There are many kinds of fear, but few as fathomless as the one that can sneak up on you when you’re lying in bed at night, thinking about nothing in particular. Suddenly it dawns on you: you are just a collection of atoms, puttering around on a larger mass of atoms that people call Earth, floating around inside a dark expanse of atoms and dead air that just goes on and on forever. Hopefully—for the sake of a good night’s sleep—you’re able to blot out the terror that comes from the recognition of your own smallness, but it’ll probably completely overpower you the next time Pharmakon, aka Margaret Chardiet, walks up to you at a show and screams in your face.
You don’t really need to understand the lyrics to catch her drift, but in the below interview, our medium was words, and the Brooklyn-based power electronics artist had a lot of them when describing the theories of humanity and community underpinning her bracing new album, Contact. The one caveat being that, as Margaret reminded me repeatedly during our chat, an interview was unlikely to do her ideas justice: “I really want people to read the freaking lyrics for this record,” she said. “I laid them out like really blatantly in the liner notes, because they’re the most important thing about it.”
AdHoc: What was on your mind when you went in to record the new album?
Margaret Chardiet: I guess what was on my mind was the fact that the project was 10 years old—feeling like I needed to grow and move in a new direction, and thinking about what that was going to be. The last two records—[2013’s Abandon and 2014’s Bestial Burden]—were immediate, short-term responses to specific events [in my life], whereas with this one, I had a couple years to think about what I wanted to say and do.
What are some ways you’d say the project has changed over the years?
I think I’ve found myself focusing more on experimental thinking and philosophical ideas, as opposed to personal ones. I’m still exploring the concepts of duality and human nature, but I think I’ve allowed myself to get broader, which is a really scary thing to do. If something is very acute and small, it’s easier to explain and converse about with other people.
Uniform released a powerful and harrowing video for "The Killing Of America," the NYC duo's second single off Wake In Fright, out yesterday on Sacred Bones. Its timing could not be more poignant—the video, which gives a hauntingly straight-forward look at the realities of gun violence, arrives on the day of President Trump's inauguration and casts yet another eerie shadow on the nation.
The video's concept was influenced by Isao Hashimoto's piece on nuclear weapons titled "1945 - 1998"— a simple map of the United States with a relentless ticker that counts off the never ending series of mass shootings the country has experienced. "Our video intends to present basic figures surrounding a complicated subject," says Uniform in a press release. "We do not wish to moralize and we offer no answers. Instead, we ask the viewer to use this data as an aid towards formulating their own conclusions."
NYC-based industrial noise duo Uniform is following up their 2015 debut LP Perfect World later this month with the release of Wake In Fright via Sacred Bones. Lyricist and vocalist Michael Berdan and multi-instrumentalist Ben Greenberg give a taste of what's to come with "The Killing of America," the latest menancing and blazing single from their sophomore album.
Uniform will embark on a west coast tour this February but not before kicking off the month with their record release show at Brooklyn Bazaar on February 9 with Black Marble. The two will then fly to Seattle for a performance at Barboza on February 16 and make their way down the coastline and to the southwest for their closing show at Phoenix's Lunchbox on February 25.
Listen to "The Killing of America" below and catch Wake In Fright in full on January 20 on Sacred Bones.
Wake In Frightis one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. Aside from its grotesque, controversial footage of hunted kangaroos, the film’s ever-present sense of dread and absurdity, a sense that permeates every fiber of Bundanyabba, the small mining town in Australia’s outback that becomes the film setting, is unlike any other. The “Yabba,” as it is endearingly referred to in the movie, mixes the futility of a movie like The Exterminating Angel with the brutality of something like Deliverance. As such, it’s the perfect title for Uniform’s upcoming LP. It’s no secret that vocalist Michael Berdan likes his movies dark, and his lyrics reflect that, as does Ben Greenberg’s seething guitar work and pummeling drum machine. “Tabloid,” the first single from Wake In Fright is the meanest thing the duo’s released, and also the most concise. It would be misleading to say the song is poppy, but it is more digestible—that is if you don’t mind digesting a death adder. Then again, if Top 40 dripped venom rather than dollar bills, this could hit the top of the pops.