After over a year hiatus from the name GRAMMAL SEIZURE, and nearly a year away from the recording studio, Erik Stanger (aka GRAMMAL SEIZURE, THE HOSPITAL, EXPERIMENT A.D., NORDHAUSEN, and COFFEE SAUCERS) is back.
If you are not familiar with the works of Erik Stanger be warned… it’s not for everyone. Erik records using mostly homemade devices… The results are feedback filled walls of sound overlaid by Erik’s throaty howl.
For nearly three years Erik bared his soul, shared unmentionable secrets, and crushed the skulls of listeners. The onslaught of emotion produced just under 50 recordings in three years…. Then silence.
Now with a new release out (GRAMMAL SEIZURES – DEATH HOUSE ACTIONS on Erik’s own DEAD BLOOD PRODUCTIONS) Erik has stepped out from seclusion to discuss the past, present, and future of GRAMMAL SEIZURE.
TEOB: What caused the year lay off?
Erik Stanger (ES): Well to be quite honest, I was exhausted. I had put out so many releases in 2 or 3 years that I just needed to take a step back and regroup, find the direction I wanted to head in artistically and musically. In my case that required to completely step away from the creative process, do other things besides music. That involved working part time at my friends tattoo parlor as a shop hand for about a year and a half. That was a good thing and a bad thing……. it was nice to take a break from creating and just “look around” for a while.
However, I kind of lost touch with being creative at all….. The people I was around just didn’t understand nor did they like what I was doing musically….. So I got caught up in just “existing in their realm”. Some of the guys at the shop are musicians as well, but way off from the extremes of GRAMMAL SEIZURE… much more straight “rock n roll” oriented. So I would play drums or bass in jam sessions with them even though I wasn’t that into what was going on musically. After a bit of that I had had enough…. I quit playing music with them and eventually quit the shop and realized “I need to get back to doing what I’m passionate about again”. That turned out to be resurrecting GRAMMAL SEIZURE……
TEOB: Before you hiatus you had a string of releases using alternate names… (EXPERIMENT A.D., THE HOSPITAL , NORDHAUSEN, COFFEE SAUCERS). Did they all have different philosophies or were the extensions of what you were doing with GRAMMAL SEIZURE?
ES: I would say that EXPERIMENT A.D. and NORDHAUSEN were an extension of GRAMMAL SEIZURE for sure. Maybe slightly different sounds, aesthetics, and lyrical content… but for the most part they were used as another outlet for increased material output along the lines of what I was doing with GRAMMAL SEIZURE.
The COFFEE SAUCERS project was something to just have fun with…. I’m really into old Godzilla films, Sci Fi movies and television shows…. especially THE TWILIGHT ZONE. So I wanted to make my own soundtrack to the images in those movies / shows… It was purely created for myself to enjoy, and if others liked it…. Great… But it was never meant to be taken seriously.
THE HOSPITAL was a project that was still coasting along the lines of GS, but the big difference with this project was that everything was going to be released for free, no hard copies were to be pressed. There was more influence (at least lyrically) to ATRAX MORGUE in this project as well.. Marco Corbelli was a huge influence on me, just as much as THROBBING GRISTLE or WHITEHOUSE….. So in a way THE HOSPITAL was kind of a nod of thanks to Marco Corbelli…
TEOB: Your covers and song topics have been the subject of controversy. You are do not shy away from the use of fascist imagery. What message are you trying to connive with the images, and lyrics?
ES: As far as the Third Reich imagery is concerned, I have always had a fascination with Nazi Germany ever since first learning about WWII in grade school. I am really intrigued by both the aesthetics and power those images convey. The totenkopf (deathshead) of the Third Reich holds particular appeal for me. Even though the totenkopf originated as a military symbol / badge in the mid 18th century by the Prussian army under Frederick the Great, most people automatically assume it originated with the NSDAP…. For me it is a universal symbol for death…. which we all must endure eventually. The GS deathshead with the number 4 under it obviously took its cue from the Death In June design… However for me the 4 symbolizes my birth (April the month I was born) and the totenkopf represents my eventual death. I don’t follow fascist ideology as a road map for how I live my life… I am more a student of history on the subject. Of course the sheer power the Third Reich employed is also something I find captivating. I suppose I try to convey that kind of total power in my musick, that “wall of sound” style that I find intoxicating.
