Chain D.L.K.: Hello Vince, nearly four years after our last interview, I feel the need to ask the older getting family man about his health condition and the awful situation with your ongoing Tinnitus disease. Four years ago you just started to recover, so how’s the situation nowadays? Oh, and how are Isabelle and Lea doing?
E.S.R.: My family is doing well and is always supporting me about music. My wife and I are old fans of DEPECHE MODE and she will organize with the biggest club here (it’s more than a club, it’s also a concert place) a party for the 30 years of the bands’ founding. Actually it will be a mixed party, New Wave-oriented, but dedicated to DEPECHE MODE and I’ll be DJ-ing there for the DM sets. As you can see, the whole family enjoys music and is involved in a way or another, so that’s cool.
Talking about tinnitus and hyperacousis, I have learned how to live with it and how to face highs and lows (actually I have no choice really…). No improvement, no cure, only a kind of TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy) helped me in the past. And the most important is to protect your ears all the time. I have to wear ear pads every time I have to go in a club or in a noisy environment. I can’t take a plane because I suffer from air pressure variations and altitude variations, and so on (I can also feel a change in the weather because the air pressure changes!!)… it is very stressing to always have to take care for any kind of noise and situation.
We use to say (and think), that medical research has evolved a lot over the past 10 years, but unfortunately not concerning Tinnitus and all possible causes and effects. Also many doctors have no real knowledge about what is a Tinnitus and they may be not helpful at all really, it is very hard to find a competent specialist.
People should take care a lot more for their ears, if they want to avoid important troubles in the future, because according to statistics, it seems the Walkman-/headphone-generation (and now iPod/mp3-generation) suffers a lot more from ear problems/damages than ever before.
Chain D.L.K.: The fact that you’ve been able to continue as being a producing musician is courageous enough, but what kind of actions are required from your side to ”forget” that nerve-killing noise in your head for a while?
E.S.R.: Believe me, it is EXTREMELY hard (not to say impossible) to forget the “noise” in your head…It’s a question of time really, your brain needs time to learn how to “forget” about the noise and to distinguish your “internal” noise from a real noise from the outside. This is where a TRT can help. It helps to learn how to keep cool in every situation and how to pay attention to something else than the noise. Some medicine can help to keep cool from time to time, too.
Chain D.L.K.: With a fair look back, could you point out, what has caused your Tinnitus infection?
E.S.R.: I will never know really but I have that impression, that my inner ear was damaged a bit and the infection of the ear I have been subjected to did the rest of the job…The wrong infection at the wrong time.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve started this year with a new self-released EP called ”Distorted Memories” – not an official DSBP release, but highly professional looking…
E.S.R.: Yes, I was insisting to release a REAL PRESSED CD, and not a CDR. This is very important to me. Believe me, it was a challenge to find someone able to print a limited run of 100 CD’s, but it is still possible in Europe, if you know the right person in the right country.
Chain. D.L.K.: … but the ongoing download-it-all-for-free-mentality has won the fight against the small underground label, hasn’t it?
E.S.R.: Yes, and it sucks BIG time. You know, selfishness and stupidity will probably kill the human race and there’s no way to stop that…that is the reality. There are many ways to stop piracy but no government really wants to fight against that, it helps to hide more important economic problems at the moment I guess, so people are happy, if they can steal/grab something without any risk. That’s how the human race is: “Ready to kill your neighbor for a few greens”.
We’ve seen many indie labels closing the doors or reducing their rooster and others limiting the number of releases. It is sad, that people don’t understand until it is too late. It reminds me of a movie with Keanu Reeves about the human race: ”The day the earth stood still”…the human race never really shows its best face…It seems, that only a disaster or a threat can change things and makes people think about it twice. In some way this war is lost, because small indie labels cannot fight against millions of pirates. And it will take time to re-educate the next generations or to find a new valid system for labels and artists.
Chain D.L.K.: How looks the future for the music project E.S.R. and what kinds of efforts are required from your side to keep the name E.S.R. in the brains and ears of the listeners?
E.S.R.: There is no real strategy with E.S.R. I’ve always been doing what I like and until now, I’ve found people interested in releasing my music. And I hope this will continue for a while. I’m currently working on a new volume of “A Passage in Time” and it takes a lot more time than I expected (at least a lot more than for the first volume). I have to re-record a lot of very old unreleased songs, because the sound is not good enough so it is a challenge. Obviously I try to keep as many original sounds as possible and the original vocals as well, but sometime, I have to re-program some sounds with my new equipment.
If everything goes well, it will be released late 2010 or in the first quarter of 2011 and there might be some surprises. Wait and see! And for that release, I have agreed a new partnership with Advoxya Records out of Hungary (which already released my side project Bio-Mechanical Degeneration), and DSBP.
Chain D.L.K.: I noticed a slightly different direction of the kind how you like manipulate your vocals, they are sounding at least a bit more ”human” and lesser harsh than discovered before. Any new form of fx-processing you can report of?
E.S.R.: The truth is that I’m fed up with harsh vocals. Most of the bands continue to over-manipulate the vocals through deep distortion fx and you can’t understand a single word what they say. Since my last album I really wanted to bring in more brightness and use more subtle fx. So it’s nothing about a new fx-processing, it is what I wanted.
