For Record Store Day 2014 (yes, already a month past), Integrity and Vegas paired up for a split 7” featuring two movie inspired covers. The two bands have a history together, with Integrity’s Dwid Hellion and Vegas’ T being close friends and one-time bandmates in Roses Never Fade.
To capture the magic of how the 7” came about, Scene Point Blank had a chat with Integrity’s Hellion about reuniting with the Melnick brothers, working on the 7”, and what his favorite record stores are. Conversely, we also interviewed Vegas.
Scene Point Blank: How was performing with the Melnick brothers again? Was the writing and recording of the 7" planned or was it just the inspiration of the moment?
Dwid Hellion: Everyone had a great time. It felt good to play the old songs once again with my childhood friends. The idea of the 7” was to commemorate the fact that the original lineup were performing together at A389 fest 2014. Robert Orr owns a recording studio and he handled the recording for that 7".
Scene Point Blank: Your pairing with Robert Orr has seemingly led to a creative surge with Integrity. Is this a coincidence or is your partnership yielding more fruit than the gap between, say, To Die For and your initial work with Orr where there was "The Blackest Curse" the "Walpurgisnacht" single and the split with AVM? Is there a special chemistry with how you work together?
Dwid Hellion: Rob is one of my best friends and we work quiet well together. We share many of the same interests in music as well as interests in other subjects. Rob and I definitely have been much more prolific than past eras of the band.
Scene Point Blank: Integrity has been a creative entity for quite some time (more than 25 years at this point). What do you attribute your continuing to work under the moniker? What keeps Integrity going even amongst your different side projects?
Dwid Hellion: Integrity has a certain sound and aesthetic that allows it to stand out from the other projects that I work on. There is something that is recognizable to me when creating a new song, that reveals that it will become a part of the Integrity collection.
Scene Point Blank: Can you identify that something, or is it too hard to describe? Does it vary depending on who else is in the band at the time when you're writing a song?
Dwid Hellion: There is a certain musical characteristic that defines itself as an Integrity song. Plus most of my other projects sound quite different than Integrity. They are usually more raw & noisy.
Scene Point Blank: Are there any songs that you've wavered on which project they should fall under, or is it just something you can tell right away when you get started, and then it works itself out?
Dwid Hellion: It is something like synesthesia.
Scene Point Blank: Is there an ideal situation or setting for the creative process of Integrity?
Dwid Hellion: Isolation is always ideal.
Scene Point Blank: How do you achieve that isolation?
Dwid Hellion: I moved to Europe a decade ago and live in a rather quiet area. I am surrounded by wondrous and inspiring scenery.
Scene Point Blank: Do you find that external stimulus is a distraction when writing?
Dwid Hellion: I just enjoy isolation, I am not a very social creature. Recording obviously demands a silence to the recording environment, so there is that aspect as well. But mainly I just enjoy being alone and I enjoy my own company more than that of anyone else. To be fair, I do have several close friends and family that I enjoy their presence.
Scene Point Blank: How did the split with Vegas come about?
Dwid Hellion: I have been friends with T from VVegas since the mid 1990s. Now that he has converted to an exclusive outback lifestyle, a Deutsch Klaus throwing shrimps on his proverbial barbie, T felt it was time for him to show-off his flawless Australian accent by recording Dudley Moore’s British pop classic, "Love Me.” Integ opted for the Peter Cook staple, “Bedazzled.”
T and I had discussed recording these covers for more than a decade. A few years ago, we started the recordings. It was a project that sat on the back burner for a while until recently we were able to finalize the mixes and release the songs.
Dwid Hellion: Bedazzled (1968) was the first film that I watched as a child. It had quite an impact on the younger me and the film became stuck in my imagination ever since.Scene Point Blank: What got you interested in "Bedazzed" as a cover song?
T and I finally we both got around to finishing the songs. Dom Romeo from A389 Records suggested that we release the songs as a limited Record Store Day 7” and that seemed like an appropriate way to make the songs available to a small audience.
Scene Point Blank: How did the Record Store Day connection happen?
Dwid Hellion: That was all the idea of Dom. Dom became obsessed with RSD after the success of the A389 release of Twilight Haunt. Dom really wanted to pay homage to the Twilight Haunt era of A389 and he felt that by releasing this split for RSD, it may channel some of that spirit for him.
A little known fun fact about this split is that Dom actually came out of musical retirement and plays guitar on the VVegas song with Mississippi Alex "The Beast” Henderson on percussion. A famous pop starlette from Bondi beach provided backup vocals on the VV song as well.
Scene Point Blank: What do you think of Record Store Day as a whole?
Dwid Hellion: It’s a great idea. It’s unfortunate that its often abused by eBay flippers looking to exploit the exclusive nature of the records. But, humans will always behave in their natural state of pestilence.
Scene Point Blank: What store has your favorite Record Store Day celebration?
Dwid Hellion: Neseblod Records in Oslo, Norway
Scene Point Blank: As long as we’re talking record stores, if you could magically resurrect a store that’s gone now in any city, what record store would it be?
Dwid Hellion: Shattered Records and/or Chris’ Warped Records.