Cam Findlay is the mastermind behind Toronto-based analog-synth band, Kontravoid. Hailing from such other bands as Parallels and playing drums for Crystal Castles/Trust, he has taken a different solo approach with Kontravoid; crafting dark dungeon dance music for the past couple of years.
How did Kontravoid come about after leaving Parallels? It’s definitely a lot darker sounding.
Kontravoid originated when two songs I originally wrote for Parallels, “Native State” and “Age of Descent” weren’t really going in the direction I wanted. I didn’t feel like things were going very well with Parallels, so I left about a year and a half ago and took some of the material I had been working on to form a new project. I enjoy writing darker music, it’s what I feel comfortable doing. Two of my solo compositions for Parallels, “Dry Blood” and “Magnetics” are more in the realm of what Kontravoid is now, as opposed to some of the more pop-oriented material.
Is seems as though you started out by playing drums for other bands. Do you miss playing drums? Have you ever thought about bringing live drums to Kontravoid and expanding the band?
I was brought into music by playing drums when I was about 9 years old, so it’s something I’ll always go back to. I do miss playing sometimes, so it’s likely I’ll be continuing to join bands here and there. I did have plans to bring a drummer into Kontravoid. It was originally conceived with the idea of becoming a live act instead of an alias for my solo material. I wanted to have a drummer, keyboardist, and I would still do what I’m doing now which is singing, playing keyboards, triggering samples.. etc. However, I like doing it on my own; things are easier and much more manageable. So it will probably stay this way for a while.
From my internet snooping I learned you used to play in some “shitty punk bands”. Did you grow up listening to punk music?
Haha.. ya, I meant that as a good thing. There was a good punk scene in Toronto about ten years ago. I was 16 or 17, and it was awesome being able to get into shows under-age and drink in bars without anyone really caring, and there were a lot of shows each week. It was a gateway to a lot of other great music I got into over the next couple of years. Things were a lot more relaxed in Toronto back then from what I remember. And ya, I grew up listening to punk and skateboarding; (I) found out about a lot of great music from skate videos, too
How has this influenced the music you currently make/are a part of?
I try to keep things pretty simple when writing. It’s easy to get tied up in the technical aspects of electronic music, which I feel can make things pretty stale. Generally speaking, people who write music are looking to trigger some kind of emotion within their audience, and they want to make the listener feel as if they’re connected to the artist in some sense. No application or $10,000 synth is gonna do this. So I think it’s important to distance yourself from technology, sit down at a keyboard, or pick up a guitar, or whatever, and focus on writing that way first before bringing it into the computer. I feel like a lot of bands I grew up listening to had a very raw approach to writing, so I try and do the same.
Do you ever see yourself leaving Toronto? It seems as though most musicians eventually do a stint in New York or LA.
Ya, maybe some day… I like Toronto, though. I grew up here, and I feel like I’ve got the last awesome studio/apartment in the city that isn’t an overly expensive condo yet. I want to experience living somewhere else though.. so It’s likely.
Favorite song(s) to play live?
Whichever one is the newest…
Five biggest influences on Kontravoid (needn’t be bands)?
WW2 documentaries/stories. Travelling/touring and playing shows. Chess. Working for someone or on something that’s non-music related (You value your creative time more and usually end up writing something good). Talking with people who have interesting perspectives on the future.
Best (past or present) band nobody talks about but should?
Ell V Gore from Toronto. They don’t have anything out there yet, but have been an awesome Toronto band for the past little while. Elliott [Jones, of Pretty Pretty Records] just figured out you can record music with computers now so you should be hearing something from them real soon.
Describe your worst or best show in five words.
I enjoy all of them
Make Kontravoid into an anagram of your choosing.
VODKA INTRO or RATKONDO – AI
INTERVIEW BY MAR BAR
RITUALS MIX024 is delivered to you on a frozen platter courtesy of our comrades Glenn Maryansky and Jennifer Mears, whom form the duo Tiers. If you’ve ever pondered the sensations one would experience while being tied to a chair, ball gag in place, as an obscene and otherworldly dance party unfolds around you–this is the mix for you.
Tiers’ selection of songs lull you into a false sense of security before opening the trap door for you to plunge into the great unknown. Oh the places you’ll go, wayward souls.
Glenn and Jennifer will be sharing a DJ set this Friday for the Kontravoid/Rosa Apatrida RITUALS performance. Feel free to tell them how frightened you felt while experiencing this mix.
