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Dying of The Light

Dying of The Light

Interviewed by
Di McCauley
Tuesday 10th December, 2013 9:45AM

While we were quietly shivering our way through winter, industrial power duo Dying of the Light were hard at work on their new EP, Monolithium.  The Auckland based pairing of Chris Rigby (vocals/ bass) and Rangi Powick (guitar/ programming/vocals), Dying of the Light’s music is fiendishly crafted to make you sit up straight and listen, telling tales of bleakness and dispiriting doom for mankind amongst others. Eager to discover more about the band, Di McCauley tracked them down for a chat...

How long have you known each other?

We’ve known each other for absolutely ages. After leaving college we formed sludge band Chapel Of Gristle in the 90s. We disbanded when Rangi went to work for Radio 1 in Dunedin. We always kept in touch though and always considered ourselves bandmates. Eventually we both wound up in Auckland, so we automatically got back together and formed Dying of the Light. We’re band siblings – we seldom agree on anything and argue frequently, but that’s okay. We both know we’re pushing for perfection, rather than just giving in and compromising on the one idea we both half like.\\

Is there a story behind your name?

The name Dying of the Light is referenced from the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” which Rangi happened upon while watching the Dr Who episode “The Shakespeare Code.” We had already spent a fortnight ‘constructively arguing’ about what to call the band. We both agreed Dying of the Light sounded good, and that was that.

What genre(s) best sum up your sound?

We try to resist a genre, it pigeonholes your band into a nice neat compartment with a label. Still, when you register on the internet you don’t get much choice – we could be “Other” or “Metal.” For convenience, we will say Dying Of The Light are Industrial Metal

Who do you consider your main music influences are?

Our formative influences were Ozzy Osborne, Iron Maiden and Metallica, but the pivotal point for us came after a day trip to Everyman Records in Nelson. Greg Shaw put us onto Nirvana’s seminal debut album “Bleach” and also the album “Streetcleaner” by UK band Godflesh. That was a distinct “holy sh*t” moment, hearing this music for the first time and thinking “Yeah, now this is what gets me going” - the whole heavy, brutal, stabbing percussion and the sparse, bleak atmosphere they conveyed. We absolutely thrashed those albums. They had such a huge impact on us, and still do to this day.

You released a pretty awesome video for the title track from the new EP Monolithium, talk us through it..

Our storyline, travelling through post war wastelands, entering secret tunnels to be transported away, is born out of a lifetime spent watching loads of sci fi and horror films such as Braindead, Battletruck, Mad Max, Toxic Avenger and reading comic books like 2000AD. Also our absolute fascination with the power pylons on the Desert Road. They are just so cool: these ominous, forbidding iron structures dotting the desolate tundra landscape. They just had to be included.

We were also granted access to film in the Rangipo Power Station, including the strictly off-limit tunnels. One tunnel featured in the video is 200 metres below ground, literally bare rock, dripping water and ferns, where truly anything could be lurking.

Stylistically, we were paying homage to Albert Hughes’s biblical parable movie “The Book of Eli” and especially John Hillcoat’s movie “The Road.” We wanted Monolithium to convey that same sense of a long weary journey in a bleak hostile environment, emulating the bleached out minimal colours and burnt skies, the threat of radioactivity and the absence of any other living thing.

The look tied in perfectly with our songs and theme. We kept the style consistent for the cd graphics and photo shoot, as well as the video itself.

Our cameraman, Steve Hogg, managed the shoot over one huge crazy day, and also looked after the editing and grading of the footage. It was then handed over to Rangi, who created all the special effects and extras in the video. An absolute labour of love, but everything came together really well.

Tell us more about the underlying themes of the new EP...

The theme became apparent once we’d decided on the songs to use, we didn’t actually plan it. Our ideas come from current issues affecting modern society – politics, the paradox of technology superceding us while we become more reliant on it, and extreme consumerism. We ask “If we carry on this way, what will it be like for our kids, our grandkids, and their future?”

Our first song 'Monolithium' takes the side of downtrodden people, crying out, raging against oppressive leaders and over vigilant technology which has reduced them to slavish dependence in a crumbled world. The second song, 'Tribulation' switches it up, adopting the voice of the faceless overlords, seeking to keep the masses in their place. They are bereft of morals, devoid of humanity, and ultimately they will win. 'Privatise the Sun' takes privatisation policies to the extreme, asking what happens when the world’s resources become so polluted that conscription to a corporate entity is our only way to gain access to the sunlight. The final song is a cover of Shihad’s 'Factory' -chosen as a local, historic reference point for the themes of the previous 3 songs, and also because we’re big fans of Shihad’s 'Churn' album.

Did you have any help along the way?

Khomatech, album designer for the recording label Ohm Resistance, helped us with the design of our band logo. We kept creative control over the rest of our graphics, but it was great to collaborate with him, and we are really happy with the logo, it’s simple but very effective.

There was also the goodwill of our friends – much appreciated! We’re grateful to Genna and Kerryn from Pegasus Photography, Andy with the costumes from First Scene, Steve Hogg for filming, editing and grading the video, and Richard Lang for access to the Rangipo Power Station. It’s nice that they volunteered to help us and they went along with our ideas. Hopefully they had some fun along the way, as well.

What are the long term plans for Dying of the Light?

Our goal is to use the Monolithium EP and video to announce our presence to the wider music scene, to find a label that recognises our intent, and is prepared to help us further. It would be good to have Monolithium released in vinyl, even license it for overseas. Even better, a label prepared to put funding into an album.

We’ve put a lot of work into Monolithium, everything has been completely DIY, completely self funded. The graphics for the cd and press release, the video storyline and visuals are entirely our own concept and design. The cds were pressed professionally, the video graded professionally, and everything was printed properly, so the whole package is a quality product.


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