Industrial revolution in Cape Town

Posted: June 16, 2010 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

First published in Cape Times, 4 June 2010

Followers of alternative and industrial music, and all things weird and somewhat gory, are in for a treat on Saturday night.  On 5 June TERMINATRYX and AXXON will descent on Claremont’s Phoenix Lounge, which is celebrated for supporting the alternative music scene in Cape Town.   TERMINATRYX which consists of  Sonja Ruppersberg on lead vocals, Paul Andre Blom on bass guitar and backing vocals, Patrick Davidson on guitar and Ronnie Belcher on drums, has been smashing up the dance floor since 2002.  Paul says it’s difficult to exactly pin down their music genre, “It is primarily a blend of Industrial and Metal derivatives, with our own twist, but in some songs various styles like Gothic and Hardcore slide into the fray which makes it far less straight forward.” he explains.

They are joined by Stephen Green, Cathryn Golby and Kevin James King of the group AXXON who describe their music as, ‘grinding, industrial guitar meld with catchy synthesizer hooks, heavy pounding beats and aggressive vocals which all create a sound that is as caustic as it is danceable and listenable’.

And if this is not frantic enough, Ms Demeanour & The Squid Circus will be providing live entertainment.  Miss Demeanour is a performance artist and alternative model that incorporates burlesque, grotesque and bloody acts into the alternative entertainment scene.  For giggles she’ll do a bit of fire manipulation and angle grinding, and there’s that act that involves an octopus and metal hooks through her flesh.  Oh, and she has also recently surgically forked her tongue.  She says she, ‘strives to create performances that challenge preconceived perceptions which forces the audience away from the security of what society dictates; into a world filled with imagination and emotion’.  In world gone bonkers over political correctness, and the bloody battle for freedom of speech, it sounds like just the ticket to warm up a Saturday night.

Sick of what they call they call the ‘barrage of pandering radio-pop and commercial love songs’, Paul and Sonja created TERMINATRYX in 2002, blending their love for electronic music with that of the moods created by Sci-Fi and horror movies.  Paul says he has been playing music since the mid eighties. “The main thing I love about playing live with TERMINATRYX,” Paul explains, “Is that each show is like a battle where you try to win over someone new and give them something memorable, something new, unique and enriching which they can take with them. We want people to like our music because they do, not by tricking them into it. And of course I love creating something with Sonja and our friends Patrick and Ronnie.  Playing live is an activity you need to tame and control for the entire show, as it has so many possibilities to go wrong, from technical disasters to equipment failure, to going up against another show at the other end of town which can split the fan-base;  no-one is immune. It’s great when the show’s momentum really rolls along smoothly, but only once the show is over and all went well, do I feel true satisfaction.”

Paul and Sonja have been dating for over a decade and married for five years.  They epitomise the romantic gothic image and they fully embrace the lifestyle.   Are they a pair of antisocial blood-sucking vampire drop-outs as the uninitiated sometimes regard Goths?  Hardly, between the two of them they have not only found TERMINATRYX which has travelled overseas, but they also found, and annually direct, the HORRORFEST in Cape Town which is in its sixth year, they have also created short horror films and music albums.

Sonja who looks as if she’s just stepped out of the Nosferato movie says the advantages of working together as husband and wife team far outweigh the disadvantages. “We have the same goals and views,” she explains. “And that makes us a formidable team.  Sometimes when it gets to crunch time we get on one another’s nerves but we share in all the success and help one another through the disappointments. I would not want it any other way.  I love being married.”

Sonja says the Goth subculture is very small in Cape Town. “There are a lot of transitional Goths – mostly youngsters experimenting – but the real Goths are always there,” she says. “They are the same people that I have known for the last ten to fifteen years.  From my experience the Goth subcultures are bigger in Johannesburg and Durban. Goth is not something that you choose, it chooses you.”  Sonja feels that Alternative music caters for a minority group that has been neglected. “It’s great to be able to offer an alternative to everything else. My passion is the survival and continuation of the underground and my ability to contribute,” she explains.

Paul says his fascination with alternative and ‘dark’ music is simply something that sits right with him. “It’s like watching, or making, strange, dark and challenging movies. Dark and Alternative music’s usually more questioning, more introspective and intelligent, as opposed to pandering cheap, repetitive, instant music designed for mindless listening and cashing in,” he explains. “Like philosophy and psychology are heavy subjects, Alternative music can be equally dark in that it explores avenues people choose to avoid. Blissful ignorance is no way to live. We are by no means morbid sulkers – on the contrary. Writing songs about being on the dance-floor, your car’s rims, or how much money you make is a foreign subject to us.”

Left to right, Ronnie Belcher, Sonja Ruppersber, Paul Andre Blom and Patrick Davidson. Terminatryx

What is next for TERMINATRYX? “We are releasing the remixes of our debut album by a range of international re-mixers. It is a very exciting project and includes everyone from Sigue Sigue Sputnik (UK), Industriezone (Austria), Sheep On Drugs (UK), and local acts like Battery 9, NuL, AXXON, K.O.B.U.S., and more.”

You can also catch them again at this year’s OppiKoppi from 6-8 August.

* Tickets are R30.00 and patrons can pay at the door, Phoenix Lounge, 14 Stegman Road, Claremont.  The show starts at 21h00.  For more information visit  www.TERMINATRYX.com or contact Paul via info@flamedrop.com.

The end.

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