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Terminatryx: On Ministry, Witchfest & Beyond!

  • Written by Kyle Gregorowski
  • Published in Interviews

Underground Press Recently sat down with Terminatryx and discussed their experience with Ministry and discussed their influences not to mention their thoughts on the local music scene in South Africa.

2014 Terminatryx 4up b

Album Art by Dr-Benway

Jamming with Ministry – that’s epic. How did you feel about the show?

Sonja: Opening for Ministry was indeed a big honour and a dream come true.  I have been a fan of theirs for so many years and it was incredible to finally see them live.

For Terminatryx it was a great chance to connect with our Johannesburg fans. To meet new people and make new friends was an even greater experience.

I would like to take this moment to thank Witchdoctor for giving us this wonderful opportunity.  We have had the privilege to open for many international acts and to add Ministry to that list is unbelievable at times :)

Paul: Very often in interviews we get questions asking which band we'd like to play or tour with, and Ministry is always in the top 3 - so that box has been checked!  Whenever we perform I'm more anxious about us playing the best show we possibly can than being nervous about other things (like opening for a band with such history and impact as Ministry).  It was great to have the audience respond so well to us (and not playing Gauteng since 2008, I'm sure a chunk of the crowd never even heard of us). It was great seeing Ministry live for the first time (although I would've loved to hear more of the late-'80s to mid-'90s era songs).

Patrick: The Ministry show was amazing, and the ecstasy of it for me was two-fold.  On the one hand, I had an opportunity as a fan to go and watch a brilliant band live who I never thought I'd ever see in-the-flesh.  On the other hand, I was treated to a rare opportunity where the greatest number of people possible who were ever likely to appreciate the music of Terminatryx were congregated in one place and the music delivered to them.  The feeling I got from the audience was electric!

You guys are in many ways the flag bearers for the Industrial sound in South Africa. Do you feel additional pressure as the innovators?

Sonja: No, not at all.  I have never considered us as the flag bearers, and it is flattering to hear that we are considered as such :) Terminatryx is an artistic expression of Paul and I, Ronnie and Patrick, it is a living evolving thing that does what it wants, how it wants, when it wants. We give it free reign and do not in any way shape it to be something that is going to be liked automatically because it has the right combination of hooks, riffs and choruses etc.  It is not music by numbers and the true Terminatryx fans are those who really and truly connect with the music, the vibe and lyrical content.  The greatest feeling for me is when someone walks up to me after a show and tells me that they really enjoyed the music.  We would never be so arrogant as to force anything down anyone’s throat or to think that we can create the perfect song… but if the people like what we do it is such an incredible bonus for us.

Paul: While we have more Metal and Rock elements (sometimes a bit of Goth) than Industrial, it is a genre sub-division that is not explored as much.  Personally I feel it expands the scope more with elements you can add to the basic recipe.  We can pretty much do what we want, not pegging ourselves to the wall within a certain style formation.  the industrial flavour is not overwhelming, but blend in nicely.

Patrick: From my side, I don't agree that we could be regarded as THE innovators, since we follow in the footsteps of the legendary Battery 9 and some others who did not rise to such prominence; yet I feel that Terminatryx is leaving its own mark.  In fact, having Paul Riekert of Battery 9 performing alongside us as guest on stage at the Ministry concert was a highlight in it's own right. I have to admit to being a little star-struck.  However, where I would say that some pressure is felt is often in the sense that South Africa does not have much of its own 'industrial scene' to speak of.  Therefore, Terminatryx is often lumped in alongside bands of very different influences and sound, which is usually extreme metal.  The pressure comes in sometimes when deciding on what set to play, and given that the line-up of bands for many of the shows we play are quite heavy, we have to ask ourselves which songs should be included or tossed from a set.  I always share the view with my band mates that it would probably be better to rather bring in more of the stuff that sets a completely different tone to the prevalent atmosphere on the night.  This does confuse a number of people attending at most shows, but I think it also brings something refreshing to the stage in those situations, and I get the sense that more people in attendance at those shows actually appreciates it than those who scorn it.  To me, the feeling of pressure is by wondering if I'm performing with enough passion to measure up to and even beyond the expectations of those who carry preconceived notions that they won't enjoy us.

Terminatryx2015 01

Photograph by Dr-Benway

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Paul: Anything and everything!

Sonja: We draw our inspiration from life, the good and the bad, political situations etc. We are also inspired by movies, especially Sci-Fi and Horror.  One can create so many emotions and feelings with sounds and we always love to think that our music can be used as a movie soundtrack.

Patrick: I'm not a writer in Terminatryx, but from a performer's point of view, I've always admired those who are most passionate about presenting a compelling live performance.  I've always kept a watchful eye on the likes of Trent Reznor, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and performers of that sort of caliber.  It is sad that in this country we cannot always stretch our legs so far as to bring in some of the huge elements which these characters have managed, but we do what we can with what is available to us.

Do you think that South Africa has warmed to the heavier side of the sound spectrum?

Patrick: South Africa has always had a corner in the play-pen for the rowdy kids. Yet a corner it remains, and a corner it is likely to ever be. I am personally very fond of the local scene, regardless that many find it small and pitiful. I don't think it is fair to try and compare South Africa to countries like Germany, the UK and USA when it comes to the music industry.  Those are huge markets, with massive cultural and socio-economic differences to our own country.  As for a greater local market warming to what we have to offer, I see it as an ebb and flow.  There are years which are more lively, separated by years where there seems a bit of a slump; like a natural rhythm or sorts.  We appear currently to be in the flow, and that is pleasing.

Sonja: If you consider the success of a band like Prime Circle, I guess one can say that the mainstream has warmed to harder rock. Alternative music will ALWAYS remain on the fringes…  It will never become big in South Africa. The moment it does, it would simply not be alternative anymore… What I would like to see is more platforms for our Alternative community.

Did you have anything special lined up for the Ministry show? 

Sonja: We invited Paul Riekert, founder and vocalist of Battery 9, to perform with us on the remix version of our song “Siek + Sat”. Paul  did a remix of this song for our Remyx v 1.0 album and we felt it very appropriate that the “trailblazer” of South African Industrial music should share a stage with us supporting Mr Al Jourgensen :)  Paul Riekert was very well received and it was also a dream come true for me personally as I am a big Battery 9 fan.

Paul: We have a synched video backdrop that goes with our show, but unfortunately we couldn't utilize the screen Ministry used for their video…

Our wardrobe also makes up part of the show, in stead of us playing in our "day-clothes".

Patrick: I think that Terminatryx as a band like to have something special lined up for all shows, regardless of how high-profile.  Yet, sometimes the fact that is a higher profiled shows actually even limits our ability to deliver on some things (like the video backdrop).  It was pretty cool being able to introduce Paul Riekert as guest on one song though.  I think the vast majority of the audience grasped the significance of that, and I think he must have enjoyed performing again. 

How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you?

Paul: An alternative journey that can fluctuate between and combine various genres to relay a certain mood and impacting audio-visual experience.

Patrick: This will likely differ from band member to band member. When challenged, I describe Terminatryx as a dark rock / industrial metal hybrid.  We're not as heavy as Ministry, for example, but they're not as sensual.

You guys must be pretty close after all these years. Any clashes over the years?

Sonja: Yes, we are pretty close, I really love the guys and they know how to handle my quirks and moods.  We have never clashed, we are all grown up and professional but first and foremost we are friends.  We had such a great trip now in JHB when we supported Ministry.  We always laugh a lot when we are on a plane or in a car together.  Many bands will be able to relate to the silliness and craziness that can come about when one travels to a destination together or on the way back to the hotel after the gig.

Paul: It's a friendship before it comes to the "business" of a band.  We're older and rational enough not to fret over petty shit - those things have ruined many a band.  Sonja and I are synched on almost all levels and very much agree on most things, and trust one another's artistic souls.  When we don't agree, then it can be quite a black and white division(!), but we wrestle through it.  If we feel an alteration can improve on something, we voice it.

Patrick: There are disagreements, but I can't think back to any clashes which ever represented any kind of threat to the band.  I think a good balance is maintained in that Paul and Sonja are the chief writers and, in respect of that, myself and Ronnie will generally defer to their judgement in the event of anything which needs to be resolved.

What’s the most brutal lyric or riff you’ve ever heard?

Sonja: The most brutal lyric must be “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” from Rage Against The Machine’s song “Killing In The Name Of” - for its honest intent.  For me the most brutal riffs comes from Slipknot and if you mean brutal in a cool way, I must add the riffs of most Guns & Roses and all Van Halen songs :)

Paul: There are so many!  Any riff Devin Townsend lays down is brutally brilliant.  I like my music history, so when it comes to trailblazers, Slayer's mid-'80s classic "Angel Of Death" has both an intensely brutal subject matter, and then of course the stupendously immortal riffs (and leads, and double bass drum pause…!).  Lyrically it's easy to try and be as gross, evil and intense as possible, but it's all been done.

I do like my Grindcore, a lot of it with a sick sense of humour, so stuff like Blood Duster is way out there - or A.C. (whose full name of Anal Cunt says it all!)

Patrick: Not one I'd like to repeat with my own tongue!  But we're all known to listen to some pretty horrid stuff at times ;)

Do you have a message for your legions of fans?

Sonja: We really value the people that support us, the biggest joy for me playing a show, is the interaction with the people afterwards and on social media.  I LOVE meeting the many people that connect on Facebook and value their input and support.

Our fans not only support us emotionally and intellectually but also the financial support we receive from them when they purchase merchandise (and backing our crowd funding campaign) are really valued. 

Paul: Thanks for supporting music, and local music in particular!

Patrick: The music industry is a pretty emotionally-charged kettle of fish!  But, of course it is, because music is by nature an emotional sustenance.  However, I often see people get very uptight about matters of music and criticism with each other.  I would say: Don't take it all too seriously!  At the end of the day, it's just entertainment and not worth losing friends over.  If you don't like something somebody likes, or vice-versa, just let it slide!

Where to next for Terminatryx?

Sonja: We will continue to do what we love doing, making music, producing music videos and giving expression to our many ideas and plans.  We are all involved in other projects keeping us busy.   We will continue promoting our latest album “Shadow” and will be playing as many shows as we can.  I am however feeling the need to start with new material, but will first give "Shadow" a chance to perform some more.

Paul: Yes, we still have quite a few music videos to complete for the "Shadow" album.

We're releasing an exclusive digital compilation of our selected works via Fangoria Musick, and recorded a special track for a tribute album featuring adaptations of poems by tragic South African poet Ingrid Jonker.

Patrick: Witchfest and beyond!


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