VOMITO NEGRO | THE HORRORIST | NERVOUS GENDER | FULL SHOW REVIEW

The Horrorist Live in NYC 2014!

The Horrorist Live in Brooklyn 2014 with Jay Serken!

Vomito Negro Live in Brooklyn, NYC 2014!

Nervous Gender Live Brooklyn NYC 2014!

Love Pig w-FBI Warning Live Brooklyn NYC 2014!

Last Friday night I threw and event in Brooklyn at the Cameo Gallery. I (The Horrorist) performed and I also booked the Belgian EBM band Vomito Negro, pioneering LA Synthpunk band Nervous Gender and local band Love Pig. I also had DJs Andi, Blackwidow and Reade Truth. Lastly, I had a merchandise and vinyl collectable’s table set up and run by Athan Maroulis. Athan was in the bands Executive Slacks, Spahn Ranch and currently Nior. He also worked at Metropolis Records and has the best record booth at the Brooklyn Record Flea each year so he knew what to bring!

While I perform live and DJ myself all the time this is only the 4th event I have ever done myself. The first two were in the early 2000s. One at CBGBs which got a lot of press for being one of the first techno parties at the legendary spot. The other was at a venue called Club Fun in Chinatown. The event at Fun was amazing because all 4 walls were full video screens. The third event was just this summer in Berlin. It was an EBM DJ event called Blitzlicht. The event last week was the biggest and most ambitious I’ve done.

I wanted a small interesting venue with a good stage in Brooklyn. I live in Brooklyn now and it’s more interesting these days as far as nightlife than Manhattan. Cameo Gallery was perfect and Jify the owner was easy to work with. The size, stage, sound and backstage all met my needs. They are used to hosting many bands in a night. They had a great sound guy Brendan who helped us set up Vomito’s electronic drum kit, find Euro power adapters (last minute!) and batteries for my cordless mic. They also have a small restaurant attached to the venue and since it was raining it was easy for the bands to grab a bite without getting wet and disappearing. The cherry on top is that Cameo currently has a wonderful art installation on it’s ceiling. It’s a thousand white “spikes” hanging from above the stage and over the crowd. When they light it up either with a moving wave pattern or solid color it’s really over the top.

I’ve known DJ Blackwidow since the 90s. When I met her she was dating a friend of mine Eddie who worked for TVT Records. TVT distributed a techno label I did a few releases for (Mokum) and they also had recently purchased Wax Trax. Blackwidow threw her own events in Brooklyn and when I had a music studio on N. 4th & Berry she did a small goth/EBM event at Teddy’s Bar & Grill on the same block. At the time she asked me if I would DJ but back then I was purely just making music. Year’s later I performed a small show for her in Philadelphia. A friend who throws events here brought her up in conversation as someone to spin for this and it seemed perfect to give back a gig to her. She’s been to Wave Gotik Treffen more than once and dresses the part (let’s just say she looks goth!). I knew she would set the stage for the night esthetically. Incredibly she brought a purple laser with her and set it up! She played two great sets of classic EBM.

Bossa Nova Civic Club is a tiny bar and dancefloor in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It probably is the single reason people even started going to Bushwick for fun and making the area “cool”. It’s a mix of dealers, hipsters and good music. It has an 80s alphabet city bar vibe to it. One night I was there and a guy named Rogelio Ramos was performing live. There was only a few people in the club. He set up right on the dancefloor. A few synths and drum machines right directly on the on the floor. With a strobe light, microphone he sat on his knees and belted out a weird and amazing set. It was kinda like Soft Cell but not. I had to meet him and after a quick chat I discovered he called his music Love Pig. He had another band FBI Warning and with that band member they took the stage at Cameo. They had a Roland Juno-60, Roland SH-101 and MFB Tanzbar drum computer. Who brings such amazing equipment to a live show? Rogelio’s head was wrapped like a terrorist and FBI Warning played and amazing set of melodies and drum sequences. Rogelio belted out some hyper sexual lyrics and swayed back and forth in the same vein. They were amazing and I was so glad to put them in front of a packed crowd.

