As the smoke rises you suddenly lose your way. Lost in a maze of darkness and brvtality, there is no glimmer of light. Consumed by fear, your body must submit.
The Brvtalist is proud to present a new mix by Chicago-based duo HIDE. The project of Heather Gabel and Seth Sher, their music immediately resonated with us, as they craft punishing tracks accompanied by haunting visuals and occult symbolism. Their live shows are an equally unique experience, immersing the audience in a hazy cloud of brvtality. Hide is a great mix of various genres, created by two fine artists with a complex and sophisticated point of view. Their three EPs invoke so many of our favorite elements that we were curious to find out more about the duo. We reached out to the band and they provided us with some great insight. Please find our Q&A below:
The Brvtalist: HIDE is a great blend of industrial, dark/synth wave, goth and experimental electronics with occult visuals and undertones. Talk a little bit about your and Seth's musical background and what you wanted to do with Hide.
Seth: I grew up listening mostly to metal as an angry teenager and my taste leaned more towards aggressive and violent metal with "something to say" rather than silly horror influenced stuff. Having played drums in most of my previous bands, I grew more and more tired of the typical band scenario and my desire to create something completely immersive overtook me. Something that literally resonated within the listener, hypnotizing them into a kind of trance state with huge, powerful, and unorthodox sounds.
Heather: I have never been in a band/made music before so I don't have much of a personal musical background. I toured for around 12 years working for a band though so I have more logistic experience than actual creative or performative experience. We started off wanting to do something really immersive, repetitive, meditative. I wanted to make something that I would want to see/hear that wasn't out there already. I have really specific tastes and strong aversions to certain sounds and was primarily interested in extending my hyper controlled visual art practice in another more messy medium. Basically looking for another means to express myself, to hear what it would sound like since I already know what it looks like.
TB: The live show kinda takes it to the next level. You and Seth are an electronic duo but it can feel like you have the force and presence of a full band. Would love to hear your approach to your live shows and performing.
Seth: I aim to create a huge and powerful wall of sound using the least amount of sounds possible. My history as a lover of all things aggressive and heavy makes our production style, which favors distortion, huge gut-punching kicks, and a loving embrace of all the dissonance/dirt you feel from a live band has a different approach to electronic music. We create songs that are centered around one evolving, pulsing mass that breathes and builds organically using live mixing and effects to tune into the resonant frequency of our surroundings.
Heather: Thank you! I had never been on stage before this band so that we are able to impart that force and presence is fucking awesome to hear. I attribute it to a few things, but our live stage setup is a huge part of it. We play in the dark with fog and three separately triggered strobes, only. We opened a bunch of shows for Marilyn Manson and we were playing these huge places with crazy lights and we would tell the confused house lighting person to turn everything off. We were able to transform these cavernous venues into intimate environments with a very specific area of visual interest. It fits our sound. We are as much about what isn't there as much as by what is. It's not a revolutionary set up or anything but the power to transform a space visually like that, to only allow glimpses into what's going on, is something we rely on. As far as performing, I am full on exorcising demons. I can barely see. I'm about to fall over the whole time. It's a completely visceral experience for me.
TB: Both of you are also great visual artists operating in mediums like collage, painting, graphics and photography. What is the relationship between your work as a fine artist and your work in Hide? Are they totally separate worlds for your or do you see them tied together?
Seth: Everything I do and think and create in every aspect of existence is working within and emitting from the whole of my being. Every piece of work I have created or will create revolves around seeing all dimensions of everything at once, never seeing only the surface of its meaning.
Heather: They are definitely not separate worlds for me. I said, when we started this band I was interested in it as another medium, but through this form of expression I've been able to get closer to the core of that part of myself that I am trying to get out. Like a direct channel has been carved out through the process of making and performing these songs. I used to feel informed about myself, post creation process, when I made visual art, whereas now, as a result of this "direct route" I have discovered/accessed with HIDE, it's like a veil has been lifted and there is more transparency, immediacy and I feel a stronger connection to my visual art, it feels like a much more accurate expression of the way I feel than it ever has before.
TB: Tell us about your mix and talk about how you chose the tracks. Also feel free to talk about some of your own influences in music and beyond.
Hide: We both selected songs that have been tracks we always go back to despite our more passing fancies - that have been a sort of mainstay in each of our different paths musically throughout the years. With regards to the newer tracks we've chosen, they embody the ethos of what we have always been moved by. It's maybe a little more schizophrenic (Seth is essentially a metalhead who likes techno and I grew up on death rock, d-beat, peace punk bands) than some other mixes on The Brvtalist but hopefully the commonality of the aggressively unapologetic spirit in these tracks comes across to the listener. I would say that spirit, abstractly, is much more an influence on what we're doing than any band or genre in particular.
TB: What's next for HIDE?
Hide: We are taking a break from playing shows currently, we were playing a few times a month to save money to record a proper record. Aside from writing new material for a full length we are working on a video piece for The Palace Film Festival in Chicago this January. We are coming to LA to do a record with Joe Cardamone at Valley Recording Co in Burbank. I've (Heather) been friends with Joe since the late 90's. He gets it.
We've got similarly passionate loves and hates when it comes to music and I've always dug and respected what he was doing with his band The Icarus Line. I was really excited when he asked about doing a re-mix for a HIDE track, which was initially how we got to talking recording. He did end up doing a re-mix, it's on an upcoming EP we did for Midwich Records (Jim Magas's label), and it's so good. We are really excited about it, it's our first vinyl release. Seth's been in the studio before but I haven't. We recorded everything we've put out ourselves so far, (three tapes, 2 songs each) as well as the tracks for the upcoming EP, in our practice space ourselves, so this will be my first time making a record. Really can't wait to get out there and start working on it, hungry for the new experience and thrilled to be working with Joe.
We would like to thank Heather and Seth for their great responses and for contributing an incredible mix. We look forward to forthcoming Hide material and can't wait to see them again live. For more information please visit Hide, Facebook and Youtube.
The Imperial House Band - Isé No Umi
Church of the Universal and Triumphan - Decree Remix
Marital Vows - Trauma
Einstürzende Neubauten - Krieg in den Städten(live)
Test Dept - Shockwork
Spk - A Heart that Breaks in No time or Place
PIL - Four Enclosed Walls
Swans - Coward
Jesus Lizard - Boilermaker
Rudimentary Peni - Inside
Christian Death - Spiritual Cramp
Sadist - Minotaur's Maze
Discharge - The Nightmare Continues
Ministry - Breathe
Dystopia - Stress Builds Character
Crass - Shaved Women
The Creatures - Festival of Colours
Adult - Kick in the Shin
Sisters of Mercy - Valentine
Brett Naucke - Harp of the Evening Garden
Perc - My Head is Slowly Exploding (Original mix)
Meshuggah - Concatenation
Pantera - Altered State
NON - Total War