Download here RITUALS MIX024
1. Antarctica – Return to Omma Dawn
2. The Beat Club – Security (Club Mix)
3. Shakti – The Awakening
4. BiGod 20 – The Bog
5. Voyou – Germany Calling
6. Amnesia – Hysteria
7. Flue – Some-Times (In Arabia)
8. Technoquake – Trust In Me
9. Clair Obscur – Toundra
10. Second Glance – Shackles & Chains
11. The Blackouts – Idiot
12. Cabaret Voltaire – I Want You
13. Tobias Burnstrup – Surround (G.Maryansky U-Mix)
14. Gettovetts – Lecture
RITUALS MIX023 arrives courtesy of repeat offender Frankie Teardrop. Frank has DJed for us in the past and he will be joining us once again for this month’s installment. If you do not already frequent his blog Systems of Romance, I don’t know what to tell you. Stop being a dumb person and visit it. If you’re free this Friday, Frank will be DJing at Cameo Gallery for the Featureless Ghost, Dream Affair, and SGNLS show. We’ve got a ton of love for all participants, so if you’re reading this–GO.
As for this mix, where to start? I’m loving how our most recent mixes initially appear “disorganized.” But on the contrary, what we have is an intoxicating slate of songs that transported this writer into a weird place. If you’re like me (unlikely, but not impossible) you’ll feel like you’re frolicking (or fleeing) from scene to scene in a variety of films. At times I felt as if I were stuck in a Medieval period piece and at others in an epic zombie film. This mix is a road trip you’ll enjoy losing yourself in. I promise.
Download here RITUALS MIX023
1. Sanctus- Maurice Duruflé
2. Change- Stella Luna
3. Emotional Language- The Phones
4. Slow Drowning- The Beloved
5. Helokanie- Slask
6. Tak Duzo, Tak Mocno- Siekiera
7. A.D.- Blablarism
8. Why Baby- Near Paris
9. Nocturne- Bal Paré
10. Stay With Me- Industrie
11. Personnel- The Floor
12. Alleluia- Pérès: Ensemble Organum
13. Lied- Ballet Mecanique
14. Hu- Dif Juz
15. Fortune- Language From Memory
16. Hypnotized- Club De Rome
17. Veni Sancte Spiritus- Arvo Pärt
18. Faux Semblants- Amesoeurs
19. Sometimes- Passion Noire
20. Several Times I- Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook
21. Làutre Mort- Derrière Le Miroir
RITUALS MIX022 arrives courtesy of Sybil Jason, who will be DJing for us later this month when Kontravoid and Rosa Apatrida descend upon you all.
You may be familiar with Sybil from her stints DJing at Wierd (VRIP) or her contributions to the Minimal Wave program on East Village Radio. Sybil also co-hosts the Pleasure Discipline party , which if you’ve attended should provide a glimpse into what you’re about to encounter.
What you’ll find here is a bizarre, schizophrenic potpourri of songs. Sybil treats the listener’s sensibilities like a mad puppeteer; leading you in one direction before jerking you in another altogether. It makes sense somehow, which may be the weirdest aspect of it all. Enjoy the beautiful whiplash.
Download here RITUALS MIX022
1. Killing Joke – Europe
2. Cinema – Cinema Star
3. Martial Canterel – Listener Dead
4. Skinny Puppy – Church
5. Throbbing Gristle – Dreammachine
6. Honey Bane – Boring Conversations
7. Wirtschaftswunder – Analphabet
8. Videoclips – Husky
9. Severed Heads – Casey’s Ion
10. Videosex – Ana
11. Near Paris – Visions
12. Aus Decline – She Gave Me Algedy
13. Experimental Products – The Addict
14. Nuit Des Stars – Plan Actuel
15. Pharmakon – Crawling on Bruised Knees
16. Faded Image – Insanity
RITUALS MIX021 comes from Tempers, who play Rituals this Friday. I’m reminded of two things when listening to this mix: the Flipper lyric
“Ever wish the human race didn’t exist, and then realize you’re one too;”
and the glorious Martin Scorsese film After Hours. There’s this weird,
oozing coldness to this mix. A self-referential disdain for humanity but
there’s no anger, just apathetic cynicism that I love. Dive into the muck
and wallow with your fellow deviants.
