How did you guys meet and started making music together?
Ben: We meet in Berlin in front of a club. He just came to me and asked me: “Do you play any instrument?” And so we decided to meet each other the next days. Frasco was jamming with a lot of different people. First project he formed was “Rotten Western Kulture” or RWK with our friend AC.
Even if your music really speak to me and I love the sound of Deutsch vocals in music, I must admit that I don’t understand much of your lyrics. Can you tell us about the most recurring themes and topics in your songs?
Ben: We also perform one of Frascos songs in Italian by the way! ;-D But… I cant tell you one straight answer. Its about different things… some are more “SciFi” or even with funny content. Some are more questioning things or pointing at things like the last 2 big nuclear catastrophes, one is even political or an other one is about what we’re afraid about what the future society could turn into… so really a lot of different topics or nonsense.
Your music obviously brings punk aesthetics and feelings. Were you both into the punk scene before getting into electronic music?
Ben: I never considered myself as punk or anything… I was always interested in subcultures and liked to get around and meet different people. And in my teenager years I started to hang out in locations or punk/metal/Oi!/Ska/Rockabilly…etc concerts and in every “scene” which represents some kind of attitude without just being a fashion-trend, I can found something interesting for me. I like the subculture all in all.
Frasco: What I believe is “There is not Authority but Yourself”, the DIY way of the things, and create instead of destroy. What I consider Punk isn’t necessarily a band with bunch of spikes on the leather jacket or vomiting on the stage.
A rebellion as something that want to change to a better stage, because ideals and burning energy for let the things happens, not wait that someone will build something for you. This is my way of be and been Punk. The rest do not impress me, since mostly is a matter of appearance.
About the music it can consider Punk the way to play and express myself for an urgency that is unstoppable, and actually “Lust” is one of my favorite words..
Which punk record have you been listening to the most in your life?
Ben: Gosh… there might be many… I like different kinds of “punk” music… even some minimalwave tracks can be “punk” in my kind of taste. since i am very interested in electronic instruments i started looking for synthpunk-elektropunk bands. In style of punkrock i am a big fan of Schleimkeim, Telekoma, GG Allin, Unicef, Demented Are Go and everything raw, rough… best with violent vocals!!
Frasco: Some of my all-time favorite are the first two album of the Italian band CCCP, My War from Black Flag, specially the guitar of Greg Ginn is pure raw expression; the firsts two album of the Wipers. Also the drumming of Penny Rimbaud from Crass is unbeatable…the early works of DAF since the end of the 80s… I heard the songs of Negazione on the Split Tape “Mucchio Selvaggio” 1000 times in the past… these are the names that I have in my mind at the moment.
I think Frasco had to move back in Italy a little while ago, so how do you still manage to collaborate together?
Frasco: Yes I am here in my hometown Florence after many years of traveling and satisfy my want of knowledge. Nowadays it is actually not so important where you live since you have many contacts and you can fly easily everywhere, with some organization.
We are still at work for our new album, that will need some more little time, and I invited him to record his voice here in Florence, at a Studio here next to Florence, where other guys from Berlin like Jemek Jemowit did his record.
We have also some gigs together on the Calendar, like the Young and Cold Festival the next September.
I don’t care about not have Gigs often now, is a deep exploring time, more intimate, and a big new wave will splash again soon..
I’ve heard that when you first started composing together a creative flow took place very naturally. Can you tell us how it happened and how are you usually working together?
Frasco: For my experience and for how I am, the better musical expression is always coming out from improvisation. This is a natural attitude, not a method that will work for everyone every time off course, but improvisation and experiencing with, is a fundamental way of expression and a invaluable pleasure.
RWK and our duo are consequently expression of energetic fun about playing, and everything we did until now is born thru the improvisation, when more when less.
There is of course timeless dedication for example I spent with sequencing and programming the drum machines, and sometimes, concentrate myself for hours on details bring me really far from spontaneous choices.. And when I hear again the first sketch of a song happens really often that: “Fuck!! I don´t like it like I liked it before!”
When thinking about all the gigs you played in the past, where did you have the most fun?
Ben: Definitely both gigs in Paris!! At the first show there, at a totally overcrowded club, the Bunkerbal Party, i got to close to the edge of the stage… some people in the first row ripped my shirt to shreds!
Then the second time at the “Zombie Academie” festival…also totally overcrowded place… crazy freaky people all over the place… really violent pogo dancing… they had to put 2 bouncers in front of the stage so that the people don’t enter the stage all the time!! when were over with our show and we wanted to leave…they grabbed me and forced me to a stage dive…back to stage and we hat to play “encore encore!” …some more songs for the crazy mob! ;D
Are you planning a new release anytime soon? Any other gig dates are confirmed yet?
Frasco: There is a plan for a new LP Album that will name “Schwere Schritte” (literally “Heavy Steps”), that will collect some singles that we already release, and brand new songs, that are in form of sketches now. The distance between us have delayed the process off course, and this new Chapter of my life changed really much about my way to think about music creations: the shape is not anymore the big pot Berlin that nowadays is a huge art-magnet, but a little big city that have one of the most important history in the world.
I am sure, when this point arrives, the new LP will be a welcome surprise for new coming ears and who slowly start to think that maybe nothing will happens anymore with this project.
There is the Gig at “Young and Cold Festival” in Augsburg (near Munich) that is a Festival that is getting bigger at every edition and is organized from friends of us. The lineup is very interesting and I really will like to go there even if I would not play.
Would you like to add anything else or spread any message?
Frasco: New Wave is not dead! Theres always the Newest!
Can you tell us about the line ups of the projects you are involved in? Zarkoff is your solo project but who’s working with you in Popsimonova, FFFC, Sumerian Fleet and Kali Jugend?
