What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I’ll start at the beginning… My brother has always been a huge musical influence on me and he bought me my first guitar when I was nine and I’ve never looked back. I still try and play every day if I can. Music has always been a big part of my life and it’s something I feel compelled to do. I’ve written literally hundreds of songs, across quite a few genres, although I’ve never really felt comfortable about people hearing them – I’m not confident in that way. I’d been doing a lot of electronica in various guises and I wanted to start bringing my “club orientated” production and engineering skills and guitar playing together. Kill Shelter is the product of those two things – “big room” production sensibilities mixed with heavily processed, monophonic, sequencer-like guitar lines.
I write a music blog (Facebook only) called Rule of Three along with my very good friend Christian Schaefer (based in Hamburg) – it’s a passion project of ours and we share and listen to a lot of new music. It was through that process that I started remixing some of the artists we’d reviewed and things started to take shape from there (https://www.facebook.com/ruleofthreeofficial/).
Following some of the remixes I did (including Agent Side Grinder, Antipole and Adan & Ilse), Pedro (Penas Robles) from Unknown Pleasures Records got back in touch. We got chatting and he asked me if I was going to do an album and if so he’d be interested in considering it for his label but only if he liked it. So I set about contacting potential collaborators with my “you don’t know me but… “ routine. Everyone that I approached I admired and respected and thought they were outstanding both vocally and musically. I’m still amazed that I wasn’t simply turned down at every point. There were a couple of people on my list that were just too busy at the time (I made the mistake of writing the tracks with people in mind then approaching them – in hindsight that was a stupid move) so I hadn’t really left enough time. The upside is that I have a few spare demo tracks to sit on top of the mountain of others that I’ve written.
Luckily for me Pedro at UPR loved what he heard and said “When I listened to your complete album I was struck by the scale, the beauty and the lyricism of the voices and the guitars on this stunning debut. It had the same impact for me as hearing “First and Last and Always” by the Sisters of Mercy or “Dawnrazor” by the Fields of the Nephilim for the very first time.” I really like and respect Pedro a lot… and in my book, that is very high praise indeed.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
“Damage” is the debut Kill Shelter album and all the tracks are themed around the physical and psychological hurt that we cause to ourselves, others and the world around us. The themes are dark, dystopian, melancholic, introspective and, at times, deeply disturbing.
I wanted to do a “global” project where I combined talent from all around the world that was reflective of the postpunk/darkwave/dark rock scene as it stands today. I’d like to think it was a unique recording. It features the vocal and musical talents of Hante. (FR), Buzz Kull (AUS), Delphine Coma (US), Antipole (NOR), undertheskin (PL), Killjoi (US), The Shyness of Strangers (CA), Pedro Code (Iamtheshadow – PT), Nate Jespersen (ultrviolence – CA), New Haunts (UK) and Bragolin (NL). All of these guys were absolutely incredible to work with (and I’m not just saying that). They gave up their time and talent and contributed some incredible performances on the album and without that “Damage” would be nothing. I’m forever in their debt.
I took the cover photography at Kupari luxury resort in Croatia this year. If you don’t know it, here’s a blog for reference (http://www.messynessychic.com/2013/08/23/the-bay-of-abandoned-hotels/). That whole place had a really profound effect on me – it’s an abandoned, war torn holiday resort – a living reminder of the destruction that people cause, a place where nature is slowly trying to repair the shocking damage that was caused to people’s lives and property.
Overall there is a dark energy to “Damage” which just took me over – it’s an odd feeling and there’s definitely something going on which I can’t describe – it’s very personal and very weird – I will be interested to hear if it’s just me or not. It probably is.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
See above, consistently my brother (Neu Gestalt) has been a major influence on my musical education. He has always made a point of discovering new music and technology and I guess that runs in the family now. Musically I listen to a lot of stuff that ranges from Drum & Bass (Noisia, Mefjus, Black Sun Empire) to down-tempo (Fennesz, Fripp, Eno, Nick Drake) through to Rock and Electronica (early Sisters of Mercy, Black Sabbath, The Prodigy, Orbital) and of course some classic 80s stuff (Japan, Modern Eon, Depeche Mode). I think “eclectic” or “open-minded” is the word. I listen to a lot of contemporary post-punk through Christian and Rule of Three. We have very demanding and stringent tastes though.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Being unique in 2018 is difficult let’s face it but I would hate to be derivative. I wear my musical influences on my sleeve but I hope it’s more in spirit and attitude than literally plagiarising chord changes, drum sounds or riffs. The fusion of electronica and processed guitars is at the heart of the Kill Shelter sound – I try to create large, rich, emotive soundscapes with a hint of tension and drama thrown in for good measure. Drums are everything – I like them big and loud and I can spend days layering, compressing and EQ’ing snares and kicks to get the sound I’m looking for. I guess I like detail and precision – I should probably have been born in Germany not Scotland.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
I bet everyone says that this is a really tricky question, I’m totally cool with it…
First and Last and Always by the Sisters of Mercy (and I’d sneak in Alice and the Reptile House EP in the sleeve when no-one was looking), Gentlemen Take Polaroids by Japan and maybe Discipline by King Crimson although Gone to Earth by David Sylvian, Fiction Tales by Modern Eon, Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode and Orbital (the brown album) would be hard to live without so it would be one of those depending on my mood on the day when I was shipped off for the island. Yeah, I know, technically I’m cheating…
Wings of Desire – this film has had a lasting effect on me. It’s a beautiful and well crafted poignant and suprsingly uplifting film. I’d also have to say Rumblefish and something by David Lynch Wild at Heart or Eraser Head – you chose.
