Terminatryx Interview: 12 years down the road

In many ways the one cannot really exist without the other (unless it’s a special Pink Floyd Pompeii amphitheater or Korn crop-circle audience-free show!). I’m often flabbergasted that these songs we created from out of the air can draw people in and have them connect with it in various ways as we perform them – these specifically constructed sound waves connecting with flesh and the psyche within. It’s wild.

– Paul Andre Blom (Terminatryx)

12 years down the road proves that Terminatryx not only belong right here on home turf, they deserve their place, which they fill so firmly , in our local metal scene. Controversial, unique , Terminatryx is here to stay. Tonight they will launch the much anticipated video for ‘Gone’, which is off their album Shadow. I had a quick chat to Paul and Sonia about what is happening in the life of Terminatryx.

12 year anniversary this Friday,this is quite a milestone! If you had to describe your journey in a sentence or two, what would you say?
Sonja: It has been a fabulously crazy roller coaster and a character building exercise for sure. All in all it has been incredibly special.
Paul: Time flies like a son-of-a-bitch! But it’s always gratifying being a part of a creative endeavor done on your own terms, and due to its longevity, seeing it grow and evolve.

Terminatryx by Dr.Benway

Terminatryx by Dr.Benway

Can you remember the first show you ever played and how it differs from how you feel when you step up on stage today?
Sonja: Our very first Terminatryx show was in 2003 supporting Diary of Dreams (Darkwave band from Germany) on their seconds South African tour. It was completely unexpected to be asked and I was so very nervous. We had a dress rehearsal the previous evening for friends and I actually remember my knees shaking. Twelve years on I do not really get nervous anymore for Terminatryx performances. I do get incredibly nervous still for the other projects that I am involved in, The Makabra Ensemble and A Murder…
Paul: I’ve played many shows since the late-1980s. I started on drums and I think my very first one was with Metalmorphosis (second band with my brother Francois, before joining V.O.D – Voice Of Destruction), at Arties in Riebeeck Street (which became Amadeus, then Underworld, now Jika Lounge). I moved on to also playing bass, then guitar etc. and do whatever needs doing in Terminatryx (but play bass live). While I’ve grown quite accustomed to it, there is always an anxious edge before playing – a lot of this is mainly because I want it to be as close to perfect as we can pull it off – anticipating possible stuff-ups or technical glitches… It still remains such a weird concept creating these songs and laying it out there for everybody’s scrutiny – some love it, other despise it – so our human nature of not wanting to  be at the nasty end of criticism remains a reality, even though after all these years it has become water off a duck’s back (and the good outweighs the petty bad).

Terminatryx - Bryn de Kocks

Terminatryx – Bryn de Kocks


What has been the most important lesson you have learned, as a band, in these 12 years in the music industry?
Sonja: To always remain realistic and keep your expectations in check. If you can do this and always be a professional you will always enjoy yourself.
Paul: Yes, doing our kind of music here in SA (while not that wildly inaccessible) is not going to make you a millionaire, so do it because you love it. And do your own thing – everyone has their influences, but don’t try and emulate anyone. Do it your way without expecting a fortune, and you’ll be far happier for it.

You’ve seen a lot, travelled quite a bit in your years as a band, what is another big milestone for you that you would still like to achieve?
Sonja: Another stint abroad would be nice (as we did in 2006) but for now we are content with the trajectory that we are on. We are incredibly honored to support Ministry on the upcoming SA show next year (4 March at Carfax) and will also be on the Witchfest stage a month after that over Easter.
Paul: Yeah, we haven’t played Gauteng in years, and now we’re heading there in 2015 a month apart from one another for two huge shows! But I think expanding our scope beyond SA is always a big aim – although the way the industry is shifting, who knows what could happen (for better or worse).

Friday we will see the official launch of your video ‘Gone’, which is from your second album Shadow, what can we expect? Give us a bit of a teaser?
Sonja: “Gone” is a video that we shot in April of this year and it was decided to re-lease it after the “Shadow” video. “Shadow” got a very warm reception and was even officially selected for the Montreal Comicon in Canada.
Paul: “Gone” is one of the songs Sonja wrote, and it has a dark vibe. The video reflects that.

Watch the teaser for ‘Gone’ HERE

Behind the scenes for ‘Gone’, who helped you bring to screen what you say in the song? I suspect it is rather difficult to find a team of people who immediately connects with your vision that you would like to bring to screen or not?
Paul: Yes, up until “Gone” we’ve produced and directed all of our own music videos. We know exactly what we want and what the song needs, and like to incorporate cinematic themes. But besides things like the time factor not being able to do absolutely everything, we thought it may be a good opportunity to let someone else loose on one of our tracks.
Sonja: Johnny Swanepoel directed the video and we left the concept completely in his hands. Helmut Scherz was the director of photography. We are normally very precious and hands-on with the production of our videos. Johnny wanted to work with us on a video and we selected “Gone” for him to take on.
Paul: We co-produced it with his Gleam Studio and our Flamedrop Productions.

After all these years, is there still one stage left in SA, where you haven’t played yet?
Paul: There are a few. I’ve played Oppi Koppi with V.O.D a few times and also when I was in K.O.B.U.S., and we’ve performed there in the capacity of our Terminatryx-linked Makabra Ensemble live movie soundtrack project (two years in a row), but not yet in a 100% Terminatryx capacity.

Sonja: We are more selective in our live shows, not playing every week or month. We want to make it a special occasion and not a case of, “Oh no, not them again!” So, there are several venues (especially outside of Cape Town) where we’d still like to perform.

