Publication: Dark Heart Magazin
t.o.t.s. Interview w/Dark Heart Magazin (2005)
DH: First, tell us something about your development as musicians. How long has Things Outside The Skin existed and when and how did you meet? How did you get the idea for the name of the group?
Chvad SB: I started playing music regularly in 91′. Prior to that I had noodled around with it but never with any solid commitment. THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN has been around since 1997. Initially it was a solo project for me that has expanded to include more players. Current band members include my brother Blight on bass guitar and Tim Durland on drums. In regards to the name “things outside the skin”, that came about a few years prior to the actual start of the project. I wanted a name that could project an endless canvass of ideas. Some name that could embody any thing and any idea beyond the scope of my own person. A name that would allow me to constantly re-envision the product without changing the core identity of the band itself.
DH: Which roots in a musical sense do you have? Are you an electro or an industrial band?
Chvad SB: My influential roots are pretty heavily rooted in early synthpop, new wave, punk rock and rap. Whether or not we’re an electro or industrial band… I don’t know. The answer seems to change depending upon whom you ask. With as many inane genres and sub-genres that exist today I’m sure we fit in somewhere but in the event we don’t, it’s safe to say we’re just a rock band with a conscience.
DH: Your music combines electro and industrial. Why did you decide to make such music? Is this something that comes deep from your mind?
Chvad SB: I’ve always loved all kinds of music but when I first heard “Jesus Built My Hotrod” by Ministry, it lit a fire under my ass and inspired me to make music more than anything had before. At that point, I realized the effect music could hold over people… and myself. My decision to make music wasn’t something I sat down to think about… I was compelled to make music. The industrial/electro angle is just one of many elements that have inspired me over the years. I spend a great deal more time on the subject matter of the lyrics than I do with the overall “sound” of the songs. The sounds change pretty drastically from one track to the other and for me, that’s fine. One song might be more rap oriented than another and another more rock and another more electro… none of that is pre-concieved… whatever works best for the lyrics is what happens.
DH: Your new CD is called “You Knew It All Along”. Is this your first release or had there been other releases before? How did you get the deal with your label Facility Records?
Chvad SB: “You Knew It All Along” is our second full length release. It’s our 23rd release including compilations and soundtracks. Facility Records is my own self-produced label. After tons of rejections from most labels I opted to release our first CD myself back in 1999. Since then I have released a couple of compilations on the label in addition to THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN material. I haven’t bothered to send anything off to labels in years. If they have any interest then cool, I’m willing to listen but I’m not gonna chase after them. We write, record, release, tour and fortunately there are people out in the world that want to listen. If a larger label has interest it’s easy enough to contact us. If not, I’m not losing any sleep.
DH: A lot of songs on the CD are very dark and with social criticism. Is this a reflection of your lives and of the society in which you are living? Do you want to provoke with your music?
Chvad SB: Do we want to provoke? Absolutely. That’s a primary focus. Provoke thought…provoke solutions… provoke change… Is t.o.t.s. a reflection? I’d like to think so. If we’re ugly… it’s because we’ve seen something ugly. It’s because ugly happens to fucking much.
DH: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN seems to me a band that likes to experiment with new sounds and noises. Am I right?
Chvad SB: Absolutely! Rhythmic textures and noises have always had a welcome home in t.o.t.s.land. Never as a substitute to traditional instruments but rather to exist along side them to compliment one another.
DH: Where do you get the ideas for your songs? Are music and lyrics influenced by science fiction or horror movie topics? What do you think about the future of human society?
Chvad SB: The ideas for the songs are almost always inspired by social and political situations or my reactions to them or interpretations of them. Sometimes songs of a more personal nature sneak into the mix but not too often. Not yet anyway. As much as I love both horror and science fiction, they are never inspirational subject-wise. I have no doubt however that the tone of a number of horror and sci-fi films have affected the tone of our songs as I am sure the sound design and scores for them have as well.
DH: My favorite song on your CD is “Cancer Song”. In which circumstances did you record this song? Are there any experiences that influenced you when recording this song?
Chvad SB: Wow… that’s a first. Most people don’t even mention that song. With out a doubt, the most personal song for me on the CD. This song, and the samples contained in it, chronicle an early conversion my father had with his oncologist prior to the treatment for his esophageal cancer. He lived for about 2 years after the meeting. The dialog samples are from the actual conversation with his doctor. I recorded them without their knowledge or consent. I didn’t do this to exploit the situation but I needed to deal with the situation in some fashion and this worked out the best for me. or at least the best that it could. Unless I’m mistaken it’s the last song he ever heard of mine. It doesn’t even begin to capture the horror and the suffering he had to deal with or the loss of those close to him.
DH: If you could change the world, what would you do?
Chvad SB: Get rid of all humans. Every last one, myself included. We’re harmful to this planet and the Earth is better off without us. In the process of killing off most species on the planet, we’re only killing ourselves in the long run… it’s such a horrible waste. IF I could do that it would be a start… but I can’t, so it’s my job to nag the shit out of all of you other humans to treat the planet and it’s inhabitants better. You could argue that if we weren’t here, something or someone equivalent would take our place and be just as bad if not worse. Fine… if that’s the case, I want them gone too.
DH: How important is it for a band like THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN that your songs can be played in a club? Are you making music for the dancefloor?
Chvad SB: It’s not even a consideration. If it happens then that’s cool. If not, se la vie.
DH: Do you have contact with other electro bands? Are you collaborating together? Can you imagine to remix songs of another electro bands? Do you have any favorites?
Chvad SB: We know quite a few other acts and have had the opportunity to work with a number of them quite often. Diverje, UV, Sealed in Silence, Flood Damage, Infinity Interrupt, Hate in the Box, Unto Ashes, CEOXiME, YLUKO and many more great acts. I’ve met a great deal of bands through playing but also through fantastic networking sites like Thirdwave Collective (www.thirdwavecollective.com), Darksonus (www.darksonus.com), Industrial.org, Musick Online and Triptoy.net.
DH: Which further plans do you have with Things Outside The Skin in the near future?
Chvad SB: I’d like to tour again sometime in the next year… probably only North American unless someone can pay for us to travel to our own west coast or even overseas. I’d love to see audiences in another country. Aside from that, I will be starting to write a new CD soon, hopefully for release in late 2006 with new band members and an entirely new sound.
DH: Thank you very much for answering our questions. We wish you good luck and much success. Your final words please:
Chvad SB: Just a huge thanks to you Andreas for taking the time to ask good questions and giving us a chance to speak. It’s magazines like yours that help small bands like us the most. You rock! Check out our site at www.outside-the-skin.com for more info on t.o.t.s.. You can also find us at www.myspace.com/tots and our newest CD “You Knew It All Along” is available at www.cdbaby.com/tots.