Jun 2018 13

In a special three-part series, ReGen Magazine speaks with the three primary members of legendary industrial “supergroup” C-Tec on the eve of the band’s reformation at this year’s ColdWaves events.
 

 

An InterView with Ged Denton of C-Tec, Der Prosector, & Scere

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

From the band’s beginnings as Cyber-Tec Project to the later incarnation as C-Tec, there was always Ged Denton serving in the supporting role lending his skills on the synthesiser. Along with his solo outlet Crisis N.T.I., Denton had been a fixture of the Cyber-Tec Records imprint from whence the project first sprung, serving first alongside Jonathan Sharp and then Marc Heal throughout C-Tec’s history. While his contributions in songwriting were minimal, he did leave an indelible mark on some of the band’s most notable tracks, from the nightmarish ambience of “Shift IV” and “Silent Voices” and the thrusting beat-driven “Being Nothing” on 1998’s Darker to the scraping industrialized hip-hop of “Fighter” on 2000’s Cut. Since C-Tec entered into a long period of inactivity, Denton has established himself in two new bands – the electro/trip-hop hybrid of Scere with American vocalist Coral, and the industrial/rock quartet of Der Prosector with brother Digby, Jules Seifert, and Neil Hester. Both bands made their debuts in 2017, marking a period of renewed vigor and musical activity in Denton that is topped off by his inclusion in a reformed C-Tec at this year’s ColdWaves events in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. With this third and final entry in ReGen Magazine‘s series speaking with the band’s core members, Denton reminisces on his partnership with Marc Heal and Jean-Luc De Meyer, the formation of his new bands, and the development of his musical process, along with a few hints about what is yet to come.

 

C-Tec has reformed for this year’s ColdWaves events, marking the first time we’ll hear from the band since 2000’s Cut album. What can you tell us about the band’s dissolution? Was there ever a sense of unfinished business between the musicians involved?
While it’s still early days and in the rehearsal stage, what can you tell us about the band dynamic now and how you feel it’s changed since the initial run?

Denton: We had a product, the rights, and free reign I guess, but we also had various personal agendas, which needed immediate attention. I had recently married and was planning to move to the States. I can’t remember any specific final moment as such – just friends being massively busy and heading in different directions once the job was done. There was talk of another North American tour to promote Cut and even talk of a third album, but I was in no position to commit. Of course, there was a sense of unfinished business, but for my part, I was very preoccupied.
So here we are in 2018! It’s too early to talk about band dynamics as Jean-Luc is out on the road with 242, but Marc and I are talking, which is a hell of a lot easier now that he’s living in the U.S.. I’ve been out of music since Cut, but have never stopped writing, so the possibility of C-Tec reforming has never been in the cards. I was genuinely shocked and delighted when I heard the news. You know that feeling when you meet up with old friends and nothing has really changed? I’m quite confident that the dynamic will be business as usual. This is going to be so much fun.

While Der Prosector is a band, Crisis N.T.I. was primarily you working alone, while C-Tec has its own dynamic with you and Marc in the supporting roles. In what ways do the two roles differ for you in terms of your approach, mindset, how you interact with your band mates, that sort of thing? Which do you prefer?

