JONATHAN SHARP (JS9) [INTRODUCTION]
also known as JS9, is perhaps the most prolific composer in the electro
genre. His projects range all over the electronic spectrum, from intelligent
techno to aggro-electro with guitars, and his fellow collaborators have
included Jean Luc DeMeyer and Sevren Ni-Arb. Although his work in
the industrial communinty first appeared in 1991 (New Mind's "Body Politics"
12" EP), Jonathan says he had been working on other things outside of the
genre previous to this. "[The projects] didn't
come to anything significant. I've also done production, engineering and
sometimes session work as well, but again that's outside this field, and
I don't include it in my discography."
- Jonathan continues to move ahead, keeping in touch with nearly every type of electronic music accounted for. This article contains a brief description of each project, along with information pertaining to them. Read, and enjoy.
["PSYCHEDELIC HATE NOISE" OR GENRE-CROSSING, AGGRESSIVE
- New Mind is Jonathan Sharp's longest running and most recogninzed project. It's also the most unstable, musically speaking. Whereas his other projects deal with one specific style of music, New Mind changes styles from song to song, album to album; and with his fourth full length about to hit the streets, we're about to find out what the next style is.
- Currently signed to Off Beat, New Mind has recently released the "Black Talon" EP as part of the third installment of the O-Files. Although "O-Files Vol. 3" won't be out in the USA, the three tracks from the "Black Talon" EP will find homes in the states via liscencing onto various compilations. 'Sewercide' has gone to a South African compilation on David Gresham Records, which is apparently being exported into the US on release; the Forma Tadre remix of 'Xenomorph' is probably going onto "21st Circuitry's Shox Vol. 2" compilation; but the Kalte Farben remix of 'Second Boy' hasn't found another home yet.
- A few tracks that didn't make it onto the "Black Talon" EP will also appear elsewhere. A Razed in Black remix was scheduled to be included, but it arrived past the deadline. This track will appear either on the upcoming album or on a future compilation. Another track called 'Overcity' was also slated from the single, but time constraints on the disc prevented it from being included. 'Overcity', however, will be included on the upcoming
- "DeepNet", New Mind's fourth full length album, is nearly completed, and may be released as early as September. Jonathan hopes that the (identical) American release (on 21st Circuitry) of "Deepnet" will be nearly simultaneous to the Off Beat version. Jonathan has to say this about "Deepnet": "Each one I do seems to be quite a drastic leap from the previous one, so "'Forge-Part 2" it definately isn't. Yes, there is 'some' guitar on it, but just because it's electronic this time doesn't make it techno... I worked my techno fixation off on the Hexedene album."
- When asked if he could be a little more specific, Jonathan had a little more trouble in answering. "It's just, well, pretty weird. It's also pretty long, running time wise. Forge was pretty song based, "Zero to the Bone" was techno-ey, and the first one ("Fractured") was pretty experimental. "DeepNet" is all this, and a bit more... You'll just have to wait and see."
- In the meantime, New Mind will tide us over with two different covers on upcoming compilations. 21st Circuitry is releasing Vol. 2 of Newer Wave, on which New Mind covers the SSS track 'Love Missile F1-11'. The other appearance will be on Re-Constriction's "Nod's Tacklebox of Fun Vol. 2", on which Jonathan will be "slaughtering" the TLC track 'Waterfalls', a track inspired by Numb's cover of 'Push It' on "Operation Beatbox" (also on Re-Constriction).
- As another point of interest, Jonathan has regained the rights to most of his back catalogue, including his second album "Zero to the Bone", and the debut vinyl-only "Body Politics" 12" from 1991, although he won't comment as to if anything will definitely be reissued.
[RIGID ELECTRO EBM]
- After two full lengths, Bio-Tek has parted directions on European electro-giant Zoth Ommog. A maxi-EP, named "Steel Against Skin", was planned to be released on Zoth Ommog, but wasn't due to the seperation. However, the material will see the light of day on compilations. A few of the remixes are currently planned to be released on upcoming compilations from American terrorists DSBP, notorious for their release of Biopsy material, among other things. Future releases are in debate, however. "I want those remixes released before I decide where I'm going with this project," Jonathan commented. Although the future off Bio-Tek is uncertain, fans will get their Bio-Tek on the aforementioned compilations.
