Inked in red: vision video deals with war, trauma and loss through gothic rock
In makeup artist Tom Savini’s blood-splattered remake of the classic horror movie Night of the Living Dead, the character of Ben, played by Tony Todd, delivers one of the scariest calculations the zombie apocalypse has ever known: “This is something nobody has ever heard of, and nobody has ever known.” seen before. It’s hell on Earth… It’s pure hell on Earth. “
Halfway through Vision Video’s debut album, Inked in red, the song “Organized Murder” builds around this eerie dialogue – Todd’s gritty voice oozes under an eerie drone and drum machine, stirring layers of depth and texture in which the singer, guitarist and lead songwriter from the group Dusty Gannon has carved out a gothic pop odyssey.
The 10 songs that make up Inked in red are an investigation of troubled and complex emotions and an ecstatic purge of mental and physical stress. Songs bearing titles such as “Comfort In the Grave”, “Static Drone” and a cover of Ski Patrol’s post-punk 1981 issue “Agent Orange” are full of abstract stories from the days when Gannon crawled out of town. his skin as he was deployed as a platoon leader rifle in war-torn Afghanistan, working as an Atlanta subway firefighter and paramedic on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and watching a relationship crumble while facing post-traumatic stress disorder.
the Night of the Living Dead intro in “Organized Murder” is a kind of Rosetta Stone when it comes to deciphering Inked in redthe real message. As the opening number on the B side, it’s a deep cut that puts these various underlying dark themes into perspective.
“There was a time when I was at the Fort Benning Infantry Officer School, rehearsing what is called an L-shaped ambush, when I realized it was happening. was literally an organized murder, ”says Gannon. “I went through a very difficult time before my deployment where I didn’t know if I could do it. I sort of lost my mind for about a year.
He goes on to say that the whole conversation of Night of the Living Dead, “Talk about the zombie invasion, and how nobody really knows what’s going on – it’s just chaos and sheer hell on Earth – resonated with what I was feeling. There is nothing worse than war, ”he adds,“ it is the worst thing humanity has committed to. “
Throughout the album, these images mingle with gothic rumble, new wave dizziness and campy horror movie theaters. The band’s name is a nod to Athens’ once-awesome video store, bringing something that everyone in the band loved from the dead – at least in their name.
It all culminates in a modern sound that fits into a classic musical lineage of bands such as Joy Division and New Order, The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Sisters of Mercy.
And, of course, not everything is as difficult as it might seem on paper. Inked in red is powered by the rhythms of the dance floor and the writing of major chord songs.
Gannon’s look in full make-up, dressed head to toe in gothic attire while playing in the videos for “Static Drone” and the album’s title track, obscures the fact that he writes vital music with Vision Video. . There is a feeling of having fun here, albeit soaked in layers of eyeliner and Aqua Net.
“Humor for us is extremely important,” says Gannon. “To be frank, I don’t think it’s reasonable to take ultra seriously as a gothic group. I mean, we look like monsters from glam horror movies. I think it’s one of my favorite parts of playing around with the predisposed designs of people in the Gothic subculture. People often expect you to be this hilarious, moody caricature of Bela Lugosi or Dorian Gray or something like that. My experience with goth has been full of vibrant, vibrant people, and it’s important that people see it.
After forming the group in 2017 with drummer Jason Fusco, singer and keyboardist Emily Fredock and bassist Dan Geller joined soon after. Geller is a co-owner and technical director of the Kindercore Athens vinyl pressing plant and has long performed in indie, pop and rock and roll groups in Athens including Kinkaid, Agenda and I Am the World Trade Center. He is also a member of the Booty Boyz DJ team.
Gannon’s almost lyrical voice echoes as if he is spending the time of his life – a cathartic reaction to so much difficulty. Fredock’s lead voice in “Comfort In the Grave” is an equally powerful counterpoint that underscores the breadth and depth of the band’s musical range.
Inked in red was recorded and produced by UK native Tom Ashton based in Athens at SubVon Studio. Ashton is perhaps best known as the guitarist of Leeds ‘early’ 80s post-punk outfit, the Purple March. He also made a stint with the early ’90s iteration of Clan Of Xymox – simply dubbed Xymox at the time.
The two met one night at the Georgia Theater, where Gannon made records as DJ WarDaddy for the “Make America Goth Again” dance parties.
Ashton was present at a party where Gannon created March Violets’ 1984 club hit, “Snake Dance,” during his DJ set. They were introduced by a mutual friend and hit it off immediately.
Ashton has lived in Athens since 2001 and has been running a home studio since 2014, working on music and music from March Violets films, including one for an upcoming rotoscopic dark medieval action flick called Dwarf hammer.
“I built a room in our basement only as a production suite, but when we later finished the rest of the area, I realized there was now room to accommodate a whole group. with a full kit, ”says Ashton. “After a month or so, I thought I would mention the space to anyone who would be interested in participating and joining the experience.”
The basement production suite was dubbed SubVon Studio in 2018. In recent years, a small but undeniable group scene has grown around Ashton’s production skills. He’s worked with a variety of bands, fleshing out the confrontational death-punk of Tears For the Dying, cinematic gothic rock of Entertainment, and the acerbic psyche-punk of Hip To Death. Aesthetically speaking, each of these groups approach their music quite differently, but are all linked by an elegant and somewhat intangible sonic thread that Ashton has perfected.
“This scene reminds me a bit of the special time at Leeds / W Yorks in 1981-1982,” says Ashton. “Bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Sisters Of Mercy, Dance Society, Southern Death Cult, Skeletal Family and March Violets all combined and developed our own take on punk, post-punk and goth, but most importantly, had our own way of doing it. I am fortunate to be in the right place at the right time not just once but twice. “
After hearing an early version of “Organized Murder”, Ashton began working with Vision Video to record the tracks for the album.
“It was a pretty intense experience, as it should be,” says Ashton. “We started the session with a literal stormy monsoon around the house. Dusty and Dan were both zapped by lightning in the room, and we all took it from there. But seriously, I have to say that this group is committed to their art and aesthetics in a way you don’t come across often, and again it reminded me of the “ no jail time ” approach that we all had in Leeds in ’81. I love that kind of thing and I respect it deeply, ”he adds. “These are the types of things that make a great album.”
Inked in red released on April 16, pressed on metallic red, black-and-white splatter, and clear vinyl.
From the grave springs a new beginning. Vision Video’s debut takes one foot forward forever, and the other is firmly rooted in the macabre nostalgia for zombie flicks and gothic pop, a sound full of fierce darkness and power.
“Goth is a good term for that, but in the end, it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. I suspect the second record will be very different, ”says Gannon. “I’m not interested in writing the same music over and over again… I always think back to Tony Todd’s line in Night of the Living Dead. He’s so good at conveying that feeling of horror, which is truly the unknown. The idea for me is to question myself and release these complex emotions. Going forward, I don’t think it would be fair to these ideas if we did the same thing over and over again.
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