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SIDELINE May 2002 Interview

Clan Of Xymox

by sÈba Dolimont

SL. How did you come to the decision of releasing a remix album actually?


After the release of the album "Notes from the Underground " the idea formed to do something more with them , to ask people to do a remix as we were asked for years why we did not release any different versions of our tracks. Now it seemed the time because to do a thing like this is now relatively easy with the powerful PC's around.
I asked bands in my direct environment if they were interested to make me a remix, BUT in their own style. I preferred to have no guitars in the remixes so it would sound really different from the original recording.
After many enthousiastic reactions I sent the masters away to let bands mix them.

SL. Some might reproach you of becoming trendy? I suppose such a release with lots of electronic remixes is a way to get some more club play and appeal to a different audience at the same time?


Maybe , but I don't think so , don't forget we had already remixes as early as 1985 of the songs "A Day" and "Stranger" taken from our self titled debut album on 4 -AD remixed by the now famous John Fryer. These tracks never left the dance floor!! Since then we always had some remixes one way or the other but in the late 90's we stopped doing them because I did not like them anymore .
The fact that we decided on this approach , letting bands instead of some " famous" re mixer touch the songs appealed to me much better. It is only possible for a couple of years since most artist now own a powerful computer being able to remix it at home instead of having to go into an expensive studio which for us nor them would be an option.
To me the remixes show how our songs would have been done if I don't get involved at all ( before that I always was present in the studio) , that is for me a very interesting aspect and has a great novelty value for me.
Indeed with certain tempos, beats, synths blurting out it certainly will appeal to DJ's who play up tempo tracks at their club night. I have seen already the reaction on the dance floor when DJ's played tracks from the remix album and it certainly works for everyone!
So far I only heard very positive reactions from our fans.....

SL. Which are your 3 favourite remixes you received and for which reason?


I like them all for different reasons , each band did their utmost best to make the track work with putting their individual stamp on the track , for that reason all tracks sound varied and you don't know what to expect next. This way it keeps you glued to the stereo in great suspense.>And do not tell me you don't have favourites, I would not believe it!!!
Of course I favour certain tracks over others but that can only happen when you have all tracks together in order to make a judgement over which you favour , having said that it also depends on the mood you're in , sometimes you feel like an adrenaline rush and hence playing an upbeat track whilst the other day you want a peaceful track just to bring you in a calm frame of mind.
So you see , different days, different moods, different choices of tracks...... It always works for me!

SL. Did you also receive remixes you did not like a tall and decided not to release?
Well, ahem ..... only one , which I still wanted to include but after a meeting with the labels etc. We decided to drop one track as it did not suit the feel of all the other tracks, it sounded a bit out of place.....

SL. I think some remixes are also now to be re mixed by you in the future... Isn't it odd to get an electronic band re-mixed by a guitar based band?


Well, you say guitar based band, but you certainly know that COX was first perceived as an electronic band using also guitars. That balance sometimes shifts to a perfect balance between guitars and electronic sounds or more guitars or more synths the other time. So you see, you can't classify or put us into one direction, we hold all the cards and leaves us in the position to go any direction the songs requires.
My first remix ever for another band was for In Strict Confidence and I approached it in a way I would write the track " Herzattacke". I added a lot of guitars and a bass, changed the drums and it really worked for me, it made them sound more heavy than they normally sound on record. Luckily they liked the mix and included it on their single. I am very proud of the remix !!
The second remix I did was for the Russian DJ RAM who wrote a track featuring Stefan of Beborn Beton. In this case I kept the track very open and ambient , added a few melodies and downsized the track a lot , the right choice in retrospect as all the other mixes were very upbeat.

SL. I personally think that instead of concentrating the remix extravaganza
only on the last album, you could have selected the best songs off the last
2 or 3 albums to get a complete non-stop club hit remix album?


Yes , the only thing is that it would have been way harder because the previous two albums were still recorded in the old fashioned way , using 24 analogue tapes in a studio. I just can't send these heavy tapes to someone who uses a computer.
Because Notes from the Underground was recorded on my Mac G4 computer it is very simple to send the files , even through Internet and let someone load it into their computer.
But indeed maybe a thing to think about for some time in the future !


SL. We also sometimes claim that an average double CD could have made a very
good full length CD when operating a right selection in songs/remixes...
Your reaction?


We value the input of all the bands so we certainly wanted to feature all mixes and secondly wanted to give sometimes a second interpretation for our fans to listen to. To me it is only added value , so why economize? The expenses were great to produce an album like this for a label so it is admirable of the label they agreed to make it a very special package with even including a video disc.

SL. Will you renew this experience in the future by getting more electronic
>remixes on your future singles or even albums?


It is difficult to say because I wanted this to be an one off thing because we never done a project like this before. It is easier to do remixes now for everyone but don't forget that it is a very labourous task for everyone involved , so it is not something you just want to do every time again and again.
Certainly on an album I would not include remixes as a bonus because I think that would break the atmosphere of the intentional album.

SL. This electronic tainted remix album could also be used as a bridge to
return with a more modern and even more electronic dominated new album in fact?


No , I have done that musical experiment already in the early nineties . To me know we are on the forefront enough with our sound as it is now in our own style for the last 3 albums. It's funny to see that you see more and more electro bands trying to portray themselves as a real live band as most people getting bored seeing 2 guys on stage. So the direction COX is in is to me what works the best for everyone.
Our music is played in clubs everywhere , don't forget bands don't only have to make electro in order to get played. In our case we have all sorts of tracks; electro pop - electro goth - goth rock , dark wave etc etc. Anyway so they can play always a track of us to get people on the dance floor

 

SL. While the others were hard working on your remixes, you had lots of free
time to prepare a new album, hadn't you?


