THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Thursday, April 22, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH CLAN OF XYMOX
I think I was 16 years old when I drove with a mate to Brussels (still have that vision in my eyes) when I heard for the very first time a song called "A Day". Not on radio, Clan Of Xymox on radio in 1986??? Yes, they were...even on TV on a programme which was called "Je ziet maar" I think) but that's not the point anyway... Something changed my life forever. I don't wanna be arrogant but I lost the count how many bands I heard in my life or how many albums I bought, cann't tell you if it are 30 or 40.000, but I can tell you what Clan Of Xymox did. They evoked an emotion in me that I never felt in my life before...well perhaps on "Low" by David Bowie, but that's only one album. Are Clan Of Xymox the best band ever? I know they're not and Ronny knows that too but I know that of all the bands I know they mean most to me. Why? I can't explain that but during 25 years or so I almost hear them daily. Yes, I'm drowning into CD's I have to review, in my other room there must be more than 1000 albums I haven't heard so far (if I'm at a fleamarket expect me to come home with 100 albums or so) but between that chaos there are always two bands who are coming back to me, every day : The Sound and Clan Of Xymox. I may not complain about my luck with heroes. I had the luck to meet Ronny twice and in my "undergroundcareer" this is the 3rd time I could interview Ronny Moorings. Respect is more than due. Thank you Ronny. And that's all I can say two words "thank you" and you provided me with more than 200 songs which helped me survive through this life. No, not in balance at all...
Here is the interview, but if you are Dutch speaking you can find the Dutch version on www.darkentries.be, or read it literally from Ronny himself.
YOU ARE ALMOST LIKE 30 YEARS IN THE SCENE, NEVER THOUGHT THAT YOU’RE BECOMING THE ROLLING STONES OF THE DARK SCENE?
Clan of Xymox was formed in 1984. The debut album was released in 1985. To me numbers like this do not matter , I have certainly not the feeling it already is such a milestone. To me I still have a feeling I just started and feel like I still have to prove to the world that Clan Of Xymox has something special to offer. Of course I am proud of all the albums I released in the past but I tend not to look back on things, I rather look ahead, it is always the latest song of a band what matters in the end, so that keeps definitely the drive going .
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SO LONG IN THE SCENE, A LOGIC QUESTION MIGHT BE : DO YOU THINK A LOT HAS CHANGED?
Most changes happen slowly, so you lose sight really. I stand at the middle of these things so I can hardly see the forest from the trees , but I'll try to elaborate a bit ;) Of course a lot has changed , just look at the technology and its use and consequences in the music industry. In that aspect it is not really a change but revolution the way we so easily can access music , even the most obscurest recording is to be found on the net and available for consumption. Styles in music intertwined even more , that goes the same for fashion, all goes really. In the end it is important that whatever is on offer , the avalanche of releases , the flood of info , you find something close to your heart and almost like a trusty friend will be there over the years for you. That band I want to be for our fans who feel we have something to offer , for all these years now , a sort of rock in the chaos of that thing called life..
AS YOU KNOW ME BY NOW I FOLLOW YOUR MUSIC IN A QUITE FANATICAL WAY FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. IF I THINK ABOUT CLAN OF XYMOX I WOULD SAY THAT IT IS THE MUSICAL OUTPUT FROM A PERSON WHO DID SEVERAL STYLES BUT ALWAYS HAD THE DARK AND MELANCHOLIC ASPECT IN MIND….
Correct , it is the side I can really understand and feel. I never could really relate too much to happy tunes, it does not strike that kind of chord in me like the melancholic notes do.
YOU SAW A LOT PEOPLE COME AND GO, DO YOU CONSIDER CLAN OF XYMOX AS RONNY MOORINGS OR NOT?
It was and always will be my thing , yes. Nothing has changed in that aspect. I started it and will finish it when the time comes , no one will be able to carry on with it when I stop with Clan Of Xymox. Of course I need people around me in the band , playing the music live but when it comes to writing and recording I always do and did that on my own. I never expected people to stick with the band for a long time but now Mojca and Mario are the longest members so far and I think Yvonne will be in the band for a long time to come. It is now different then it was when I was looking for my own identity and people around me changed with that search as well. To me musical experimentation's are necessary to come to an identity. We all know from our own experiences that we change all the time , just look at old photo's , the way you looked and the ay you look now and everything in-between. People need to evolve in order to find out what suits them the best , that goes for style of clothes , food , your friends , simple things in life , you need this in order to keep your interest in living. At a certain age you will find what suits you the best and from there you can be subtle. I discovered in 1997 what suited me the best but did not keep me from going in this or that direction a bit more. I think now I feel like I am on a path which is totally my own.
DO YOU LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC YOURSELF? I MEAN, IS THERE A TIME IN YOUR PRIVATE LIFE WHEN YOU GO LIKE “OH, LET’S PLAY “TWIST OF SHADOWS” “?
Of course , I listen to a lot of music but not necessarily my own music. I thing when you are so busy with your own music you need perspective and need to hear other artists just to give yourself a proper perspective of things and just in order to enjoy music. With your own music you tend to get sometimes too analytical and critical. But having said that sometimes it is also great to play a track which absolutely connects to a certain feeling I have and then I know exactly which track to play;) The live songs I hear of course in a regular way and sometimes when I feel like listening to my own songs I select a few which would suit my mood but mainly it would be songs of later releases..
A CLAN OF XYMOX SONG MOSTLY HAS A CLASSICAL STRUCTURE. STRONG MELODIES, LYRICS WITH A MEANING AND A MUSICAL ORCHESTRATION. HOW DO YOU COMPOSE YOUR SONGS, RONNY?
Music wise I often get inspired by a few sounds which sparks my imagination and make me visualise some sort of sound scape and a direction I can build towards to with other sounds, as soon as some sort of order is shaped into the sound collage it will move itself in some sort of specific direction. Maybe a few words will match some chord structures so I get some idea of what I want to write and what words are suitable to match the created atmosphere which sort of triggers my emotional world. The lyrics are most of the time based on events mostly experienced by myself or what I have seen around me and of course when you think about all the things you have experienced or heard , you will always have a lot to write about.
FOR SOMEONE WHO’S MAKING MUSIC FOR SO LONG. ARE ALL YOUR SONGS RELEASED OR IS THERE A HUGE COLLECTION OF REJECTED SONGS?
Pretty much everything is released but having said that there are still some songs here and there , not that they are rejected but would not fit in an album or I am not too sure about it.
CLAN OF XYMOX WAS A BAND WHO HAD ITS UPS AND DOWNS, BUT YOU KNOW THEY WERE ALWAYS COMING BACK. HOW COME…I MEAN, ARE THERE NEVER TIMES YOU THINK OF GIVING UP?
Giving up what exactly ? I make music because I like doing that. It would be like stopping breathing. I need to make music as much I would need oxygen to breathe. The passion for music is something you are born with I think , it will not go away , it is embedded in your gene pool;) Whatever happens you always have the feeling to express yourself , in my case I rather do that through my music and lyrics than to talk about it with a person. To me it is my way of life, without it I would be lost.
TALKING ABOUT THAT, I RECENTLY READ ON THE WEBSITE FROM LEGENDARY PINK DOTS THAT THEY’RE TIRED AFTER 30 YEARS. IT’S DIFFICULT TO BOOK GIGS FOR THEM AND SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR IS TOO MUCH FOR SOMEONE WHO’S REACHING THE 50’S….. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?
Yes , I can understand them if things become too hard on the road. It does not mean that you have to stop making music and recording it. So far I haven't experienced this for my band and I hope I never will. I like touring the way we tour , the one off show here and there instead of the 30 day tour in a row.. I'd like to think music and making music somehow keeps you young , so as long as the enthousiasm for your band and music is there I think you can pretty much carry on for ever , providing people you keep an interest in your band.
SORRY TO ASK BUT A COLLEGUE FROM DARK ENTRIES ONCE HEARD THAT YOU WERE A GOOD FOOTBALLPLAYER ONCE (OR STILL ARE…I DUNNO!)….AND HE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT’D BE IF YOU WERE A FOOTBALLPLAYER…
I think that was someone else but me;) I am terrible at football ( apart from the table football ;) and do not like that sport too much either..tennis is more my game
BACK TO SERIOUS QUESTIONS! YOU NOTICE THAT CLAN OF XYMOX HAVE MANY DEVOTED, ALMOST FANATICAL FANS. HOW DOES THAT FEEL, RONNY?
As long as they are not too fanatical in the sense they would camp at my front door ;) If we have fans who do follow the music and go to concerts then I am more then happy. I am of course more then pleased when I meet a devotional fan, especially the ones who would like to have an autograph on all the records we released ;))
ARE THINGS STILL GOING SO GOOD IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR CLAN OF XYMOX? READING THE REACTIONS ON FACEBOOK I THINK THEY ARE…..
Yes , we play and did play on a regular basis countries in South America and we absolutely love it there. We started playing these countries at the end of the Nineties and build up our audience there since then .. In some countries our fans even wait at the airport , not a few but hundreds , which is really impressive. As we speak I am talking to some South American promoters for a new Clan Of Xymox tour but I do notice that it gets a bit harder to go over because of the flights are getting more and more expensive so promoters have to pay a lot of money just for the flight tickets , so we had already a few times a promoter wanting to have us over but could not finance it in the end. We hope that the prices will go down in the near future but somehow I doubt that since we have now these flight stops due to the ashes of the Icelandic unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. Airlines will want to earn back their losses somehow again ....yes , it is always economics with everything :(
YOU CERTAINLY ARE AWARE OF BANDS WHO ARE COPYING YOUR STYLE. WHAT DO YOU THINK THEN? BEING FLATTERED OR DON’T YOU THINK : GET AN OWN SOUND!!!!!
Copying is the best form of flattery:) All music somehow is related , we have a limited amount of chords and notes , so no one is unique in the sense that all is being done. Just the sounds , melody, structure , tempo , words, voice makes it more unique. A style is something that relates to a certain taste. In there you have many variations again. It is always nice to be in company of bands who like our music. When Clan Of Xymox started we also got compared with bands and sometimes we still get a few band names in a review, but that does not matter , all music is influencing when you hear it in one way or the other. When we have a small part to play in that process then all the better :)
ON STAGE YOU HAVE SUCH A WIDE RANGE OF SONGS, BUT STILL PEOPLE ARE BEGGING FOR THE CLASSICS. AREN’T YOU NEVER TIRED OF THAT?
Well , it would be worse when you don't have any classics:) In time we get more and more classics , even as we speak we have a new classic : Emily It is always great when people know the words to the song and even sing along during a show. A classic is a song which grows on people for years and stays in their lives for years, so I find it only natural that a band will perform these classics.
YOU’RE ALMOST LIKE A GODFATHER OF THE GOTHICSCENE… WHAT DOES GOTH MEAN FOR YOU?
Well , I would not go that far..;) The word gothic now more reflects bands who use guitars in a metal kind of way , which to me is quite different from my perception of the word Gothic. To me Gothic is a vague term capturing all kinds of styles as long as they are on the darker side of life accompanied with a certain dress code , whatever style that may be. It is just a label to me and I would not necessarily put our band in that category since Clan Of Xymox covers and overlaps into many styles.
WHAT’S THE ALBUM YOU’RE MUST PROUD OF, RONNY?
Always the latest because that is the most current to me and reflects fresh feelings
WITH “HEROES” YOU MADE YOUR 2ND SECOND COVER BY DAVID BOWIE, I GUESS YOU MUST BE A FAN…..
nah , just a coincidence;)
YOU’RE NOW LIVING IN LEIPZIG. IS THAT BY COINCIDENCE OR WAS IT PLANNED… I MEAN LEIPZIG BEING THE WAVE & GOTHIK TREFFEN-CITY…
In a way it was a coincidence that when we wanted to move away from Amsterdam we found a great house in Leipzig and knowing Leipzig already a bit from WGT helped us making the decision to move there and to make it a permanent base. I am really glad we made that decision 5 years ago as I still like it very much to live here. I never felt so much at home as here in Leipzig.
“IN LOVE WE TRUST” IS BY MANY FANS SEEN AS THE BEST ALBUM SINCE “HIDDEN FACES”, AGREE ON THAT?
I personally like all the albums inbetween as well. Of course I like " In Love We Trust" a lot as well. As long as the fans love it ! It is my main drive to continue.
I LIKE “BREAKING POINT” A LOT AS WELL…THERE’S NOT ONE XYMOXSONG I DON’T LOVE, MIND YOU…. BUT THAT ALBUM WAS LIKE A RETURN TO “TWIST OF SHADOWS”, NOT?
huh , ?? no , it was just another step forwards:)
THIS IS A SPECIAL REQUEST FROM OUR CHIEF EDITOR HERE… HE WANTS YOU TO READ THE REVIEW HE MADE FROM “IN LOVE WE TRUST”, IT’S IN DUTCH THOUGH BUT HE MADE IT ALBUM OF THE SUMMER, AND HE ASKS IF YOU CAN COMMENT THIS, RONNY….
http://www.darkentries.be/nl/cds/?cdid=1240" http://www.darkentries.be/nl/cds/?cdid=1240 I like it of course , especially when it is called “album of the summer”, just great ! 9 stars out of 10 is also not bad at all.. Kudos to your chief:))
THANK YOU SO MUCH RONNY, WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU IN BRUGGE. FINAL QUESTION, DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE ANOTHER 30 YEARS? I MEAN? IMAGINE IT : CLAN OF XYMOX ON STAGE WHEN YOU’RE 70….IF LEONARD COHEN CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!!!
You make me feel old ! , I never really think about age and what lies ahead. , but I am certainly too young to having to worry about what the future holds in store .. I think our generation is different then our parents one. We do not accept age as a hampering factor. Look at Depeche Mode or the Cure or any band from that era , they are over 50 , way older then me :) , but they do what they do , go on tour , loving every aspect of the music , so that is the new standard of the rock music , you do not die when you are twenty something but live your life as a musician, which is an ultimate dream coming thru when that happens.
I am very much looking forward to the show in Brugge , It is going to be great !!