Oct 012002
 

Chain D.L.K.: So first off, how was your experience at the Synthpop Goes The World festival? Any new songs unveiled there?
Darrin: Oh it was great of course.What an opportunity! And of course for me it was like a convention with friends really. We didn’t have anything brand new other than that we presented a song from “Endangered Species” as it just came out around the time of the festival.
Chain D.L.K.: You have the most experience of any band on the bill there and probably inspired most of the bands there. Does it affect you to know the synthpop scene is finally catching on and catching up with you?
Darrin: Well you know we’ve been passed over by other bands in this scene in some cases. I won’t take credit for being a major influence or anything. I think Psyche has it’s own niche and we just want to continue developing our special region. I mean that’s a real compliment but I think Covenant, and And One and the others have their own heroes. Certainly my perseverance within electronic music is respected, but yeah it’s great to be available and to play in my own country after pretty much 15 years of exile.
PsycheChain D.L.K.: How would you sum up your history and sound for those new to the group, since many people from the goth and industrial scenes are coming into the synthpop scene?
Darrin: Psyche has always been an experimental dark synthpop act. Pure happy sequencer synthpop is not my thing. Gothics like us because they know my roots are also in Bauhaus as well as Gary Numan or Soft Cell, we’re a little soft now for industrial but we still have big noisy beats when we feel like it, like on “The Beyond”. That’s almost industrial synthpop to me. I like to consider us transgenre-d!
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any plans to ever re-release “Misguided Angels”, which I hear is out of print?
Darrin: Not in the original format, it is now a part of the “Endangered Species” double CD on Art Of Fact. So history mixed with the new Psyche for all to compare.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you normally run around shirtless during concerts, for those of us who haven’t seen a live show of yours? What is a Psyche show like?
Darrin: I like to consider myself the Iggy Pop of electro but I need to workout again soon, so if I’m not feeling too fit, I won’t take off my shirt. Otherwise I like the whole primal and sexual feeling of performance and it’s become a habit of mine. Fits nicely to “Sex Dwarf” too I guess. Psyche is just two guys and a lot of action and drama. I think we have a powerful performance without the multimedia.
Chain D.L.K.: OK, now to the CD… So why a remix album? Is it meant to tidy over the fans until the next CD comes out?
Darrin: It’s an odd trend but usually after a remix album bands come out with their best work, ala Das Ich. Yes I hope we will also reach a new height after this remix release. It was in fact just put together because we had 4 new songs that we weren’t sure would be on an album and we also wanted to promote the “new” sound a little further with mixes of our favorite tracks from “The Hiding Place” etc. We had a lot of concerts as well and so no time to concentrate on a complete album until 2003. Now you’re making me nervous about the expectations.
Chain D.L.K.: Are a lot of the exclusive songs on “Endangered Species” going to reappear on the next studio album in different versions?
Darrin: Probably not. By then we’ll be moving on to the next stage and I’m not sure if they’ll fit into the picture.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the story behind “Memento”? What exactly was the memento you mentioned?
Darrin: To be honest “Memento” was named after the movie, although when I wrote the lyrics I hadn’t even seen the film yet. Just seeing the poster and reading the synopsis inspired me. The song has to do with remembering or feeling tattoed by past events. It’s also about losing oneself. The actual “Memento” I’m talking about can be any object that has trigged a memory. I leave that open. I’m also supposed to sound angry about having to remember something in the song.
Psyche Live in Bremen, GermanyChain D.L.K.: I noticed the horror-film elements have gone away. Is this a permanent move on your part?
Darrin: I was away from them for awhile but here comes the big surprise, “The Beyond” is based on the Lucio Fulci film, also bearing the same name, and even includes two poignant samples from that film! So the horror is back again. The whole song is a combination of my feelings about September 11 and anxieties that we have in general, so I personally find that Psyche is moving well into the territory where we’re best and away from romantic pop.
Chain D.L.K.: I also read you once toured with Die Form, the legendary dark-electro group. How was that experience?
Darrin: They supported us once in 1988 at Elysee Montmartre in Paris! Since them I’ve met them a few times in Germany. I’ve never completely related to that sex/SM scene although I am fascinated. I prefer the music on it’s own, rather without the dead chick photos.
Chain D.L.K.: I also notice a techno element in your music coming out more and more. How does this differ in your mind to traditional synthpop where the beat is more minimal?