Well , not that much time... don't forget we tour a lot . I had to change the set for the live shows , concentrating on the new songs. Also I wrote a brand new track for the Pandaimonium compilation " Songs Of Pain" , a track called "There's No Tomorrow" , a very club friendly song , to me my second " A Day" , it has a great impact on the dance floor when played.
Of course I 've written and recorded a few tracks but I only write when I am in the mood. The last period I have been too busy to fully concentrate on writing and I am not in too much of a hurry because there were so many different release of Clan Of Xymox that sometimes I get afraid to release too much new material , I think people have to anticipate a new release , so you should not overfeed your fans all the time. Also I need a break once and a while ......


SL. When you look back at your career, which are the 3 best things that
happened to you? And the 3 worst?


Best 1. Signing a record deal with 4-AD in 1985 , they put us on the musical map immediately.
Best 2. Meeting Mojca and her getting involved in the band , she made me realize my strength and built up my self confidence again , she made me see my own musical direction again.
Best 3. The last 3 releases of Clan Of Xymox on Pandaimonium and Metropolis records.
Worst 1. Signing to PolyGram , a very wrong decision in retrospect but still educational and enjoyable when it happened though.
Worst 2. Metamorphosis release in 1992 , it seemed the right thing to do at the time but I find it now embarrassing.
Worst 3. I hope number three will never happen!

SL. Which was your biggest mistake in life so far?


I made many mistakes in life , but everyone needs to make mistakes otherwise you'll never learn life's lessons. So if I would give you an example it would imply I regretted it but on the contrary I see it as educational!!

SL. What is your life made of, next to your music career?


Ha , my life is music , I wake up with it and go to bed with it , I even dream it!!

SL. After so long on the music scene, don't you sometimes have days when you
wonder what is keeping your flame alive?


Not really , I know music drives me ! it would be the same question to me as "do you wonder why you are on this planet?" , to me it is the way I am and the way I live , it is a natural state of mind to me. I certainly hope I will be able to continue this path and that 's why I work on it to be able to continue this path I have chosen.


SL. If I'd ask you as the last words, to give me 5 words summarizing Clan Of
Xymox's concept and artistic approach...?


Always very much their own.

 

Sonic Seducer 2002 by Frauke Stober

 

I have seen you at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig this year while
playing and while going round on the festival. Did you enjoy the
atmosphere there? You have played for bigger audiences (for example in
South America) ñ what is the fascination of those smaller audiences like
in Leipzig?


Of course we don't play always big audiences like for example 20.000 people in Mexico or Europe's Mera Luna / Zillo / Eurorock etc. Which are big festivals , clubs we play the most during the year so it is always and always great to play anywhere.
We enjoy playing intimate clubs as well !! However Leipzig is in my books a big concert for us. It is always an unique experience.
To me it was an absolute enjoyable night. We played in haus Auensee and the building and location is absolutely beautiful.
The place holds I think 3000 people and unfortunately not all people could not get in as it was jam packed , sold out !!.
We enjoyed also the whole atmosphere of the festival and stayed up till the early morning!!


On the limited edition of Remixes from the undergroundî one can see a
very nice and informative interview. What was the intention of bringing
this interview (and the other nice clips, live clips and so on) onto the
limited edition? Is it just because you have to give such a lot of
interviews and are bored of answering the same questions all the time?
Or are these just nearer information for your fans?


I thought it would be just a nice gesture to the fans to see some footage from earlier videos , us talking a bit about the band , the past and the present ( till 2001) , seeing a bit of footage about touring . The material came from an interview we gave for a local Amsterdam TV station. When I asked if I could use it they were enthousiastic about the idea and included then the translation in English for everyone to understand what I am talking about in my Dutch language :)

The impressions of South America are really impressive ñ I have heard
from a lot of bands who toured there that they were treated like stars
(for example even in Mexico), very big concerts and so on. Do you have
an explanation for this fascination of more or less underground bands in
South America? Could you even imagine to be such a stars in the
Netherlands or in Germany? Wouldnít this be terrible?


I think for a while that territory has been neglected but sprang back into live only a couple of years ago for bands like us.
For a lot of people over there it is than a very special occasion a band comes over and then you get this outburst of hysteria nearly because it is so much anticipated. Most of the time they know our music from years and years of radio airplay and than after all this time you are finally there!
We had that also in Poland when they were part of the East block, when we performed there for 10.000 people and 5000 waiting outside because they could not get in there was this same sense of finally having a band in their country they liked and as soon as they see you on stage people go beserk....
For a band this is naturally a great experience because it gives you a feeling people really care what you do so it has nothing to do with being a rock star but more about appreciation to me.
We Northern people are way cooler but would react the same if we weren't so spoiled for choice, every weekend you can see a great band so that dampens the senses a bit. Although a few bands manage to get people into a feverish state.


You decided to choose bands for your remixes who you like personally
because of their own style. That's very unusual for remix-records and so
quite cool! It gives a special note to the remixed songs (letís call it
unusual remixes, not the typical 1-2-3- club sound of some famous bands)
and may gives a chance for those bands who are quite unknown till yet...
What do you think are the main advantages of this special kind of a
remix album?

 


I asked bands in my direct environment if they were interested to make me a remix, BUT in their own style. I preferred to have no guitars in the remixes so it would sound really different from the original recording.
After many enthousiastic reactions I sent the masters away to let bands mix them.
The fact that we decided on this approach , letting bands instead of some " famous" remixer touch the songs appealed to me much better indeed. It is only possible for a couple of years since most artist now own a powerful computer being able to remix it at home instead of having to go into an expensive studio which for us nor them would be an option.
To me the remixes show how our songs would have been done if I don't get involved at all , that is for me a very interesting aspect and has a great novelty value for me.


