By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Bain Wolfkind is a creepycrawler in leather who throws stoic shade wherever he goes. He’s one of the coolest fuckers I know.
He seems to play more often in Europe and America than he does in Sydney these days, but whenever and wherever he emerges, it’s bound to be awesome and unsettling. His new album, Hand of Death, is due out soon, and it could well be his coldest yet. Keeping in mind that it’s the follow-up to a single called “You’re Surely Gonna Die”, that’s saying something.
UB breaks the ice…
Tell us about the next Bain Wolfkind album – what’s the deal?
It’s called Hand of Death and is inspired by some bitter arctic winters living in Little Odessa, immersed in the seedy Russian immigrant underbelly of Brooklyn, New York. It deals with the usual themes of my music – pimps, whores, drug dealers, serial killers and addiction. It’s a colder, more electronic release than my last [“You’re Surely Gonna Die” 7”] on Seattle-based label Not Just Religious Music.
How was it recorded and who’s putting it out?
I’ve been recording it myself in my own “studio”, on and off, in different locations over the last few years with a bunch of synths, drum machines and guitars. It’ll be coming out in spring on Vienna-based label HauRucK who have been releasing pretty much all of my music for the past 16 years, definitely on CD and possibly as a 12” album.
A lot of your shows are in the US now. Why are you there so much, where are you based, where is your supporter base?
I’ve been doing shows in the US since 2002 so have formed some long-lasting friendships and connections in cities on the east and west coasts. Right now I am based in Australia nine months of the year, but my support base is spread across but not confined to the United States and Europe.
Not many local shows. Is that a conscious decision? What are your options in Sydney – do you feel like your music meshes with anything else going on in Sydney at the moment?
I’ve always been a slightly anti-social lone wolf and have never fit into any particular Sydney scene; it’s more of a place for me to just hide-out. I don’t really see a lot of live bands but I feel my music tangentially meshes with current Sydney acts like Skull & Dagger and Bura Bura.
You often have interesting collabs happening. Anything on that front recently?
I have done a bunch over the years but recently I have collaborated with Theologian from New York on an album titled NOIR, (we also did a cover version of Samhain’s “Human Pony Girl”), I lay down vocals for tracks by Sexisdeath from Warsaw and Bordel Militaire from Melbourne. I have been collaborating and recording tracks over the past two years with David E. Williams and Tony Cesa of Destroying Angel in Philadelphia and jammed some tracks during a polar winter with Stuart Gray and Bloody Rich in their New York studio, one of which [“Calling All Cars”] they perform in their band the Art Gray Noize Quintet. A cover version I did with the late and great John Murphy, of Anton LaVey’s “Hymn to the Satanic Empire”, just came out on a tribute compilation called All My Sins Remembered – The Sonic Worlds of John Murphy put out by The Epicurean from Berlin. I’m currently doing vocals for a Lynchian rock band from St Petersburg, Russia called Deathcome and will be doing some for upcoming album by Austria’s Der Blutharsch.
Can we ask a bit more about John Murphy… what dealings you had personally as a fan/listener and as a friend/collaborator, recording together? Do you think John would have appreciated the tribute release?
I first met John through mutual friends at the start of the nineties, which was cool as I was a fan of various acts he had performed in like SPK, Lustmord, Box The Jesuit and Orchestra of Skin and Bone, over the years we became close friends. John would crash for a few days at places I was living, pop around for a visit or borrow my drum kit. We had lots of mutual friends as he was part of the loose affiliation of underground bands in Sydney up until he relocated, on and off and eventually permanently, to Europe. I moved to Austria in 1999 and started playing drums in a band called Der Blutharsch who John had also drummed for and our paths would cross again many times at concerts in Europe and America or when I was the support act for one of the bands he was in called Death in June. I heard many times through the grapevine that John had sung my praises for which I was and am truly humbled and grateful. Around 1995-97 I did some recordings under the name Blood & Iron at Slaughterhouse Studios and asked John to drum on a few tracks and do vocals on another, a cover of “Hymn to the Satanic Empire”, made on a drum machine and Mirage sampler, which is the track on the tribute compilation. The compilation is an awesome three CD’s worth featuring various bands John was involved in opening with a track from 1975 from John’s first band Mandrix with Michael Sheridan, a band who supported AC/DC! I last saw John in Baltimore in late 2013 and only found out he was unwell last year. A friend Thomas from Danish band Die Weisse Rose contacted me about being involved in an album to pay for medical expenses for John who was now living in Berlin with his wife but sadly he passed away last October. All profits from the album go to John’s wife Annie, which John would have appreciated.