One of the most promising new signings for the German Rupal Records is the German solo project Virtual Victim consisting of Christian Glass. Having just released a first official CD entitled “Transmission”, Chris has reached a first fame due to the fact that his track “Away” could win the “Battle Of The Bands” contest in the year 2005 organized through the German glossy Sonic Seducer magazine – rather seldom for a pure Electro/EBM producing act. So to get signed on an uprising label was required, but it has taken a while. This interview introduces and explains the background behind this act.
Chain D.L.K.: Hey Chris, at first I would like to ask for some details about you and your music project Virtual Victim. Could you please fill in any relevant info out of your bio? How, when and why did you built VV?
Virtual Victim: I founded Virtual Victim as a solo-project in 2004. While working on songs for another project (more kind of Dark Wave) I was in the studio and played with my synthesizers. I programmed some electronic drum-loops and after a couple of hours I listened to a nice melody with a typical EBM-beat. I took a few samples, implemented them in the track and there it was: the first song called “Letztes Opfer”. Because of the electronic sound it could not be released as a song of the former project. So I decided to found a new one and started searching for a name. The result was “Virtual Victim”. Very slowly I produced more tracks and released them on the German website www.mp3.de. I was astonished about the high number of downloads as well as about the positive reactions. At the end of 2005 I applied for the participation in the “Sonic Seducer Battle Of The Bands 2005”, a famous contest for newcomer bands in Germany. Again two months later, in February 2006, I received an email in which I was told that I won the reader’s choice of that contest with my song “Away”! That was absolutely unbelievable and the signal to start writing more tracks in order to release the first album.
Chain D.L.K.: Somehow the “Battle of Bands” contest organized every year in autumn by the German Sonic Seducer magazine in 2K5 was the happening for you personally to left anonymity behind. You could sensationally win this contest, which seems to be rather seldom for a pure Electro/EBM/Industrial act. Mostly our readers don’t know anything about this contest, so please fill in every important detail. Which meaning has had this contest for you and the ongoing existence of VV?
Virtual Victim: Ok, first of all some details concerning the contest: every year the German print magazine Sonic Seducer carries out a contest for the best bands without a label deal. Everybody can send his demo to the magazine. After the deadline the selection committee (DJ’s, editors and musicians) choose the 50 best ones. In the last issue of the year they put one song of each of the selected bands as an mp3-file on a compact disk that is accompanied to the magazine. And then it’s the reader’s turn to range their top five songs/artists. I sent my demo CD to the Sonic Seducer in summer 2005 and in February 2006 I was told that Virtual Victim’s song “Away” was at the first position in the reader’s choice! I was totally surprised and of course felt very happy. :-)This result was a great affirmation that I was on the right track. Furthermore it was a big motivation for me to keep on writing new songs in order to release the first full length album. Especially in the summer I succeeded in producing a lot of tracks so that I finished the album in December 2006. As you know the release date of “Transmission” was at the end of February 2007 – exactly one year after winning the contest.
Chain D.L.K.: So the unexpected success came almost over night – but it took a while until you’ve decided to sign with Rupal Records. What happened in between and where are the reasons to sign with a rather small label, which Rupal Records currently still is?
Virtual Victim: As I told you above, I produced a couple of new tracks in the time between the contest and the finishing of the album. At the beginning of 2006 Kai from Rupal Records asked me for releasing my track “Clinical White Room” on his compilation “Lost In Darkness Vol. 3”. I was pleased and allowed him to do that. We stayed in contact and right before completing the album I sent him the demo of “Transmission”. He liked it and offered me a label deal. Quite unspectacular but it was as simple as that.
Chain D.L.K.: The Sonic Seducer contest winning track was “Away”, which is of course featured in a special album version on your recently released official debut “Transmission”. This will be also featured on some upcoming compilations as well in different versions. Finally this track seems to the jewel for you, almost everything deals or has a relation to this track. You seem to be very proud of it, please give us some insight of the special meaning “Away” has for you…
Virtual Victim: Yeah, “jewel” is nice expression for the song. After “Letztes Opfer” and “Feel The Devil”, “Away” was the third song I wrote for Virtual Victim. I played on the keyboard, dreamed myself away and suddenly I had this catchy melody. I really fell in love with it and listened to it again and again. It took me some weeks until I finished the complete arrangement and the lyrics. The lyrics deal with an old love (to a girlfriend) that has gone “away” and sometimes appears again. I think the lyrics are easily to understand and do not need to be explained. It’s a sad song, indeed a love song – although I normally dislike this expression, because it got often associated to a cliche-loaded content.