Indeed with certain tempos, beats, synths blurting out it certainly will appeal to DJ's who play up tempo tracks at their club night. I have seen already the reaction on the dance floor when DJ's played tracks from the remix album and it certainly works for everyone!
So far indeed I only heard very positive reactions from our fans.....Why didnít you put some remixes from other records on the remixed
record? Why did you only choose the songs from Notes from the Underground ?


Than it would have been a sort of " best of " tracks remixed... Also the thing is that it would have been way harder because the previous two albums were still recorded in the old fashioned way , using 24 analogue tapes in a studio. I just can't send these heavy tapes to someone who uses a computer.
Because Notes from the Underground was recorded on my Mac G4 computer it is very simple to send the files , even through Internet and let someone load it into their computer.

 

One can say, that COX is your life or vice versa that you are a
workaholic - touring, recording, touring, and so on- Could you imagine
to live without making music???


No not at all !! indeed my life is music , I wake up with it and go to bed with it.
What are the plans concerning near future and COX?
I can't really say , but as it looks so far is that we continue touring till the end of the year ( also South America and the USA ) and in the meantime I will write some songs if I have some energy left :)


Thanx a lot for answering my questions!!!

 

 

Gothic Magazine

Thomas Thyssen INTERVIEW with CLAN OF XYMOX

01. Hi Ronny! Phew, it«s been a while. I just listened to your new album for the - I guess - 87th time and it really kicks ass. How long did it take you to record the album and how did the name "Notes from the Underground" come across?

The initial intention is always to make a most beautiful album as possible, the way I go about it is that I never have a clear idea of what direction I will go until I start writing, mostly the sounds I use and like will dictate me as it were in what direction I am heading. The mood is than set very easily and the track starts to take over, dragging me totally into it and giving me the whole mindset to start creating the whole soundscape and mindset. Each track I approach this way so basically what happens is that over a year of writing you get as it were four seasons and moods of my personal self translated into words and music.I never sit and start without feeling inspired or the will to look for interesting bits and pieces. Of course in the past I have tried to write because of a deadline or so but that never worked for me, I rather delay than force myself. To me music has to come from the heart and there is no such thing as dictating yourself to be creative, you have to feel creative otherwise nothing worthwhile will come of it. When I finished the album I was just going through some old demo's and I had a sudden urge to make "The Same Dream" a bit more up to date. When Sonja of the band SOPHYA came around the house I asked if she would sing a few lines in the song so in a way I keep the sort of tradition to so in the end it became a bonus track on the album.

02. How would you describe the musical evolution from "Creatures" to the new album? Are there any significant differences in your opinion?

"Creatures" was a different direction to me , the making of a soundscape with nearly all songs relating to each other, in short a very homogenous dark album I never attempted with Clan Of Xymox before, to me a most successful album. Having done such an album I found new instruments such as an electric mandoline, vst plug in synths etc. to give me a push in more directions as I went along, I think that is the beauty of getting and letting new instruments into the studio and hence creating different moods and songs. With "Creatures" I stuck to same instruments for the whole album , so therefore you get a very homogenous feel, this time you get more the feeling of diversity.

 

03. The album itself is very long. How did it come that you wrote so much material for one album? Why did you include "At Your Mercy" on the album as well, although it has already been released on the preceding maxi-cd.

Just for the reason that I felt it should be on the album, the 2 other tracks which were on the single were remixed for the album and the remix of Liberty was exclusive for the single. We won't be releasing singles though as I think it is a medium which is not of these times anymore, so I value the completeness of an album. The total length of the album is somewhere around the 66 minutes but it is because I included " The Same Dream" , this was a song written in 1993 but I never released it or thought about releasing it. When I finished the album I was just going through some old demo's and I had a sudden urge to make "The Same Dream" a bit more up to date. When Sonja of the band SOPHYA came around the house I asked if she would sing a few lines in the song so in a way I keep the sort of tradition to so in the end it became a bonus track on the album.

 

04. You played the M«era Luna festival this year. How were your experiences?

It is always fantastic to play on M'era Luna or any other festival, the shear crowd in front of you listening to your music is always breathtaking. When we started it was completely full up till the end. We played already two new songs from "Notes From The Underground" for the very first time so we were all quite nervous about that. When we finished our set we were completely exstatic as we played and felt great. We started in the afternoon so we had time to see a lot of bands till the end.We stayed the next day as well so basically we were enjoying ourselves..

 

05. Will there be any further maxi-cd from the album?

No , but at the moment a lot of different bands and artists are re mixing the songs from "Notes From The Underground". It is the first time COX are giving all tracks of an album out of hand to be re mixed entirely. I don't know if it is going to be danceable mixes or interpretations of the artists as I leave them naturally complete freedom in what they are going to do. I prefer however that they put their own signature on the track, so basically COX sounding like the artists who are remixing.

06. What«s your personal favourite from the album? I have to admit that I like "Anguish" a lot since it marks something special in the album.

Thanks, I consider "Anguish" as one of COX's most epic tracks so far, in those terms it captures the whole mood of the album tittle .

 

07. Will there be an accompanying tour to the release of the album?

I write whilst we also do concerts in the meantime , in between concerts we release a new album and so on. In this way our fans get up to date with what we do and when it's time we change our set with new songs. I try also to avoid long continuous tours as I find them hampering the joy of playing live, also for us a concert has to be a special event. In this manner you can tour for years as we have done without having the feeling of being exhausted.

08. I guess that "I Want You Now" is going to be the favourite pick of djs worldwide from the new cd. Could you explain the theme of that song to us please?

 

Hi, hi, hi ...."I Want You Now" , the title speaks for itself I think ......

09. Hopes, plans and dreams for the future?

! I rather live by the day.....but of course I hope everyone will enjoy the album as much as I do.

