminaytrix") is a new breed of South African music. Their third album to date they like to call "Shadow" is causing quite the buzz and while their live performances are just as buzz worthy these guys have got the edge and style needed to bring out that uniqueness that is TERMINATRYX. Frontwomen vocalist and backing vocals Sonja with bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, programming, backing vocals and production Paul both discuss the band's history, current release, live setting, and more.
1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Sonja: Terminatryx has been going since 2002, when we started recording demo tracks and doing some live performances. Our line-up has changed during the years but has been fairly solid from 2008. Terminatryx consists of Paul Blom, who is the co-founder, plays guitar and bass, and is the principle writer. We have Ronnie Belcher on drums and Patrick Davidson on guitar and myself on vocals. Whilst we all contribute to the Terminatryx sound Paul and I are the founding members and are both responsible for writing and composing the material.
Paul: So much has happened across our 12 years, including our self-titled debut release, its full remixed version ("Remyx v1.0"), our DVD which features the classic silent Nosferatu movie with our new soundtrack, our brand new album "Shadow", many live shows in South Africa and in a special show in Germany, making our own music videos and lots more.
People can check out a lengthy list of highlights at our biog page on our site: http://www.terminatryx.com/TXbiog.htm
Patrick also has a band Mind Assault and a decade ago Ronnie used to play in his Gothic Metal band Gramlich, but now has a Rockabilly act The Flaming Devilles.
I'm part of Metal band V.O.D - Voice Of Destruction (est. 1986, recording & touring in Europe mid-'90s with Katatonia and In The Woods), and Sonja and I also created the Makabra Ensemble movie soundtrack project (which is mentioned further down)
2. Why did you pick the name that you did for your band?
Sonja: We wanted a name that was very different to the rest. We love movies and wanted something that would represent and conjure up a mood from one of the genres we have an affinity for - Sci-Fi (films such as Tetsuo The Iron Man, the Matrix and The Terminator, and a name that would be appropriate for a female fronted band). Initially we spelled our name with an "ix" at the end, but once the 3rd Terminator movie made its appearance, we realised that it would be better for us to change the spelling to stay on top of the Google search :-)
Paul: The Sci-Fi element is only one part, but it does fit in with the Industrial side of our music. We wanted it to be more vastly analytical and thought provoking - mythical elements like the river Styx and the sexually charged power of the dominatrix are all embedded within.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Sonja: We are based in Cape Town which once had a thriving Alternative scene. Of late the genre has become less represented and although Cape Town still has a scene, it is unfortunately not as big as we would want it to be. Cape Town and South Africa does however have a great Metal Scene (many bands, yet can always do with a larger support base), but we find that genres such as Punk, Goth and Industrial has become very marginalised. We have Metal elements in our music, so logically get grouped with that genre even though we do not strictly belong there, we have found an audience with the Metal crowd. We are at the moment considering diversifying and unleashing our sound on an unsuspecting segment, but we will see how that goes.
Paul: Commercial shit dominates here, but we keep fighting the Alternative fight, as it is an inborn part of us. There are quite a few bands to mention, a few of them include, in Cape Town: Subvers, Megaladon, With Dawn, Infanteria, Strident, ING / in the Gauteng area: Boargazm, Sacrifist, The Drift, Agro, Facing The Gallows / with places like Kwazulu-Natal spawning Theatre Runs Red. The bands range from Death, Thrash and Metalcore, to Power- and Black Metal, but very few have our Industrial (and female-fronted) edge.
4. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
Sonja: We feel our style s unique (especially here in South Africa) and it isn't easy to encapsulate in one genre. We have elements of Metal, Goth, Darkwave and Industrial. We all have an incredibly broad taste in music and you will find from Beethoven, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and John Zorn, to The Prodigy, Ministry, Slaye, Type O Negative and Napalm Death in our collections. Our influence has been of a cinematic nature, it is more about creating a mood with our music and to say our say. Performing to a crowd is an incredible platform and we choose to use it as best we can.
Paul: While the "Alternative" as a whole is marginalized, these genre derivatives are not what one would expect to come from Africa (as they have more European characteristics and appeal).
While not too blatant, the cinematic / movie soundtrack flavours that enter our work adds to Sonja's understated vocals in translating emotion - it's not just an explosion or wall of sound - we like nuances and taking the listener on a trip, without getting too long-winded about it.
We find our influences from everywhere - life, experiences, incidents of more or lesser impact that can spark an idea, a feeling, a riff, rhythm or prose that pops into your head, which we then expand, culminate add to a brew that ultimately is Terminatryx (an audio conglomeration just like the band's name construction) - but very seldom are we influenced by other bands or music (more so on a subliminal level of our lifelong musical journey and all the bands we've experienced).
