The Seattle-based musician Carsten P. a.k.a. Tau Factor has released his debut “Prototype” already back in 2002, but thanks to this release and several ongoing live performances he made himself a good name. With his second full-length album “Second Stage Ignition” released in March 2K7 on the NM-based DSBP label, Carsten could start a marvelous comeback with a matured and coherent album providing an Electro/Industrial outfit rather following the ideas of the early 90ies. The DSBP label once again proved its fine nose for a musically valuable artist and could sign with Tau Factor another fine addition to the rich label roster, which we like to introduce herewith…
Chain D.L.K.: Greetings Carsten, first of some words to you and your project Tau Factor. Could you please fill in any biographical details of about the finding, the how, when and where? Can you refer on German ancestries?
Tau Factor: Thanks! Tau Factor was started in its early form in 1999 when I decided tobuy a workstation synthesizer and bang out some ideas that I had rolling around in myhead for a while. It was a very minimal setup in my home, but by setting up my computerto record with, and for adding samples into the mix, I was able to come up with a morecohesive result. Later, I added a few more devices into the studio, as it were, and fromthere I was able to create a more complex sound which evolved into the songs that wererecorded for “Prototype”. As far as German ancestry goes, my family heritage is actuallyDanish.
Chain D.L.K.: A look back to your debut release “Prototype” and the overall reactions ofthe audience, please. I guess the people were quite impressed by your debut out on ADSRMusicwerks. What happened with your old label and why has it taken so much time to comeup with your new and second CD “Second Stage Ignition”?
Tau Factor: Thanks again. I was glad the first album received such a positive response.People had emailed me from places like Germany, England, Argentina, and so on letting meknow that they liked what they heard, and many were DJs who were including some of mytracks in their rotation. About a year after “Prototype” was released, ADSR Musicwerkshas since gone on hiatus from releasing material as a label and focusing more on ADSRMusicwerks as a music retailer. “Second Stage Ignition” did take a long time to complete,for several reasons. Having less available free time was one of the issues, and finding alabel was another. DSBP enthusiastically stepped up and offered me the opportunity, andhere we are today with a new album, in many ways a continuation of “Prototype”. The song”Serotonin” is actually the oldest one, being written in the month after “Prototype” wasreleased. The main thing is that I wanted to put the quality into making an album, notjust taking a collection of songs and sending it off to press. It is a very timeconsuming process, gathering up and polishing songs written over a longer span of time,and there’s a lot of technical details to get right. I wanted to put some real effortinto this album.
Chain D.L.K.: Where do you see the main differences between your debut and your new album”Second Stage Ignition”? How would you explain a listener a higher musically maturitybetween both albums?
Tau Factor: That’s a tough question, actually – looking from inside the box, it’s hard tothink of a good way to describe it. My friends have taken a listen and said that my soundhas grown. For me, I have a hard time saying for myself that “Second Stage Ignition” hasa matured sound, but I feel that the themes have expanded in the lyrical aspect of thesongs. Many people have told me that my writing style has a “sci-fi” characteristic aboutit, but really I just write about things that affect me on a deeper level. I wanted toput emotion and life into the music, dealing with difficult feelings, dealing with acrowded world going insane and the fear of things to come, and “Second Stage Ignition”takes those thoughts to a wider perspective, I think.
Chain D.L.K.: People and press always like to sort in artist into categories. Tau Factor’s influences are named with acts which had its heydays in early 90ies: FLA,Leaether Strip, Puppy. At least it seems you really take care not to fall into therepetitive Harsh EBM formula by copying the Suicide Commando shuffle. Do you seriouslythink on your outcome and what do you like to point out as being the main differences tothe current hypes?
Tau Factor: I’ve never really gotten “into” the whole current harsh EBM rush as my mainarea of musical interest, although it is fun to dance to. When I’m writing music, I writeit from a point of view of what I’d like to listen to, what I actually feel aboutsomething, and what kind of sound “meets” that feeling. I’m the first audience of themusic I construct. It isn’t that I’m necessarily going out of my way to avoid the HarshEBM/Suicide Commando sound, it’s just not my own sound for the way I want to expressmyself. Going back to the acts that you mentioned – in my own opinion, I’ve always feltthat the “classic” Industrial bands from the 80s and 90s were developing a more diversemusical sound for themselves, more exploratory, with varied rhythms and arrangements.This has always been a large part of the appeal for me. An entire album of four on thefloor club stompers usually gets boring really fast.
