interview with the English magazine Kaleidoskoop just after the release of planet euphoria

Friends tell me I've been dancing to some of your earlier tunes for a while but I don't have any albums before Planet Euphoria. People describe the earlier stuff as various things: industrial/ebm/psy electro... How would you describe it?

I don’t know. It depends on how far you go back. The first album, soft flesh / hard steel was kind of a cliché album when I look back at it now. We were very proud when we released that one, but it just didn’t really sound innovating. Especially when you know what music we listened to at that stage. But since the first release on flatline we started experimenting in a way it made sense. This was about the time we discovered psy trance. Kmputor was still very EBM minded, but the overall feel was way more dance then most bands at that time. When we released UFF people started to understand that we wanted to do something different. I first mentioned the term psy electro in an interview, and the term kept on following us ever since. On planet euphoria we again tried something different. Focusing more on loop based structures and incorporating more trance sounds in the layers of a song. Jenns vocals all make it sound more accessible. Making it again an album hard to pin to one specific scene. But it is a kind of album that could only have been made by a band that has its roots in EBM/industrial. We never wanted to hide where we come from; we just want this stagnating scene to evolve a little more.

I think Planet... is an excellent album but it's not industrial or ebm. Do you agree?

This is a question with a very dubble meaning if you ask me. In a way I agree and concider it a compliment. Because we don’t want to make traditional EBM. We could do that blindfolded. There is no trill in doing this. I too could make an album that sounds like the next VNV nation, but I just think I shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I respect VNV nation, but not the clones. And do you honestly think the new covenant sounds as traditional EBM. These bands accomplished a certain status in the scene, so the new releases are EBM by definition. And it becomes the standard for the next generation of clones.

How did the style change come about?

A friend of mine is a respected psy-trance dj in Belgium. He introduced me to this scene. I love the way these artists work with sounds and bleeps. In a way this style of music is mainly driven by the experiment itself. I kind of like the idea. So we started to try and mix the psy-trance type of sounds in electro. I miss the vocals in psy-trance. And most of the times I think the evolution of the tracks are a bit to slow. Add to this the urge to make pure power tracks, and you understand where we stand right now.
On top of this all, yo-el, the dj feeds me 2 cassettes a month with dj-mixes he did. By now, he knows what I like and what I don’t. So most of the time these mixes are great. I play them in the car till he gets me new cassettes. It is only natural that the music you listen to reflects in your own compositions.

Do you think you are making a different type of music, or do you think that this is what industrial/ebm/electro music is evolving into?

It depends on how you look at it. If you ask if we sound like suicide commando, I would have to say no. But we both have the same roots. The interpretation is different. And my influences over the years are different. Should you delete the electro elements in my compositions, you would be left with a very poor sounding CD.

What do you see yourselves doing with the next album?

Recently I discovered progressive trance and progressive house. Both styles offer a new field of experiment for me. These tracks are aimed to dance, but they constantly interrupt the trance feel with incredible short unpredictable breaks. The funny thing about it is that if you do it right, it doesn’t break the dance feeling, but extremely emphasize it. We have already started working on the new album. And I’m toying with these breaks too.

What's your favorite track and your favorite remix on PE?

Euh, this is a hard one. I made these tracks. And I only released those that I think are good. But “all I want”, “whispers” and “screamsaver” are my top 3 of the album. As for the remixes. The best remix I think is shanka with “so right”. This is on u-turn, but it is a remix of a PE-track. But a lot of other bands came up with very interesting mixes. Empusae, infrastructure, delobbo, ovaka, interlace they all sound great to me. That is kind of why I picked those bands J

What are the reasons behind deciding to release a DVD? Is it much more expensive to produce?

Well, let us be clear on this. We did not release a DVD. There is a limited edition of the album that is stored in a DVD box. But in fact it holds 2 audio CD’s and an A3 poster + 4 postcards. The extra CD holds 10 tracks that are not released anywhere else.
And yes, this is an expensive thing to make. But it is the policy of the label to do this with every release. In a way they had to convince me to do this, since it is a lot of work for a band. Work that will only reach a small audience. But we lobbied hard to have a bonus CD that makes sense. And to be honest, I’m happy we did this. Because the artwork greg did for this is amazing and the poster is so nice on the studio wall J

What do you think of the music that is currently being put out in the industrial/ebm scene?

To my humble opinion the lack of experiment is killing this scene. This is not the way to attract a young public. The big bands cash in the investment by not taking risks. Releasing an album like planet euphoria is a big risk. We got away with it, but it might as well have gone in the opposite direction. We lost some fans with this release, and gained some others. But I can keep my head high and talk about experimental and progressive music. Well, it may sound strange, but when I started listening to this so called new wave (that was the name in the record stores in Belgium), you had bands like coil, front 242, klinik, trisomie 21, legendary pink dots … etc. all in the same section in the record shop. That was the section that held the quality experimental music. That was where I looked for my cd’s. Today it is hard for me to find the pearls in the sections that hold the implant albums.