Denton: I hate working alone. Bands are way more fun. In terms of approach and mindset, it all comes down to knowing who is on point, whose vision we are following. If writing for C-Tec, I would follow Marc’s lead on the style, vibe, and direction, but I would also be mindful about previous tracks that Jean-Luc really connected with. When recording, Marc and J-L are great fun to work with; there is a lot of laughter and a fantastic air of positivity.
For me, mindset depends on the level of my responsibility. For example, the most fun I have had creating music recently was recording vocals for a 2Bit Heroes track called ‘Cyclone.’ Jules (Seifert) and Neil (Hester) had all of the responsibility of writing, arranging, editing, and mixing the track, and for once, I could concentrate on one role. I got to devote lots of time to writing lyrics that I think resonate and hopefully will make few people uncomfortable.
For Der Prosector, I’m on point, but the guys are very supportive and constantly throwing out suggestions. Jules and I work very well together; we can be brutally honest when writing, which saves a lot of time and, paradoxically, heartache. We send stems back and forth along with new overlays or sections for the arrangement, which immediately inspires us to write the next part. We have two Der Prosector group threads on Messenger – we started with one, but it quickly became difficult to distinguish band business from a lot of tasteless comedy, bitching, and bullshit. It’s a very relaxed and supportive relationship that has been going on for a couple of years. And that’s a lot of bullshit! Neil is too modest to admit that he’s a brilliant guitarist; he has great instincts and he brings a lot of character to the mix. My brother Digby is our front man, which is great because I can shout and swear at him when we’re recording like the ‘Eurovision’ episode of Father Ted. In fact, as a tension breaker, one of us will shout ‘Just play the $&@%ing note!’ and then we break down laughing. It’s all very organic. I still can’t believe the U.S. side of the band hasn’t met the U.K. contingent in person yet. It’s on the cards and it will be a legendary evening.
For Scere, the dynamic is very different. I send clips of audio to Coral, who always has very specific vision of where the track should lead. It is labor-intensive work and progress can be slow; one of the tracks for the EP took us five months to complete. That said, the most recent track came together in a day, so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts. She is very professional in her role, which forces me to raise my standards. She’s very similar to Jean-Luc in that she is a true artist. I’ve never approached a project like this before – when Scere finishes a track, there are always tears.

There does seem to be a pattern with some of the ‘legacy’ bands with a history coming back after a long absence. Gravity Kills got back together and has done shows and tours for some years, but has not released a new album. Front 242 has been doing that as well.
While I won’t ask the obvious question of if we’ll hear new C-Tec music, I will ask in what ways would you personally approach the music differently? What would you say you’ve learned as producers and musicians in the years since then that you feel would strengthen C-Tec’s music and sound now (and this can apply to Der Prosector or Crisis N.T.I. as well)?

Denton: What is C-Tec’s future beyond ColdWaves VII? Go to the C-Tec Facebook page and await further instructions.
The main thing I have learned is that you should go wherever the track leads you; let it sweep you up, don’t fight it. Sometimes there are difficult choices to be made, which lead to drastic changes in the track you’re working on; changes like scrapping days of work and all but starting from scratch. I guess it all comes down to refusing to compromise, even if that means throwing away your initial ideas.
For the record, Gravity Kills kick ass!

Tell us about Der Prosector’s history, how the four of you came together to form the band, and in what ways do you feel you’ve all combined your respective experiences and styles into a cohesive sound?
Similarly, what was the process of recording the Egregious EP, and what do you feel you’ve learned as a band that you are applying to new Der Prosector or whatever new music you’re working on?

Denton: My brother and I wrote a few tracks in the early ’90s, which, although they were rough demos, were actually pretty good. After a couple of decades, we finally decided that the time was right and submitted an updated version to the redoubtable, but lovely, Giles Moorhouse at Armalyte Industries to see what he thought. Feedback was encouraging so we finished it and submitted it for the 2016 charity Defcon Three: Dirty World compilation. It was around this time that I became friends with Jules Seifert and we realized that we were practically brothers. He and Neil were working on 2Bit Heroes and we began exchanging ideas and tracks to work on. We all just fell in together. We are all very proud of the Egregious EP – it’s a solid debut and a great starting point. Neil set up a shared cloud project folder into which we throw stems, lyrics, etc.. We record, arrange, loosely mix and edit everything to an agreeable final arrangement, which I can then begin mixing. I stem everything up and Jules hones a final mix and master designed to frighten children, disrupt pacemakers, and loosen bowels. Our finished tracks have all the futuristic chrome sheen ground off them. Compare the brightness of THX 1138 to the grimy engines of the Nostromo. Anyway, opinions are heard and tweaks are made accordingly until everyone is happy. Since Egregious, we’ve done a few remixes, a cover of a Hüsker Dü track, a new DP track for the latest Electronic Saviors compilation, and are working on the Egregious follow up. The newer material is way more cohesive and I believe that we have really found our own sound.

In recent years, I’ve noticed a propensity for many acts to focus on shorter releases – EPs and singles – rather than full-length albums, mainly due to keeping a more constant stream of productivity as well as it being easier amid other sorts of responsibilities. The first Cyber-Tec Project release was essentially four original tracks and a number of remixes, and the first Der Prosector release is not too dissimilar. What are your thoughts on the album format as it pertains to you and your music, whichever band?
Will we be hearing a full-length Der Prosector album at any point?