Darrin: Well it’s where everyone’s going at the moment. I avoided it quite a while, but trance is closer to some of our moods. I still think Psyche is fairly raw and minimal however, we haven’t gone into SCOOTER territory, just embellished certain elements.
Chain D.L.K.: I’m curious about how the idea for “Goodbye Horses” came about.
Darrin: Do you like it? I mean we’re talking about the remix right? Most people in Germany hate it. That song is a holy cow that we did a perfect cover of and then the remix completely changed the whole atmosphere. I’ll be honest, I find it too poppy, and prefer the original. This was a calculated risk to see how the reaction would be. Well it works in the US discos apparently.
Chain D.L.K.: Why “Eleven” rather than another number? What does the number 11 signify?
Darrin: That’s because we had an instrumental called 13 on “The Hiding Place” that in fact was Track 11. So we thought we’d correct that with a new track. Also because I love that joke in Spinal Tap about an amplifier that goes up to 11. Why have only 10, when you can have 11! Numbers are interesting to me, I like how the word sounds. Let’s see what else shows up next time.
Chain D.L.K.: Some piano sections sound very classical… Are you guys classically trained or has it come from the years of experience?
Darrin: The guy who did the 2 Psyche albums before Remi joined Psyche is classically trained, so I think Remi just wanted to make good competition. He’s more of a techie, but he knows how to emulate well.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you ever take singing lessons? You seem to hold your vocal range quite well when hitting the high notes.
Darrin: Well, thanks, not all agree about that! I’m more a ‘learning by doing’ kinda guy. I have worked with other singers though who know lots of technical skills. And I also really do practice. The rest is really luck that my voice is variable.
Chain D.L.K.: I was reading in your Behind The Scenes section on how you dressed up as a fetish slave for a movie called "Snowballs In Hell". How did that go? And did the movie ever get done?
Darrin: Yeah that was 2 years ago now. I check the link occasionally. I hope they do something with it. I wanted “Sanctuary” on the soundtrack too. But now I think we’ll be on the soundtrack of "Luvgirl", a film by a New York Filmmaker called Lee Sobel. Time will tell who gets their film done first. Jeez the indie film world is even harder than music I guess!
Chain D.L.K.: Would you ever consider more acting roles, maybe in a starring part?
Darrin: I wish, I wish. I’ve acted in the home horror clips my brother and I made, and of course for a while I was an “extra” in a few Toronto budget TV series when I lived there. I love films but that’s an avenue that you can only get into if you know the right people, and also if you really concentrate on that form of art. I chose music instead. But well I’m still young.
Chain D.L.K.: Any consideration for soundtrack work?
Darrin: Yes I really hope. Again, it’s who you know. I guess I’d prefer to write a song for a film, but Remi would make wonderful instrumentals. My brother scored his short films as well. He’s the multitalent.
Chain D.L.K.: Will we be seeing any new music videos from you guys in the near future for the “Endangered Species” CD?
Darrin: A fan has made one for the remix of “Damaged Soul”. It’s too late to use now though but I hope I’ll get it on a DVD with all our old music videos next year. Yeah the powers that be wouldn’t show Psyche on TV probably anyway unless we were in the Top ten, so I’m not holding my breath.
Chain D.L.K.: Would you consider the CD a tribute of sorts, since you have influenced many of the bands on it, such as Haujobb?
Darrin: You mean “Misguided Angels”? Oh I don’t think Haujobb was so influenced by us, more likely Skinny Puppy in the beginning. “Nightmare” was a lucky accident. I’d love to do more with Daniel though, we’ll see.
Psyche somewhere during the Europe 2001 tourChain D.L.K.: On the subject of Dwayne Goettel, at the end of Skinny Puppy he was going in much more of a melodic direction. Do you think he would ever have rejoined the group had he lived?
Darrin: Wow, never thought about it. I mean he would’ve more likely just continued with Skinny Puppy. When we first started together, he was totally pop. It’s really weird that he went the other way.
Chain D.L.K.: How did his death affect the group?
Darrin: I was angry, and I felt he’d been betrayed by his choices. But he left Psyche long before we released our first album. From 1985 on it was just my brother Stephen and I. Dwayne and I never saw each other again after he left Edmonton. So it’s like another lifetime for me.
Chain D.L.K.: What is your opinion on the whole “future-pop” movement going on right now? Is there such a thing?
Darrin: Yes there seems to be a collective who’s developed this concept of “Future Pop”. We’re not really in it. But some say we could be. I’m going to ignore it as best as I can though.
