Another new signing for the uprising German NoiTekk label is the US duo of FGFC820. Theirdebut “Urban Audio Warfare” was released in the fall of 2006, and the reactions seem tobe overall fine. Behind this act are two New York-based DJ’s, Rexx Arkana and Dräcos,both internationally renowned. So FGFC820 can be hardly called greenhorns to the scene,which they like to point out in this interview here…
Chain D.L.K.: Some people in the Electro/Industrial scene have heard of you guys forsure. I nevertheless would like to ask you for some content of your bio to give ourreaders an overlook about you and the reasons to built up FGFC820…
FGFC820: (Rexx) Dräcos and I used to DJ together at a weekly fetish event here in NYCcalled Funhouse, which is how we launched our collaboration. We did a remix together asRexx Arkana vs. Dräcos for KieW. Then I brought in Dräcos to do a remix for theBruderschaft EP as well, and he totally blew the doors off the track. I knew then that wehad similar ideas about music and that it would be interesting to work together on ourown project.
Chain D.L.K.: You have been active and known as DJ’s you surely hear a lot of stuffcoming out these days. The sales of physically CD’s have dropped for all people andlabels involved and at least a famous label like Dependent has called its quit. Why inthese hard times do you feel the need to try and to release stuff in this music genredisregarding the latest tendencies?
FGFC820: (Rexx) Times certainly have been better for this scene, to be sure. It’s notjust an issue for artists in this scene, but for artists everywhere. The irony in part isthat most artists worth listening to don’t write music to make money, but that doesn’tmean we aren’t entitled to it. It’s not like it isn’t an embarrassingly small amountwe’re talking about in the first place. Increasingly, the commercial aspect of music isdigital and internet-based. But I’m from the old school. I still know exactly where in myhuge vinyl vault I can find the 1000 Homo DJs “Supernaut” 12-inch, or Fun Boy Three’sdebut album.I like the material nature of records, and always will.(Dräcos) The evolution of MP3 file-sharing has definitely taken its toll on CD sales inthis scene which is unfortunate. I say ‘this scene’ because I think fans of this kind ofmusic are probably more computer literate than fans of some of the other kinds of music.The only optimistic view I can find in this is that it’s clearer nowadays who the actualsupporters of this scene are, because they’re the ones still buying CDs, and I very muchrespect those people and appreciate their support. Regardless, though, I don’t think anyartist in this particular genre is in it for the money considering the small size of thisscene in general. And personally, I was writing and recording my own songs over a decadebefore I ever had my first release through a record label. I write songs for myself morethan anything else, being that I’m my own biggest fan. I have albums worth of materialthat I’ve recorded over the past 15 years which the general public will probably neverhear, and I’m content with that. I simply enjoy listening to my own productions alone, orperhaps playing them for a few close friends. When you start thinking too much about CDsales figures and money, then it’s likely that not enough time is being spent onconstructing quality songs, which is what an artist should primarily be focused on in thefirst place.
Chain D.L.K.: People always like to sort and categorize music. For FGFC820 they surelyfile it under Hellektro or Harsh EBM. How do you generally see and review the latestdevelopment and future of this music style which at least seems to become very popularespecially in the United States?
FGFC820: (Dräcos) I’d say Harsh EBM is more of a suitable term rather than referring tous as Hellektro. I wouldn’t classify songs like “Victim” or “World of God” as Hellektro,although they are certainly a form of EBM. And I’m not sure I’ve seen the rise inpopularity of this style of music in the United States. Seeing as how our album has beenon the Native 25 charts, the German Electronic Web Charts, and is currently (March 2nd)at the number two position on the DAC after six straight weeks in the top 10 of thosecharts. I’m under the assumption that this style of music is a great deal more popular inEurope than it is in the States. I would certainly like to see this style of music gainsome more momentum here, but I’m not sure how likely that actually is.
(Rexx) We’ve been fortunate to receive support from a lot of places and we’re justthankful for it. I think it is interesting that the last string of bands to sign toNoiTekk are from the Americas, but I don’t know that that offers evidence of anyparticular trend.
Chain D.L.K.: Some people may could be disturbed by your obviously military-inspiredthemes, be it for the cover art as well as for live performance or the band. If you wouldfeel the need to defend and explain yourself, how would it sound?
FGFC820: (Rexx) While we have no desire to take part in any retro music movement, 820 isfor me in many ways a return to my rivethead roots. I’ve grown up in the scene and inthis project I’m attempting to reintroduce some of the evolutionary moments that werehighlights for me musically through our history. For my part, our themes represent who Iam on a very personal and base level. Everything we do as a band, whether it’scomposition or artwork, is based on our central concept of existence.
(Dräcos) Both Rexx and I are staunch supporters of the military, and we’ve both had closerelatives who have served in uniform. I used to wear my uncle’s old Army jacket when Iwas in high school. Being supportive of the brave men and women of the Armed Forcesdoesn’t necessarily mean you have to be supportive of the politics that direct themilitary’s actions. Politicians make those decisions, not the soldiers.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve been working under Bruderschaft with Alfa-Matrix, but FGFC820 gotsigned to NoiTekk. No interest from the side of the Belgian’s to collaborate again? Whythe decision to add more strength to the NoiTekk troops?
