The last eighteen months or so has seen Manchester based artist Grabyourface establish a real presence on the alternative electronic scene, with her industrialised take on darkwave and synthwave chilling and thrilling listeners in equal measure. As she releases a video for the title track from the Philophobia EP, we though we’d find out more about what has lead her to make such an impression in such a short time.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind Grabyourface and how would you describe your sound?
Grabyourface is just me, Marie Lando, French, 28. I’d say my sound is “coldwave-dustrial hip hop”.
To give a bit of background, I have always been really into music, but I never made any. I tried different instruments, I tried playing in bands, but nothing really worked for me. It was quite painful as I felt I was born for music. I had what I call a music block, I couldn’t make anything because I would compare myself to people like Manson and Nine Inch Nails and think, well, if that exists already, what more could I bring to the table?
At age 25, after a lot of pain and existential crisis, I decided I needed to try something cause I had nothing to lose.
I started a 2-year audio engineering course in Pulse College, Dublin. I learnt how to use audio software, how to make sounds by myself, without instruments, without people. It freed me. I realised I could do it, despite not having learnt music theory, despite not having “music people” around me. In February 2017; I wrote my first song ever, Philophobia. I have literally only been making music for a bit more than a year right now.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
Grabyourface’s core vibe is a sort of stripped back coldwave, with the toughness of industrial and the sadness of emo music. But I also adore retro stuff, and I’m considering making an synthwave/vaporwave hybrid ep at some point.
What inspires my music is sadness and anger. Sadness related to personal events, and anger related to the world and the madness we live in and accept everyday, which we shouldn’t be accepting. From the “anti-human” capitalism to the mindless lifestyle most of us have, trying to forget through consumerism how bad things are.
I notice you identify as an Industrial artist. It’s a label some shy away from because it means so many different things to different people. What does industrial mean to you and where does your musical output fit within the genre?
When I say Industrial, I think Einsturzende Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle, Laibach, and the new wave of industrial, like 3teeth, Wulfband, Prayers, Author & Punisher, etc. I believe things like Aggrotech have been weirdly/wrongly labeled as Industrial in the mid-2000s, and that’s not what I refer to when I say Industrial, but I think that’s pretty obvious in my music.
What was the inspiration behind your Philophobia EP and the recently released video?
Pain. Or the lack of. Just like what the word philophobia means, it was about witnessing my life as if sitting on the side instead of experiencing it. It was like witnessing myself wasting it all away, destroying myself and going nowhere, and not being able to do anything about it. It was about not being able to sustain any relationship, as if I was incapable of loving.
What I tried to do with the music video for Philophobia was to illustrate this feeling visually. So that even people who don’t know how it feels get to have a glimpse of it. And people who know how it feels can find comfort in knowing they’re not alone in this shitshow.
And at the same time, the EP is about experiencing pure, intense pain from any relationships I was getting into, in parts due to my expectations, in part due to my poor choice of partners due to low self-esteem. That’s what drinkbleach is about.
You’ve collaborated with other artists in the last few months in various roles. Could you tell us a bit more about that? We loved the track with Star Noir by the way.
That comes from the fact that I never say no, really! If I remember correctly, it started with my maxi-single Illnesses, where I invited artists to give a try at remixing my song Illness. I selected the best three remixes and released the single on January 2nd , birth date of my late grandfather. The three artists were Binary Order, Umbral Presence and Skinflick.
In March, I collaborated with Mantle on the song We Live, which was remixed by Black Death as a “B-side” (the remix is fucking amazing by the way). The song’s about being a cog in the machine, a pawn, an unimportant functional thing, that rebels and refuses to go on, thus preventing the big machine from working.
More recently, White Tiger released a very blackened electronic album with a retro vibe called KVLT. We made the song Skeletron together, it’s a very “Salem witches” kind of song, about eating people and stuff.
The latest collab is the track Society that you mentioned, for Star Noir’s latest album (also called Society). I fucking love that song. His whole album is about rebelling against the established order. Basically, it’s not because the order is “established” that it is right. And perhaps if it’s not right, we should question it, fight it, instead of mindlessly going to work, going to the pub, planning our next holiday and going to bed. But the song Society, to me, is basically when the “rebel” loses hope that things are ever gonna change, and can only witness, defeated, how we’re destroying ourselves.
What’s up next for Grabyourface? Any upcoming gigs, new releases on the horizon, other projects?
I am working hard on finishing my new album right now, and nothing else matters really.
But I can tell you that there are a lot of big new collabs coming up. I’m gonna give you an exclusive info that no-one else knows yet: my new album will be called Keep me closer. You’ll know more about the meaning of this when listening to the album!