FORKSTER FEATURE Interview with CLIFF AND IVY
Veteran Gothic Rockers CLIFF AND IVY stop by to chat about their new album “SPIRIT ROOM”
Also, chat up with them about how the gothic music scene is holding up and their band’s future plans for 2018
FORKSTER Interview Introduction for CLIFF AND IVY
One of our most memorable accomplishments at FORKSTER Music Promotions in 2017 has been our promotional work coverage of Anchorage, Alaska’s ghoulishly grooving duo, gothic rockers CLIFF AND IVY. We had the distinct honour of interviewing them very recently which you can read below. FORKSTER would just like to personally add here what an experience this was for me. The music of CLIFF AND IVY is always ‘rocking it out’ sensationally and as far as people well, they are as classy, genuinely sincere and professional as any music artist I have covered over the years. On that note, on to the interview, enjoy!!
FORKSTER: Hi CLIFF AND IVY, truly honoured having you here.
CLIFF AND IVY: Thank you, Timothy! It’s so great to be here and get to share our thoughts with you and your passionate music viewers.
FORKSTER: Your latest album release of “SPIRIT ROOM” which was released at the beginning of October is simply superb. It was released on HOUSE OF EXTREME DARKNESS Records, your own label, right?
CLIFF AND IVY: Yes, House of Extreme Darkness Records is our own label. It’s a small label built entirely by us which we use to release our own stuff and eventually other music. HoED represents our style and inspiration too as we do work in extreme darkness – we live in Alaska – it is literally dark most of the day for half the year. We’ve been releasing albums on our own label since 2012.
FORKSTER: How long was the entire process of ‘start to finish’ in making your ace new record?
CLIFF AND IVY: Probably about 4 months. Since we live in Alaska, we write and record main tracks in our home studio. We created a demo with rhythm guitar, bass, piano, synth and rhythm track. We brought this to Los Angeles to record again at Kitten Robot Studio with Paul Roessler.
FORKSTER: I am really digging the overall diversity of your new LP. It goes from gothic backbone goodness to deathrock charge, a punk rock/hardcore era charm, flighting industrial rock groove and a roaring rock and roll stomp drive, was there a total music direction you were wanting to achieve before and during the recording sessions?
CLIFF AND IVY: Just wanted to come up with some fun rocking songs. We knew we were going to work with the people again as we did for our last album – this album also has collaborations which were made live in the studio.
FORKSTER: You collaborated on your new album with some of the legendary U.S.A. gothic/deathrock originators, right?
CLIFF AND IVY: We worked with Rikk Agnew – lead guitar (Christian Death, Adolescents, Rikk Agnew Band, DI, Only Theater of Pain (OTOP), Gitane Demone Quartet (GDQ); Gitane Demone – backing vocals (Christian Death, OTOP, GDQ); Paul Roessler – piano, synthesizer, drum loops – (Screamers, 45 Grave, Nina Hagen Band, GDQ); Deb Venom – synth (OTOP, GDQ, A Bleeding Sky); Sky Lee Vague – drums (Spirit Before a Fall, A Bleeding Sky).
FORKSTER: How was that entire experience for you both?
CLIFF AND IVY: It has been a true honour to know them as friends let alone to get the chance to make music together. There is something special about working with people who understand you and your music. “Fossil Fuel”, “Hand of Freedom” and “Dogs of Fate” were written with our collaborators in mind. The rest of the album was made in the studio. We learn something new every time we work with them and it is an honour to witness their creation for its’ own merit and what it does to and for our music. We love all of them and love working with them in the studio. They are super creative and we showed up with some songs and ended up with an album, like magic.
A shining example of this was some of the songs had an estimated outcome. Then some of them – Paul Roessler hit record and let everyone go.
FORKSTER: The diversity on the new album is really grooving out there with such a positive music force aye?
CLIFF AND IVY: It’s like punk rock goth acid fusion jazz – the Cure meets Miles Davis and Captain Beefheart. It is also like dark psychedelic jazz. It’s cool – we figure if you get a chance to work with some legends you better do something experimental and let your creative ideas fly.
It is also somewhat terrifying – like high art made by musical magicians and it’s a fucking honour to have the opportunity to even meet them let alone play with them and know them. The vibe is amazing. We always come up with something interesting. This music will stay forever. We know 20 years from now we will still be happy we did it. It takes you on a journey. It’s an adventure. You can make something that pushes the edges of the future by building on the past.
Paul Roessler also did a remix of “Fossil Fuel”, as did our friend Achromatic Residue, a great witch house artist who lives in Massachusetts.
FORKSTER: You recently did a few dates throughout California in support of your new record, how was the response to your new songs?
