Interviews > Adrian H and the Wounds
Interview by Jett Black

Photos Courtesy of: Steve Fritz

Jan 31, 2010, outside of The Fez Ballroom

Adrian H: vocals/lyricist/keys
Kelby Patterson: Synth/Noise
Shiggy: Guitar & Bass
Broken Heart: Percussion and wicked e-toy manipulation.

Recommendation: Knock this one back with a super-sized shot of Black Death Icelandic Schnapps!

Adrian H and the Wounds, via lyrical stories set often to melodic, and yet intermittently to abrasive music, explicate the most heartbreaking, most terrifying, and ironically the most beautifully sinister side of individual humanity. Perhaps emulating the fetish of Frank Miller for frenzied violence depicted within graphic Dark Horse novels such as the Sin City series, which pervasively features razor-sharp scenes of graven lines more black than white, and sparsely spattered uses of color only when appropriate; Adrian H, a brooding new independent music artist holding center stage, crafts a stylish atmosphere of dread from within the dark heart of noir nouveau; wicked stories and tangential charicatures built from extremes, based on humans at their very worst, and all accomplished with a most sincere artistic integrity that may make it difficult for more mainstream audio-slaves to digest. Perhaps volumes six and seven of the Sin City series would most closely approximate the transcendent climate of wildly imaginative story-telling set to the music unleashed by Adrian H and the Wounds.

Ready? Set! Now, let's go to Hell and Back with Booze, Broads, and Bullets: a featured interview with Adrian H and the Wounds; an arterial island steadfast against the lowered expectations of mainstream audio afficianados.

Any truth to those rumours claiming that you've been performing with Voltaire for a while now?

Adrian:    We hooked up with Voltaire about a year ago in both Seattle and in Portland. He had the full band at that time and we just hit it off. We were speaking with Voltaire after our first show together about the stress he was feeling at that time about showing up to a venue and finding that the opening bands sharing the same bill sometimes do not fit the genre and the bill; and how he really has no control over that happening. He was very pleased with Adrian H and the Wounds, and vice versa, and we've kept in touch. Since then, I have traveled and done solo shows with him; he does solo shows when not accompanied by his band. We heard recently that he was coming back into this region. We hooked up; we did Seattle a couple of nights ago and Portland this evening. It's comfortable all around; for the bill; for the venue; and for the bands involved. We're safe. No bizarre curve balls coming out to disrupt the theme of the evening, or how it all feels stylistically. For instance, we've played with metal bands...

Kelby:   Once, when we played a show recently in Seattle, at The Mix, there was another band at the venue which was a very hardcore, industrial band with a harder, guitar-driven edge that resulted in a cross-breed of genres; a real palate cleanser. And, yet, this makes it fresh for the listeners attending the live shows who may be expecting all the bands on the bill to sound very similar. Some of the sets we have done differ and vary, covering a wide spectrum of sound.

Adrian:    We tend to tweek our sets. If we're with Voltaire, something like tonight; straight-up, a little bit of the darker, very animated approach. If, instead we know that we will be playing with violins and acoustic piano, we will do more of a steam punk approach with deconstruction of the same songs. If we happen to know that we will be with guitars and lots of digital gear; samplers, and stuff, then we will pick it up a notch, add in distortion, pick up the pacing of the music, make it a lot faster. A lot of the new material that we are currently working on will reflect this same pattern of functional variety where one version of a song will appear on the CD and yet multiple alternative versions will be deployed to meet the demands of the given live audience. Basically, we remix or re-invent our own material when performing live. Different versions for different live settings helps to keep us fresh, challenged, and on our toes.

How long has the current line-up been gelling together?

Adrian:    The current line up, including Kelby, has been about eight months. Prior to that point, we picked up Shiggy. And George [Broken Heart] and myself are the ones who met first; we did not hit it off at all. He didn't understand my music, and I picked up on that as we were sort of trying to feel out the mutual vibe while playing around. I invited him to come to one of my solo shows. According to George, while taking it in from the perspective of being a member of the audience, he was better able to piece it together, connecting all the dots to the point that it finally made sense. I was very wary because this is a piano-based band. The kit is merely there to do the back beat. What was missing was a bass player to do the bottom-end, but not just a straight-up bass; we needed someone who could really manipulate the bass. Shiggy is from the guitar world. I asked him if he could pick up the bass instead of the guitar. In my mind if I could get a guitarist who could do on the bass what he does on the guitar; that's what he added to the sound. And then the final piece was Kelby; that last obstacle of really patching it all together was finally overcome. I'm really proud of the guys in the band. We work well together, developing an interesting sound based upon a mutual understanding or common philosophy about what we are trying to accomplish.