With Popsimonova I take care of the mixing, occasionally write lyrics and/or develop some musical ideas. If we both feel that my participation as an author is significant for the song, then we sign it together so there’s no confusion. FFFC is a duo with my old friend Yas (Le Chocolat Noir), he made me discover so much great music throughout the years, still does. Then Sumerian Fleet, that’s Mr Pauli, Alden Tyrell and me, a long distance collaboration. I go to Holland once or twice a year to work on new stuff and it’s easy to overdub/record and exchange files these days so I can also do some work at my own studio, of course. Kali Jugend is the freshest project, I’d say the core of this one are Popsimonova, Petar Car (from noise band Smrt i Čekić) and me, but we also had some very important creative input from Mr Pauli, and the bassist from Croatian band Baden Baden, Goran Djurich. I’m also collaborating with an immensely talented singer Iva VIs. It’s a lot, but not overwhelming yet.
In addition to that I’m trying to make a living with mastering and mixing for other artists. I recently did mastering for new Legowelt album, Marquis Hawkes, Simoncino and some other Creme Organisation releases, so that’s the direction I’m trying to take. Touring is exhausting, studio work is easier, at least for me.
Are you now able to survive off this studio work? Do you feel like you can now focus and spend enough time in the studio?
Well I never made a cent from any of my releases, so I depend on mixing and mastering jobs and live shows. I can sustain myself, since I’m really not a big spender. There are dry periods without any income and it’s very hard to keep your concentration and composure when you don’t have enough money to pay your bills. But I can disconnect from reality when I have to work and just delay any anxious thoughts or emotional reactions for a while until the work is done. I’m not complaining, this is much better than a normal job, at least for me, that is. I spend quite a lot of time trying to get new jobs and gigs, and I’m really not very good at that, sometimes it’s very frustrating, I’d love to be able to replace those man hours with actual studio work. I’m determined to change this in the future by having someone else doing it for me.
You don’t seem to be an analog gear snob as your music often brings a refreshing mix of modern and vintage sounds. It is an artistic choice or you just happen to be creative with the tools at your hands?
Oh I don’t care about analog/digital that much. Whichever sounds good. The selection of gear in the studio is quite big, since we are 4 guys who put all their junk together in one big pool so I can pretty much choose the sound I want at the source. I prefer to spend a bit more time getting the right sound before recording than having to “fix it in the mix” so it often means trying out different machines, it’s all very inspiring and fun. The analog thing has a valid point, the philosophy of having a non quantised signal, but in practical terms it would mean that you’d have to avoid digitalisation at any stage and it’s just not possible for me right now. If I had extra money and time I would like to try it, I’m really curious about the effect. I do have some doubts about digitalisation, but I also have my doubts about using petrol and I still drive a car.. So at this point – whichever gets the job done is fine, you are right to use the word “tools”, that’s exactly what gear is for me.
Working on these projects in parallel obviously allowed you to explore different musical grounds, themes and ideas. But after these experiences, for which one of these projects did you feel the most enthusiasm, with the freedom to explore the territories that attract you the most?
Well I can certainly say that I’m a bit bored with the minimal synth trend and I guess I’ll be doing less of that stuff, there’s just too much emotionally distressed bands trying to sound like it’s 198X, all like “boo-hoo, I’m so sensitive, my drums are uncompressed, weltschmertz hits me hard, my songs consist of 2 chords and I use way too much reverb..” It’s been done 30 years ago, it was very cool, yes, let’s move on to new areas, please. I’d like to pursue some new territories, especially taking elements of funk, rock and blues and trying to fit some analogue synth noise with it. Sure, Suicide did it a long time ago, also Cabaret Voltaire and many others, but I find it sounds very powerful and different with modern production techniques. On the other hand I’m very interested to make some dirty and raw electro for the dancefloor. There’s a lot of stuff I only have as midi files in my MPC, for my Zarkoff live set. I should really sit down, sort it and record, I’ll try to do that during April.
Outside of music, where do you get the most inspiration from literature, the real life, or whatever else?
Well, I studied phonetics and Russian language/literature, so I was into literature a lot. Unfortunately not so much recently. It’s big and lasting influence of course, in terms of style and form, I do “borrow” motives and templates. And the topics spring up from phrases that spring up from music. So if I can analyze my own method I guess the process starts with a sound that inspires me. Somehow I feel that the sound contains a melody in itself, at least in my mind, sometimes a rythym. It’s not a preposterous concept since the harmonics can really correlate with notes in scales. So then this barebone rythmic/melodic loop usually develops a bit until it inspires some kind of vocal phrase, that brings up a certain feeling, topic and then usually some analysis takes place, I try to be critical and delete elements that aren’t functional or lead the song astray. Real life sounds usually don’t have this effect on me, listening to music inspires me to create more music. Monkey see, monkey do, in short.
How is the scene doing in Croatia? Is there a good community to organize gigs and parties? Any fanzines or radio shows supporting the local scene?
In spite of the many saying the opposite, I think it’s ok. There was a rough period from 2009-2013 (approximately) and now something’s happening again, good parties and concerts in Zagreb every weekend, a few new places opened up, a new vinyl store, some new labels, radio shows. Dark electro, EBM, minimal synth and wave stuff a bit less, but it’s there. House, electro and techno much more, but I’m not talking about commercial house and techno – there’s plenty of that stuff on the numerous seaside festivals. I mean underground, dirty and gritty sound, half legal places, good parties. I mean it’s not spectacular, but it’s ok, there are things to see and places to go. And I’d dare say we have some real talent here and I hope our artists will get more exposure internationally.
What can we expect from your projects in 2014?
2 LPs – new Sumerian Fleet on Dark Entries, and one with Popsimonova on J.A.M. Traxx. Also a release on Zagreb’s finest DIY label 0,5 – probably an EP. I hope to find a label that would be interested in Kali Jugend as well, but maybe it’s unrealistic to expect a release during 2014. On the other hand, the release for Kraftjerkz went very fast, it was only a few months from submitting the tracks to the actual release, so.. you never know.
Would you like to add anything else or spread any other words?
Oh I better not start preaching, it could go on for pages. Maybe I could write a book one day. “Prof. Zarkoff’s guide to human condition”, something like that.
