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An Order of Dischord An Interview with Coma Cluster Void
Posted November 24, 2016 by George Archibald in Interviews

I first heard of Coma Cluster Void through a few extended range guitar groups on Facebook. Many people talking about them as they were going to change the scene of metal. This only added up the anticipation for CCV’s first full length Mind Cemeteries, released on August 26th. Mind Cemeteries, showcased a new take on what could be heavy and how music can flow. At times the band seemed to have a free flow take on the writing process, then to bring it back while hitting its listeners on the head with a sonic sledgehammer. I was very fortunate to have been contacted by the band to conduct an interview with all of them (Sylvia Hinz – Bassist, Chris Burrows – Drummer, Mike DiSalvo – Vocals, Austin Taylor – Vocals, and Strieder– Guitars). I was very amazed at how much one band could be involved with so many different facets of music. Read for yourself, and you will understand what has made Coma Cluster Void what it is today.

Coma Cluster Void - Mind Cemeteries


Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries

GA: First off congratulations on the release of Mind Cemeteries. How has the reception of the new album been?

Strieder: Thanks! The reactions were totally overwhelming. Also, to see that other great bands dig our stuff. and post about us. or congratulate us in messages … all in all, a great feeling!

GA: Coma Cluster Void has members that hail from Canada, USA and Germany, do you find it difficult to be able to work together due to the travel distances between members. How do you guys make it work especially for writing like Mind Cemeteries?

Chris: It isn’t difficult at all for us to communicate online. We are all passionate, driven, and easy going people that respect the overall objective of the music as well as each other’s talents.

Strieder: This band also feels more like a family, and we can openly speak and criticize each other. For example, if I write riffs that suck, Sylvia kicks my ass, and if Chris writes drums that suck, I kick him. It’s a lot of kicking.

GA: The band has such an eclectic sound, what influences do you have that kind of helped to forge the path of Coma Cluster Void musically?

Strieder: There might be a deep connection between my childhood and how I perceive art and music. My “parents” were cruel control freaks; they didn’t allow me any instruments, or other ways to spend time with music. My downtrodden past life made me see music as the only way to be free. If I see a “weird” Instrument, I don’t ask “why”, I want to make music with it. You can do music with anything. My first instrument, around 1997, was perhaps the first “djent stick” in history … made from a roof lath, an old wounded guitar string, two screw joints, matches as frets and a walk-man earphone glued to the wood as pick-up …

I remember as kid not liking the music that was on the radio, and the first music I ever liked was Techno (I think it was around the year 1990), especially the Detroit-Stuff. Music with a much darker vibe, and not tonal, and not consonant; created by just adding cool layers of sounds, without giving a f about 17th/18th century music theory.

Chris Burrows of Coma Cluster Void


Chris Burrows of Coma Cluster Void

Around the age of 16, I got to know almost at the same time Pantera, and Arnold Schoenberg. From then on, I discovered more and more extreme metal, and more and more avant-garde, and that’s where my heart lays. I became a composer, wrote pieces for fantastic musicians, and got premieres all over the planet. But in 2013, the time was right in my life to start a metal band!

Chris: Our eclectic sound is probably a result of each band member’s incredibly diverse influences and open mindedness. Perhaps partly responsible for our excellent online communication between myself and Strieder, is our mutual interest for electronic music. We respond quickly through midi programming for drums, and bring a percussive edge akin to breakbeat to some of our riffs.

Sylvia: Being open to a lot of different styles in music – classical and non-classical – helps in finding a personal taste and mad sounds. Get inspired by your favorites, together with the idea of a perfect sound in your head, mix it up, put some spice on it, play it on your instrument – voilà!

Sylvia Hinz of Coma Cluster Void


Sylvia Hinz of Coma Cluster Void

Strieder: I like to joke, that Coma Cluster Void is like the combination of Pantera and Schoenberg. Although there’s certainly quite some truth in that, it’s more like what those sparks have become during 20 years of making music.

In general, everything can be inspiring. The music of other cultures can be deeply inspiring, like the Banda Polyphony from Central Africa, or the electronic music of our own time, like Venetian Snares. I learned from the great composer György Ligeti, that you can strip the intellectual idea (or the “essence”) out of music and make it your own, without creating a stylistic copy or insulting “exotism”.

GA: Do you have any plans for touring or strings of shows in the future?

Strieder: There are no plans yet. Bringing together five people from Oregon, Michigan, Montreal, and Berlin, each with their own commitments, on one stage seems to be an impossible task as of now … but never say never;)

Chris: I’ve always considered live performance the most inspiring aspect of being a musician. I’ve taught drumlines for over 7 years, and love sharing my ideas and creative process.

