Ehron VonAllen creates spellbinding synth-rock in dusty Arizona

An Interview with Ehron VonAllen

Written by Claude Walls

Based in Arizona, electro-rock artist Ehron VonAllen is in the Goth capital of the world. That is, of course, meant as sarcasm; the bitter sting of reality is that VonAllen is producing seductive synthesized gloom in a state better known for its long stretches of open desert and cactus. With several CDs to his credit, VonAllen is carving a name for himself in the independent scene, even covering post-punk classics from the Cure and Recoil.

Claude Walls: Your music probes the dark side of synth-pop and electronica yet it has a theatrical quality to it somewhat reminiscent of David Bowie. Having been to Arizona before, I don’t see this stylistic qualities common in that region. Are you embraced locally — or are you dismissed as a pretentious art fag?

Ehron VonAllen: My style comes from where I grew up and lived before. I just brought it with me
to this sinkhole Arizona. I’m not very popular locally. Probably more infamous. A lot of people in Phoenix know me but don’t really give me a chance when it comes to coming to shows and such. However, most bands have trouble succeeding here and end up being better off in other cities. Phoenix has a piss-poor music scene full of closed-minded rivet heads. I am shunned from mainstream radio here despite being played in most major cities before including various countries like Russia, Japan, and all over Europe.
As far as a pretentious art fag, well, I’m sure a lot of these people think that. But if being labeled  a pretentious art fag is the only way I can keep making this kind of music efficiently then so be it. Maybe if I littered myself with tattoos and bought a Hummer, I may fit in better in Phoenix.  Although I do have a very small loyal fan base here who buys my music for which I’m very appreciative.

Walls: Despite the shadowy contours of your songs, I don’t find your music depressing at all unlike Goth forefathers like Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy. Would you consider yourself to be an optimist with a penchant for black?

VonAllen: Absolutely. I don’t really feel depressed or happy. More or less just neutral. I just write about what I see and feel. The music ends up coming out a little darker than  mainstream music but the lyrics are mostly positive. I write about real things that have happened to me or happened to someone I know or just anything going on in the world.

Walls: Many people listen to bands such as the Cure and Depeche Mode for emotional catharsis. What effect did they have on you growing up?
VonAllen: Quite a bit. For the longest time I put DM under a microscope focusing on every little note of the the music and the lyrics. When I was younger they really dictated how I acted, dressed and thought. It’s amazing how a band can influence a young person so much. As far as the Cure, their album Disintegration in in my top 10 albums of all time; however, I don’t like most of their music outside of that.

Walls: Do you move around a lot onstage during live performances?

VonAllen: As much as I can. I like to play a lot of instruments when I can on stage. That can take up a lot of my time on stage. But when I’m singing only, I move around as much as the stage I’m on will allow. I have been known to leave the stage a lot despite telling myself I won’t do that again before each show.

Walls: Too much of today’s electronic music lacks pop hooks and lyrics. How do you feel about those techno acts that are purely thump-thump-thump and no lyrical content? 

VonAllen: Like I said before, most of those bands are products of the Prodigy era. Despite Prodigy being a great band in my opinion, most bands that came after put out music with no originality or emotion. The majority of electronic acts out today are just the result of someone purchasing a synth and a computer and wanting to be a rock star. Now even the computer geeks can be cool, right? One reason that thump-thump music is so popular is because people don’t want to hear complicated music. They just want something that’s easy to keep up with, dance to, and can be played in the background without too much distraction. It seems most Americans turn their back on music with any feeling or emotion. They don’t even question why record labels are putting out such garbage. We live in a time where amateurs can win a contest and go on to be successful just because of a TV show. You no longer have to have something special to offer in order to be successful in the music business. And it is just that, a business, nothing more.


~ by julianwilson on August 15, 2008.

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