t's late Sunday night and I'm interviewing Avon from Hitech
Lowlife over the phone
after hastily working out how the record call
function works on my answerphone.
Avon is explaining the ideas behind the band and where
the name originated and it seems strangely relevant right at this moment.
He talks of the juxtaposition of technology, increasing in complexity almost
daily, against human nature and spirituality. A society of extremes where the
humanity is being left behind. 'The yuppie with his mobile phone and laptop
walking down the street past the beggar who asks "can you spare me ten
pence mate"' He continues 'It will only be a fantastic technological World
when everyone is provided for, when everyone has a place in society and there's
no people falling through the grating!'
Hitech Lowlife make electronic music.
AX: I've always liked electronic music. The first types of music I got into
were Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, that sort of stuff' The original
motivation for the band was 'to do in a different way what Depeche Mode had
done very well, and that is to make music that people would tap their feet to
and would get up and dance to in the right surroundings and would equally put
on a good hi-fi system at home and hopefully appreciate the the production and
the depth, the ideas and the lyrics, all in a holistic way.
MV: Which bands would you say are your main influences?
AX:Influences!, well, quite varied.
I think all music that I like influences me in a very broad way purely by
structure and melody and the way sound interacts and the way things are produced
as well as which I'm quite interested in.
I listen to all sorts of things.I'll listen to Nine Inch Nails, I'll listen to Kate Bush.
I like Crowded House as well but I also like Front 242.
Something I picked up fairly recently which my fave at the moment is And One, a band from Germany. They're quite amusing.
I listen to Rock as well, quite a bit of various stuff really.
Definite influences have got to be Depeche Mode in the long term , have been for years. A lot of people slag Depeche Mode off and well OK! they're best known from that old Alternative Electronic field and so its very easy to criticise them, shoot them down and everything, but I don't go with what other people think. I don't care if everybody says Depeche Mode are sad, I don't give a shit about that! I think they're good, I've always like them.
It's a shame about Dave Gahan. He's probably gonna kill himself soon but that's the business. Its gets to you or you get to it. You're either a Dave Gahan or a John Lydon, and I'm a John Lydon. Best way to be! Fuck Em! Don't take it too seriously. If its starts getting too stupid then just say Piss Off and go on holiday for three months. If you don't like it, then tough!
Influences basically Depeche Mode,
NineInch Nails ,
they're my four main influences I'd say but apart from that its hundreds Soft Cell,
Kraftwerk, Visage, John Foxx, just endless really.
Technologenocide , the debut CD, represents the best of
the bands' output over the past three years. Self financed and self distributed, mainly by
Mail Order, the CD is something of a personal
statement for Avon. The business side of the music industry holds little appeal
for him but admits that if the right deal was offered he probably wouldn't say
AX: My approach so far has been just to have my nose in the music.
I've had no desire or interest in trying to get into the the
business side of things because it's such a massive pill to swallow. So far I
have just sold the CD by mail order, or to friends and I've put a couple here
and there in Slimelight and Resurrection Records for instance.
My idea was to do as much myself as possible and try and at least make the money back on the
pressing of the CD. We only pressed 500 so we haven't made any big effort
sending them out to record companies 'cos I know how often they receive stuff
and just bin it without even looking at it. I would certainly be open to
dialogue though with anyone who picked up on it and wanted to talk about a
The CD is a remarkably good piece of work produced with just
a little technology
AX: The whole album was produced with just a sampler. The only
equipment we have is a sampler, a little desk and a couple of reverbs.
I know what I would do to improve the sound if the funding was available
but you've got to work with what you've got otherwise you just sit there pondering,
working in circles, saying thats not quite good enough.
You'll never do anything if you think like that.
MV: What about interests outside of music?
AX: I like Art. Ilike Sci Fi. I'm just a total futurist really at heart.
If I could go into a Cryogenic sleep or something for a hundred years I would certainly would.
AX: Yeah I would like to send myself into the future
because I think things will be so much more serene and more interesting.
People will co-operate more than world we live in at the moment
What has happened is technology has raced away to quickly for us stupid
Neanderthals to deal with. Most of the time when technology comes along we just
use it for bad, not for good. Eventually we may wake up as a race and finally
reach adulthood. We'll look back on some of the stupid things that we're doing
now and think 'did I really do that' like you do when you reach your twenties
and look back to your teenage years. It's the same thing , so I'd like to sleep
through the pimply stage of humanity and wake up in the sort of mid twenties
when everyone is being much more reasonable, civilised and intelligent and
everybody's enjoying life for its own sake.
I'm interested in a lot of things, Architecture, Fashion, I love
dancing, but its got to be the right thing. I'm also interested in the natural
world. Nature is far clever than we give it credit for. We'll invent
something we think is really clever, but if you look carefully you'll find
something in nature very similar but quite often something better that's been
around for millions of year. All sorts of things. Things that we make, structures that we build,
chemicals that we come up with, medicines. I'll mention Architecture again.
You'll find that in Nature it has been done much
better and much more efficiently. We're not as clever as we think we are by any
Just a general interest in life!
MV: Did you do the artwork for the CD too?
AX: I'mresponsible for the artwork, yeah! I did that myself on the Mac. I approach it
in the same way as the music. I come up with something and I gradually evolve it
until I'm happy with it. Same thing with the artwork. I drew certain things,
scanned them into the computer and just screwed around with them for so long and
tried various things. I wanted to do something really stark and quite
distinctive and a hopefully, that's what I achieved. The artwork is a special
interest of mine.
MV: How do you see Industrial Music progressing?
AX: I think music is basically fracturing. A style comes up and it splits into two and it
splits into four and eight and I think it's so counter productive really.
I'm a early eighties person at heart . In the early eighties you'd go to a club and
you'd see in the same club, like the Slimelight, but in all clubs, it'll be a
casual club or whatever, and you see Skinheads, you'd see Mods, you'd see
Futurists, you'd see Soul Boys, whatever, you see everybody getting on and the
dj would play all sorts of music. Everybody danced to each others music as well
as their own, and it would be good because it was healthy, it was interesting,
other people would get insights into different things. Nowadays everybody is so
insular, they just listen to one thing and everything else is crap. That's just
narrow minded. People lose out in the end and music does as well.
It's a shame,but that's the way it is.
MV: Do you have any side projects?
AX: Hitech Lowlife at the moment is the main thing.
I was the singer in Viral Technology for
almost a year, and I've been involved in a few other bands,
was another one I was involved in doing percussion for them and going way back a few
bits and pieces that probably aren't worth mentioning , I've been involved in a
few things over the years.
When I decided to do the CD I just cut that out, right lets just concentrate on my thing,
do it to the best of our abilities within our constraints and see what we come up with.