There is a movie from 1979 called Breaking Away. It’s about a young man in a small mid-west town so obsessed Italian bicycle racing that he speaks and pretends to be Italian. DJ Andi is like that but replace Italian bicycle racing with Belgian New Beat. She knows every record, every producer and practices DJing all day long. Not only is she obsessed with the genre and loves anything Belgian but inside this tiny genre she chooses specifically the New Beat with Egyptian melodies to go on and on about. Therefore, to know her you know the term “Begyptian”. This is all coming from a person who is so young she was listening to Hanson when the New Beat scene was alive in the 80s. She performed two meticulously perfect sets.

It was my turn. I won’t review myself but I will tell you I had so much fun on stage. I’ve made a lot of new friends in NY since I performed last here so it was great to let them see what I actually do. My current show is set up with a Roland TR-8 and Arturia Minibrute controlled by long time friend (and fellow Depeche 101 kid) Jay Serken. I control Ableton and of course vocal duties. The highlight of the show was when Matt Moran (Satronica) came on stage and sang Metal Man with me. I use a 500W light as a “prop” along with video in sync with the sequences. I’ve been working on a new album for a long time now. I feel like I’ve done 2-3 new albums already and have thrown them away. I want the new album to be very “EBM” but as an American it’s not an easy task so lots of finished songs are going into the garbage bin. I was pleased to here cheers after I did a live version of DAF’s Der Mussolini. In fact the main reason for perform it was to test the sounds in the track!

Speaking of EBM let’s talk about the band who performed who helped create the genre! Vomito Negro took the stage around midnight. They had never performed in NYC before. Gin Devo on vocals. Sven Kadanza on electronic drums. I whole heartedly believe we are on the cusp of a lot of new genre specific music that is as good or better than the 80s stuff it tries to be. Vomito Negro has already started that trend. Earlier this year I was listening to a DJ set on Mixcloud and a song played. It sounded familiar yet new. I had to know what it was. After some research I discovered it was a new song from Vomito Negro called Obsession. I couldn’t believe it. Soon I found another new track by Vomito called Enemy of the State. And there it was: A new EBM song as good as or better than any old one. It’s been a long time waiting for something like that. There show was dark. Gin belted out track after track while Sven stood aggressively pounding the kit. They rarely looked at each other. True EBM in NYC.

Let’s re-write history. We need to change the record books. Nervous Gender should be known as large a pioneering band such as Kraftwerk or Throbbing Gristle. They were making and performing with synthesizers synthpunk music starting in 1978! Not only were they first they were wicked. Like most new music I find I found them on Youtube. I was doing my usual playing and clicking and a song came on called Cardinal Newman. Since that day I must have played that song a thousand times. They never once performed live outside of California… until last Friday. This is a true punk band yet they all love all the same pure electronic music as I do. In the hotel they were playing DAF and using Moog iPad synth apps. The band had a member die and one member Michael had a stroke and has to sit on stage during the performance. Yet being around for a while for this band didn’t mean they needed special treatment. In fact their kind demeanors hid that once they got on stage they were there to blow everyone away (and they did). Edward Stapleton’s vocals are truly punk. He’s Irish and was raised in a strict religious school full with god and beatings and oh boy can you hear it. Joe Zinnato on synth and vocals backs up Edwards screams and at one point switched places with Edward as lead singer. Tammy Fraser stood on synth actually reading musical notes on paper! Michael who I afore mentioned sat at a small table controlling the computer. At the soundcheck I joked to a friend that he looked like he was going to do all our accounting. I ate my words because on stage the accountant look turned to full on super villain. Hunched over the table Michael sat with one eye partially closed, a light coming up from below surrounding my three other punk maniacs screaming. Everyone at Cameo was seriously blown away.

To close out the night Reade Truth DJed. Having Reade DJ and end the show brought things full circle for me. Around 1987 my parents got divorced and my mother got a new boyfriend Doug. Every Friday Doug would give me $100 so my brother and I could go record shopping. I never thought about it until recently but now I realize it was to get us out of the house so they could get it on! I guess they did get it on quite a bit because by the time I stopped collecting records around 1992 I had over 5,000. A good portion of those records I bought at Vinylmania, Record Runner, Discorama, St. Mark’s Sounds, Tower and Groove. Reade worked at Groove and recommended a lot of what I bought. His own vinyl collection is around 10,000. He still plays music from back then that I have to run up to the DJ booth to ask what it was. In fact even on Friday I did just that. No one else could have had that last slot of the night.

