Being 42 I think I can say that my life has been dedicated to music, sometimes it's a pain to realise and then at other moments it's a relief. When you spend all your hours in this life to music you happen to have idols and I guess I must have more than 10.000 by now but I also have some heroes. All my heroes are musicians and I think I have enough hands to count them, must be around 10 I think and Pieter Nooten is one of them. Who is he, you say? True, it's not exactly a name that ring bells but in the 80's he did something in the 80's that changed my musical world and the whole musical universe I think. Along with Ronny, Anka and Frank he created Clan Of Xymox. Thousands of bands are forgotten today but tons of people remember how Pieter played the keyboards in a way I never heard before. Pieter's play was both uplifting and melancholic at the same time and from time to time, he even picked up the mic by Xymox to sing songs I thought they only could be performed by Gods. If you don't believe me, just check out "After the call" by Clan Of Xymox. Nothing is perfect in life and Pieter and Ronny went seperate ways. Around that time Pieter Nooten released along with Michael Brook (and the use of Brian Eno's own Yamaha DX7-synth) the immortal "Sleeping with the fishes"-album. It might be my pussy heart but I cried tons of times on this masterpiece, but as life isn't based on tears alone, I also got my pleasant moments with this one. Twenty years Pieter dissapeared out of sight, even if he worked along with Anka Wolbert and then I got informed by the man himself (what a genius thing this Facebook is) that he has a new album out. And yes, and from the very first second I felt this was going to be another album that will be played till the day I will seek my eternal sleep. In all honesty "This is why" just felt like a sequel to something of the most beautiful things I ever came across, yes...it comes very close to the atmosphere and musicsound of Pieter's debut on 4-AD. It feels like a soundtrack from dreams in where you realise things can only be formed in your imagination, the unreachable things. I never thought I would ever embrace that old feeling. I could quote here many lyrics from songs he played in the 80's but I won't do it as Pieter said it in a recent interview : "now" is the time that counts. You're a hero, Pieter, and heroes never let you down : even if the wait was long you didn't. If you can read Dutch, you can find an exclusive interview I did with Pieter on www.darkentries.be
WELL, HELLO TELL US WHAT DOES MONO ELECTRONIC DENSITY MEANS…
- JM: It’s a name chosen by Valie (Bernard’s girlfriend) which is very significant to us because it contains physical reference (chaotic concepts) and also a simple reference to “electronic” because it’s our passion. So it’s like a flag to say our aims: a passion with technology, electronics, physics…
- B: Everything has been said by JM. This is a pure electronic density.
I DESCRIBED YOUR MUSIC AS ALTERNATIVE DANCE JUST BECAUSE I HEAR A BAND WHO HAS A VERY WIDE VARIETY IN THEIR MUSIC… FROM FRONT 242 TO HARSH TO FUTUREPOP….
- JM: Thank you for the “wide variety”. Indeed what we wanna do is an electronic/synthetic music quite powerful and danceable but without any kind of conventions to be tagged as “ebm” or “dark-electro” or those categories. Electronic music is a huge area to explore. So we always thought it was very restrictive or fanatic to just try to explore one way and only one way. So indeed we are curious and we always want to explore new directions.
I THINK IT’S RATHER FLATTERING BUT I WROTE THAT “COME INTO MY WORLD” SOUNDED LIKE A FUTUREPOPVERSION FROM PAUL HARDCASTLE’S “19”….
- JM: Thanks again for the comparison Paul hardcastle was very well known indeed with the top-hit “19”. He was known to use lots of digital technologies (samplers, DX synths, …) and it’s what I try to do. I listened for 15 years analog sounds from tons of people but you quickly get the limit of this style of sounds. They are primitive. People in the 80s were haunted to raise new levels in sound research and digital synthesizers like Yamaha DX or Korg M1 or Roland D-Series were the perfect keys to help composers to break walls and explore new horizons. It’s sad to see how much digital technologies are powerful but get often pathetic results… That’s maybe why so many composers are stuck again in the sandbox with analog/vintage sounds. Because they sound warm and it’s so easy to program you can get a nice sound in less than 2 minutes. So I was very interested to get back with digital technologies to show to people digital can also be used to produce interesting sounds… Much more interesting to my opinion than vintage/analog ones.
AND WITH THIS YOU AVOIDED THE TRAP OF MANY OTHER BANDS WHO HAVE A RELEASE OUT WITH 10 SONGS THAT SOUNDS THE SAME…
- JM: Yes because it’s the typical trap I know very well for decades. When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I already did electronic music with old gears like Yamaha CS15, Roland Jupiter-8 and Juno-6. I could do a good track… But when I started to have more ideas, everything was sounding like my first track. With time I could then avoid this trap. Now it’s the opposite. I only want to do tracks always different. It’s easy when you use digital stuff. Not so easy with analog… I put some limits also to break my comfort and push myself always on the cutting edge to get new “fresh eyes” on the sound research… changing every 10 days the studio configuration is a way to help
TALKING ABOUT RELEASES. WE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE “UNTOLD WORLD” IS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR THE PRESS? HOW CAN MUSICFANS OBTAIN THAT?
- JM: Actually we are in the deal process with some labels and distributors. Untold World is finished for 2 months. All the graphics and pics are also finished. It was important to do all those things before starting to deal with labels. We want to have the entire artistic control. Of course it’s less easy to deal and it takes time… But on the other hand, we are sure to deliver exactly what we want to the audience! It’s like “bio” food… No “artificial” treatments added! The album should be available pretty soon!
- B: As I answered on the web two days ago to someone who wanted to buy our first album: Patience is the key word in music industry nowadays...
IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE PIPELINE ABOUT SOME RECORDDEAL OR EVENTUALLY AN OWN RELEASE?
- JM: The second album is already half-recorded!! We work very fast indeed because the harmony we share about the music conception and artistic views! We also use a studio very reliable and easy to modify.
- B: A little scoop: We’ll have a Belgian guest featuring on one track on the second album and several remixes by well known persons... We keep this secret for the moment.
MED ARE A YOUNG BAND, BUT YOU DON’T SOUND YOUNG…I MEAN THIS SOUNDS LIKE MUSIC FROM VETERANS.
- JM: (laughs). I have almost a foot in the grave with my 40 years old! I do music with synthesizers since 1983. It was with a Yamaha CS15 and a Roland Jupiter8. Quickly I used Atari computer for sequencing with MIDI and then some MIDI synths like DX27 synth or old 8bits sampler: Ensoniq Mirage DSK. So … 27 years later and maybe 100 tracks done in various projects… I’m pretty happy to know we don’t sound like newbies ;-)
- B: As JM already said, we both started music during the 80’s and our roots are in the 80’s! We don’t try to create something completely new, we just try to put and add modern views and original sounds in our music creations. We got a feedback a couple of weeks ago saying: MED doesn’t reinvent electronic music but it sounds vintage and new in the same time, it’s an interesting paradox. We are proud of this kind of comment.
AN EBM BAND THAT COMES FROM THE COUNTRY THAT GAVE BIRTH TO EBM, HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
- JM: I’m very proud of it. To my opinion Belgium bands have a distinctive touch and specific sound. EBM was a worldwide revolution at that time. Electronic music was only the purpose of pop and new-wave bands but was not seen as a raw and brutal style of music. Belgians are very open minded and very talented in the electronic music field and EBM was a typical Belgian way to see the things. We have a natural capability for innovation. It’s sad we cannot say the same for the management of our country…. But at least in music we did lots of outstanding innovations!
- B: I received an add request on myspace from an American EBM fan, telling we were lucky to be Belgian and that he would love to live in Brussels only to have the chance to get closer to Front 242 and the EBM scene Funny isn’t it ?
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT EBM-MUSICSCENE OVER HERE?
- JM: As always… You get the paradise in a hand and the hell in the other… There are very talented bands. They dare to use electronics in new ways. Using sampling in a very clever way. Trying to mix different kinds of technologies with a very interesting artistic vision. But you have also typical electro-pop bands who do music like in 1982 or doing always the same for years… I have to say lots of good bands from Belgium and Germany are played in my iPod every day!
- B: Pretty active scene with some very good bands. And a lot of interesting new ideas on stage. And of course, but it’s life, some bad stuffs.
SOMETIMES YOU HEAR THAT THE MUSIC IS GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER, AND THE AUDIENCE GOT OLDER AND OLDER….
- JM: Yes because we need new bands ahead and the lack of massive media interests doesn’t help. Lots of crap music makers have lots of media access and worldwide known artists. With EBM music we don’t have that opportunity. Radios and television stations are not aware of what they think to be a “minority” affair … We need new Front 242, new Depeche Mode, … big bands with new blood and massively involved into the media market. It should help to get new audience too ! Believe it or not, but lots of young people don’t even know what Front242 is ! But they know very well the latest rap crap on tv… The challenge is there and nowhere else!
- B: I agree with JM about the media involvement but I don’t have the feeling it’s getting so smaller and older as you mentioned in your question. We meet indeed old fans but young people also who like the current Indus/electro scene. Smaller: Yes and no. Think about some actual big concerts and festivals like Treffen in Leipzig, The Gothic Fest in Waregem, Mera Luna, Castle Festival in Poland, Sinner’s Day, Necropolis in Bruges, Gothic Cruise in Florida, BIM Fest and many others...
DO YOU FEEL THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SCENE IN WALLONY AND THE ONE IN FLANDERS?
- JM : Undoubtedly. Wallony is French minded. So I mean with all the bad sides of latin minded way to think. Always living in doubt, fear, … very usual, classic, without the envy to win, to fight to win. So in wallony tons of usual musics are available. Pop-music, rock music, rap, RnB, … When I go in flanders, we switch to german way of thinking. It’s more open to new things, and with a strong feeling to do things the way it should be. I’m sad to see very few people in wallony don’t even try to discover new things. It’s typical of the latin way to be: we take the food from the hand that feeds us. But we don’t fight to eat. Anyway I hope things will change with time…
- B: No doubt! The best parties, concerts and festivals are in Flanders. Wallony is more rock oriented. There are some exceptions like the ESN festival near Tournai and few others but Flanders rules for electro/indus/goth/New Wave parties and gigs.
I GUESS IT’S DEFINITELY NOT THAT EASY TO FIND PLACES TO PLAY….
- JM: Yes but excepted craps from pop and rock music… It’s hard to find places to play. But it’s like this from the very beginning. The main market is Pop, Rock, RnB, Rap music. Electronic music is seen as something “nasty” from Mister “typical people”. I have to say it’s a pity to see lots of bands always doing the same kind of music too! We need something that could help electronic music to be seen as an entire concept and then get a place to race in the media market too!
- B: The crisis is also a factor. This is why, nowadays, festivals work better than unique concerts. People get more bands for the same price. It’s almost easier to get a contract for a festival than a concert.
EVERYBODY HAS THEIR DREAMS, BUT WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM MED? SOMETHING GLORYWISE OR IS IT JUST A HOBBYTHING?
- JM: I don’t do music to access to glory or to help me to believe I’m a god. I don’t do rock or pop music I do music because I need challenges to try. And electronic music is probably the most open and huge universe to do so! I only do music for the pleasure to do sound research and to learn more and more new ways to program machines. In a 2nd time I love to play this in live to “share” (one of my most important word) it with people. I just hope some people will find it interesting and will be pleased to discover it! If it’s the case, I’d be happy ‘cos I share something with people… And that’s the most important to me. Of course I hope M3D could reach big audience but not in the way to feel myself like a god or for glory or to be famous. I really don’t care about it.
- B: Same as JM, I do music and sing ‘cause it’s a passion. But to be completely honest, I would have a fucking erection on stage hearing hundreds of people singing our songs with us. Again, not for glory/money. Just for the great pleasure of being in communion and sharing a passion for electronic music. Just to see dozens of crazy asses moving like mine on JM’s music and beat I get exactly the same great feeling when I’m in the audience and sing with the band playing on stage.
