As I wrote in my last Mürnau review I wanted to interview Koen (the only guy behind the project) to find out what’s behind one of the most interesting industrial acts of these days. Mürnau’s sound is grinding, tense and offers the listener a sense of uncertainty. Enjoy his very first interview and let’s discover his world.
Chain D.L.K.: Can you talk about yourself and how you started to get involved in musical projects? Was Eisengrau your first one? Can you tell us why it ended and what the main differences between Mürnau and that one are?
Mürnau: The less you know about me personally, the better. In the end, it’s all about the music…About my musical aspirations: Eisengrau (a duo) was indeed the first project in which I participated. We started that band, because we couldn’t exactly find the music we wanted to hear. In our opinion, there were also too many albums with only few good songs and too much filler material. We wanted to change that, by trying to make releases which would blast from the beginning to the end. Of course, this issue is all about personal taste and therefore it’s up to the listener to make up whether we succeeded or not. The split…I’ve noticed that a lot of people have fond memories about this band, so let’s not spoil this by digging up corpses. The main difference between E/M, is that the latter is harsher in sound, less rhythm based.
Chain D.L.K.: About Mürnau: is there any artistic connection you felt you have with the movie director with the same name? If yes, why did you decide to pick up that name?
Mürnau: No, there’s no connection with him. The name just sounded good, right and powerful to me. I think I represents my music quite well.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve read a review that was telling that your music was too improvised, etc. Since:
a) your releases are strictly limited to few hundreds of copies
b) each one has got a particular graphic layout
c) your lyrics are a sort of scary scenario (see “Halcyon” for example: “filthy hands keeping scars from prying eyes – press your face against the frozen windowpane – your silence is a blessing – keep in mind you’ll be mine – a mask of skin and bone “).
Can you tell us how you see Mürnau and what you’d like to create with your tracks?
Mürnau: Mürnau is an outlet for my frustrations. By making music/writing lyrics, I’m trying to get it all out of my system. Turn something negative into something positive. It’s not that I expect anybody to understand what it’s all about. I just hope the listener picks something up from my releases, whatever it may be. That’s also one of the reasons why I prefer not to explain the content of my lyrics. People give a personal meaning to them and who am I to correct them, to destroy their interpretation. For instance, to you they seem to be “scary scenarios”, but to me these are just reflections of every day life experiences (which says a lot about both of us). There’s no point in ramming my personal view on certain things down your throat. You don’t have to share my range of thoughts. Make of it what you want. Once a record is released, it’s no longer in my hands. It starts to live a life of it’s own. As long as someone gets something/anything from my music, I’m satisfied.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you decided to release your records in limited editions? Is it because you are aware that there are only few people that like this genre or is it because you want to create something special with vinyl and graphics or what else?
Mürnau: I do vinyl releases only, because I don’t like the medium CD for different reasons. You can’t beat the warm/full sound you’ll get from vinyl (CD’s are too sterile for my taste) and I usually don’t like the packaging. As you’ve probably noticed, I put a lot of effort in the artwork and I think a CD-release wouldn’t do it justice, the way a vinyl release does. I mean, take for instance the “Misanthropy” picture 7″. I could never get that visual effect on a CD. It simply doesn’t have an emotional value to me. However, when you’re talking about contributing to a compilation, I don’t mind it when it’s a CD. Just because it’s not a release done by myself and you’ll reach a lot of people this way, which is important. There’s no need to keep on preaching to the ones who are already converted. My records do get released in a limited edition, but it’s always in a reasonable quantity. I know it’s not an ideal situation, but you’ve got to face the fact that the masses aren’t interested in industrial music. There’s no point in releasing this genre in large quantities and before people start to moan that they’ll miss out on some releases, because they’re sold out so soon: contact the artists themselves. They usually have the records in stock. People can always pre-order my releases directly from me. This way they can be sure they’ll have a copy.
Chain D.L.K.: I know that you’re preparing an album entitled “Decoder” for Hands limited to 350 copies. Can you tell us some more about it?
Mürnau: “Decoder” is my second full length album. It consists of 6 tracks and it’ll be a mixture of power electronics and rhythm’n’noise. The album will be released on 220N (a division of Hands Productions) this year. It has a different atmosphere, compared to my previous releases. There’s a different feel to it, which is quite hard to describe. It’s more dense, oppressive. I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean when you’ll listen to the album.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you perform live? How do you organize your “show”? In case you haven’t performed yet, how would you like to do it?
Mürnau: No, I don’t perform live and I do not intend to do so in the near future. It’s too much of a hassle at this time for me, for several personal reasons.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the best thing you can say to our readers to describe Mürnau?
Mürnau: This is a difficult one, as Mürnau means a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. Everyone experiences it in his own personal way. You could say that – music-wise – Mürnau stands for harsh, in your face rhythm’n’noise, combined with power electronics elements and without any compromises, whatsoever.
Chain D.L.K.: Final thoughts?
Mürnau: I’ll also be releasing an album as LEGION ULTRA this year. It’s brutal rhythm’n’noise, but it certainly isn’t a Mürnau-copy (there wouldn’t be a point in doing such a thing). Since LEGION ULTRA is a duo, there’ll be different influences and a different approach towards making music, so the end result is bound to be different. The album, entitled “Perversion of purity”, will be released on 220N, as a limited edition (300 copies) lp+7″ box set. I’ve also recorded 2 albums worth of material under the moniker COLD FLESH COLONY, but since I’m still negotiating with some labels, I can’t give away too much details concerning release dates/formats. COLD FLESH COLONY is completely different in sound/structure, compared to what I’m doing in Mürnau/LEGION ULTRA. It’s old school, analogue power electronics. People who heard the tracks, described them to have a similar atmosphere as some of the Whitehouse/Sutcliffe Jügend/SPK releases have. But that’s their opinion of course…
Visit Mürnau on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marc Urselli]