I will say it was a lot of work. Everyone including myself, Cameo, the bands and hotel gave a discount and worked extra hard to make the event free. The love of music. To see the full set of photos including some press about the show: click here

“Chesler performed as The Horrorist during the December 5th show, delivering a blistering set of pounding, aggro industrial.” – The Brad Lebeau Company Inc

For more info: facebook.com/events/640798396029276

VOMITO NEGRO | THE HORRORIST | NERVOUS GENDER | NYC DEC 5

Vomito_Negro-The_Horrorist-Nervous_Gender-Print_Front

Vomito_Negro-The_Horrorist-Nervous_Gender-Print_Back


I am pleased to announce a very special event! For the first time ever in NYC: Belgian band Vomito Negro will take the stage and perform live! The pioneers in EBM (Electronic Body Music) are preparing something incredible for you. Also for the first time ever in NYC the notorious early 80’s LA synthpunk band Nervous Gender will play live! Nervous Gender are one of the most unique genre busting acts out there. I (The Horrorist) will also be performing LIVE a very, VERY special show! This is more than just the seriously crazy live shows though. DJ Andi, Reade Truth and DJ Blackwidow (from Philadelphia) will turn the fantastic Cameo Gallery venue into one serious night in NYC. There will be a rare vinyl & collectables market and this event is FREE! Feel the heat!

“Who’s your master? Who’s your slave?” – Vomito Negro

For more info: facebook.com/events/640798396029276

Front 242 at Irving Plaza

Front 242 Irving Plaza

Front 242 Irving Plaza 2

Front 242 Irving Plaza 3

Front 242 Irving Plaza 4

Last night I went to see Front 242 at Irving Plaza in Manhattan. The last time I saw them live was May 6, 1989 at the Palladium. Considering that they are one of my favorite bands of all time it’s strange to me that I have only seen them twice… 25 years apart. When I saw them two and a half decades years ago they were young, skinny, all in black and extremely aggressive. They used Emulator Samplers, analog delay pedals and electronic drums. At that point every single song that they had released I adored with a passion. After Tyranny for You their sound changed and techno took over the landscape. I still worshiped what they had done but wasn’t very interested in their “newer” material. Even though I shunned the new stuff I in fact have probably listened to Front 242’s early music every week of my life since I first heard them.

The love affair started in 1987. At that point in my life I was the worlds biggest Depeche Mode fan. Black Celebration was on heavy rotation. I was in a car with my then girlfriend and she put in a cassette. It was Official Version. As she drove something happened to me. I couldn’t really process what I was hearing but I was being overtaken. I clenched my teeth and squeezed my fists. I never heard anything so dark, mysterious and complicated. I knew what I was hearing was important. Right away I went to record stores trying to finding a 242 release here or there. I remember walking on St. Mark’s Place and seeing a guy wearing the now iconic helicopter 242 shirt. I was fairly shy as a teenager but I went right up to the guy and stopped him. I said, “Oh my god you know about this too!”. Front by Front was released soon after. Reviewing all their work I saw their music vision grow from Geography into this military music machine. I started making my own music and in doing so realized the incredible amount of work that went into each 242 song. I was obsessed with Jean Luc’s mannerisms. They were pure electronic power. They were also my very own. My parents and “normal” friends couldn’t even come close to understanding Front 242 and that was exactly perfect.

I saw a few video clips of late 90s and early 2000s 242 live shows. I saw them gain a few pounds and wearing dayglow yellow. Richard 23 lost the mohawk, sunglasses and even ran for political office in Belgium. I craved an new “old style” 242 track badly. I probably had a dream or two where I even heard one. This concert at Irving Plaza wasn’t put together by a concert promoter in the traditional sense. A small group of DJs who have been keeping the EBM candle alive through the dark years got together to make this happen. They paid for this themselves. That fact and because the band has giving me a large part of the soundtrack for my life made me buy a ticket. So off to Irving Plaza I went. I honestly was expecting to be very disappointed.