5. What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Sonja: We released our self-titled debut album "Terminatryx" in 2008, and followed it up with a DVD which includes the full classic silent film Nosferatu, with our new original soundtrack (alongside collaborating musician fiends) - The movie's soundtrack was recorded live during our performance of it beneath the big screen at the South African HorrorFest film festival. The DVD also includes a dark short film we made, our live performance at the Dunker Club during Popkomm in Berlin, Germany in 2006. We released "Remyx V1.0" in 2011 which included remixes of our entire debut album by collaborators across the globe from Austria and the UK, to the USA, Greece and South Africa (incl. Sheep On Drugs, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Industriezone, Modern-e-Quartet etc.). We released our latest album "Shadow" in April of this year. All our releases were very well received with 90% of album reviews being positive.
Paul: We also produced an historic first compilation album titled "Kopskoot!" (translated as "Headshot!") featuring various heavy / alternative bands with vocals in the Afrikaans language (our mother tongue). The silent movie soundtrack creation evolved into our Makabra Ensemble project with which we've re-scored 8 classic movies (incl. Metropolis, Haxan, The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari, Phantom Of The Opera & more) - http://www.terminatryx.com/makabra
Thus far we've found almost 20 reviews for the new "Shadow" album (from around the world) and they've been overwhelmingly positive (ranging between 70% - 100% ratings).
6. Do you play live as well? What do you have planned in terms of shows and touring, if any?
Paul: Yes, we definitely play live. Our first ever live shows were as support for German Darkwave legends Diary Of Dreams when they toured South Africa. At the time (2003) we didn't have concrete live performance plans, but the promoter approached us, so it kick-started that part of our band. While I play guitar, bass, programme and some live drums on the recordings, live I play bass and do backing vocals. We run the programmed drums, synths, orchestration, samples, sound FX etc. from a Mac, playing our live instruments on top of that.
Sonja: We don't play live as much as we would like to. We're limited with the amount of venues available to us in Cape Town that cater to our brand of music, and touring up country is long and costly endeavor.
Paul: It is also not the kind of Top 40 music you can play twice a week at bars around the city...
Sonja: We have performed at major festivals in South Africa and as mentioned also performed in Berlin (at Popkomm in 2006).
Paul: We're playing at a female-fronted show here in Cape Town this coming weekend, and further down the line early April 2015 we're booked for the biggest South African Metal Festival yet (by Witchdoctor Productions), which will also feature my band V.O.D and international bands like Epica, Septic Flesh, Alestorm, Katalklysm, Belphegor, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Aborted and many local acts.
Sonja: We always aim for our live performances to be an audio-visual experience, and where possible, we have a synced up visual prjection that follows our live performance. We put thought into how we present ourselves to an audience and have a dress code for stage.
Paul: We make it dark and mysterious.
7. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band?
Sonja: Why should they be interested in it? We are unique, there is no-one like us (that we are aware of). We are a hardworking band and we are professional, we turn every endeavour into a production and deliver the best that we can with what we have available.
Paul: We create honest music that doesn't pander to a certain sector. When it comes to bands with female lead singers people always expect one of two polar opposites, for the woman to have an angelic, operatic voice like the symphonic / gothic metal bands, or be as extreme (and undistinguishable) than a full-on male Death Metal vocalist. Sonja is neither of those and has her own particular style and vocal sound.
8. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
Sonja: We are currently promoting our new album as much as we can and all our live performances have been dedicated to "Shadow" this year. We would like to find a way to get our music to as many people as possible and to spread our music videos far & wide.
Paul: Yes, we've been breaking our necks getting the word out there and thus far received an overwhelmingly positive response - but in the process you can get quite despondent when along the line you discover a mountain of sites grabbing your music (which cost us serious money from our own pockets to produce, record and release), and making it available as free downloads...
We released a music video for the "Shadow" album's title track, another one is already completed, and we plan to do several more.
You can see all our videos at: http://www.youtube.com/Terminatryx
9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Paul: CDs, DVDs and legitimate downloads of all our releases can be found at www.terminatryx.bandcamp.com (plus streaming), at reputed download sites like iTunes, Amazon mp3, CD Baby etc., with CDs and DVDs also available at on-line stores like http://www.oneworld.co.za, http://www.takealot.com, http://www.kalahari.com etc.
10. What is it you'd like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Sonja: I would like people to "hear and experience" our material as a whole not only hear the vocals or the guitar, he beat or the synths. We strive to create a mood with our music and I would like people to go to the place where we aim to take them with a song.
Paul: I want it to have a lasting effect, have the music mean something to the listener (which will be a different experience from one to the other) - be it identify with the lyrics, have the music stir an emotion within them, energize them, chill them out - that's another element of our music, a relative diversity that can take the listener on a ride of valleys and peaks.
TERMINATRYX on-line links: