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Interview with The Arcane Machine


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Aelin Galathynius

Question 1: Being such a specific genre of music, and for those who might not be aware, where would our players often stumble across industrial video game music? 

Ed Wilson: Some of my favorite industrial music has come from the Quake and DOOM series. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails famously composed the original Quake’s soundtrack, but Sonic Mayhem and Front Line Assembly took up the reigns for Quake II and Quake III and they’re incredible. For more info, you can check out an episode of my old podcast, PixelTunes Radio, where we focused on Industrial music in games!

Justin Schneider: I think there’s a lot unexpected places to find this, particularly in modern games.  As Ed mentioned, the Quake games (and many Sci-Fi FPSes) are often scored with Industrial music as it creates a pretty cool atmosphere.  I’d also point to Ed’s current VGM podcast, The VGMBassy’s Episode 6: Dark Sci-Fi with Emily - they pick out a lot of cool stuff that is either industrial, or industrial-adjacent.  Aside from that, I find that many Cyberpunk/techno-future type games tend towards Industrial & Techno.  


Q2: How has the goth/industrial music scene changed since you were first introduced to it? Has it grown or changed in any specific ways? 

Both: The power of social media has changed goth culture immensely. In the late 90’s/ early 2000’s, we had MySpace and a few goth forums on the web, but connections were slow and it was difficult to share music and other forms of media. Goth communities in different cities tended to be pretty insular, with their own cliques and styles. Nowadays, it’s so much easier for everyone around the world to intermingle and share fashion, music, and opinions. It’s really become a global lifestyle!  


Q3: What sets industrial music apart from other genres for you? Death metal and black metal often have industrial elements infused in it, but what sets these genres apart from one another? 

Ed: Industrial music always appealed to me because it felt like the artists were “hacking” music. They take instruments that aren’t normally used together and compose with them. They take household appliances and find out how to control the sounds they make. They invent their own instruments from scratch. The groaning, clanking machine noises over palm-muted guitar riffs and distorted bullhorn vocals struck a chord with me from the first time I was exposed to it. We were actually discussing the concept of “what is industrial?” on my Discord a few days ago. One of the most succinct explanations I’ve heard came from a listener. To paraphrase him, he submitted the idea that you could take the industrial elements away from a death metal or black metal song, and the result would still be a cohesive piece that could be recognized as part of its genre. If you take the industrial elements out of a Skinny Puppy or KMFDM song, you’re not going to be able to recognize the result as a finished piece. I’ve yet to find a piece of music I can’t apply this theory to!

Justin: Radical Candor moment for me - due to some friends from HS & a silly misunderstanding, I actually only recently learned what constitutes Industrial music.  I’ve gone the last 20 years thinking Type O Negative was Industrial, when it’s actually Doom Metal.  Anyway, it turns out I had been lumping Industrial in with other Gothic genres.  That being said, I find the the thing that sets Industrial apart is more often the delivery in the vocals (sometimes Bullhorn, sometimes yelled, but often it sounds sounds angry even if the lyrics aren’t) and there’s a bit of a “danciness” to it, that I don’t often get in “The Metals.”  


Q4: What are some bands/artists our players can listen to in order to get a good idea of what goth subculture is? Listening to the podcasts, there are quite a few songs I never realized I’ve heard before. Having never been exposed to this scene, I’m absolutely intrigued and I know some of our players may relate to this.   

Both: I think goth rock would be the most accessible genre for players who enjoy popular bands like The Cure and U2. Artists like Children on Stun and The Mission UK have very similar sounds and song structure, and would make listeners feel right at home. For those into punk, newcomers Der Prosector have released a couple of amazing EPs that blend UK punk and industrial. I’m really enjoying it! Going back in time a little, bands like Pop Will Eat Itself and Lard (fronted by Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys) will be great choices. Type O Negative should be everyone’s introduction to doom metal, which is basically goth music but very heavy and sludgy. Think of Black Sabbath’s slower, darker music and you’ll have a good idea what they sound like. We could go on and on, but I think the first episode of The Arcane Machine will serve as a fantastic introduction to a lot of the more popular goth subgenres.   


Q5:  Between the both of you, your experience in podcasting is pretty extensive. What are some words of advice for anyone looking to start a podcast? 

Both: Plan, plan, plan! Sit down and map out what you want a show to look like. Make sure your idea is sustainable over dozens of episodes so you don’t run out of things to talk about. Invest in some decent equipment (a $20US microphone from Amazon will sound terrible, but you’d be amazed at how much better a $50US mic sounds!)  Practice sounding comfortable on the mic. Look for feedback from people who aren’t afraid to be honest with you. And the big one that most people don’t realize is… have some technical aptitude! You’re going to need to learn some basic audio engineering, web design, audio editing, marketing, and social skills to create a quality product. You can hire people for the technical parts, too! If you’re co-hosting a show,  make sure you know how you and your co-host will mesh, and plan out the distribution of responsibilities.  You don’t want either of you coming away feeling like the other isn’t as invested, or that you have too many things to do or things aren’t balanced fairly.  


Q6: What does your creative process look like when coming up with an idea to present to the other? With ‘The Arcane Machine’ still being fairly new we are interested in how this idea got brought up and what inspired you to work with one another. 

Ed: My idea for this show developed around the time that I recorded the podcast episode that I referenced in the first question. My guest host for that show was also very into industrial music but didn’t want to commit to a full time podcast, so I shelved the idea for a while. Justin was a friend of mine through Mike Levy, who was my regular co-host on PixelTunes Radio, and who then went on to be Mike’s cohost on their new game music podcast, XVGM Radio. I was listening to an episode of XVGM in which Justin name dropped a few of my favorite industrial and EBM bands, which prompted me to find out just how much he knew about the culture. It turns out, he was very much into it! I invited him to do the show with me, he happily agreed, and the fact that we live only a couple blocks away from each other made it even more convenient.