Can you tell us about your current line up and how did you guys started playing together?
Jonas: Well there have been a few developments only quite recently, unexpected, just prior to the show we did in Helsinki at Deadly Beat.
Dee: Owen left the band unexpectedly and for personal reasons and so myself and Jonas decided to honour the date in Finland and see how we stood with live as we have quite a few good commitments booked this year already. The show was well received and apart from the promoters I don’t think anybody could tell we were missing a member and had to scramble together a new show where half of the songs were written three days before.
Jonas: But be assured, whatever course it takes, myself and Dee and very much looking forward to the forth coming live dates and producing new material for the next series of vinyl releases. I see no reason why certain circumstances should affect our development and output as a band. I’ve been very encouraged by the quality of writing and the progression of new material.
Dee: That’s a point, a musician I talked to recently thought of me as just ‘the singer’, but I have learnt various instruments since an early age thanks to my conducter/horn soloist grandfather whom I owe a great debt to. I studied music exclusively at college and University. Just because I don’t want to play on stage doesn’t mean I couldn’t. Somehow I feel like it would take away something from the performance. I want to be free out there in the wilds.
Jonas: Regards how we met, it was basically through the cold/minimal/Industrial/80’s synth scene in and around East London, club nights like Divine Incest, Brave Exhibitions, Endurance, Reeperbahn. I guess we were brought together for a mutual love of this genre and the eventual desire to put a band together which was something that seemed to be lacking from the scene.
In which other music projects have been involved before and what drove you to form Noi Kabat?
Jonas: I’ve been playing in bands in various guises since I was about 15. A good way to learn is just join a band. Its different now with the introduction of digital technology and what you can achieve in home recording and performance with computers and audio software. At the time I was just starting to learn, it was more about getting hold of an instrument, drums or electric guitar or whatever and playing in rehearsal rooms, the physical element, not creating music on a computer. Noi Kabat is certainly the most enjoyable and creatively fulfilling project I’ve been involved in. Just prior to that I’d given up playing for 10 years or so, just to concentrate on my artistic career. I went back to full time study which culminated in a post graduate in printmaking at the Royal College of Art. It wasn’t until I met Dee and started playing in Noi that I realised how much I enjoyed playing music again.
It was only with this band that I started to explore the potential of electronic drums. Before that I’d always used acoustic. I bought myself a Simmons SDS 1000 on eBay and then run with it. I’ve since developed my set up, now using a Heart Dynamics Acupad kit with an MPC 1000 Sampler plus some Simmons add ons. I’m enjoying exploring the possibilities electronic drums can offer. There’s a huge amount of versatility they can give in terms of textural and melodic elements.
Dee: I had essentially been attempting to form bands for years until this happened. When you live in London though I think every drummer has about 5 bands on the go and can never give you the full attention you desire. Luckily I had been dj’ing and known Jonas when I must have found out he could drum so we had a session round mine I think guitar and a heavily circuit bent Yamaha DD-6 I have. This form actually started with me and Dorian Cox ex-Long Blondes and Owen was to produce it, for whatever reason though it ended up being us three. Would still have liked to hear what me and Dorian could have produced though. I’m sure it would have been extremely Pet Shop Boys pop.
What is the meaning of Noi Kabat and where does it come from?
Dee: Noi Kabat means nothing and everything at once. For me anyone can make their own judgements. It is interesting going on tour and asking each country how they relate to it, what words it is similar to in their own dialect, how they pronounce it etc.
I read you drew part of your inspiration from 70′s science fiction. Can you tell us about the authors and the works from this period that influenced you?
Jonas: I think the Science Fiction writing is something that is a particular interest of Dee. Although obviously I do enjoy similar literal genres which may go to feed the stylistic choices of the band, the atmosphere and feel. I’ve been influenced by a lot of Theosophical writing, by Rudolf Steiner, Ospensky, Gurdjieff. Also French literature from the 19th century, people like JK Huysmans, Théophile Gautier, Comte de Lautréamont and his Les Chants de Maldoror. So more phantasmagorical, magical than science fiction proper perhaps.
Dee: That’s interesting, I didn’t know you liked Maldoror. Well, I worked in bookshops for many years and my interest and specialties were always golden age of science fiction and slightly obscure gothic, decadent classic literature. I’m a big supporter of Dedalus Publishing for re-printing a lot of material that had become print on demand only in the UK. Right now I’ve just finished an old Penguin of Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud and I’m now on John Brunner’s The Stone That Never Came Down.
I think there is a certain element of escapism in both types of literature that I am fond of. The way it translates in lyrical form or even musical form is a sense of impending collapse always bubbling at the surface, the singer is not the saviour though a la Ziggy Stardust, more the fore warner of doom, minor chords a semi tone apart. offering no escape for humanity, just the personal escape from the reality in which we live. Everything should feel slightly confining and yet very distant with our music I feel. A claustrophobic horizon perhaps.
After a first self-released cassette in 2012, a CDr split with Soft Riot on 0.5 and your latest single on aufnahme + wiedergabe last year, you seem to follow a DIY approach. Is it something important for you?
Jonas: We are very pleased with the way Make Room has been presented as our first vinyl release and also very happy that Philip Strobel at [aufnahme + wiedergabe] had made this commitment to the band. Obviously the recording and production has been self initiated yes.
Dee: I’m all for doing things in this DIY way. it’s the way I have always done things from fanzines to clubs. And it is so accessible now to record well. I think the only difference that we have is that we have a live drummer where as most bands on the scene are a singer and synth player.
Jonas: We want to do things our way and work with people we respect and have a shared goal. It never feels difficult to write or work on new music. We’re just constrained by time, geography and money of course. When we are able to take time to rehearse and make music it comes very naturally.
Would you sign with a major label if you ever get the opportunity?
Jonas: It would be great to share the burden of financing shows, tours, recordings etc… through a label that has more resources for these things. It would free us up to concentrate on the music. It has to be the right people. Investment is good, but not at the cost of our freedom within that investment / commitment. I admire bands that have retained integrity throughout their career despite being tempted by commercial forces. ‘Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée‘. It’s all about integrity no matter how you achieve it.