Chain D.L.K.: On some tracks like “Killing Time” or “Last Journey” available on “Transmission” you’re combining German with English vocals, why?
Virtual Victim: I have no rational reason for that. It’s just a matter of my feelings. First of all I make the music and then I listen to it again and again in order to think about some lyrics. In both cases (“Killing Time” and “Last Journey”) I had fragments of both, German and English lyrics. I tried to combine them and the results can be heard on those tracks. An interesting side-effect is, that many people like the mixture between German and English lyrics. 🙂
Chain D.L.K.: It appears me that you aren’t too much interested to create lyrics containing that often used “blood-murder-horror”-syndrome, your lyrics seem to be more dealing with personal feelings and impressions. Although still dark-minded I would like to ask for some personal content, which you like to present in your lyrics. Please tell us some more of your personal involvement and what else may drives you thematically…
Virtual Victim: You’re right, I really don’t like most of those typical Dark-Electro lyrics dealing with blood, murder, war, horror or such topics. I try to write lyrics about every-day life, especially emotions and personal impressions that nearly everyone felt in special way. Most of the songs include a wide range of interpretations. With that I want to enable the listeners to discover themselves in some personal parts. For that reason I do not want to go more into detail. Let me just append that all ideas are taken from my own life, my friends and my job as well as from experiences in my environment.
Chain D.L.K.: Sales have slowed down and the lack of it drains especially the young newcomer acts and labels in this music scene. How and why do you still feel the need to try it in your style? Why don’t you produce cheesy Pop music and try to earn some money with it? 😉
Virtual Victim: Haha, let’s talk about Pop Music. 😉 You think that Virtual Victim is NOT Pop Music? Oh my God… That’s shocking. But to be honest, I produce the music I like. I love the combination of hard beats, sweet melancholic melodies and distorted vocals. If I’ll ever find my way to cheesy Pop Music and still feel the need to produce my own music… who knows how it will sound like. Be sure, I’ll let you know, hahaha. 😉
Chain D.L.K.: Lets talk on the technical side of producing music generally. Which kind of synthesizers do you prefer, hardware or software-based? Where do you see the pro’s and con’s on both kinds?
Virtual Victim: I use both, software- and hardware-based synthesizers. My first songs were simply produced with virtual synths. But while writing the first tracks for the album I bought some hardware. The most important pro for software synths is that they are very comfortable. It’s easy to install them and normally they work without any problems. A disadvantage is that you need a very fast CPU for complex songs (e.g. a lot of tracks). To my opinion a lot of software-based synths sound as good as hardware-based synths. But some hardware-based synths have more drive or pressure and that’s why I use them as well.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it with live gigs? I guess it’s difficult for a one-man act to work out a satisfying live performance. Any plans to storm some stages soon?
Virtual Victim: Oh, that’s a very popular question for some weeks. I have a lot of requests but unfortunately I had to cancel all of them. At the moment Virtual Victim is a pure studio project. As you said it is quite difficult to play live as a one-man act. On the other side there are some musicians who offered me their help. Nevertheless I have no plans to storm the stages in the near future. Let’s see what happens after the “near” future.
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details, relations, hobbies, and further interests…
Virtual Victim: I suppose that my daily life doesn’t differ a lot from yours. At the moment I’m working on my diploma thesis in order to finish my studies. Besides that I’m working a bit to earn the money I need. In my free time nearly everything deals with music: I listen to music intensively, I like talking about music, reading and of course I love meeting my friends and go out as often as possible.
Chain D.L.K.: Please let us know about your upcoming plans, some new releases you like to confirm here?
Virtual Victim: At the moment I’m collecting ideas for new songs. Moreover I’m looking for bands who would like to remix some of my songs. I’m not sure when the next release will be and if it will be an EP with a few new songs and some remixes or a complete album. Let’s see what the time will bring!
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words to our readers to conclude this interview…?
Virtual Victim: Thanks a lot for your interest in Virtual Victim. If you haven’t heard the music yet, please have a look at my site at MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/virtualvictim). In other respects my last words here should equal to the first words on the album: “Release your chains, free you from everything – before your journey will start out where it ends…”. Take care!
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]