A LIFE DEDICTATED TO MUSIC, OR DEDICATED TO EBM?
- JM: You have the M that stands for Music in the EBM ;-) But I learned classical piano when I was very young during my music academy. And I’m a big lover of lots of different kinds of bands. I’m a music lover. But my sensibility is undoubtedly related to electronic music.
- B: A life dedicated to passions, pleasures, music and sins I like different styles of music but electronic music is my favourite one. And in electro, EBM is my favourite one. The body part, that’s the key! I like to share my sweat with the audience. After our last gig in Maastricht I was so wet that I had to take a shower. I was wet from head to feet. JM too, by the way...
I ASK THIS TO EVERYONE : WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL THE TIME?
-JM: “Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
- B: Too many killing hits to give you only one! I love hundreds of records from 1971 up until now. I prefer to mention bands like Kraftwerk, Skinny Puppy, Klinik, Front 242, Bauhaus, Visage, Gary Numan, And One, The Neon Judgement, à GRUMH, A Split Second, The Cure, Dead Can Dance, Rammstein, Cassandra Complex, Fad Gadget, FGTH, DM, Archive, Poésie Noire, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Divion, Covenant, Nitzer Ebb, VNV Nation, Implant, Anne Clark and many others...
YOU SOON CAN BE SEEN ON STAGE WITH PRAGER HANDGRIFF. WHAT CAN THE AUDIENCE EXPECT?
- JM: The best of M3D! We are on stage like in a fight to the finish. Our aim is to share a maximum of emotions with a massive sound. We try, during the show, to give the best of us to the audience and we try to get connexions with people.
- B: We’ll try to share the best emotions, feelings, beats and pleasure. We’re going to record this gig on video ‘cause we’ll have a well known guest on stage for one track and many friends promised to come front line to move their bodies with us.
THE LAST WORD IS YOURS!!!!!
- JM: we are very happy to get there and we will play to our best to share our electronic visions with the audience!
- B: Thanks a lot for your interest in M3D and this very good interview. And our best regards to our friends, fans and all the people supporting us. You kick ass guys!
THE MARIANA HOLLOW, THAT’S A BAND’S NAME THAT NEED SOME EXPLANATION…
Richie) It took us ages to find the right name for the band actually. We knew that we wanted something very distinct, that carried the feel of the music. We felt that we wanted something related to the sea, as the music seemed to really fit well with that kind of imagery, going from violent storms and tragedy, to hope and calmness. As soon as the name The Mariana Hollow came up, we all knew that this was exactly what we are looking for. The Mariana Hollow is the original name for the Marianas trench, which is the deepest point in the worlds oceans...
NOT THAT IT MATTERS BUT I COULDN’T DECIDE TO CATEGORISE YOU AS GOTH, METAL OR ALTERNATIVE POP…..
Adam) Well, I think that it's all three then! It more or less shows what we all like listening to... Richie) We don't really know exactly what box we fit into to be honest. We just write the kind of music we want to hear - epic, emotional and with a heaviness created by power and dynamics rather than just trying to sound like killswitch engage and chucking in a load of beatdowns.
HAVING SAID THAT, THE GUITARS REMINDED ME OF THE GODLIKE SOUND THAT I HEARD WITH ALL ABOUT EVE OR THE FIELDS….
A) I don't know those bands so much, but it's always great being compared to people who are good or great! I really like how textured Danny's and Richie's guitar work is, there's so much to get into when playing with them. It's really interesting hearing what people think we sound like.
R) We've never really looked to those bands for inspiration, but I think there's a lot of common ground between them and TMH in terms of the kind of emotions we deal with. I think people who like these kinds of bands could definitely find something they like about our sound.
IN FACT, IS IT EASY TO COME UP WITH YOUR TYPE OF MUSIC IN HIP LONDON? I MEAN WHEN I WAS THERE LAST YEAR I GOT THE FEELING THAT THE GOTHMARKET, ESPECIALLY AT CAMDEN, IS BASED ON TOURIST SNAPSHOTS…..
A) It's not a problem to actually come up with the music itself! We really enjoy what we're doing and it seems to just get better, creatively and in terms of playing together as musicians. London is very hip and possibly way too cool (and I'm essentially a foreigner saying this), and there are not enough bands just focusing on writing the absolute best songs they can instead of aspiring to a certain sound or aesthetic or part of a scene. It's unbelievable, but in such a massive city, this is a very surprising fact! I think it is less important to be cool and more important to just be good and have people relate to your work on a more substantial level. We really hope that people are going to appreciate that we're trying to create good songs here and that anyone can dig them, no matter what tags you want to place on the sound. We aren't aiming for the Goth market specifically, although we have an idea of who might prefer our sounds; but to have it as wide open as possible is the best thing for any band.
YOU ARE A NEW BAND BUT YOU COULD CONVINCE CHRIS SHELDON WHO WORKED WITH FOO FIGHTERS AND SKUNK ANANSIE, HOW COME?
A) Scott, our bassist, got in touch with Chris through a mutual acquaintance, and he just seemed to like what we were doing off the bat. Danny and Scott would fill that one in better because they actually got to go and see him! Danny and Richie have been working on the songs and sound for some time, and Danny is very educated - we're all a little older and fairly experienced in this band, so what I'm trying to say is, I'd like to think there was a confidence, focus and originality in our delivery that Chris took to - as well as what we hope are good songs, as I was saying before, haha! It gave me goosebumps thinking about our stuff being mixed by the man who mixed "The Colour And The Shape" and Biffy Clyro. I think he did real good, thank you Chris!
I GUESS IT MAKES YOU PROUD THIS ONE, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THAT MUCH OF A BRITISH SOUND.
A) Not? I think sometimes the vocals might have the odd inflection, but a lot of the guitars are informed by Sabbath, Opeth, Paradise Lost, Anathema and others, which are definitely British or at least European. Unless that's what you meant! :) There are American influences, of course, but they don't dominate. Maybe in the rhythm section, but no-one gives a shit about bassists and drummers anyway, haha!
HMMM BY COINCIDENCE I SAW LAST WEEK THE EDEN HOUSE IN CONCERT AND I LEARNED YOU GUYS KNOW EACH OTHER!!!!
A) Yes, we did a gig supporting them at the Scala, which was our first 'big' show actually, and they were really nice people and accomplished musicians. We are playing with them soon and think it's awesome to be associated with people of their pedigree.
IF I HEAR MUSIC LIKE YOURS, I CAN ONLY THINK OF ONE THING….ESCASPISM….
A) That's an interesting thing to say. I think that most of us are into things like sci-fi and fantasy in our own capacities outside the band, and we are all fascinated with the intangible and expressing this in one way or another. We love things that are dramatic, that send shivers up your spine - not just musically. I think the music and lyrics are influenced by this in some way, and it's great that you picked up on it!
DO YOU SEE YOUR MUSIC AS DARK OR SOMETHING THAT GIVES HOPE?
A) Both. Richie?
R) Yeah I would definitely see the music as containing both sides of the coin. We've always wanted our songs to be cathartic and we write from the darker emotions that everyone experiences, but I don't think we're a negative band. Its just all about being honest and writing from the heart. I think Rebecca's lyrics are very open, poetic and interesting and I think she does a great job of moving you though different sides of the music as you listen.
I WAS WONDERING THIS MYSELF THIS WEEK, DOES MUSIC MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU?
A) That's also interesting. Getting older and getting more into playing and creating music, it suddenly becomes a different experience listening to things - in a lot of ways, it sucks, because if you make progress in your own capacity, then you look for inspiration in sources that are much more accomplished than you are; or not even related to what you're doing. This makes it harder to find new stuff that you will return to in the way you did your first metal albums, for instance. There seems to be less music I can easily relate to at the moment, that blows me away. Maybe you could call this being old and jaded! But music means so much - it defines your identity, groups of friends, ideas, so much. It changes as you get older though.
I KNOW IT’S DIFFICULT TO SAY FOR A SMALL BAND, BUT ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR EUROPEAN SHOWS OR IS THAT FAR TOO EARLY?
A) Mental plans, maybe! Nothing to report so far cap'n... but watch this space!
QUESTION I ALWAYS ASK….WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND PLEASE STATE WHY…..
A) Can't say! I will say that Nirvana's "Nevermind" changed my life, and at the moment I am still hooked on Biffy Clyro's "Puzzle," for the powerful riffs, songs, creativity and sheer naked emotional fragility - wow that sounded really pretentious! Have you got any journalist jobs there?
R) Very hard question, there are a few records I will never tire of, but '...And justice for all' by Metallica was the first record that really inspired me to want to write and perform in my own band and it still grabs me on every listen. The riffs are so precise and heavy, Hetfield's vocals are incredible and the breakdown and middle section in 'to live is to die' is still one of the most moving pieces of music I've ever heard. Nothing they've done since has touched it in my opinion.
I know it’s difficult, Vince, but try to describe your music….
I would say my music is a kind of combination of old school Dark Electro/Industrial with EBM and with new sounds and percussive elements. It's hard for me to describe my own work in depth. There has been several influential bands in my life like Depeche Mode, Front242, Front Line Assembly and Skinny Puppy to name a few. This can help to understand my influences.
Also, now I always say "old school" to make a clear difference with what we can hear these days. I mean, to me there was a lot more interesting melodies in the early years than all the "easy and standardized" ones we hear nowdays and it makes a big difference to me.
I was honestly surprised after hearing your stuff that ESR isn’t much more known, not even mentioning that it’s self-released.
Well, I'd like to point out that the new E.P. only is self released. usually my albums are released by one or more labels. But times are harder than ever, with piracy and sales going down, most of labels don't want to release E.P any longer...They only want albums. So at that time I decided to release it on my own as I've always wanted to do an E.P. Recently, a label manager I'm in contact with told me he would have enjoyed to release that E.P. on his label. That's the story of that E.P.
Due to do what I do on Dark Entries I hear a lot of releases on majors (I mean EBM and so…) and it’s unbelievable what kind of crap got signed. Never got frustrated by such things?
I've always been signed from the beginning. Obviously not on major labels but I've had the chance to find people interested in my music. It all started with a German label back in 2001, then the rest of my albums have been released by DSBP in north America and other labels in Europe (Gravitator in Russia and Urgence Disk Records in Switzerland). At some point I admit it has been frustrating not to be more known and not being able to get a deal with a major label in Europe. The fact that I'm not playing live and not living in a country where Industrial/Dark Electro/EBM is much appreciated are probably the keys. I agree with you, it's sometimes surprising to hear "bad" quality music signed on well known labels...I think our scene is turning into a trendy oriented market theses days, so if you're not in trend, it's harder for you even if you have released albums in the past.
The fact is that I've always enjoyed underground music which is by definition not in the mainstream. I understood that my music will probably always be part of the underground Dark Electro/EBM scene and it's no longer frustrating.
I described your stuff like Skinny Puppy, Suicide Commando and the early Project Pitchforkstuff. Can you live with that?
Sure I can live with that. Skinny Puppy has probably be one of the most innovative band in the early years and I love their old records. So I'm rather flattered to be "compared" to them. Suicide Commando did great albums too like "Mindstrip" in the past. To be honest I don't know Project Pitchfork so I can't said if I'm close to their style.
It’s all rather dark….
Yes, it's dark because I've always enjoy the dark side of electronic music. I think you can bring much more emotions playing dark melodies. Talking about the lyrics, it is rather a dark reflection/vision of the world but there is no intention to be "depressive" it's rather a way to warn people and to make them think about it.
For your latest cd you got inspired by the big economical crisis, do you care about such things?
I think we've all been hurt by the recent crisis so I needed to write about it. Like many people I'm angry to see what happened and I'm angry that we all have to pay the price for the stupidity of some greedy people, banks and companies. Sometimes I think the world is dumb, repeating the same mistakes over and over again so I think it's our duty to fight against that. That being said, nothing really changed after the crisis. The same thing could happen tomorrow... You know "money rules the world", I'm sad our leaders didn't really act to change things...It's all about power, influence and money.
It seems we’re fucked again : the poor ones lost their jobs and the rich only got richer….
I'm afraid as long as stock exchanges will be the worldwide reference and the human side of things is left behind, the poor will always pay the price and the difference between the poor and the rich will increase. Not to speak about the differences between currency and countries which doesn't help to get a stable worldwide situation.
To make it easy I will classify your music as EBM in this interview, even if I know it’s more than that. People who don’t love the genre often say the genre has reached its limits…
If we talk about the "pure EBM" (like Nitzer Ebb and all the bands in the genre), I can understand that some people think it has reached its limits. But fans of "pure EBM" do not necessarily want any kind of evolution. I mean I like Nitzer Ebb and EBM for their strong typed style and I don't want them to do something else.
Talking about ESR, I would say that I've integrated things from the EBM style (some bass lines especially) but I'd rather say that ESR is closer to Dark Electro than EBM, I've always mixed both styles because this is what I like best.
In fact, how do you find new ideas? Is that something in the head you have at a certain moment or is it after hours and hours (or days?) trying….
As a composer, things usually come with the inspiration when you're playing on your keyboards. Sometimes a sound is a source of inspiration and then all the rest of the song comes very easily. Sometimes it can take hours to arrange a song to come to a good result. I mean you start with several good ideas but when you put all together, it is not what you expected...so you need to re arrange, change the melodies, re program some sounds, and so on. There's no rules in my process of composing. You never know in advance if a song will be done in a few hours or if it's going to take days to finish it. And sometimes even if a song or a demo is finished, you may decide not to keep it for the album. What is the most important to me is the inspiration itself, I never plan things in advance.
I read that you had a lot of trouble for releasing “Distorted memories”, you even had a cd-r release in mind. I guess it’s all about the money, not?
As I told you, no label wanted to release the E.P. Because of the current crisis in the CD market. I've had a bad experience in the past with a CD-R entitled “A Passage In Time V1”. The result wasn't the one that I expected, I mean it was not a professional one. I really wanted that new E.P. To be released as a standard pressed CD in order to get a great quality CD. Obviously the problem is the number of CDs and the price to pay. Fortunately I was able to find a deal for 100 pressed CDs only and that was exactly matching the idea of a limited edition release and also matching my budget.
Genius artwork even it looks like very desolate….
Thanks! Here again, I like the visuals of industrial sites, rusted gears, desolated landscapes but that's really not what we need in the real world.
You did two covers so far on your album, “Everything counts” by Depeche Mode and “Eighty Eight” by Public Relation. Never got others in mind?
I did a cover of Front Line Assembly "Mindphaser" which appears on my third album "Persistence". That was the first cover I released. As a big fan of Depeche Mode, I took the opportunity of doing the "Everything Counts" cover on my latest album. There is probably a dozen of others songs I would like to cover but I don't know if I'll do some more in the future. Wait and see.
What do I have to think about men who are hiding themselves behind machines?
Talking about myself, I'm a synthesizer addict and I love electronic music, so I can spend hours behind my keyboards experimenting sounds and stuff. I'm a passionate you know but that doesn't mean that I try to hide behind my synths. For many reasons, I do not play live, that's probably why I may be considered as someone hidding behind machines. Since 20 years, music is my passion, more than just a hobby, but I have a full time job and a family so music is only for my extra time. One a more negative note, I suffer from Tinnitus and Hyperacusis so it has been a challenge to keep on playing music even in the studio.
Your vision of this world is a rather cold one, but would you ever want to for a warm vision anyway or is it fine like that?
I would like the world to be a lot better than it is. The truth is, the world is not as cold as you may think while listening to my songs. As I said, my cold vision of the world is a way to warn the listeners, a way to make them ask themselves “could it be that way if we don't change things?”. My vision of industrial music is not just a science-fiction oriented one, it has more depth for those who want to dig it. Obviously I enjoy the warm pleasures of life like anyone else, I'm not that kind of guy who feels good about how depressive the world can be. Moreover, as a father I want life to be warm for all the kids. But when it comes to writing, I like to point out those cold reflections.
I ask to everybody : what’s your fave record of all time and state why….
That's a hard question really...In a previous interview I have already said FLA "Tactical Neural Implant" or Depeche Mode "Black Celebration"...it has changed during my life. This time I would say DEPECHE MODE "Some Great Reward". I think that album was one of the most innovative from the band and the one that took them into the "industrial" side of electronic music. There's a lot of percussive sounds, great melodies and very catchy songs. From a technical point of view, that was the beginning of sampling and I really love the multi layered percussive sounds that DM created with the Emulator sampler. I truly love all the songs on that album, plus there is a song from that period which is a B-Side (of "People Are People) and not appearing on the album that I love, it is "In Your Memory".
I think we still miss some “cross over” bands with that sound nowdays, something rather industrial but not too harsh.
The lasty words are yours, Vince!
First, I'd like to thank you for your interest! It was my pleasure to answer your questions and I hope that your readers will be interested in discovering my music and style. Other than that, I'd say: • Fight for a better world (we all need that) • Fight to keep our scene alive and to help newcomers to have a chance to release and promote their music. • And for the composer in general: please stop using toooo muchhh distortion with your vocals, try to create your own sounds, do not fall into the trap of easy trendy melodies, keep some dynamics with your records (over compression is bad) and protect your ears from loud volume before it's too late.
HELLO PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC….
Hi, we are Thieves of Silence, a Brussels-based post punk band that formed in March 2010, just a group of young guys in love with the 80’s. As our music, we’d say…spontaneous, cold, and simple.
I UNDERSTOOD YOU’RE QUITE NEW, NOT?
Indeed, it’s been 5 months, we built our set in very few time.
WHEN I HEARD THIEVES OF SILENCE I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY YOUR SOUND, THERE IS DEFINITELY A TOUCH OF JOY DIVISION AND WIRE IN IT….
We’re not really influenced by wire but we all have Joy Division as a common influence. Of course we like most of the 80’s new wave music; Killing Joke, Siouxie & The Banshees, Echo & The Bunnymen... but the way our sound came, was bit of an accident, it mainly came with Paul’s arrival in the band.
IF I HEAR YOUR MUSIC I CAN’T HELP IT IMAGINING THAT I’M IN 1979 OR SO WHICH IS ONLY A GOOD THING…
That’s because all the essential elements of our music come from that time, which we’re fans of.
IN 2010 THE TERM POST-PUNK IS USED IN EVERY REVIEW BUT IT ENDS UP IN BEING A CLONE FROM INTERPOL OR EDITORS, IT SEEMS LIKE THIEVES OF SILENCE ARE NOT IN THAT LEAGUE….
We listen to lots of bands on myspace, unfortunately too many of them qualify themselves as “post punk”. Nowadays, it’s a very misused word. Those guys keep the codes butthey have lost the spirit of this brilliant era. That being said, a part of Thieves of Silence really like post-punk revival bands like Interpol or Editors.
I KNOW IT’S A DIRTY QUESTION, BUT SO BE IT… I LIKE YOUR SOUND AS IT’S SO RAW AND I HOPE YOU’LL NEVER MEET A PRODUCER WHO RUINS THAT SOUND!
Thank you very much! Actually that sound comes from the lack of means we have to record, everything is homemade on a computer, and we have very few knowledge about recording and stuff... everything happened so fast, we didn’t even think about it. Besides, if we ever have a producer, we won’t ever let him fuck our sound up. Anyway, we’d really like to stay autoproduced.
HOW COME THAT YOUNGSTERS LIKE YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH THE SOUND OF THE 80’S?
Paul grew up with New Order and Sisters of Mercy, his first concert was Depeche Mode, he was 10, his father mainly influenced him, and we can say that’s almost the same thing for Forster. Pablo and Quentin discovered The Cure as teenagers, moreover, it’s at a Cure concert, at the Sportpaleis, that they met.
THIEVES OF SILENCE COME FROM BRUSSELS… YOU HAVE THE FLEMISH SCENE AND THE SCENE FROM WALLONY BUT I CAN’T HELP IT THINKING THAT THOSE IN BRUSSELS END UP BEING FORGOTTEN…
Music, in Brussels, in a general way, is not really supported, people don’t trust their musical scene, and it is a pity that post punk is not that famous among young people nowadays
OVER HERE TOO MANY BANDS ARE COPIES FROM OTHERS (YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY NIRVANA OR DEUSCLONES WE HAVE), WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?
We understand that people like to imitate their idols, and I think we all did it as beginners, but that’s too bad because all the musicians are going in the same direction. And after this step, everyone has to develop his own style. Look at all the ads posted by bands looking for musicians. Everything’s always the same. We are clearly disappointed by that but there’s nothing we can do about it…
ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO RELEASE ANYTHING?
we’re focusing on playing live gigs for the moment. We’re a young band and we need to be more confident on stage! If you know any organizer who could make us play, don’t hesitate contacting us : firstname.lastname@example.org . But that being said, we’re preparing something for this fall ;)
SOME RUMOURS… PAUL HAS A CERTAIN CELEBRITY IN THE FAMILY, NOT? TELL OUR READERS…
Indeed! Paul’s uncle was the bassist/singer for Lucie Cries, a 90’s French cold wave band
SOMEONE INFORMED US (WE HAVE OUR SPIES) THAT YOU GOT THE INTEREST FROM BEING SUPPORT BY DE BRASSERS DUE TO THE DARK ENTRIES-REVIEW. HOW MUCH OF THAT IS TRUE? (WE LOVE OURSELVES SO THAT’S WHY THE QUESTION IS ASKED….).
To be honest, we don’t know much about this, but without any doubt, it helped. It would be an honor to share the stage with DE BRASSERS and we’re really grateful to you for this review that overtook our highest hopes.
APART FROM THAT, ANYTHING ELSE IN THE PIPELINE?
We have several shows in France, mainly at the Klub, in Paris. We’re focusing on shows, we’re looking to play as much as possible so…promoters, this is for you.
EVERYBODY MUST ANSWER THIS…NAME YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME PLEASE.
Paul : Heaven Up Here and Porcupine - Echo & The Bunnymen Quentos : The Queen is Dead - The Smiths Pablos : Virus Meadow - And Also the Trees / The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails Forster : Metropolis Part.2 : Scenes From a Memory – Dream Theater
WHY DO OUR READERS HAVE TO CHECK OUT THIEVES OF SILENCE?
Go check, and you’ll see by yourselves! Thank you so much for this interview, we didn’t expect this to happen so soon. Come to our shows, come and speak to us, we like to have contact with people!
HELLO, PLEASE TRY TO DESCRIBE TO DESCRIBE THE MUSIC OF THE WHISPERING TREE….
Hi! That’s a really hard question. We strive for honesty in our song writing, playing and production. We want people to be touched in some way when they listen. Our sound definitely has its roots in folk but there are many influences that make it somehow unique.
WITH ALL RESPECT, YOU ARE FROM NEW YORK, BUT IF I LOOK ON THE SLEEVE AND HEAR YOUR MUSIC I’D RATHER ASSOCIATE YOUR MUSIC IN A FIELD FULL OF NATURE….
Yes! When I think of cities I think of concrete and money and ego... and when I think of a field full of nature I think of peace, so thank you!
ABOUT NEW YORK, IT’S THE MOST HIP TOWN IN THE WORLD BUT I GUESS IT’S QUITE IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE THE TREES IN THE WOOD THERE…
Yes, unfortunately there are no woods. But living here has definitely given birth to a lot of our songs. “The Tallest” was written from the point of view of a tree living in the city. Living so separate from what people refer to as ‘nature’ has definitely created a longing for it which shows up in the music. Also, living in this human-centered corner of nature, which is no less natural, has also inspired us. As far as New York being the metaphorical forest and bands being the trees, it’s challenging to gain a foothold and get people to listen with such a plethora of artists.