Dee: I think signing for a major has it’s drawbacks for sure. I know a friend who signed for Fiction, so fame hungry and in that deal had all of their writing presence taken away from them. Ghost writers were brought in for them. Stupid deal to sign obviously. Labels like Mute or Rough Trade I think friends of ours have enjoyed and those would be the ultimate goal for me.
Are any of you also involved in other side projects today?
Regards personal projects, I’m quite involved in my career as a practicing artist and designer/print maker which does feed into the band obviously. I do most of the visual design for the band; sleeve artwork etc… But it is all done on consensus anyway which makes it collaborative.
Musically, I have been dabbling with making my own recordings. I recently bought myself an Arturia minilab midi controller which has a huge audio canvas, and is very practical, and a fretless bass. And yes I have been working on tracks. I see them feeding into what we’re doing with Noi Kabat anyway rather than anything separate.
What are your plans with Noi Kabat for this year? Can we expect a full-length release soon?
Jonas: I think another 7’’ release with some of the new material we’ve been working on and which will feature in the forthcoming live shows. And an LP/EP soon…that would be the obvious goal really. We have the material, it’s just committing some time to recording and producing it. We have a series of live shows spread over the year, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Dee: We have some nice shows booked already, in Entremuralhas in Portugal and a few others I can’t announce yet, but we want to be touring and doing some short weekends now that we can travel easier.
What is already planned for touring?
Jonas: Tour wise, as I touched on previously, our shows are kind of spread throughout the year rather than like before where we had a full programme of dates over 3 weeks or whatever. We play 3 shows in Brussels, Romance Moderne at Cafe Central, Paris, Disko Kaos at Le Klub and Rennes on the 20th Feburary, 21st and 22nd respectively. This is down to the fine efforts and organisation of Mateo at La Forme Lente. So special thanks to him. I enjoy playing anywhere, the people are always great and the hospitality amazing, everyone is so kind, but I’d really love to play in Japan, if there’s anyone out there who wants to bring us over, do get in touch, we would love to…
Dee: Agreed. Japan for sure I would love… Moscow, some South American countries I’ve heard are amazing, North America just for the experience and one night in Vancouver with Soft Riot would be a storm. We haven’t been outside of Europe yet but I’m looking forward to visiting a lot of it this year, hopefully Barcelona and Madrid, Italy also, Athens I’d like to. Sweden…
Noi Kabat website
Makina Boy (picture from Paul Langlade)
Here is the original French interview.
For how long have you been making music and with which kind of instrument did you first get in contact?
I’d say I always have played music. Actually, I began around the age of 11. My first instrument, the one I learned to play, was an electronic organ. A Farfisa, double keyboard + bass pedals.
During several years, I learned the basics of classical and jazz music. In an organ school, amongst gleaming and promising synthesizers (Jupiter 8, Juno, DX7), for which I still ignored the interest they will represent).
I remember I discovered at this time, through this instrument, essential / obvious “layers” of a composition: rhythms (pre-programmed in this case), bass (organ pedals) chords / arrangements (left hand), lead / melodies (right hand)…
Which artists have influenced your adolescence the most?
Without an hesitation, the one who impressed me the most, and in a durable way: David Bowie. “Station To Station” and the “Berliner Trilogy” (low / heroes / lodger) will remain forever etched in my memory.
Of course, many other revelations popped up in this period (especially via radio broadcasts, before starting to buy records): Roxy Music, Velvet Underground, Blondie, Talking Heads, Devo, Klaus Nomi, Kraftwerk, Moroder, The Cure, Siouxsie, PIL, Psychedelic Furs, Nina Hagen, Kate Bush, Shriekback, Simple Minds, Talk Talk, Tom Tom Club, Yello, YMO, and dozens of other…
I quote these rather well known names, who counted a lot for me, because back then, they could be heard on the radio (I do not know if the equivalent would still be possible).
The following of my approach with music(s) will then be based on “research” and exploration of more specific and less disseminated genres(Industrial Music, Italo-Disco, Ebm, New Wave, Cold Wave…)
But indeed, if I had to choose only one, it would probably be Bowie. He represented for me “The Artist” in all its dimensions: musical, visual, conceptual, evolutive…
Later I will be stuck with acts like Cabaret Voltaire, Neon Judgement, Severed Heads, Chris & Cosey, Death In June… to name a few.
I discovered you also have another project named AratkiLo. The Spell EP of Makina Girgir was published in 2007, the EP Gloomy Detail of AratkiLo was released in 2009. How did you decide go from one project to another? Are you planning to release more material under AratkiLo?
AratkiLo is actually my initial project. This identity became mature in 2002 – 2003. It’s a project devoted to produce dark music, nourished from industrial influences, kind of electroid stuff flirting with dark wave ideas.
The first track to be released was “Afraid Redux” on the “resistor unit 1″ compilation by Simulacron (a Kommando 6 sublabel actually) after some exciting exchanges with Dystronic and Beta Evers.
Then was the meeting with Mat (dj Technician) via Myspace and in “real life” at a CBS party in Rotterdam. Then began the production phase of the Technician Records’ inaugural project: the Gloomy Detail EP/TR001.
Finally, another track “Blood-Feud” was published in a compilation for the German electro label, SOM.
The transition from one project to another is born of a desire to change of atmosphere/mood, and especially to better express the synth and “wave” influences that have always been very significative to me, and that I wasn’t able yet to shape the way I wanted. “Specifications” are slightly different for the respective compositions. For example with the use of samples in AratkiLo, while there’s no room for them in Makina Girgir were all parts are usually written and performed.
AratkiLo is rather on standby these days, except of a recent remix I made for the Spanish artist Mynationshit, published recently on the Gradual Hate Records label. I have some “unreleased” tracks that should stay unreleased.
