woensdag 28 november 2012

interview: Rude66

Below is an interview with Rude66... who does hopefully does not need any introduction...

Q: It is almost 25 years now you are active as a musician and about 20 years as Rude66, not? What is the best memory when it comes to producing music, performing live, releasing music?

A: Yes, I did my first Bunker LP in '93 I think..but i released some things before that, my first one was a collaboration as 'Voice Of The Mute' on Dirk Ivens' Body Records in 1990. Some of my best memories were linked to places and people I looked up to. The first time I heard my own music on VPRO radio, that I used to listen to all the time myself. The first time I played in a place like Paradiso, on the same stage that my favourite bands had also been on. Finding out that John Peel not only played my records, but knew who I was when I met him.. Some of the best memories in the studio came from trying new things.. first time I used analogue tape to record, rather than DAT for instance. But also, and this is only in hindsight, that I was part of something pretty special that we accomplished with the whole Den Haag acid scene.

Q: And, what is the worst experience when it comes to the music industry?

A: Being ripped off, like many artists.. finding your name on compilations that you never knew about, and never got any money for. My first experience with a real label was an offshoot of Crammed Discs, and it was the standard rockband story: treated like gods by the A&R guy, big fight between band members during recording, issues with the contract, and never paid properly. Luckily after this I started working with Bunker, and these issues never showed up again in this form.

Q: The transition from acid to electro orientated sound… how did this evolve? Was it driven by the development of your artistic skills, or new machines you bought or were you just fed up with the acid sound and you ended up with electro after some experimentation?

A: It was a combination, but mainly being fed up with the acid scene, which by then was mostly people completely out of their mind on whatever drugs they were taking (we're talking hard stuff, not just some weed).. the whole thing just sort of imploded and at the same time I kind of felt I'd said it all with the 'sewer sound' of the early Bunker records. I tried drum & bass for a bit (the industrial kind) but decided that wasn't my way of working, only cutting up samples. So I kind of went back to my musical roots, which is EBM/electro/wave. By coincidence, several people did this same thing and it all sort of fell into place when the 'new' Bunker 3000 started and people like I-f, but also Underground Resistance in Detroit, went through a similar process.

Q: You are big fan of (analogue) synths. Was this always the case? Or is this just what you grew up with? What is special about these machines for you?

A: It's what I grew up with, and back then it was only because the stuff was cheap because everybody wanted digital machines. It's not just the synths though, analogue is almost a way of life. An analogue synth is a musical instrument, a digital synth is an emulation of a musical instrument, basically a computer. What appeals to me in the synths are their unpredictability, which translates into their sound and of course the interface, with one knob for one function. But for me also the whole analogue recording process is preferable over digital. I love the full sound of vintage mixers and tape recorders. I'm a big believer in not going with a new technology unless it's better than the old one. So many people have thrown away all their old stuff just to 'go with the times' and find out later that it sucks.. I've never been convinced that digital recording is better than analogue, or for that matter than cd's and mp3's are better than vinyl, so I stick to the old technologies until something better comes along.

Digital technology has its place when it can do stuff that analogue technology can't do, I use it a lot myself. But unfortunately it's mostly used to emulate vintage analogue gear, and of course the originals are always better than their digital clones.

Q: Many people I guess think Rude66 is you… but is Shaunna is an essential part of Rude66, not?

A: Yes, she is. I started as Rude 66 by myself, initially accompanied live by a scratch dj (who was also the car driver) but Shaunna slowly got involved in lyrics. About 10 years ago I asked her to sing live during gigs, and ever since then, she's part of the team. We share a preference for songs about the dark side of things, and often her lyrics compliment a track I made perfectly. I do the music and we either do lyrics together or she writes them and sings them, and a lot of times she improvises with them when we play live.

Q: You are linked to Bunker in many ways. Even though your sound is maybe today not really representative of the label output. How do you look upon this? Are you in a way the artistic conscience, representing the outer edges of the sound spectrum of Bunker?

A: I'd like to say that I am, though I don't know if anyone would agree with me..;-) It is true though that Bunker boss Guy Tevares and me have been involved together in music for close to 30 years now, and we both come from the punk/DIY side of things which is what still appeals to me in the whole 'west coast scene'.

A lot of the other artists come from different backgrounds and quite a few of them were even too young to have lived through the whole first part of Bunker. I guess people like me and of course Guy and Jan (who were Unit Moebius) are the musically active survivors of that scene today, and still share that combination of the DIY ethics of the hardcore punk scene combined with the love of both electronic dance music and avant-garde electronics.

Q: You were involved with the Vynalogica. Were you ever involved in other labels / releasing music yourself?

A: I had a label called Speedster in about '95 or '96, where I released an EP from myself. When these came back from the pressing plant, our distributor announced he stopped, leaving me with a pile of 300 records (and also problems for a lot of other labels like Bunker, Reference, etc). In the end, I sold most through I-F's Hotmix mailorder and a few years ago, I found 2 more boxes which by then sold pretty fast. I'm thinking about doing some tape-only releases again, just for the fun of it, but I prefer to let other people deal with the process of releasing and selling records..

Q: Since years you also work a lot with Crème Organization. Like Bunker they are from Holland. You prefer to work with Dutch labels / people when it comes to releasing music? Or is this more coincidence?

I prefer to work with people from our own scene, who are almost all Dutch, though I have done stuff for foreign labels linked to us like MinimalRome and others. The advantage is that I've known these guys for years and that they generally can be trusted, also with the financial part of things. I'm a big believer in supporting each other as a way to build up a scene. We have distributors and shops like Clone and Godspill, the radio like Intergalactic FM, artists and labels, and in the end we all need and support each other. Its probably also the reason the whole scene still exists after so many years!

Q: What are you current activities / plans? Any new sounds we can expect? Moving away from the electro sound maybe?

A: I've moved into the field of mastering for other labels which is taking quite a bit of my time and is a lot of fun to do. As for my own music, I've noticed a shift away from electro and more into wave-ish territory on one hand, and back to acid on the other hand. It's not a deliberate choice, but it just sort of happens that way. The acid tracks are definitely slower and darker than before, something I did first on the Stalingrad compilation LP on Bunker and now on the new Jagdstaffel 66 EP, trying to merge the early acid sound with the dark electronics of bands like Coil or Skinny Puppy.

I'm also working on a 'real band' project, where the starting point is 80's guitar noise and shoegaze music (my other musical love apart from electronics) which will see some finished material hopefully this year.

dinsdag 6 november 2012

review: Group Rhoda - Out Of Time - Out Of Touch

I have always looked at 80's new wave music and subculture as a replay of 60's neo-romanticism... the 60's where the first replay of the Romantic era... which was in a way the first youth subculture in Western Society.

The 60's pre-hippie subcultures starting with The Beat Generation (even though the surfer subculture was also an early youth subculture which even adopted LSD) transformed the central idea's of the 19th century movement centered around the anti-rational and the emphasis on the subjective experience into the context of the new era. In the late 70's/early 80's this was given a new twist again fitting the changed world... I would claim that 80's new wave is nothing more as dark version of the neo-romantic movement of the 60's...

In new wave music psychedelic touches or even psychedelic music as such is not difficult to find. 'The Top' by The Cure is filled with references to psychedelic music. The Fields Of The Nephilim played psychedelic rock... but very dark... resulting into something more ritual therefor. The music by The Legendary Pink Dots and Edward Ka-Spel is as psychedelic as it gets. Just to name a few examples... and let's not forget some of the minimal electronics outfits... like Monoton for example... who where on the more experimental side. They often hinted to Minimal Music... which is also a 60's thing...

And... now in this endless 80's revival it is also there... Moon Duo are somewhere in between psychedelic music and Suicide related synth punk. Bronze is like a post-punk outfit spiced up with acid rock. And there is now this debut album by Group Rhoda... which is really close to 60's music... to be more clear... it sounds like The Great Society equipped with 80's instruments like a drum machine and synths... and a voice like that of Grace Slick... coming very close at least and singing in a typical 60's style...

So, no this is not daring new adventurous music... but what is today? Group Rhoda delivers a sound I have been listening to for many years but still untill now I have never heard this typical 60's sound done with 80's musical equipment... and done so well... so yes I love it!!

Even though this is yet another product of our age of recycling I prefer this way above all the cheap re-issues of so called lost gems, cult bands and classic albums from the 80's. Same goes for all these contemporary copycat bands who just sound like it is 1982 all over again... no, I will just put on this Group Rhoda album again and again... as compared to all of that this is daring new adventurous music!

Here is one track from the album...

Exploitation: soundtrack and film previews

Exploitation was premiered 20 October 2012 at Lausanne Underground Film Festival. The soundtrack is scheduled to be released later this month (November 2012). For now here is the title sequence of the film featuring a track by The Spectrometers...

Exploitation from Michael Bulgrin on Vimeo.

Also there are two full tracks online for pre-listening. Here is the track 'Cookie Jar' by Neugeborene Nachtmusik...

And here is the track 'Mass' by Nihiltronix...

The record is up for pre-orders now at the Enfant Terrible webshop here...