 

If we want to get our hands on the album Shadow, where can we purchase it?
Paul: The physical CD is distributed by IRIS, so any record store should be able to access it via them if it’s not in stock. You can order it from Kalahari.com , TakeAlot.com and OneWorld.co.za It is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon mp3 and all major download stores. Indie stores like High Fidelity in Killarney (Gauteng) and Revolution in Observatory (Cape Town) also stock it. Then of course it is also available at our live shows or drop us a Facebook message and we’ll make a plan!

Who will be joining you Friday on the line up, any special guests and suprises?
Paul: Indeed! Besides Subvers also playing on the night, being our 12th birthday we thought we’d bring in some friends & musical family to make it something special. My brother Francois (co-band member in V.O.D, and vocalist of K.O.B.U.S.) and Theo Crous (Springbok Nude Girls & K.O.B.U.S. guitarist, and co-producer with me on our new “Shadow” album) will join us for the song “Holy” – so that’s going to be fun getting on stage with them again! (Francois and Francois Van Coke did guest backing vocals with me on the album version of “Holy”). Ex-members Malcolm Burger (also in Subvers) and Braam Cilliers (Gramlich) will pop in to play guitar on the songs “Up To You” and “Siek+Sat” respectively. The latter will be the first time we’re playing the Battery 9 remixed version of the song live.
Sonja: We’ve been wanting to do something with Natalie Lucia (Conduit & Witness To Wolves) for a while, so finally she’ll join us on the song “Shadow”. A mutual friend of Paul and I (whom we actually knew before meeting each other about 15 years ago), is Craig Vee. He’s a great guitar player from the Helderberg and played guest lead on the new album track “Medusa”. This will be the first time he plays it live with us. And Kevin King from Axxon will join in on backing vocals for our live version of their remix of our song “Virus”.

Is there one highlight in your career that stands out high above the rest?
Sonja: For me a definite highlight was supporting Martin Degville when Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic toured SA – it was so much fun and as I was a HUGE fan in the ’80s it was crazy to share a stage with him. We even had an opportunity to hang out with him and his partner Johann while they were here (and they subsequently remixed one of our songs for the Remyx v1.0 remix version of the debut self-titled album).
Paul: A single highlight is so difficult to pick… Holding a new release in your hands for the first time is always a thrill (which we’ve done with 2 studio albums, the full remix, our DVD and the Kopskoot! heavy Afrikaans compilation we created, produced and appear on). But I would say the one great thing is being the lucky guy who goes home after every show with the hot vocalist of Terminatryx!

You have tons of fans & followers, an incredible support, is it possible that you can name or single out one person that has been with you from day one?
Sonja: There are a couple, we have several hard core fans. Two that come to mind are Donovan Olsen and Jesse Conterio. Our families and close friends have also been a great support right from the start.
Paul: We feel very lucky to have support from all over the world, including the UK, Australia and Switzerland, to Japan, Canada, France etc.

Terminatryx by Dr. Benway

Terminatryx by Dr. Benway

How do you as band prepare before going on stage?
Paul: We don’t have any communal pre-show rituals.
Sonja: For me, lots of rest, lots of water, a good vocal warm up and a bowl of plain pasta for some energy. I also give myself a lot of time to do my make-up and to select an outfit.
Paul: For me it is usually a lot of running around and sorting technical shit(!) We have a synced video backdrop (whenever possible) and the set-list needs to be adapted for that each time, and this often happens last minute. But when there is a gap, it’s mainly just trying to be as chill as possible and save energy for the show. Back in my younger days we partied hard before, during and after V.O.D shows, but in the early-’90s at a show I was a bit wasted and it affected my performance quite badly – from there I never did that again, leaving festivities for afterwards. Now it wouldn’t be more than a shot or swig of Jack Daniels before a show, no more.

The mutual energy that runs between fan and musician is something so incredible. When you can connect with each other, in that musical sense, I can only imagine what it must feel like when you are on stage. Is it something you almost “crave” for after a while?
Paul: For sure – in many ways the one cannot really exist without the other (unless it’s a special Pink Floyd Pompeii amphitheater or Korn crop-circle audience-free show!). I’m often flabbergasted that these songs we created from out of the air can draw people in and have them connect with it in various ways as we perform them – these specifically constructed sound waves connecting with flesh and the psyche within. It’s wild.
Sonja: It is really great when it happens, but what I like most is if people come up to me after the show and say that they enjoyed it or that they had fun. It is great to know that someone really enjoyed something you did for them to the point that they feel they need to let you know it meant something to them. It makes it all worth while.

Why should South Africans be excited about the local Metal scene at the moment?
Sonja: It is very active and organized and has a couple of serious contenders. It is also a really nice community to be a part of. There are many up and coming bands that will hopefully do great things and keep the tradition of SA Metal alive.
Paul: It is very diverse with so much new blood taking the plunge, and the bar is constantly set higher as everyone improves in their abilities, production and general drive to create the best music they can. Organizations like Metal 4 Africa helps a lot in creating a platform, and guys like Witchdoctor Productions are bringing loads of high profile international Metal acts in where local acts can earn support slots and see how they stand up next to the big names (and like old-schoolers resurrected recently with Sacraphyx on the Kataklysm tour and Groinchurn with Sepultura, the standard is way up there).

A message to your fans…
Sonja: We love you guys and always value the support, we would love to meet you so come to our shows!
Paul: We’d like to thank those who stuck with us since the start – 12 years is a long time to stick with someone – most marriages don’t last that long(!) And those who only discovered us recently, we hope you’ll have a great ride with us from hereon out!

Terminatryx - Launch Event

Join the video launch tonight at Mercury HERE

 

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Get creative with those answers. Winners will be notified via email today after 4pm.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul

    November 15, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Here is the full Terminatryx “Gone” music video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeiJPjnqfkM

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