After a highly acclaimed appearance on BLC Productions “Interbreeding IX: Kuru” compilation and the release of the debut album “Birds Of A Feather”, the US-based act Engelmacher can be surely called for being one of the most promising newcomer acts of Electro/EBM/Industrial music of the first half year 2K7. Producer and man behind this project is Michael, who installs a varied kind of Dark Electro elements with a danceable Electro-Pop tunes, acts like Informätik or Object can be called as comparable references. Having his female partner Natalie on his side being responsible for live synths, the story of Engelmacher continues with the appearance on the AlfaMatrix/Vampirefreaks quadruple CD compilation “Fuxx The Mainstream” and some more promising plans for the fall. Michael likes to introduce us the project Engelmacher and he refers about the how, when and where in this interview…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Michael, I guess we’re curious enough to ask you for some details out of your bio, about the finding, the when, how and where of your music project Engelmacher…
Engelmacher: Why hello Marc! In a sense, the genesis of Engelmacher came about the Second or Third year of piano training. In 1989, I acquired a cassette tape from which I was in awe of because of the time period in which it was released. I thought that the album was very much ahead of its time and I was compelled to listen to it over and over again, and the album was “The Land of Rape and Honey” by Ministry. So two or three yearslater I received my first synthesizer and began to experiment with various waveforms and began to compile them into actual compositions. As the years progressed, I furthered my experiments using a combination of portable studios and the only available recording software during the early 90’s. Then in 1996, I formed a musical project called “Implacable Dawn” in which I released three albums between the years of 2001-2005. Then I formed Engelmacher in 2003 which was originally intended as a “politically-driven” side-project. But something about Engelmacher possessed a more human feel in terms of substance, expression, and meaning. It just felt real and brought me to the realization that Engelmacher is what I should have been doing and that the piano training was a type of preparation so that Engelmacher could function. So as aforementioned, in a sense, Engelmacher was unintentionally created when I was still in piano training.
Chain D.L.K.: Rather seldom in the world-wide Electro/Industrial scene is the fact that you’re a seriously trained musician on a symphonic piano during your childhood. In which kind does your past training help? How “seriously” did your parents watch your efforts, was it a hard childhood? 😀
Engelmacher: It helps in the sense that the traditional feel of writing/composing/performing music still remains in a genre where software is such a dominant medium. It gives me a sense of control that software does not. It gives YOU control over the machine, not the machine control over you. It is also somewhat of a practice in individuality which is similar to how a person observes the habits of another. They observe, create an outline, and formulate their own conclusion and use the information that they collected to create a dissimilar method of how to execute using the resources that they are familiar with. In regards to how my parents felt about myinterest in music, they were very supportive and encouraging. Their support was not disguised as pressure or forceful methods. They would listen to me play “Moonlight Sonata” and “Fur Elise” when I was 8 and if I missed a note or played an incorrect note, which would sometimes lead to me becoming angry at myself, they would always step in and suggest that I develop a feel for the song that I was playing and not play it as if Iwas playing it cerebrally. So my childhood was very much like the childhood of any other child that was raised in a stable, loving family.
Chain D.L.K.: Would you like to explain us the term Engelmacher and its meaning taken out of the German language?
Engelmacher: It is a German term which is or was, used to describe “illegal abortion”. My decision to use that title was based on the reflections that I have in regards to how political infrastructures ignore the basic “cause and effect” element in regards to problem solving. I took the original definition and applied it to my own interpretation of politics, government engines, etc.. and decided to use it as a metaphor for describing “population control”, One of many agendas that I feel governments are fueling, as well as the lack of respect that they have for their common man.
Chain D.L.K.: E-Rhythematosus Records? Well, couldn’t you “invent” a more complex sounding name to bring out you debut “Birds Of A Feather”? Will it be at least remain the resource to bring out Engelmacher releases or are you planing seriously to open your label to foreign acts?
Engelmacher: The label title is most definitely a mouthful to say! LOL! We definitely plan to make E-Rhythematosus the North American label home of Engelmacher for as long as we can, even though the “D.I.Y.” method dictates that you must handle promotion, CD duplication, booking, etc…yourself, despite the fact that it can become a long and all consuming process. It definitely has its “pros” and “cons”. But we definitely plan toacquire a European label in the future if all goes well for many reasons. One of which, is because we want to eventually begin touring in Europe and abroad. If E-Rhythematosus could expand beyond sustaining just Engelmacher and reach a point to where it could sustain other musical acts is completely unknown at this point, but that is not to go without saying that it would never be considered. There are a lot of excellent artistswithin the genre that are unfortunately overlooked that deserve to have their work exposed to the world and perhaps in the future we shall consider multiple signings. The future is always full of possibilities, but one must take one step at a time.
Chain D.L.K.: You like to integrate several very different themes in your lyrics ranging from the world itself, humanity and politically flaws. “Blood-monster-atrocity”-lyrics and the scene-related “Terrorchrist”-attitude seem to be not your cup of tea, you rather seem to think on the content of your message, before you present something spontaneous. Give us some insight on your compositional process and a hint on the quells of yourinspiration.
