12 Rounds

Pleasant smell of 12 Rounds wafts over the Atlantic; duo of Sarne and Ross join Manson

K.e.g. Editor
Friday – November 20, 1998

The success of British bands in the United States often hinges upon their embracing of American pop culture. Import 12 Rounds has reveled in its elusive sound, deviod of any clear source, whether it be American or English.

The music of 12 Rounds is anything but borrowed.Noted influences such as Bauhaus may appear evident in their work, but the classification of 12 Rounds into a category would only overshadow their revolutionary sound.

Their current touring of the states with Marilyn Manson has enhanced their routine. As band member Atticus Ross said, the touring has resulted in a more “cohesive sound, evolving” to the point of adding varied dimensions to 12 Rounds’ work. Unheard and unseen, the newest format for the band is as elusive as its members. Ross, when cornered with a particularly tricky question, gave a decidely slippery answer consisting only of “…I’m thinking.” Conversation with Ross casts a clearer light on what 12 Rounds is about, and from where it has been derived.

Vocalist Claudia Sarne shared many of the same sentiments as Ross. Independent of Ross, Sarne attempted to explain the constantancy of 12 Round’s “Evolving” musical agenda. Sarne noted the “Studio in the basement” days had long gone past 12 Rounds, and that its aspirations went well beyond questions of technical exploration.

Both Sarne and Ross cited the American audience as a key ingredient in their success away from home. Ross said that the music has taken on “it’s own life’ while cultivated in the U.S. He described, how, while “thinking the other day” he had noticed a critical difference in the American and Euroean audience.

Ross framed his explanation of the different crowd overseas in his description of European MTV. Entertainment in the U.K, according to him, consists primarily of “one radio station.” With his leery eye was on the British Broadcasting Company (the BBC), Ross said that perhaps “it is about choice.” The audience, regardless of when and where, is the result of, in his words, “programming.” The contrast of the questionable European entertainment format ting choices is in direct contrast to the “mindless game shows” that appear on American television and North American MTV.

Sarne, once again, echoed her partner’s feelings towards their reception in the pop culture of the United States. Sarne said that 12 Rounds’ work in the United States has been successful, particularly in certain regions. She listed the examples of Houston and Minneapolis as being fruitful areas in which to perform. While both Sarne and Ross were positive about their time outside of there country, they did voice their opinions of the state of popular music in a very straightforward manner.

When asked to comment on Nothing (his record label) and Trent Reznor (Nothing’s founder), Ross replied that, although he had not worked in direct connect with Reznor, he felt strongly about his label and his fellow labelmates. On the subject of Meat Beat Manifesto (another Nothing band), he commented that “Jack (Dangers, leader of Meat Beat Manifesto) is a “very important person, overlooked” by the general listening public.

Ross preempted several of his comments with with the statement that he had been born in the United States and had lived in the states. He said he did not want to appear as if hating America. He said that in many ways, American audiences are better than European crowds bececuase Europeans approach live music with “their arms crossed.” Both Sarne and Ross commented on the novelty of seeing “crowd surfing” at their concerts.

12 Rounds has certainly seen the benefit of playing to a lively American audience. They believed they have been received well, and, as Sarne puts it, “There is such a difference when you are playing to a crowd of 200 one minute, and then the next day playing to 4,000 or 5,000 people.”

Sarne and Ross are collectively satisfied and excited to play these larger venues and crowds, sensing their growing popularity in the United States. Certainly a highlight of the 12 Rounds sound and imagery (both visual and auditory) is their use of abstraction. Promotional images (as pictured above) give little clue as to what to expect from 12 Rounds, setting the stage for what the duo of Sarne and Ross describe as “approaching it differently”

12 Rounds latest release, My Big Hero, is now available. The bamd may also be seen currently on tour with Marilyn Manson. The band has been released in North America under the Nothing label. Nothing, the vehicle by which Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor has created his recording empire, also features lesser-known acts such as Meat BeatManifesto. Acts like 12 Rounds and Meat Beat Manifesto flourish under Reznor’s care in the states