Check out the latest news, essays and rants of the prominent German Dark Electro musician Martin Sane, better known as being the mastermind behind Fix8:Sed8…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Martin, our last interview has been done more than 10 years ago when you just self-released “Dormicum”. I still remember the quite entertaining content with a younger and lesser experienced Electro-/Industrial musician who released his stuff under his very own administration. Now with a fair look back through the years, your DIY mentality has changed with the signing to Dependent Records, one of Germany’s best known labels. What has changed your mind to sign a label contract? With a respectful look on your label-boss Stefan Herwig, I guess we can exclude the fairy-tale of his imaginary hot wife you’d like to put your irresistible fingers on, right?
Fix8:Sed8: Hi Marc, thank you for having me again!
You are absolutely right, a hot wife wasn’t part of the equation. And, because I am getting the feeling that this is what you’re hinting at, neither were it heaps of money.
The truth is that Stefan was very persistent. He has already shown interest in signing me with “Dormicum” but by then I had everything done by myself, the CDs were already manufactured etc. Then, 8 years later, I had just finished “Foren6”, he wrote again and even called me, made tons of sweet sounding promises and used his snake-like hypnotic charm to convince me that this is the way.
Of course to have a powerhouse like Dependent in your back does help to promote your music and to expand the fan base. That was the main reason why I signed.
Back then I assumed that I’ll need several years for each release and that signing with Dependent will be for life, now that my third album with Dependent (out of 4 I signed for) has been released it actually makes sense to look into the not so distant future and consider all options.
Chain D.L.K.: I always wondered why you had to take such a long break after “Dormicum” in 2009 until you could release “Foren6” in 2017 via Dependent. This also has been manifested with the release of “Hiob”, originally taken from “Dormicum”, available and marked as “previously unreleased” on “Dependence – Next Level Electronics 2015”, almost 6 years later. What went wrong there, too much bucks earned with “Dormicum” to become fat and lazy? Wasn’t there no newer track available for this compilation?
Fix8:Sed8: Man, no teeny mistake goes unnoticed by you, eh?
I haven’t had any new material presentable when the “Dependence” – compilation came out. Why the label has claimed that the song is “previously unreleased” is unclear to me. I suggest you ask Stefan about this in an interview where he in return complains about bands their unreliability and greed.
The long break between album no. 2 and 3 wasn’t for a lack of creativity or motivation, I simply haven’t had the time. I had to work 3 jobs at times and making music wasn’t on my mind. When my job-situation has stabilized in 2014 I went back to compose new songs. And since then I’ve been firing them out like I would have never imagined. There will be a LOT of Fix8:Sed8-music before I drop dead.
Chain D.L.K.: A fair look back to “Foren6” and the start of your reanimated career and its big success, please. Compared to your self-releasing past and if you have to rate your efforts of the last 4 years, would you agree that there haven’t been done bigger mistakes which altered your success? Sales have seemingly reached unexpected levels and also live performances have become reality and happened regularly outer the pandemic times. How important is the influence of your label regarding your artistic view of your music, your presentation on stage and how much impact does it have on your promotional efforts? Can Martin Sane meanwhile live his life with producing music and does it pay all bills?
Fix8:Sed8: You do know it’s 2021 and not 1991, right? Sales are great for a small, rather unknown Dark Electro band in the age of digital music, aren’t they?
Obviously only a handful of commercial-oriented bands can make a living in this scene and I certainly am not one of them and never will be.
The overwhelming success and popularity you’re hinting at is very much under control. As a matter of fact it’s perfect in the way it is now. I met many fantastic people over the years, both fans and bands. Many of them have become close friends. This is what I am most grateful for, the best thing my music has given me.
I would agree though that things are going better than ever imagined. It all started with “Foren6”, which turned out to be, as I like to think, a good album. Many of those who liked “Humanophobia” and “Dormicum” haven’t forgotten about me and they also seemed to like “Foren6”.
Also starting to play live shows did help to introduce my music to a new and bigger crowd.
The label doesn’t get involved in any artistic decision I make, this was a crucial factor for me when I signed with them. Their job is to expand the band’s fan base and introduce it to a wider audience. We’re very much using each other. I am using them for fame and glory, they’re using me to become rich.
Chain D.L.K.: 8 years without an album release and now with the new “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe”, after “Warning Signs” the third album in only 4 years. How do you reach new inspiration album per album? Do you separate the working process between the albums? How much conceptual sense has your understanding of an album release or is it just a random collection of new tracks?
Fix8:Sed8: It’s different with every release. While I’d love to make homogeneous albums that you can listen to in one flow, albums that tell one big story, it’s impossible to plan something like this in advance. At least for me so it is. I guess it’s more or less coincidence in the end. “Foren6” and “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe” happened to turn out like this, which makes me very happy. “Warning Signs” is more of a collection of individual songs with different styles (within the Dark Electro-genre obviously). When I sit down to start a new song it’s mostly to try things out and see where the road is going to lead me. Of course I am trying to steer it in a certain direction, but sometimes only one way seems to work and it might very well be, that in the end this song will stick out like a sore thumb in the context of the whole album. Such songs either become bonus-tracks on a separate CD or, as happened on “Warning Signs”, I’m trying to make a somewhat coherent album with the very diverse sounding songs at hand. As long as the individual songs are good, it’s not the end of the world when the album in its entirety is less homogeneously.
