The Damage Control collective shares the love for old school industrial – interview
Mar 2021 06

Collaborations are common on the industrial scene, but Damage Control takes it to the next level. So be warned: there’s some serious namedropping in this interview, including Chris Peterson, Phil Western, Greg Reely, Claus Larsen and Gin Devo.
Damage Control is quite new on the scene, having only released one album so far. It’s quite a strong album, and now it sort of returns albeit in remixed form. It’s all about the love for groovy old-school industrial music like Front Line Assembly, Noise Unit and Skinny Puppy. We asked Bill Barsby some questions, he is the main man behind the name and resides in Melbourne, Australia.

Creative push and pull

The band setup is a bit fluid, but it was originally conceived by Bill, Richard Thacker, Jason Podmore and Alex Wise. Nowadays they’ve made friends with some people from the Canadian scene such as OHMelectronic and ex FLA member Chris Peterson who’s mixed the material, and his fellow band member Craig Huxtable, who lends his vocals to some tracks on Damage Control’s debut album “Ultranoia”. How did you arrive at the idea of a remix album?

– “Hypernoia the Remixes” is something we wanted to do at a gradual pace alongside making new tracks for the next album “Oblivion Grid”. We are currently working on this new record and hope to have it released soon.

The original idea was for us to do a remix EP of selected tracks from our debut album “Ultranoia”. It kind of blew out to be a full length album in the end. We wanted to approach this one as more of a collaborative effort on the remixes themselves. Hence the Damage Control vs various artists remixes. I love the creative push and pull that happens with that. There are also some individual remixers on this release. For the most part, Chris Peterson did the mixing on this as well as all the mastering. We are pleased with the results and glad the remix project finally saw the light of day. I have been a fan of Vomito Negro for 30 years, so it was fantastic to also have Gin Devo do a remix amongst other talented friends and to hear the cross pollination of sounds and styles.

This remix album contains what is probably the last remix from Phil Western. How did that come about?

- At the very start of the project, I approached Phil Western for a remix in which he agreed to do for us. Once we heard that remix, we knew we had to do a full-length album for a more eclectic take on the songs. Also spending more time on the release to do justice to Phil’s awesome remix was a natural progression.

I simply contacted Phil and sent the track to him and we worked it out and that was it. I sent the stems over and he got back to me saying he wanted to go in a techno direction with it. I said yes, I am a big fan of his project KONE, so ”please do that, it would be great!” We discussed the potential of doing more in the future. I have been a big fan of Download/Plateau and Phil’s solo work pretty much right from the start.

It goes without saying, we were gutted like many others to learn of his tragic death a few months later. As far as I know, that was the last remix from Phil. It was an honour to have done that with him and I miss hearing his new releases. He was such an amazing talent and a hugely important part of that Canadian electronic sound. He lives on through his huge back catalogue.

Global effort

I sort of know Markus App from the old Front Line Assembly fan forum Mindphaser. How did you end up collaborating?      

– I met Markus online in 2010. I was DJ:ing around Melbourne at the time and played some of his tracks in my sets. As soon as I became aware of Markus’ stuff from his project Noonatac, it caught my ear straight away. It struck me as having great potential and I asked Markus if he would like to form a project with me. It is there that Damage Control came about as he said yes. We struggled and clashed along the way with different ideas, but it came together nicely in the end. Ultranoia’s engine room was mainly Markus and me pushing the whole thing along. He collaborated with us on the remix project rather than being a full-time member. Markus is back working with us again now and the unfinished demos are being fine-tuned. He’s an important part of DC.

You worked with Chris Peterson and Craig Huxtable from OHMelectronic the first time around, what’s their involvement with this album?

– Chris Peterson, who I have become good friends with over the years, has mixed 75% of these remixes and mastered 100% of them. We had some great fun along the way with hilarious analogies of tracks. It was a good excuse to catch up and have a bit of a laugh and enjoying the process as each track/remix took on a character and a story of its own. It was quite a journey this one. Craig obviously features on vocals on 3 of the remixes, although he was not really involved in the remixes themselves, he was heavily featured on them and he will be involved as a guest vocalist again on the next release “Oblivion Grid”. It is a friendship and fun thing working with these guys and I feel very lucky to collaborate with them and know them. We also have a great relationship with Claus Larsen, who has recorded vocals for us on a new track.

Leæther Strip and Revolting Cocks

Are you happy with how your debut album was received?

– To be honest, it did pleasantly surprise us how well it was received. I feel we did OK for a small start-up project released on our own label Rarefaction Records. We got some nice reviews and had our music played at various clubs around the world. We received some airplay on industrial internet radio shows with decent CD sales as a result. I would of course love for more people who enjoy this kind of music to hear it, but I am happy with the start we made. A highlight for me was when OHMelectronic played ”City of Ruins” in their set at Wave Gotik Treffen. Chris mentioned it went down well. We hope and plan to play gigs together in the future when and if this world returns to some kind of normality.

I know you’re working on new material too, can you tell us anything about that?

– Well, we have been experimenting with ideas for quite some time for the next album ”Oblivion Grid”. There are plenty of solid new tracks with guest vocals from Claus Larsen and Josh Bradford (ex Revolting Cocks vocalist). A lot of the music is done, but vocals and reworking this and that remain to be done. Markus agrees to do more German vocals and expect to hear more from Craig Huxtable. With Kaine Delay, Kerry Peterson (from Living Room Project and Stiff Valentine) and myself, it is a typical collaborative approach we like to use with this project. It has been great working with old friends Alex Wise and Richard Thacker again. Chris Peterson said to me we should collaborate with a guy he knows called Tom Slug. Tom has worked on Living Room Project with Chris and Kerry, and is now in Damage Control. I feel the new material raises the bar and I cannot wait to release it sometime soon.

Chris will be mixing and mastering the whole record as usual with Greg Reely doing finishing touches as usual.

Check out their Bandcamp.