San Francisco’s Octavian Winters Concoct New Release with Iconic Producer Mark Pistel”

In 2022, San Francisco saw the intriguing rise of Octavian Winters, a post-punk ensemble with a flair for the theatrically gloomy. This band, featuring guitarist Stephan Salit (Thrill of The Pull), drummer Randy Gzebb (Thrill of The Pull, Love Club), bassist Jay Denton, and Ria (Amenti) Aursjoen on vocals and keyboards, offers a sound that’s less about sunny Californian vibes and more about conjuring dark enchantments in moonlit forests.

Now, Octavian Winters has joined forces with Mark Pistel (Consolidated, Meat Beat Manifesto) on their new two-track single. Out now via Stratis Capta Records, the A-side, Nebula, muses on the inevitable impermanence of all things—whether seen, unseen, known, or unknown. Complementing this is Pistel’s irresistibly pulsating remix of Velveteen, which promises to get even the most reluctant specters tapping their ghostly feet.

Their music beautifully marries the somber and the sublime, creating a landscape where edgy riffs dance with ethereal synth waves, and vocals that sound like they were borrowed from an ancient, mystical chorus. Picture, if you will, the spectral elegance of Cocteau Twins, the haunting beats of Clan of Xymox, the enchanting allure of Faith and the Muse, and the mystical depths of Dead Can Dance, all weaving together in a misty Frisco twilight.

Nebula reflects upon the passage of time and the transient nature of dreams and existence; describing an aeon spinning years, leading to a world on the brink of an end, with a new sun descending. Stars rise like a crown for the deceased, emphasizing the inevitability of everything fading into nothingness.

Nebula began as an experiment, says Ria Aursjoen. “I was trying to pin down the concept of the song in my head lyrically for a while and just knew it felt very “big”, even apocalyptic in a way. I kept envisioning a sort of “last day at the end of the world” — what would the sky look like? Would we know and understand what was happening? There is this broadly Gnostic idea of the universe as unfolding and unfolding through what are called Aeons, essentially levels of manifestation, until we get this world we live in here….I imagined this world reaching the fullness of its life, that whole cycle ending — and then everything reversing, refolding back to the start to make way for the next universe. There is a lot of esoteric symbology referenced in this song for those out there who like that sort of thing. The incredible thing about symbolic language is that it can have so many levels of meaning depending on the viewer/listener. I am sure I will understand my own words to this in new ways, in the future.”

“We were discussing what song idea we should work on next during the writing process and Ria brought in the demo of Nebula, says Randy Gzebb. “We listened once and started playing it at rehearsal and after a couple of takes, everyone had their parts locked down. I started to play with the tom groove and tried to make it powerful, but still leave some space for the track to breathe. The rhythm and tempo set the overall tone and emotional mood of the song, with guitar and pulsating bass creating a haunting atmosphere with powerful vocal lines”.

Nebula comes with a gorgeous cosmic music video pondering the mysteries of the universe, directed by collaborator David Kruschke.

Watch below:

Mark Pistel, a jack-of-all-trades in the electronic music world, has been making waves since the ’80s. Best known as a founding member of Consolidated and a key player in Meat Beat Manifesto since 1997, he’s also lent his talents to The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Grace Jones, Therapy?, MC 900 Foot Jesus, Machines of Loving Grace, Hector Zazou, Mark Stewart, Lee Scratch Perry, Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder, and Fishbone’s Angelo Moore. His resume reads like a who’s who of eclectic and innovative music, proving that Mark Pistel is the musical equivalent of a Swiss Army knife—versatile, reliable, and always handy to have around.

“Randy Gzebb called me about remixing one of the tracks off The Line or the Curve,” recalls Mark Pistel. “I was excited to do so, as we’d recorded some of these vocals at my Room 5 Studio in San Francisco. I chose to do Velveteen as I already loved the track with its fantastic vocal melody and Stephan’s unstoppable guitar hook! I  took on the track with pulsing analogue synths and a slamming dance floor beat for the clubs.”

Recorded in San Francisco, The Line or Curve EP was brought to life by Mark Pistel at OW Studio and Room 5 Recording. The band enlisted William Faith (The Bellwether Syndicate, Faith and the Muse, Christian Death, The March Violets) to produce, mix, and master the EP at 13 Studio in Chicago.

Throughout their musical escapades, members of Octavian Winters have graced stages alongside a parade of iconic acts, including Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke, Lords of the New Church, Savage Republic, Christian Death, The Frozen Autumn, Everything Goes Cold, and Black Tape for a Blue Girl.

The ‘Nebula / Velveteen (Mark Pistel Remix)‘ single is out now, available digitally from fine music platforms, including via Apple MusicSpotify and Bandcamp.

Octavians Winters’ next headlining concert is on Friday, July 26, at San Francisco’s DNA Lounge, with support from Halou and Sword Tongue as support.

Follow Octavian Winters:

Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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