After spending plenty of time in the world of industrial rock with acts like Acumen Nation, Jason Novak, the mind behind Cracknation and front man for breakthrough industrial metal band Czar, is taking industrial back to the sounds of Chicago’s Wax Trax! Records with Cocksure. Teaming up with Chris Connelly of Ministry and Revolting Cocks, Cocksure is picking up right where Wax Trax! industrial dance left off. Novak sat down with Epitonic to tell us a little more about both Czar and Cocksure, and what’s in store for 2014. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation.

[Editor's Note: It's worth noting that Jason shared an office with Epitonic over a decade ago, during the original iteration of the site, so we are very happy to have him play our anniversary celebration twice!]

How would you describe your songwriting process?

I’ve always had several bands, and several projects, which is kind of where Cracknation came in, to put everything under an umbrella. It seems a little incestuous, but this is the first time where we have a complete separation. With Czar, drummer Dan Brill and the guitarist Brian Elza are really good musicians. I had to pick up my game a little when we started the band. We have a lot of woodshedding. It would take a lot of time to come up with some of those patterns, and write intricate rhythms. We’re always building, bit by bit.

With Cocksure, I sit down, pull out my samplers and synths, and build synthetic tracks completely from the ground up. I’ll send them to Chris, and he writes lyrics over them and then we record.

They’re very separate processes.

Your other efforts like Acumen Nation and Czar are more metal driven, so what inspired the sound of Cocksure?


I broke into music based on the Wax Trax industrial scene in Chicago many years ago. Over the years, I toured and performed with industrial bands and got to be friends with Chris Connelly. So over the last couple years we’d do these benefit shows to perform and help raise money for charity. We’d perform to help raise money for a friend’s family, Jamie Duffy. He passed away in 2012 and a lot of people were really moved by it so we all kind of got together, rallied and put these shows together and kind of reformed the original Revolting Cocks or at least whoever was available.

So we began doing that and Chris and I kind of talked, and he thought we could take over where Revolting Cocks fell apart several years ago, and see if we can reclaim that sound and that style. There were just so many years in my youth emulating that sound, I couldn’t imagine anything I’d want to do more.

Is there a message that you’re trying to achieve with Cocksure?


Anything lyrical is going to be from the mind of Chris Connelly and he’s a fantastic writer. Klusterfuck Kulture is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the album is just filled with more lyrical madness. It’s tough for me to answer that, but I think he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve and some dirty stories to tell. It’ll all come out via Cocksure.

For me, musically, when I started making industrial dance music many years ago. That form of music sort of fell off and I became disenchanted with it, and moved on to drum and bass, electronica, metal, anything else that interested me. So, twenty years later, to be able to come back and kind of take care of some unfinished business is the way I’m looking at it.

The album is finished and we’re just sort of figuring out what to do with it. But, we’re releasing an ep the same day as the Deep Freeze show on January 31st. It’s called the “KKEP.” It’s going to have the Klusterfuck Kulture track with a remix and a couple of other songs. We’re going to have like a limited number of them for sale at the show, and it’ll be on iTunes.

What’s next for Czar in 2014?

Well we’re playing with Godflesh in April at the Metro, and then we’re setting up some shows in the Midwest and East coast around that. Last year, we had the opportunity to tour with killing joke, which was an honor and a really great experience. Then the album came out and the reviews were great and everything was awesome, but we don’t have a manager so we’re just putting stuff together ourselves around this Godflesh date.

Is there any lyrical message you’re trying to achieve with Czar?

I think Czar, the lyrics definitely speak more to internal turmoil. It deals with a lot of issues of people trying to be something that they’re not, and chasing things that they can’t have. I mean there’s a lot of loss in those lyrics and a lot of pain. For me, it’s much more interesting to talk about things that you can identify with. Most people don’t pay attention to the lyrics in a metal band, I’ve noticed. First of all, you can’t understand half of them. I have no desire to sing about ancient ruins and druids and what not. The lyrics are definitely a little more personal.