Download here RITUALS MIX021
1. Jurgen Knieper – Theme from The River’s Edge
2. David Lynch – Stone’s Gone Up
3. Zomby – Natalia’s Song
4. Tempers – Killing For Company (Swans cover)
5. Nathan Fake – Neketona
6. Phew – Signal
7. Modern Art – Dimension
8. Umberto – Someone Chasing Someone Through A House
9. Nico – Janitor of Lunacy
10. Tempers – Hell Hotline
11. Throbbing Gristle – Distant Dreams Pt. 2
12. Popol Vuh – Aguirre
13. Warning Light – The Universal Rewrite
14. Ruth – Thriller
15. Big Black – The Model
16. Front 242 – U-Men
17. Carl Craig – Demented Drums
18. Trisomie 21 – La Fete Triste
19. Can – Sing Swan Song
RITUALS MIX020 arrives courtesy of your humble folk hero TOTALWARD (me). I am frankly shocked we’ve been able to keep this going for 20 installments (and counting); I figured we’d lose steam after three or four. We’d like to thank every one of our contributors for providing us (and y’all) with hours of wonderful (and weird) music over the last few months.
I was inspired to make this when I was visiting my roots in that special vortex of beauty and (to the misled) barrenness that is the Sonoran Desert last December. A place many travel to in hopes of finding (or losing) themselves, it’s a bizarre place and that Western sensibility wields a heavy influence on those who have had their brains melt in the sun for years on end.
You’ll find a bunch of morose country/folk/western tunes on this motherfucker, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Fuck it– take a belt of whiskey, drive out to the middle of the desert (or an abandoned warehouse, they’re comparable) and blast this all by your lonesome. It’s the only way to go. Peyote helps, too.
BLACK SAND AND DESOLATE SKIES
Download here RITUALS MIX020
1. Sons of Perdition-Anhelo
2. Those Poor Bastards-Crooked Man
3. Munly & the Lupercalians-Scarewulf
4. The Unholy 3-Torn Between Suicide and Breakfast
6. Glorious Din-1651 Map
7. Antic Clay-Flithy Lucre King
8. Tammy Wynette-Walk Through This World With Me
9. Haunted George-Sunstroke
10. Sixteen Horsepower-Sinnerman
11. Hank Williams-Men With Broken Hearts
12. Slackeye Slim-The Chosen One (Pt. III)
13. Wovenhand-Another White Bird
RITUALS MIX019 comes from our friend Wes. You might know Wes as the maddeningly handsome tall guy slinking around in the shadows or from his wonderful duo EUC, whom played for us last year. Sadly, Wes and his lady have left us and the dingy comforts of New York for the South. Oh well. Being the gentleman he is, he leaves us with this sixty-seven minute break up song. Or at least that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it.
Be sure to take a listen to EUC The Prey EP via their bandcamp here.
Download here RITUALS MIX019
1. Coil-Restless Day
2. Kommunity FK-Unknown to You
3. Disappointed Few People-Fuck With Christ
4. Minimal Compact-Nada
6. Click Click-Sweet Stuff
7. Circus Mort-Yellow Light
8. Gene Loves Jezebel-Shaving My Neck
9. Sixx-Sister Devil
10. Trisomie 21-Logical Animals
11. Crispy Ambulance-Four Minutes from the Frontline
12. Skinny Puppy-Incision
13. Solid Space-A Darkness in My Soul
14. Pankow-Love is the Biggest Pig
15. Rome-Das Feuerordal
16. The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud-II Kostnice
17. Boyd “NON” Rice-Arka
RITUALS MIX018 arrives courtesy of Roi Boi aka Soren Roi aka Iron Rose. You might be familiar with Soren from his time in Rosenkopf as well as his solo work. He also has very nice hair. Seriously, smell it if you luck into meeting him; it smells like cinnamon and puppy breath.
With introductions out of the way, let’s get to the music, shall we? Remember the first time you discovered computer air duster as a way to pass the time? If you’re like me (let’s hope not for your sake), it was a confusing and oddly exhilarating 30 seconds of blank-eyed euphoria. You keep coming back to the can, even though you KNOW that a crippling headache is lurking around the corner. Well, stretch that experience out to roughly 40 minutes and I think you’ll have a rudimentary idea of what’s in store for you once you listen to this auditory assault. Get-fucking-high.
You can check out some of Soren’s solo stuff via soundcloud here.