I read you have been involved as an editor in a web radio called Welt-am- Draht. Can you tell us about this project?
Actually, I’ve been collaborating with the German webradio WAD, almost since its debut, in the form of a monthly mix. I have been in contact with C-Kent (Kommando 6/We Rock Like Crazy / Das Drehmoment) through the rip-CBS forum (I-f’s webradio , currently IFM) in 2005.
At this time, C-Kent had posted an announcement(on this forum I was following), in search of “collaborators” for his show broadcasted, at the time, via its own URL.
The small radio is still alive, and is currently broadcasting weekly via IFM1.
Makina Boy & Makina Girl
From where comes the name Makina Girgir and what does it mean?
So Makina Girgir:
(I must first say I’m an Ethiopian “pop” music fan for a very long time. I had the chance to go there and hear some local bands. Their music took birth before the Mengistu’s dictatorship. At that time the army praised the services of its fanfares to accompany the singers and make recordings. Then later these “brass fanfares” were replaced by .. synths… )
MAKiNA GiRGiR is the name of a street in the walled city of Harar, at the borders of Somalia, also known for receiving Rimbaud during his wanderings in the Africa’s Horn.
This street has tailors and scribes, with their respective machines, lined up in the street. The result is a rhythmic clatter which gave its name to the street (gir gir gir gir is like an onomatopoeia for the sounds of the mechanical machines)…
Where do you get all your inspiration from and what does motivate you to make music?
Inspiration: it comes of course from the daily life … the human soul .. its blackness, its misery, its wandering, life … and death … melancholy … with absolutely no pretention to do something “new”. I’m too much convinced and aware that everything has already been done. So I really like to do, build with my own influences, synthesize them , digest them, regurgitate them and make them mine.
Motivation: It’s something rather required actually.. I just can not imagine not making music. I’ll go on enjoying the total freedom of action without imperative for selling or producing. That’s the Ultimate freedom to me, the one that gives a room for the expression of mood, desire to create… without any constraint of time or period…
And of course I’m always motivated by the emotions, reactions, induced in this discreet but lively people/audience, who do not hesitate to give me their feelings and sensations.. what remains for me the most pleasant feedback.
After all these years, I think you have not played live yet. Could we hope to eventually see you on stage?
My work is essentially and definitively a studio work. Recording, constructions, structures, sequencing, mixing etc. … There’s no “transposition” scheduled for live, indeed.
It would be a lot of time, effort, energy, to achieve a similar setup on stage, to be able to “play” everything with only two of us on stage.. And I really don’t want to offer (and do not see any personal interest in) a “laptop liveset.”
Any upcoming projects for Makina Girgir?
There’s actually no accurate planning for projects. They often arise spontaneously thru a virtual meeting or not, obvious or not, but most often rewarding.
Current project: the release of our LP “Torment” on La Forme Lente (label which I fell in love with for a while now. The “meeting” with Gautier was done via its achievements and in particular the 12 “Circuit D ‘Actes 1 that was for me, at this time one of my favorites. After some discussions with Gautier, I was invited, to my greatest joy, to be involved in Circuit D’Actes 2).
This album contains 8 tracks, all composed between December 2011 and June 2012. It is somehow the following of the tracks released on the Circuit D’Actes 2 and displays a palette, I think fairly representative, of my influences .. from italo-disco to darkwave. It’s a really exciting project also bringing into play graphical representation, with a beautiful silkscreened cover, with an initial drawing by Giorgina Barina (http://www.giorgiabarinaillustratrice.com/)and now almost an LFL trademark.
Several tracks for different compilation projects are in the tube (Vocoder Tapes, The Scrap Mag, Treue Um Treue…). And also a couple of remixes are planned.
Finally on my own label side, Falco Invernale Records, the release of the concomitant FIR006, a 6 titles from the French-Belgian duo :CODES.
Before closing, would you like to add something or pass any message?
Thank you for this friendly, open and relaxed exchange.
Makina Boy & Makina Girl
Depuis quand fais-tu de la musique et avec quel type d’instrument as-tu d’abord été en contact ?
Je fais de la musique, depuis toujours, j’ai envie de dire. J’ai débuté en fait vers l’age de 11 ans. Mon premier instrument, celui sur lequel j’ai appris a jouer, était un orgue électronique. Un Farfisa, double clavier + pédalier.
J’ai pris ensuite quelques années de cours en apprenant quelques standards de musique classique et jazz, dans une école d’orgue, au milieu de synthétiseurs rutilants et prometteurs (Jupiter 8, Juno, DX7), dont j’ignorais encore l’intérêt).
J’ai le souvenir d’avoir découvert a ce moment, par le biais de cet instrument, les essentielles/évidentes “layers/couches” d’une composition: rythme (préprogrammé en l’occurrence), basse (pédales de l’orgue), accords/arrangements (main gauche), lead/mélodies (main droite).
Quels sont les artistes qui ont le plus marqués ton adolescence ?
Sans hésitation, celui qui m’a le plus marqué l’adolescence, et de façon durable : David Bowie. “Station To Station”, et la “Trilogie Berlinoise” (low/heroes/lodger) restent gravés dans ma mémoire.
Il y a eu bien sur d’autres multiples révélations à cette période (et tout particulièrement via les ondes radio, avant de commencer à acheter des disques): Roxy Music, Velvet Underground, Blondie, Talking Heads, Devo, Klaus Nomi, Kraftwerk, Moroder, The Cure, Siouxsie, PIL, Psychedelic Furs, Nina Hagen, Kate Bush, Shriekback, Simple Minds, Talk Talk, Tom Tom Club, Yello, YMO, et des dizaines d’autres…
Je cite volontiers ces noms plutôt connus finalement, qui ont beaucoup comptés pour moi, et qui a cette époque pouvaient être entendus a la radio (je ne sais pas si l’équivalent est possible aujourd’hui).