CLIFF AND IVY: We had a great time on these last tour dates! We played in Los Angeles with some great bands from the local scene – A Bleeding Sky – Operation Mockingbird – Ascent – Belltower Bats – Rikk and Gitane joined us onstage! Joshua Tree – Whiskey and Knives – Family Butcher – Joe Biaza from Saccharine Trust and Larry Copcar – Dali’s Llama– Oakland – Belltower Bats at the Hanging Garden where the crowd was so welcoming and the scene there is great.
FORKSTER: Being veterans of the gothic rock scene for over 30 years now, how in your opinion is the goth rock/death rock fronts currently standing in music substance?
CLIFF AND IVY: Some people are purists and some like to mix it up. There is a whole range of styles out there right now. People are constantly mixing new styles. Witch house – circuit bent – dark punk – deathrock – dark dance – gothic metal – and any combination. We expect that people will keep exploring and creating new variations presently, and yes, the scene is good.
FORKSTER: Even with some bands their music mass attention and very notable longevities has been truly remarkable and superbly encouraging?
CLIFF AND IVY: Yeah absolutely, on a larger scale you can see it through the impressive staying powers and the money earning powers of The Cure and The Misfits. It most certainly proves that goth music can always have a following and a musical voice.
FORKSTER: And, do you think the future looks encouraging for goth rock?
CLIFF AND IVY: The future of good music is encouraging and goth is forever trending. Punk and metal clubs have featured goth-themed shows and event nights more in the past few years. It is not so much of a stigma anymore. It seems like people are attracted to the genuine commitment the audience has to the music style.
FORKSTER: On a personal level, it is much more for CLIFF AND IVY though, right?
CLIFF AND IVY: For us, goth and deathrock really cast a wide inclusive circle so within it we find our crucible to forge something new. It is a paradox, by placing the music in this genre it can encompass so much more. We expect this music to be also an action and a movement. There is a looming generation of people who will die soon. We will be playing more funerals and people will need to make better friends with their dark side. It isn’t really about endings but rather acceptance and creativity in all areas of life-extending to the afterlife.
FORKSTER: You are also currently involved in an ongoing ‘work in progress’ original music score for an Alaskan horror film called “Seven Bones”, how has the overall experience with it been so far and can we see a release for it anytime soon?
CLIFF AND IVY: This project is still in pre-production so we will have to keep everyone posted when there is something to hear and see. We are working on dark ambient and experimental tracks for this. It will be quite the chilling experience though!
FORKSTER: For your many supporters globally out there, what do they have to look forward from CLIFF AND IVY in the upcoming rocking 2018?
CLIFF AND IVY: We are working on music videos for songs from our recent “Spirit Room” album. Also, we will have a special surprise EP, then a new original album. Some reissues of our previous projects – a compilation retrospective of our early music (80s era) are much in the works too. We will release some rare songs from The Gout (Hardcore) – featuring Steve Cosmano of Sacred Denial and 13 Day Vacation on drums; Warm Love (hardcore punk); Dolphin Room (garage rock); Lesser Koodoo (post-punk) – with Greg Walker, Fred Buchhotz of Bodies in Panic, and Toby Record from PED; Moby Dick (industrial) – with Doug Vizthum, Paul Decolator and Greg Walker of Pleased Youth; Turan Sul (experimental trance); and Parallax1 (tribal industrial).
FORKSTER: I believe too there is something really big cooking in 2018 for celebrating your upcoming 30th wedding anniversary, is that right?
CLIFF AND IVY: Oh yes, we will be issuing a recording of our wedding which was Aug 8, 1988 – various bands played at our wedding including Lunar Bear Ensemble with Martin Atkins (PIL, Killing Joke) on drums – and Spiral Jetty – for our 30th wedding anniversary!
FORKSTER: Being a band that has a very good rep for getting your music out their live for your devoted music supporters, can we expect any CLIFF AND IVY tour plans in 2018?
CLIFF AND IVY: We will tour in the Pacific Northwest for sure – and anywhere else someone would like us to go! For booking information contact [email protected]!
FORKSTER: Thanks so much for giving FORKSTER and my viewers some time here, it’s truly appreciated, “All the best always” CLIFF AND IVY….
CLIFF AND IVY: Cheers Timothy, it’s been a rocking pleasure mate.
You Can Checkout CLIFF AND IVY’S Music & Social Media Sites at:
To purchase CLIFF AND IVY’S “SPIRIT ROOM” LP, please CLICK HERE.
Written by: Timothy John Forker
Music Promotions CEO/Director at FORKSTER
© 2017 FORKSTER MUSIC PROMOTIONS by Timothy J. Forker