Preemptive Strike 0.1

Behind the EBM Scene: Creative Process, Gear and Much More

Jim The Blaster (Preemptive Strike 0.1) says:

At the end of October 2023 we will release a new album

I have to admit that now young people prefer Spotify

Playing EBM is a way to release anger and dark feelings

The Cretan lyra is a very difficult instrument to record

Jim The Blaster is one half of Preemptive Strike 0.1, a Greek EBM band with more than 20 years experience. Let’s discover some of the secrets of their longevity in this interview for ‘The Electronic Corner’.

Sir Joe: What is the meaning of that 0.1 after Preemptive Strike?

Jim The Blaster: First, I would like to explain what a preemptive strike is.
Basically, it’s an attack against an enemy in response to an obvious threat. Since you are afraid of a potential attack, you act first through a preemptive strike.
20 years ago, when we were looking for a name for our band, we opted for Preemptive Strike, but we thought that maybe there was already a band with the same name.
Indeed there was, a punk band to be precise, so we had to add something to make our name unique, and we went for 0.1.
It means two things: The first meaning is that it’s the 1st strike, and the second has to do with the binary language of computers … you know, 01010101 and so on.

SJ: Your latest full album was released in 2019. Then, you released a mini cd in 2020, a cassette with 6 tracks in 2021 and 2 digital singles in 2023. Can we expect a new album soon?

Jim The Blaster: I’m very happy to announce that at the end of October 2023 we will release a new album, called ‘Defense Readiness Condition One’, for the German label ‘Infacted Recordings’.
The release of the two singles was a request from this record company.

SJ: Speaking of these two singles, they see a collaboration with Paradox Obscur.
Can you tell us about the origin of this collaboration? Who contacted who, and so on?

Jim The Blaster: I met Kostas for the first time 8 years ago, at one of our gigs. Then I learned about all his projects and, to me, Paradox Obscur is the best one.
When last summer (2022) we decided to use some female vocals in one of our tracks, we thought about Kriistal Ann, so I sent Kostas a message telling him that we needed some guest vocals. Ann accepted, and it worked perfectly.
Then, at the end of the year we signed for ‘Infacted Recordings’, and when they asked us for an additional single, besides the one we did with Ann, I thought again about Paradox Obscur. So, I contacted Kostas again and asked him if he would be interested in making a remix for us.
He accepted and, as I expected, he did the remix the old school away, using only hardware and my vocals, nothing else. He told me that he pressed ‘record’ and let all the machines play at the same time, with my voice.
That’s how he recorded the remix, and I’m extremely happy with the result, because it’s something unique.
So, I’m very satisfied with this collaboration, and from time to time I still contact him, since now we are friends.
SJ: Is your collaboration with Dimitris Douvras and Vlad McNeally still going on?

Jim The Blaster: No. Dimitris was our producer since the beginning, until 2019. Then, production, mixing and mastering were transferred to Yiannis, my partner in the band.
He’s a sound engineer as well, and he has all the proper tools to take care of production. He doesn’t use only a computer, but also many machines.
About Vlad McNeally, to me he is the best designer in the whole scene, because whatever you have in your mind for the front cover, he is able to do it for you.
Infacted Recordings has its own designer, just as Vlad works for our previous label, so he made the cover of our latest release.
Anyway, both Dimitris and Vlad are the best in their field.

SJ: Some years ago the band’s opinion about Spotify and streaming platforms in general was not very positive. Have you changed your mind in the meantime?

Jim The Blaster: Well, as a fan of dark electronic music I’m very old school minded and I have a huge collection of vynils and cds.
When I listen to music I prefer the old way (turntable, CD player and so on), but when it comes to my band I have to admit that now young people prefer Spotify or streaming platforms in general, and we have to accept it.

SJ: You make EBM music. Is this your way to release anger, frustration or other feelings, or you simply happen to like this genre and so you decided to write music in this style?

Jim The Blaster: I would say both. It is indeed a way to release anger and dark feelings, but I also like EBM and electro music very much.
I always wanted to be part of the scene, so that’s why I decided to play that kind of music with Preemptive Strike 0.1

SJ: How does your creative process work?
Do you have a song in your mind first and then turn it into music, or do you start playing with your gear until something sounds so good that you decide to build a song around it?

Jim The Blaster: This is my my favorite question.
First of all, my music partner Yiannis sends me his music, then I add my parts.
What do I mean? My drums, which I write in a Yamaha sampler, and samples that I collect using a portable sampler, also by Yamaha. (In the video below you can see all the machines Jim is talking about).
Through cables, I connect the sampler to a DVD player or YouTube and I sample dialogues from movies, mainly science fiction movies.
After the drums and the samples have been added to Yiannis music, I write the lyrics. I couldn’t write the lyrics without the samples, because my ideas come from the film that I sampled.
When the lyrics are ready, it’s time for the vocals (Jim shows the machine that he uses to record his voice), and the song is ready.
Sometimes, Yiannis comes to my house or I go to him, as we leave only about 1 hour apart, and we exchange ideas.
When we started the band, I also used a Yamaha CSX. Yiannis sent me the MIDIs, and I added sounds through this machine.

SJ: You also used to incorporate traditional Greek instruments in your music.
Who came up with the idea and how did you use them in your songs?

Jim The Blaster: It was my idea and we used them for the the first time in 2009.
I found a a guy who played the Greek bouzouki and who lived in our town. I talked to him, we decided what to do and then I went with all my machines to his place to record him. We did this for two albums and he was very talented for what he did.
Then, we decided that we wanted to do something better and more extreme for EBM music, so we started to look for someone who played the Cretan lyra. Eventually, we found a guy who lived in Athens and who listened to metal as well.
It was quite difficult, because the lyra is a very traditional instrument and there is a totally different ideolog behind it. He did the recordings in a studio in Athens, and it was quite complicated because of the nature of this instrument, which makes it difficult to record.
But I think the result was fantastic and that we did something very unique.
However, after 2015, we decided to stop with this kind of sound and we returned to our roots, so basically back to electro and EBM.

SJ: Your vocals have a nice distortion effect applied.
How do you obtain it? Is it bit reduction, clipping, or some other kind of artifact?
Which tool do you use for it?

Jim The Blaster: To record my vocals, I use this machine (again, please watch the video to see it).
I also use two microphones: I connect one to this machine, and I use its distortion and compression effects. The other one goes directly to my sound card, without any effect.
Then I send to Yiannis the two channels, one with the distortion from the machine and the other totally clean. Then he adds some effects to the clean channel, like pitch shifter, delay, reverb, and whatever else is needed. Finally, he mixes the two channels, and that is the result that you hear.

Sir Joe: Which technique do you use, when you sing?

Jim The Blaster: I use the screaming technique, when I sing.
I used the whisper technique in the first two albums, of Preemptive Strike 0.1, but the result was not so good.
To whisper is the easy way, but what you get is low quality vocals.


(Now I invite you to watch the following video, starting at 22:41. Yiannis is going to show us the gear he uses to produce Preemptive Strike 0.1 material).

We say thanks to Jim The Blaster of Preemptive Strike 0.1 for this interesting interview.

Don’t forget to visit Preemptive Strike 0.1 Bandcamp page


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