| Band: Android Lust|
Interviewer: Matthew Johnson
Android Lust’s Shikhee has developed a devoted following within the goth and industrial scenes with her blend of heavy electronics, classical elements, and a voice that can bounce back and forth between passionate, raw-throated screams and delicately layered harmonies. After releasing an album and a collection of remixes independently, Shikhee signed with Projekt to release The Dividing in 2003. The album was an immediate success and was soon followed by a collection of remixes, unreleased tracks, and several surprising acoustic versions. Android Lust recently released a single for the song “Dragonfly” as a preview for the upcoming album Devour, Rise and Take Flight and has just finished a tour of the West Coast. Grave Concerns spoke to Shikhee about the new album and her approach to music in general.
Hi, how are you?
GC: Doing great, thanks! Happy New Year.
Same to you!
GC: I know that your West Coast tour earlier this year was pretty hectic. Beyond the tour van breaking down and having to cancel a show because your voice was gone, did it end up being an OK tour?
The tour was awesome, actually, despite having to cancel one show. We had two flat tires, but the van did hold up, and when I got hit with my illness, my drummer Chris also came down with a bad case of migraines, so in a way we were lucky to all have our illnesses at the same time.
GC: We know about some of the worst moments, so what were the best ones?
I guess after the Salt Lake City show, when we realized we pulled everything off, despite having some pretty shitty luck along the way.
GC: I've noticed every review or article about Android Lust starts out by mentioning that you're a woman and that you were born in Bangladesh, so I wanted to ask you if either your gender or your birthplace actually had any bearing on your music.
Not that I am aware, nor would I be able to compare if it did.
GC: What music, if any, do you consider to be your biggest influences? In the past, your albums have incorporated everything from industrial to classical.
Well, the artist responsible for me to start writing is Bowie, although I don't think the influence appears apparent when you listen to Android Lust. I was floored after listening to "Heroes," and thought that that's definitely what I want to do with my life.
GC: What have you been listening to lately? Any new favorite bands or artists?
I've been listening to the new Boards Of Canada, and other than that it's been the old school favorites like PJ Harvey and Prick, and I’ve been checking out this new band Ulver.
GC: Can you tell us a little about your upcoming album, Devour, Rise and Take Flight? Judging from the first single, it seems less overtly aggressive than a lot of the material from The Dividing.
Actually, it's a lot more aggressive than The Dividing. The Dividing was more introspective, whereas Devour is a lot more direct, to the point and in your face. There's more experimentation, particularly in the vocals, and a lot more guitar, although not your typical obvious fare.
GC: What themes does the new album delve into, lyrically speaking?
Lyrically it's a lot more about things that have affected me in an immediate way. Not just broad strokes, but particular events and people.
GC: When the Stripped and Stitched collection came out, one of the most striking things about it was the inclusion of acoustic material. Do your songs start out stripped down like that, or did you have to reverse-engineer them into "unplugged" versions?
They were rearranged as acoustic songs except "Sin." I wrote that song a long time ago on guitar, so it was just a matter of playing the same chords on an acoustic guitar.
GC: In a similar vein, how do you go about adapting your songs for live shows? Is it a lot of work transitioning them from studio to stage?
It's a bit of work. First we strip down the songs to just the material that absolutely has to be on backing tracks, and then rebuild it from there. Now that I have a four-piece band, the backing tracks are very minimal. In the next tour, we hope to be able to do a couple of songs entirely live. It's a lot more fun to play like that.
GC: It seems like it would be. It's more fun to watch, too, especially if you go to a lot of industrial shows that are just people playing with their laptops.
Yeah, it can be cool to listen to, but utterly boring to watch.
Android Lust is the first really aggressive band to sign with Projekt, and I wanted to ask you how that collaboration came about, and how it's working so far.
Sam was selling The Dividing when we self-released it on Dark Vision Media. He was also selling the single "The Want" from his web store. They were selling steadily, and then he caught us live in New York. I think that might have made the decision for him. Sam and I are partners in this, and we make all the marketing decisions together. So far it has worked out OK. We've had our issues, but we've been able to work through them.
GC: It seems like it's done well, and maybe exposed some of the ethereal crowd to music they might not have otherwise found on their own.
Yes, and hopefully beyond the ethereal crowd as well.
GC: I know when I heard the first track off of The Dividing, I thought, "OK, I can see this being on Projekt," and then when "Kingdom Of One" kicked in I just imagined all these ethereal fans' heads exploding.
Yeah, a lot of people thought Android Lust went "goth" because I was on Projekt. I thought Projekt might expand their repertoire into different styles after signing Android Lust, but I don't really see that happening.
GC: Did you have any other thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?
The album's out on February 21, and we'll be doing an east coast tour in Spring. The video for “Dragonfly” will be out this month on TV, as well.
GC: Any chance of another West coast tour this year, or do we have to wait until 2007?
Maybe one-off shows. We'll have to see. We may be back in LA sooner than 2007.
Visit Android Lust online at www.androidlust.com.
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