In ‘Dismantled’ I found the most talented industrial artist that I’ve heard in a long time. The music managed to capture the very essence of fear and paranoia, and through an intricate electronic tapestry, created a rich, lush and disturbing world that had my heart thumping. Recently I had the pleasure of talking to the creator and soul of Dismantled. We discussed a great many things: the human condition, the fusion of human and machine, technology & morality, and of course, the origins and direction of Dismantled. Read on my friends, and enjoy!
GOM: [Note: If you’re expecting introductory small talk about the weather, sorry. We decided to get straight into the goods]…
Do you have passionate beliefs about the state of the world, where it’s heading, etc?
Dismantled: I can’t say I have passionate beliefs but I do believe that it is heading in the right direction in terms of technological advancement.
GOM: What is the right direction? Are you talking about salvation or damnation?
Dismantled: The right direction, in my opinion, is the fusion of machine with man. Thus, you can say it is a kind of technological salvation in which the human race will become no longer simply human and expand by using technology.
GOM: I hold the belief that the next evolution of the human race will not be at the hand of nature, but rather by our own intervention. That scares most people. Do you think a genuine fusion with a machine is more likely than creating a *superman* by finding the penultimate genetic combination? Or do you think it will be a combination of both?
Dismantled: I believe it is a fusion of both because as it stands now, genetic manipulation is becoming quite on par with the high level of technological advancement we are seeing right now. For instance, cloning, which is unfortunately still unavailable because of moral concerns, is an example of how we can currently manipulate organics to better ourselves.
GOM: Do you advocate human cloning?
Dismantled: I think we will have to wait more for the kind of integrated technological fusion that is depicted in such books as ‘Neuromancer’ by William Gibson… I strongly advocate human cloning because I see it as a next step for the human race to improve itself. I’m sure there will be moral implications, but the advantages of cloning will exceed those concerns.
GOM: Do you think that we will *need* these kinds of technologies to survive? Which do you think constitutes the biggest threat, our laziness (ie, our apathy towards environmental issues), or our violent nature?
Dismantled: As the human race evolved, certain tools became necessities, such as the wheel for instance. As a species, we have always heavily relied on technology for survival. I don’t think this will change in the near future and thus, as the technology evolves, humans will embrace it and will also see it as a necessity. I think the biggest threat to human society at this moment is ignorance. As a group, humans are very ignorant and tend to rely on creature comforts for satisfaction (i.e. food, shelter, sex, etc) and ignore everything else unless it conflicts with these needs. Violence is also a strong part of our culture and I do believe that it could be responsible for our destruction (nuclear war, biological warfare, etc).
GOM: How old were you when you starting writing music, and which artists inspired you at the time?
Dismantled: I was first introduced to electronic music when I was 16 years old. There was a fairly elementary-level program called ‘Mixman’ in which you could create your own “mixes” by combining preset samples and so I messed with that for a little while. It served as my introduction to the world of electronic music. A year later, I discovered ‘Front Line Assembly’ and was absolutely blown away by the quality and richness of the music. Since that time, Front Line Assembly remained my primary inspiration although I believe the resulting music I made could still be set apart as somewhat different from Front Line Assembly.
GOM: I can certainly vouch for both the richness and quality of your music. I too was blown away when listening to ‘Survivor’ for exactly the same reasons. What were you trying to achieve with ‘Survivor’ when you first started composing it?
Dismantled: I try to make all of my songs have a certain theme in them and so I worked toward achieving that in ‘Survivor.’ The theme in ‘Survivor’ is certainly nuclear warfare and that can be clearly interpreted in the lyrical content of the song. In picking this theme, I wanted to deal primarily with the desperation of such an event, which is revealed in the first part of the song. In the second, where the vocals end and the more melodic half of the song kicks in, the focus shifts to the dramatic aspect of the event, the emotional intensity of seeing the devastation of nuclear war in the eyes of the survivor. This emotion is expressed by that melodic solo at the end and that is what makes the song stand out from other songs dealing with the same content (and there are a lot of them in the industrial genre!).
GOM: And what is it that the survivor feels at this moment?
Dismantled: Well, the particular image that I wanted to convey is of the last witness to the final nuclear blast which finally disintegrates him as he watches in awe at the power unleashed around him. So his primary feeling would be the kind of feeling any creature would feel when it is completely overwhelmed by forces beyond its control, primal fear.
GOM: Control is another theme which is often surfaces in industrial music. Do you think control is an illusion, almost a religion, something we take on faith yet never truly grasp?
Dismantled: I believe that control is a very natural way to establish conformity in human society and it only serves to derive a certain benefit to those who enforce it. Cleverly enough, most people conform to this control without questioning it at all so long as their basic needs are met. They are not concerned about how it is used or why it is there and that is what makes it the perfect tool to constricting our perceptions.