Download here RITUALS MIX018
1. Clams Casino – Gorilla
2. Luger – Pass Agent
3. Mad Mike – The Illuminator
4. The Prodigy – No Good
5. Heartz4 – Intimacy Girl
6. Ben Klock – Land Of Milk And Honey
7. Detroit in Effect – R U Married
8. Jan Jelinek – My Favourite Shop
RITUALS MIX017 comes courtesy of Night Sins’ Kyle Kimball. Night Sins played our would-be End of the World Party back in November. For better or worse, the Earth keeps spinning. What is not up for debate is this mix–it’s great! We feel this should be the soundtrack to a fucked up Troma montage scene. Train for something (the weirder the better) while listening to this and we’re sure you’ll reach the heights (read: depths) of whatever field you’re pursuing. If nothing else, you can reenact that infamous Buffalo Bill scene (Mhmmmm) and feel oh so pretty. You can listen to Night Sins “New Grave” LP via AVANT! Records bandcamp here.
Download here RITUALS MIX017
1. Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart
2. Lou Gramm – Lost In The Shadows
3. Fields of the Nephilim – Laura II
4. Sad Lovers and Giants – Things We Never Did
5. Regina – Baby Love
6. The Snake Corps- Colder Than The Kiss
7. Madonna – White Heat
8. The Danse Society – My Heart
9. The Laughing Hyenas – Desolate Son
10. Duran Duran – Lonely In Your Nightmare
11. Clan of xymox – Muscoviet Musquito
12. Ce Ce Penison – finally
13. Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait
14. The Eternal – Wait
15. The Mission – Into The Blue
RITUALS MIX016 comes from Frankie Teardrop of the essential Systems of Romance blog. Faithful readers are likely familiar with Frank from his time in Frank (Just Frank) as well as Dream Affair; not to mention as the resident DJ at the Wierd party. He will be DJing for us in February when Tiers come for a visit. Do not miss it.
In the mean time, enjoy this frigid collection of post-punk and cold wave tunes. If you like what you hear (I mean, you’re not dumb, are you?) head over to the Systems of Romance site to find more out-of-print and obscure music.
Download here RITUALS MIX016
1. Lycia-From Foam
2. Drowning Craze-Damp Bones
3. Parchment Prayer-Comedy
4. Parálisis Permanente-Tengo un Pasajero
5. Memoires d’Automne-Trauma
6. Siglo XX-Art of War
7. Pink Industry-What I Wouldn’t Give
8. Sardine V-Pictures
9. Glorious Din-Tenement Roofs
10. Human Puppets-Misery On Sundays
11. Blind Mr. Jones-Eyes Wide
12. Breathless-Bad Blood
13. Deathly Quiet!-The Next Step
14. The Passage-Watching You Dance (7″ Version)
15. Section 25-Je Veux Ton Amour
16. Sol Invictus-Long Live Death
17. Résistance-Washed Out Colours
18. In the Nursery-A To I
19. The Icicle Works-Nirvana
21 Ashrae Fax-Driving In the Desert While Snowing
Jim Jones will haunt your dreams after witnessing this video.
RITUALS MIX015 from Wes & Shari of Hot Guts.
In today’s mix, Wes and Shari of Hot Guts provide us with a collection of songs perfect for the Wintery hell that has befallen most of the country (fuck off, Los Angeles weather) at the moment. From throbbing power electronics to droned-out industrial and gonzo synth pop, listeners will find themselves on a bizarre journey with this installment of our mix series. Warning: not for the square of heart.
Hot Guts played a great set along with fellow Philly malcontents Night Sins last November at our end of the year event. We assumed the apocalypse would strike the earth with deadly force so December was an afterthought. Also we were both out of town.
In any case, Hot Guts venture out with their comrades in SGNLS for a brief jaunt up the East Coast in early March. We highly recommend experiencing them first hand. But for now, you’ll likely have to settle for this peek at Wes and Shari’s creative process.
Download here RITUALS MIX015
1. Derniere Volonte – Le Poison
2. Fad Gadget-Immobilise (Foot Binding Trot Mix)
3. Future Blondes – Excerpt from “Feather 17″ LP
4. M Ax Noi Mach – Devil City
5. Mueran Humanos – Festival de las Luces
6. The Ghostwriters -Swizzle
7. Joy Of Life – Hear The Children
8. SPK-A Heart that Breaks (In No Time or Place)
9. November Novelet – Misanthropy
10. Sol Invictus – Black Easter
11. Pink Reason – The Devil Always Wins