Interview with SinDelle Morte | By Eric May
Scream Machine is a unique aggressive electronic act that blends elements from hard hitting metal and fierce electronics to create a sound that can be quite ravenous… or not. Sometimes, the band simply decides to go for a much more ethereal or mystifying approach that gives the act a sort of bipolarity which is missing from other acts of its type. The band have now been active for four years and in that time, there have released several full length records in addition to a countless amount of EP’s. I spoke with SinDelle about the latest album Cadaver Amatorem and her free ambient project godMONSTER; as well as her thoughts on society, religion and the notorious Illuminati.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and the Scream Machine project. How did it start and what inspired you to create this kind of music?
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I really appreciate it. I think I’ve always been interested in music. I mean, I sang and wrote poetry and things like that since I was really young; like maybe six or so. Actually, I’m kind of sad because though my expression has expanded through music, I can’t seem to write just poems anymore. They all want to become songs. Music has always been my strength, my outlet, my inroad… it’s everything. Music truly transcends boundaries; you can listen to a song in another language that you don’t understand at all and still connect with it so deeply. That’s amazing.
Scream Machine started out as a kind of joking bet with Cosmo (Morte). I told him that electronic music is very easy to make and bet him that I’d be able to do it myself, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I like electronic music but have always been a much bigger fan of metal and hard rock (I‘m sure fans of Scream Machine can hear that). As I was proving myself to Cosmo, however; a very nice thing happened: the genre seduced me and I ended up actually wanting to produce electronic music. And of course, I learned that it is not as easy as it seems.
You’ve been doing this kind of work since 2009 and have gone through several evolutions in the process. Can you talk a little bit about these different evolutions?
Well, I think that part of making music is that you are always evolving. Plus a lot of it for me is about what my emotional tone is at the time. We will end up with four or five tracks that all have the same kind of tone, be it heavier or more melodic. Scream Machine seems to really have become a bifurcated sound in that way. We try to keep them sort of separated usually; heavier stuff with heavier stuff and more melodic stuff with other more melodic stuff. Not only does that cut down on “schizophrenic-sounding” albums which are a personal pet peeve of mine; but it also cuts down on hearing a track and feeling that it does not really belong on that particular album. The only real exception to that was Sinister Flesh, which was laid out to start heavy and fast, then progress to slow and mellow as the album went on. It was meant to be listened to as a whole experience, which is also different from the other albums.
I think with Zero, the project really found its voice and became comfortable in its own skin. Devil Bitch was the follow up to Zero and was meant to show that Scream Machine was more than the sum of its parts, that it could be a serious contender in the genre and I think every album after that is meant to show (or attempts to show) the same thing. Sometimes it has worked better than other times but I think overall, Scream Machine has shown growth and progress and that is what we are really aiming for. The only person that I ever have to be better than is me.
Let’s focus on the new album. What was the recording process like for Cadaver Amatorem? Did you record everything in house, or were you able to use a studio for these tracks? What kind of instruments and recording software do you use?
Cadaver was recorded over a year, give or take. The first song to be put on there was “Spider” and that was really just a catchy little experiment that I made one day but could not bring myself not to use. Some are more recent additions than others, as the final track list went through a few edits over time as other songs were written. “All The Pretty Horses” is one of those. There was a song called “Reject” which was sadly completely lost due to a hardware malfunction, so it will probably never be heard. The album was completely recorded in-house. I’m not sure we’re missing much with the whole “studio experience” but I’d like to maybe try it once and see. I’m always up for new experiences. Recording is pretty standard. I’m not much for tech talk; most things are digital. There is not much hardware except guitar. We use ACID PRO to record and mix and have since the beginning. We’ve have tried others (Ableton and FL Studio, for example) but it always comes back to ACID for me. Maybe I just don’t like the learning curve for new software. When I’m ready to make music, I’m ready to make music.
As far as influences, what would you say your vocal and musical influences in Scream Machine would be? Are there any records in particular that you would suggest as an influence?
Well, to be honest; my vocal influences probably won’t make much sense considering the type of music I make, but I have always counted Phil Anselmo (Pantera), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and Rob Zombie as my main vocal influences. Musically it’s much the same: heavy metal and rock musicians. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really have any electronic or industrial musical influences at all. Maybe I’d say BILE, if you held a gun to my head. Sometimes I will hear a certain style or sound that I want to include in my repertoire just to see if I can, but that is rare and only ever results in one song. “From Hell” on Electrowitch is an example of that.
I would say that Skid Row’s Slave To The Grind, Candlebox’s self-titled, Pearl Jam’s Ten and Use Your Illusions I & II by Guns n Roses count among the most influential albums for me.