Chain D.L.K.: Does it feel odd being signed to Ascession Records (Adrian Hates/Diary Of Dreams’ label), which is mostly into darker electronic bands? Did it surprise you when Adrian came and told you he wanted to sign you?
Darrin: Oh how do you know all this? In fact I had originally hoped to continue by Strangeways (Wolfsheim/Beborn Beton) but they lost faith in us after only one album! Again Psyche isn’t a “light” act so I think we’re in good company on Accession, and doing very good with Art Of Fact as well who ironically signed us before Accession just to do “Misguided Angels”. Adrian was interested in 1995 but I was too used to the big money from SPV and didn’t want to leave at the time. In fact he got the “new” Psyche just in time for us to kind of start all over again.
Chain D.L.K.: I have a lot of trouble finding old Psyche CD’s like “Insomnia Theater”. Are they out of print? If not how can I and everyone else out there get a hold of them?
Darrin: Good that you mentioned this. In fact Psyche is one of the few electronic bands that has the complete catalogue in print. The CDs are easier to get in Europe though, since they’re not domestic to North America. So one has to order from the German websites, like Amazon.de or many independent mailorders including Music Non Stop in the UK who carry us now. I believe in the US there’s Isolation Tank who I recently discovered has everything, or Darkland Music. So that should help anyone out there I hope. There’s always Ebay too of course.
Chain D.L.K.: With songs like “Memento”, is it revolved more around emotion or around a deliberate sense of ‘pop’? The lyrics seem very emotional yet comfortably simplistic; pop without being brainless.
Darrin: In that case and “Damaged Soul” it’s both. The refrain is meant to be catchy certainly, but “Memento” is more like a poem formed into a melody. I don’t even always rhyme cause I hate that when it’s overdone.
Chain D.L.K.: What is your favorite piece of equipment to play with?
Darrin: Now, now that’s just too easy to say something silly! Besides I’m no Muso! I think Samplers are great, and I liked the An1X when it came out. Remi loves his Virus Indigo.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of the inspirations behind the songs on “Misguided Angels” and the new songs on “Endangered Species”?
Darrin: Well I kinda answered that one earlier, but “Misguided Angels” is a collection so there’s years of different thoughts going on in that one. “Brother Suicide” is supposed to be about Internet porn vs. religion, by the way.
Chain D.L.K.: It’s now been almost 18 years since Psyche first started. What keeps you guys going?
Darrin: Fear of McDonald’s!!
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans for more tributes other than the Cure tribute?
Darrin: Not at this time, too many covers out there. Would’ve loved to have done the Pet Shop Boys, and Yazoo though.
Chain D.L.K.: Any side projects planned?
Darrin: Yes, but it’s not ready yet, Psyche comes first and we hope to be real busy in 2003. Chain D.L.K.: How does the atmosphere of peace and calm in Canada affect your work versus being in a place like New York?
Darrin: I’m actually in Germany since 1994! As for piece and calm, well IOC says “Serenity Is The Devil”, and that’s true. If I’m too comfortable I’ll get bored.
Chain D.L.K.: What bands would you recommend nowadays? I’m sensing you’re fans of Sparks…
Darrin: Miss Kittin is all the rage. John Foxx’s last CD was cool. Everyone should own at least one Fad Gadget! And no I guess I’m not so hot for the newbies. I still like soundtracks, and stuff like that. Antony And The Johnstons are quite surreal, but not electronic. I listen to lots of groups on MP3.com in fact and have made a few discoveries every now and then. I like an album by A Certain Frank, and the latest Dj Shadow, but, hmm, yikes I’m still really esoteric. Madonna of course is still doing cool stuff.
Chain D.L.K.: Any last words before you go? Fun places to visit in Canada? words of wisdom for us out there? Or predictions on what will be Canada’s next big export?
Darrin: Tiga and Zyntherius is already Canada’s biggest export. Probably Skinny Puppy if they’re really making a new album. There’s some cool groups from Montreal like Headscan so that’s something.
Chain D.L.K.: Last question, and you can yell at me for asking so many questions! What advise would you give an up and coming synthpop group, based on your experience of course?
Darrin: Either imitate Depeche Mode on the way to richness, or suffer by being original and trying to avoid cliches (Ha ha ha, evil laughter into darkness)…

www.psyche-hq.deinfo@psyche-hq.de[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton]