Infidel Interview #135: SHIV-R

First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?

At this stage we're in our mid-30s and live in Melbourne, Australia, though we’ve spent a lot of our “career” as SHIV-R living abroad. We’ve done shows in at least 20 countries, including at Germany’s WGT, Canada’s Kinetik and the UK’s Infest festivals, we’ve done dozens of remixes, a few EPs and have most recently released our fourth full-length album “Requiem for the Hyperreal” which is available now everywhere digitally.

How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?

Honestly we spend a lot of time discussing this topic. We both moved to Melbourne at the same time (January 2017) after living abroad for years (me in London and Ben in Bangkok), and we discuss every time we hang out whether we are happy here or where in the world we would ideally like to live. There are some well-attended local goth clubs for sure, but more excitingly there is a great live music scene for other genres that is one of the healthiest in the world. You can walk down any number of streets and hear live music blasting out of venues from blues to thrash metal and it's pretty inspiring if you have an open mind musically. I'm still trying to find my feet with the local scene. I've lived in Melbourne before but only for a year here and a year there. We still have a mental focus overseas with our music and will be returning to Canada to play Terminus Festival in July as well as some other bits & pieces in North America.

What does SHIV-R mean to you guys in 2018? And how does that compare to what the project meant to you guys when it was formed?

We’ve explored quite a lot of different sounds and hit some goals that we had when we first started, e.g. being signed by labels like Infacted and Metropolis Records, and playing the biggest goth festival in the world WGT. But now, speaking personally, my goals are less around traditional goals per se, and more around unlocking the ability to just use music to communicate fluently and express myself in the most honest way I can. We have talked about departing from where we started, away from the club music and harsh sounds, as we have a lot more to express, but at the same time we realise that we love club making club music. I love the process of making electronic music and I think our first album was a real focus on industrial-club sounds, and it was a lot of fun to be that focussed. So while we stray to other sounds, more acoustic elements, more dynamic songs, we will always cycle back to harsh club music. Last year on tour in Russia, a producer I hugely respect, Sergei from R.I.P., told me backstage in St Petersburg that our new album “Requiem for the Hyperreal” is about 40% as hard and heavy as our first album. That was a deliberate move as we shied away from club stuff. But actually right now we are working on a purely club-focussed EP that we will put out later this year that should help us re-gain some club footing.

Interview continues after this video and all further streaming content...

Do you consider yourself to be part of a particular sound or scene? What is your thoughts on the nature of genres and styles, and do you have any particular ones which you find to your enjoyment more, listening and/or production-wise?

I don’t like or dislike anything inherently because it is part of a genre. I like individual artists from all sorts of genres. I would never go to an EDM festival to see one of my favourite artists Deadmau5, nor would I go to a metal festival to see another one of my favourites Gojira. I would find the rest of the music, and the people who listen to it, kind of awful. So I just like to pick and choose from wherever.

Industrial and Attitude seem to go hand in hand. With global war, civil unrest, injustice, and political revolution being primary musical themes that dominate your music, how do you feel nowadays about the current state of world affairs?

I absolutely loathe the fact that hateful ideas and casual bigotry are becoming accepted again under the guise of “free speech” or that “no idea is invalid”. For the sake of brevity I will cut what was a very long answer down to the words of Pop Will Eat Itself: "When they come to ethnically cleanse me, will you speak out? Will you defend me? Freedom of expression doesn't make it allright; trampled underfoot by the rise of the right".

Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?

Pursuing music is my life and has been the catalyst of most major moves and lifestyle changes in my life. It should be a kind of fabric that brings positive changes and elements into your life. I've met most of my friends and had the most amazing experiences due to music so it's definitely a life-changer.