10. Thanx a lot Ronny... again! ;) Hope to meet you again sometime, someplace! All the best!

Thomas Thyssen for GOTHIC Magazine

 

 

 

Interview Horror online: Horroronline

They first appeared in 1984 and were quickly snatched up by British indie label, 4 AD. Sharing a label with such Gothic notables as Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance earned Clan of Xymox the ear of that subculture and it was the "Goths" who became their first real followers. Together with the aforementioned bands and then Southern California's now Chicago-based Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Clan of Xymox succeeded in launching the swirly-soft modern form of Gothic music sometimes called "Darkwave." "I just like songs with that dark mood," explains the band's singer/guitarist, Ronnie Moorings. "For me, tracks have to have atmosphere, a good tune, tension, emotion and matching lyrics." Whereas Darkwave's other progenitors maintained a steady slow and somber balance, CoX branched into so many other areas that they represented each incarnation with slightly different variations on their name Xymox vs. Clan of Xymox. Those who were introduced to the dichotomous tones of CoX in the early years will agree that they had this brilliantly unnerving ability to change everything musically at exactly that moment when the listener was beginning to get aurally "comfortable." This is the one element of their music that has never changed throughout the years. "The sounds are always multi layered and I combine a lot of different instruments. I would say it is the typical sound of Clan Of Xymox," explains Moorings. When asked to describe the evolution of their sound, Moorings says, "I really leave that to whoever wants to classify us. Whilst writing music I just follow my emotions and don't care about it's impact later on." It is the emotion inherent within a Clan of Xymox song that affects the listener so strongly. Moorings uses external perception and internal insight combined to generate the emotion expressed in the music. He explains that he is inspired by, "Things I see around me. Wherever you go impressions get stored up in the unconscious mind and will spill out whilst writing music or words." Although horror is not an underlying theme for Clan of Xymox, psychological terror and emotional cynicism are. These moods combine to create an atmosphere of philosophical horror that can leave the listener wondering what literary or cinematic avenues in the horror genre Moorings mind has been travelling. "To me," he explains, "even Franz Kafka is horror the claustrophobic atmosphere he was able to capture in his books. Even Patrick Skind's "Perfume" which grabs your attention and sense of smell immediately. The idea of distilling the perfect smell out of young virgins is a natural horror theme. What I like most in this genre is the early 19th century Gothic tales, for example Pushkin's The Undertaker, The Queen of Spades, Tolstoy's Vampire, Bestuzhev's The terrible Fortune Telling, Gogol's A Night In May, or the drowned Maiden, The Nose, The Portrait, Odoyevsky's The Ghost, The Living Corpse, etc." With their latest release, "Creatures," Clan of Xymox explore an even deeper, darker side of their experience. Says Moorings, "I store up a lot of feelings and emotions which I have to write about sooner or later so each album is a reflection of a certain period for me. I guess with "Creatures" that was the mood I was in and I was/am very pessimistic about people in general. From writing the first track I already knew and felt the direction of Creatures. The running order on Creatures is nearly a chronological running order of the way the music was written and all tracks I wrote are used for this album."

 

Exclusive interview for Russian Gothic Page and RockCity Magazine (by Stanislav Ivanoff).

 