Chain D.L.K.: Your latest releases all featured cover versions, as this has seemingly started to impress you somehow. Please inform us about the latest, Public Relation’s ”Eighty-Eight”, and the content behind. What’s that special meaning behind the original for you, that you felt the need to cover it?
E.S.R.: That song reminds me on a lot of things. It was released in 1988, I was 16 or 17 years old at that time and I used to go downtown to buy a few vinyl records when I had a little money. I don’t exactly remember why I bought that blue sleeve vinyl with that “Ferrari horse” standing in the middle but I was deeply impressed by the melodies and the sounds on that one. It has been a long time favorite of mine and at some point I’ve always wanted to make a cover. Also that was the birth of a new genre called “New Beat”. I don’t know if many people remember that era, but I was very attracted to this new genre (I think bands like A SPLIT-SECOND were part of the New Beat-genre as well). That is the story; I did the cover, sent it to Renaat van de Papelière (the original producer and label founder of R&S records) and asked for his kind permission, to have the cover appearing on a limited run of 100 CD’s. He said he likes it and said “Go Ahead!”. I was happy about that! That’s it.
Chain D.L.K.: Joint Vision is the name of a new built side-project from you. Why a new project and what plans do you have for it? What about Bio-Mechanical Degeneration, any chances for a re-animation?
E.S.R.: There is no plan with Joint Vision, that project is rather a ”one-shot” track. When friends of mine come home, we sometimes start to tweak a few knobs talking about synths and to create a few sequences just for fun. With one of them, we did 2 or 3 tracks in a year and I told him, I will add one of our tracks as a bonus track on the next release. I knew, he would be happy about that. That’s the story, we’ve done nothing more since that time.
Bio-Mechanical Degeneration is another project with much more involvement from my side. I have a few compositions written for BMD, but I don’t know if they will see the light of day and when. In a form or another, I do believe, that there will be a follow-up to the BMD debut “Exoskeleton”.
Chain D.L.K.: ”Distorted Memories” may allow you to bridge some time in between two albums. Please inform us a bit about your current status of E.S.R., how and when do you intend to continue?
E.S.R.: As I told you, I’m currently working on “A Passage In Time V2”, which is taking most of my time in re-programming old “deleted” sounds, or because I no longer have the gear used on that old demo, and searching in my archive for old Cubase songs (You need to know that you can’t directly import old Cubase songs into the latest version, damn!!! We call it ”progress” I guess… – You have to import at least twice using intermediated versions…), and re-recording most of those old demos. It is necessary to have something matching with today’s standard and above all to have a “similar” sound between all tracks. I could have put all the songs ”as is”, but I’m looking for more. In parallel, I’ve been writing a few demos for a future ESR album or for a possible future BMD album.
I would say that ESR is still an active project, but I no longer want to put any kind of pressure on my shoulders to have something out at a predefined date. Things will come in due time.
Chain D.L.K.: In some of your latest news you introduced your audience to the possibility to purchase some merchandising stuff from you. That shirt you promoted seems to be something special, please inform us about all details and how to order it.
E.S.R.: I wanted to have some merchandising available for a long time, but I was looking for a good product and not just the standard online shop where you upload a logo but you never really know, if the quality is good or not.
A friend of mine opened a clothes shop earlier this year. As he is a designer, I asked him to work on a unique “heavy duty” shirt with some ESR logos. And I’ve been impressed with the result.
I know the price is a bit higher than usual but those shirts are 100% hand made locally and this makes a big difference with all the standard shirts, which come from Asia.
The ESR Shirt is only available from the shop Bizarre Factory.
Check the web site here: www.bizarre-factory.fr
And do not hesitate to contact Fred Raja for more information, he will be pleased to help you. He’s a very talented clothes designer and creates any clothes for people all around the world. May be a T-Shirt will come in the future but it is not sure at the moment. Wait and see.
Chain D.L.K.: This all brings me back to the question I like to repeat after our last interview: Any chances to see E.S.R doing live performances, has anything changed during the time after our last interview?
E.S.R.: There is still no plan for touring or doing any live performances. I’ve been DJ-ing twice this year, that’s pretty much the only thing I’ve been doing outside the studio.
I have my full time job and a lot more responsibility since last year so it’s taking most of my time. Since two years I’ve been slowing down a bit my musical activities because with my job and my family, there’s not much extra time left. You know, music is my passion but it doesn’t pay the bills so in these times of economic crisis, you’d better focus on your career, I mean the one that can make your family living a decent life.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s next for E.S.R., as well as for you personally?
E.S.R.: I hope I’ll put out a few more albums in the future, if people are still interested in my music. As I’ve always said, as long as my passion for music is alive, I’ll continue. Also, as a synthesizer addict, I hope I’ll keep that passion for synths and sound design (and I hope I can get more synths too!).
Other than that, I hope that indie labels will stay alive and I hope we’ll find a solution to stop piracy and/or to find a new valid system, because I’m sad to see the decline of our scene…
It’s not for E.S.R. personally; it’s rather for our scene as a whole. I see our scene turning into a trendy thing and this is not “Industrial music” anymore you know.
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else you would like to tell us?
E.S.R.: Thanks for your long time interest in my music. Let’s hope we’ll both be here in four years for another new interview 😉 We’ll see what’s new in our scene and what will happen about the evolution of the music industry vs. the internet.
Chain D.L.K.: Thank you very much, Vince, and keep on all of you music activities! We wish you the best!
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