Reaching new inspiration becomes harder with every new album. I am trying to avoid copying myself and I want to do something new with every release while maintaining my style and trademark sound. Buying new gear always helps of course, new sounds – new inspiration. There’s still room for innovation within what I’ve been doing so far.
It has been an exciting journey so far but it’s far from being over.
Chain D.L.K.: Chain D.L.K.: Your life during our pandemic time. What has changed during lock-down days dictated by our government? What kind of effect do you experience on your music, your being as an artist with all negative aspects and at least your private life?
Fix8:Sed8: Frankly, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I haven’t been to work in over a year now and, while barely enough, I am still getting paid. I have plenty of time on my hands which I am trying to put to a good use in shape of new music. Fortunately all this free time comes along with a creativity rush I’ve been having for quite some time now. On the average I am finishing a new song every 4 – 6 weeks, which is, given the complexity of some of the songs and my overall lack of technical skills, like speed of light for me.
As for the more personal effects the pandemic has on me: it’s not that bad at all. I don’t mind being by myself and not leaving the house. As long as I get it to make music I feel like I am making the best out of the situation.
Chain D.L.K.: Now coming to your new new album “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe”. I’ve noticed a more clear and dedicated usage of voice samples for example in “eNIGMa”. Tell us a bit about this track, please. It looks like that you composed this track and its lyrics around these oppressive voice samples, didn’t you?
Fix8:Sed8: Well, yes and no. The first 3 minutes which heavily feature the samples, which by the way is a vintage interview of a therapist with a schizophrenic patient, are definitely built around the sample. I knew pretty much right after writing the first sequences that, given to the particular atmosphere of the first 3 minutes created, an underlying long sample would be add to its creepiness. I am glad I found this particular one, it fits perfectly in my opinion.
For the second upbeat part excessive voice-sampling didn’t fit with the exception for the break and the very end. Also I felt it was important to bring new elements to the song especially considering that the harmonic progressions, albeit diverse in itself, repeat throughout the entire song.
Eventually “eNIGMa” is one of the rare cases where a song ended up pretty much exactly in that way I heard it in my head before when I even sat down to write the first note.
Chain D.L.K.: A word on “tREMORs (fEAt. eMKe)” please. I suppose you tried to sing to it in the first completely on your own, surely under the shower… How did you come to idea to let Emese Arvai-Illes of the Hungarian Dark-Pop project Black Nail Cabaret providing her well sounding voice?
Fix8:Sed8: I only found out about Black Nail Cabaret in early 2019. I spontaneously drove to Leipzig to see them live. I loved the show, the songs and the vocals and the idea of having Emke doing the vocals for a future track was born. Provided I would accidentally write a song that would a) be impossible for me to sing and b) fits with female and more specially her vocals
There was no intention to force this and to write a song just for her.
But as things happen sometimes after having recorded the first 30 seconds of “tREMORs” and noticing that this will be a very different song from what I usually do, I tried to imagine her voice on top of the snippet I had. And I immediately had the melody for both verse and chorus and also even parts of the lyrics in my mind.
So from there I indeed wrote the song around the knowledge that she would do the vocals and a particular melody.
It wasn’t in the shower but I recorded the vocals on myself in the first instance to show Emke what I had in mind. I asked her to destroy the recording right after and I hope she complied…
What happened after this is what happens when you work with professionals: Emke sent me her recordings and they were perfectly from the get go. No corrections, no changes, simply perfect. She even improved the melodic progressions here and there where she saw it fitting. It sounded exactly as I wanted it, nah… better.
I know that this song isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that it sticks out quite a bit in the context of the whole album to given its a more poppy nature and the female vocals. But I think that it is a very good song in itself so that it isn’t as much of a discrepancy as some might think. Also… I really don’t care. I wanted to collaborate with Emke once, it’s done now, I am happy with the result, so now it’s time to move on.
Chain D.L.K.: Your album “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe” is also available as a strictly limited 2CD edition with an art-book entitled “Rail At A Liar”. I would like to lead this question rather to the graphically content. Also… here is your free space for a very detailed introduction and its content. How did you come to to the idea to support your music graphically?
Fix8:Sed8: Pure luck, I think the songs were already being mastered and I still haven’t had a graphically concept. I don’t remember exactly how we got to this point but I was talking to my good friend Gil from the band Amorphous and somehow he ended up recommending Anastase Kyriakos, who has done the artwork for Amorphous’ latest release “Moth Metaphor”.
I contacted Anastase and he had tons of great material which he allowed me to use.
As for the final realization my graphic designer for many years, Sinan Jafan aka plastic-hand, took it from there and added the finishing touch to what has become a beautiful booklet and art-book.
