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IN PITTSBURGH NEWSWEEKLY
jan 23-29 1997
sound
VAMPIRE NATION
Coph Nia (The Hexagon Chronicles Book One)
From the very first strains of the Egyptian bagpipes that
kick off this album and the cover photos of the Sphinx,
I knew I was in for an otherworldly experience with
Vampire Nation's debut on Los Angeles label known
mainly for gothic rock bands such as Praise of Folly and
The Deep Eynde. What Fredrik of the Nation has created
is an innovative, almost unique brand of electronic music,
steeped in the "darkwave" movement that blends goth
with diverse elements but broad in the sweeping scope of
its orgionality.
Fredrik's work is based around his concept of a
mist-shrouded island colony of ancient Egypt called
Galius, the Vampire Nation, and he's working on a book
about this lost world that has the potential to inspire a
role-playing game or a movie later on. But for now, his
multi-textured, mostly beat-oriented keyboard sound
incorporates everything from a Native American shaman
to Gregorian chants and Middle Eastern percussion, as
well as a hip-hop influenced bass sound he mysteriously
calls "coven funk."
Beneath the surface, I detect hints of Lycia in the way he
layers the dark synth voices, Muslimgauze for the exotic
percussion arsenal, and perhaps Enigma for the
danceable chant style. But these are only vague signposts,
as I said there is really nothing that sounds like VampireNation.
With the muscle of a West Coast company behind it,
a lot more people will probably be hearing this album in the near future.
-perhaps VN will even cross over with the electronic music fans.

City Paper


Vampire Nation


Celestial waves of synthesized harmony? Spacey Gregorian Chants? Eclectic
electronic beats? Vampire Nation's hypnotic industrial goth brings doom,
gloom and despair upon Charlie's Bistro & Cafe Fri., Feb. 28. The Halloweeny
set of Fredrik Von Hamilton, who is Vampire Nation, includes music from his Saint
Thomas recording debut, Coph Nia. Experimenting with multi-cultural expressionism,
he orchestrates Native American beats with Middle Eastern percussion to harbor
an eccentric sound seperate from that of other goth artists. Labeled "coven funk" or "cold wave,"
Vampire Nation breaches the gap between hip-hop, goth and New Age
music. Elements of ancient Egyptian legends are blended into Fredrik's mysterious
mystique, accentuating the dark themes of his melodies. The whole Vampire Nation
thing is based on Fredrik's description of the forgotten island of Galius,
topic of his upcoming book. With beliefs deeply rooted in the civil rights movement,
Fredrik seeks his own outlet of expression through ancient themes of oppression.
His music, he says, expands his ethnic culture by telling stories of the North African Tribe.

HAVEN


Issue Two - Spring 1997
AURAL PLEASURE
VAMPIRE NATION
COPH NIA-THE HEXAGON CHRONICLES
ST. THOMAS RECORDS
How Fredrik von Hamilton gets lumped into the goth category, I'll never know.
What this one-man band produces is a spooky electronic worldbeat which is closer
to some of Projekt's more ambient selections than Christian Death.
While at times the cassette becomes redundant, it benefits from some
truly top-notch self production.The cross-over possiblities
are staggering, and Vampire Nation is definitely striking out a new path in electronic music.
The CD will be released soon, along with the promising
"Egyptian Sex Magick" single, so if you're looking for
something truly new, Coph Nia will likely satisfy your
cravings. Look for Vampire Nation on tour this summer.-Raphrat

POINT OF LIGHT
Vol 3, Issue 12
Autumn '97 Issue
"The regional music scene, particularly as it relates to topics
of interest to Point of Light readers, is wonderfully diverse
and suprisingly origional."

"For something completely different - and I do mean different
in every way - there's Vampire Nation's Coph Nia (Saint Thomas Records).
Sole performer Fredrik Von Hamilton calls it Egyptian Coven Funk,
easily the narrowest niche of music ever devised.
This tape is ecletic extreme. The sounds are primordial, delving
into the depths of the root chakra, mixing things about,
then tossing the results out onto the pentagram drawn on the floor.
Our Official Eclectic Music Afficionado Kevin Rasel
gives this review." "Refreshingly experimental in approach,
this moody musical journey is a soundscape;
at times a bit more tribal and atmospheric than the expected
gothic feel one would expect from a vampiric concept premise.
It definitely sets a dark tone and is substantially nonlinear in approach
with its absence of any specific recurring meodies.
It sometimes goes a bit astray with its dissonant keyboard improvisations
as the compser over indulges in the use of pitch shifter. The rhythm
and percussion parts are dully mechanical but provide an essential
(and sometime funky) groove to support the meandering improvisational electronic tracks.
If you're into darker and experimental atmospheric music, this is
an intriguing recording. It serves to set an eerie mood at best,
but don't listen for any structered 'songs'to lock into."

OUTBURN


Issue 6 May 1998
310 915 7668
Vampire Nation - Coph Nia (Saint Thomas)** :gothic lounge music: The eleven tracks are long and repetitive,
mostly without vocals and are well decribed in the liners
as a "coldwave and coven-funk sound." I like the idea of combining
tribal/ethnic elements with dark electronics in an atmospheric way,
but somehow the end result just doesn't do it for me. I'd like to hear
what this unusual band does next.

