Sculptor Spacebrain (Rene Hamel), who extends his artistic career to playing bass for SKITLIV, the black/doom/noise project of former MAYHEM vocalist Maniac, has used his sculpting skills to design and build his own extraordinary bass guitar. Making its debut at Norway's Inferno festival recently, the "Space Bass" is decorated with Spacebrain's trademark style of metallic sculpture, and, contrary to what you might expect when metal largely takes over from wood, sounds as good as it looks.
On why he felt the need to design his own bass, Oslo-based Spacebrain commented: "For months I'd been looking for a bass I could use for my participation in SKITLIV. The only one I really fancied was a Gibson Thunderbird, but like most penniless artists I couldn't afford one of those. So I thought why not try to make my own? So here you see the result: my Space Bass!"
Well known for his extreme and aggressive stage designs for bands like MAYHEM, Spacebrain also designs the stage sets for SKITLIV, who this year was the opening band on Inferno's Rockefeller stage. On this occasion his stage set drew gasps of surprise from the audience who, as the curtains opened, were treated to the sight of Maniac seated comfortably in an armchair strumming his guitar, whilst the band were lit by standard lamps, creating an atmosphere redolent of a cosy family living room; in sharp contrast to the heavy, doom-laden riffs produced by SKITLIV's use of three guitarists Maniac himself, SHINING's Niklas Kvarforth, and Ingvar, who were further augmented on some numbers by JORN and former ARCTURUS guitarist Tore Moren.
SKITLIV and SHINING both also played shortened versions of their Inferno sets at a special free event hosted by Spacebrain at his studio, known as the "Space Bunker," where the audience was able to view his sculptures at close quarters and mingle with musicians such as Tore Moren, GALLHAMMER's Vivian Slaughter and VANDD's Daniel Wikforss, whilst being served drinks by SVARTRAVN SORGTUNG frontman and VRAGVOLD bass player Svartravn, who on this occasion "volunteered" his services as the Space Bunker's bar man.
Spacebrain is currently preparing to record bass for SKITLIV's first full-length album; the band having previously released two special editions "Kristiansen and Kvarforth Swim In the Sea Of Equilibrium While Waiting " which was self-released for the band's recent tour, and "Amfetamin", a one-off project with Cold Spring Records, comprising two specially recorded tracks, including "Amfetamin" itself, with guest vocals by current MAYHEM vocalist Attila, plus the recent live concert recorded at London's Underworld.
Photos of the "Space Bass" can be seen on the Spacebrain Art From Hell MySpace page, and it can next be seen in action at the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland when SKITLIV will appear at the David Tibet-hosted event on April 20 with CURRENT 93.
The video below is fan-filmed footage of SKITLIV performing "Hollow Devotion" live at the K17 in Berlin during its December 2007 tour.