Chain D.L.K.: The music placed on the companion CD “Rail At A Liar” are cover versions provided by friends and artists around your base and circle of friends. Please tell us a bit about the technically process of the production behind. The featured tracks are cover versions – not remix contributions. What are the differences? Which technical data you’ve given to the contributors to create their cover on your compositions?
Fix8:Sed8: Fairly it was a simple process. First I asked the bands if they were interested – they were.
Then I sent them the original song, the lyrics, the samples and, if requested, the midi-files as well as a deadline. Ironically those bands who got the songs at last (because they were the last ones I finished) were the first to deliver their contributions. For example aforementioned Amorphous was super-fast and delivered one of my favorite contributions. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this experiment, then that the definition of the term “cover” is widely open for interpretation. While Amorphous, Jihad or Mildreda kept their contributions relatively close to the original, 2nd Face, Amnistia, Cryo and Black Nail Cabaret turned everything upside down and made the song to their own entity. Frontier Guards even went so far to write their own lyrics for “eNIGMa”.
So that was a very exciting process. Most importantly each contribution is amazing in its own rights. I love every single one of them. And together they made their best for an exciting and high quality bonus album, which was the main goal and I am grateful to them for accomplishing it.
Chain D.L.K.: “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe” was completely ready produced months before its release date now in January 2021. How do you feel about that it has taken longer than expected until it got released? How do you review for yourself this album and how do you get distance to the tracks and the studio work process? If you could turn back the time what would you change on it?
Fix8:Sed8: I think I delivered the master-files in mid of September 2020. The label always needs 2,5-3 months from then until the official release. So it’s not like that I was sitting on a finished album waiting forever for its release.
But you do have a point. I finished the last song (“cHLORINe cLEAn tEARs”) in early June. And while there was it still going on with final mixing, mastering, artwork, etc, 6 months have passed and the album started to feel a bit like old news and my mind has already shifted to the next release and to write new songs.
Having said that, I am still enjoying “TIR” a lot and I listen to it often. As of now I wouldn’t change anything (yet). Such sentiments usually come up much later. Today I would do certain things differently on “Warning Signs”, definitely on “Foren6”. So ask me again in 2 years or so.
Chain D.L.K.: As being one of your latest promotional stunts, you’ve been invited to introduce your new album to a wider radio-listening audience to the “Grenzwellen”. For our readers, “Grenzwellen” is a popular radio-show in German language hosted by the legendary moderator Ecki Stieg broadcaster on Radio Hannover. This radio-show started in 1987 and can be heard every Wednesday for three hours at 9 pm CET. Tell us a bit about your invitation and the process of the show. How was it and could you extract a kind of valuable impact on your promotional activities and/or sales out of this show?
Fix8:Sed8: Only a few people know electronic music more profoundly than Ecki Stieg. He is always up to date and keeps track with new bands and new releases. I was already more than happy that he introduced TIR upon its release in his show. The 1 hour-special was a big surprise to me!
The process was simple, he sent me the questions and I’ve audio-recorded my answers.
Being played at Grenzwellen is a huge promotional help. The show has thousands of listeners every week, Ecki owns a huge follower-ship and his recommendations have a lot of weight. So yeah, I surely could make a few new fans thanks to him.
Chain D.L.K.: It is a fact that Martin Sane has become to be known all over the place. You’ve always had an open ear to music of friends, of foreign music projects and you’ve been supportive to anyone out of our niche in this music business scene. Time for an essay from your side, please. What does your spectacular assignment and your availability for anyone do with yourself personally? When is it time for you to paint the town red and to slacken the reins?
Fix8:Sed8: The day has 24 hours and writing an introduction to a post doesn’t take that long.
And I do enjoy both writing and being on social media. I happen to be friends with some very talented musicians and we’re all supporting each other, it’s not a one-way road.
The problem these days with great music still is to be heard in the first place. If I can help to make that happen and given the superbly music my friends produce it is nothing but pleasure for me to do just that.
I am trying to walk the admittedly thin line between letting people know and overstaying my welcome but with every post I reach people who weren’t aware of the particular band and after all this is all about it. If somebody gets annoyed by the amount of it, the solution is easy: just ignore it. Besides all the music-related activities I play online-chess a lot (poorly) and try to stay in shape (equally poorly).
Chain D.L.K.: Please inform us about your upcoming plans. Are there already any new releases in the works you like to confirm here?
Fix8:Sed8: There are plans indeed. I have just finished the second song for what I’m hoping will be a new release next year. Both tracks I have so far are real monsters, both over 8 minutes long. Think of electronic TOOL. I don’t want to limit myself and I won’t force things where it doesn’t come out naturally but it would be cool to have 8 songs in the end, each one 8 minutes long. The 2 new tracks are really demanding and require repeated listening to be fully appreciated and I am aware that an entire album of this nature comes up with certain risks. The songs do feature lots of trademark sounds and elements but also lots of new ones which makes it for an exciting new direction. Hopefully gentle enough to not cut my fan base in half but it’s a price I am willing to pay if I am 100% satisfied with the finished album.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final comments you would like to add to conclude this interview?
Fix8:Sed8: Thank you for not asking how to pronounce Fix8:Sed8 and how I came up with the name.