PROJECT ["SUPER GROUP" WITH JS9, JEAN LUC DEMEYER, AND GED
DENTON (CRISIS NTI)] HYPERDEX-1-SECT
[A COLLABORATION BETWEEN JS9 AND SEVREN NI-ARB]
- Nearly everyone heard the story of the Cyber-Tec Project. Cyber-Tec Project was a group envisioned and assembled by Cyber-Tec (the label) manager, Paul Green. Jonathan wrote two songs (including the infamous 'Let Your Body Die'), which appeared on a maxi-EP along with two others from Ged Denton (still with C-Tec) and various remixes. After this release, however, Jonathan was replaced by Cubante's Mark Heal, without ever being contacted about the switch. "I had a good idea what was going down," Jonathan commented, "but nobody involved had the courtesy to inform I had been replaced. I found out for sure when I was faxed the news page of New Life magazine announcing my replacement."
- Four other songs that Jonathan had written for Cyber-Tec Project, but never presented, were left over. JS9 then collaborated with Sevren Ni-Arb (of XMTP fame) to create Hyperdex-1-Sect. This very interesting project sounds sounds like a conjunction of less aggressive New Mind material combined with newer X Marks the Pedwalk. "Metachrome", the duo's debut, was released in Europe quite a while ago (1996 to be exact), and was recently released in the US by 21st Circuitry with additional remixes by Empirion and Download.
- A sophmore release will most likely happen for the Hyperdex camp. Both Jonathan and Sevren are interested in working together again (plus, they're contracted for another album), but in the words of JS9: "Getting our schedules to meet is another thing." Jonathan has just finished up another remix for an unamed Hyperdex track, to be released some time in the future.
- Now that there has been a rise in popularity in Jonathan's work, and in Jean Luc's as well, Cyber-Tec Records plans to release an album later this summer entitled "Let Your Body Die '98". The specifics of this release are unclear to JS9, although he hopes "that as they [Cyber-Tec, the label] seem to want to use my involvement to sell this thing [the liner notes in the new Cyber-Tec compilation state that 'Let Your Body Die' was written by "the genius Jonathan Sharp" - Ed.] they could have the courtesy to behave in a professional businesslike manner towards me. You know, basic courtesy, like responding to letters and requests for accurate statements?" Although the Cyber-Tec Project was a project Jonathan has had no involvement with for over two years, it will be interesting to see his work again. "['Let Your Body Die'] has really turned into my own personal albatross.. I don't really care for it much now myself."
- As many might know, the European version of "Choking on Lillies", Hexedene's debut release, got tangled up in the demise of CCP. Jonathan narrowly averted disaster with the album, only recently getting out of the deal. Hexedene is now signed to Matrix Cube/Trinity, home of Die Form and London After Midnight. The album will be out in September, roughly the same time as New Mind's "DeepNet".
- The American version of "Choking on Lillies" (out now on Re-Constriction) contains nine tracks and two remixes by Jonathan, plus four remixes by American artists (Alien Faktor, Oneiroid Psychosis, SMP, and Society Burning, to be exact). The European version will be similar in that it will contain four remixes by other artists, only this time by European artists. While the exact track listing is not confirmed yet, remixes by Pierrpoint, Dust of Basement, and Internal will be included. Alternate mixes of 'Only Human' and 'Breathe' by Jonathan that were mixed since the Re-Constriction release may also be included on the album.
- So many extra remixes of tracks from "Choking..." were created that there will be a remix maxi sometime early next year. Definite tracks include "some very commercial dance and trance mixes", a few remixes by Ionic Vision "that defy description... sort of ethnic-ebm", and the previously mentioned JS9 remixes (if they don't make it on the full length, that is).
- Perhaps an issue that made "Choking on Lillies" all the more interesting, Katie Helsbey (vocals) and Ian Palmer (guitars) removed themselves from the band as it was being released. The departure is now permanent by their signing of an exclusive deal for their own band, entitled Streem. Streem is signed to Roadrunner, and have an album, named "Floodmark", out in the UK now. "Soundwise, it's closer to Garbage or Curve," Jonathan comments. "It's certainly less electronica-ish than Hexedene."
- Hexedene is not a project that Jonathan intends to stop, however. Two covers songs have been made for upcoming compilations; 'You Never Can Tell' by Chuck Berry for "CyberPunk Fiction", and 'Diamonds are Forever' by Shirly Bassey for "Nod's Tacklebox II", both on Re-Constriction. These two tracks both host a new singer, Jude Graham, who JS9 states he had worked with previously in other genres. The next Hexedene album will have several female vocalists appearing to aid Hexedene, one of whom is none other than Battery's Maria.
