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Pedro Penas Robles presents his tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy with "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" - Interview

A unique and different tribute compilation is coming up, "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood"! And we had a discussion with the man behind it, Pedro Penas Robles.

It's been some months now that I was really curious on this tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy! There are so many tributes to the pioneers of the dark rock, acid rock, gothic rock or whatever name can anyone give to the sound of The Sisters Of Mercy but this one has been really anticipated, at least for me. And this is so, because of a very specific reason. The man who curated this compilation and the passion with which he always accomplish his works. From his own music projects like HIV+ or Adan & Isle, his music label Unknown Pleasures and the bands he has worked with until his writings, throughout his books.

Pedro Penas Robles is a really passionate man, He is an "uncompromising maniac" with everything he does and a perfectionist. Therefore, it is a certainty that "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" will not be another tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy. "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" is going to be a really different tribute compilation. Everything was chosen and set with one thing in mind, to present the songs that really gave to The Sisters Of Mercy the dimension they have now, and to be performed in a way that, to some, could be different or even better to the originals! 

And here it is. "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" is coming out on September 20th, 2021. With the tracklist available for some days ago and the first tracks already available, seems like Pedro Penas Robles has fulfilled his dream. To create a tribute compilation that would exceed the fan's expectations. Having the privilege to have listened to the whole tribute, one thing that I can share with you is that there are definitely some of the best covers of The Sisters Of Mercy I have ever heard. Form the deep goth of Delphine coma's "Amphetamine Logic" to the sound waves in Chris Shape's "Body Electric" and from the unique view of Swesor Bhrater in "On The Wire" to the darkness of SELFISHADOWS's "Marian" every band and artist was chosen to perform on their own unique way the songs that, along with Pedro, they decided it would have an amazing result.

So, I asked Pedro about all the things around "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood", things about The Sisters Of Mercy, with a strong dose of pure music love words. Enjoy.

ES: Hallo Pedro. The time is coming for one of the releases that, seemed to me, that you have given so much energy to, and, a tribute that you have always wanted to make. Is that so ? Would you like to tell us some things about "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" ?

PEDRO : Indeed, it's been more than 30 years that I want to pay homage to this cult band, since the last time I saw them live in my native region of Murcia (Spain) in 1991 after their Wembley concert in London in 1990. I thought it was the right moment this year since the band is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

ES: While seeing and listening to the bands included to "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" it is obvious that this will not be "another" tribute to the band that adopted and influenced the sound of dark rock. There is this sense that you've chosen and you've made every step, with respect to SOM, and with enough consideration on the bands that would be included. What does really "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" mean to you? Is it something you have always wanted to do or something that you thought it would be really difficult and, in a way, impossible ?

PEDRO : I knew that this kind of project would be difficult, that's why I managed everything from start to achievement, I chose which songs to cover, then I proposed one song per band, according to its own universe so that the result is more coherent and that we don’t have to suffer failed versions of Temple Of Love, Alice, No Time To Cry or worse tracks from Vision Thing that I hate. I avoided the hits to focus the interest of our compilation on tracks more beautiful and deeper than the famous hits. We were successful and the covers are excellent, sometimes they sound better than the originals I thnik, and it’s a nice heartfelt tribute to the talent of the mighty Andrew Eldritch.

ES: Reading some things that you 've written, or better said, to some interviews, I think someone might see a common point between Andrew Eldritch's and your beliefs about the music clichés and the way that gothic rock, dark wave and post-punk have been evolved (or not) throughout the years. How do you feel about this part of dark scene and music ? Do you feel that things are quite figurative lately ?

PEDRO : Ahhahahah let's not exaggerate, I'm much more intransigent than Von E (laughs). Notwithstanding it is true that I have always hated caricatures, soulless plagiarism, musicians lacking in imagination, and I don’t really like a band trying to prank Eldritch who is a great songwriter and true conductor Orchestra, in the 80s he knew how to choose his musicians, he knew which producer could take him where he wanted to go, he knew what image he wanted to give to his band, so I tried to manage things in the same way as at Merciful Release, without compromise. I'm known to be a demanding and uncompromising maniac indeed, that's probably because music to me has a "sacred" character, it's not just entertainment, but Art. Those who do not share my point of view may look elsewhere, but I have the right to express it even if you don’t agree. I hate the lightness in which our dark scene has sunk, when I see the commercial success of band like Lebanon Hanover, She Past Away or Minuit Machine which have replaced today the insufferable Project Pitchfork, Apoptygma Berzerk or VNV Nation, I confess that I don’t understand how our scene got there…. While there are extraordinary musicians who do things so much more beautiful, like Kill Shelter, Ono Scream, Antipole, Vogue Noir, European Ghost, The Shyness Of Strangers, The Raudive, Blind Delon, Maman Küsters, Hausfrau, Velvet Kills, Lovataraxx, Versari or Judith Juillerat.