La suite dans mon rapport avec la/les musique(s) sera plus basé sur la “recherche” et l’exploration de genres plus specifiques et moins diffusés (musique industrielle, italo, ebm, new wave, cold wave…)
Mais si je devais n’en retenir qu’un seul, ce serait sans doute Bowie. Il a incarné pour moi “l’Artiste” dans toute sa splendeur: musicale, visuelle, conceptuelle, évolutive…
Plus tard je serai définitivement envouté par des groupes comme Cabaret Voltaire, The Neon Judgement, Severed Heads, Chris & Cosey, Death In June.. juste pour en citer quelques uns.
J’ai découvert que tu as aussi un autre projet nommé AratkiLo. Le EP The Spell de Makina Girgir est paru en 2007, le EP Gloomy Detail de AratkiLo est sorti en 2009. Comment as-tu décidé de passer d’un projet à l’autre ? Prévois-tu encore sortir d’autre matériel avec AratkiLo ?
AratkiLo est en fait mon projet initial. Identité à peu près mature à compter de 2002-2003. Projet destiné à produire une musique sombre, nourrie d’influences industrielles et crépusculaires, electroïde, flirtant avec la dark wave.
Le premier track à sortir fut “Afraid Redux” sur la compilation “resistor unit 1″ de Simulacron (émanation de Kommando 6 en fait) au décours d’echanges passionant avec Dystronic et Beta Evers.
Puis ce fut la rencontre avec Mat (dj Technician) via Myspace puis à Rotterdam au cours d’une CBS party, et ensuite mise en place du projet inaugural de Technician Records avec le EP Gloomy Detail/TR001.
Enfin un autre track “Blood-Feud” est sorti sur une compilation du label electro allemand, SOM.
Le passage d’un projet a l’autre est né de l’envie de changement d’ambiance, et surtout de pouvoir exprimer, plus et mieux, mes influences synth et “wave” qui m’ont toujours été chères et que je n’avais pas encore réussi à mettre en forme comme je le souhaitais. Les “cahier des charges de composition” sont un peu différent, avec par exemple l’utilisation de samples au sein de AratkiLo, alors qu’ils n’ont pas de place dans Makina Girgir ou toutes les parties sont en général écrites et jouées.
Ce projet AratkiLo est plutôt en standby a ce jour, en dehors d’un récent remix pour l’artiste espagnol Mynationshit, paru il y a peu sur le label Gradual Hate Records. Je dispose de quelques “unreleased” tracks pour lesquels je n’ai fait aucune démarche particulière.”
J’ai lu que tu as déjà été impliqué comme éditeur avec une radio Web nommée Welt-am-Draht. Est-ce que tu peux nous parler de ce projet ?
En effet, je collabore a la webradio allemande WAD pratiquement depuis ses débuts , sous la forme d’un mix mensuel. J’ai été en contact avec C-Kent (Kommando 6/We Rock Like Crazy/Das Drehmoment) par le biais du forum de feu-CBS (webradio de I-f, actuellement IFM) courant 2005.
À cette époque, C-Kent avait posté une “annonce”, (sur ce forum dont j’étais assidu), à la recherche de “collaborateurs” pour son émission à l’époque diffusée via sa propre URL.
La petite webradio a tenu le coup, et est a l’heure actuelle diffusée hebdomadairement via IFM1.
D’où vient le nom Makina Girgir et que signifie t-il ?
Alors MAKiNA GiRGiR:
(Pour resituer, je dois dire que je suis fan de musique “pop” éthiopienne depuis très longtemps. J’ai eu la chance de m’y rendre et de pouvoir entendre quelques “bands” locaux. Leur musique prend naissance avant la dictature de Mengistu. A cette époque l’armée louait les services de ses fanfares pour accompagner les chanteurs et faire des enregistrements. Puis plus tard ces “fanfares de cuivres” furent remplacées par des .. synthés..)
MAKiNA GiRGiR est le nom d’une rue dans la ville fortifiée de Harar aux confins de la Somalie, connue également pour avoir accueilli Rimbaud lors de ses errances dans la Corne de l’Afrique.
Dans cette rue se disposent les tailleurs et écrivains publics avec leurs machines respectives alignées dans la rue.. Il en résulte un cliquetis rythmique ayant donné son nom a cette rue(onomatopée gir gir gir gir du bruits des machines et de leur mécanique)…
Où puises-tu toute ton inspiration et qu’est ce qui te motive à faire de la musique ?
Inspiration: la vie courante… l’âme humaine.. sa noirceur, sa misère, son errance… la vie, la mort… la mélancolie… sans aucune prétention de faire du “nouveau”. J’ai la conscience trop aiguë que tout a déjà été fait. Donc j’aime réellement faire, construire, avec mes influences, en faire la synthèse, les digérer, les régurgiter, les faire miennes.
Motivation: plutôt nécessité en fait.. Je ne peux simplement pas imaginer ne pas faire de musique. Je continue d’apprécier la totale liberté d’action/de faire, sans impératif d’ordre commercial ou de rendement.. Ultime liberté qui laisse la place a l’expression de l’humeur, du désir de création… sans contrainte de temps ou de moment…
Et bien sur toujours motivé par l’émotion, les réactions, induites chez un public qui est discret, mais qui n’hésite pas a me faire part de ses sensations. Ce qui reste pour moi le feedback le plus agréable.
Après toutes ces années, je crois que tu n’as pas encore donné de concert live. Est-ce qu’on pourrait espérer te voir un jour sur scène ?
Alors mon travail est vraiment un travail de studio. Enregistrement, constructions, séquençage, mix, etc… Pas de “transposition” prévue pour le live, non en effet.
Ce serait beaucoup de temps, de travail, d’énergie, pour parvenir a obtenir un setup équivalent pour la scène, à reproduire les structures à deux sur scène etc.. Et je ne conçois pas et ne vois personnellement aucun intérêt a présenter un “laptop liveset”.
Quels sont tes projets à venir pour MAKiNA GiRGiR ?
Il n’y a pas de planning très précis des projets. Souvent ils se présentent spontanément au fil d’une rencontre virtuelle ou pas, évidente ou pas, mais le plus souvent enrichissante.
