Dead Blood Cells Interview by Tzina Dovve ( DJ Lady Davinia )
Dead Blood Cells… A new industrial/dark wave act comes to life on the UK contemporary underground scene… Duo Tamara and Jason talk about their early beginnings, lockdown days, future plans and give an insight on what they are all about… Dead Blood Cells…By Tzina Dovve ( DJ Lady Davinia )…
Tzina: Welcome to Absolution NYC..Dead Blood Cells are a relatively new band on the dark/goth alternative scene. Exactly when and how did you form and what inspired you to start this act to begin with? Who are the members of this band?
Tamara : We started in 2016, we started as a group of a few people coming and going, trying out different sounds.
Our love for goth, post punk and industrial are what inspired us to start creating music.
Jason: Currently we are a duo, Tamara and myself, which seems to work really well. I had been doing some solo stuff but when the chance to play industrial with like-minded people came up, I was really interested. I think that working with other people or a band, with diverse influences you hopefully get to somewhere bigger than you could on your own.
Tzina: What is the story behind the band’s name? How did the idea to baptise your band ‘Dead Blood Cells’ come about? Is there some sort of symbolic meaning to you behind this title? Can you elaborate…
Tamara: The band’s name was sort of influenced by the White Stripes album ‘White Blood Cells’ but we thought we could put our own darker twist on it.
Jason: Honesty, at the beginning, I was more concerned about the sound, and a lot of band names were being thrown at me, and DBC is one I could live with. It has really grown on me though. It can be a metaphor for so many things; we are the Dead Blood Cells floating in this sea of imploding social culture and history, will we live again or stay stagnant?
Tzina: Who is the main songwriter in the band? How is a Dead Blood Cells creation brought to life? What inspires you the most to write dark and melancholy music? What are your main musical influences?
Tamara: We both come together to write the music. We normally sit and experiment with sounds and then lyrics come naturally after that. I am the main lyricist but we do both come up with lyrics. We have recently started to duet on some songs as our voices work well together. Some of my main influences are The Cure, Crystal Castles, Lebanon Hanover and PJ Harvey.
Jason: We definitely write together well, I come up with riffs and sounds, and then we both decide what and how to use, although Tamara also comes up with riffs sometimes, which I then play with. Tamara is getting more involved with the electronic side now, which is good as it adds more options for us. As to my process, sometimes it is just playing till I find something I like, but recently I have had a number of tracks come to me in dreams, sometimes as fragments and sometimes almost fully formed. That doesn’t automatically make them any good, but I have been really pleased with the way a few of them have come out, and can’t wait to play them out. I have many musical influences, but the band that has my heart is Laibach. I am a huge fan. Other bands I think that I can hear in our music are Muslimguaze, early Combichrist, Venus in Aries, Sleigh Bells, Chemlab, Das Ich, and certainly we were listening to a lot of Witch House at the beginning.
Tzina: As I understand you have a number of digital releases on bandcamp including a cover version of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ and Tiffany’s ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ (also a cover). Why this choice of pop hits in particular? What are your views on cover versions in general and are there any other songs Dead Blood Cells would like to cover in the future?
Tamara: We did the Christmas covers as we were playing a local Christmas Charity gig for ‘Rebel Against Homelessness’. We liked the way they turned out so we thought we’d record them for our bandcamp. We did the cover version of Tiffany’s ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ because we wanted to take a pop song and put our own twist on it. If we are going to do a cover we might as well do it completely differently instead of creating another copy of it that sounds exactly the same.
Jason: I definitely agree with the idea of making a cover your own if you are going to do it. I think that’s why we tend to go for a pop cover or something out of our wheelhouse if we do, as its more interesting to subvert something, or find a new meaning or sound for it. I really like the original of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ by Tommy James and the Shondells and of course Lene Lovich’s version, but I like the way ours just sounded so different. We don’t really want to be known for doing covers, but we are considering doing ‘Drive’ by the Cars, just because the lyrics are so creepy.
Tzina: Are there any plans to release any physical copies of your existing work in the near future? Are Dead Blood Cells working on any new material at the moment? When can we expect to hear some new music?
Tamara: Yes ! There will be lots of new material soon, we are in the process of recording live sessions at the moment with lots of new material. We are aiming to get this completed in the next few months.
Jason: Definitely, I am very excited to share the new material we are working on. We are recording live sessions at the moment, which hopefully will come out physically and for streaming in the near future, although there will be a few extra Easter eggs on the physical versions. We are also looking at putting together something consisting of earlier songs and recordings which will hopefully be digital and physical too so watch this space!