Engelmacher: During the time that I was composing “Birds of a Feather”, I created a mental outline as to what each track would be about and how the music would dictate the emotion and the lyrics themselves while still remaining on the original path that I had intended. A lot of things inspire me from politics to self-absorbent human beings whom care about nothing but their own selfish desires, wills, wants and needs. I do not attempt to compose an album that is essentially my life story, or my “vision” of some “utopian society” or some “post-apocalyptic future” because I feel that such elements are not who I am, or do not accentuate what I am attempting to accomplish. If “Birds of a Feather” was a film, it would take place in our reality and not place emphasis on one particular person.
Chain D.L.K.: Like the integrated diversity in your lyrics, you also like to experiment with your vocals. Whispered-like and distorted on the harder tracks up to clear and natural sounding on the calmer and melodic pieces, and at times some vocoder effect can be heard, too. Your voice seems to be an important instrument which requires variations, am I right?
Engelmacher: You are absolutely right! A variation in ones vocal approach is also necessary when composing tracks because each track should function similar to how each movement in a symphony functions, or perhaps how a film or a play is structured. Each track should represent a different point/turning point in the album which means that the vocals must serve as somewhat of a gateway for that point/ turning point. I feel that the vocals should be treated and presented in the same fashion as any other instrument . The lyrics should be meticulously written, and the vocals should be composed and executed with as much integrity as any other track.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re performing live on stage, as I could see on some photos taken from your website. Besides Natalie I saw an additional live musician. A short introduction please, and how does your show look, for all those who haven’t seen you acting on stage?
Engelmacher: The additional Live musician was a friend of mine and the original Live Synthesist of Engelmacher who is no longer in the band. He was the Live Synthesist from 2004 – 2005. We parted ways shortly before I met Natalie who I feel, is a much better Live synth player. In regards to the look of the show, you shall have a vinyl-clad vocalist and a sexy-clad girl behind the synths with a filtration mask who shall bothbring forth a lot of energy and stage presence, as well as a friendly off-stage demeanor.
Chain D.L.K.: Times are hard for all bands and labels due to the lack of sales and the growing downloading piracy. How does the currently evolution affect on you as a self-producing and self-releasing band? How important have legal downloading portals like iTunes become for your music?
Engelmacher: It has definitely put somewhat of a damper on CD sales. The digitalization of musical mediums also possess “pros” and “cons” that make the music easily accessible, but will also sweep CD sales even further into oblivion. Well known labels whether it be indie or mainstream, do accumulate an ample amount of sales due to their notoriety. But if you are a proprietor without the aid of a large audience, then you must unfortunatelybattle your way through the walls of piracy through promotion. iTunes is a good example of “risk vs. reward”. The listener can acquire your album, or individual songs for some odd amount of cents and through them, your work could possibly see a great deal of exposure. But such accessibility could inadvertently lead to an even easier path to piracy as well as an even further decline in album sales. We have considered having our material distributed through iTunes, despite my said comment about it. But the question remains: Risk? Or reward?
Chain D.L.K.: Talking on some plans for the future. You have recently entered a free slot on the new Alfa Matrix 4CD compilation “Fuxx The Mainstream” with a new track called “Carrion”. What else is in the pipeline, any new releases, remix works, collaborations you can confirm here?
Engelmacher: We are currently working on a split EP, which we plan to release in December of this year entitled “Self-Reliance/Carrion” which shall contain two unreleased tracks, both of the Engelmacher tracks that have appeared on compilations, and the original and remixed versions of “Carrion” which shall contain remixes fromGrendel, 8KHZ Mono, Lost Signal, and Synaptic Defect. We have also began to write/compose tracks for the next full-length album entitled “Eyes of Revolution” which shall be released sometime in 2008. Finally, we are currently routing out a US tour which shall begin shortly after the EP is released.
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details, relationships, hobbies, and further interests…
Engelmacher: Relationship-wise, Natalie and I are not only band mates, we are also a couple. As far as hobbies and interests, here is a nice little list: Musical composition/production/performance, synthesizers, visual media production, political ideology/engineering, political debate, fashion, international travel, cooking, fetish, film making, art, architectural design, Cyberpunk, technology, cyber fashion, mechanical structures/devices, vinyl/latex/pvc/rubber, mesh, gas masks, lightning storms, chrome, decaying buildings, wires, sex, gloomy weather, bladed weapons, rain, snow, kitties, foreign cultures, writing VSTs and VSTis, building obscurethings, intellectual stimulation/expansion, anthropology, philosophy, photography, iconography, computer programming, surgical procedures, astrology, and a taste for the bizarre.We are also both addicted to the only television show that we ever watch, and that show just happens to be “LOST”.
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Engelmacher: “Birds of a Feather flock together……”
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]