Justin: Yeah, the way we got The Arcane Machine going still makes me laugh.  Mike & I were interviewing the composer for Shakedown Hawaii, and a few of the tracks have almost synthwave/darkwave vibes (not surprising, considering the overall “80’s” feel of the game).  I was giving him bands & tracks to listen to throughout the recording session, but 1 track really hit me - I think this was the only reference we left in, but Ed’s response to it was what got us going.   So far, we have a Google Doc filled with show ideas, and we feel like we’re both ready to tackle just about anything at this point. We talk about them either when we get together to record, or over chat. Our first 5 or 6 shows will be designed to introduce newcomers to the genre, as many of our listeners are following us from our game music podcasts, but we also want to play music that we feel community veterans might enjoy too!  


Q7:  Let’s talk video game music. For many games, a soundtrack really can make or break just how dynamic the game is. For example, Tony Hawk Proskater 2 is often referenced in memes today, and personally introduced me to punk music at a young age. What is your favorite video game soundtrack, and why? 

Ed: This is such a tough question, since it changes so often! I tend to focus more on the individuals who compose the music, and my favorite composer is a gentleman by the name of Tim Follin. If you’ve played Silver Surfer on the NES, Rock ‘n Roll Racing on the SNES, or Ecco: Defender of the Future on the Dreamcast, you’ve heard his music. He hasn’t written tunes for the greatest or most popular games out there, but he’s got an incredible talent for making primitive soundchips come alive and sound like a full band. Justin: Agreed - this changes depending on my mood, and a number of other variables.  While I also have a few composers that are top-of-the-list, my top game albums would be Final Fantasy 8 - I loved the music in this so much as a kid, it was the first VGM Soundtrack I ever bought, and I also picked up the piano book for it, as I was taking piano lessons at the time.  I played the song “Julia” at my Piano Recital that year.  I also loved the music from Megaman X4 - the opening track was so rockin’, and the stage themes felt very immersive.  Finally, taking it back to chiptunes, Super Dodge Ball on the NES & Alien vs. Predator on the SNES were both games I would just leave on to hear the music of certain stages when I was a kid.  They just trigger a happy response in my brain, haha  


Q8: This question is for Ed. In Chapter 1 you and Justin mentioned how your experience with the genre went a little farther, and you have labeled yourself as a walking encyclopedia. Are there any resources you would recommend to someone wanting to learn about the Industrial Scene? Other than to turn into your awesome podcasts, of course.

Ed: WaxTrax! Records out of Chicago may not have been the birthplace of industrial music, but it would never have become what it is if it hadn’t been for them. There’s an incredible documentary called “Industrial Accident,” which you can find at It details the origins of the genre in Europe, how it spread to the US, and contains tons of music, interviews, and found footage of the bands writing and performing their classic music in the studio. I honestly had goosebumps while watching it.  Aside from that, it may sound a bit cliché, but Wikipedia is your friend! Look up a genre you’re interested in, and follow the rabbit hole from link to link until you’re too tired to read anymore. Most of the bands that are important to their genres have very well-researched pages, and the footnotes will contain resources that you can check out for more detailed info. Industrial bands also tend to collaborate to an extreme degree, so each band’s page will inevitably mention another band or artist they’ve worked with that will have a similar sound or style.   


Q9:  This question is for Justin. On The Arcane Machine website it mentions that you work as an IT professional. Having extensive experience with technology, and having an interest in synthesized chords, have you ever attempted to create your own music? If so, is there anywhere our readers can go to check this out? 

Justin: I have!  This is something I really want to find (or make) time to get back into.  I Majored in Computer Science in College, but I also Minored in Music.  I started with music at a young age, playing clarinet in Middle School band, and also taking piano lessons.  When I got to High School, I continued with clarinet for Concert Band, but picked up baritone horn (euphonium) for Marching Band, and trombone for Jazz Band - so going to college, I ended up on a musical scholarship, which is when I started taking voice lessons and picked up guitar as well.  All that is to say I had a lot of fun making strange music in College, lol!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to save all the stuff I wrote.  The handful of electronic (plus 1 unfinished mashup) music I created that survived a major hard disk crash can be found on my soundcloud -  More recently, I didn’t create, but rather arranged 4 pieces from the Final Fantasy games for a string quartet to play at my wedding.  It was my first time writing music since college, and felt great to be able to do.  Sadly, we didn’t get recordings, but I still have the sheet music I wrote.  


Q10: Are there any plans for the future of your podcast? 

Both: More great music! We’d like to do shows that will deep-dive into specific bands or genres. We’ve got friends who are into the music that we’d love to have on as guest hosts. We’re open to having artists and bands on the show for interviews too!    


You can join their following by checking them out at the following places:  



Instagram: @the_arcane_machine

Twitter: @arcane_machine  

To listen to their podcasts, they are available for stream on their website, iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.  

We at the BL Herald feel much more enlightened than we did prior to the interview with Justin and Ed. Thank you DVH for bringing this interview to the good folks of the Realm, and thank you Ed and Justin for your time with us! 

March 06, 2020 07:19 pm

Dark Lucian-

great interview

March 09, 2020 02:43 am

Dexter Gein

Awesome interview. Thanks! May 05, 2020 03:25 am

Quinn Whitmoore

Great interview

August 25, 2020 12:51 pm
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