Some bands want to rock your face off. Some want to make you swoon with emotion. And still others are just looking to scare you half to death. Genessier, the new project featuring Ryan Policky of A Shoreline Dream and Eddie Breidenbach of the Omens, fits in that last category. "I used to work at haunted houses, and, shit, that would be an environment of just complete scary-ass sounds all the time," says Policky. "It kind of inspired me to want to do this shit, like, 'I want to make some music that fucking can be played in a haunted house, and scare the shit out of people.'"
Policky, perhaps best known as the singer-guitarist for A Shoreline Dream, and Eddie Breidenbach (of The Omens) had previously worked together on the Parallel Light, which makes dreamlike sci-fi soundtracks for movies that don't exist. The two took that haunted house inspiration out clubbing and the result was the birth of Genessier.
"We'd been going to a lot of goth nights and that was a lot of my upbringing, going to goth night all the time," Policky recalls. "I always was into Skinny Puppy and scary-ass music that gave me nightmares. So we were like, 'let's do a project that's the complete opposite of the Parallel Light, that's a nightmare project, that's all nightmares and scary as hell.'"
Unlike The Parallel Light, whose tracks are typically composed to complement a classic science fiction film playing while the duo records, Genessier tracks are not quite so visually inspired. The dark, disturbing tonalities and machine beats of this act are more about conjuring a particular sense of place.
"This project is sort of inspired more by an environment -- being in the basement, being in a scary warehouse -- just putting ourselves in different environments and seeing what would sound scary," Breidenbach explains. "[Like] would this sound even scarier if it sounded like it was coming from a basement?"
Or as Policky puts it: "I haven't been watching visuals at all. We were just trying to come up with the scariest sounds we could do on our synths. We've just been been trying to dive into the demon-dragon times. [laughs]"
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Of course, that doesn't mean that film doesn't inspire Genessier at all. Lurking within the tracks you'll hear some samples that certainly sound like they originated in some kind of horror movie. Then there's that name, which plenty of horror fans will recognize straight away. "It comes from the movie Eyes Without a Face, one of the characters in there," Policky reveals. "That movie's just weird. That's why we went with that name -- it totally matches the vibe. It's just dark and weird."
Dark industrial isn't exactly a musical niche that gets a lot of attention these days, but they aren't concerned with that. For them, this is a labor of love. And the way Policky sees it, they can't be the only ones out there who remember the dark, savage joys of brutal beats and distorted synthesizers.
"I think that people will take it for what it is," he says. "I think the old-school Skinny Puppy fans and that kind of deal will like what we're doing, because we're trying to dive into that really gritty, dark 'dungeon in the basement' sort of sound."
Then of course, there's always the pleasure of subverting people's expectations as an added bonus. "I think it's good to throw people off, too -- like, 'Holy shit! These guys that are doing atmospheric music are now doing scary, hard rip your head off music!'" he says with a laugh.
Once the band has compiled enough songs -- they have three in the can now, with more material in the works -- they plan a limited physical release via Latenight Weeknight records, as well as the now typical digital release online. After that, if they can work the kinks out, you may get a chance to be scared shitless via Genessier live at some point.
"We'd like to play some shows. We've been kind of thinking about how to make it scary as hell live," Policky says. "We want to do it for sure, once we have enough songs."
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