The Hellish Vortex is both Alec Empire's touring band and company that specializes in cutting edge music production, including scoring films, media design, sound design, remixes, concerts, touring, events…
“We do not pretend to be four friendly neighbours. We simply share the same vision”. Long-time collaborator Nic Endo controls the show via various machines and is at the centre of the sound. New Yorker David Fisher plays electronic percussion and in doing so enlivens the beats. Londoner Zan Lyons contributes further layers via electric violin and laptop. In a world in which many young bands follow the tradition of guitar, bass and drums, this instrumentation surprises and challenges the audience. "It would not work if The Hellish Vortex did not rock so hard. We don't have to be restricted to an improv-industrial number as we might with another band. We have more in common with Depeche Mode than Neubauten.”
The Hellish Vortex was founded in August 2005. They focus on music production for films, record labels and other artists, their client list including Universal Records, Sony Music, Live Nation, bands like Rammstein, Björk, Patrick Wolf, The Big Pink, Raveonettes, Tadanobu Asano and many more…
After having lived in London for a decade, Alec Empire has renewed his fascination with Berlin. "The city is like a blank canvas, full of opportunities!"
Alec Empire and partner Nic Endo work with a pool of freelance artists they have gathered together over many years whose like cannot be found anywhere else in the world. "While the mainstream music industry focuses so hard on finding 'faces' for their productions, they overlook the most talented and innovative musicians. For many years most of the innovation in commercial music has come initially from the avant garde."
The record of various projects demonstrates that quite well. But there is more to come…
"In today's music industry we have to be very flexible as it changes so fast. It is simply not enough for an artist to sign to a record label give them some music and then just lean back. In our field of music, it is vital
to develop ground-breaking ideas to stay ahead of the game."
"What we do now has little in common with current mass taste, even though much of our previous work has infiltrated the mainstream. In Berlin it is easy to absorb influences from all over Europe, east and west.
We believe that the music of this century will be created right in the centre of Europe. The nature of music will change radically in the near future. We are hanging on to a form of popular music created in Britain and the United States in the sixties but this cannot last much longer. People's listening habits have changed.
Music for games, the access to the vast resources on internet radio, the way traditionally non-musical sounds have fused with conventional melody is leading the way.
"We are actively working with these changes and in the process we are making our music more physical. We are increasing the intensity level of the sounds used at concerts, in video games, films, your home stereo, installations… we are about leading the audience into a new way of listening.
Many of the rules which worked for film scores in the past don't count anymore because people don't listen to music in the same way.
In our music for games and films we love to take inspiration from : sci-fi, horror, melancholic, alienation, violence, darkness, mysterious, action, gore, solitude, crime, thriller, avant garde, art, weird, drugs, space, under water, psychic, fantasy, film noir, animation, comics and much more…you get the idea.
We strive to avoid the predictability.
The audience shouldn't be able to listen to the score and figure out how the story continues. Of course the traditional function of a score is to make a scene in a film emotionally relevant but the application of new techniques can take this to a whole new level of intensity.
The digital revolution is having a profound affect on the visual element of film making. The composition of the accompanying music has to reach the same heights.
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