Can you please tell us who Hoodoo Engine are?
Marz233: Murder The World was a big “fuck you” to all the awful corporate entities that we were working for at the time. A way to blow off steam while attempting to merge our past and present influences into one giant ironic cluster fuck. HoodooEngine was at first a separate project consisting of a lot of material I was writing that was composed of synthetic elements… Influenced mainly by electro-rooted hybrids of various styles. A large amount of the material just naturally meshed together, I think, and wound up becoming one project.
|Frater Gazebo (JC)|
James Curcio: In the process we brought in Johan Ess, who helped bring a conceptual focus through vocals and lyrics. There were some other collaborators on EgoWhore, though the more extensive collaboration has been saved for the follow-up, which we’re now calling Murder The World. See how that worked? It’s like the two projects had sex when we weren’t looking, and got fused together.
Those additional collaborators were Jeff Hartman and Scott Landes laying down additional guitar material, again, especially for Murder The World. I have collaborated on and off with Scott Landes for years. He plays most frequently these days with Mankind is Obsolete and Collide. We also got additional percussion from Iron Will.
So far this has primarily been a studio project. Marz233 is the engineer. I can almost imagine him in an old style locomotive engineer’s outfit while working on the tracks, though I’ve yet to actually get him one. Maybe for his birthday.
Johan Ess: …and if Sean won’t wear the train conductor’s outfit, I definitely will!
Where does the name come from?
JC: It was kind of slang, meaning haunted or ghost train. EgoWhore has a lot of references on it to that. The first two tracks are dedicated to it, “Psychoactive Paranormal Locomotive Drive!” And the cover art, of course.
M233: A hoodoo engine was a term coined around the turn of the century to describe a steam engine that was cursed. So any engine that broke down quite often or took the lives of many railroad workers would be nicknamed a Hoodoo. Basically, a train built to fail. It was also as James said attributed to ghost train sightings.
JE: I always thought it was a somewhat veiled metaphor for sex magick, of which we are all fans of in some capacity or another. This is expanded upon to an absurd degree in the track “Hoodoo Luv”, something of a farcical mating call to real and imagined groupies. Lots of fun with trite occult rock star imagery.
JC: So far I haven’t gotten laid once because of that damn song, either.
I understood you did everything in a totally DIY-way. Please explain.
JC: For a while I was a part of a group of musicians and producers that banded together in New york, and we had a pretty large co-owned studio. Marz233 had his own shared studio down here. Over time those spaces became financially unfeasible but the upside is that gear has also gotten considerably more portable. I have v-drums, a modeling amp and of course tons of modeling VST effects, Marz has controllers and his laptop and whatnot. Aside from Will’s hand drums and Johan’s vocal chords everything is “virtual.” There’s really no need for a 13,000 square foot studio for a project like this. Though it is sure fun to have space like that to run around and be loud in at 3 in the morning. Maybe eventually we can make virtual musicians that live on virtual coffee. Less overhead.
JE: Since we do both the music and production all ourselves, you’re hearing the true character of our band. Unfiltered for the most part, except for audio filters of course.
M233: Also, we don’t have much of a choice but to DIY. Who else is going to do it?
I guess it must make you laugh with bands who lock themselves up in the most expensive studios…
JC: We’d probably rather use that budget for recreation.
M233: Hey, if I had the cash to do it I would pay for some of those expensive studios just to acquire access to a large array of tube-driven outboard gear, and it would be nice for once to mix and record in a space that is specifically designed for it. A new computer is an unfortunate necessity.
Any other plans for the band?
|JC practicing, with foreground inspiration.|
JC: We definitely want to wrap up Murder The World. EgoWhore was a bit of an homage to a number of acts, though it was also a means of exploring the possibilities of our own sound with this arrangement of people. But Murder The World is more progressive, and by that I mean that we’re moving forward a little bit from the sound of the first album. Not that we’re fighting giant silver dragons in 9/8 time. Though I guess that’d be cool, too.
Beyond that, I’d like to hear yet more club play and maybe something can coax us into putting this thing into production for live performance. We’re all perfectionists though, so I kind of have an attitude like, if you’re going to do it do it right. There are a lot of demands there and precious few rewards, which is why we’re not all crammed in a van together at this very moment. But we’ll see.
M233: I’ll keep writing. I’m not sure what else I would do. So it all depends on what I’m writing, and if the rest of the crew are down with mixing their secreted musical juices into it, then yes we will endure.
