Becoming a little more scary
Chaos Engine's Lee discusses the duality contained within the band and the Wasp Factory label and the controversy caused by one song on their latest album.
Chaos Engine's main-man Lee - " just Lee, everything else is just icing on a particularly unpleasant cake" - has become a victim of the band's own chaotic influence. OK, maybe the numerous beers he had to drink before the interview had an effect, but he definitely seemed unsure about how the recent Discordian influence they'd brought in, such as 23 tracks on the "Escape Ferocity", was going.
"We're currently learning by our mistakes, the whole Eris thing, it seems to be working out OK for us, no, no, it doesn't, the whole Discordian thing is working against us. When, before, it was just us doing things, it all made more sense, but..."
He was a little clearer on the character of Mr Eris, his partner in crime with the band and the Wasp Factory label. Eris is his evil twin brother. He explains that Wasp Factory is based on more of a Japanese Yin-Yang concept that Discordianism.
"Eris is the evil bit of me. I'm the control, I'm the one who doesn't do bad things and he's the one who does bad things, so we invited him onstage as a sort of way of inviting evil onstage. Frankly, tonight, up until the point where he was onstage, everything seemed really safe and controlled, and then, when he came onstage, everything sort of switched around and it became a little more scary."
This duality is echoed in the relationship between Chaos Engine and their label-mates, Exitboy, who Lee describes as almost the dark half of Chaos Engine, saying that anything that's wrong for Chaos Engine ends up in Exitboy.
"I'm sort of involved in Exitboy, but I'm sort of artistic director and they go off and do a whole bunch of really fucking unpleasant things. Anything that goes to Chaos Engine and we go, 'that is so politically incorrect, we can't fucking touch it with a barge pole', we move it to Exitboy and he goes 'yeah, fucking bring it on, I'm gonna fucking sing about fucking your mum or something', it's just wrong."
One issue that has dogged Chaos Engine on their releases has been the production. Many reviewers, myself included, have been disappointed by how the production on their albums hasn't been up to the standard of the music. Lee admits that he has never, ever been truly happy with anything he has released.
"It could have been nastier, everything we do onstage is edgy and aggressive and has loads of sharp edges on and we've yet to find a way we can do that in the studio. And what I released I was happy enough with, but it still wasn't an indication of what we were doing live."
The last album sparked up a controversy over the track 'The Guiting Power institute for supreme & unnecessary evil', which, unsurprisingly provoked a strong reaction from the people of the town Guiting Power. However, Lee is unrepentant and says he enjoyed the controversy. He grew up in the area and explains that the whole thing is connected with the Knights Templar who built round temples in the town.
"Guiting Power is this really fucking weird little town and, if bad things were ever going to happen to good people, they would come from this town, it just has this pervading sense of evil about it. You just visit it and you just feel this sense of weirdness going on. I drove through it once and I felt very queer indeed. They have this folk festival and everything is like really good and charitable and nice, but it's almost like a metaphor for Middle England where they're trying to cover up something really unpleasant going on behind the scenes. It's kinda got this whole sort of League of Gentlemen feel about it."
He says that, when they recording the album, they got the idea to have the track as the centre-point, a turning point for the album. They had planned that everything would be normal up to it and then it would fall apart afterwards.
"It was like the idea of this would be in the middle of the album, the centre of weirdness and everything would sort of spiral off. It would be like big gay disco up to this point and then it would all be unpleasant on the other side of it. I don't think that really happened, but it was just this idea of it was a big centre, the idea of sort of layer being over Middle England normalness and then this unpleasantness being underneath it was really what pinned the album together."
Chaos Engine are currently on hiatus, with the members taking a few months off to rest and "thinking of new ways to make the live show even more stunning than before". So we'll hopefully see a refreshed and improved Chaos Engine before the end of the year.
by Girl the Bourgeois Individualist