[(VERY) MINIMAL AMBIENT MUSIC]
- LASHTAL was JS9's minimalistic musical side. The project, however, is now "on permanent hold". "I have maybe half an album which I did some time back. Fifth Column did talk about putting that out, but they were all talk and no money, so it sits unfinished and will probably remain so," he says. Jonathan is interested in perhaps putting out the material he has done for the project: a solitary maxi-EP's worth of material. Any labels interested, get in touch with him.
[OUT OF COMMISSION]
- Freezone is another project of Jonathan's that sat unfinished for a long time. Finally, about half of the material was re-used for other things along the way. "Some of it got re-mangled into New Mind material, and some of the instrumental stuff ended up with Bio-Tek. The original idea was to make a kind of fourth world music, mixing ethnic samples with electronics," Jonathan stated. The style of music has been done so extensively, however, that Freezone is another project that will have no more material created in its name.
- Tyrophex 14 - harsh, electro power-noise
- Psionic - (very) intelligent techno
- Gunhed - breakbeat electro
- Zodiac - spooked-out techstep
- These projects are all relatively new projects, currently available only on compilations; and in the case of Zodiac, unreleased. Each (as seen in the descriptions) has a very different musical aspect, but are grouped together because of their newness. Any label interested in any of these projects should contact Jonathan.
- Tyrophex 14 made it's debut recently on the Catastrophe compilation, "The Glory of Destruction". Some interested labels have contacted Jonathan about this project, although no negotiations have begun. In the meantime, new T14 tracks appear on the Maschinenwelt "Death" Compilation, and on the sequel to "The Glory of Destruction", available in September/October on Catastrophe.
- Psionic is most likely the closest to a "commercial" project as any of these projects go. Psionic has appeared on two compilations so far: "Dark Techno One Nine Nine" on 21st Circuitry, and "Galactic Wave II" on Starcrash Records. JS9 has several other tracks that he's happy with, and would like to release a few singles in Europe. "I want to get out of the whole industrial thing with this," he says. "Hey, if Daniel Myer can, I can!"
- Gunhed and Zodiac are Jonathan's newest projects to appear, and both take a step outside of the elctro genre. With the name of Gunhed, JS9 has remixed two of his own tracks (by New Mind and Hexedene), but the actual debut of this project came this year on the "Galactic Wave II" compilation (on the European Starcrash Records). Zodiac has yet to appear, but various tracks will most likely appear in the future.
- Besides the multitude of musical projects, Jonathan has other things that he is responsible for. Over the years, Jonathan has remixed a multitude of artists, including Birmingham 6, Aiboforcen, Kalte Farben, and Scar Tissue; and remixes for Inertia, Trylok, VNV Nation, and Razed in Black are planned for future release. JS9 has recently completed a remix for 'Pay Off', a track from Aghast View's recent "Carcinopest" album. Other remixes he has finished in the past few months are remixes for Faithful Dawn and Hyperdex-1-Sect.
- Another interest of Jonathan's is to do a soundtrack project. "I always try and make cinematic music, so it'll be a challenge to do a whole album," Jonathan commented. "The original plan with "Deepnet" was to make it a double CD. One CD being the "Deepnet" album, and the other would be the soundtrack. This didn't work out to be possible for all sorts of reasons, so I guess it'll happen sometime in the future."
- Perhaps the most interesting thing Jonathan is involved in besides his various musical constructs is his tribute to famous writer H.P. Lovecraft. Jonathan is being very quiet about the details, but he did reveal that he and Terri Kennedy from Stone 588 are doing a track together, and that Bob Price is contributing a short essay for the booklet of the compilation. In addition, Decoded Feedback have said that they're contributing 'Re/Animation' for the compilation, and Oneiroid Psychosis is also working on one. JS9 is very positive about all of the other artists as well. Although some labels are "very interested", nothing has been settled yet.
- Already overwhelmed by the amount of projects Jonathan currently works on, I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask if there were any more. "I'm hoping to finally get some work done on a rather special pet-project sometime soon. It might just be a few tracks, a one-off; it's something I've been threatening about for a while, kind of an in-joke to those in the know." I guess we'll just have to wait and see...