Tzina: Dead Blood Cells are an active live band with quite a number of shows under their belt across the UK. Do you have any upcoming gigs planned for the rest of 2022? Do you have any plans to play overseas? Any particular cities you would like to visit?
Tamara: Yes, we have got a few upcoming gigs, mostly local, but one is in London at ‘The Love Shack’ for a charity event in support of ‘Camp Beagle’. All our gig dates are up on our Facebook page. We would love to play at ‘Wave Gothic Treffen’, would be cool to play overseas.
Jason: Haha, yes ‘WGT’ would be fun, even if on the fringe. I have started putting on PostPunk/Post Industrial gigs here to try and help the scene grow here, and we have one coming up in September with some great bands such as Jan Doyle Band, Punkdisco and Pink Diamond Review. For DBC I just want to get out and play to people who want to hear wherever that might be, it would be great to get to some small festivals in mainland Europe, but here in the UK too, such as ‘Infest’, ‘Whitby’ or ‘Tomorrow’s Ghosts’.
Tzina: The past two years have been difficult ones with the pandemic, especially for the music industry..(venues,artists etc..etc..) How did it affect you as musicians and a new band? Do you think that this pandemic is behind us now and things are back to normal in the music world?
Tamara: During the pandemic we did still work on music quite a bit. We definitely missed playing live though; so, when we could get back to it, we did as soon as we could. It made me realise how much I enjoy playing live and how I probably couldn’t be without it now.
Jason: I was recovering from a major illness when the pandemic hit, so it felt like it hit me doubly hard. It was and is music that has kept me sane throughout. As a new band it was frustrating, as we had had the promise of some bigger gigs in London and elsewhere, and suddenly they were all off. I thought, we are back at the bottom of the heap again, as the more established/bigger bands, would all be 1st in line for things when they did start to open up again, but people did remember us, and I must give a shout out to Andy Cavendish at an Alternative gathering for that, it did really mean a lot at the time. I don’t think things are back to normal yet, cases are on the rise again, but they are getting there. Even though I think people are itching to get out again, they have got out of the habit of it, and need to re-learn how good it is and how much they like it.
Tzina: During the pandemic there was an abundance of streams on social media which kept bands going during lockdown days. As I understand Dead Blood Cells were a part of these streams (Goths For Sanctuaries..just to name one). What are your views on this virtual music world? Do you think it is something permanent or just something of the pandemic time?
Tamara: The livestreams during lockdown definitely kept the music scene alive but it definitely didn’t have the same feel as going to a gig. Now things are back to normal I feel the livestreams don’t really happen as much, but it is a good way to keep people updated and feel included with bands progressions.
Jason: I think the livestreams definitely helped during lockdown, as an outlet for people to share. I think an element of them is here to stay, as a bit of a shop window for some, and as online communities for others and that is good. I always thought that before the internet you might only have 1 person in your town who liked you, but post internet, you can find that one person in every town and have a sizeable audience. The problem during lockdown and just in general virtually is that there is an enormous amount of competition for attention. I think the future of it is not broadcasting, but narrowcasting and building small communities on and offline, where people support you because not only do they like you, but they feel they belong.
Tzina: Many bands have appeared on the dark/goth/alternative scene over the past few years..both new and older bands revisiting the goth world once again.. Do you think there is some sort of revival happening at the moment? Do you follow the scene? What are your views on the scene in the UK today? Do you think it differs from the rest of the goth world?
Tamara: There is definitely a bit of a goth revival happening I think but it is a mixture of new sounds and genres. Goth is evolving from what it was but still taking inspiration from the old goth scene.
Jason: I follow the scene a bit by listening to podcasts such as ‘We have a Technical’ or the website ‘Amodeofcontrol’. Older bands coming out and touring again seems to me to be a state of the music industry at the moment, where touring and merch is now how you earn your salary and money for the company. It means we get to see some great bands again and they are helping to inspire a new generation, but as Tamara said, the new forms are different, as I think they should be. I think the UK music scene as a whole, and not just the alternative scene, needs to embrace the new a bit more, nostalgia is great, and believe me I do it as much as the next person, but there are so many good bands out there writing exciting music and putting on killer shows.
Tzina: Thank you for your time. Anything else you would like to share with your fans? What can they expect from Dead Blood Cells in the near future
Tamara: Thanks so much for having us, you can expect to hear lots of new music and lots of upcoming gigs. New Noise, New Normal, New DBC…!
Jason: Yes, thank you for taking time to talk with us, and yes exactly!
Dead Blood Cells are on Facebook…
Dead Blood Cells are on Instagram…
Dead Blood Cells are on Bandcamp…