It was the year 1995 and the Industrial music scene was graced with the presence of a new artist with the attitude typical of the genre but masked behind the varied female vocals of Shikhee. This solo artist formed what is now known as Android Lust
. Three years later she would release her debut album Resolution
. With the release of this album there was no great fame that spread throughout the world, but a slowly growing cult following in the underground music scene. Over the years since 1998 a remix album has been released and then in 2002 we were presented with the CD single The Want
and the release of her sophomore work The Dividing
Less than a year after these releases Projekt
records surprised us all with the announcement of the re-release of The Dividing
. Many know that Projekt
is the home for many great Gothic, Ethereal and Ambient musicians, so to have Android Lust
sign was quite a surprise. While the music of a few songs from their albums would fit perfectly within the typical musical genres on this label, the majority of the music is Electronic Industrial with an edge in the vocals and music.
For my personal tastes this is a great combination, and I'm glad to see Projekt
pick up this artist to broaden the musical tastes of regular Gothic music lovers and break the mold and genre barriers. The history of this project doesn't stop with this release, but continues on. 2004 witnessed the release of another remix album Stripped and Stictched
and was closely followed by the next single in 2005 Dragonfly
. This single is the pre-cursor to the up-coming album due out the first part of 2006 titled Devour, Rise and Take Flight
. In between writing all of this music she teamed up with a group of live musicians and has done some touring around including a first-ever west-coast tour in the winter of 2005. Check out more info on the official website and of course the great music right here on Gothic Paradise radio.
Devour, Rise and Take Flight - Review
Following up her 2002 release Dividing
, Shikhee is back in 2006 with another unique creation.
This new album is everything that fans have been looking for and more. It comes packaged in a nice digipack with a 16 page booklet containing images, lyrics and credits for all the great info behind the music on this album.
For those familiar with this project, it's probably easiest to start with how this album relates to previous works. It is similar to The Dividing
in some ways and completely different in many others. The basic element that remains the same is the eclectic nature of this album digging into the grinding, emotional industrial fray at one moment and gliding through the ether with Shikhee's silky smooth or whispering vocals. The album kicks off with a perfect example of this eclectic nature, starting with a slow, pulsating experimental beat with "Lover Thine" and dives immediately into a harsh, industrial onslaught with grinding guitars and edgy electronics providing a basis for the ripping vocals. On top of this "all-in-one" experimental track, when you throw in the over-the-top piece "The Body" and immediately follow it by the ambient, almost dreamy experimental piece "Leah", then you really don't know where you'll be heading from one moment to the next.
Even with all of the diversity that this album drags the listener through, somehow there is a sense of cohesion amongst it all. "Lover Thine" fades and gives way to probably the most dance-friendly piece on the album and, as Shikhee put it in a recent interview, an almost humorous track in "Hole Solution". The beat moves on through a somewhat somber, but at the same time up-beat tone that makes it this accessible and club-friendly piece with almost an electro-pop style. But if you really want to hear what Android Lust
is all about, then I would defer to the next track and popular single from this album "Dragonfly". It starts out with the subtle electronic beat slowly building and including distortion through guitar, electronics and the vocals. The way this piece flows along so well and builds and fades so much adds such an awesome dynamic that really makes it a catchy track. Along these same lines we're led through another musical adventure in "Fell the Empty Mask" which is another key industrial anchor piece and features Shikhee at her most expressive self in her vocals.
If you're looking for the softer and smoother side of this project, there's still definitely plenty of tracks to satiate your tastes with the ambient piece "Leah" and immediately followed by "Sense of it All" which builds and fades, but always remaining a downtempo, emotional and ethereal electronic piece. As the album wraps up with "Unrecognizable" and a final untitled track, we're left with an extreme all-out emotional onslaught through these two beautiful pieces. I'm not sure why the title of the finale to this album is left out, but it has easily become a favorite of mine with the awesome smooth guitar work and the simple and straight-forward vocals that seems to be a rarity from this talented artist. This is a great way to wrap up the album and should prove to be something not easily forgotten by fans.
In summary this is another great work presenting plenty of what we knew we could expect from Android Lust
. For those in public radio or other circumstances that matter, the vulgarities in "Lover Thine" and "The Body" become drawbacks. The listener has to be in the mood for an experimental sound when you put this disc on, because there's plenty here, but it's all well balanced through the album formaing a nice piece of work that people can really enjoy.
Interview - Dec. 1, 2005
On December 1st after a concert featuring Android Lust
I found some time to sit down with Shikhee, the mind, composer and voice behind this eclectic industrial project. The following is a transcript of the interview:
I'm sitting here with Shikhee of Android Lust
who has just finished playing their last show of the west coast tour. So, how are you feeling?