Denton: A Der Prosector album is a possibility, but our next release will be another DP EP. If I try to analyze albums, we’ll be here until doomsday. In short, the artist or band will approach an album in their own way. They might artistically explore and experiment to take the listener on a journey, express their innermost thoughts, profess love or hate, or articulate their feelings on what is wrong with the world. Or they might just say ‘fuck it’ and compile a bunch of substandard fillers and forgotten B-sides. I guess you’d have to ask them.
I genuinely love the EP format though. As an early teen, I played Devo Live over and over – six tracks, all sped up from the LP version, all less than three minutes, and all utterly brilliant. It makes the album versions drag by comparison. I can’t even listen to those studio versions anymore.

You and I met at ColdWaves, and now you will be performing at all three events this year. What was it about ColdWaves that you personally connect with?
One of the more striking aspects of ColdWaves is the mix of long standing bands with up-and-comers and new acts. What are your thoughts on the new generation of industrial and machine/rock musicians?

Denton: That is an excellent question. We first came back to Chicago for the WaxTrax! Retrospectacle in 2011. It was wonderful to see lots of faces from the C-Tec days, and there is something about Chicago and especially the industrial crowd that makes you feel welcome. That was the last time I saw Jamie Duffy. We had a couple of pints and caught up… lots of laughs; you know, the usual. Although we weren’t close-close, you know what I mean, I was still very shocked and saddened to hear of his passing. Way too young, all that potential… just gone. The way the local, national, and international community now come together for ColdWaves every year is testament to their shared love and respect for Jamie and the music genre he loved and developed.
I think that ColdWaves is one of the few places I think we all feel a strong sense of belonging. Every year, we catch up with old friends and always make new ones. It’s always a blast. It feels right that now’s the time for us to play ColdWaves.
The new bands showcased at ColdWaves bring some youthful vitality and variety into the scene. It’s a breath of fresh air and it’s so interesting to see the directions they are taking in their sound.

How important is it for you to keep up with the latest developments in music technology?

Denton: Let’s just say that 20-odd years ago, we were mailing cassettes with four-track demos back and forth to share and develop song ideas.
(If you listen very carefully, you can actually hear young people rolling their eyes and saying ‘Puh!’)
The U.K. half of Der Prosector think I’m a Luddite when it comes to technology, but I get by. In my defense, Neil works for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, so compared to him, we’re all technological hillbillies!

What is exciting you the most in that regard, what new gear or software is appealing to you at the moment?

Denton: I have a couple of Dreadbox synths from Greece, which have a lot of character. Serum is a softsynth beast. They’re all fun to play with and the sounds are fairly immediate and surprisingly rich. I have a Deepmind 12, which is great for soundtrack atmospheres. I’ve recently bought Kontakt, which is a wonderful sound tool, but also black hole for time. I am on the lookout for a string machine; until then, I’ll just keep playing with Arturia’s V Collection. I love sample libraries too.

What sorts of developments would you like to see in the tech and how both you and new artists will be utilizing them?

Denton: To be honest, I live in the present. I’m also on a modest budget, so I enjoy the fact that higher quality plug-ins are becoming more affordable. Then, businesses like Behringer are cloning analog classics, so many of us are now enjoying access to tech we otherwise couldn’t afford. Recently, someone on Facebook – I forget who – said something along the lines of, ‘Isn’t it funny how everyone is still turning to 40-year-old synthesizers to make tracks sound futuristic?’

What’s next for you? Any other projects in the works that you can tell us about?

Denton: Yes, I’ve been working with an American singer called Coral on some strange and beautiful downtempo tracks under the name Scere. We are releasing an EP this summer. Go to http://scere.com to check out our debut video, ‘Because I.’ Coral has a compelling, sensual voice and a unique approach to songwriting. The creative process is challenging, but ultimately wonderful to be a part of.
I’ve done guest vocals on a 2Bit Heroes track and would love to do some more.
 

 
Der Prosector should have a follow up EP for later in the year – working title: Egregious 2: Egregiouser.
Oh yeah and C-Tec is back! Get in.

 

C-Tec
Facebook
Der Prosector
Facebook, Twitter
Scere
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube
ColdWaves
Website, Facebook, Twitter

 

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