I got a lump in my throat when I saw the sign over the Plaza’s entrance. “Front 242 Live”. I did the math. 25 years since I have seen them. You could almost see the Palladium (now a Trader Joe’s) from Irving Plaza. The line was around the block. I joked to my friends that they were asking for ID if people wanted to drink because clearly there was no one under the age of 30 on the line.

Cocksure was the opening band. I went to the Wax Trax popup store in Chicago this summer. Cocksure performed and really blew me away. They had that classic 80s Wax Trax sound. I told people leading up to this that they were going to possibly blow 242 away. They didn’t. Being an opening band is painful. On one hand who would say no to a trip to NYC and open for 242? On the other hand you get less than half the sound of the main act and no one is really there to see you. I still think they are a band to watch but just not last night.

The DJs who brought 242 to NYC played some music. I couldn’t see the DJ booth so I’m not sure who was on but it was a good mix of new and old stuff and a low enough volume that the audience could talk and make some predictions about what they were a few minutes away from seeing. Then a few seconds of quiet, cheers and Patrick Codenys took the stage. He played a minute of beatless music and then Jean Luc DeMeyer and Richard23 ran on stage. What happened next thrilled me. It was Front 242. Electronic Body Music. The two men moved in action just like they did 25 years ago. Massive strobes flashed shadows behind them making them look like giants. It was very clear they were excited to be there and we were in for something really good. Every classic they played blew me away. Surprisingly the newer songs I didn’t know were also great live. The highlight was No Shuffle. As the song played I felt like I was dreaming about how they would do the song far in the future. They crossed each other back and forth on stage without looking at each other. They each took turns as front man. Richard23 traded his small belt held analog delay pedal for some almost psychedelic sounding rack of lush delays. Funk Gaddafi was an experience like watching the “Sprach Zarathustra” time warp scene in Kubrick’s 2001. A funny moment happened during the song Welcome to Paradise when a young person said, “They are singing the samples how cool!”.

I had a great time. Was it as good as seeing them the first time? Of course not. In 89 they were pure, angry and the technology was raw. It was also something completely new. Even the New York Times covered them back then. But one thing is clear in both shows. In 1989 they had something to prove and they did so. In 2014 they had something to prove again and they did it again. They are still Front 242 and I am still in love.

“FRONT 242 < > !!First NYC concert in almost 10 YEARS!!” – Krieg Koncerts/MediaDent/Defcon/Qxts/Nobody?/Dr. Avi/EMP

For more info: front242.com

The Horrorist Live in London 2014 Full Show Report

The Horrorist Live London 3

The Horrorist Live London 4

The Horrorist Live London

The Horrorist Live London 8

The Horrorist Live London 5

The Horrorist Live London 7

I recently performed a live show in London. It was the first show of a tour in Europe which would take me to Stockholm, a week in Berlin and end in Stuttgart. The event took place at Electrowerkz which also hosts Slimelight. I performed at Slimelight before so I knew the venue would be perfect. I should mention I also one performed at one of the Drop the Bomb events in London too. At that show I notoriously hooked the wrong piece of equipment to a transformer and almost burned the place down.

After a few hours sleep and soundcheck I took a taxi to another event for a book release. The book “Some Wear Leather Some Wear Lace” is an essay and photo book on Post Punk and Goth. It has a photo of me in it (page 46) so I spent a few hours listening to UK goth DJs, drinking wine and well showing everyone who would bare me blabbing on page 46! I made it back to Electrowerkz an hour before my show and paced backstage for a bit. I think you can ask anyone who performs that the hour before getting on stage is the worst. Everything almost always goes perfectly but until you get in front of people and scream the first lyric your mind imagines everything going wrong.

