‘Atlanta’s heaviest gothic doomgaze band’ Dead Register describe themselves as ‘genre-bending, sad-sap, tortured, cry-in-my-coffee, gloomy, pretentious’, so it’s safe to say they don’t take life too seriously. But musically couldn’t be any more serious; theirs is a dual-bass onslaught of haunting, crushingly heavy, gorgeous stuff. Consisting of husband-and-wife team M Chvasta and Avril Che, plus new drummer Danny Ryann, Dead Register are inspired by Neurosis, Swans, Godflesh and The Cure, but their sound is beautifully unique.
New EP ‘Captive‘ is out now, and I strongly urge you to have a listen, and also to check out their atmospheric artwork and videos. Below they present a wonderfully honest and eclectic selection of books, giving us an insight into the world of Dead Register…
AVRIL CHE (Dead Register):
1. The Human Body, by Ruth Dowling Bruun & Bertel Bruun
“Take a trip through the human body as you explore its inner workings from cell communication to reproduction.” My parents gave me this when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. It became my immediate favorite. In my family, there were no bird mite-ridden interspecies baby parcels, no teeth-stalking night fairies; women had breasts, periods and vaginas, and men had penises. If we should all be so lucky. We as a society are severely uneducated about the bodies we inhabit. Worst yet, we are told endless lies about the vessel that we should be the most connected with.
2. Destination: Void (4 book series), by Frank Herbert & Bill Ransom
This was my first heavy foray into sci-fi books. I actually started with The Jesus Incident and circled back to Destination: Void last. The lush writing style got me hooked. The lines and structures were so very organic, perfectly aligned with vast detail facets of technology, psychology, biology and evolution. This series gave me some of the most gorgeous and fascinating dreams that overrode waking reality. I suppose because it’s Real. The human-kind fucks up, tries to fix it itself, and just cycles again in more gloriously beautiful human-based fuck-ups.
3. Power Yoga, by Beryl Bender Birch
One decade ago, I decided that I needed a total renovation of myself and that I’d use yoga a tool for assisting in transformation. I made the resolve despite the fact I was surrounded by a cloud of gross stigma that the term carried with it – from totally spaced hippies to OMG I Wear my $200 Yoga Pants to Buy Artisan Water for my Rescue Dog. The last thing I wanted was to be in a dumb class filled with Them. My first solid year of practice came from this book, and it was one of the best things I did for myself. Since then I’ve found many a great class and learned that not all attendees are Princess Shitheads (pronounced Shuh-theeds). Yoga is true DIY. A great way to cut the puppet strings and be the controller of your own consciousness and filthy, short-end-of-the-evolutionary-stick meat sacks.
4. Necronomicon, by H.R. Giger
I have spent countless hours of my life staring at art books. There was a generous collection in my house growing up, and little kid me would hunt out the work with the best demons. Because demons are COOL. My fav was “Saint Wolfgang and the Devil” because there was a devil’s face on the devil’s ass. And then I found Giger. It was about the equivalent to when someone says they found god. His work expresses the depths of my psyche in a way that I would never be able to do in this lifetime.
5. Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein
“It is easy to panic and either open a chute too soon and become a sitting duck (do ducks really sit? — if so, why?)…” This is the best line from any piece of literature I’ve read, ever. It just gets me going. I suppose I have a snarky old man since of humor. Whatever was going on, I couldn’t put the story down. It was a like a grumpier alternative version of me with vastly improved writing skills talking shit back to myself.
6. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
I encountered cyberpunk novels way too late in the game. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been such a luddite in my lifetime if I had picked William Gibson up instead of Stephen King in the 5th grade. I would have rather enjoyed the stimulation of creating and melding the body with machines and code. You’d think with my Giger fascination that I’d have figured out these were one in the same. I feel I can only look from the outside in now. Even though I’m way more pro-robot these days, it’s too late for this granny.
M. CHVASTA (Dead Register)
7. Guitar Player Repair Guide, by Dan Erlewine
I love getting my hands on new basses to play. Most of the time, folks sell me some fantastic basses for super-cheap that’ve never been set up. This book gave me the basic tools to cut my own DIY path, as I hate paying folks to do anything that I should be able to do myself. I’ve been doing set-ups for the entirety of my playing career thanks to the jump start from this fine piece of non-fiction self-help. Not to mention I trade set ups and repair for coffee, tacos, and companionship time. All of my Bass VI’s used in Dead Register are custom cobbled together by me from parts and pieces acquired for pawnshop prices and custom CNC’d magic.
8. Bunnicula, by Deborah and James Howe
Who could not love this vampire rabbit? This is such a fine piece of literature, and the illustrations are fantastic. I just discovered that Deboarah Howe passed before this gem was even in print. Her untimely death ads even more weight to this beloved novela. Nostalgia has the tendency to be a gross misuse of our wee-feeble memory bank storage, but this one holds the test of time. Perhaps Bunnicula should’ve opted for a juicer. Perhaps Chester should have gave his speciesist tendencies a rest. Regardless, vegan vampires unite.
Avril & Bunnicula https://www.instagram.com/p/BpkS5doAYoa/
9. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Most classical literature just pissed me off. Being forced to read old, outdated, and painfully mediocre fiction as a child heightened, honed, and fanned the flame of my cynicism and disdain for most works of fiction. This old thing though, despite it being entirely too difficult to comprehend on the first, second, and oftentimes third pass of just about every sentence, still made me chuckle. It filled my cold, broken heart with glee. I kneel before no god, nor am I a believer of anything supernatural outside of the tooth fairy, but this book…. It’s just, just so cute. If there were such thing as hell, I hope it’s just like this when I get there.
10. Haynes Repair Manual, by John H Haynes and His Sexy Friends
When the van decides to break down on the road, I have tools to fix just about any minor issue to get us to the next club. The Hanyes Dodge Van Edition is always on hand. It covers vans from 1971 – 2003, so there’s a lot of unnecessary wiggle room with some components depending on the decade… but it can be a lifesaver. “Where is the belt tensioner assembly to reload a new serpentine belt? Page 144”. My copy is literally strewn with blood, sweat, tears, oil, transmission fluid, and grimy fingerprints. As a” band and t-shirt sales delivery service”, being able to fix, or at least diagnose what might be wrong to expedite repair is a necessity and Haynes Manuals are one of the best tools in the toolkit to round the edges off of that task. Now if could find a fucking adhesive that can actually keep the rear view mirror affixed to the windshield…
Thank you Dead Register for this inciteful and funny piece. I felt the same way as you Avril when I discovered HR Giger, and I love the ‘cute’ description of the Inferno. Dante must have had a lot of fun coming up with it. I also love that you included manuals, which gave me another way of thinking about the books that truly make us.
You can check out Dead Register’s music and buy ‘Captive’ here: