16volt began in 1991 with the mission to merge the raw guitars of early punk with the heavy beats and energy of industrial dance music. In 1992, 16volt ’s founder and frontman, Eric Powell, signed with the Cargo Records industrial subsidiary and now infamous Re-Constriction Records. 16volt’s debut, “Wisdom,” was co-produced by David Ogilvie (Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy) and Keith “Fluffy” Auerbach (Ministry) and was released in 1993. Met with worldwide acclaim from fans and press alike, “Wisdom” officially put 16volt on the map and, along with Powell, was credited with helping spawn a genre of industrial known as “coldwave”. That same year, 16volt hit the road, playing shows to club crowds on the West Coast of the United States.
In 1994, 16volt skipped the industry-standard “sophomore jinx” and released the slightly more raw-sounding “Skin.” This release brought more praise and won features in Alternative Press, Kerrang!, CMJ, Industrial Nation, B-Side, and more. “Skin” reached the #2 slot on Rolling Stone’s alternative charts and charted everywhere from the United States (CMJ) to France, Germany, Ireland, and Japan. 16volt hit the road again for club shows and radio junkets and destroyed it everywhere they showed up.
16volt’s third release came in 1996 by the name of “LetDownCrush.” Co-produced by Jeff “Critter” Newell (Ministry, Filter) and featuring special guests Stella (Stella Soleil, Sister Soleil), William Tucker (Ministry), Marc LaCorte, and Bryan Black (Haloblack, Motor, Xlover), the release once again proved that 16volt was a major force to be reckoned with. Interviews and features followed in huH, B-Side, Alternative Press, Kerrang!, CMJ, Industrial Nation, Guitar Player, and many more respected national rags. LDC charted again, this time at #1 on the Rolling Stone alternative charts and globally on college and commercial radio. This release also marked the debut of 16volt’s national touring career. Vowing to stay on the road for as long as possible, Powell put together a lineup that would tour for over nine months straight in a custom van, making their way around the United States several times with the likes of Chemlab, Bile, Acumen Nation, and Korn.
The touring paid off and interest in 16volt grew. The band returned home to be wined and dined by much larger labels. In 1998, along with full-time members Mike Peoples (Skrew) on bass and Kraig Tyler (Chemlab, Crazytown) on guitar, 16volt signed with Slipdisc/Mercury/PolyGram and got to work on the band’s fourth release, “SuperCoolNothing.” Produced by Bill Kennedy (Nine Inch Nails, Megadeth, Sepultura) and Joseph Bishara (Drown, Danzig), SCN was the band’s most aggressive album to date. This time, Powell and Co. got a hand from special guest Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails, Tweaker) on drums. Upon completion of the album and the most intense promotion schedule to date, they hit the road adding John "Servo" DeSalvo (KMFDM, Chemlab) on drums, playing shows with the likes of Orgy, The Flys, and Candlebox. During the first two weeks of touring, however, Mercury/PolyGram was purchased by Seagram’s, creating a ripple that would send 16volt back home and cause the firing of the entire Mercury team slated to work on the SCN record promotion.
Two weeks after the chaos, SCN was released with no promotion, no touring, and no support. 16volt quickly began to search for another label to pick up the pieces, but it was too late and the mess too large. After close to a year of fighting, lawsuits, and the inability to make something good come from the bad, Powell shut down operations and pulled the plug. Kraig moved on to join Crazytown and Mike and Servo carried on with their own side projects.
After a long and well-deserved hiatus, the band convinced an investor to buy back SCN from the dead labels; they then re-released it on their own as “SuperCoolNothing V2.0”, a.k.a. "SCN2.0." The double-disc set included remixes by Filter, Orgy, Deadsy, and Crazy Town, in addition to some demo tracks that the band had started working on. Powell gathered the troops sans Tyler and began to mount a comeback.
Shortly after the re-release, 16volt was tapped by Sony to provide the soundtrack to a new PlayStation 2 game called “Primal.” At the end of production, 16volt had furnished 12 tracks (The Official Primal Combat Soundtrack) and was actually digitized into the game as the opening-cinematics band.
To celebrate the release of “Primal,” 16volt hit the road in 2002 with KMFDM for a North American whirlwind, completing 34 shows in 36 days. Most of the dates were sold out, and by KMFDM’s own admission the tour was one of the best packages they had ever put out. 16volt returned home on the tour bus and inked a deal with Capitol Records. The band then spent 11 months working on demos and being bombarded with pressure to compromise, which ultimately forced Powell to walk away and head back underground.
In 2005, Powell inked a one-off deal with Cleopatra Records to release 16volt’s first-ever “best of” collection. The double-disc set titled “The Best of Sixteen Volt™” features fan-picked tracks on one disc and the first-ever live release of 16volt on disc two. Powell cleaned house, went into isolation, and began working on the next phase of 16volt.
In August of 2006, Powell had a new record under his belt called “FullBlackHabit” that he began shopping to indie labels. He found a new home at Metropolis Records and inked a worldwide multi-album deal. The new record, slated for release in early 2007, features guests appearances by Paul Raven (Ministry, Killing Joke, Prong); Steve White (KMFDM); Bildeaux (Necrofix, OHN); Kraig Tyler (Chemlab, Virus23, Crazytown); Scott Robison (Drøne); and Jason Bazinet (SMP).
In the Spring of 2008 16volt, with live members Steve White (KMFDM), Jason Bazinet (Chemlab, SMP), and the return of 16volt veteran Mike Peoples hit the road for a highly successful U.S./Canada tour. Playing 28 shows in 30 days the band once again set it's mark to a high level by playing to larger than expected crowds on all stops of the tour.
On September 8, 2009, 16volt released "American Porn Songs" on Metropolis Records. It has met with nothing less than very positive reviews by fans and pros alike, and is generally being heralded as their most kick butt work to date. It is yet another solid record, featuring the band's trademark layering of heavy, aggressive guitars over pummeling electronics and beats.
16volt hit the road again in the Spring of 2010 along with Chemlab and Left Spine Down on the highly energized and successful MIDI Ghetto Tour. Included was a stop at the Kinetik Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, playing alongside Leather Strip, Imperitive Reaction, and more.
16volt released the studio album, Beating Dead Horses on May 10th, 2011. Beating Dead Horses was 16volt’s third album on industrial powerhouse label Metropolis Records. It was produced by Eric Powell and mixed by Shaun Thingvold (Strapping Young Lad, Front Line Assembly, Lamb of God).
In support of the albumm Beating Dead Horses, 16volt hit the road in the late spring 2011 for a 4-week tour of the United States with industrial legends My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, as part of the Sinister Whisperz Tour. They immediately followed up with a west coast tour with KMFDM.
The newest album, The Negative Space will be released on September 7, 2016. Joining Powell is Erik Gustafson on Guitar and Steve Hickey on Bass and Backup Vocals.
For more information, visit http://16volt.com and to get the latest news as it is announced, follow @16volt on Twitter.
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