At their peak in the 1990’s Cubanate’s techno-rock sound was both controversial and influential and their importance still resonates today. During the 90’s the band were regulars on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball and a constant presence in Kerrang, The NME and Melody Maker. They also toured with stalwarts such as Front 242, Gary Numan, The Sisters of Mercy and Front Line Assembly. Later, they went on to sign to Chicago’s seminal Wax Trax! Imprint and Cubanate songs have appeared in film, TV and game soundtracks. Last year the band reformed and played a handful of US dates to a rapturous response and a sold out date at London’s O2 Islington Academy.
Cubanate was formed in the summer of 1992, as a four piece centered around the duo of Marc Heal (vocals) and Phil Barry (guitar). Their early sound fused the rhythms of the then young techno scene with the new lo-fi grungy-rock then coming out of the US. Although the band later became adopted by Goth audiences, Early Cubanate were more influenced by Joey Beltram, Baby Ford and Nirvana.
On their first UK tour in November 1992 Cubanate played with left-field electronic duo Sheep on Drugs, then enjoying a brief burst of UK chart fame. The studio demo of Cubanate’s first single Body Burn was played by Kiss FM in early 1993 and resulted in much record industry interest. The band signed to Berlin’s Dynamica Records shortly afterwards and Body Burn was released to widespread acclaim in 1993. The song was later used in the final series of The Sopranos TV series (2007).
In May 1994 Cubanate’s Metal EP was made Single of the Week in Melody Maker and the group found themselves increasingly adopted by Goth and Industrial crowds. Mass media attention came later that year when Cubanate were weirdly paired with extreme metal heroes Carcass for what turned out to be a notoriously violent UK tour. Heal’s antagonistic on-stage style resulted in death threats and an on-air confrontation on the Radio One Rock Show with Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.
Cubanate’s second album Cyberia (1995) spawned the hit single Oxyacetylene, a single of the week in Kerrang, Melody Maker and elsewhere. The song was featured on the 1996 compilation album Mortal Kombat and was later used as the theme tune of the original PlayStation game Gran Turismo (1998). Oxyacetylene is regularly featured as one of the definitive Industrial songs of all time.
In autumn 1995 Cubanate toured the Europe extensively with Frontline Assembly and visited the US at the end of that year. The third album, Barbarossa (1996) continued the industrial metal format, spawning the single Joy and live work with Gary Numan, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy and Front 242. Heal struck up a friendship with Jean-Luc Demeyer, lead singer of Front 242 and the pair later released two side-project albums under the name C-Tec.
By 1997, wanting a change of label and direction, Cubanate signed in the U.S. to Wax Trax! for what was to be their final album to date, Interference (1998), a musical departure displaying a strong Drum and Bass influence. Cubanate split in 2000 but re-formed in September 2016 for a sold-out live shot at the Chicago Metro. They recently released a limited edition compilation of remastered work from the 1990’s and are currently recording a new album.