I recently wrote a review on the stunning debut album created by Regiment VX, an expression of disgust and hatred against modern society, politics and the human kind in general. This project is the brainchild of Martin W Daniels, an English gentleman with his roots in the Power Electronics scene. In case of interest, if you want to read that (amazing, of course) review, see link below.
Normally I don’t do interviews; lack of time at the one hand, and my focus on writing reviews at the other. However, Mister Sadox, who owns the Gates Of Hypnos label, on which the album The Culling Of Human Existence For Pleasure And Necessity got released, did ask me – very kindly, evidently – to do an interview with Martin (and Carla). Since (1) we somehow do share same-minded ideas about our beloved fellow men on this beautiful planet, (2) because I was truly intrigued by both the sonic side of the album as well as the lyrical / conceptual one, and (3) because I am such kind entity (I am one of those ‘gold ones’, I guess, haha, which Martin does refer to), I made up some questions for this guy especially, and I also appreciate the feedback I got from Carlotta ‘Carla’ Loth, the ‘singer’ who co-operated on this first Regiment VX album.
[for the lesser smart ones amongst you: ‘I:’ = Ivan, ‘M:’ = Martin, ‘C:’ = Carla; no thanks for this clarification]
I: Martin, when and where started the idea to start up this project? And why did you choose to use the name ‘Regiment VX’ as moniker for this specific project?
M: I started the idea for the project in the winter of this year (2021) and it was in London that the project was formed. The name refers to infamous and feared poison nerve agent and couples it with a terrorist regiment to finish most of humanity. The name has a powerful feel to as regards to the more full on tracks and also fits perfectly for the cinematic Folk style of some of the other tracks too.
I: You do write the music and the better part of the texts, but some pieces from the lyrical side, as well as the vocals are done by a lady from Chile, Carla. How did you team up with somebody from the other side of our fabulous globe?
M: I write most of the lyrics and compose all of the music. I was looking for a Black Metal female vocalist for a project and I found Carla on Instagram and send her the tracks for RVX and loved them and it just went from there. Her accent is absolutely perfect for this project and her projection of her voice reciting the lyrics gives the whole thing another edge completely as regards the overall aesthetic of the project.
I: How easy or difficult was it to record this release at both hemispheres of Mother Earth? And how did the recording process evolve? Did you take care of the production and mix yourself, actually?
M: It was very easy as I just sent files via email to Carla and she sent her vocals stems back once completed and I mixed them into the tracks. I recorded it all at home and it was far better then using a studio where the money clock is always ticking away. It took about 2 months to complete the whole album. I really enjoyed producing and mixing this record, It came out very well and very clear. It was in no way meant to be a noise record. My new project Adult Scum handles that genre completely!
I: You used to create and perform harsher Power Electronics stuff in the past. Are you currently involved with other bands or projects, by the way?
M: A Black Metal project entitled Sisters Memon with Polish vocalist Natalia and a Power Electronics project entitled Adult Scum. Both projects push the boundaries of extreme subject matter.
I: The sonic side has something relaxing, tranquil, even meditative from time to time. Especially some more Ambient-oriented pieces offer inner rest, which is a confusing yet intriguing contrast to the raison d’être of Regiment VX. Correct?
M: War has times of tranquillity before it all starts again so that signifies those pieces. The calm before the storm ethic, a time to reflect and ponder before war resumes once more. The new album direction is all in this more cinematic Acoustic Folk direction. I think of the album as a soundtrack more than a standard album by a band so the different paths the music takes on the album and very relevant to the overall concept. I only wanted the debut album to have the more nihilistic pieces on there and the second album to be the post war record so it explores a different area of the human mind after war. Symbols in sun from the debut has a dark bleak romanticism to it and that’s something Carla and myself would like to explore more on the second album.
I: This misanthropic vision is not uncommon within, for example, the Black Metal scene. However, you choose to create Acoustic / Apocalyptic / Neo-Folk at the one hand, and (Dark / Martial) Ambient at the other. Is this the kind of Music, Martin, that you want as source of canalization for your messages?
M: I don’t listen to Neo Folk as a genre much t.b.h., although the first 3 Death in June albums are all time favourites of mine but they are way out beyond any Neo Folk bands that came after them and have always been an inspiration to me since the early 80s so when I created those more acoustic tracks I was thinking of a more ethereal Anne Briggs or the first Blood Axis album. I could make pop music and this message of hate would get over to people to make them covert to RVX.
