THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Monday, August 16, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH ELECTRO SYNTHETIC REBELLION
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.