I’d be more than happy to do drum clinics in the Detroit area, or anywhere that would have me!

Austin Taylor of Coma Cluster Void


Austin Taylor of Coma Cluster Void

GA: What other projects are the band members engaged in?

Sylvia: I have several ensembles, the most active ones are XelmYa (, (a trio with me on recorders, Alexa Renger on violin and guests on violoncello), and Umbratono (a mexican-german collaboration, consisting of me, and Antonio Rosales on bass clarinet, as well as guests on violin and violoncello). XelmYa can be heard on the ‘Prologue’, ‘Interlude’ and ‘Epilogue’ on Mind Cemeteries. I also do solo recitals, master classes, conducting, and other projects …

Chris: I drum for Detroit metal band, Thoren (, whose second LP “Brennenburg” was mixed masterfully by Strieder; also, XelmYa plays the last piece on this record, btw!;) I also have my own YouTube channel ( ) that I’m working on bringing more educational drumming material to as well as producing electronic pop in Wonderbox.

Right now, I’m working on “Steps to Falling Down“, a YouTube lesson series focused on ideas that help you sound like you don’t know how to play your instrument ;)

Mike DiSalvo of Coma Cluster Void


Mike DiSalvo of Coma Cluster Void

Mike: I am also in a Montreal based band called Akurion ( with Rob Milley from Neuraxis, Tommy McKinnon from Conflux, and Oli Pinard from Cryptopsy. I have also recently participated in the collaborative band Conflux ( with Tommy McKinnon and Chase Fraser from Decrepit Birth, and an array of Montreal based vocalists.

I am also doing another side project of acoustic based tunes with my wife Genevieve DiSalvo and Rob Milley playing acoustic guitars. Real somber, dark singer/songwriter tunes created on the spot, literally everything; lyrics, vocals, music, arrangements. The project is called Fireside Sessions.

Strieder: Genevieve DiSalvo is also being heard on Coma Cluster Void, she did the spoken words in ‘Prologue’, ‘Iron Empress’, ‘Interlude’ and ‘Epilogue’.;)

Austin: I make some other heavy sounds in projects called Dimensionless ( and Selfdestructionist (

Strieder: Besides my writing of dissonant art music, I focus completely on Coma Cluster Void. ;)


GA: What gear are you currently using for your main rig? If you have endorsements, please include them.

Sylvia with sub double bass


Sylvia with sub double bass

Sylvia: I play a Yamaha 5-String Bass, upside down due to being left-handed. I use DR Strings. I became aware of their brand through their Geezer Butler testimonial; who praised them because with these strings, he doesn’t get blisters anymore. I have super thin skin on my fingers, because my main instrument is the recorder, and for a classically trained musician, to practice is key. Well, that’s a lot instruments, from the small sopranino recorder up to the 2,45m high sub double bass recorder. ;)

Strieder: I switched many years ago, to working in-the-box. The Agile 10-String is the only guitar I play. I’ve used Vovox protect cables, Focusrite audio interfaces and on Mind Cemeteries, La Bella strings, and most importantly damn cool looking Instrumental Pickups STFY3s for clarity on chords made of 7 or more different notes ;)

Chris: My main kit is a Pearl VBL Birch 5-Piece, equipped with Tama Iron Cobras, various hardware brands, Evans drumheads, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Presonus FP10 and Shure microphones.

As I extend the search to look for new and interesting percussive tones, I am open to using different brands / endorsements. I suppose the brake drum I use is off a Ford! :D

GA: What are your thoughts on the current metal scene with bands constantly thriving for the next ‘Heavy’ sound or thing? Where does CCV fit in with being what many call the next evolution of what is heavy?

Chris: Often I feel metal bands rely on tropes that become stale, and rearrange them instead of focusing on good songwriting. Even though I can respect the extremes, metal musicianship can reach, it often falls deafly on my ears if I can’t sense a dynamic flow.

Strieder: Hard to say, we just want to make the best music we can ;)

Sylvia: I don’t listen to music which doesn’t catch me.

GA: What is next for Coma Cluster Void? Any plans for 2017 that you are looking forward to?

Strieder: We are writing already on new material, and 2017 shall see the EP “Thoughts from A Stone”, which begins were “Mind Cemeteries” ended, and continues the story arc about the world of the “Iron Empress”!

GA: Anything you guys would like to add?

Sylvia: Thanks for the interview! Stay tuned for more CCV madness!  ;)

I want to thank the band for such a great interview. I look forward to hearing new Coma Cluster Void in 2017!!



About the Author

George Archibald
George Archibald