"Crime" is the first LP by Arkansas based multi-artist Damien Hearse.

Damien is known for his unique brand of EBM, synth-punk, and scuzzwave (as he calls it).

After the success of his previous EPs "Hell", "Pro Life Death Camp", "Cat Man Vampire", and the acclaimed "Hard To Be A God", he gifts us with his first long album.

When I first came across his music, one thing that struck me was the raw honesty of the lyrics and his unfiltered social commentary. Nihilistic and destructive in style, yet extremely relatable and humane. His lyrics make you question the binary system in every aspect of contemporary society. I would describe him as an artist who lives in the "grey areas", in between good and evil, success and failure, idealism and disillusionment, realism and romanticism. This is what makes his music and messages extremely controversial and powerful.

His music stamp is raw, robotic, and synth-driven. It's the sound of the future colliding with a melancholic sense of loss. This album is filled with distorted punk energy, droning aggressive bass lines, abrasive riffs, and baritone vocals.

The opening single "Crime" is a perfect example of the irony and disillusionment described above. It's a sharp criticism of capitalism, questioning the American way of leaving through its own paradoxes. In the end, we are all made to be criminals, and therefore "inmates". This opening sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Instead of analysing every track myself, I have asked Damien some questions. This is what he had to say about his new album and himself. 

As he is keeping his identity anonymous he answers under the letter "A".


  • I was thinking of an adjective to describe your first LP “Crime”, and the first word that came to mind was “rich”. Rich in influences and cultural references, yet very direct when it comes to the lyrics and messages you convey. It’s brilliantly unapologetic and unavoidably political, as most forms of art ought to be. Do you think that the act of making art can transcend politics in your case?
  A: I hope so, but probably not. I tend to write what I'm thinking about, and I'm always thinking about the state of affairs in my current environment. Love, environmentalism, corruption, gender relations, happiness, alienation, the way we treat each other...these are all political subjects to someone. 
  • What made you approach music? 
A: I think I'm just a person who can't find meaning in life without being creative. I've dabbled in just about everything from filmmaking to painting to writing, but music was always my first love and the thing I could most readily accomplish on my own. In the years I've been on earth, I've spent at least twenty of them making music. I don't think I could stop even if I wanted to at this point.
  • Does performance art play a major role in your music? The choice of concealing your face with a mask for example, is it a form of identity protection, or do you see the mask as a “simulacrum”- a representation that replaces reality.
A: My lyrics range from dark to bleak, so I figure the avatar I embody should reflect that. In my view life itself is just one long acting performance; masking your true self in an attempt at being accepted in an insane world. I absolutely hate my physical appearance, and I loathe being seen, so it just made sense to be the guy in the rubber monster costume. 
  • What are your main art and music references?
A: Too long to list. But I come primarily from a punk and post-punk musical background. Early days were very influenced by the likes of Gang of Four, Dead Kennedys, Devo, early Cure, Joy Division etc. A lot of my work is influenced by film. Stan Brakhage is a looming influence on my work.
  • Is “Crime” a concept album?
A: Maybe? I felt they all "belonged" together for lack of a better explanation. I'm really bad at recognizing and holding a thread for an entire working period.
  • Crime is stylistically and atmospherically similar to your previous EPs and singles, but I think your music has evolved a lot through this project. “Pig”, for example, could easily be classified as post-punk. How would you describe it in your own words?
A: I think that's accurate. Like I said I come from a punk/post-punk background, and I've only been making electronic music for about ten years so the punk influences are bound to come through in a lot of songs. 
  • The tracks “Coyote” and “Basilisk” have the unmistakable Damien Hearse stamp throughout. They really embody your style of obscure EBM and nihilist synthwave. Many people have attempted to name or label your music style. How would you best call it?
A:  I HAVE NO IDEA! haha! I've taken to calling it "Scuzzwave" for lack of a better term. It's not that what I'm doing is SO unique that it defies labels or anything, I'm just really bad at objectively categorizing myself. I'll leave that to you!
  • With “Castle Bravo”, we get a short atmospheric/instrumental track to accompany us to the second half of the album. It’s here that we find “Poster Child”, which is almost an obscure take on a LCD Soundsystem track. Twitching rhythms spiralling into repetitive loops and your vocals are made to sound like robotic rumbles. What was your production process or input on this track? Also, are you self-produced?


A:  All songs start with either a lyrical idea or a musical idea. I just fill in the blanks after that. I am forever self-produced, for better or worse. This is by circumstance rather than choice. I never had the money to buy time in a recording studio so I just started collecting recording equipment and hand-me-downs and tried to do it myself. My process is usually as follows: Create it. Love it. Work on it. Start to hate it. Question every decision I've ever made and wonder how a fraud such as myself could have the temerity to expect people to listen, much less enjoy, this trash. Pick myself back up and try to save the song from my lack of talent. Compromise until I have something I can live with. Repeat!
  • “Bots” and “Divorce” are structurally quite similar. They start out as solid tracks until they eventually turn into unexpected chaos and theatrical doom. The juxtaposition of the robotic lyrics and the emotional “grandeur” in the build up/escalation towards the end is the paradox that made them my top tracks. I would describe them as “ emotional nihilism”, which is a paradox in itself of course. This type of song structure has been used many times by “drone music” artists. Are you a fan of drone music?
A: Yes, though I don't have enough exposure to the genre to classify myself as a connoisseur or anything. I tend to listen to drone when playing video games. My two favorite drone albums are probably "Morals and Dogma" by Deathprod, and "Leng Tch'e" by Naked City. I have a drone project that I've released some stuff over the years here and there. I tend to go back to it when I'm in a creative slump as a sort of palette cleanser. 
  • Do you believe there is a connection between drone music, philosophy, and esotericism?
A: I believe there's a connection between everything. There's definitely a philosophical throughline with my work. 
  • Do you have any live shows planned for the album release?
A: I got hit with illness last month and had to cancel some shows that were meant to promote the LP. I've got one show lined up, though I'm thinking of playing mostly new stuff that hasn't been released yet. I don't know. I just do what makes me happy in the moment. Playing live stresses me out. Not so much the performance but all the stuff that comes before and after. I'm nervous around people. I'd rather live in the studio than on the road, but I do enjoy the act of playing on stage. 
  • Would you also tour Europe if the opportunity was presented to you?
A: Absolutely. I would LIVE in Europe if the opportunity presented itself. I truly don't feel like I'm where I belong, currently. But I'm also very poor, so financing that myself would be next to impossible at this time. But who knows what may happen. I'll try and start manifesting that haha.  
  • Do you have one artist that you would really love to collaborate with?
A: Too many to name! Seriously, I could name ten right now. I'm inspired by a lot of recent artists like St. Digue, Stadt, Moth Slut, Selofan, Boy Harsher, Sleaford Mods, Gost etc. I don't know how well I work with others but I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to work with someone who inspires me. 
  • And last, I kept the most obvious question. Is Damien Hearse a stage name?
A: Absolutely. And a bad pun at that!I spent so much of my creative life trying to be known, and now all I want is to work anonymously. Since I've adopted the name and the mask, I've felt a lot less need to censor myself or worry about lyrical content. It's been freeing. 

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