Armin: [de:ad:cibel] is a duo consisting of Daniel and me. Before we started with [de:ad:cibel] at the end of 2009, we had played in various other bands. Since the early 90s, Daniel had been a member of “kAlte fArben” and “Das Ich” as a live musician. As a live keyboarder he worked his way through countless live gigs. Later on, he founded the band “Skorbut” together with Jörg Hüttner. Me, I first acted as a songwriter for bands like “The 3rd Culture” and “Inca Hunters” and worked together with the Yello founder Carlos Perón for various projects. Apart from [de:ad:cibel] I am currently participating in the progressive pop band “Diskarnate”. In addition, I have created a lot of commission work in my studio and have produced remixes for other bands. Thanks to one of these remix works I came in contact with Jörg Hüttner in 2007 who was responsible for the band “Skorbut” together with Daniel as I mentioned earlier. When Jörg moved to the US and did not have enough time anymore for the songwriting because of his job, I joined the band “Skorbut” without further ado. Daniel and I recorded the song “Phantom Pain” which was quite the club hit, but judging by the fans’ reaction it was also unusual when compared to the previous Skorbut sound. So we figured out that we needed an unstressed band with the Daniel / Armin set-up and so [de:ad:cibel] was founded.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve recently written some notes about your debut album Klondike. Such a title would suggest a concept album, but it look like it is one…why have you decided to title it that way? Did I forget anything in my review?
Daniel: The “Klondike River” is a river in North America where in the 19th century they found gold and the so-called Klondike Gold Rush broke out. Thousands of people came to the river and chanced their luck as gold diggers. We look at the name as a synonym for a new beginnings and for dedication as well. We think that KLONDIKE is an appropriate title for a debut album. As you mentioned before KLONDIKE is no concept album. It grew step by step during studio sessions over a longer period. Each song has its own little story. I, personally, like your review very much. You analyzed and phrased everything correctly.
Chain D.L.K.: I was impressed by your versatility with the topics you sing about, even if maybe you touched upon subjects that mainly interest your potential listeners and your fan-base… what’s your vision of nowadays’ society? Is it partially filtered by other artists’ one?
Daniel: You have to separate between lyrics and music. We do not live in a vacuum. Of course, we do realize what happens around us. And in the music scene as well. You cannot isolate yourself entirely. And it would be fraudulent not to admit that we also listen to other bands in the electronic area. It has never been our intention to become a clone of any existing band and to frantically approach their fans. Our lyrics were influenced by no one. They reflect my knowledge and my world view. An artist’s purpose should be to convey or communicate their own world view out of their personal knowledge. I draw my world view from newspapers, books, TV but also from my studies.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve seen that “Jerusalem Syndrome”, a song with some interesting reflections on religion, recently climbed the German electronic charts… could it be considered a sign of a renewed interest in more “philosophical” subjects on the part of electronic music listeners?
Daniel: Yes, that’s true. The lyrics convey my perception of religion. It is about false prophets and how people have been manipulated by religion. In principle, I have nothing against faith. Everybody should decide for themselves in what they believe or not. However, I certainly do mind if faith is instrumentalized.
Chain D.L.K.: If we consider that the vast majority of reviewers and journalists have wrongly considered them as a disorganized multitude of alienated people dealing with psychotic drugs or audio super technology more than cultural issues (a damn wrong prejudice in my opinion, even in the period of the so-called pink elephants), do you think such an interest is going to mark sort of new age?
Daniel: Our scene is huge and manifold. And the same goes for the average age. In Central and West Europe, but also in North America the scene has a long tradition. Therefore, you always find people besides the younger club crowd who have been part of it for nearly 30 years. And all those people feel at home in our scene. The binding element is the music. There are bands who only serve the dance floor and do not make any further intellectual demands. And there are bands who produce very successful club sounds with intellectual contents. Therefore, I would refrain from reducing the electro industrial scene to a few younger people being in a phase of self-discovery. You always have the situational option. If you want to spaz out in a club, you will get the appropriate sound. If you are looking for intellectual contents, you will also find those. The tendency to philosophical subjects has always been there. So, I do not see us as pioneers of the intellectual electro industrial underground. That would be too presumptuous.
Chain D.L.K.: What about the idea of writing the dynamic range in dB of each track? How did you come up with that?
Armin: I wanted to have something different printed in the booklet than the usual running time. Aside from that the stated dynamic figures being all quite low, are an innuendo to our band name emphasizing it clearly. The neologism [de:ad:cibel] alludes to the controversy about the “loudness war” (ie moving towards higher sound levels and decreasing dynamic in music productions). Brief statement: the dynamic in music outlines the difference between low and loud passages and is technically measured in decibel (dB). Classic music often shows high figures of about 35 decibel as the difference in volume between a quiet instrumental solo passage and the powerful entry of all orchestral instruments. Modern electronic music barely provides this kind of dynamic anymore which is, of course, intentional as the sound should get across really convincingly in a club. Therefore, the whole body of sound is quite aggressively mixed and the sound nearly blows up in your face. This leads to the point where the dynamics of some mixes indeed aim for the zero level. We have simply substituted the cipher zero by the word “dead”. Therefore, [de:ad:cibel] signifies very loudly mixed and aggressive music. We thought it was adequate to describe our sound. That’s why you find the respective dynamic figure for each track in the booklet.
Chain D.L.K.: Whom amidst the 47 has a key for this heaven? 🙂
Daniel: I don’t know if I carry 47 identities or characters around with me or combine them in me, but I can tell you that I do not believe in this image of heaven and hell. The song “One Of 47” is about the isolation of individuals in our Western world. I was looking for a nice metaphor for the picture and stumbled over Titan. Titan is the 47th moon of Saturn. Within this hostile-to-life nothingness he moves confidently in circles and laps and can synonymously be used for the portrayal of human beings’ isolation.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
Armin: Together with friends and family at home. The last weeks before the turn of the year had been very exhausting and I was really looking forward to taking it easy.
Daniel: You said it. Simply taking a deep breath, relaxing and recharging my batteries.
Chain D.L.K.: Daniel, I know you were a keyboardist for Das Ich for a long time… an important line in your CV… what have you carried over to [de:ad:cibel]?
Daniel: Of course, my personality has been shaped by my time with Das Ich. It would be a lie to deny it. Everybody has their own vita and certain points in their lives that have made them who they are now. However, you have to consider that I left Das Ich over ten years ago. And in those ten years I made progress by other means like my studies, other band activities or – on a personal level – my marriage. You cannot reduce the person “Daniel Galda” to the time with Das Ich. That would not do justice to me nor to [de:ad:cibel].
Chain D.L.K.: How would you reply to those stubborn listeners arguing about provocative songs like “Too Tired To Consume” and about how contemporary music could be considered as a product for mass consume as well?
Daniel: “Too Tired To Consume” is a cynical song. That day when the song was written, I was a bit on edge about various things happening in our scene. Anyway, we have managed to push the song in a quite amusing direction due to its easy beat and the voice’s use. If you like, you can also read more into it. For example: consumer behavior and media overload. Regarding the opinion about “music as a product of mass consumption” I’m very much on the fence about it. Of course, chart music aims at the mainstream. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the electro industrial scene works according to the same mechanisms. There’s more passion for detail and the songs have too many rough edges. Although the internet has devalued music as art, I hardly know any electro industrial band having made their debut during the last ten years who are able to solely live on music. A lot of music fans just download the songs to their hard drives and there are such vast quantities of music that no one listens to much anymore because it’s too much. This situation gives me food for thought. I hope that the book-publishing business will do better than the music business. If this art form is devalued as well, you will really have to worry about our future culture.
Chain D.L.K.: B.I.I.D. seems to criticize the obsession for apparel and appearance, even if the body is considered the only remaining limit to human possibilities by a lot of people and is widely used to promote electro/ebm music as well… what do you think about such an opinion?
Daniel: B.I.I.D. is about the body and stereotype cult in the electro EBM industrial scene. I have asked myself what will come after tattoo-mania, piercing-mania and implants-mania. How can you still top this visually and what would be the biggest breach of taboo? B.I.I.D. is a very extreme way of self mutilation by self amputation and is commonly considered a mental disorder. Aside from the fact that I do not want to offend anybody who actually suffers from this disease, I really think it’s weird to imagine the first scenester without arms or legs. But back to your question: you cannot reduce the scene to the superficial stereotypes. Of course, there is a tendency for certain clichés, but you’ll find sufficient serious artists in the scene as well who don’t limit themselves to the presentation of visual and acoustic stereotypes.
Chain D.L.K.: And what do you think about some of these gothic bands who are still promoting their music by using female models? Do you think that in such a niche music genre sex going to push sales for real?
Daniel: No, I don’t think so. The problem of these bands is that they believe in selling CDs by using clichés. However, the audience out there is not stupid. They do see a) the artistic substance of a band and b) whether they are visually hoaxed or not. That should, of course, not hide the fact that certain bands practicing this image obtain acceptance. Most often these are bands whose music is more or less correct. It would be an illusion though to believe that only the image sells. And the older scenesters representing the majority of the scene refuse to be influenced by stereotypes anyway.
Chain D.L.K.: Any anticipation on forthcoming tours?
Daniel: Several concerts are being planned, some others are already fixed. We will definitely take the stage. However, we are going to play a few single gigs and not a prolonged tour. We are looking forward to these shows no matter what. Thanks a lot for this interview…
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