I: Do you prefer to write / record / perform Apocalyptic / Neo Folk, Minimal Ambient or Martial, for this album has it all?
M: I love writing it all but yes, the more acoustic style really intrigues me as it emanates the emotional power a lot more. I have been making extreme music since the mid 90s with my older Power Electronics project survivalist which ran for over 20 years until I called time for the project in 2015, survivalist was a huge education in creating the most extreme electronic music possible and that has all held me in good stead when it came to this album as its condensed down so it has an extreme feel and outlook but the extreme electronic element is not prominent but its defiantly watching from a sonic somewhere.
I: In my review, I referred to some Folk-oriented reinterpretation of Puissance, also known for their messages of peace and love. Which bands or projects did influence you somehow? And are there any books or movies that were of importance to finish this album as well?
M: Only stuff like Anne Briggs inspired me to write the more Folk type tracks. Film-wise The Baader Meinhof Complex (orig: Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, 2008 - Ivan) has always been a huge inspiration.
I: The lyrics are quite specific; that’s the least I can say. It’s a clear manifest against modern society, civilization and politics, and some hate propaganda against the stupidity of the human race and the superficiality of our beloved homo sapiens. ‘some humans are gold but most are pure shit’, you once quoted. Tell me about your aversion to our earthly population, and intolerance of government institutes. Where does this philosophy, because that’s exactly what it seems to be, come from?
M: My distrust of governments, police and certain highbrow figures are all documented in the lyrics. I have always had a dislike for the majority of humans, most are just intolerable. Civilization is in decay already, and well saying that it’s always been plummeting. There are gold humans but the ones I hate, fucking gas them all, cunts.
I: Besides specific extinctionist lyrics, some are purely Punk-laden, preaching revolution and resistance against authority. Of course, this goes well in combination with prophecies, or hope, for mass extinction and total annihilation, yet seen from a rather anarchistic point of view. Why this specific approach as well?
M: For Carla and myself RVX is the soundtrack for an uprising against the rulers. It has that anarchic and nihilistic Punk attitude to it and couples it with the terror group philosophies of the Baader Meinhof and possibly more up to date terror groups. It is the sound of both determination and hatred. It has a very Victorian nihilist fuck off attitude to it too, the negative mixed with bloodthirsty combative positive. It is 100% against authority yes that’s correct. RVX lead the revolution! Don’t stand up and be counted, stand up and stab the enemy in the face, don’t be a number, be a revolutionary.
I: In some way I feel like as if this textual approach sounds very intrinsic and personal too, which almost results in feeling sympathy for the abhorrence and revulsion. Am I wrong? Please tell me I am not…
M: No sympathy. If the text inspires others to fight the power then great. Yes it is a personal war but in the larger picture it’s so much more than that. So yes you are wrong, instead of feel sympathetic for the person’s feelings of disgust join them in trying to destroy either mentally or physically the root of the problem that bothers them. Take up psychological arms!
I: The album’s title says it all: ‘the culling of human existence for pleasure and necessity’. What’s it up to you: is it necessary for our future, or is this search for extinction rather a pleasure? Or both of them? And what would you prefer: poison gas or biological weapons? Or, as long as it works, all means are fine?
M: A search for pleasure as sexual sadistic pleasure runs all through my feelings when making the music and a lot of the lyrics. Extinction not so much as we need the god humans to keep the world turning, that’s why the word culling is in the title as in a huge clean out of selected rubbish human beings, so yes cull some of the scum that pervades this planet and that is good for everyone really. Clean out the shit but it’s inevitable that more will pop up. I have a huge interest in chemical and biological weapons and I would use both. Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program was headed by a woman named Dr. Rihab Taha aka Dr. Germ so she has always been a huge inspiration of mine. She is proof that just one woman can be the most feared human on planet earth as she has the know-how and tools to start to destroy it. So she inspired the more extreme track on the album in a big way.
I: I tried to count it several times, but I lost the number somewhere at the fifth or sixth track. Do you know how many times the f-word passes by?
M: Yes, it comes up a lot and rightly so, should be on there much more too.
I: The voice of Carla is a very characteristic one. She does not ‘sing’, yet she’s rather ‘narrating’, convincingly heralding these negative messages with anger and disgust. Well-though choice, I think for it strengthens the core of the communication. I suppose it is a conscious decision to do so?
