- The new ICE AGES record came out eight years after the previous one. What have been the creative impulses that made "Buried Silence" possible? Has anything crucial changed in your life that resulted in the creation of "Buried Silence" or did it come around just unexpectedly?
it was always clear for me that there will be a follower of "this killing emptiness". i did not even plan this long rest, and i was not totally musically absent as i worked on my other projects "summoning" and "die verbannten kinder evas" during that time. in those years i was also busy with learning programming what's my actual job meanwhile, but i also dealed a lot with software synthesizers and new ways to generate sounds (like ring and frequency modulation techniques) so those years were not lost for ice ages. the main real problems where some deeper troubles with my project "die verbannten kinder evas" which delayed all my musical activities for 2 years, but apart from that those years where creative. there was no sudden explosion or something like that, which made me work on ice ages; just after the problems with "die verbannten kinder evas" where over, i started working on the new songs, an within a few weeks the basic version of all those songs where finished. i realized that a lot of
ideas have gathered during that long time which just waited to be realized.
- Looking back - what were the most significant impulses for giving birth to ICE AGES?
Has there been an influence of a particular industrial / dark wave artist at the very beginning of ICE AGES?
yes definitely its "leatherstrip". you have to know that i "grew up" with the metal scene and was not involved in any kind of electronic music till the age of 20. i considered anything like synth music rather as pop music and did not know that an impressive dark scene only based on electronic instruments existed all the time. so when i first heard the leatherstrip songs "mohawk" or "zyklon b" i was so extremely impressed that i realized that my musical world is going to change. i did not immediately start to make music like, that nor do i think that leatherstrip was a strict influence for my music, as i think that my music its not really in the typical leatherstrip way, but it definitely was a reason for me to start to get that good relationship to electronic music.
- I would like to address the matter of emotions in electronic music. Do you think they have a place within industrial or dark wave? And how would you describe the way how emotions are formed in these genres?
i think any kind of music has emotions, otherwise it would not be music. emotions are a very wide term; it goes from love to hate, from fear to joy etc. and if you can not find anything of that in a song you rather should turn it of and forget it. if sometimes people say that electronic music can not have feelings cause electronic music is done by machines and not by real instruments, this person is simply ignoring the fact that any electronic music has be composed by a human being which naturally has feelings as he is a human being. for me electronic music is rather focused more around feelings cause you just have to concentrate on getting cool melodies, rhythms or impressive sounds, and don't have to spend any time with some finger exercises, which are nothing bad actually, but for me rather a body, than a emotion thing. don't get me wrong, nothing bad about real instruments, but for me personally i have the feeling to be able to make more emotional music with electronic devices than with acoustic instruments.
- To extend the previous question - do you think there are particular artist operating within the electronic scene that craft emotions especially well and interestingly?
well these days the music is in most cases to much following the electronic dance euro-dance style of the early 90ties, most of the bands i hears sound quite polished and "round" not machine styled like what i consider as EBM, but of course there are still great artists, apart from the old ones like there are cool new ones like "acylum" or "rosewater", which have the perfect balance between noise and harmonies. btw i even made already 2 remixes for "acylum".
- As for the emotional impact - how does what you do with ICE AGES effect you yourself and what are the feelings you are trying to arouse in the listener?
i think ice ages is mainly based around the feeling "fear" and often "depression" but always combined with some moments of hope (which fade anyway at the end;-). its quite ironic cause in real live i am not depressive person at all, and consider humor as one of the most
essential human traits, but for me music is a kind of way to live up your dark sides, to get ride of negative feelings and moods; that's most probably why i have this urge to make such dark music. but anyway, i am always fixed on rhythms and tunes, even the most impressive sounds are for me nothing if they are not used in a musical way. the place and pitch of the notes is for me what makes a good songs, not the sounds. they are just a tool to let those musical ideas look as great as possible.
- As for the vocals used on "Buried Silence" - is its mechanical feel used
more to further the robotic elements of what you do or to "humanize" the music by simply incorporating a voice?
i think that distorted voice is just the perfect synthesis of machine and humans. i would not like my music to be a pure electronic one, but also i don't think that a normal human voice without any technical elements would suit to the mechanic would of the music i create with ice ages. i think this kind of "robotic" deep voice in combination to the higher and more desperate voice is the best way to express those moods of fear and also lonesomeness. to much human elements would not create that world as i want it to sound.