Clan of Xymox is one of the most respectable and vet gothic bands. Started in 1984, Ronny Moorings and company released a tremendous amount of albums, worked with such labels as 4AD and PolyGram, and constantly experimented with their music, exploring many different styles: from gothic rock to electro-pop. Released last year their latest album 'Creatures' inaugurated the final return to the band's origins - classic gothic rock of 80's. I talked about this and many other topics in my interview with the permanent leader of the band - Ronny Moorings. To begin with a brief history of the band. Clan of Xymox was founded in 1984 in Amsterdam by Ronny Moorings. 1985 saw the release of the band's self-titled debut album, which was out by the leading English independent label 4AD. Two years after the second full-length album 'Medusa' was released while aided by the impressive 12" single 'A Million Things' the band really started to create a buzz. In October 1988 the band parted with 4AD, shortened its name to Xymox and signed to Wing, a left of center subsidiary of media monolith PolyGram. Under the wing of PolyGram Xymox released two albums 'Twist of Shadows' (1989) and 'Phoenix' (1991), and also three 12" singles: 'Obsession', 'Imagination' and 'Blind Hearts'. The band embarked on sellout tours around the world and featured in college, alternative and mainstream Billboard charts. 'Metamorphosis' (1992) and 'Headclouds' (1993) were released on Zok Records, an independent label, solely working for the band. Xymox was never afraid of changes, so these albums presented a whole range of styles and influences, leading on Xymox into the dance era of 90's. In 1994 Xymox released their first (1984, 500 copies) limited available album 'Subsequent Pleasures' on Double Dutch Records and Zok Records released a remix album, which contains only radio edits of the albums 'Metamorphosis' and 'Headclouds'. In 1997 Ronny Moorings ended the Xymox era, reformed Clan of Xymox and the band signed to USA and German based independent label TESS Records on which the historical album 'Hidden Faces' was released. Produced by Dave M. Allen (Sisters of Mercy, The Cure) and John A. Rivers (Dead Can Dance, Love and Rockets), it signalized the revival of Clan of Xymox and turned the band to its own history on another qualitatively new level. Two singles 'Out of the Rain' and 'This World' followed 'Hidden Faces' while in April 1999 Clan of Xymox released brand new album 'Creatures', which immediately ranked the first positions in independent music charts all over the world. - So, last year you celebrated your 15th anniversary. This is quite a serious date in the creative activity of every band. Looking back, what can you say about all these years? "I can say that I am very glad I had the opportunity to release all the music I have written. I can tell that I feel that I know what I want now, which has not always been the case. In a way I feel I just started with the band, I know that might sound strange to you but I really feel like this. Maybe it is because I restarted Clan of Xymox two years ago and knowing what I wanted with my music whilst in the Xymox period I wasn't always that sure about the musical directions I was taking. Although I always followed my mood and what you have on record, that is me, nearly like an audio photoalbum. Whilst writing music I always followed my emotions and never cared about its impact later on. With writing new material I am always looking out for new sounds, which will trigger my imagination in the right direction. The combination of synth sounds, guitars, noises and everything suitable makes it for me interesting to write new songs. I just like songs with that dark mood, for me, tracks have to have atmosphere, a good tune, tension, emotion and matching lyrics. The main thing in music is that artist always tries to find other ways to approach things. The development of all sorts of technological instruments or the use of forgotten instruments is a big help in that. It gives you greater freedom to express your inner world without being too dependent of other people to interpret your ideas. I certainly will continue to explore all musical options!" - In the year of your 15th anniversary the new album 'Creatures' was out as well. I guess it also has some special meaning for you. Following 'Hidden Faces' tradition, it returns us back to your origins. It brilliantly blends old goth-rock base with the new sounding and the result is perfect indeed. Please, describe this album. Tell us how it was designed and created? "It is the darkest album to date Clan of Xymox ever made. This is an album you can't judge by hearing it a few times, you have to listen to it quite a few times to fully grasp what is happening and than you will hear the vast amount of layers of keyboards working together with the guitars. The writing process is never a conscious matter for me, I know I store up a lot of feelings and emotions which I have to write about sooner or later so each album is a reflection of a certain period for me. I guess with 'Creatures' that was the mood I was in and I was/am very pessimistic about people in general. 'Hidden Faces' was written over a period of three years with ample material to choose from. I wrote in more different styles and even wrote enough material for an instrumental album. I simply chose the tracks which I liked the best and would highlight different aspects of Clan of Xymox, dark wave, industrial, ambient instrumental pieces and gothic rock songs. It feels more like a compilation of tracks. After recording of 'Hidden Faces' a different period for me set in, we started playing live a lot and I got more and more aware in which direction I wanted to go and felt most comfortable with. 'Creatures' is written in between one and a half year of touring and the writing process is different than the others as each time something occurred or caught my attention, I translated this almost directly into music, that's why it sounds like the most homogenous album recorded by Clan of Xymox ever and as far as I can see also the darkest one (and best if you ask my opinion) to date. You can simply say this was my reflection and inner mood after the release of 'Hidden Faces'. From on writing the first track I already knew and felt the direction of 'Creatures', the running order on 'Creatures' is nearly a chronological running order of the way the music was written and all tracks I wrote are used for this album. (I still have tracks left of the 'Hidden Faces' period but to me they felt not suitable to add to the 'Creatures' album.) As you know Clan of Xymox always delivered an album with a hybrid combination between keyboards and guitars, only the overall atmosphere this time is much darker than the previous releases. As far as I can see this is the line I will follow for the future as I feel this suits me the best and feel the most comfortable with; the dark side of Clan of Xymox!" - Who are Clan of Xymox at the moment? What can you say about the present line-up? Are you pleased with your work together? "The present live Clan of Xymox line up is Mojca (bass), Rui Ramos (drums) Nina Simic (keyboards) and myself. We have been touring two years non stop throughout the world. It is not something to take lightly as it takes a lot from people, but the most important factor is that we get along pretty well so we can cope with a lot of things. I think it shows the best that we still go to a bar after a lenghty tour where you face eachother 24 hours a day." - Did the rest of the band take part in the creation of 'Creatures'? "No, not quite, I write the music and words at home and later record and perform the music in the studio. During the writing process I will show songs to Mojca and ask her opinion and I think she is always right with her comments and criticism in the early stages of the writing process. Of course I never agree at first but have always to admit in retrospect she was right. So basically I rely a lot on Mojca and if she likes what I wrote than it passes the test for me to record it later for a record. Even from the beginning of Clan of Xymox in 1984 I always wrote music and words on my own so I never seen the reason to change my habit. I just feel more comfortable writing on my own without having to explain myself or what I want to anyone else. Sometimes I get inspired though, like with "Jasmine and Rose", for example Rui played a certain rhythm, Mojca played the bass and I played the guitar, that was a sort of "jamming session" that inspired me to go to my workroom later to work out the idea further, so indirect there is always an input or even certain situations I experience in or with the band during touring that might inspire my lyrics etc." - You toured much supporting your new album, right? You had huge U.S. tour and other performances. How were they? What can you say about fan's reaction on your album? "So far we had the most amazing positive reactions we ever received on the release of a new album from all over the world. Indeed the US tour was a big tour where we traveled the entire States and also went to Canada. Our highlight was definite the Halloween night in Denver as this a special event in the States, everyone gets dressed up in the most Gothic or simply looking scary way, of course the venue was sold out and the crowd was amazing, they couldn't get enough. Luckily after the show we had some time to hang out in a local Denver where the Halloween party continued. I can tell you that we really enjoyed the tour and of course it was not our first tour in the States. We build up during the years a loyal following and of course we always get discovered by new people who became at a legal age to go to a concert. We have a pretty diverse crowd though, it is not only the Gothic scene but also a lot of "normal" dressed people of all walks of life." - I believe that Clan of Xymox won't stop and look forward into the future. What are your further plans? "Making more music I hope!" Stanislav Ivanoff Published in RockCity Magazine (Ü1/ 2000) (c) 1999 Russian Gothic Project Design by Chthon (c) 1999