Tired! (laughs) It was fun to come out here. We've only played in Las Vegas before, so this is the first time we've played all the way out to the west coast.  It was great, we've seen a lot of great people we've met that we've only talked to online and fans that have emailed us.  Some people we knew that have moved out here, so this is good, we've had a lot of fun.
Well, I've heard about your adventure of two flat tires, two snow storms, your health...
We've dubbed it the plague tour (laughs). Anything that can go wrong has happened, it started off rocky with a flat tire on our way to Denver and stayed rocky. Before our San Francisco show I had a fever of 101 degrees and so I was all dosed up on all kinds of medicine. And I did the show and lost my voice so I went to the doctor the next morning and I had a throat infection and ear infection. So we cancelled the Vegas show so we could for sure at least do the L.A. show and I stopped talking for four days.
I'm sure most people that read this don't want to just read about you and I shooting the breeze, so let's get down to the questions about the music. Tonight's band lineup played great and you managed to pull it off and sing great, are they involved in your studio work?
No. On the new album there is one song that I wrote with Chris (the drummer tonight). I've been working with him for the last six or seven years. He started off as my live keyboard player and has moved to playing drums and this is the first time we've actually actively wrote something. There was one song before with Stripped and Stiched
, it was a song that I had partially written for The Dividing
, but I had never finished it because for some reason that song just wasn't going anywhere. So he asked to see what he could do with it and he did something that just opened up the channels and I was able to finish it. But otherwise Bret is new he's playing live bass and Marshal is new he's playing live keys, guitar and backing vocals, I used to have Trevor on keys but he couldn't make this tour. Chris and I actually mixed the new album, so he was involved in the mixing.
Do you think you'll use them more in future work?
I don't know, I've used other people in the past as guest musicians, including the new album Devour, rise and take flight
, my old guitarist from when Android Lust
first started and I called him and he played acoustic guitar on some tracks.
Well that's great... like I say they did a great job tonight. And I guess it just lends itself to your good writing. Let's dig a little deeper and talk some more about your music, I want to get kind of get inside your head a little and forgive me for referencing your size, but you're so petite and fragile looking, but you just have so much rage and emotion. Is music kind of your outlet? Because I don't see you as always being an angry person... not really angry...
...Intense, yes, I'm pretty intense. I don't really take the middle road on anything, I'm pretty extreme and for me it's like writing is a cathartic process, if I don't write for a while I'm really unpleasant to be around (laughs). So yes it really is a release.
So are you going to take a nice long break now after all of this?
No... not really, I took a long break after The Dividing
and it was really hard to get back into it. Although I didn't take as long to write Devour
as The Dividing
, for some reason I had a lot of blocks writing that album. You know I'm planning on starting pretty soon, getting some new gear and it should be interesting...
OK, let's move on to the single Dragonfly
, what was going on in your head as you wrote this? What brought out the lyrics and the music?
The music... when I sit down to write on keyboard or guitar or whatever I don't really have a pre-conceived notion, sometimes I do... but most of the time I don't, I play and when something resonates I think "OK, this is something I can use" and so I take that piece and I build on that. It has to resonate with me in such a way, it has to take me to another place, kind of to take me outside... it's weird to articulate, I just know when it's there.
That's great... I understand, and I think anyone who reads this that has really gotten into music, either listened or wrote anything will understand.
Yeah, it just really has to take you away from the mundane, everyday... it has to elevate you. I think all art does that.
So is it day-to-day influences that you then channel into your music?
Some things affect me more than others, like on Devour, rise and take flight
is a much bolder album than The Dividing
, whereas The Dividing
is a bit introverted, Devour
is completely not so and I think lyrically it is also more direct, I think in the past my lyrics were almost always a little shrouded, it's not always easy to reveal yourself too much. Where now I feel like it's OK and I don't feel as... shy.
OK, well your music style is kind of all over the place. I know that with my two radio shows and as a DJ I've been able to put some of your tracks on it and throw some on my club show and at the dance club that's hard industrial and you saw them out there moshing tonight. I can't help but think and especially with The Dividing
there were a lot of comparisons drawn between your music and that of Nine Inch Nails
who often do some of the same broad range of musical styles. Do you feel like that's coincidence, do you feel like they have a big influence on your music, or do you think you and Trent just kind of think alike?
I definitely like NIN
, my first love, or I was heavily influenced by David Bowie, PJ Harvey
, Nine Inch Nails
and Skinny Puppy
. And I think many people draw the comparison because NIN
does go all over the place and I personally get really bored doing just one style. And a lot of people do create music with different styles with different side-projects, but I think that's just stupid, because if you have one project with more than one style it just adds more depth to you and your music and what you do. And everyone is really multi-faceted, sometimes I'll be totally into thrash mode and sometimes I'll be into something really mellow, and it all depends on the mood and it's all me and so it's all Android Lust
Looking back at your career are you happy with what you've done, is there anything you would change or do you feel like you're happy with it and just want to move on?
