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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Sonic bloom: Alter der Ruine

    Sonic bloom: Alter der Ruine

    Tucson has seen its fair share of musicians “”make it.”” Wannabe musicians can spend long hours in a makeshift studio, writing and piecing together song after song, only to never really break out.

    For the members of Alter der Ruine, a chance meeting led to groundbreaking music- the kind that leads to record deals and European tours. The band has the opportunity to succeed in an area of music that few can master and most misunderstand. Alter der Ruine, made up of Xian Austin, Mike Jenney, Jacob Rouse and Mike Treveloni, throw around the term industrial noise, a loose term for experimentation with electronic music, but their music is almost unclassifiable.

    “”A lot of people are relatively close-minded to electronic music especially if they are into something polar opposite,”” Jenney said. “”We are a sub-genre of industrial, which can mean a lot of things.””

    The members agree that their music crosses many genres like metal and dance, and that most people who come to their live shows end up dancing. They use laptops, keyboards, drum machines, live drums and video imaging through their performances, creating a multimedia experience.

    “”We are dance-y but we are really noisy. It’s noisy techno. The metal crowd is pretty receptive, but a lot of people end up hearing [the music] and liking it,”” Treveloni said. “”We thrash around a lot.””

    Up to their ears in all things music, the band couldn’t be happier. Of course, the road to success was a long one.

    In 2005, Alter der Ruine was merely a dream for Jenney, who began experimenting with programming, samples and drum machines with a friend who eventually bailed on the project.

    “”I have experimented with electronic music for years and I really wanted to do something club-oriented,”” Jenney said. “”The noise scene was really small in the U.S., and I got really lucky by jumping on the bandwagon within that scene.””

    Jenney said he was able to make many connections with similar artists in Los Angeles, where the electronic noise scene was starting to emerge. After a west coast tour, Jenney felt he was missing a cohesive live experience.

    “”At some point I really wanted [the live show] to be more entertaining, so I got these guys,”” Jenney said.

    Treveloni and Austin were both at Alter der Ruine’s first show, at Club Asylum, 121 E. Congress St. Treveloni and Jenney got to talking – eventually adding to his addition to the group.

    “”I made the band look good,”” Treveloni said jokingly.

    Jenney chimes in and agrees, but adds that Treveloni, who works the machines and programming, is a talented musician.

    “”He started off by adding live visuals to our sets,”” Jenney said. “”Slowly we evolved and [Treveloni] helped write a lot of our most recent album.””

    Austin joined the band shortly after Treveloni. He owns Glowroom Records and happened to have a table set up at the Asylum show.

    “”I had been writing music myself,”” Austin said. “”I play drums so we started talking about turning the project into more of a band.””

    Alter der Ruine began playing shows across the state and along the west coast, and has opened for industrial bands like Dismantled, Psyclon 9, Snog, Noise Terror and Still Life Decay. They have also played shows at Sadisco, a monthly industrial music gathering in Phoenix and at the biggest industrial club in the U.S., Das Bunker, in Los Angeles.

    A respected influence of the band, Shane Talada, of The Operative, recommended the band to an executive at Sistinas Music, an independent record label to which they were signed in January. The group is enthusiastic about their record deal and especially their new album, The State of Ruin, to be released in August.

    “”Sistinas actually has resources, which is nice. I almost wet my pants I was so excited,”” Jenney said. “”They actually put money into us.””

    Jacob Rouse is the most recent addition to Alter der Ruine, adding keyboards to the eclectic mix of instruments. At their last show, in Scottsdale, the band was able to perform for the first time with Rouse.

    “”It’s weird being on a label and doing things like going to photo shoots,”” Jenney said.

    They are even brainstorming for a third album.

    “”I’m looking forward to actually being able to write on the next album,”” Rouse said.

    The band all agrees that collaborating with some of their biggest influences has been the most rewarding. Bands like Assemblage 23, a synthpop act, even remixed the title track of The State of Ruin. Jenney’s favorite band, the German musical project Haujobb, also remixed a song of theirs.

    As for misconceptions about their genre and music, Alter der Ruine hopes to break any barriers people might have.

    “”Since we are in the genre of industrial, I think a lot of people are turned off. They might immediately associate us with goth or something,”” Jenney said. “”If you like to dance, you’ll love listening to us in the club.””

    Treveloni is ecstatic about The State of Ruin and can’t wait for fans of the band to get their hands on it and come out to a live show.

    “”The thing I like the most about the new album is that people are saying we now have our own sound and style,”” Treveloni said. “”To actually have people decipher that is really cool.””

    The band members all have day jobs, and hope in the future to leave them behind. Austin owns Glowroom Records, Rouse works at Teletech, Jenney produces music on the side and is a mail currier and Treveloni is a video editor.

    In the meantime though, Alter der Ruine is gearing up for their next show at Club Asylum on September 15. The guys, who also have another project in the making, called Dust is Noise, will open for Assemblage 23.

    Once wannabe musicians messing around with their laptops, Alter der Ruine has remained humble with their recent accomplishments and looks forward to what the future has in store.

    “”You’re as successful in music as you want to be,”” Jenney said. “”We do what we love and because of that, we believe we are successful.””

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