The Dark Children of the Revolution
A Goth band who like their fans? Goths are modern hippies? Michael Bann of Advent Sleep, explain yourself.
Of all music genres, Goth probably has the worst reputation. The word conjures up
thoughts of dingy clubs full of weird fans with black hair and silly make-up. While some
of us actually like that, many of the top Goth bands have shied away from the term, the
Sisters of Mercy in particular, in an effort to try and avoid being 'gothoised'. But,
thankfully, there are some bands out there who embrace Goth and the culture that surrounds
it. Michael Ban and his band Advent Sleep are one of the latter, a proud to be Goth
"I love Goth. It's like all other types of music, rap, metal, in that there
is good and bad Goth music. Right now, Goths don't get taken seriously. I think they
are this generations hippies."
Michael sees many elements of modern culture, not just music, as contributing to the
current Goth revival. Films and books with the same dark outlook are creating a whole
new breed of Goths, people who might not recognise the term.
"There are serious legions of closet Goths, or people who actually are and don't
care to admit it. The millions who flock to "the Crow" and "Hellraiser"
movies, even movies like Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Edward Scissorhands",
the millions who read Anne Rice, Poppy Z. Brite and Clive Barker. All these people are
the dark children of the revolution."
All of this, added to the popularity of fetish clothing in the mainstream and, musically,
the popularity of NIN and Marilyn Manson who have caused a blurring of the boundaries
between Goth and industrial, has pumped a shit-load of adrenaline into the heart of a
scene which, especially state-side, was on its death-bed. So much so that young Goths
are appearing on right-wing chat-shows because "Their Clothes Disrespect Their
Parents! (Just After This Break)". Michael is sure these attacks will have the
opposite effect to the intended.
"It will spawn legions of new Goths, even if it is just because of the 'look'. It's
just like the right saying Marilyn Manson is bad for you, it makes the kids know they want
it. That's more coverage than any magazine, possibly better than MTV."
This revival has lead to an unbelievable amount of releases by Goth, or Goth-tinged,
bands, of variable quality. Is the scene likely to collapse under its own weight?
"It's hard to say. It is easy, like for us, to put out a CD. The thing is, there
are no major labels doing this and independents basically use the recordings with little
or no 'production' or development in the classic sense."
Advent Sleep have side-stepped this problem by using remixes to substitute for production.
The remixes on "Egos and Eros" were the work of SHOK from Philadelphia.
"We plan on working with many other artists in the future to substitute for the
producer, although some notable have offered production services. The thing you've noticed
about the remixes is finding its way into the new material."
Advent Sleep have also done some remixes for other bands while working on their own new
material. This Spring will see the release of their remix of the track "Earwig"
for the Metal Blade act Thought Industry.
"Decidedly non-Goth, but still you will suspect it was touched by the hand of Advent
They have also remixed a track by the New Creatures called "Clownhead" (which
was dissed by a certain Mr Eldritch for being "too Goth"). The track will appear
on the Cleopatra Records compilation "Black Bible". Advent Sleep are planning
a new EP with 4 new tracks and possibly some new remixes of "Egos..." tracks.
"We are courting labels to better distribute this and to set the stage for grander
things. In fact, in a few short hours, my new guitarist will be here to work on some new
Advent Sleep are a new band in a fairly old scene. Both Goth and industrial have been
around for nearly 20 years and have crossed paths many times before. How difficult is it
for a new band to come up with something fresh?
"All music has been written. It is the individual putting his or her own
'fingerprint' on the material. As a vocalist, I only have one chance at being me. If I
put me into it completely, it supersedes the fact that I am not good at it. I think all
art is like that."
One of the main features Advent Sleep have in common with other Goth bands, apart from
the music, is the heavy use of religious and pseudo-religious imagery in their name,
logo and artwork. Unlike some of the others, for Michael this comes from his own
personal beliefs and experiences, not from an attempt at copying Christian Death.
"I was born and raised a Roman Catholic and was an altar boy in our church. Then
my father passed away and I questioned everything. I realised my faith was second hand,
if you will, and I then began to develop a bit of resentment based on a lot of the
contradictions that religion presents us. I think the Bible, for the most part, is right
on the money, but man has twisted it to serve his own means. I have met very few people
who have 'faith' that is not token. But, if there was someone about to tell you that
your religion is now outlawed, I am here to fight him with you. But, allow me my thoughts
or I will certainly not respect yours."
This open-minded attitude comes across in the band's dealings with their fans.
Unlike many other Goth bands (Uncle Andy and his Sisters again!) Advent Sleep try to
interact with and inform their fans. To this end they have their homepage, a newsletter
and "The Plan", an innovative distribution scheme for "Egos...".
"I've gotten flak from other bands about not having any attitudes or false pretenses
of elitism. Who likes big-headed ego-maniacs, other than themselves? This is a very small
circle, word of mouth is very powerful. I want to make music, I want to tour this world,
performing it, meeting people and when I finally get to - I'll be able to meet a lot of
friends I've never met."
Girl the Goth