M: RVX being fronted by a woman has much more power than being fronted by a man. I have much more respect for women than men. Carla’s voice is amazing and gives off that fearsome power the project requires. Her recitals are poisonous. She conveys the messages and stories perfectly and no one else could do it quite like her. She is brilliant.
I: Indeed she is! Her voice surely is an added value on the final result. Anyway, I was enormously surprised when I noticed that “The Culling Of Human Existence For Pleasure And Necessity” came out via the great Polish label Gates Of Hypnos. It is a label run by Sado Ritual’s spiritual entity Sadox, specialized in the darker edges of the Noise scene especially. Regiment VX is way too ‘clean’, I mean un-noisy, and it surely lacks any form of Noise Music whatever. How did this collaboration work out?
M: I found the label I think on Facebook and sent them the album and they loved it. And it went from there. I love the label and love the name of the label too. It’s one the best underground labels by far. Yes the album is clean but in my opinion far out weighs any noise oppression as its fear factor could be very real and not a person in a room fantasy.
I: The release is a digital one via Gates Of Hypnos’ Bandcamp page. Will there be a physical release too in the future?
M: It would be amazing to have it released on yellow poison vx gas vinyl and cd too. I hope that will happen at some point.
I: Are there any plans to have a next album? And will you perform live under the moniker of Regiment VX?
M: Yes I have already started work on the new album. Hopefully it will be ready by early in 2022. And no, we will never ever perform live.
I: Which kind(s) of Aural Art do you listen to lately?
M: At the moment Oum Kalthoum (an Egypt-born singer who lived during last century, performing Middle-Eastern inspired Music - Ivan), Lana del Rey, Black Witchery, Impetuous Ritual, Fun da Mental, Teitanblood and Charles Manson’s Lie album.
I: How are the reactions so far, by the way? Did you get positive and / or negative, constructive and / or stupid feedback? Don’t forget to mention the great review from undersigned, of course, haha…
M: Bring on the negative reviews and stupid feedback! I welcome it! but yes people seem to enjoy the album and your great review of course which both Carla and I very much appreciate, really glad you like the album. My message to any haters is turn the gas on full then go stick your head In the fucking oven and keep it there.
I: What kind of person are you in daily life, Martin?
M: 60% nice and 40% subject to change.
I: Any last words?
M: Many thanks for the interview, it’s very good of you, and both Carla and I really appreciate it.
I: And what about you, Carla? How was this experience for you?
C: When Martin contacted me for the VX project I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't sure if it was serious or just a joke, you know you can expect a lot from social media. But I think this was meant to be, as it all flowed so naturally.
The lyrics were a challenge for me, firstly because they were not sung and I musically sing cleanly in gothic metal bands. On the other hand I don't usually say so many abuse words in life, I usually think three times before I say something, but it wasn't so difficult to say bad words in a language that is not my mother tongue.
I concentrated on a character created in my mind according to the lyrics and the concept. character not so far away because if you never had feelings of aversion and rage against politicians, uniformed, or people who abuse their power, is that you never lived a war in your country, you never saw news in the world or simply nobody ever humiliated you in life. I grew up under a military regime in my country, under Augusto Pinochet, it was a silent war. So my generation feels disillusionment and hopelessness with politics. That made me somehow create this character to say the lyrics. However, I also had a lot of fun recording, I felt like a child playing with fire, you know, children never see the seriousness of things, you don't have to be so serious in life! I think. After recording the lyrics in my little home studio, I sent them to Martin, I never expected him to like them so much, which made me enjoy what I did even more. Well he also gave me the freedom to write the title track for the album, based on what is happening politically in my country and also in the world with the abuse of power. And well, Martin knows that he can count on me for a future project, either with Regiment VX or another in which I can do what I do musically.
I: Indeed, I guess the result did work out extremely well!
Thank you, Martin, for your time and, above all, for your authentic and honest view on modernism, humanity and mankind’s futile existence. I do look forward to experience your next recording for sure!
Thank you too, Carla, for your contribution on both the album and within this interview.
And my appreciation goes out as well to Przemysław ‘Sadox’ Grochowski for releasing this stuff (and many other intriguing material, going for both your own projects [Sado Rituals, Crepuscular Rituals] and your label.