“Too little, much too late/given how far we’ve fallen” – from “Future Man” by Author & Punisher.
Melk En Honing from one man industrial art war Author & Punisher is a major statement from the belly of the beast. Like dispatches from the dark corners we won’t look at until they rise up and the streets burn, the repression of love, the elephant in the room growing bigger, Melk En Honing is a fierce and magnificent display of ingenuity, texture and noise music from mastermind Tristan Shone.
From the Atari Teenage Riot kind of recent comeback album to Youth Code to Hateful Abandon to Crown (France), there is a cool upswing of industrial influences seeping back into extreme music. Shone, however, is one of the few artists to get full on Shadowrun with it and build his own machne/musical instrument/practically cybernetic enhancements. It’s managed to have Shone embraced by more than one scene with Phil Anselmo championing his work as well as fans of indie music who can manage an audio scare from time to time, ala early Swans.
It was awesome to digest the new, exhausting and killer follow up to Women & Children. My favorite track might now presently be the single “Shame”, a dirge to match plenty of the Godflesh classics Tristan (as well as myself) is a big fan of. Imagine if Howard Jones (80’s guy not ex-Killswitch singer) went crazy in a lab and started building Marvel Hulkbusters as musical instruments and you kind of are on track.
Read our discussion below.
How does it feel to have the new album done? I feel like you always are growing but like certain bands…Integrity, Combichrist, Neurosis…you can always tell it is them to some degree. How did you approach writing this time?
It feels great, but like any artist, you are ready to push your ideas right when the album is mixed. I have so many other ideas, machines and melodies swirling around right now that I am battling to see through. I was actually planning on building new machinery last Summer (2014) but I ended up just paying off debts and money built up from touring and rig upgrades, so I decided, when you are broke, you write music. I sat in my studio with my full arsenal (minus guitars) around me and had 3 months to finish it, with uncle Phil staring me down from afar…I knew it better be good and heavy as hell…that’s what I was shooting for.
“Future Man” was a standout to me. Really big and ominous. “We’ve got no future PLAN.” Are you actually hopeless?
I am VERY fucking hopeless and pessimistic about the future…you are crazy not to be. That song is very simple, but also very emotional for me. I want to fight for the planet and nature, but there are so many people that prefer the romanticism in survivalist US and THEM (and I don’t mean the Godflesh album) and get excited about putting up barriers and hoarding guns. Tell me this: why do white grown men with jobs in America feel any fear from the government and from Mexicans and immigrants? So much that they MUST have assault rifles and full camo? I think they just don’t have anything exciting in their lives, they don’t use their hands anymore, they swipe at soft ipad screens, they need physical interaction. I wish we could use that raw primal energy to bring people together and solve problems in the country rather than build up walls like they see in their fucking zombie reality shows. It makes me sick. The funny thing is, by being a pacifist, I am actually hated by gun enthusiasts. Gun hoarders should be considered terrorists, not unarmed black teenagers. When the apocalypse comes, I will not have an SUV with a gun on top, I will be on the beach surfing.
Has it been cool to be able to play different types of bills over the years?
I think it has kept things interesting for me. The variation you experience as an artist rather than a straight band is interesting. One of my favorite shows was at a gallery in Kansas City where with very little notice we had about 30 young artists who went absolutely nuts, taking their shirts off pouring drinks on each other…You don’t see that at clubs so much because there are social rules. Galleries allow innovation from both audience and performer, but clubs have better sound systems…
I loved “Tame As a Lion” from your last record and wanted to ask you about the mood you were in when writing that song? It’s really one of the more lonely sunding songs I can think of from recent years.
I had a brief residency at a friends’ gallery and I was writing songs for the piano and my masks, where the masks were used as percussion. By just sitting down and playing the piano rather than machines, I was able to think about the song and dynamics differently. The album version does not feature the masks, but my friend Judith Pedroza sang and my wife Marilia Maschion played piano while myself and 4 others played masks. I think this song also carries a tone of hopelessness with regards to nature…as much as we try, there is not way to stop the pummeling from humanity…
How did the Housecore relationship come about? Phil was one of first people I remember talking about Godflesh in interviews years ago, like the early stuff. “Wound” and all that era. So it’s cool he still cares about the industrialized side.
He found some videos online of me playing and chatting about the instruments and got in touch. 2 tours later we have an album and have become friends, despite him being a Saints fan and me a Pats fan. He is totally into underground dark music and Iv’e never been with someone who really listens to music like Phil does…it really is his life. He has an unreal memory of songs and bands and will play you stuff and chat about certain parts all night. We really connect on what HEAVY is. I trust him.
How much do you feel like the machines are an extension of yourself? It’s one of the more organic sounding industrial influenced projects, consistently.
I am NOT a future man :). The tech I am using is OLD. I don’t think of myself as an innovator in technology, I just think musically people are far behind the rest of the industrial tech world. Guitar center makes toy level quality shit and I make things that can withstand years of touring and human interaction. My machines are personalized encoding devices for me to control sound and in that way they are organic extensions. I don’t like steam punk, I don’t want to look like robo cop, I just want to have efficient ways to make sounds, smoothly and effectively. Industrial music should move away from sequences completely…it’s lazy and boring.
I love that hearing the intro to “Teething” or in many of your songs, I have seriously no fucking clue how you are making those sounds. It’s nice when the brain of a musican can’t quickly pick it apart and be like “there’s the guitar. here’s the vocal”, etc. You can hear the WHOLE feeling of the piece as a result.
Thanks! I love textures and that side of what I do comes from electronic music. The producers out there in the dub, drum and bass world are making the knarliest sounds so I pick apart some of their presets and apply my own secrets…
Anything upcoming you are looking fwd to the rest of this year?
I am doing a 7 week tour in the US/Canada this FALL with performances at COLD WAVES (Chicago), VOIDSTAR (Boston) and Housecore Horror Film Festival (San Antonio). Also there are 3 more videos for album tracks coming out soon…please stay tuned!