I am Ozzy (if you haven’t read it you simply have to – please don’t let the idea of the persona put you off – it’s an incredible read). Spares by Michael Marshall Smith (I so wish he’d write another book under that name) and The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis by Rob Papen… well you did ask after all.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Studio any day. I’m at my happiest playing, programming and producing. I’m not a fan of the limelight – it’s really not for me. I used to be physically sick before and after playing gigs as I got so anxious about it. It’s a shame as I’m sure I’d really enjoy seeing people get something out of the Kill Shelter live experience – but maybe it’s best saved for clubs and cars and just played extremely loud when I’m not there – I’ll be there in spirit.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
“Why don’t you use your real name?” – The joys of having a name that someone else has and then you get accused of it not being your own. I thought about changing my name on several occasions. Pete Burns would have been a great name if someone else didn’t have it first. When I was much younger I used to think I’d go by the name of Peter 7 which was an incidental character that appeared briefly in one episode of an old sci-fi series or Pete Da Silva… maybe I should have just gone with one of those (laughs). I also received some snail mail recently marked for the attention of Mr Shelter. Just call me Pete… but I’m also very happy to take suggestions…
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
That is a really tricky question as all the tracks on “Damage” are unique because they blend the vocal and musical talents of other very talented and unique individuals with the Kill Shelter vibe. I plan to release more crossover stuff where I simply embrace all my influences and that will take its own journey. The one thing you can safely expect is no power chords or strummed jangly guitars – everything else is up for grabs.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Yeah – I would love to… I’ve started on the follow up album already and I have a much stronger idea now of what Kill Shelter is and isn’t. I have a couple of collaborations in the pipeline which I am really excited about and few people to pick things back up with. I’ll probably do an interim EP then another big “concept” style album as the main follow up. I’m backing off remixing a bit but if there is an offer I can’t refuse then I will clearly jump at the chance. I’m still waiting on one pretty interesting one but I’m not holding my breath…
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Tell us about your “Black Out” social media campaign – that got a lot of people talking…
Yeah, I had kept the “Damage” project secret for 10 months. Some of the contributors had been working with me since January 2018 but they were all sworn to secrecy. In most cases the artists involved didn’t even know who else would be on the album. It was steeped in mystique from the start. Three days before the launch of the pre-release I turned the lights out on my social accounts and posted flat, dark grey images with nothing on them and made all my avatars the same. Some of the other artists followed suit. The following morning all the artists and the label were sent one image to post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It was a simple dark grey post with elegant white type that just had a line from their song in quotation marks. No tags, no description, no comments, nothing. Remember that not all the artists knew who was else was involved either. If you followed some (or all) of the contributors accounts you’d see something was happening. The next day all the artists were given a new image to post. This time it was their track name, again out of the dark grey with elegant white lettering. The same deal, no tags, no description, no comment. At this point someone messaged me saying “what’s going on? Instagram has turned black… “. I said nothing. On Tuesday 9th October the news broke then we all posted videos and images that were personalised to the artist and their track as well as promoting the album name and list of contributors – the difference this time was that there was commenting, liking, sharing and tagging. The news was out.
I am now in the process of creating more material to support the general release on the 26th November this year so my days will be filled with video editing and image manipulation… oh and some new recordings of course. Right I, better get on.
I really hope you like what you hear…
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Kill Shelter:
PRE-ORDER DAMAGE: https://hivmusic1.bandcamp.com/album/damage-gothic-rock-darkwave-upr094