- How would you personally characterize the feelings and creative urges connected to composing on a computer and - on the other hand - with a "real" instrument in hand? Do ICE AGES leave you with a bigger space for spontaneous ideas than SUMMONING?
well even in summoning electronic devices have an important role. the orchestra sounds and all drums are done by a sampler, and the guitars are even composed on my synth with sampled guitars as well. only at the very end when i record everything i play real guitars and replace the synth ones; but the whole song writing is only done on the keys, where i feel more comfortable with than with strings or any other instruments.
i can not say if ice ages or summoning leaves more creative space; the main difference is not the different space, but the fact that i work alone on the music of ice ages, while with summoning i do a cooperation with the other guy from summoning. this makes for me the work for both projects quite different.
- Does "belonging" to a specific genre (both metal and dark wave) mean anything personal to you? Do the inherent features of a particular genre anyhow define your practical life?
well for me scenes, or generally categories, don't have that bad sound as they have to most people these days. i don't feel limited to be part of any scene and don't mind if someone puts my music there or not. scenes and categories are just a way of organizing your human mind and bringing some order to the chaos helping to understand certain artists better. almost all people have some kind of scene where they came from and which influenced them, and there is nothing bad about that. we are all products of our environment and having some influences from others is nothing bad; the only problem is if you turn to a kind of slave of influences of others. but if you take the elements you like from others and integrate them to your very own personally way its a great thing.
and if i want to get some dark hard electronic music its a wiser idea to search in a kind of ebm page than for example to go to a commercial disco:-) genres are good guideposts for musical interested people. but i actually also don't have any problem if someone lets say from the drum 'n bass, dub step scene or trip hop scene likes my music as well. in contrary, it makes me happy to see that my musical languages can be understood by people who have maybe never heard any of the bands i listened to.
- Would you say that dark wave is a style connected to a certain time period more than metal?
darkwave / electro etc is definitely the music i am more close with since the last 13 years, while i can never deny metal as its the reason why i got musician and which grew me up musically. i still see the metal scene as a scene that is quite independent from the commercial mainstream and that's what i always respect, even if i don't have the time to follow the metal scene anymore.
- Could you describe what the reception of ICE AGES has been since its first release? Has it to any extend been effected by the fact that you also compose in a respected metal band?
i am often surprised how open minded summoning fans are towards ice ages. they are often very able to switch from some heroic fantasy world to that dark depressive world of ice ages without a problem. but of course there are others who can not understand at all how a person being involved in summoning can make music for ice ages. specially the people more into typical metal music have often no understanding at all for it. on one side you can see the mentioned elements that makes the music different from summoning, on the other hand there are still a lot of similarities, like the use of harsher sounds (in summoning the guitars and vocals; in ice ages mainly the drums and vocals), the rather slow tempo and sluggish beats, the longer song length and also the focus on very multi layered song structures.
- Speaking of genre differences - would you say that either ICE AGES or
SUMMONING are more "extreme" than the other? Would you say that
generally metal is more "user-friendly" than dark wave?
when i talk about metal i have to make a difference between metal when i grew up with it and metal today. in the past any kind of music with harsh guitars, growling vocals and long-haired banging heads was just considered as some kind of psychopathic retard music by most of the people. even bands that now are in the radio like metallica where just considered as pure noise and as total shocking. but since those years music with harsh guitars and vocals got far more accepted in the mainstream and a few years later even much harder band than metallica could be heard even in mtv. so the metal scene of today has some kind of "problems" in still shocking the audience. as using hard guitars does not really do that job anymore they try to get that shock effect more in other ways, like using some retarded nazi shit in their lyrics to shock people or other stuff. for me metal in generally is simple far more user friendly these days than real dark electronic music. metal zines and small metal labels of the past are now huge major labels, while cool dark electronic bands still are hardly unknown.