GOM: Do you think people *need* control in order to feel secure and safe, or do you favor a system based on anarchy?
Dismantled: Anarchy would certainly be absurd over the security and comfort control provides and it that sense, people certainly need to be controlled in order to prevent the kind of primitive order that will endure if anarchy was to replace our current government system. In the end, control will always prevail as it is human nature to take advantage of one another. Thus, if anarchy would endure, there would still be a group of people with an advantage who will enforce control upon others. A perfect example of this is in Colombia where there is currently anarchy but quite a lot of control from the drug lords oppressing the common people.
GOM: How did you come up with ‘Dismantle’? Is it significant that your biggest influence, “Front Line Assembly” has the word ‘Assembly’ (ie, to put together) in its title, and yours is about taking things apart?
Dismantled: I decided on the project name to be “dismantled” because I saw it fit with the way our society operates right now. Ironically, with the new wave of technological breakthrough, our society is actually declining in terms of moral standards and values. As we rely more on machines to do things for us, we are left with less work. I feel that this “dismantles” us as people in the sense that with less work to do, we often resort to releasing our primal urges. I feel that this is especially true in the US, a country that has never been ravaged by war and yet a country where there is more violence than in any other country in the world. Since I decided to deal with the issues of technology and human influence in my music, I felt that “dismantled” was the appropriate name for the band.
GOM: So you believe that a combination of boredom and spare time leads to violence and immoral behavior?
Dismantled: Yes. When a mind is let to roam free in the violent environment that we currently have, mostly influenced by the media, the mind, in extreme cases, may wander off to an unlikely extreme. The best example of this is obviously Columbine. While hundreds of kids get bullied everyday around the world, only in America do we see the kind of carnage as a response to bullying. When this is the primary influence and the victim does not have anything else to do with his time, violence is often the answer to the victim’s problems. So in this sense, we can see how machines “dismantle” humans to their most primitive urges and relieve them of any real work.
GOM: So if a politician came along vowing to get rid of machines and revert to manual labor, would you vote for them. Would this be a workable solution?
Dismantled: Certainly not. In terms of perspective, I’m entirely neutral with the whole situation and thus, I’m not concerned with finding a solution because I don’t believe there is one. I’m merely pointing out that machines are the reason for moral decline because it is a known fact. I strongly support technology and find that the future will be the only escape from the current human condition. Morality is certainly something which holds society together, to some extent, but it is something that will keep declining as the technology gets more advanced.
GOM: I’m a little confused. If morality will keep declining as technology advances, how will technology ultimately become the hero of the human condition?
Dismantled: Technology would eventually replace morality and thus relieve the human condition from the constrictions of morals, social norms, and emotional constraints. So in this way, the human condition would transform into a more robot-like existence which I believe is the next step for the human race.
GOM: So are we talking about morality being hard coded or programmed into us, thus making it impossible for people to be immoral? And if so, isn’t that a severe violation of free will (presuming we have free will, that’s another debate).
Dismantled: I don’t think morality is something that is inborn, I believe that every culture simply imposes morality in order to have some sort of base for defining normal behavior which is perfectly fine for keeping society in line. However, morality always seems to be the only reference point from which to perceive life. Immorality is the opposite and it, too, happens naturally by the way events unfold around the person. In this way, morality is currently the only central point on which we rely on to define what is right and wrong. With technology and robotics, humans no longer would have to focus on morality as its only source for right and wrong, they can simply deduce rationally what is most beneficial for their needs without relying on age-old norms to make decisions.
GOM: We’re running out of time so let’s talk just a little about how you write music. What inspires you? Do you write music with a definite theme in mind or do you just play with sounds and then evolve the theme as you go?
Dismantled: Anything that I experience certainly inspires me (books, movies, life in general) and usually when I sit down to write songs, I already have a theme in mind on how I want something to sound or a particular message I want to convey. This of course changes in the course of writing the song as I play around with different ideas but usually I have a theme in mind for my music.
GOM: What are you working on at the moment?
Dismantled: At this time I’m working on more material for my upcoming album and experimenting with more styles of music to convey my thoughts with. Right now I’ve got a kind of slow down-tempo track in the works and I will probably work on a slower ambient track later on.
GOM: I’m certainly looking forward to your Album release. Will the Album be a collection of singles or more like a story with the tracks flowing into each other?
Dismantled: I think it will be more like a story because I don’t believe in just making anything that sounds good and then adding vocals without any meaning to the work. I certainly want to develop a theme in the album and each song will convey a story.
GOM: Nice. Well i’d best let you go. Thank you sincerely for your time over the last week. I wish you all the best for your musical endeavors. I’ll be keenly watching your progress!
Dismantled: Thank you very much for taking the time conduct the interview, you’re a great person to talk to.
Be on the lookout for the upcoming CD release from ‘Dismantled’. For more information, visit their mp3.com web site.