FGFC820: (Rexx) NoiTekk makes much more sense for 820 than Alfa-Matrix did or does. Sebaand I had discussions about the band and I think we both agreed this to be true. Not thatit would have ending up making any difference. I previously worked with NoiTekk as apromoter, having met Marco one year at WGT, shortly after he had formed the label. Webecame fast friends, and would still be so even if music were to be removed from each ofour lives. As a DJ and promoter, I always felt like family with the label and its artistsand it’s an honor to officially join their ranks.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve noticed some varied musical influences on your debut “Urban AudioWarfare”, you also seem not to forget some stuff for the rather old-school EBM like”Victim”. I guess a normal evolution for you to deal with different styles since you hearenough stuff, or how do you see this?
FGFC820: (Rexx) That’s exactly it. I like several different sub-genres of electronicmusic. Each style has its unique and interesting elements and what we try to do is blendthe ones we most relate to into our central style to see how different sounds cause ourbase sound to slide in different musical directions. The new material we’re working on iseven more diverse. There are a few tracks that seem to be writing themselves.
(Dräcos) An artist or band’s sound is certainly going to be influenced by the variousforms of music they listened to throughout their lifetime. And Rexx and I certainly enjoyincorporating both of our individual musical influences into our own music. It’s just anatural state of things.
Chain D.L.K.: Some social and political content is featured mostly in both tracks”Society” and “GBA” and you like to argue against the current happenings. As far for thepolitically side, president G. W. Bushcannot re-elected, so what are your hopes for a change?
FGFC820: (Dräcos) I hope that another Republican president is elected, because mypolitical beliefs lean more towards the right, and I certainly don’t care for any of theDemocrat’s candidates so far.
(Rexx) Really, it matters very little who the next president is, or what party theyrepresent. Federal government operates without regard to constituencies, without even thesense that they should be accountable to anyone. We advocate an awakening of intellectand, more importantly, action. In other words, stand up and fight.
Chain D.L.K.: Lets talk on the technical side of producing music generally. Which kind ofsynthesizer do you prefer, hardware or software-based? Where do you see the pro’s andcon’s on both kinds?
FGFC820: (Dräcos) I certainly enjoy both hardware and software, although 820 tracks areprimarily done with software. The pros of using software is that it speeds up the processconsiderably. Back in the early 90’s I used to sequence all of my songs with the RolandJW-50 using its onboard sounds and MIDI output to trigger a Roland MS-1 sampler, and thatwas it. It would take a great deal of time to sequence my songs that way, but since Ilived in a sleepy little farming town back then, I wasn’t so much concerned withdeadlines or anything. Nowadays I’ll use my keyboards mainly to “noodle” around to comeup with riffs, and when I play something I like, I’ll immediately sequence it on thecomputer so I can tweak the riff easily as I see fit. As far as the kind of software weuse, we’re definitely behind the times since all of our songs are put together inCakewalk Pro Audio 6. But I think that has its advantages also, because I feel that if Irestrict myself with limited tools, then I can focus more on the actual songwritingprocess rather than trying to figure out how to achieve the end result using the latestmusic software that was just released.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it with live gigs? The new tracks should work well to animate themasses, so what do you expect? Any touring plans you can already confirm?
FGFC820: (Dräcos) We’re heading down to Orlando Florida to play a show the middle ofMarch. I’m really looking forward to this gig, because we’ve received a great deal ofsupport and positive feedback from the people down there.
(Rexx) We have received a lot of interest from our fans in Europe about touring there,but so far there are no definite plans. Of course, we’d like nothing more than to do someshows in the Netherlands, Germany, etc., but the biggest obstacle these days for artistsis that even signed bands have to do most of the work themselves. Having worked on thebusiness side of music for over twenty years, I’ve come to terms with that. I think it’severy band’s dream to be able to be successful enough as artists as to not have to dealwith everything that’s involved in that and to be able to simply work on music. Butthat’s a fantasy world that doesn’t exist on the level of our scene.
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details,relations, hobbies, and further interests…
FGFC820: (Dräcos) My daily life consists of working for a media/advertising companyduring the day, and coming home to work on music at night. As far as relations, I’msingle if that’s what you’re asking. For hobbies, I enjoy reading articles or watchingprograms that deal with science and evolution. I have my own views on those topics, but Igenerally tend to keep them to myself since they’re not all that favorable with mostpeople who need to believe in some higher purpose.
(Rexx) As important as music is in my life, it’s still only a part-time occupation. Ispend the majority of my time working on Wall Street or at the gym and being a husbandand father. It’s a bit of a rarity in this scene, but I’m also a big sports fan,especially American football. When I die I hope to be buried with my Ipod and myPittsburgh Steelers jersey.
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words to our readers to conclude this interview…?
FGFC820: (Dräcos) I suppose I could conclude this interview with one of my favoritesayings: “You are what they made you. Make them regret it.”
(Rexx) Just a huge and sincere “thank you” to everyone whose shown us their support sincewe created this project. We are very grateful.
Visit FGFC820 on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]