One of my strongest memories in my early days of getting into rock and metal back in the early 2000s was being glued to Scuzz watching the awesome videos that accompanied Rammstein’s unique brand of industrial metal.
And those memories of the weird mine location and lady in the blue dress in Sonne and bank robbers in Ich Will are flooding through my memory upon being introduced to London-based industrial metal trio Were I Blind.
Like their German peers, this band exudes intrigue. For starters, the band name itself is, in their words, ‘an analogy of the concept of how society is being subliminally controlled through media and how we/society are continually becoming more blind to what is actually going on in the world by feeding our egos with materialistic gains and likes on social media.’ So there.
Then there’s the unusual line-up, given frontman OC Preciado, the former drummer of Breed77 and Reverted, is also behind the kit and he’s joined by two guitarists in fellow Spaniard Alberto Marin and Andrew Trewin, who are also busy with various exciting projects of their own. And finally, there’s the sound, which brings to life OC’s long-held desire to combine his love for electronica and heavy rock.
In his words: “One day I decided it was time to stop just ‘wanting’ and start ‘doing,’ so I bought myself a midi keyboard and started playing around with sounds. I was already pretty good at programming drums from playing in previous bands, which always came in handy for songwriting purposes, so the rest was pretty natural to me. It was all about finding cool sounds and creating ideas then matching them with some drums and guitar riffs. The guitar was the last instrument I picked, not that I’m any good at it but enough to come up with some guitar riffs and ideas which later I’d show to Alberto or Andrew, both experts, who’d then do their own, much better thing.”
When you consider their key musical influences range from the likes of the aforementioned Rammstein, Faithless, Korn, Rob Zombie and Snot through to Beastie Boys, The Prodigy, Chikane and Paul Van Dyk, you know something pretty intriguing is being concocted.
Last year’s debut, self-titled album ranges from an awesome cover version of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence, through to tackling themes as diverse as Brexit on Heading for Disaster and terrorism on Imploding Lies. That’s in addition to tracks called Not Quite A Song I and Not Quite A Song II, plus a self-titled song that goes from cool high-pitched vocals with EDM beats in the background to rapped vocals over guitar chords and synthy noises.
But their diverse sound is probably best portrayed on the exciting Imploding Lies, which jumps from big singalong vocals supported by big synthy noises and booming industrial riffs to trancey sounds followed by huge screamed vocals. Check it out in the video below.
The Were I Blind project sees OC pick up the vocals for the first time, alongside his drumming duties, as he explains: “Vocally I never took myself ‘seriously’ as a singer until this project. Although I’ve been doing backing vocals and a lot of shower singing for quite some time, I always say I don’t have what I call a ‘singer’s pride’ because I’m so new at it and I’m doing it purely for the songs, using my voice as another instrument rather than as the main focus.
“I learned to sing what’s in me and feel comfortable with my own voice and slowly became fascinated by the whole art, it is quite a discipline and quite physical on its own – mix that with drumming and shit gets very interesting! Also, to be honest I didn’t start this project knowing I’d end up as the frontman, I originally wanted to find someone else and just stick to drums, but the more I was writing music and exploring my voice the more comfortable I got until I decided I’d put myself up for the challenge. So far it’s been as incredibly difficult and demanding as it has been rewarding and fun!”
Two things that pop up high on the Were I Blind barometer are fun and energy. As OC tells us: “I don’t over think it, not because there’s anything wrong in doing that but because it’s just not our style. I mean we are not a super progressive and technical type of band, we are more like a fun ‘come here let’s fucking do this!’ type.
“In a way, we’re lucky we have a very solid and defined style all three of us are comfortable with. We know what we want and how to obtain it. We take a lot of pride in our sound and dynamics and a lot of the time a good story gives you good direction, keeps the mess organised and presentable.”
But when it comes to their lyrics things get a little more deep and technical. As OC explains: “I like to keep our lyrics honest, real and personal. I find beauty in simple yet deep and meaningful words, I guess because I admire writers who can say a lot with few words. What inspires me the most is the thought of connecting with peoples’ minds and hearts, I like to write about things that we can all relate to. It doesn’t need to be the smartest subject, in fact probably what triggers me is the simplest things, thoughts, and feelings.
“Even when talking about more complex subjects our main focus remains on the feelings of anger, pride and egos and the attempt to figure them all out. I guess our approach would be a bit more psychological and philosophical than it would be political or scientific. The only way this makes any sense to me is talking about my personal thoughts and feelings, I think for a band whose main purpose is to have it’s own sound and voice, being truthful and as honest and open as you can be is the only rule not to be broken!”
You can witness the unique Were I Blind sound for yourself as they play The Black Heart in Camden tomorrow night (14 March), which also happens to be OC’s birthday. Tickets are available here.