CHAOS CONTROL MAGAZINE

You've switched US labels again ... how did you come to release "Creatures" on Metropolis? "We decided it was time to control everything to the maximum as possible, so our own label licensed exclusively the album to Metropolis in the USA and we continued with Stephan Thiemann from the former Tess Records in Europe and licensed the material to his new label Pandaimonium. With this new construction it gives us more freedom (contractual) and more control, also over the budgets for the recordings etc." Last time I interviewed you said you wouldn't ever release on a major label again. Is there any particular advice you'd give to a new band faced with the decision of whether to go with a major or indie label? What were some of the problems you had? "Most new bands have not that much choice and I think whatever advice they will get they will sign most of the time with the label offering them some crappy deal. The best advice is always to get a reputable music lawyer so he/she can look into the small print. It is hardly ever right and of course you make decisions which you think are beneficial for the band and its future. Indie labels often have distribution problems and not enough budget for advertisement. Majors have all this but work in contrary of Indies with a short term policy, if sales do not result in the first three weeks they are not interested anymore and rarely support the band any further, the band will be a tax write off and of course they sign maybe thirty projects at the same time, so if one of them becomes successful they just carry on with that particular band, until they don't score a second hit...... For Majors its just selling product and if some band has a number one hit they sign all the copycats and hoping they can eat something of that market or make it as successful. Indies labels often start with an ideal and want to represent one style of music and are often genuinely interested in what they sign." How would you compare the creative process behind "Creatures" to that of "Hidden Faces"? How long did "Creatures" take to make? Do you tend ot have specific goals when you go into making an album, or do you just start writing/recording and see where it goes? The writing process is never a conscious matter for me, I know I store up a lot of feelings and emotions which I have to write about sooner or later so each album is a reflection of a certain period for me. I guess with Creatures that was the mood I was in and I was/ am very pessimistic about people in general. Hidden Faces was written over a period of three years with ample material to choose from. I wrote in more different styles and even wrote enough material for an instrumental album. I simply chose the tracks which I liked the best and would highlight different aspects of Clan of Xymox, dark wave, industrial, ambient instrumental pieces and gothic rock songs.It feels more like a compilation of tracks. After recording of Hidden Faces a different period for me set in, we started playing live a lot and I got more and more aware in which direction I wanted to go and felt most comfortable with. Creatures is written in between one and a half year of touring and the writing process is different than the others as each time something occurred or caught my attention,I translated this almost directly into music, thats why it sounds like the most homogenous album recorded by Clan of Xymox ever and as far as I can see also the darkest one to date.You can simply say this was my reflection and inner mood after the release of Hidden Faces. From on writing the first track I already knew and felt the direction of Creatures, the running order on Creatures is nearly a chronological running order of the way the music was written and all tracks I wrote are used for this album. ( I still have tracks left of the Hidden Faces period but to me they felt not suitable to add to the Creatures album.) As you know Clan of Xymox always delivered an album with a hybrid combination between keyboards and guitars, only the overall atmosphere this time is much darker than the previous releases. As far as I can see this is the line I will follow for the future as I feel this suits me the best and feel the most comfortable with; the dark side of Clan of Xymox! This is an album you can't judge by hearing it a few times, you have to listen to it quite a few times to fully grasp what is happening and than you will hear the vast amount of layers of keyboards working together with the guitars. Like from the start of Clan of Xymox with the release of our self titled album in 1985 on 4 AD we always combined these ingredients keyboards and guitars and again on Creatures this is the case. If I would only use synths we would sound too much like the thousands of bands working only in this narrow field of music. For me it is really important to have our own sound and this combination works the best for me and what I want to achieve musically. Whilst writing music I just follow my emotions and don't care about it's impact later on. With writing new material I am always looking out for new sounds which will trigger my imagination in the right direction. The combination of synth sounds ,guitars, noises and everything suitable makes it for me interesting to write new songs. I just like songs with that dark mood , for me, tracks have to have atmosphere , a good tune, tension, emotion and matching lyrics." How do you tend to divide your time between touring and writing/recording? "Instead of the classic approach of writing-recording -touring-and writing-recording-touring etc. with intervals of three years I only want(ed) to do the better concerts so we can tour and if I have a week in between I will be able to write (if I am in the mood for it) or just do something else. I don't particular like long tours with being constantly on the road, I prefer to do just a few shows and go home again. Sometimes that is not possible so you have to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible, like in the USA it is essential you have a night liner because the distances are too great." How do you feel about the internet's potential as a way to distribute music? "It will be certainly a part of the music business in a few years time when people trust and are assured about the safety of the medium and their credit card numbers.There are already a few companies having big successes with selling records in this manner.The majority however still buys the records in the conventional way, because you buy most of the time an album on impulse and you want to listen to it straight away. If you order an album of the internet you still have to wait for the actual delivery and that might take a while.The MP3 format might be the answer for this problem but then you will have the problem of artist not getting their deserved royalties." Have you always written songs/sung in English? If so, is it just because you wanted Xymox to be an international band, or are there other reasons? "Yes, simply because it sounds better and most people speak English around the world, so for me it is the perfect international language. " If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing instead? "If ifs and ans Were pots and pans Where would be the tinker? To be or not to be , that is the question! and also the answer! When is your birthday? "The 20th of May in the late evening." Do you believe in horoscopes? "No, I think they have some entertainment value and that's all." Why does the name of the band keep changing? Do you see it staying Clan Of Xymox for a while? "Yes, the change of name is for me also a change of attitude. I continued with Clan of Xymox and for me that is the first and the last two albums. To me the Xymox period (89-94) stands for confusion and chaos and I really didn't know what I wanted, luckily that is all in the past now and there is no doubt in my mind about the Clan Of Xymox future and direction." Have you stayed in touch with any past members of the group? "No, it is the same for most people, most people in your past slowly disappear , people come and go in your life. I think being in a band is a reflection of life (sometimes more intense) and the human processes are the same. Band members are not your parents who you keep seeing despite anything." Have any moved into other musical projects that Clan Of Xymox fans might be interested in? "I seriously doubt Anke or Pieter do anything musically or have aspirations in that direction, otherwise you/we would have known about it by now, it is nearly 9 years ago I saw them for the last time, so I am afraid I can't be of any help with this great unsolved mystery!"