Features:

PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE


(412)263-1631
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1997
WEEKEND MAGAZINE
Fredrick Von Hamilton:Vampire Nation's Mysterious frontman
Slave to the rhythm VAMPIRE NATION mixes a strange gothic concoction
By Tony Norman Post-Gazette Staff Writer Fredrik von Hamilton isn't your
typical practitioner of the goth-electric-dance aesthetic.
At 498 years old, von Hamilton doesn't look a day over 29. But the South Side resident
is quick to admit that the bulk of his days have been recovered via regression into past lives.
Though von Hamilton was born and raised in humble Beltzhoover,
he eventually came into a true knowledge of himself when he formed the musical/spiritual collective Vampire Nation.
Sporting a grim reaper-like cowl that obscures his face during concerts, Von Hamilton looks more
Druid than dance maven, though he'd probably cop to be a little of both.
Though Vampire Nation is essentially a band of one,
the debut album on Los Angeles-based St. Thomas Records,
"Coph Nia: The Hexagon Chronicles Book One," packs at least five eons worth
of ambient funkiness. Where von Hamilton's last band, July, was a miasma of dull
vocals and churning sounds, Vampire Nation is beat oriented and with the exception of one song,
instrumental. "Instead of controlling the music in a way that's similiar to all the
industrial sound layering I did in July, I'm letting the music control me through my religion."
Von Hamilton often makes reference to an ancient Egyptian mystery religion that forms the
ideological backdrop to his music. Declaring himself a polytheist at heart, von Hamilton's eccentricities
can be traced to a novel understanding of the role of Afrocentricism in popular music.
"I'm guided by the hand of certain gods," he said of eerie stage performances in which he evokes
a full-palette of sounds thanks to samplers and percussion technology.
"Vampire Nation is two distinct sounds. One is Cold Wave, which is a laid-back sound.
The other is Coven Funk, which is more upbeat. I lock them both down with a funk beat
and surrond it with sounds from the classical and ambient worlds of music."
Von Hamilton thinks comparisons to other bands are ultimately futile,
but thinks he may havesomething in common with such disparate bands as Aphex Twins,
Psychic TV and Muslimgauze. But none of these bands are likely to get airplay on WAMO-FM anytime soon.
This contradiction is at the heart of Vampire Nation's attempt to be understood as a band with "Afrocentric" ideas.
One wonders if von Hamilton, a descendent of the notorious slave revolutionary John Brown,
is doomed to be forever thought of as just a brother from another coven.
"If this music is exposed to the black community, it will sell and young people
will buy it and listen to it," he said. "Despite the name, Vampire Nation isn't about tales of ghost and ghouls. Vampire Nation refers to the pillaging of Africa which,
along with African-Americans, has been sucked dry by European colonialism. "Von Hamilton sees his mission
as one of moving the nation into a state of perpetual enlightenment through music.

TRIBUNE REVIEW


Front Page
SPOOKY

Vampire Nation part hip-hop, part gothic rock


ENTERTAINMENT WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 1997
Vampire Nation sinks teeth into gothic scene
By Mike Seate
If the landscape of rock 'n' roll appears disproportionately white, consider the alienation
Fred Hamilton must have felt three years ago when he made forays into the world of gothic rock.
Facing spooky graveyard imagery, Hamilton, who fronted the local band July, had a hard
time fitting in and finding an audience.
"With July we had a lot of problems being accepted in Pittsburgh. Outside the city, we
were better recieved, and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that this is a different style
of music from what people expect from a black singer," he said.
No quitter, Hamilton, who grew up in Beltzhoover, observed a lesson from another musical
innovater, singer/songwriter George Clinton, whose jocular band Parliament Funkadelic fused urban
sounds with psychedelic rock during the 1970's. "It was hard, but it's not like I
was going to quit. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic played what was basically acid
rock to a mostly black teen-age audience in the 1970's and he went over big," said Hamilton,
who has forged ahead with Vampire Nation, his new one-man musical project.
Already, Vampire Nation which the slender, soft spoken South Side resident is quick to explain
has less to do with "scary monster movie vampires than white America's abuse of the black man", has managed
to generate a large cross-over audience.
The self-titled cassette of ambient hip-hop and gothic rock sounds has earned the group a
space in local rap clubs as well as admiration from fans of gothic rock. With a shimmering,
laid-back sound reminiscent of acid jazz acts such as Britain's Moorcheeba and Portishead,
Vampire Nation has also attracted listeners from California's St. Thomas Records who are
releasing two of the hypnotic tracks on a national compilation CD before the full-length project recieves national distribution. Even with relative success drawing hamilton from the darkness of gothic obscurity, he still has not
abandoned the peculiarities that have long made him something of a pariah on the local alternative music scene.
For instance, Hamilton still can be seen perusing the South Side streets dressed in his trademark full-length red cloak.
He also infuses plenty of new age spirituality and arcane ethnocentric theoizing into his
conversations and lyrics, some which read like a cross between Bram Stoker and Malcolm X.
While the real story lies in how hamilton, a self-taught musician, manages to play guitar, violin, keyboards and per-cussion instruments
to create Vampire Nation's eerie soundscapes, he'd rather discuss how his newly adopted Thelemite religion - a postmodern derivative
of an ancient Egyptian faith - divinely guided his creative process. Hamilton's Squirrel Hill manager and promoter,
Manny Theiner, has shepherded hundreds of avant-garde and alternative rock bands and fully expects
his local charge to strike a chord with a larger audience. "This has got 'role-playing game' written all over it.
I mean the kids who love Dungeons and Dragons will get into this and so will more openminded rap kids
and goth kids," Theiner said. But before Theiner arranges a late spring gig for Hamilton at the Knitting Factory, New York City's
prestigious home of experimental music, the prophet of "coven-funk" is content to perfect his unusal and captivating
sound on local audiences. "I think all people, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, can relate to Egyptian culture and
to me. I'm definitely breaking new ground and I'm not being different for difference's sake, but I'm making music that
comes from a lot of different areas, and the message can educate young people of all kinds," Hamilton said.