Projet en cours: la sortie de notre LP “Torment” sur La Forme Lente (label dont je suis tombé amoureux déjà depuis un moment. La “rencontre” avec Gautier s’est faite via ses réalisations et en particulier le 12″ Circuit D’Actes 1 qui a été pour moi a cette période un de mes disques de chevet. Après quelques échanges, Gautier m’a convié pour ma plus grande joie a participer a Circuit D’Actes 2).
Cet album comprend 8 morceaux, tous composés entre Décembre 2011 et Juin 2012. Il est en quelque sorte la suite des morceaux sortis sur Circuit D’Actes 2 et présente, je pense, une palette assez représentative de mes influences.. de l’italo-disco a la darkwave. Projet passionnant mettant également en jeu la représentation graphique, avec à la clé, une magnifique pochette sérigraphiée, dont le dessin original a été réalisé par l’illustratrice Giorgina Barina (http://www.giorgiabarinaillustratrice.com/) désormais quasi-marque de fabrique de LFL.
Plusieurs participations à des compilations sont prévues dans un proche avenir (Vocoder Tapes, The Scrap Mag, Treue Um Treue…)ainsi que des remixes.
Enfin du coté de mon label, Falco Invernale Records, la sortie concomitante de FIR006 avec un 6 titres du duo Franco-Belge :CODES.
Avant de terminer, aimerais-tu ajouter quelque chose ou passer un message quelconque ?
Merci à toi pour cet échange chaleureux, ouvert et détendu.
Here is the original French interview.
The content of your texts, your name Police des Moeurs, you can tell us more about your evocative universe?
I am fascinated by everything related to control, not in a strict police sense, but by everything guiding our habits in a way to adopt a so-called “normal” and “useful” behavior for the society. The Police des Moeurs, for myself, is the insidious one in our heads that is unconsciously driving us do not deviate from the norm, be it a social norm or a norm in a more marginal group.
This fascination is also expressed in our texts, along with other topics: nostalgia and the passage of time, the illusion of rebellion, loss of ideals, the absence of emotion.
How did you start composing / songwriting in duo?
In fact, to date, I wrote all the texts and composed all the music. But I do not like to sing and I do not sing very well. Anouk is a very good long time friend and we had worked together in another project. So I asked her to join for vocals.
After, Fred joined us to get ready for concerts. I wanted a geek that can deal with machines and stuff because I have less interest in this technical aspect. After a few concerts, Catherine joined the three of us. Eventually, the fact that I now work with other members will probably affects the way the songs are written.
What equipment are you using and how are you recording your music?
At first, I produced everything digitally with a computer for practical reasons. Many people into minimal synth believe that the interests of the analog is the process itself, very different from digital. I fully respect, but personally, I don’t care that much. I just want to record songs that I love and it was easier for me to do it digitally. It is the result more than the process that interests me.
That said, I started slowly to integrate more analog sounds into the recordings. We are in 2012 and I’m not a purist. I want the best of both worlds, but who knows, maybe one day we will record on tape with only analog equipment… or record stuff that is 100% digital. But for now, I like to mix both of these technologies.
But from the start, it was out of question for me to play live without using “real” sounds, that is to say analog. This is why for the live we use analog synths only.
Can you tell us about your support (fanzine, organization, label, radio, rooms etc..) in Canada?
I think interest in the music we make is much lower in Canada than in Europe. The vast majority of our records are sold in Europe. In Montreal, things seems to change rapidly, though. Some promoters are quite active, be it for booking touring bands or to promote small nights that play this kind of music. Some small labels seem to do great as well, such as Visage and Electric Voice. Obviously, there’s also many interesting artists : Automelodi, Spastic Joy, Femminielli, Chevalier Avant Garde, DKMD, artists on Visage like Brusque Twins, Tony Cops, Gold Zebra, some daker and post punk influenced punk bands such as Dekoder, Complications, etc. Ironically, most of them release stuff on labels based outside of Montreal.
Recognition is mainly for you now, it seems, from Europe… are you feeling inspired by some current or older European bands?
It’s obvious. In fact, the inspiration comes mainly from Europe because that’s where this kind of music was developed. I’m pretty old and I grew up in the ’80s. I come from the hardcore scene, but even then, I liked what I could hear in the genre and occasionally playing on the radio, in clubs or friends: OMD, New Order, Rational Youth, Visage. The Web then allowed me to know a lot of other such bands, but less known. This avalanche of bands that I’ve discovered in the 2000′s gave me the impulsion to start PdM.
Currently, I listen to stuff like Xeno & Oaklander, Staccato du Mal, Automelodi, of course, and many other obscures and not so obscure artists. I also like minimal techno like Byetone and I am surprised it does not seem to be any links between minimal synth and minimal techno. I like a bunch of other stuff too and my tastes are not limited to ”synth” music. I can’t see myself only listening to music in the same genre as Police des moeurs.
What do you think of the growing interest in “Synth” music in the world? Is this a motivation for you?
I suppose we taking advantage of it. I am glad that this kind of music is gaining popularity. It is not that there was no electronic music before, but I think people are looking to return to basic, something simple but melodic. I also think that some people have turned away from the false authenticity of whiny indie rock and they find feelings in synth music is in the that correspond more to their own.
I don’t remember where I read this, but someone was saying that the original synth music, the one that happens in the early 80′s, was some sort of aborted tendancy, meaning that because of the arrival of digital technology, it stopped abruptly. People were really prompt to sell their analog gear and to embrace the ”digital future” back then. But now that we had 30 years to put digital in perspective and that more and more people are rediscovering analog synths, maybe it’s time to start back and move forward. Sure there’s a part of nostalgia in what we do, but it should help us on a creative level and not keep us in conservatism.
Le contenu de vos textes, votre nom Police des Moeurs, vous pouvez nous en dire plus à propos de votre univers évocateur ?