©1999 Bob Gourley

 

INTERVIEW WITH RONNY MOORINGS
July 12, 1997


Ronny Moorings proved to be a quietly charming interviewee. He is polite, gracious and
intelligent, with a soft-spoken manner that is very appealing. He has none of the rock star
attitude you might find in someone who's been in the business as long as he has. Mr.
Moorings holds himself with an understated confidence that puts one at ease when talking
to him. Nevertheless, we were a bit nervous having him up to our humble studio,
particularly since we were not as well-prepared as we could have been. Both he and
Antrome were very patient and cooperative with us. They graciously donated two CDs and
posters to our listeners, as well as provided us with a copy of the new cd single for our
show library. The following is an edited transcription of our conversation from the show.

JUSTIN: Tonight we have a special guest in the studio with us.
RONNY: Hi, I'm Ronny Moorings, from Clan of Xymox.
JUSTIN: And we also have Antrome, from Tess Records, in the studio. So...
RONNY: Fire! You're still trying to get your breath from running into the
studio, right?
JUSTIN: Yes, the joys of caffeine! So, tell us what's been happening with
Clan of Xymox... The last thing I
remember you doing was as Xymox actually, with the album "Phoenix." But I
saw on the bio sheet that you'd
done a few albums since then.
RONNY: Yes, well, that was just basically Xymox experimenting with a new
direction. The most important thing
is that now Clan of Xymox signed to Tess Records, which is based in Santa
Barbara. We just recorded a new
album, called "Hidden Faces" and a sneak preview, of course, is this ep,
"Out of the Rain."
JUSTIN: And when was this released?
ANTROME: Two days ago, on the 8th.
JUSTIN: And when will the album come out?
RONNY: This September.

JUSTIN: We'll be looking forward to hearing that. So what made you decide
to change the name back to Clan of Xymox?
RONNY: I think it's for the same reason that, when we dropped "Clan of"
when we signed to Polygram
Records it signified a certain change for the band, having left an
independent label for a major label. For the same
reason, we stuck the "Clan of" back on Xymox, because we signed to an
independent label, where we feel much
more at home. For me, Tess represents the same style of label as 4AD in the
early days when we signed with
them. I feel that this album is the logical follow-up of the "Clan of
Xymox" and "Medusa" albums. Therefore, we
actually wanted to make some sort of distinction between the Clan of Xymox
and Xymox releases.
JUSTIN: Right. You can really hear the difference when you hear the two,
from the early Clan of Xymox
material and the later Xymox material. I'm sure part of that was the
producers you worked with.
RONNY: Yeah. I think we just drifted a bit into a certain area and we just
reversed course.

JUSTIN: Do you find that you feel freer working with an independent label,
compared to the time you spent
working with a major label?
RONNY: Oh, the thing with major label is that you have major budget, so you
tend to over-spend your time in the
studio and I think it takes away some of the spontaneity of it. I think
that if you know what you want to do, there's
no point in hanging out in the studio for six months or so. The studios are
never really the nicest environments to
stay in, so I appreciate a more reasonable amount of time. Also major
labels tend to want a producer who will do the
job, but also make it so that the music can be played on the radio, which
sometimes doesn't necessarily complement
the band. Certain things should be a bit rougher and not so clean.

JUSTIN: How did you feel about the production you recieved from Polygram
as opposed to your time spent
with 4AD?
RONNY: That's actually kind of funny because Ivo, the boss of 4AD,
suggested that we should work with Pete
Bowles - it was our choice to work with him - and in those days he was
notorious for his production of Simple
Minds, but he also worked with Gene Loves Jezebel. And we thought, 'Well,
we've never worked with a
producer before; we should try that." He has some sort of crispy sound and
I think that now, in retrospect, I would
have had it a little bit more... rougher, tougher. Like John Fryer's
production basically; but he wasn't a producer,
he was mixing, we needed another mixer then... I don't know, it's just a
different approach. The label seemed to be
happy with their producer, and if we would have said 'Well we want to have
this or that person' they might have
put up a fight with us, I don't know.

JUSTIN: You're working with some fairly well-renowned producers on this
new album, aren't you?
RONNY: Yeah, we worked with Dave Allen on this song you just heard, "Out of
the Rain." He's produced
Sisters of Mercy and The Cure, to name a few. We chose him for the reason
that he worked with those bands,
and I like the sound on those albums, so... If you work with a producer,
you have to first admire their work, so that
you feel comfortable. Other tracks were done with John Rivers, known from
Dead Can Dance - you've played
already some songs from Dead Can Dance... He produced all their albums.
Obviously he has a great ear for
sound and he mixes very well. I also had experience with him from the 4AD
days, he produced one ep.

ANJI: Who are you working with on this album? I mean, is it all just you
doing the music and vocals?
RONNY: Well, it's the same as always. The vocalist sings the song that
wrote the song. On this new album,
there's a girl singing, Moinsa. She's in the band, for the same reason that
Anka, who used to be my girlfriend,
played the bass and got one song on the album [Clan of Xymox]... now it's
Moinsa. Basically it's the same
structure as with Clan of Xymox. She sings a heavier song, much too heavy
for me. But she could handle it, so
it's great.

JUSTIN: So do you have a tour scheduled?
RONNY: We're working on it. Just to give you some idea, we're thinking
around October somewhere.
ANJI: Do you enjoy playing live?
RONNY: I think I will now. You know, I haven't done it for awhile. If you
do it too much, you tend to get really
boring after awhile. You're taken away from a normal life, and you lead a
kind of unreal life on the road.
Sometimes that gets to you, but as I haven't done it for awhile, I'd like
to have a bit of that again.
ANJI: Like you said, you can't spend all your time in the studio.
RONNY: Yeah, you need to vary in life, and that's one of the variations.

ANJI: How long have you been working on the material that you recorded for
this new album?
RONNY: Ahh... I've spent actually, three years writing the material, so
there's actually a little bit more material
than there is on the album. I'll keep that for later. Otherwise it would be
a double album!
ANJI: Well, what a comeback that would be!
RONNY: Yeah, OK, but we've got 14 tracks on the new album already, and some
tracks for the ep.
ANJI: I noticed that the ep has got a sampler of styles on it. The first is
a nice solid pop song, and the second is
more of an industrial dance number and the last is a really nice ethereal
instrumental.
RONNY: It is almost like a sampler of things to come. Clan of Xymox tackles
different kinds of music, and we
thought that if we put 3 different styles of music on the ep, then you'd
get some idea of what's going to happen.

JUSTIN: We just heard "Going 'Round '97." Would you tell us why it's "97"?
RONNY: Well, "Going 'Round" was a song which appeared on our very
first-ever ep on our own label, which
was a long time ago, and it was also a limited edition, so not too many
people got to hear that song. That's the same
reason we rerecorded "Muscoviet Mosquito" for "Lonely is an Eyesore" for
4AD's label.
JUSTIN: So that was from the first ep?
RONNY: Yes, from "Subsequent Pleasures," so's "Going 'Round." There's a
slight change of attitude on that
song, same as "...Mosquito" at the time. So, that's why "'97," 'cause it's
a new version from '97.
JUSTIN: Wow, that's fascinating, I love "Muscoviet Mosquito," but I didn't
realize that ep existed.
RONNY: We actually rereleased it in '94, because it had been bootlegged so
heavily that we had to release it in
order to hamper bootleggers and also to bring in the proper quality as we
wanted it. We called it "Subsequent
Pleasures" as well, and stuck some extra demos on it, to show people why
we'd gotten signed to 4AD. So it was
some sort of, like, history booklet, and also for the fact to celebrate the
10 year anniversary of the band.

DACH: I have a question, if I may... I'm curious as to what prompted you
to change from a U.K. label to an
American label.
RONNY: Why? I think I answered that earlier on, but basically, we felt that
we would have a wider distribution in
America. Especially at that time it was crucial for us because we (?)ended
on 40(?) on the import charts and people
were bugging us that it was very hard to get our material. And actually, it
still is -- from 4AD -- it's going at these
ridiculous prices, like $25, which I think is too much to pay for records.
So that was the argument to sign to the
American label. At the time, it seemed to be a sane decision.
ALL: (laughs)

ANJI: I understand that you have a lot of promo things planned for the
next week or two?
RONNY: Yes, we're doing some interviews, some release parties...
ANTROME: We're doing give-aways locally at Helter Skelter, and then in San
Francisco and so on. We'll be
giving out copies of the new cd single, Clan of Xymox t-shirts that were
just pressed yesterday - so they're not
even on the market. We made a limited amount of them and when these are
gone, they aren't going to be remade.
It's a special edition t-shirt which is specifically for "Out of the Rain."
Later on, when the full-length album comes
out, we'll have t-shirts for "Hidden Faces," which will be mass produced
and available for years. So, we'll be
giving away some of those limited edition "Out of the Rain" t-shirts and
some really beautiful Clan of Xymox
posters.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~uncle/fly.htm london / camden underworld

ELEGY(mar-avr 99)

Ronny Moorings a ŽtŽ interviewŽ dans le troisime Elegy (mar-avr 99) par Laure Cornaire. Voici quelques idŽes qui ressortent de cette rencontre : A propos des singles et des remixes " Nous ne sommes vraiment pas un groupe ˆ singles. La plupart du temps, le single est lÕoutil pour passer ˆ la radio, la clef du succs dans les charts, ce qui nÕest pas vraiment notre but. Pour les mmes raisons, je nÕaime pas spŽcialement les remixes. " A propos du futur du groupe "En Žcoutant Creatures, on se rend compte de la direction que nous prenons, cet album est le rŽsultat de nos expŽrimentations passŽes et c'est la ligne que nous suivrons jusqu'ˆ l'an 2000 au moins." A propos du passŽ musical de Ronny "J'ai toujours fait de la musique, depuis que j'ai l'‰ge de trois ans! Lorsque j'Žtais adolescent, j'avais formŽ quelques groupes sans lendemain. Puis j'ai dŽcouvert les merveilles de la technologie, ce qui a conditionnŽ ma manire de composer, puisque cela permettait de travailler tout seul sans avoir ˆ trouver d'autres partenaires pour former un groupe." A propos de la collaboration avec un autre groupe "Le problme est que j'ai toujours une idŽe trs prŽcise de ce que je veux obtenir et je pense que la seule personne qui puisse entirement comprendre ce que je veux, c'est moi-mme! Qui plus est, je compose trs souvent ma musique la nuit ou tard le soir. Ce que j'essaie de faire est avant tout d'insufler mon ‰me entire dans chacun de mes morceaux, et c'est en Žtant seul que je peux y parvenir." A propos de ce qu'il ferait s'il avait plus de temps "J'aimerais Žcrire un livre par exemple, un roman. Mais c'est le genre de projet qui prend ŽnormŽment de temps. Je n'imagine mme pas le nombre d'heures qu'il me faudrait pour Žcrire un livre entier ! C'est plus un rve qu'autre chose pour moi. Pour l'instant, je prŽfre me consacrer entirement ˆ la musique. Les autres choses ne pourraient que me distraire !" A propos du split de Dead Can Dance "Je pense que c'est quelque chose qui remonte ˆ plus de temps que a, lorsque Lisa Gerrard a fait son premier album solo, et cela devait arriver un jour ou l'autre. Ca fait Žgalement longtemps que Brendan Perry songe ˆ faire un album solo, ce qu'il a l'opportunitŽ de faire maintenant. De plus, la situation gŽographique y est aussi pour quelque chose : lui en Australie, elle en Irlande; je pense que la situation gŽographique dicte la manire dont on travaille ensemble."

 

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