Hello dear reader; good to see you here! I’m KN and on my way to the house of Betty Koster for an interview. In case you have been hiding away under a gravestone; Betty Koster is the music producer fairly known for her work under the Phantasm Nocturnes (and PN-lobit) moniker. Her music is pretty special and in general pretty damn spooky too! I’ve always wanted to meet her, so recently I just asked if she would be up for an interview. She agreed and now I’m on my way to her home.. How exciting and glad you can come along, as I’m probably too excited to pull this one off all on my own.
Luckily it’s been a wonderful day weather wise, maybe she has a garden to sit and sunbathe for a bit.. We are close now.. A nice and posh looking neighborhood..
it must be around the corner here somewhere..
That must be it?! Out of all places, it’s the creepiest house that I’ve ever seen and what the heck; it’s raining out of dark clouds exactly above it?! Can you believe this? Everywhere sunshine and nice looking places, but Betty’s house looks like a horror house covered in a blanket of thunder and lightning. Oh well, better run quick through the front yard to the door… I’ve got no umbrella..
<KN goes through an eerie sounding iron gate, runs through a wildly grown garden with plants that seem to be alive, avoiding the lightening that tries to electrocute him and ends up in front of a massive looking door>
Hmm.. I can’t seem to find a door bell.. But there is this gigantic devilish knocker here… I’m so glad you are here with me, I think if you weren’t there I would probably canceled the real life interview and had done it by phone instead.. But you encourage me.. With you dear reader by my side, I’m not afraid at all.. Let’s knock the door with the devilish door knocker…
Bang Bang Bang!
Ah I can hear someone coming… The door opens…
<KN lost his cool for a couple of seconds as the door got opened by a gigantic scary looking Frankenstein monster look alike.. KN’s legs got too frightened to run away, which is a good thing otherwise the upcoming interview would have not even have seen the light of the night.>
Yes? Can I help you?
Ah, you must be KN the interviewer.
Welcome, Betty Koster is expecting you..
<with a quick move the Frankenstein-person that had opened the door sounded very polite, and pushed you (dear reader) and KN through the door of the creepy looking house>
Are you still there reader? So glad you are in this adventure too.. The place.. It’s dark, Grimm, full of spiderwebs, candle lights, gothic furniture, dead animals.. Let’s say that the home of Betty Koster looks made for people with a special taste.
Hmm.. Hope she comes quick so we can get it over with.. This place looks creepy!
Betty? Betty? It’s KN from Yeah I Know It Sucks! Betty?
There she comes.. Walking down the stairs… I’m mesmerized, I had no idea Betty would dress like this.
Hi Betty, you look different than I expected. Might I kiss the top of your hand as a gesture of ‘nice to meet you’? What a … Interesting house you have… How long have you been living here? Do you have any troubles with the neighbors?
Betty Koster: Of course you may. Thank you, I have lived here for 12 years. No, I don’t see many neighbors, they avoid coming around I believe.
In any way, I’m honored to finally meet you in real life. It’s pretty amazing.. Hope you don’t mind that I brought readers along with me; it saves me from typing the interview out… Is there a cozy place other than the torture chamber that we can chat?
Betty Koster: It is an honor to do an interview for your fine publication. The more the merrier. We can visit in the parlor.
[The Frankenstein lookalike comes back to pose with us for a editorial picture and pours us a glass of what seems to be fresh blood…]
Even though your house looks kind of creepy to me, I’m very happy to be here with you as strangely even though you and your music is very much out there, I do feel like you yourself are a bit of a mystery. A good humored spirit haunting the internet smile emoticon did you have any other interviewers before in your house?
And if so; are they still alive?
Betty Koster: Only one, he is still hanging around in the cellar.
Let’s get a bit serious and get some questions going. Am I right to assume that a love for horror movies is one of your biggest inspirations music wise?
Betty Koster: Yes, when I began Phantasm Nocturnes the main idea behind it was to do music that was horror themed, using whatever genres that fit the bill, and were in my capabilities.
Do you remember your first experience with a horror movie? What was it that got your attention?
Betty Koster: The first horror movie that I was allowed to see was Poltergeist. I saw it in the movie theater when I was 10 years old. There were many special effects that for that time were really great, I was very impressed with the scene with the paranormal investigator that ripped his face off, and the maggot filled steak that moved itself along the kitchen counter. Overall the movie was thrilling and frightening to me.
If.. For example.. You had been trapped in a basement with a television screen and a VCR for a year or so, and only had the option of bringing 3 movies to watch over and over again, which ones would that be?
Betty Koster: That is a difficult one, there are so many movies that I love. I would have to say Phantasm, Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
When you watch a horror movie do you sometimes feel you could have done a better job at the music score / soundtrack? Which movie you would have loved to do the soundtrack for, and how would it sound like?
Betty Koster: Well, I guess that thought hasn’t crossed my mind before, but I think I would love to do a soundtrack for Hellraiser 2 that would be a very dark and noisy death industrial soundtrack. To me Pinhead and the cenobites are the darkest horror icons ever, they deserve to have the darkest possible soundtrack.