IF I HEAR YOUR MUSIC I HEAR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE FAR AWAY FROM THIS WORLD….
Far away from certain aspects of this world, definitely!
DO YOU THINK IT’S A HEALTHY THING IF PEOPLE USE MUSIC AS ESCAPISM?
Good music provides escape from the mundane, day to day routine but I wouldn’t call it escapism because I think it actually brings you closer to the truth of things. In that way it’s probably the healthiest thing to do. Good music can help you escape from your ego and remember that we are all connected, all experiencing this world together, all emotional beings.
YOU’RE A DUO, AND YOU MET EACH OTHER IN LONDON… TELL US ABOUT THAT STORY…
Elie is from France and I’m from NY. We met at The London Centre of Contemporary Music. It’s a really small, unusual school and we were in the same performance group and all of the same classes. I was looking for someone to cook for me and maybe play some music... It was only a matter of time before we started working together!
I READ ON THE NET YOU EVEN PLAYED IN CHINA!!!!
We were rowing gondolas along artificial canals in a fake Venice constructed inside a huge casino in Macau, pretending to be Italian and serenading people with cheesy Italian songs...playing our material during our time off.
COME ON, EVERYBODY HAS A WEIRD STORY TO TELL ABOUT CHINA, SO TELL ME YOURS…
If that’s not weird enough... Skewered rats at street vending stalls? Dogs in sacks at the meat market? Living and working with musical theatre people (the Drama!)? I don’t even know where to start...
IF YOU COMPOSE YOUR MUSIc, WHAT IS IT THAT INSPIRES YOU? I MEAN THAT ALSO MUSICAL WISE…..
Beautiful places, great performers like Jacques Brel, good books, Leonard Cohen, folk art, travelling, strong emotions. Musically, anything that has an honest ring to it.
IN ALL HONESTY, I INTERVIEWED TONS OF SMALL BANDS AND NONE OF THEM (WELL MOST OF THEM DON’T) SEEM TO BE INFLUENCED BY OTHERS…AND I NEVER BELIEVE THEM. WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
ELEANOR: My biggest influences have probably been The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Radiohead. Lately I’ve been listening to Iron and Wine, Antony and the Johnsons, Laura Love.
ELIE: This a tough question. I’ve listened and still listen to pretty much everything from death-metal and prog-rock to straight ahead jazz and classical music... I guess if I had to give you some names I’d say Frank Zappa, Nine Inch Nails, John Scofield, Radiohead...
WHAT DOES MUSIC MEAN TO YOU?
It means there is magic and mystery in the universe.
I ASK THIS TO EVERYBODY….WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME….
ELEANOR: This is an impossible question; I haven’t been able to answer that question since I was 14 or 15 and I only had a few albums to choose from. So I will just say that one of the most significant albums for me was “The Wall.” It’s one of the first albums I heard that intensely altered my reality. The first time I really listened to that album I became convinced that I had written it, because how else could someone so specifically communicate what it felt like to be me? That’s what great music does, it blurs the lines that separate us. To this day I couldn’t tell you what the intended concept behind that album is, because what I experienced from it had nothing to do with anything you could compress into language or concepts.
ELIE: As I mentioned, my influences are very diverse, and so are my favourites! Let me just give you a few... Abra Moore “Sing” – NIN “The Downward Spiral” – Marillion “Season’s End”
HELLO, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC? We’re the bastard child of Alternative, Goth, Metal and Rock’n’Roll. If you might also want to call it bad weather music. That’s fine with us. Go for it. We’re with you, on that one.
IN GERMANY YOU’RE QUITE KNOWN, I MEAN YOUR ALBUM GOT IN THE CHARTS BUT OVER HERE END OF GREEN IS STILL A RATHER UNKNOWN BAND. HOW COME? Guess, we haven’t been to your place too often. Two times I think. I think we should change that. You know we’re playing a lot in germany, that’s probably why people know us here pretty good.
I NEVER UNDERSTOOD IT AND I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANY SOLUTION TO IT BUT POLITICAL WE’RE SO CALLED ONE COUNTRY BUT IT’S DAMN DIFFICULT TO LET BANDS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES IN? NOT? I don’t think it’s too difficult. It sometimes is just a lack of invitation. If there’s any promoter inviting us for a show I think there will not be to many problems with us stepping over the border.
AND EVEN IF YOU’RE GERMAN, YOU DON’T HAVE A GERMAN SOUND… That’s good, isn’t it? We’re influenced by a lot of diffent styles – apart from Krautrock none of these was ever quite “german”. In that case I think we’re pretty much international.
“HIGH HOLES IN LOW PLACES” GATHERS QUITE A LOT OF DIFFERENT STYLES, IS THAT BECAUSE YOU WANTED THAT OR HAS IT GROWN AUTOMATICALLY? “High HOLES in Low Places”? No, sir. “Hopes”. Our style has always been a melange of our musical tastes, and there is a lot in that band. It’s kind of natural for us to keep our minds free from any genre limitations. We’re free to do whatever we want in our music, and we live that. If there’s a catchy hook right next to some really nasty distortion – we go for it. Getting a little post-punk next to metal? Yes, that’s us.
I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST IT, BUT END OF GREEN AREN’T AFRAID TO SOUND WHAT SOME MIGHT CALL COMMERCIAL, NOT? Definitely not. I just don’t think it’s commercial. Bands like Slipknot sell millions of records. Or Hatebreed – no one would dare to call that “commercial” and speaking as a record dealer: You can make way more cash with that kind of music. So “No”, it has nothing to do with selling more records. It’s just a matter of our taste. But in one case you’re perfectly right: We’re not afraid of Pop, Melodies and a good hookline. .
