Bart Coninckx of Controversial talks to Loudstuff after a review of their Album Second Genesis last month. Controversial is an underground Industrial project based in Belgium, recently signed to Cleopatra Records.
How would you describe your music?
Though we are stylistically sometimes compared to acts like Ministry, Fear Factory and Wumpscut (which is very flattering), I think we have our own unique set of musical properties setting us apart of other projects. We do mix electronics and metal, much like for instance Die Krupps do, but we have no real set musical pathways to follow. For instance, where other bands work towards getting a typical guitar sound, or a typical drum sound, we pick those for every song, so they are always different. The song is actually the core of our entire composing process. What the songs demands, we give it, while not fearing to be accused of being all over the place. Also, for the Second Genesis album, we gave spoken samples a real central role, as if they are a musical instrument by themselves. As such we have songs with no vocals, except for spoken samples.
Tell us about the history of the project…
I (Bart) have had musical ambitions from a young age. In my teen years I learned to play the guitar by myself, but money was always an obstacle. To get to a modicum of good hardware, one needs to spend a modicum of good money, which I did not have.
During college I formed a band just for the excuse to go gig with it, but we just did covers. Great fun, but nothing really serious.
The first incarnation of what was to become Controversial happened somewhere in between 2000 and 2004 (we even have songs from that area, or at least parts there of). At first I was supposed to do this with two buddies of mine, but one switched interests and the other … well, let’s say that at that moment I discovered that I could not work with anybody else, to be fair, at least not in the same room. The main hinderance back then however was actually a medical condition that overshadowed my life for 27 years and which drained so much of my energy that it was very difficult to be creative in any way. I had to wait untill Is was 41 before this got sorted and not much later I decided to invest again in a home studio. Not a lot later Second Genesis was born. My love for music got rekindled and, though with a long pause in between, I got to enjoy the wonderful process which music creation is again. I don’t think I will stop any time soon.
What are your influences & musical heroes?
They are a bit all over the place. We’re not limited to any particular genre, though we like metal and industrial. To name a few : Ministry, old Metallica, The Sisters of Mercy, Pro-Pain, Tiamat, Dire Straits, Front Line Assembly, Suicide Commando, Front 242, Die Krupps …
What inspires you?
We love the dark side. We are also a Left Hand Path inspired band. I think you can say our inspirations are either from an emotional point of view or from an ideological/sociological point of view. We have no limitations on lyrical contexts, anything goes. Hence also why we are called “Controversial”.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
We still have to start gigging, but I imagine the faster ones like Commercial Breakdown or Suffering Unseen.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
We are very underground, so we would like to remain very underground. Doing support for Front Line Assembly would be … unreal. But joining the likes of Suicide Commando would be awesome. They have the kind of status we would like to have: known all over the globe but definitely with that underground status.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
Get back to us one year from now 🙂
What are your future plans?
We just signed with Cleopatra Records and though they will take care of marketing and publicity, we will also spend a lot of time getting our album known all over the world. We hope to produce a video for Suffering Unseen before the summer. Then, coming summer we will start production of our second album. We need one before we can start gigging, as there are a lot of songs without vocals on the first album and those songs are difficult to convey on a stage. After that we hope it will be a pretty steady cycle of producing a record and then performing it.