::fans passing by, soliciting attention, giving feedback::

Pretty-girl comments:

Great show; and, by the way, it's so nice to see a band with an original sound. That's like, pretty fantastic!

Adrian:    Thank you. Thank you so much! ::pointing as the girl walks away:: That's what we want! I don't care what you call us, or how you choose to categorize our sound; if someone can come up to us just off the street and say that we're "original", "fresh", or "different"; that's what it's about.

Musicians hammering away in the music studio, then?

Adrian:    Fortunately, we have lots of song material to consider. We're coming out soon with our sophomore CD; we're currently in the process of arranging the songs and securing the rights. With about 15+ songs in the queue for consideration, we're shooting for seven to ten tracks on the next album with ballad styles and pacing that feel more like "Murder in the Forest" and "Cookies and Cocaine".

How about that Mary Poppins song we heard this evening?

Adrian:    Chim Chim Cher-ee? We will be recording that for sure. Everyone seems to love it. It started as a sound-check song. And we kept it.

Adrian, I understand you hail originally from Texas. Where in Texas?

Adrian H:    Corpus Christi TX.

South of San Antonio, connected by route I-37; Southwest of Houston, connected by route SR 77, and facing Corpus Christi Bay from the southwest angle, Corpus Christi (proper) thrusts a large Sumerian nose defiantly into the salty bay; daring the meandering forces of nature, ever-present amid the Gulf of Mexico, to bring forth the very worst that the spinning fates can possibly muster. Corpus Christi, Texas, by daylight exhibits asphalt and concrete, effecting the predominant features of the topography otherwise populated by malnourished neighborhood lawns policed throughout only by the affirmative action of largely symbolic trees which appear consumately preoccupied with the business of choking the sparse value of ground water up into the hedged foliage that provides modest shading for many bleach-water pools polka-dotting the paved urban landscape.

Adrian, how do music venues and live music promotions in the NW differ from comparable experiences in Texas? And, what did you take away from those experiences in Texas?

Adrian H:    I played in my first bands in Texas. Corpus Christi, Austin, Dallas. Good friends and good lessons. A great place to cut one's musical teeth. Texas is less united as a scene. Larger state, less connected.

Dallas, Texas (this writer's old stomping grounds), along with the state's capital of Austin, situated midway between Corpus Christi and Dallas, may have contributed more to Adrian H's song writing material than Portland, Oregon. Personally, as a native of North Texas who re-located to a suburb of Portland, Oregon 10 years ago, Texas compares criminally not so well with cities in the NW region of these united states in that, where Texas is concerned, the penalties for violent crimes and sexually based offenses tend to reflect more severity in a climate where tempers flare up instantly, and then hauntingly burn with frenzied animation like bone-dry tinderwood set ablaze for the entertainment of spectators.

Why re-locate to the Pacific Northwest?

Adrian H:    I traveled and lived throughout the US. I discovered Portland upon searching for Universities to complete my studies in Philosophy. I transferred to PSU and the rest is history.

How has Adrian H and the Wounds evolved since releasing a self-titled debut early in 2009?

Adrian H:    It's taken me a long time to find 'The Wounds'. I began performing/recording solo due to a lack of understanding/interest by other musicians. I was fortunate to meet Broken Heart by way of mutual friends, and then he introduced me to Shiggy... and there it was, 'The Wounds'. Kelby joined a few months later and here we are.

Saxaphone: Just a studio feature? Or, are you able to bring saxaphone into live performances from time to time?

Adrian H:    The Raptor!! He's our go-to sax guy. Yes, he performs live with us on special occasions. The man is sick on that horn!!

Tell us a little more about this common philosophy that the current band members share together?

