The year was 1992. The newly formed band was Cubanate, a band that would make a mark in the industrial-metal world forever. Showcasing a set-apart sound, Cubanate won numerous fans and inspired many future musical creations with their work. Bringing us up to speed in current Cubanate history, the year is now 2017, and it was an honor to catch up with them gearing up for a few live dates and the release of their remastered album, ‘Brutalism’. The expected release date for ‘Brutalism’ is May 5th, 2017.
Following an appearance at the 2016 Coldwaves Festival, Cubanate will perform two live shows for Brutalism UK. Brutalism UK kicks off April 28th and April 30th, featuring support from Empirion, KANGA, Je$us Loves Amerika, and Cease2Xist (April 30th show only). Cubanate will follow up the run with an appearance in Canada, supported by 3Teeth, Friday, July 28th.
Thanks again for chatting with us a second round. There’s soon to be a re-master of some top tracks from Cubanate’s first three albums. May I ask about the selection process? Who is involved, and what types of questions are being asked in regards to that?
It was pretty harmonious. There wasn’t much disagreement between Phil and I which tracks deserved to be re-mastered. We’ve had enough time to chew over which ones we think still stand up. On those early albums there were a few songs that really shouldn’t have made the grade. Younger artists won’t understand the pressure. To record, you had to pay for a studio. You went in and recorded a song. When it worked fine. When it didn’t, you couldn’t go back into the studio a month later and pick up where you left off. There was no recall. All the settings would be different. So what you printed on the day was it. We had very limited budgets, so usually we managed to scrape together 40 minutes of music and by then we’d run out of cash. So that was that. What you had was the album. The remastering from the original mixes by Jules Seifert is subtle but effective. The songs sizzle a bit more.
Has the re-master selection process been introspective and personal?
Personally I was glad that we played Cold Waves before compiling the ‘Brutalism’ album because playing live after so long made me reconnect with the songs again. For me, the very beginning of Cubanate was a very extreme time. Before Cubanate I was signed but in a band where I felt like a sell-out. I was seriously thinking of quitting the whole thing. I had no money. None. There was certain clarity to my life at that point. So those early songs really do bring back vivid memories. Cubanate began in the summer of 1992. Shockingly, that’s 25 years ago. When we were out on the Sheep On Drugs tour later that year, which was our first tour, Duncan from the Sheep was 27 then, same as me. I remember him asking me if I thought we were too old to be fronting rock bands. Too old! Even then I felt like I’d been round the block. I was looking back five years to touring with Numan. So, it seems like forever ago and not in a bad way. I’m just grateful to have survived. Because it was touch and go on a few occasions.
Recently, I watched an old interview featuring you and Phil back in ’94 from a gig in Amsterdam. You stated you felt you were doing something completely set apart from what was out on the scene at the time. Do you feel Cubanate is as important now for its originality as it was then?
Oh Lord, not that bloody Amsterdam interview. Phil and I were experiencing, uh, certain difficulties while the film was rolling. We were fused and fizzing on white wine and a smorgasbord of Dutch hallucinogenics. We were pathologically, paranormally, preternaturally pissed. We were savagely, sensationally, psychotically, supernaturally stoned: spannered beyond any measure or excuse. We existed only in the ether, in alternate time streams, in the forty-third dimension: as ghosts, memories of Kublai Khan, fleeting shadows in the dreams of star children. We were Batman and Robin, Bonnie and Clyde, Noddy and Big Ears, Bleep and Booster, The Banana Splits. That said, fucked as I was, I had a point. We didn’t sound like other “industrial” bands, mainly because we didn’t define ourselves in those terms at the time. Later on we did, because that’s the way we were pigeonholed, and we started to accept and believe it. But not then.
In regards to that same interview, you said you believe in “doing what you want to do” and not what everyone else tells you to. In other words, that Cubanate is about freedom. Does this ring true today?
I really wouldn’t expand my lunatic rambling into some kind of libertarian manifesto. I had just “done what I wanted to do”, which was: take a sackload of narcotics. However, I was concerned about issues of control. And power. You need to remember that Cubanate was formed in the last year or two before the internet exploded. It seemed to me then as if we were heading into a darker time when governments and corporations would increasingly use technology to control us all much more closely by toying with our base emotions. Algorithmic fascism. I knew that I hated the thought of that kind of monitored conformity, with no private space. At the time I was dismissed as a paranoid nutcase. But I was right.
Are you excited for the two upcoming live shows coming up in the Brutalism UK tour featuring KANGA, Empirion, Je$us Loves Amerika, and Cease2xist?
Apprehensive is a better word. I never know what’s going to happen. It’s been over twenty years since Cubanate headlined a UK show. I don’t even know if anyone will show up. I like the blend of old and new that we’ve got on the shows. Cubanate go way back with Empirion. We used to play with them a lot back in the day so we’re old troopers. I did some vocals for Oz recently. That’s a good vibe. KANGA, we met in the US and Cold Waves. We’re proud to be bringing them across to the UK for the first time. Ms. D and I get on well. I enjoy the savagery of her humour. It’s very British. We write each other snarky PMs online about bands that we both think suck. Matt’s a civilized fellow too. I know and like Je$us Loves Amerika. Cease2xist are new to me. It’s certainly going to be value for money.
How does Cubanate approach a live show? Are you as concerned with the show as the music?
We prepare as best we can separately, seeing as we’re each on other sides of the world. Me in Singapore, Phil in UK. We have to rehearse for a couple of days together once we arrive in the same country. It’s physically hard work. I think I pay more attention to sound these days, actually being able to hit notes and remember words. No promises, mind. We also work much harder on the visuals side. We’ve got Gabriel who runs live video. But it is properly live. It should still be a bit anarchic.
How does it feel to play and release material that will attract a new fan for the first time?
Will it? I’m not so sure. I don’t think we’re very in step with the scene. We never were really. But the music was always designed more for a live show or dance floor than to be listened to at home so I hope it will put the music into context.
Is there a specific theme, message, or experience you’d like the crowd to take away from your upcoming live shows?
Aren’t you sick of it? Smash it up, smash it up.
I’d like to hear, from the source, where Cubanate stands in the industrial genre past, present, and future.
I don’t mind admitting that it’s cool when something you did so long ago still resonates. As for a place in a genre, I leave that for others to judge. As an artist you should just hunker down, do it your way and hope for the best. I always remember the words of our manager Ian Blackaby back in the day, when in a fit of ego I told him I reckoned Cubanate had reached the point where we were the second biggest industrial band in the UK. Ian sighed and said to me, “Marc, that’s like boasting about being Britain’s second tallest midget. Really, who gives a crap?”
Does the argument that Cubanate is a “brilliant band“ to see in your own words in ’94 still ring true in 2017?
Well in the same interview I also claim that I come from the year 2153 so you’re not quoting a very reliable source.It depends what you want. After a Cubanate gig I never remember much. It’s an out-of-body experience. I don’t hear that pure energy of hatred from new bands so much. If you like a real psychic howl, then we’re your men.
After this, what’s in store for Cubanate?
We’re playing Terminus in Canada with 3Teeth over the summer. We’ve heard that’s a good time. After that, I don’t know. We take it as it comes these days.