Let’s talk about the godMONSTER project. You’ve recently recorded another free release in Sol-Luna. What makes the godMONSTER work different from the Scream Machine work and why do you release these albums for free? Is it something that you will continue to do for godMONSTER?
godMONSTER is first and foremost an ambient project, so it’s right away more emotionally-driven than Scream Machine in some ways. Scream Machine’s message is not vague; it is very up front and in-your-face, whereas godMONSTER is more about feeling an experience than communicating a message. It is simpler, I guess you could say. It’s a break from the complexity and directness of Scream Machine. In my own way, I consider Scream Machine “more important” than godMONSTER, but I still love godMONSTER with the same passion that I did when I initially started doing it.
I release godMONSTER for free because I feel that it is almost spiritual in nature and should be available for all to experience. I know many who use it for meditation and other similar things and I think that is great. godMONSTER music will always be free.
What separates the music that you make in Scream Machine and godMONSTER from other industrial and electronic acts?
Other acts are better? (Laughs) Geez, I don’t know. I never was very good at the whole “pumping myself up” thing. We don’t really compare ourselves to other acts; because that creates a sense of competition and that’s not really what we’re about. I don’t know many other female-fronted industrial acts with as heavy a tone as we often have; but to be honest I don’t know very much about it and I don’t want to say that sets us apart if it’s not true. I know that I personally don’t really know of any, but I could be wrong. New acts appear on the scene every day.
You recently shot an interesting video for “Toxic Agenda” which has had quite a bit of controversy towards it. Can you talk a little about it? Are you planning on shooting any videos for this new album?
Yeah, we did get some hate for that one. I expected it, in some ways. People don’t want to hear the truth and when you try to tell them things that disrupt their thinking, they get upset. People stopped listening to Scream Machine because of that video and what the song is about. But people also started listening to Scream Machine because of that video and what the song was about, so it went both ways. Many people thought that it was brilliant and that we were very brave for making it and others thought it was ridiculous, so you never can tell. “Toxic Agenda” was our attempt to put all of these things right in your face and it succeeded. It’s just that some people chose to turn their heads. That’s their choice, but it’s a shame.
We’ve got some ideas for new videos for sure. Nothing definite yet; we are in a sort of transitional period with our personal lives right now. We just bought a new house so there is a lot going on with that. I am supposed to be shooting video footage for two other artists that I did guest spots for, so hopefully I can get that done soon as well.
This album seems to be a bit more personal than the previous albums have been, as they dealt more with conspiracies. There are songs on the disc like “Alone”, “November” and “S. Morte – Where Were You?” which seem to be more along the lines of the material delivered in the Moon In Libra EP.
Yes, well all of Scream Machine is personal but you’re right; it is a bit more blatant on this one. Not sure why really, but it felt right at the time. It’s often hard for me to release material that is very personal; it embarrasses me, to be perfectly honest. I’m just not that kind of person. I’d rather say “Fuck you!” than “I love you.” I’ve always been that way.
You’ve certainly got a dance-club hit in “Your Jesus” if given the chance, I’m sure. Can you tell me a little about that one?
That is actually one that we were not sure about adding to Cadaver, because I didn’t think the production was good enough. I’m glad now that we did, because people seem to really like it. It’s always the ones I think no one will like. (Laughs) That one is about telling someone who is in crisis, “Hey, look… I can’t save you. Your salvation does not lie within me. I ain’t got it, brother.”
There are also two other tracks I’m curious about, namely “Humanoid” and “All The Pretty Horses.” Can you talk a little bit about these?
Those are actually two of my favorites on the album, “Humanoid” in particular. It’s a love song. Or well, it’s that the type of love song that I write. (Laughs) I’m all spikes and sharp edges, baby. “All The Pretty Horses” is intended to be similar to a lullaby or fairy tale that compares life to a circus, in which the flash and glitter cover up the seedy underbelly of what is really going on. The refrain calls for the listener to “watch the pretty horses/see the pretty horses.” This is a reference to the distraction techniques used to divert the mainstream public’s attention away from what is really going on.
It is no secret that you’re a devout studier of conspiracies, particularly of the Illuminati. Some people say that they’re just a marketing scheme these days, even long time believers. But what do you think? Should we be worried?
Well, the “Illuminati conspiracy” has existed since long before you and I were born, so I don’t think that it’s a marketing scheme. People are trying to cash in on it, but that’s nothing new. People cashed in on AIDS when they could. That does not make AIDS a farce or affect its validity. I also think that with all of the information that is around these days, some people might have a vested interest in making many things look like a scam or hoax.
What do you think of society these days? Do you think that the human race has a chance to survive, or are we done for? With the new healthcare system seeming like a huge scheme on the people, it’s almost certain that dark and uncertain times are ahead. What can we do?