Adrian H:    We want to tell stories. Dark, creepy, surreal stories. Here's one way to put it: Imagine a child, whose friend's father was giving a ride home from a play date; and in the car he slipped his hands between her legs and told her to keep it a secret. If you can imagine the sense of fear and confusion, disgust and revulsion that was felt within that child. That's what we want to make our audience feel; Intensity, fear, love, lust.

What is the backing story behind The Old Church? Any relationship to Portland's "The Old Church"?

Adrian H:    No. No connection. Just a story about a man and a girl who happens to live up the hill from the old church by the road.

"Cookies and Cocaine": My imagination brings up Suicide Girls when I hear this song. just a coincidence? Or, could you imagine setting out on a joint live tour with the Suicide Girls?

Adrian H:    Love me some Suicide Girls!! We will be releasing a video for C&C in the next few weeks and there will be a few cameo's from gogo dancer's shot in the LA underground club scene.

Broken Heart, please tell us about circuit bending Becky.

Broken Heart:    I'd prefer to let Becky speak for herself, but she's bar hopping. She'd resent being called "Circuit Bent" because she's not. I built her myself, from my own design. We have the same relationship as Vincent Price and Johnny Depp. Circuit bending is when you commandeer the sound components from a toy and make them do your bidding. I have nothing against that, but that's not Becky.

Kelby, what are you doing in that claustrophobic back corner of the stage? Also, please tell us about your gear.

Kelby:    Losing myself in the music and losing my cables in the dark; Axis TI2 synth; Triton Extreme; Onyx 1220 Mixer, and, for Adrian, a Nord Stage 888EX.

Executing their contributions to the music with devastating grace, The Wounds blanket the intensely vibrant and visceral figure of Adrian H like a velveteen backdrop beneath a broken, yet still beating heart.

Shiggy, Adrian has told me (very little) about your history in music as a guitarist, and yet now we find you busy manipulating the bass? What's that about? What do you do differently with the instrument as compared to a straight-up bass player?

Shiggy:    I make it sing and groan, man. I supply the bottom end, but it may be more atmospheric than rhythmic.

Adrian, regarding the appearance of new music: Which new songs have you introduced to live audiences this year?

Adrian H:    We have introduced a few covers: "Chim Chim Cher-ee"; "Border Patrol"; and some trial versions of songs from our upcoming CD release including, "The Nasties"; "Old Church II"; and "Memory" which is a song taken from Where The Robin Rapes The Sparrow; a part of my solo catalog.

How long before beginning production on the next album?

Adrian H:    We have already commenced.

How do you intend to convert the wallflowers into more rabid fans of the live music experience?

Adrian H:    Sing to them personally.

Describe some of the challenges you've found recurring most during live performances.

Adrian H:    Sound mix. Sound mix. Sound mix. Always a challenge. Any audio engineers reading this looking for work?? Call me!!

What changes have you chosen to make that have helped the band to accomplish specific milestones

Adrian H:    Compose as a whole. One entity, one machine working together.

Outside of the live experience, what avenues do you find fans are using most to interact with you about your music?

Adrian H:    It's all about the Internet.

What consideration have you given to the distribution and licensing of your music into outlets such as film, television?

Adrian H:    We have sold a few songs to films most recently, 'Brutal Beauty - Tales of The Rose City Rollers' a documentary about Portland Roller Derby.

What successes have you had with distributing music to radio outlets; such as internet, commercial, and college radio?

Adrian H:    That's always a constant struggle. Takes a lot of work. Everyday I spend some a few hours plugging away at any and all outlets.

How does assist you with music sales and/or distribution of your music?

Adrian H:    CDBaby is the-shit. They are extremely supportive and user friendly. We are all fortunate to have them.

What upcoming gigs have been confirmed in the NW?

In Portland, Oregon:
February 18th @ Berbati's Pan - w/ Christian Death
Febuary 27 @ Berbati's Pan - w/ Two Ton Boa .

After that its back into the studio.

Readers interested in the human dark side, and yet who may also be constantly rushing between destinations, will be delighted by the pacing of new music by Adrian H and the Wounds because, unlike many of Frank Miller's works which often include scenes that drag on far too long, Adrian H and the Wounds tend to convey each short story within the space of just a few minutes, and an entire volume of such collective stories may be digested in well under an hour.

Tune-in on the web via the following links:

Adrian H and the Wounds
Adrian H (solo):
Where The Robin Rapes The Sparrow (2006)