Je suis fasciné par ce qui touche le contrôle, pas dans un strict sens policier, mais par tout ce qui oriente nos habitudes de façon à ce que nous adoptions des comportements soi-disant ”normaux” et ”utiles” à la société. La police des moeurs, pour moi, c’est celle insidieuse qui se trouve dans nos têtes et qui nous pousse inconsciemment à ne pas dévier de la norme, que ce soit une norme sociale ou celle d’un groupe marginal.
Cette fascination s’exprime aussi dans les textes, en même temps que d’autres sujets : la nostalgie et le passage du temps, l’illusion de la rébellion, la perte des idéaux, l’absence d’émotion.
Comment avez-vous commencé à composer/écrire des chansons ?
En fait, à date, j’ai écrit tout les textes et composé toutes les musiques. Mais j’aime pas trop chanter et je ne chante pas très bien. Anouk est une très bonne amie de longue date et nous avions déjà collaboré ensemble dans un autre projet. Donc je lui ai demandé de venir faire des voix.
Ensuite, Fred s’est joint à nous en prévision des concerts. Je voulais un geek qui s’occupe des machines et de ces trucs car cet aspect plus technique m’intéresse moins. Finalement, après quelques concerts, Catherine s’est ajoutée à Police des Moeurs. Éventuellement, peut-être que le fait de travailler maintenant avec ces autres membres transformera la façon dont les chansons sont composées.
Quels matériels utilisez-vous et de quelle manière enregistrez-vous ?
Au départ, je faisais tout à l’ordinateur en numérique pour des questions pratiques. Beaucoup de gens dans le minimal synth jugent que l’intérêt de l’analogique est le processus lui-même, très différent de celui du numérique. Je respecte ça à fond, mais perso, ça ne m’intéresse pas tant que ça. Je veux juste enregistrer des chansons que j’aime et c’était plus facile pour moi de le faire en numérique. C’est le résultat plus que le processus qui m’intéresse.
Peu à peu, j’ai ajouté des sons analogiques dans les enregistrements. Nous sommes en 2012 et je ne suis pas un puriste. Je veux le meilleur des deux mondes, mais rien ne dit qu’un jour on enregistrera pas sur bobines avec du matériel 100% analogique… ou qu’on ne fera pas des trucs 100% numériques. Pour l’instant, J’aime bien mélanger les deux.
Ceci dit, il est hors de question pour moi de faire des concerts en n’utilisant pas les ”vrais” sons, c’est-à-dire l’analogique. C’est pour ça que pour le live, nous utilisons des synthés analogiques exclusivement.
Pouvez-vous nous parler de vos soutiens (fanzine, organisation, label, radio, Salles etc.) au Canada ?
Je crois que d’une façon globale, l’intérêt pour la musique que nous faisons est beaucoup moins grand au Canada qu’en Europe. En tout cas, la très vaste majorité de nos disques sont vendus en Europe. À Montréal, les choses se développent rapidement toutefois. Certains promoteurs sont assez actifs, que ce soit pour faire venir des groupes de l’extérieur ou pour mettre sur pied des petites soirées oû ce genre de musique est diffusée. Quelques labels fonctionnent bien aussi, comme Visage et Electric Voice. Évidemment, il y a plusieurs artistes intéressants : Automelodi, Spastic Joy, Femminielli, Chevalier Avant Garde, DKMD, les autres artistes sur Visage comme Brusque Twins. Tony Cops ou Gold Zebra, des groupes plus punks à tendance noire et post punk comme Dekoder ou Complications.
La reconnaissance vous vient principalement pour l’instant, semble-t-il, de l’Europe .. vous sentez-vous inspirés par certains groupes Européens actuels ou plus anciens ?
C’est évident. En fait, l’inspiration vient beaucoup d’Europe car c’est là que ce genre de musique s’est surtout développé. Je suis plutôt vieux et j’ai grandi dans les années ’80. Je viens de la scène hardcore, mais même à l’époque, j’aimais bien ce que je pouvais entendre dans le genre et qui jouait occasionnellement à la radio, dans les clubs ou chez des amis : OMD, New Order, Rational Youth, Visage. Le web m’a ensuite permis de connaitre un tas d’autres groupes du genre, mais moins connus. Cette avalanche de groupes que j’ai découvert dans les années 2000 m’a fourni l’impulsion pour débuter PdM.
J’écoute aussi des trucs plus actuels comme Xeno & Oaklander, Staccato du Mal, Automelodi, évidemment, et un tas d’autres trucs plus ou moins obscurs J’aime bien aussi le techno minimal comme Byetone et je m’étonne qu’il ne semble pas y avoir de passerelles entre le minimal synth et le techno minimal. Ceci dit, mes goûts sont très larges et je me vois mal écouter que des groupes qui font des trucs dans le genre de ce qu’on fait.
Que pensez-vous de l’intérêt croissant pour les musiques “Synth” de par le monde ? Est-ce un moteur pour vous ?
Je suppose qu’on en profite. Je suis content que ce genre de musique gagne en popularité. Ce n’est pas qu’il n’y avait pas de musique électronique avant, mais je crois que les gens cherchent à revenir à la base, à quelque chose de simple mais mélodique. Je pense aussi que certaines personnes se sont détournées de la fausse authenticité pleurnicharde de l’indie rock et trouve dans la musique synth des sentiments qui correspondent plus aux leurs.
Je ne sais plus oû j’avais lu ça, mais quelqu’un disait que la musique ”synth” originale, celle du tout début des années ’80, était une espèce de tendance avortée. Elle a pris fin abruptement en raison, notamment, de l’arrivée du numérique qui a fait en sorte que les musiciens ont largué leur matériel analogique. Or, maintenant que nous avons 30 ans de recul face au numérique et que nous redécouvrons l’analogique, peut-être est-ce le moment de reprendre là oû tout s’est arrêté et d’aller vers l’avant. Bien entendu, il y a une part de nostalgie dans la musique que nous faisons, mais celle-ci doit être un moteur créatif et ne pas nous figer dans un certain conservatisme.