With a good amount of smoke and proper lighting I did my thing. I performed some new songs I am testing for my next album. One song in particular is really working. It’s a track I am collaborating on with a guy named Daniel Olarte. He’s from Bogota but is living in NYC. He’s worked David Carretta and is a name to watch. The other DJs of the night (Jerome Hill, Chris Redmond, Tom E C, etc…) were playing some hard acid and some nice old Disintegrator tracks (thanks for that guys!). After the show I was kindly handed two ecstacy pills. I knew I had to leave for Sweden early the next morning and I would never do such things anyway ;)… so I handed them off to a friend and got the hell out of there in one piece. Chris (DJ Manga) and Tom Chamberlain were great hosts so a big thank you to them for being patient while I put the tour together and making this happen. Thanks to 303 PHOTO for most of these great shots. To see the full photo set: click here

“44 City and Elektrofied are proud to present The Horrorist! Making a very rare, exclusive appearance in the UK, Oliver Chesler will fly over from New York to headline a night of Techno and Electro spread over two rooms in Electrowerkz, London.” – Elektrofied

For more info: facebook.com/events/1452944798292460

photo credit: 303 PHOTO

The Horrorist Live at the Freakshow Festival Full Show Report

1

2

FREAKSHOW 2014 – Zapping Live Report from David Basso on Vimeo.

When I get booked to perform at an event I’ve never played before I obviously don’t know what to expect. After accepting a booking in Gigors, France called the Freakshow Festival I was initially confused. You see the event which takes place basically in the woods about two hours away from Lyon is essentially a “rock concert”. What I mean is all the bands that performed this year used well drums and/or guitars. I was wondering if they meant to book the “Horrors” instead. But after a trip to their website I noticed they posted some of my videos so they clearly knew what they were doing.

The journey from NY to the venue is a long one. There are no direct flights and no airport that lands that deep in the woods. So to remind you that playing a show while an honor is not all fun listen to this. One hour traffic to JFK Airport from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is a 15 mile drive by the way but traffic is insane. At JFK even with Sky Priority Gold status the wait through check-in and security is another hour. Wait another hour before the flight to Paris takes off. Seven hours in the air. I have missed so many connections and have had luggage not make it on time at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that you have to take a minimum two hour layover. In fact it costs more to take a long layover so that proves everyone knows that airport has issues. So two hour layover there. The flight from Paris to Lyon is an hour and a half. Add thirty more minutes to get my luggage and then a two hour drive to the venue at Gigors. That’s fourteen and a half hours traveling and I have to do the same thing back. Keep in mind I left Friday and returned Sunday. I’m not complaining but it does amaze me. In fact, it is always worth the trip!

The area around the festival is beautiful. Mountains, valleys, farms and a few stone homes are all in view. There are no hotels so I was staying at of the promoters house. While the house looked like it had been there for a century it was perfectly kept. Inside the old walls held modern appliances, and stone and wood flooring. There was a gorgeous deck you could sit out and look down at the valley. I could have spent a month just there. At the venue there was a team setting up two large tents, making food and having a good time already. I got some rest and returned at darkness and the place was alive. The way it worked was a band would play in one tent then when done another band would start in the other. There was also a large middle area with a strange tall light sculpture. DJs and one man bands played there when neither of the large tents were making noise. There was a backstage area on a hill with a private bar. The parking lot was filled with campers. There were tents around the hills too.

While I like all music including stuff using guitars, bass and drums when I do listen to that stuff is usually Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson and it’s usually slow sad songs. So to see a ton of bands really “rocking out” I guess you could say when interesting for me. Let me say I enjoyed every band a lot. In fact I was really surprised how great every act was. I think the people who chose the bands are real music lovers and chose carefully because I definitely got the idea I was among some of the best modern day bands. There was one band who stood out to me called Black Bug. They really blew me away. It was a drummer and synth. They reminded me of the first time I saw Nitzer Ebb at the Ritz in Manhattan. Pure loud loud synth arpeggiating to a military drummer and very strong lead vocals. I was not expecting to see something so great so yes I was blown away. While I was watching I was very pleased to know that after the show I would have a chance to meet them and I did exactly that. They are based in Bordeaux and the lead singer is from Sweden. In talking with them they didn’t seem to think they fit in the EBM/Industrial world at all and listening to their recorded music I do agree somewhat. However, live… oh boy they are so “it”. I encouraged them to try and get that sound as their recorded sound. Nevertheless I was thrilled to find myself a fan of something new to me.

