In 1996 Rommel Regulacion released his debut album, "Shrieks, Laments, and Anguished Cries", on the well-known Cleopatra label under the name of Razed in Black. Only three years later, he has appeared on numerous audio and video compilations under this name and his Transmutator side project. Most recently his work can be seen on several tribute albums being put out by Cleopatra, with Rommel being able to rework songs done by his influences. While he was quite recently an unknown musician from Hawaii, an area not previously known for putting out electronic or industrial music, he is now working a hectic schedule of writing for two projects and running his own music label, Invivo. Before hopping on a flight to L.A. to have a photo shoot, do studio work, and all that other stuff that sudden fame entails, he managed to email the answers to some questions about his recent work.
"Damage Inc." from the Metallica tribute is on the new album, so why isn't "The Thing That Should Not Be"?
I put the "Damage Inc." track on that album simply because I wanted to. I like how it turned out. Adding another Metallica cover would be overkill. If I were, however, to add another cover I've done, it would probably be "Disintegration" by The Cure.
That tribute is one of the things that Michael Hillerup (of Birmingham 6, and current contributor of vocals on Sacrificed) seems to be upset at Cleopatra Records about. You have remained on that label; how is your relationship with them?
I have a great releationshiop with Cleopatra and Michael as well. The guys at the label are great and fun to hang out with too. I honestly dig the tributes and remixing jobs. It may seem to be a bit much sometimes, but it's interesting to hear the other artists' interpretations. Having tracks chopped up to accomodate a compilation IS annoying when done without notice, but I don't really care to bitch about it, and it's definitely not grounds for me to want to leave the label or anything. But that's just me. I understand Birmingham 6's situation is much more complex than that of a tribute complaints, but I'll leave it up to those directly involved for discussion.
Michelle has done vocals on Sacrificed, as well as appearing in a Transmutator video. Will we see her having more of a role in your projects, perhaps similar to the female vocalists of KMFDM?
Michelle's contribution to the tracks turned out excellent! She's got such a cute and sexy voice, she's gorgeous , and she was once exclusive to me. I don't forsee her involvement in singing as the KMFDM vocalists since singing is far from her main focus, but I always welcome her sensuality (as I did once again in an upcoming bonus track in the reprint of "Sacrificed"). A good freind of mine Shirley Dayton has contributed her vocal talents to some upcoming TRANSMUTATOR and RAZED IN BLACK tracks. If anything, she'd be closer to the KMFDM comparison, but nothing beats Michelle's eroticism.
What was your cover of "A Drug Against War" recorded for? Will there be a KMFDM tribute?
How did you hear about this? I thought it was classified?
What ever happened to your cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped"?
Though I'm a huuuuuuuuge insane cry like a 10yo girl fan of Depeche Mode, I never did a cover of "Stripped". I did a TRANSMUTATOR cover of "A New Dress" which appears on Hypnotic Record's TRANCEMODE EXPRESS Vol. 3.
"Snooze" sounds like someone destroying their alarm clock. What is going on in that song?
Yes it is me destroying my alarm clock. This track, and many other for that matter, has a much deeperr meaning to it than a simple annoyance of waking up. There's some significance to it being before "Nightmare" as well. Those who really know me know what even a simple line in a track actually represents. This is one of the reasons why "Sacrificed" is my most personal album.
This album seems to have more of a focus on the vocals and guitars, creating a much more rock oriented sound than your debut. After Overflow, I was expecting something much more trance and drum & bass influenced. What has caused your change in sound, and from where are you drawing your influences now?
Well, as time passes we are all exposed to new things, different experiences, changing technology. I think it is inevitable for things to progress in any creator's palate. I still have trance and drum & bass influences in "Sacrificed" as I've consumed in it much over the years. I've been drawn to more melodic structures and catchy guitar riffs too though. With the new material, I forcues in on my expression of it's content and deliery more than anything. The songs turned out the way they did because they did. I can't quite pinpoint exactly where my influences stem from these days, but I've been enjoying lots of New Wave (as they call it (Depeche Mode, Camoflage, Anything Box), Drum & Bass (Goldie, Photek...), of course I'm religious about industrial and gothic music. I don't know. I do enjoy people's guesses on my influences. It's funny, some will site bands I've never heard of.
Will this style carry over into Transmutator material, or will these projects polarize themselves further from each other in terms of their sounds?
Lately TRANSMUTATOR and RAZED IN BLACK material have been closer to each other. In my mind, the differences are clear. I guess I need to write more material to convince others.
Are there plans for any other projects?
Before RAZED IN BLACK changed it's name from LOST SOULS, before LOST SOULS even came into existence, I fronted an electro-pop outfit in college called RIME!. I write and recroed a few synth-pop tunes which did well then, but I haven't pursued much of anything until LOST SOULS/RAZED IN BLACK was born. Recently I dug out the tapes and humbly shared it with a few people including industry cats who have all expressed excitedment for it. Though I haven't made concrete decision yet, I'm considering unearthing the project.
Other than that, I always have remeixes on the table. I'm up to more than 30 remixes and covers at this point. Most interesting upcoming project is DIGI-WNI 2 for Blue Dolphin. DIGI-WNI included a collaboration with Corey Glover and other guests. I understand they're trying to get a hold of other Rock Stars for the new project.
Have you begun working on the next Razed in Black yet?
I haven't started on the next RIB yet, but I have written a couple of new songs (as mentioned in another answer above). The next RIB will be a remix album. So far, I"ve received remixes back from IMPLANT, NEW MIND, INERTIA, and DJ EVIL. I'm too excited to show them off. I regrefully can't complete the album until our US tour ends though. It'll probably be a winter release.
Has your popularity changed the music scene in Hawaii at all?
My popularity? ... well, the girls are more flirty and aggresive now ... uh, wait. they're always that way with me (he-he). Hawaii is home. You can catch me in line at a grocery store buying toilet paper. It actually happened a few times, the day after a night of extreme excessiveness. I look all fucked up and wasted, then some chick or dude wouod say "Hey, you're the dude from RAZED IN BLACK." So fucking embarassing. I really don't know if RAZED IN BLACK being here has changed the scene in the islands much. Flattering if it has. If anything, RAZED IN BLACK put Hawaii on the map going that 99% of my interviews make reference to my residence in Hawaii. The scene here is surprisingly quite healthy. There's a goth-industrial night every weekend and special fetish functions here and there. Wearing an entire rubber suit or full medeival attire could be uncomfortable with our warm weather, but some actually manage. It is quite a cool sight though to be with a group of gothy-freaks strolling along the beaches of Waikiki.
What are your plans beyond releasing the next Transmutator? Will you be touring?
The new TRANSMUTATOR, more RAZED IN BLACK music, more visuals, other sensory stimulations. My plans beyond: get that black Porsche 911 I've wanted since I was a little punk!
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