The song titles / lyrics on some of the releases are more of a commentary / study of subjects I find interesting, rather than a guide book on telling people how to live. People can think for themselves and form their own opinions.
TEOB: Toward the end of your period of hyperproductiviy you began incorporating other instruments into your alter ego’s (specifically The Hospital). Is that something that will carry on through the new GRAMMAL SEIZURE releases?
ES: Most likely, yes. I was using bass guitar and real percussion / marching drum on some of the releases. As of today I am experimenting with other instruments, only they include more use of samplers and more tape loop style things… I may incorporate the marching drum in some stuff if I feel a track will benefit from it… but I’m just not into playing stringed instruments anymore…. If those pop up in tracks they are most likely going to be samples or VST’s (virtual instruments). I like to keep a simple arsenal of equipment… Once I start acquiring too many things to make sound with…. I get less creative. I mean if I had all of say Chris Carters synths / electronic instruments, I would go fucking nuts on trying to figure out how to incorporate all that shit into a song… Less is more for me.
TEOB: Let’s talk about your newest release Death House Actions. Having heard the release it sounds like you are picking up right where GRAMMAL SEIZURE left off…. is this all new material?
ES: Death House Actions is all new material recorded in January / February 2011. I have other new material as well, I was going to release some of that but decided that Death House Actions was a stronger / more progressive GS release.
TEOB: Will you be exploring new directions with future releases?
ES: I will definitely be exploring new ground on future releases. I feel that Death House Actions has already tread into a different sound from most of my other releases. Honestly I think my writing and sound are just maturing a bit. The sound I have been experimenting with as of late is going much more towards the death industrial genre as compared to the “total” power electronics sound of a lot of GS stuff…. Sound wise I am moving towards the direction of mixing power electronics with death industrial. Also, I am a bit more focused on subjects that deal with death and sex both lyrically and visually. I’m kind of moving past a lot of the “third reich / fascist” imagery and subjects that I dealt with on previous releases. That’s not to say I wouldn’t do an all instrumental release similar to that of Maurizio Bianchi’s “Symphony for a Genocide”… Theme based all instrumental releases interest me immensely.
TEOB: Will GRAMMAL SEIZURE continue the “frantic” pace of the first three years?
ES: With the resurrection of GRAMMAL SEIZURE I was sure of one thing,”I will not be putting out an unruly amount of releases in short periods”…. I had a lot of pent up ideas in my head when I started GS in 2007-2008. All of those releases between 2008 – 20010 just came organically. I would finish a release in a few weeks or 2 releases a month and figure “why wait around for someone else to put this out”… I wanted everyone that was interested, to hear GS, and everyone who had not heard of GS to take notice. I think the “frantic” pace of output paid off in the end. If you want your material to get noticed, you have to really work hard… No one is going to hand it to you.
So, new GRAMMAL SEIZURE releases will be coming a bit slower than they did in the past. Still, I will probably release much more material per year than a lot of other artists do; it’s just how I work. I work at a fast pace when I have a theme or idea on what I want a release to be. After that initial “idea” hits me, the tracks come feverishly.
TEOB: In a previous interview you talked about your personal life and how it is reflected in GRAMMAL SEIZURE lyrics. At one point after you ceased recording you told me you had done “all the screaming” you needed to for awhile. Are your new lyrics still as personal or are you dealing with different topics?
ES: Some will have personal meaning like the track on Death House Actions “Death Industry”… That particular tracks lyrics are about life being a futile event… how in the end everyone will on some level betray you…. then your eventual death is the final “play”. Other lyrics will deal with things not pertaining to me specifically, but things I have an interest in like historical events, infamous people, medical subjects (no surprise here), and like I mentioned earlier, Death and Sex on many levels.