Dead Tech was (is?) the project of Mitch Enderle . This mainly solo project was founded in the early 80's around the time the long running Chicago experimental/Industrial/ambient project of Dan Burke - Illusion of Safety was formed. Where IOS was more abstract and slightly diverse in approach throughout the years DT was firmly rooted in the TG/SPK/TesT Dept bloodline. The sole release to date is the self titled 1985 90min. cassette on Complacency. Its incredibly hard to find too! So, by all means hang on to a copy if you have it . Unlike most of these rare Chicago bands and projects on this blog I had a pleasure of playing on the same bill as Dead Tech with my project Death Factory in late 2014 at the Empty Bottle . Great night of throbbing elektoniks!
A list of questions were given out to Mitch some time ago and maybe they will be answered in the future to shed more light and info on DT for you all . If so, i'll post it then.. For now here are some links to DT sounds :
Here follows the promised interview. Since coincidently I asked pretty much the same questions as in this interview from a source in Australia some time ago Mitch sent me this with some updated info. :
DEAD TECH INTERVIEW
When did you begin the Dead Tech project and what was your initial intention for its sound/aesthetic?
The intention was to put out something a little bit more nasty and heavier than what I was doing with Illusion of Safety at the time. At that time Illusion of safety was doing more longer ambient industrial pieces. I had just read a magazine article about a book called DEAD TECH. The book describes how today’s technology and how fast it becomes obsolete. The book was full of photos of everything from kitchen appliance’s to military hardware to 8-track tapes etc. Keep in mind this was in 1984 and it was very apparent how fast technology was changing even then, let alone how fast it is changing today. The thing i took away from it was today’s technology is tomorrows rubble. I looked at the musical gear I was using at the time and thought that this is all going to change very soon. I was using both very old and new equipment and I thought that I should blend the old tech with the new tech before everything changed. This is before the days of sampling and computer recording which was on the horizon.
Was the sound of anger / violence intentional?
The sound of anger and violence was intentional, to me at the time that was the sound of industrial music.
Who else, if anyone, was involved in Dead Tech?
Dead Tech was a solo project. That was not intentional it just turned out that way. I would lay down these tracks at home in my spare time.
Where there any specific groups/labels that influenced the direction that Dead Tech took?
As far as influences, the usual suspects like, Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Factrix, Caberet Voltaire etc etc.
What equipment did you use to produce DT’s sound? Did you have to overdub much of it when it was recorded?
My equipment at that time consisted of the following:
A 1979 Hondo Electric Guitar
A Electro Harmonix Big Muff Distortion Pedal.
A Univox Tape Echo Unit
A Moog (Rouge)Synthesizer
A Sequential Circuits Pro One Synthesizer
Two-1962 3M Wolensak Reel to Reel tape recorders
(mainly used for tape loops)
A cheap Radio Shack tape player with variable pitch control so that you could slow things down and speed things up.
Two cassette Decks-one for playing backing tapes on and the other for recording. The one that I used for recording had a built in limiter on it. This allowed the incoming signal needle not to go into the red. However I would push the incoming signal way up and this gave the recording a distorted sound. All the tracks were recorded on the brink of total distortion and on some of the tracks you can hear the recording start to break up.
I did not do overdubs in the traditional sense. That is I did not lay down a track and then go back and put down another track and so and so on until the song was finished. It was all done live.
I would have a tape deck with a backing track playing and a tape loop going on the reel to reel and something on the variable speed tape player, I would hit record on the tape deck and just play over what was going on. All the tracks on the tape were recorded that way, recorded live in one take. I never went back and re-recorded anything. So in a way it was just like recording a live performance.
Where did you source the tapes from that were manipulated in many of the tracks?
The source tapes came from various media, television, radio and movies. When I would watch television I would always have the video recorder on record while I was watching. On the VCR I would zero out the tape counter number and as I watched I would hear something I liked. I would write down the counter number on the VCR so I would know exactly where the sound was on the video tape. Or if I was watching a movie I would say to myself oh that car crash or that explosion sounded good I wonder what that would sound like slowed down or backwards etc.
Is the ‘Untitled’ c90 the only Dead Tech release?
Yes I only did the one tape release. Fatherhood and my job took up a lot on my time. Also Illusion of Safety started doing a lot of live shows at that time and most of my creativity went into that.
What made you choose to use this longer format rather than splitting the recordings up into several releases?
Looking back I should have split it up into a few releases. At the time I was recording this I just kept going and going and ended up filling up a 90 minute tape.
Are there any unreleased recordings?
I might have a few unfinished pieces from then, but nothing of any note.
Did Dead Tech ever perform live? If so, who was involved and how did it differ in sound/approach from the recorded material? What kind of groups did you play with?
Yes and No. I never performed it live in the 1980’s. However Dan Burke and I did a live show a couple of years ago here in Chicago and we called it “Illusion of Safety plays the songs of Dead Tech”. I think we did Katalavox and Hot Box and the rest was just loosely based on the overall DeadTech sound. I can’t remember if we played with anybody else or not.
UPDATE: I recently did a show in Chicago at a venue called the Empty Bottle. It was Myself and Dan Burke and Dan talked my Daughter into coming up and doing some vocals. That was a fun show. We did not do any Dead Tech pieces as such, we just kind of went with that very aggressive Dead Tech approach. Death Factory also played and a few other bands.
When and why did you discontinue Dead Tech? How did/does The Illusion Of Safety differ from Dead Tech?
It stopped right after it was released. I don’t know why I never did anything under the Dead Tech name ever again. Like I say Fatherhood and Work and Illusion of Safety took up a lot of my time.
As I said the difference between Dead Tech and Illusion of Safety at that time was that Illusion of Safety was doing longer ambient industrial pieces. Also the dynamics of Illusion of Safety was changing. The line up of the band was changing. Illusion of Safety was (and still is) always in a state of flux with different personal coming and going. It went from Dan Burke and myself to what later became known as the main core. The main core of Illusion of Safety consisted of Dan Burke, Mark Klien, Mark Sorenson, and Myself . From time to time other people would come and go like Tim Jones, Chris Block and Jim O’rourke and others. Illusion of Safety is like the Mafia, once you are in you can never leave. Now days it is mostly just Dan Burke and or whoever else is available.
I play a few live shows with Dan from time to time.
Have there been offers, or is there ever the possibility for the ‘Untitled’ cassette to be re-released?
Never had any offers to re-release it, but I have never really shopped it around to see if anybody was interested. The possibility always exists for it to be released. I am up for that.
Has Dead Tech ever been revived in any capacity?
Dead Tech has never been revived except for when as I mentioned earlier Dan Burke and I did those 2 shows.
Are you currently involved in any musical projects?
My current project is a band called Savage Sect. I have not put anything out yet. If anybody is interested check out savagesect.com And i am sure I will be doing something with Illusion of Safety again
On listening to Dead Tech 30 years later, what are your thoughts on the recordings?
I just listened to it a few months back and I think it still holds up well. I know I would have done things a lot differently now. It would have been recorded differently, but hindsight is always 20/20. I still get that warm fuzzy feeling thinking back on the days when I was recording it and how exciting it was. Youth is wasted on the young.
Thanks for the interest.