TF Archives

The Horrorist: New York Is a Nice Place For the Wealthy

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Sunday, November 21, 2004
"OLIVER CHESLER (THE HORRORIST) is regarded as the leader of the underground electronic music scene. Styles on this disc can be called anything from hard techno (to) goth-industrial electro."

Though German magazine Raveline's latest description of Oliver Chesler as the "leader of the underground electronic music scene' is stretching the New Yorker's reputation just a little bit too far, he's certainly adored by some in Germany as well as by other fiercely committed fans in virtually every other country where hardcore/ techno (goth) ravers are to be found. In London recently, he played live at a party offering "terrorcore, doomscore, speedcore and gabber' though to the wider clubbing world he remains best known for "One Night in New York City', his seminal tale of an ecstasy fuelled one night stand. "Hello, my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story," he begins, going on to describe a girl's romantic encounter with an NYU student ("And then...he fucked her all night, fucked her all night, Fucked her all night, fucked her all night...', the song concludes).

Sex talk aside though, he remains prolifically busy, running his own highly successful label Things To Come, while still performing and producing a wide range of electronic styles, ranging from new beat, electro to techno and pure hardcore. His biggest influence however, remains Depeche Mode.

"When I was growing up in New York in the early 80s attending High School, every kid used to listen to old skool hip hop and I used to own (stereo) that was the size of a wall," he recalls. "But then as soon as I hit puberty, I was in a friend's car and Depeche Modes' Black Salvation was playing and I was like "Oh wait, this was about chicks and that kind of stuff'. And from then on I was hooked; it was totally different. Within a month I'd bought all the Depeche Mode records and I became their biggest fan."

So much so in fact, that by the time he was 17, he'd grown an immaculate bleached blonde Mohican and found himself auditioning to appear in the band's tour rockumentary Depeche Mode 101.

"There a bunch of people with cameras in a night club and they had a screen test," he recalls.

"They asked me and my girlfriend why we liked them and we were like; "Depeche Mode are the greatest band of all time'. I didn't expect to win and my girlfriend didn't either but we got phone calls separately two days later, saying we'd won. "

14 years later, he's lost his blonde Mohican while building a career that's allowed him to tour the world himself, while retaining artistic independence and financial freedom that few artists can even dream about. All without becoming a DJ.

"I figure that I'm going to wait until turntables are completely gone, then I'm going to sneak in," he admits. ". I've actually tried it a few times, but I think part of the reason why I'm a musician is because I'm actually slightly deaf, so when I'm DJing I can never hear, it's just too much. That's my excuse anyway, maybe I'm just lazy."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Musically you're most associated with techno, though have also been exploring electro for a good few years, do you align yourself to any particular style-

The Horrorist: "Maybe because I'm old skool, I don't think there's much difference when you change the speed on the sequencer or distort a kick drum. All these subgenres that everyone gets so excited about are nothing but subgenres. I also get bored easily and and with the faster computers that are around these days that means I can really do the vocals well. Certain vocals go better with a hardcore song while others sounds better with electro. And being honest, I still make a lot of money playing hardcore shows and maybe I otherwise wouldn't do so much of that. I can admit that."

Skrufff: Why do you think you remain more popular in places like Holland or Germany rather than your home town of New York-

The Horrorist: "New York is into different types of mu