I performed last on the first night. I played a few new songs and the show went about an hour. After my show I had a nice evening and full day to just relax and meet people. All the organizers were stellar. The Freakshow crew are a friendly and very fun group who put on an amazing event. I don’t have a lot of photos from my show but the video above has a short clip and it’s worth watching the entire thing to get a feel of the weekend. There are multiple photos sets you can take a look it. My own personal set: click here. The official Freakshow blog set: click here and photographer RA²’s set: click here.

“Please leave your dogs and hippies at home.” – freakshow-festival.com

For more info: freakshow-festival.com

photo credit: François Guyon

The Horrorist Live August and September

The Horrorist Uniform

I have a lot of live shows and DJ gigs coming up. Here’s a few that are happening this and next month:

August 29, 2014 – Gigors (Near Lyon), France – The Freakshow Festival
http://www.freakshow-festival.com/

September 12, 2014 – London, UK – One Night in London City
https://www.facebook.com/events/1452944798292460/

September 13, 2014 – Stockholm, Sweden – Special event with Flexiwave!
Link and more info soon! (DJ SET)

September 17, 2014 – Berlin, Germany – Special EBM event!
More info soon! (DJ SET)

September 20, 2014 – Stuttgart, Germany – One Night at InTEKKnatioN
https://www.facebook.com/events/832109976800346/

“Making a very rare, exclusive appearance in the UK, Oliver Chesler will fly over from New York to headline a night of Techno and Electro spread over two rooms in Electrowerkz, London.” – Electrowerkz

For more info: thehorrorist.com

LEGO Robot Depeche Mode

LEGO, Robots and a Depeche Mode song. Obviously I love this. It amazes me all the work that went into recreating Everything Counts in such a way. I hope someone in NYC books the Toa Mata Band band because I would love to see it in person.

“Toa Mata Band is known as the World’s first LEGO robotic band controlled by Arduino Uno which is hooked up to a MIDI sequencer. In this video, the third episode, the robots are playing some unconventional drum-percussions made by some food packaging are captured by a contact microphone (piezo) and processed in real time in the D.A.W. Ableton Live. A brand new device appears for the first time, it’s a moving platform on x-axis, made of Lego bricks, gears and servo motors that permits to move with semitones-steps the tiny synth. The song is a cover of the famous synth-pop band Depeche Mode, it’s a personal tribute to the band who made my days in the 80’s. The performance was recorded live in July 2014.” – Opificio Sonico

For more info: facebook.com/ToaMataBand

Phuture Live in Williamsburg Tonight

The greatest acid house track of all time is Acid Tracks by Phuture. They have never played in NYC. That changes tonight as they will take the stage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Verboten.

“Yes there may have been Acid recordings before Phuture – Acid Tracks but this is the one that really propelled the Acid style in chicago clubs, this was originally created and played at the music box by Ron Hardy in 1985 2 years before its release… and they don’t come better than this” – Leroy Skibone

For more info: brooklynvegan.com/archives/2014/08/acid_house_pion

The Horrorist Live - Malta 2014

Photos from The Horrorist Live in Malta 2014

I’m a lucky man. For more than 10 years I’ve been booked to perform in Malta. It’s three small islands below Italy and above Africa. It’s paradise. It has ancient cities with Roman ruins and a blue lagoon you can’t believe. The hotel I stayed in (Le Meridien) had a pool on the roof, an indoor pool with water that changed colors and the view from my balcony looked out onto the Mediterranean Sea. I performed at the Dome which itself had three swimming pools. It gets it’s name from the main concert area which is well in a dome. I enjoyed performing! After 10 years coming back to a country you build up fans and friends. I performed some new songs I am testing out and also played the song I recently did with Haujobb. For those who were there and know what I am talking about a special thanks to “Super Mario”! I did plenty of sight seeing including visiting the ancient city of Mdina and the capital city (which is also dam old) Valletta. I took a wonderful boat ride to Camino to it’s blue lagoon and caves. I snorkeled, ate some nice Maltese food and hiked. I owe a great debt to Andrew Grech and his crew for continuing to bring me to their island. It’s always a terrific time. New York is a fast paced stressful place. To go to a place like Malta brings me a well needed alternate reality!

“Oliver Chesler better known as The Horrorist will return to our shores on the 21st of June at The Dome, Limits of San Gwann. Get ready for one Mental night!” – Shift

For more info: facebook.com/events/1393560704199821