Chain D.L.K.: Some bands have created like you cover versions on classic Mentallo & TheFixer recordings. You’ve picked up “Inhumanities”, for sure a difficult cover to work on.Why this special track? How did you get Gary Dassing’s agreement to use it? Which sensedoes it make for an Industrial band to cover an Industrial band?
Tau Factor: This particular track is off their early “Revelations 23” album, and for sureI think this is among their greatest works. It is so rich and complex, and one reason Ichose “Inhumanities” is because it is one of the easier (rather, less difficult) tracksto decipher and cover. More importantly, though, its lyrics really appeal to my own worldview. The original motivation to create a cover version was a Mentallo & the Fixertribute album that was in the works a few years ago, but it was cancelled, and I hadalready completed my version. I contacted Gary’s label at the time and asked them to passit along, simply a personal tribute to an artist that had inspired me for such a longtime. Gary contacted me with a hearty appreciation. Once it became time to put togetherthe album, I felt that “Inhumanities” would sit extremely well given its message andintensity, and Gary kindly gave me his approval.
Chain D.L.K.: Why have you decided to re-record with “Convolution” an older trackoriginally available on your debut “Prototype”? Didn’t it come out on your debut howyou’d expected it?
Tau Factor: Good question – well, “Convolution” was a track that was well regarded fromthe first album, but sadly the sequence data for it were lost, and I had only a backuprecording to work with when compiling the first album. As such, I had to re-sequence thattrack from scratch in order to play it live. What you are hearing in the remix is a closeapproximation to the live instruments and vocals in recorded form. I decided that wouldactually be a little bonus to add to the album “Second Stage Ignition” since it has adifferent feel from the original.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re known for several live performances by opening for some big nameslike Imperative Reaction or Grendel. But I like to ask how this can happen? Isn’t it notdifficult for a one-man act to offer a decent show to the audience? Are you usingadditional live musicians? How does a Tau Factor show look, for all those who haven’tseen you acting on stage?
Tau Factor: I’ve been lucky to have had ADSR as an ally, as they handle a lot of thebookings locally in Seattle. Ultimately, I’d like to set out on tour and really get outthere, so there’s really a lot of work ahead of me. For my live shows, I have a drummeron an electronic kit, and an additional keyboardist playing live on stage. By this, Imean actually playing, not just nodding along to a pre-recorded backing track. Basically,my philosophy in a live performance is to deliver something extra that you don’t get justfrom listening to the CD. I’m up there to do a job, and if I’m not putting myself intothe fullest effort, then I’m not delivering. There are always things I want to add to thelive experience, and it is an ongoing process to find new ways to deliver a performance.
Chain D.L.K.: Times are hard for all bands and labels due to the lack of sales and thegrowing downloading piracy. How does the currently evolution affect on you as a band? Howimportant have legal downloading portals like iTunes become for your music?
Tau Factor: DSBP is my current label, and they’ve certainly made it known that piracy andfile sharing is eroding the ability of labels to deliver artists to the public byinvesting in releasing albums. It’s hard to see what exactly is in store for the future,but so far it isn’t looking good. If there’s anything being made on content providerslike iTunes or Napster, it’s very small amounts of money coming back to the label andartists. If it helps my name get out there more, then that’s a benefit. Otherwise, thelegal file-sharing portals are only a little better than the illegal ones.
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details,relationships, hobbies, and further interests…
Tau Factor: Heh, well, not much time for hobbies, I’m afraid, but if I did, I would liketo visit more places in the world. Other than that, I earn a living working in thesoftware industry most of the time. Beyond that, I really miss having time to read.
Chain D.L.K.: Please inform us about your upcoming plans, some new releases you like toconfirm here? How is it with the mentioned tour plans for this summer?
Tau Factor: Nothing official just yet, but I am working on at least a West Coast tour forlater this year. As far as future releases goes, I’m still writing and recording newmaterial when I have the time, and will hopefully be ready to release a new album nextyear. I’m already bouncing some titles for it in my head while I’m in the mode ofbuilding and mixing new tracks.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Tau Factor: Thanks for taking the time to read this interview, and to all the fans outthere who’ve supported Tau Factor!
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]