12 Rounds

Party Pit Interview with 12 Rounds

British band, 12 Rounds is the latest addition to Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records. Besides creating his own band Nine Inch Nails, Reznor has also nurtured the likes of Marilyn Manson, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Two. Now two Brits, Claudia Sarne and Atticus Ross of 12 Rounds have been added to the family tree.

And if you know the kin of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, you’ll understand why 12 Rounds is just like one of the family.

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his bones and Jill went on a killing spree.

Claudia Sarne says she writes songs with the dream like quality of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. But the songs Sarne writes for her band, 12 Rounds, aren’t of lullaby quality. This isn’t the music to send one to happy dreamland. The lyrics have more of a nightmarish effect. Take the song “2 Miles” for instance:

“My Sweet Honey Bee Lock you up with me Soothe the aching from your head and When I’m feeling down I’ll saw off both your hands and lick the sweat off of your feet.”

Somehow Sarne manages to sing with sweetness even though her words convey such horror. But don’t worry Sarne won’t chop off your hands.

“My music is about fantasy and escapism,” Sarne explains. “I can create a cave—go into another world and get lost.”

Music was the refuge Sarne found at 12 years old when she discovered the Cure.

“The music was so seamless I’d just get lost,” remembers Sarne. “I loved it. It was my fucking savior.”

Growing up Sarne began writing her own music. After singing in a hard core band called “Genocide 2″ when she was 18, Sarne became really burned out on the music industry and dropped out of the scene. She thought she had had enough until her friend Ross asked for her help on a Bomb the Bass record he was working on. He thought she was extremely talented.

“I think (Sarne) is probably the best female vocalist I’ve ever heard,” states Ross.

The two clicked and formed 12 Rounds with an additional musician who no longer plays with the group.

Sarne doesn’t say much of the other member who split because of “musical differences. ” The three, however, released a limited CD with their first label Polydor, went on a tour of the UK with the Sneaker Pimps, but only Sarne and Ross went back into the studio as a duo to produce their new CD.

Their new album “My Big Hero” is a collection of mood swing songs inspired by chainsaws, heart beats, heavy breathing, buzzing insects, and kiddie toys. To work out the right sounds for different songs, Sarne says the group used ordinary household items to find the right texture or mood for the song. For example, the group listened to the grating of a juicer and finally settled on recording the buzz of a chainsaw for the unnerving song “Bovine.” And, to give the uneasy feeling of claustrophobia in the second track “Pleasant Smell,” Sarne’s recorded her own heavy breathing throughout the song. And then, Sarne wanted a fly buzzing in “Somethings Burning” just to be bothersome.

These layers of sounds may enhance the recording, but Sarne’s voice and lyrics are the most haunting.

Sarne has a “different side of femininity,” says her partner Ross. “She’s the doer of wrong, rather than the wrong done to her.” Although Sarne sings of killing and enjoys the sound of chain saws, she promises she is not at all scary.

“I’m not really that dark. Tricky is dark and Trent is quite dark,” Sarne says defensively. “If you see me you’d think I was really quite normal.”