HMMMM THE SINGER IS NAMED MICHELLE DARKNESS AND YOUR LYRICS AREN’T THAT BRIGHT AS WELL, SO ARE YOU REALLY THAT DARK? Yes,Sir. We are. But like everyone with a sense for darkness – we’re also blessed with an outstanding portion of good clean black humour and cynicism. To sum it up: We’re probably just like a lot of other people we all know. We just have the tendency to live our melancholy and darkness a little more offensive. Call it intensity.
DARKNESS OH DARKNESS, BUT THERE WILL BE PEOPLE AROUND WHO ARE TELLING YOU THAT YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!! I guess they’re right, and I’ll stick to that one until I can prove them wrong. And especially since I think we only live once, I think we have a responsibility to live a good life. Anyone, anything messing with that is my enemy.
SOMEONE ONCE TOLD ME THAT ART CAN ONLY BE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL IF IT SHOWS AN UGLY SIDE…. With all due respect: that’s bullshit. And it starts with the question “What is beautiful?”. I like Autumn, that’s beauty to me. But I know shitloads of people that prefer summer, and they all have their point. I think art needs to touch. Music that doesn’t touch is a waste of time. And some music that’s really good in my ears is bullshit for others – that’s okay. That’s probably art. I think you can only cherish the good if you know the bad, and to every good side, there’s an ugly side and vice versa.
WOULD YOU DO EVERYTHING FOR STARDOM? No, Sir. We believe in integrity.
I ASK THIS EVERYONE : WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND PLEASE STATE WHY…. I really do not have just one favourite record. I have favourite records for moods I’m in. Lately I have been listening a lot to “From The Lions mouth” from THE SOUND. That record saved my ass in the most difficult time of my life so far. And I will always thank the guy who gave it to me. Actually, it was Kerker, our guitar player.
I LEAVE THE LAST WORDS TO YOU. Always remember: Depression is not a fashion accessory. Thank you for the interest in our band. We really do not take that for granted.
Hello Mike… Well, for those who don’t know please present Bristol Archive….
Bristol Archive Records is a record label dealing in Bristol post punk 1977 onwards. We aim to showcase music from the diverse Bristol Music scene and provide a historical account / document of all things Bristol that should never be forgotten. Many of the artists and releases are rare, unknown or never before released. The material has been lovingly digitally remastered from vinyl, ¼ inch tape, dat or cassette. The original vinyl releases would generally have been limited to runs of 1000 copies or less. We would like to thank the original label owners and/or the artists for allowing us to share with you their forgotten works and provide a statement of how brilliant bands have always been from the city of Bristol and the surrounding areas. Enjoy and never forget the talented ones from the past, they deserve to be recognised & remembered.
I am a musicfanatic myself but with exploring the archive of the Bristol scene, I guess it’s like playing Indiana Jones in musicland, not?
No not really, everything is interwoven, interlinked if you know where to look and who to speak to. Lots of musicians played in various bands throughout the 70’s and 80’s. It might be different now but before computer games and mobile phones lots of kids wanted to be Rock Stars
How did this idea started anyway?
I thought of it in 2000 released Western Stars which didn’t sell very well although it was obvious it was a good idea. A friend of mine Dave Bateman dropped dead suddenly in 2008 and it got me thinking. Dave had been the original guitarist in Vice Squad, I just felt as we all get older more people will disappear and we should remember them for what they once were and what they achieved large or small, they were part of the Bristol music scene.
I know someone has to do the job but if you were not around I guess all those releases landed up in some dusty attic to disappear later in the dustbin, not?
For sure, all destroyed and forgotten, lost forever, dosn’t bear thinking about does it!
You choose a specific decade, I mean it’s only mid 70’s till the 80’s, not?
No we start there and touch on the early 90’s. As the years go on I’m sure we’ll move through the decades, but everyone has to start somewhere and I know alot about late 70’s and early 80’s so it seemed the perfect place
How do you work? Ringing from door to door? I mean, Mike, there’s no info on the net about such bands at all…
Luck, chance, fate, a contact or two, a friend of a friend, no plan just make it happen. Most if not all people are keen to be involved and pleased I’ve phoned them – they understand the historical importance without me having to spell it out
I guess it must keep you busy day after day, not?
Independent Financial Advisor Chairman of Chipping Sodbury Golf Club for 8 years Immediate Past Presidnet of The Gloucestershire Golf Union Captain Elect of the Gloucestershire Golf Union
You could say I’m busy busy busy
If you hear these releases they can all be reduced to some sad stories : I mean they could have been, if only….well if only…
Yea I know – I blame most of the non success on the infrastructure in Bristol through the ages, no managers, music accountants, lawyers most of our talented kids left and went to London to seek fame and fortune ( or Heroin)
I guess one Mr. John Peel played its part in it too….
Sure did certainly for Simon Edwards at Heartbeat Records, Avon Calling 2 is released on August 23rd, if Mr Peel was still alive he’d be playing it all the time as its the follow up to Avon Calling released in 1980
I thought the day Mr. Peel died, music died a bit as well.
Maybe – he gave people more of a chance and a hope that anyone could get on Radio 1
What’s your opinion about the current musicscene itself?
Ok- big bands are making fortunes playing live shows, small bands still have no one coming to see them play. No one is selling records. Its tough but there will always be great bands
Sometimes I think everything in this world has so mellowed…I mean we have everything now but the voice inside has gone too…
Kids have to much opportunity – we’ll never see Punk Rock again – lets all have a go!
Are there any bands around who decide to reform after the re-releases?
Yes The Pigs The Stingrays The Untouchables The Fans
The Fans have toured Japan this year and released material over there via 1977 Records
I ask this to everyone : what’s your fave record of all time and please tell why….
Dancing With Myself – Generation x ( Billy Idol is my hero!!!)
The last words are yours…..
Give Bristol a chance its not all about Massive Attack, Portishead and Roni Size if you look behind these bands you’ll find musicians from the late 70’s in their lineups – Punk Rock lives on in a very quiet way