Army of the Universe have toured with some of the biggest bands in the industrial scene and have made a name for themselves in Europe and North America. The Italian rockers stopped by the Marquis Theatre in Denver, CO recently as the support for The Birthday Massacre’s Under Your Spell Tour. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with the band to discuss their upcoming release, 1999 The Remixes, and the differences of touring Italy and North America.
Groovey.TV: You’re currently on tour with The Birthday Massacre. How have the shows been going so far?
Lord K: Amazing. Being back in the states is really, really something.
GTV: How many times have you toured the states before?
Lord K: This is our third time. I’m grateful to the people of the United States. This sounds like a politician’s intro. (Laughs)
Dave: We should say North America because we have one show in Canada and we like Canada too. It’s been great because the match with The Birthday Massacre is a very good match. It makes everything easier and the guys are really, really nice. Talk about Canada, they are super sweet Canadian guys, good match. We merge really well. Sumo Cyco are also a lot of fun. So far, so good.
GTV: Have there been any tour antics or pranks that you can talk about?
Collectively: No (Laughs)
Lord K: Everyday is the birthday of somebody, a fake one. Being Italian and staying here is like you have two birthdays because of the time change.
GTV: So you get to celebrate for 48 hours?
Lord K: Exactly.
Dave: The most fun was the very beginning because on our way to Detroit where we did our first show was a fucking disaster. Two of the guy’s bags got lost, we got stuck in Chicago, and my gear got stuck in LA. But we managed to do everything we had to do.
Lord K: We love Detroit
Dave: Yeah, Detroit is a good place for us.
Lord K: Also Denver.
Dave: True. Detroit, Chicago, and Denver are probably the stronger cities for us in the US.
GTV: Your debut album, Mother Ignorance, came out in 2011. How do you feel like your sound has evolved in the past 6 years?
Dave: It’s more modern, more focused. I believe this new album, 1999 & The Aftershow, was much more work but we didn’t compromise ourselves. There’s still a lot of experimentation in there.
Lord K: More consistency. The experiment comes to an end, like Viktor von Frankenstein when he made this creature, he had to make some experiments before and that is natural. I think this is a proper creature we made. I think we can get over it, we can get something better even, I hope so. We are very happy.
GTV: Were there specific moments that you feel propelled the band into evolving or was it a natural progression?
Dave: Very organic, natural progression.
Joe: Organic (laughs), we’re not vegan.
Dave: I swear guys, organic has a different meaning and doesn’t always mean vegan.
GTV: You list your genre as ‘electronica’, ‘rock’, and ‘industrial’. Do you find that these fan demographics naturally come together or is it more of a varied mix of fans at shows?
Lord K: It depends on the band you’re touring with. Last time we were touring with a band, I don’t want to say names, but they were completely different from the music we do. We have a really loud, hard, in your face approach and they were really more gothic. So the venue was filled with people that liked us but were skeptical.
Dave: It’s very simple. We were touring with Skinny Puppy, which was awesome because they are one of the most historical, greatest bands in the industrial scene ever. Problem is, they were old school and we are new school and normally venues will pack with old school people. I’m not saying they didn’t appreciate what we were doing, but I could see a little detachment. Now, The Birthday Massacre is a very complimentary band for us. So different in a good way. I can see a little mix in the crowd. It’s a natural blend.
Lord K; Also, the European leg of the tour was a great match. Aesthetic Perfection and William Control were great bands.
Dave: But it’s also true in 2017 now I believe electronic music, industrial, and some guitars are coming back so it’s a pretty good moment
GTV: You guys have released a lot of music since the band’s inception. Are you constantly working on new music or do you tend to write a lot of material at once?
Dave: We continuously write.
Lord K: I always try to write. Nothing ever comes out, but I continue to write.
Dave: I keep writing stuff, I send it to them, and when it’s time to get together to make the album then we get together and do it. But it’s a continuous process for sure.
GTV: You released 1999 & The Aftershow in 2016 and you will be releasing the remix version on vinyl in a couple of weeks from now. Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect on the remixes as opposed to the original?
Dave: It’s a remix of the single 1999. The song is more dance, rave scene. It’s like a rave. We got remixes from Alec Empire from Atari Teenage Riot and SBCR from The Bloody Beetroots plus our own remix, which we call “Ninety Ninety Noise”, which is a very underground, ravey song. At the end of our show we usually play it as our outro.
GTV: What has been your favorite collaboration that you’ve worked on either in a production setting or a musical setting?
Joe: We had this song on the second album with Chibi from The Birthday Massacre, which at that time was crazy for us because we never actually met. We met for the very first time a week ago when tour started. It was all over the Internet.
Dave: Yeah, the Internet and the same record label.
Lord K: She still remembers some of the lyrics
Dave: We will try to perform it live towards the end of tour. The one with Chibi was good; it was a good match. Chibi’s voice with the voice of these two guys was a good match.
GTV: That’s the power of the technology; you can be in different countries and write a whole album together.
Lord K: We also made a reboot of a song for this tour.
Dave: Yes, and probably we will make a special release, eventually a free download.
Lord K: That’s a great idea.
GTV: How is touring in the states different than touring in Europe? Is it easier or harder?
Lord K: The problem in Europe is time; the problem in the States is space. It’s not really a problem. You find some amazing landscapes and you enjoy it, but it’s really hard on your body.
Dave: In terms of excitement, the US is more fun.
Lord K: Way better
Dave: The crowd is more open-minded and there is less labeling.
Lord K: In Europe you have this feeling like you have to conquer something. You can’t really be yourself. The people watching you with a beer in their hand are thinking ‘what is he doing? I can do it better.”
Dave: They’re a little suspicious
Lord K: Italians are really snobby. I don’t want to say that the rest of Europe is like Italy, but I can talk about Italians. That is the reason, nobody knows us in Italy. And they always ask me where we play. We don’t play in Italy. They stop you in the middle of the concert, they shout at you, they leave the stage. They’re so cold, so snobby.
Dave: They’re a little jealous. He’s exaggerating a little. But it’s true.
Lord K: It’s why we don’t play in Italy. Snob country.
GTV: Other than the release of 1999 The Remixes, is there anything coming up from you guys that we should know about?
Dave: We have a very interesting project, which we called The Facelift EP. We are reworking our very first EP, which came out in 2010 on Metropolis Records. We love that EP so we’re taking those four songs and reworking them, not completely but we’re updating them. And we’re pretty close; I think we’ll be able to release it by the end of the year.
Catch Army of the Universe on the Under Your Spell Tour
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