but after a certain age i really stopped caring about the term "extreme"; a music is not good or bad cause its extreme or not extreme. its can be good or bad in both ways, and music definitely has not the purpose to shock people or to prove yourself what a hard guy you are. music shall make your heart beat faster or slower, shall make you cry, laugh or scream (depending on your music style), but not be used as a kind of status symbol
- While metal mostly feels "sincere" and you always know there are people behind it, electronic music is usually more detached. Is this "emptiness" and generally a very different emotionality something that inspires you?
yes true, thats what i mean in the answer above.
surely a music that is not already commercially "slaughtered" has more secrets left than music absorbed by the mainstream, but i am also not that type of person who tries to compensate some minority complexes by hiding in any kind of isolated elite scenes in fear to be compared to easily with other people; this means i am not proud to be in a scene that's not so popular; but i am also not ashamed about it. actually i would like if more people listen to that kind of music; it would not make me feel as if i would loose my individuality as many people seem to fear when they feel threatened to be connected to mainstream music:-)
- While you stand behind the music of ICE AGES, almost all of the lyrics
are attributed to Grigorij Petrenko aka Grom. How would you introduce him to those who haven't had the pleasure yet? What is the most curious thing about this guy?
i know him since about 15 years, he lives in siberia we got in contact due to summoning and had longer communication via email and chats. some years later he visited me in vienna and meanwhile he was already 3 times here. anyway our cooperation happened via email. i sent him the songs with my vocals singing some senseless "bla bla bla" and he wrote lyrics matching the syllables of the words. it was a perfect cooperation and i am happy with her result.
- Speaking of lyrics - they very often feel "metallic" to me. Could you
explain what made you choose these lyrics to go with an electronic accompaniment?
hmmm ... you mean metallic in the way of metal music lyrics?
i did not see it that way, but maybe i am to used to that. i think they are to depressive and less aggressive to be in any metal song, but actually i don't see myself as lyrical talented so i can hardly answer that question. i am happy to be able to completely focus on music and leave that job to grigorii.
Well,first of all I don't really understand what do you mean with "metallic". For me it sounds more like " chains and leather! We'll stand tight united!":-)
But seriously,music and lyrics are creation,so, I don't think of any special rules or forms of "how it should be", and of music limiting the range of themes and thoughts you can use and express in your creation. Richard asked me to compose lyrics for IA and I chose those which are more suitable for it's atmosphere and conception.
- What also rose my interest is the fact that despite the industrial and alienated feel of the music, the lyrics very often refer to simple human emotions as well as very physical expressions (blood etc.) that sometimes even relate to inanimate things ("fractured days"). Do you see a disproportion here and have you anyhow reflected this when composing the music?
Here you should see it more in a way of allegories and symbols, which are filling all lyrics of IA all together with emotions,feelings and thoughts. there's definitely no focus on blood or some certain things, but those expressions are symbols and tools for releasing sense of these.lyrics.I think my lyrics,integrated in IA music are supporting it and increasing it's depressive and lifeless mood and feelings of hopelessness, pain,despair and doom.
- One last question regarding the lyrics: Grom hardly ever operates with the black or white sides and rather uses the word "grey". Is this particular color anyhow relevant to what you do in ICE AGES?
its funny. i had some argues about grey. i told him that i prefer black to grey, and when i close my eyes listening to ice ages i see black not grey, but he explained that grey has something more depressive melancholic while black is more evil, but i leave that answer to him
While while or black,using allegories,are more suitable for expressing some feelings,grey is empty, feelingless, dead-like and depressive.It's like an abyss of nothingness: keeping no thoughts,no senses.Thus, it's more scary and deadly then usual white/black contrast.White is usually used for something light or positive,black- for scary and evil,but I meant grey is something what lays behind it,where it both disappears and losing it's sence,the melancholic emptiness where all life is vanished
- How would you say the electronic and metal scenes stand these days in Austria, or Vienna in particular? Have ICE AGES or SUMMONING felt the state of things themselves - did you have to face any serious difficulties or, on the other hand, felt any positive changes?
i think that the artist of the own land is never so interesting than an artist from a country far away. at least considering the fan mails i realized that countries like russia, germany but also scene-unusual countries like turkey etc are more interested in summoning than austria. but apart from that i can hardly answer that question, cause i don't follow any scenes anymore; simply because of lack of time.