When I do listen to my older stuff I do cringe (laughs). It's just like... oh it sounds so bad, in my early work I was very much into the electro-industrial music. I got into the scene in the mid-nineties, but industrial is not what it was back then it has changed and so I can't just go back and do the same thing, it just feels wrong to me. If I start doing the same thing I just feel like I've done this before and feel like I'm cheating. For that reason I purposefully left out any piano on The Dividing
, I limited myself so that I would find other avenues, other ways to write, because who wants to be stale? And if you can't enjoy it, if you can't get excited about it, what's the point?
What will really make you happy? I mean will I ever hear something that's not necessarily poppy, but...
I think "Stained" was kind of poppy, it has that poppish structure of verse chorus verse...
It's definitely more pop-oriented, but I wouldn't say it's upbeat, I mean when I hear "I just want to see you dead", I can't see you sitting there with a smile on your face... you definitely weren't very happy.
I was very honest when I wrote that song, at the time I really felt like I wanted to see that person dead (laughs). But you know, when I'm happy I don't really feel the urge to go into the studio and write. It's just all the bad stuff that happens that I just need to write and I get unpleasant and I get more and more miserable, and sometimes the more miserable I am I get writers block and I've learned to scale back, that's partly why The Dividing
took so long.  And in fact Devour...
even has some humorous moments in it, including "Hole Solution" from the single, even though it's the most abrasive track, it has some humour in it.
Let's talk a bit about your fame and you feel about it. I mean, for example I didn't ever used to watch NCIS
until Sam came out on the Projekt
email list and mentioned Android Lust
would be mentioned and played on the show. So I turned it on and have watched it every week now. There's that and MTV has now played Stained
, and of course Stained
has just really taken off both as a video and as a single on the album. Obviously it has to be pleasing to hear that, but does it affect you in any other ways? I mean do you think "Yes! Great!", or do you feel like you're not sure you want the "mainstream" attention?
No, it's really great because I write on my own, I'm stuck in one room, so when people respond positively it feels great, because there's a connection. It's great because I'm not really good with people, I've always been kind of shy, what you see on stage and off stage is completely different, so it's great when people identify with something and come and say they like it, it means a lot to me.
Well I had about a dozen other questions, but we've had a good chat and I've read many of your other interviews and feel like all the normal questions have been asked, so we'll end here, hopefully it's been worth your time.
Yes, it's been great because I'm so sick of email interviews...
Yeah it's nice to talk in person rather than emailing or over the phone, but it's not every day we get time when bands pass through Salt Lake City, or just getting them here in the first place. Is there anything else you want to pass on to our readers?
The new album is out February 21st, it's called Devour, Rise and Take Flight
and the video should be out towards the end of December, it was hard to make with the big costume, but it looks great.
The Dividing - Review
As I described in the above section, seeing Android Lust
sign on to the Projekt
label was a surprise to me. With this being a re-release, I already knew a little about what was on the album. I also heard a lot about her performance at the Convergence 9 festival in Las Vegas this year.
But, to be honest I hadn't heard more than mostly word-of-mouth about this album, so my curiosity was definitely piqued.
So here I am listening to it for about the 10th time in a week and I'm still trying to decipher everything that I am hearing. The album varies so much from experimental ambience to harsh, beat-ripping industrial music. The vocals are just as varied from the smooth sensual whisper and siren-like female vocals on "Burn" or "Fall to Fragments" to the mind-shredding distortions on tracks such as "Kingdom of One" which also follows an almost identical musical composition as older Nine Inch Nails
The emotional intensity on this album is not diluted with a barrage of vulgar language, but with somewhat intelligent lyrics, such as my favorite on this album "Panic Wrought". The steady beat builds and blends well with the hypnotic synth loops and increasingly emotional vocals on this track. "Follow" is probably the next best thing on this album following a similar intensity and steady nature with the vocals slightly more distorted and harmonized between distortions, clear vocals and whispers. Others that include this steady electronic feeling leaning more towards a synthpop friendly sound include "Another Void" and the slower, mid-tempo track "Stained" with the clear and dreamy vocals resonating. Add to all of the above descriptions the flute on "Fall to Fragments" and viola on "Burn", the solid sound just gets better.
This is a great change in pace from the often male-dominated industrial music genre. The slight mix of gothic and classic styles also are an added plus. It also comes in a very nice tri-fold digi-pack, an added multimedia section with photos, lyrics a bonus track "burnt" and more. This is a highly recommended album for those wanting to broaden their tastes and their music collection to include more than the status quo.