ES: Andrew Eldritch never accepted and, in fact, he hates the term "goth rock", that was given to Sisters Of Mercy. What do you think of that? If you had to put a label on Sisters Of Mercy music what would it be ?

PEDRO : Andrew was right to reject very early on a label that stigmatized him and risked locking him into a caricature of himself, he always shied away from that, I think he has his integrity and even though I don't like Vision Thing and the period more hard rock or mainstream stuff, I think he did what he liked when he did it, his only real mistake was the last single "Under The Gun" which really failed. But in the eighties he was the boss and he was right to criticize the followers and copies of his cult band. For me The Sisters of Mercy is post-punk and acid rock, but after Floodland the label "goth" is no longer relevant, it's just epic electronic pop.

ES: Let's go back to "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood". One thing noticed at first sight is, that it is not a tribute strictly to Sisters of Mercy, but to Andrew's other project from mid-80's, The Sisterhood. Is this something that it was planned? Personally I think that "Giving Ground" is one of the best Songs from Andrew, despite the strange conditions prevailed the time it was written.

PEDRO : It wasn't planned, but when my old friends from A Wedding Anniversary told me they wanted to do their version of "Giving Ground" and the Scotsman The Raudive told me he wanted to cover "Colors" again I no longer had the choice, the versions are so beautiful that I had to register "The Sisterhood" in our Honoris II project. The result is of great beauty and musical awareness.

ES: You've been into music industry, from different sides, since late 80's. Was Sisters of Mercy one of the reasons that young Pedro decided to dive into the world of dark music ? Did Andrew Eldritch influenced or inspired you in your music steps throughout those years ?

PEDRO : Yes, I have been in the cold wave, dark music, and EBM stuff since I was 16, I started my career as a resident DJ in two legendary clubs in the south of France, and I have always been a very controversial activist because of my uncompromising positions. The Sisters Of Mercy, just like Joy Division, The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Virgin Prunes, Fad Gadget, DAF, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Suicide, Kas Product, Throbbing Gristle or Esplendor Geometrico are the bands that brought me into the world of cold wave, darkness and experimental noise, I'm still in it. Around the year 2000 I started my own HIV+ project to explore the hidden face of my soul, I was in the noise, the industrial, the madness, with a lot of violence, drugs and anger. I just released the last HIV + album "Theatre of Cruelty" with the vocal participation of the famous film director Marc Caro, also with incredible voice of Marc Hurtado from Etants Donnés, Barkosina from Years Of Denial, and a few other great artists from the underground French scene. This is the darkest and craziest album I have ever composed in homage to Antonin Artaud.

ES: "HONORIS II Tribute to The Sisters Of Mercy & The Sisterhood" will be out on September 20, 2021. Can you give us more details regarding the release, the formats ?

PEDRO : Exactly, there will be 3 formats, our label Unknown Pleasures Records offers the CD digipack version, and the Spanish labels Oràculo Records and Industrial Complexx will respectively offer a shorter vinyl version (a beautiful 12 " limited edition and also a 7" with my « Flood II » cover collaboration with my sidekick Sebastien FD who had already produced the Black Egg album on UPR and a Death In June cover with me on Honoris I, and the last two Follow Me Not albums too) and full version with 16 tracks in Tape accompanied by a book on the history of the Sisters Of Mercy. The date is September 20 for all formats.

ES: Some of the tracks are already available and in my humble opinion the result is really great, so far. What else can we expect? Which are the plans till the release date ?

PEDRO : I asked several influencers to share extracts as we went along, the first ones already available to listen to are exceptional but a few other surprises will happen when you discover the rest of the tracklist, everything is good, even the covers that didn’t have their place on the CD or the vinyl but which will be on the Tape.

ES: Could I ask you to tell us if is there any of the covers that it made you feel excited from the first hearing ?

PEDRO : That of Kill Shelter & Antipole, A Wedding Anniversary, Stranger Dreams & MNFCTR, Selfishadows, Delphine Coma or Deathtrippers captivated me from the first listen, but those of Years Of Denial, Maman Küsters or Chris Shape are the most original and perfect for burn dance floors all over the world.

ES: Pedro, I would like to thank you very much for this chat, and I would love to take the chance and invite you to a future discussion about Unknown Pleasure Records, +Closer², HIV+ and your books. Would you like to add something else? Would you like to say something more to our readers?

PEDRO : It is I who thank you, and concerning my books (on Joy Division, Nick Cave and Nitzer Ebb) know that the English version of my biographical essay on Nitzer Ebb is always available via our bandcamp site or Amazon for the USA.


Thank you for your question, Stay safe !

HONORIS II : https://hivmusic1.bandcamp.com/album/honoris-ii-tribute-to-the-sisters-of-mercy-the-sisterhood-uprgold017












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