I guess you agree you play Industrial Metal which links you to KMFDM, Combichrist or Die Krupps or so on. Were those bands an example to you?
|Marz233, thinking about “ending it all.”|
JC: I think it would be different for each of us who we list, and it might even be different on different days. Some of them may be surprising too, like Marz233 was trying to bring some elements of crunk and hardcore to what we’re doing. But yeah, KMFDM, Ministry and Chemlab were all bands we listened to in high school or whatever and like I said there was a definite “homage” element to EgoWhore. But I can’t say there was a conscious decision to sound like anything. At least not on my part.
JE: Along with the industrial and metal mainstays in my musical appetite, I draw a lot of inspiration from the digi-grind scene with vocals, although my voice is probably a lot more intelligible than what you typically hear in that scene. Being greatly under the influence of fine electronic music, this fuels the synth parts I contribute. The rest of my inspiration is mostly drawn from the bleak conditions of existence, along with unhealthy mental processes caused by imbibing too much Neurocrunk #9.
JC: I’ve also not been sober since 1995. That’s been a huge inspiration.
|JC and Scott Landes recording an earlier project. (2003)|
Your album is called “Egowhore”, who’s an egowhore then?
JC: Someone who’s sense of self worth is a fabricated hall of mirrors, like the Wizard of Oz. It also just seemed like a funny thing to title a debut.
JE: Anyone willing to compromise on their principles for a chance at recognition. Pretty much the premise of the entire entertainment industry these days.
How are the reactions in your country so far?
JC: People seem to be enjoying it. You know, you get that occasional reaction where someone heard your music and you can’t for the life of you figure out the route it took to get to their ears. I enjoy it when that happens. But I’m probably better known personally for my writing – that gets me more lunatic calls at 3 in the morning. I really need to change my number.
M233: I’m not sure I try not to leave my cave. Nah, seriously we’ve had some mixed reviews, but overall the feedback has been surprisingly positive.
JE: I think its hilarious when people think we’re completely serious, because one of the main points of our first record was to have fun with stereotypes in this genre.
I know it must be far too early, but is there talk about doing something on European ground?
JC: That depends entirely on reaction. If this was 1997, and we still believed in the Myth of the Industry, we’d probably be pedaling our asses all over town to line that up. Now it’s a situation where you need to build the vehicle from scratch and then if you’re lucky, someone buys the gas for you. Figuratively speaking. What would be even better, to my mind, is to hear that it’s getting more play abroad in clubs and whatnot. I just want the music to find the people that enjoy it.
M233: I would love to visit Europe, Great Britain and the Netherlands especially, but that may not be for a while unfortunately.
I guess I can tell your music is one of extremes, do you see yourself as “extreme guys”?
|Extreme, like Neil Patrick Harris.|
JC: I don’t know about the other guys, but I’m extreme like Neil Patrick Harris.
M233: I’m not happy until the walls are bleeding shit and colors!
JE: There are aspects of myself which could be considered extreme depending on who you ask. I am not willing to do things like eat pebbles off the ground and randomly light my hair on fire, but would certainly not be against having my entire body saran-wrapped, blasting our record from a monster truck in midday traffic while doing interpretive dancing on the roof.
JC: He really does that stuff. Don’t test him.
Do you believe in the holy trinity that sex, drugs and rock is or is there more…
JC: There’s more to life, but it’s certainly a good foundation.
These questions I always ask: what’s your fave record of all time and please tell me why!
JC: I honestly don’t know. I’m not being glib. It just really depends on my mood. But I will say that the most recent thing I listened to was Mr Bungle, and they remain one of the better acts I’ve seen live.
|JC on V-Drums|
JE: Musick to Play in the Dark by Coil is probably my all time favorite music. If you haven’t heard it, just listen (in the dark obviously) and you’ll see why. Much of their work instantly creates a sense of ritual space, which I enjoy immensely. “Wise words from the departing… eat your greens, especially Broccoli.” Rest in peace, Jhon and Sleazy.
M233: Yeah, that’s a tough one. I guess it depends on when you catch me. I can say that my major influences for HoodooEngine would have to be Agnostic Front, Butthole Surfers, MDFMK, Bone Crusher and Azax Syndrome.
With who wouldn’t you mind to be alone with in an elevator for 8 hours and what would you do then?
JC: The real answer to this question involves girls you’ve never met. But I do think it’d be pretty edifying and entertaining to be stuck in an elevator for eight hours with James Maynard Keenan. I imagine he’d wonder who the fuck we were and why he was stuck in the elevator with us, Marz’s eclectus parrot would make awful noises, and we could all stare awkwardly into each other’s eyes.
JE: We could even take turns singing our songs in accapella, parrot included. It would be a very satisfying experience for everyone.
M233: I don’t think anyone wants to be stuck in an elevator with Beaker, he’s a fucking menace!