At the risk of sounding like a total asshole, I think society is full of plastic idiots. There is no sense of community; there is no sense of humanity. People walk past children who’ve been run over in the street. They would rather take video of a man on fire, than to rush over and help. They abuse, molest, torture and kill children, animals, the elderly, the disabled… there is almost no human decency in the world at all anymore. It’s gone. It’s been replaced with selfishness, greed, depravity and indifference. People just don’t care anymore. The funny thing is, this is all taking place in a society that continuously bombards us with how progressive and enlightened we all fucking are. I have news for you and everybody who is paying attention: we are not enlightened. We have been engineered to be selfish, narcissistic and ignorant. And upon that we are thriving.
So no, I don’t think the human race is done for; but I do think that the people who will survive all of this are going to be some scary motherfuckers. They already are and it’s not even over.
As far as the health insurance thing, I think it is going to bankrupt this country and I have been saying that for a very long time – years. I read the bill and I hate to say “I told you so” but I did. I told everybody how it would go, but nobody would listen. I feel no victory in being right though, I wish I had been wrong. People listened to the fear machine cranking up the hysteria about people dying in the streets from no health insurance and they became afraid. They jumped up on their high horses and proclaimed themselves the saviors of all those who could not afford health insurance by vociferously championing the cause of government health insurance. Well, they’re the ones paying triple their previous rate for insurance now, so we will see how long they are willing to bend over for the other guy.
What can we do? Stay informed. People keep talking about the revolution but it’s already going on. It’s an INFORMATION REVOLUTION and the more-informed you are, the better-equipped you are. And plan for any and all exigent circumstances and situations. We cannot do more than that because it’s already too late.
You’re also a devout witch and follower of the Wiccan path. How does that factor into your music? Do any of the songs you’ve written on this album or in past releases hold special significance to your craft?
More so with godMONSTER but yes, there are some. Especially on Devil Bitch. You know, I’ve actually had people ask me if I am a devil worshipper over that album. My spirituality actually encompasses many things and if I had to give it a name, I am not sure what it would be. I studied Wicca for years and other Earth religions as well. In addition, I’ve also studied Christianity, Judaism, Islam and others. I believe in a Higher Power and people can call it whatever they want; but “God” works fine for me. It’s just a word. I think the best explanation for how I feel about spirituality was something that I saw written on a bumper sticker once. It said, “Trust in God. Question Religion.” I know that many in this scene would never admit to belief in God but the way I see it, if someone has a hang up about that, it’s their problem; not mine. I think if someone has to be snotty or rude about another person’s faith/spirituality (or lack thereof); it says so much more about their own insecurity and them as a person than it does about the other person.
Finally, what bands are you into right now? If I looked on your playlist or in your CD player right now, what would I find? What do you think of current music and the dubstep trend? Is it a necessary evil, or a low blow to electronic music?
You’d find mostly metal and classic rock in my CD player. Slayer, Metallica, Motorhead… As for dubstep, I’ll be honest with you, dude. I hate dubstep in all its incarnations – in every form. I don’t like it, I’ve never liked it and I don’t think there is a permutation of it out there that will ever change my mind. However, I stop short of outright condemning it. There was a rather long debate in a forum I visited a few years ago regarding whether dubstep was music or not. It was kicked off by someone stating that to them, it was not music and does not sound like “songs” as that person interprets them. I happen to agree with this last statement, but I would not make the argument that dubstep is not music. I think that if the artist who created it calls it music, then you have to concede that it is; whether it sounds like music to you or not. There is also nothing wrong with stating that it doesn’t sound like music to you. Everybody’s ear is different and it is a matter of personal taste.
Some people get really offended if you dislike the music they like or say anything about it that isn’t “Oh my God, I love _______!” I don’t understand that. What does it matter if someone doesn’t like what you like? I love metal. Do you have any idea how many people say it just sounds like noise to them? I don’t care at all. That’s their opinion and they have a right to it. What the fuck does it matter to me? I certainly wouldn’t say they must have “limited exposure to only shitty music” or an “uneducated ear” if they didn’t like it, which is what was being said to the guy on the forum (by some pretty well-known electronic/industrial artists, I might add).
Music is such a matter of personal preference that it’s ridiculously arrogant to make statements like that, or to feel that you are so much more well-versed and better-educated than the other person that you should be able to correct their personal taste or opinion for them. The person states they’ve heard hundreds of songs from the genre but they still don’t like it or feel that it’s music. You counter with the fact that there are thousands of songs in the genre and they need to hear all of them before they can have an opinion? That’s pretty ridiculous.
Music is a personal choice. It’s a personal preference. I don’t really understand why everybody can’t agree on that. Even if they got the guy to agree that it’s music, he’s not suddenly going to like it; or lend it any more validation. I did not understand why these people were on such a crusade but you see it all the time. I say live and let live, man. The weak will die off by themselves anyway.