You have released your music on netlabels and as physical releases through awesome DIY labels. Is there a difference in your work according to the format that you release it on?
Betty Koster: No, there really isn’t, all the formats I have released on have worked out very well for different styles and genres. The only thing with physical releases is of course paying attention to the length of the tracks your doing so that in the end you don’t go over the amount of time you have on your format.
‘Maniac’ is released on cassette
I have a feeling that even though your music output is fairly electronic, that you are coming from a metal background.. Haha I don’t know why really, I just imagine you listening to Iron Maiden and black Sabbath.. What do you like to listen yourself? I mean is there a slight truth in this feeling?
Betty Koster: Yes, you are very spot on with that assumption. I have been a huge metal fan since I was 12 years old. I listen to a pretty broad range of metal, I love the classic metal bands particularly Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Venom, Exodus, and Death. I would have to say that for a long while now my favorite genre of metal has been black metal particularly Mayhem, Darkthrone, Dissection, Watain, Revenge, and many of the amazing bands being released on the label World Terror Committee such as Acherontas and Devathorn there has been incredible black metal coming out of Greece lately!
If you had unlimited power to create a nightmarish dream band with members (them either being dead, alive, fictional or real) of your liking; who would be in it and what instrument would they play?
Betty Koster: Very interesting question. I would have a difficult time choosing between my two favorite vocalists King Diamond and Attila from Mayhem, hopefully they could share vocal duties. The old Mayhem guitarist Euronymous. Randy Rhodes also on guitar, the current drummer of Mayhem – Hellhammer, current Mayhem bass player – Necrobutcher, and Pinhead on keyboards.
I normally would not ask something like this, but as we are in your house I feel like it would be stupid not too:
Could you perhaps give is a sneak peak in the audio kitchen? What do you use to produce your music & what is for you your most important instrument / tool in your setup? Something you couldn’t do without?
Betty Koster: I use fl studio, a mixture of VST synths, some pedals and small hardware synths. My favorite pedals are the Palindrome by audible disease, the Damnation pedal by Altar Ego Effectors, the DOD Death Metal Distortion pedal and the baby box by moody sounds. My favorite hardware synths are the MICROBRUTE by Arturia, The Dave Smith Mopho desktop synth, and the KORG KAOSSILATOR PRO. I Also use an Axiom 25 USB keyboard for my various VST synth programs my favorites of those being Omnisphere and several by the company HEAVYOCITY – Damage, and Evolve Mutations 1 and 2. Something I couldn’t do without would be Omnisphere, it is definitely what I use the most, and there are several plugins I use frequently – TesslaSE, Crazy Ivan, and iZotope Trash 2.
^ Now you know how ‘Haunted Ruins’ are made
Talking about tools and your house looking rather spooky… I had this period of checking out these ‘ghost boxes’ which the makers claim to be able to receive voices of ghosts. What do you think of these things, and would you consider making music with such a ghost box?
Betty Koster: Funny you should ask this because I do plan on purchasing one of these in the next several months, I will definitely be experimenting with it for making noise, but my main purpose for buying it is for a ghost hunting trip to an old mental hospital here in Iowa called Edinburgh Manor that I will be spending the night at this coming year.
Do you personally have had any ghost encounters?
Betty Koster: Yes, I have encountered some doing some ghost hunting at a couple of known haunted attractions here in Iowa. Some noises at an old school building called The Farrar School. And at The Villisca Axe Murder House, which is a house where in 1912 6 children and 2 adults were brutally murdered in their beds with an axe, and the killer was never found, I experienced a child’s ball moving frequently.
Music wise I think your output is not able to be put in a box of any kind, sometimes it’s like listening to an atmospheric thrilling story and other times it even goes for a beat to dance upon, from noise to experimental to soundtracks to anything beyond. What is it that you would like to give your listeners in general when they listen to a Phantom Nocturnes release?
Betty Koster: I want the listener to feel immersed in the atmosphere, regardless of the genre of the track, that is always my main goal.
What would be the best place for people curious about your music to keep up to date with your music releases?
Betty Koster: My bandcamp page – phantasmnocturnes.bandcamp.com and my soundcloud page – soundcloud.com/betty-koster
Oh Betty.. I’m really sorry but look at the time on that dusty old gothic looking clock in the corner.. It’s almost midnight; I really got to go before I’ll turn into a pumpkin. Do you have something on your mind that you would like the readers at home (and your fans) to know about before we wrap the interview up?
Betty Koster: I would like to thank you for being brave enough to venture here to do this interview and I would like to thank everybody who has shown interest in and supported Phantasm Nocturnes, I am very grateful to you all!!!
Hmm.. Betty I’m not sure what’s happening but I can’t get out of this chair. Bettie.. Can you give me a hand? This is rather odd Betty.. I don’t know what’s wrong but I can’t move.. Betty what’s going on? Why are you suddenly so silent? Did I say something wrong? Betty? What is that weird look on your face? I’m serious Betty, I really need to go back to the office.. The interview is over Betty.. I got to go back.. uh… Betty?
What’s up with the axe Betty? Betty? BETTY!!! NOOOOOooooOOO!!!!!