REIN[FORCED] are an industrial band hailing from Pittsburgh. Fronted by Jim Semonik they are at the forefront of the US industrial scene. The 14th of August saw the release of their latest album X Amount Of Stab Wounds In The Back, which is an amazing piece of industrial mayhem that only they could produce in such fine style. Grave Concerns Ezine got chance to catch up with REIN[FORCED] main man Jim and here is how it went.
Phill – Hi Jim, thanks so much for giving Grave Concerns Ezine this interview. Can we start by you telling our readers a little info about yourself?
Jim –Hmmm...Well, in addition to Rein[Forced], I also assemble the Electronic Saviors Compilations for Metropolis to try to raise fund for cancer patients. I am a stage 2B colorectal cancer survivor and have been promoting concerts here in Pittsburgh for 13 years under the Distortion Productions moniker. I also work in an indie record shop and have been djing for almost 16 years.
Phill – Rein[Forced] arose from the flames of your former project Forced, what was it about the project that made you feel it wasn’t yet finished?
Jim – The Forced project ended 9 years ago after just one studio album. I still had so much more to say and do. Teaming up with Ben and Turner allowed me to do that. Even though we started over from scratch, I still consider Futile to be the 2nd album and X Amount the 3rd album. We lost Ben in 2006, then, I got sick in late 2007, which put a stop to writing.
There is still so much more to do. With Forced, I was just getting started.
Phill – What was it about Futile Longings of a Condescending Man that made it more personal than the original album you produced with Forced?
Jim –Well, with Futile, I did 100% of the song writing, so it was a lot more personal. X Amount took that to the extreme because most of the songs are about my struggle with being sick.
Phill – You had a battle with cancer in 2007 to which in 2010 you released Electronic Saviours: Industrial Music to Cure Cancer, which I feel is just amazing and truly take my hat off to you for not only your will to succeed but also your way of helping. Cancer affects all people from all forms of life, but how did your battle effect you musically?
Jim – Wow, thanks so much. I feel that the battle helped me write a more intimate album. A friend of mine who I saw at the Icon of Coil show the other night said some amazing things and can tell from our live show that the song writing and lyrics were so much more powerful and showed a great deal of growth. I think that is one of the best things an artist can hear.
Phill – What did it mean to you on a personal level to be able to finally complete and release X Amount Of Stab Wounds To The Back?
Jim – It was the hardest record for me to write but the most rewarding for sure. I was not sure I would see the end of this record but we are all getting started on the next one. We want to release a remix album called "Pre Existing Conditions" next year but the next album will be called "Your Mind Goes to Dark Places" and will hopefully be done in 2014.
Phill – What are your musical influences?
Jim – In addition to industrial, primarily the guitar driven and harder EBM stuff, I like singer songwriter stuff like Elliot Smith and some indie rock like Dinosaur Jr.
Phill – You have collaborated with some quite amazing bands and also done some remixing too, which has been the most memorable band to work with?
Jim – I think the Cancerface experience from ES2 was a pretty unique one. Lots of friends and heroes on that track. Being able to work with people that I listened to constantly in college like Wade Alin (Christ Analogue) and Martin Atkins (Pigface) was a real treat. I love all my collabs though because I feel like each of them ends up offering something totally different from the previous. It is my favorite thing to do.
Phill – The music scene is constantly changing both mainstream and underground but how do you feel that the music scene has changed since you formed Rein[Forced]?
Jim – It is shrinking, that's for sure. There are hardly any under 21 folks left in the scene here and the show attendances are not growing. It's a strange time. I just don't feel that new music is getting the push that it need so that is why I try to bring as many tours through here as possible.
Phill – What is the one thing in life that truly gives you the drive to succeed?
Jim – Living, since I came so close to the end, I guess every experience and person I connect with leaves a lasting impression. I love meeting new people and working on new music with people I admire. This is the gold in life for me.
Phill – What music are you currently listening to?
Jim –A lot of Mind In A Box. The new Ludovico Technique is great. Encephalon is fantastic and I want to hear more from Necro Facility. There are a lot of smaller acts on Electronic Saviors 2 that impressed me like Cylix and 23 Rainy Days.
Phill – Do you have an embarrassing CD in your music collection?
Jim – I guess the Transformers: The Movie Soundtrack but it's not really embarrassing. It's got a lot of cool electronic pieces on it aside from the hair metal.
Phill – You have shared the stage with some of the legends of the alternative music scene
but where in this world would you like to take your music to?
Jim – Germany, Belgium, Spain and the UK. But first, Portland, Seattle and San Fran stateside.
Phill – What one piece of advice would you give to an up and coming band, but also what has been the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you?
Jim – I would just tell bands to focus on song writing and not pay attention to trends. This whole dubstep thing is disheartening, especially when I see people jump on this bandwagon. It'll be gone before you know it. Do what makes YOU happy, not what will make others happy. My doctor who saw me through my sickness is probably my biggest inspiration. "Connect with human beings from every walk of life".
Phill – Thank you so much for giving Grave Concerns this interview Jim, is there anything you would like to add?
Jim –Thanks guys and thanks to everyone who has ever shown me support.
Thanks again and good luck with X Amount Of Stab Wounds To The Back.
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