THE PITT NEWS

Thursday, April 17 1997
SPECTRUM
SARAH LOLLEY'S interview with a VAMPIRE True outsider artist Fredrik Von Hamilton spreads his timeless
message through his project, Vampire Nation. Vampire Nation? An ancient Egyptian community of oppressed people? A metaphor for the bureaucratic brainwashing
of our society? Or ambient, celestial mixes of music based on various ethnic cultures? Fredrik Von Hamilton has
created all of these things within his self-perpetuated movement.
Hamilton's vision of social manipulation combined with beautiful, flowing music has become his trademark within
the growing Goth community. Awareness through music has given Vampire Nation it's uniqueness and has begun to
attract attention from more than the Goth kids. Bridging the gaps between musical influences, Vampire Nation
has its own vocabulary for the paticular sound that it produces. Hard licks accompanied by Native American
and Gregorian chants is what Hamilton calls "coven funk." Classical ambience is the more laid-back style which is called
"cold wave." The music lies on the edge of New Age and industrial rock using the same elements in different variations.
The music is only second to the real force behind Vampire Nation. "The music is about the book I'm writing," says Hamilton.
"It's not about ghost and ghouls, it's about a strong nation of people being victumized and used for the purpose of selfishness".
The book includes the relevance of the lost civilization of Galius to the ramification of civil rights today.
Hamilton uses references to his great-granddad, who was a black slave revolutionary, as part of his inspiration.
"I'm rewriting history, basically," says Hamilton. "My hands are guided by certain gods."
His "gods" are the ancient idols of Egyptian polytheism. Hamilton is a thelemite, which is a person who believes in
these gods and goddesses. He accredits his education on the subject of Vampire Nation to be from personal
experience motivated by the need to preach the truth. His message includes this notion that there are people
sucking the life out of other people preventing them from being their true selves, thus the metaphor
Vampire Nation. Hamilton also hopes to one day turn his novel into a screenplay.
He has moved closer to his goal by hooking up with St. Thomas, a movie and record
label based out in California. St. Thomas is attracted to the darker side of entertainment which includes Goth.
They are producing a documentary on the national Goth culture where Vampire Nation
will represent Pittsburgh's contribution to this underground world. The filming starts at the beginning of
April and will feature two performances which will last 10 minutes. He is currently anticipating the release of his CD
on St. Thomas, which is due out this summer. Although he is getting a lot of Goth attention, Hamilton does not want to limit
himself with his recent success. "I'm not locked in Goth, but the people are not fickle and they stick to what they like," says Hamilton.
"It Vampire Nation grabs people and touches their body and mind to make you think." Also emerging as an Afro-American artist,
Hamilton's electronic darkness will be featured on Black Horizon, a black TV show (in the undetermined future). Last December,
Vampire Nation was also mentioned in a Post-Gazette. article as one of the local struggling black musicians.
His closing message: "Be your own person without having to conform; and follow your own energy."

Tallahassee Democrat


Friday, July 11, 1997/11D

Go Goth?


As Vampire Nation, gothic rocker Fredrik Von Hamilton brings together with Egyptian Bagpipes, Gregorian chants,
New Age, Middle Eastern and Native American sounds and even some times hip-hop bass lines to create an electric, avant-garde
and innovative sound called coven funk.

His music is eerie and he dresses in a monk's cowl, but Hamilton dispels any misconceptions about Vampire Nation.
It is not about things that go bump in the night, it's Afrocentric. "Despite the name, Vampire Nation is not about
tales of ghosts and ghouls," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Vampire Nation refers to the pillaging of Africa, which along
with African Americans, has been sucked dry by European colonialism." According to the Post-Gazette, Hamilton is a descendent
of abolitionist John Brown. Hamilton said he is moved by certain gods to create his unique music and that Vampire Nation is
a coming together of music and spirituality for him. Those worlds have collided to bring fourth his debut album,
"Coph Nia: The Hexagon Chronicles Book One."