And do you like that music in general?

Oh yes, I still like the music in this scene. it is just hard to find the good releases. It seems like everybody with a synthesizer gets released these days. And even that is no longer true. With the current software synths, it is even possible to be released without buying synths. Maybe we need less labels and more quality. But it’s a vicious circle. The albums sell, so more are released, so more people want to make an album that sells, so more people make the same albums .. etc.
Just try and find those bands that break the circle. They do exist! I just hope we are one of them.

What music did you both grow up with?

I grew up with front 242, klinik etc. my parents were hippies. They listened to pink Floyd and the beetles. They were very open when it came to music. In fact when a friend at school handed me a cassette with geography by front 242, it was the first time they shouted to turn down that noise. That is where I felt in love with this music. Had I had this reaction with an iron maiden album, I might be making dead metal right now.

What other music do you like? What album do you both most listen to at the moment?

I like a lot of different types of music. It just depends on what albums you listen to. I hate trip hop, but I like massive attack. What I don’t like in music is when you can recognize formulas in it.
The albums I have been playing a lot over the last months is x dream with irritant. Real intense album. Pappa & guilby is another of those projects that impressed me a lot over the last months. The début of displacer on m-tronic is also an album that I really think is great. And so Is the new negative format. There are a lot of good albums out there, they are just harder to find.

What do you do for fun?

Ok, call me a nerd, but I make music for fun. Honestly. This is my hobby. I have a day job, a son and a pregnant wife. This is my form of escapism. When everybody is asleep at night, I go to the studio, plug in the headphones and start making this strange music. But it is fun to me. In fact, when I stop having fun making this music, I’ll probably quit.

What do you plan to do now? Will you tour?

As I mentioned, my wife is pregnant. Touring is not really an option. I teach at a university for a living, so I can only tour on official school holidays. But we live in Belgium, and that is almost the center of Europe. So we plan gigs in the weekends. In fact, if all goes well, we’ll play London and Sheffield in the near future.

If so, how will Implant look on stage? Do you intend to bring in more live members?

The new show is Nicolas (empusae) and me on stage. Nicolas plays djambe on most tracks. While I sing or play a tarbuka or even synths. The female vocals are in the tape. And that is something we don’t hide. There is nobody on stage to playback jenns work. We play it honest. The main aim is to get people dancing. And most of the time the formula works. We tried out the new material in Brussels, Cannes and Paris. And most reactions were wild. You can never reach the full audience, but a convincing 60 % dancing is a good concert for us. Remember, this scene is full of macho’s that don’t dance, and goth girls that spend hours in front of a mirror to look ugly, they can’t dance, it might mess up the hair.

Do you want to continue to use female vocals? What about using the same vocalist? Do you want to continue singing yourself?

On the next album it will be me singing again. It was fun to work with jenn, and it really worked on this album. But pure from a logistic point of view, and with live gigs in mind I think I should sing again. People accept the fact that we don’t use a girl to playback jenn, but we shouldn’t keep on doing this. Since jenn is from Canada, it just doesn’t make sense to continue with her. We tried to work with other girls, but it is always hard to have them except the idea of this band. We don’t have the ambition to start living from this music. And I don’t want to start composing with the idea to have to score, or not be able to eat. They all say they understand, but most of the time when you really start talking they always have a different hope for this project.

What's it like where you live? Did you ever live anywhere else? Or, if not do you want to?

I’m very happy with where I live. It’s a small house with a small garden near Gent. It is a quiet part of town. We leaver the backdoor open if you see what I mean. We have a playground near and that is a good thing with a 2 year old. Yep, you got the picture; it is the conservative way of living. Gee, when I read this Interview I have to start working on my image J
Before that I lived in Brussels and gent-center. Am I getting wild yet?

Which was your favorite gig that you played?

That must have been earthdance. It’s a global party held each year in more then 100 countries to liberate Tibet. We played in Brussels. At 1 o’clock local time, all countries link up and play the same track as a prayer for peace in Tibet. I went to Tibet, so I know what we played for. It reflects the pacifist standpoint of the Tibetans. On top of this, it was a great gig. We played for a different audience then we normally do. And the people didn’t stop dancing for a second. A professional guy filmed this gig. All in all, my favorite concert we played.

And your favorite gig where you were in the audience?

I think that was the first time I saw nine inch nails. I always liked what they did. Live, it was raw, and very energetic.
A good runner up is sint germain. I saw them on a festival. I didn’t even go there because of them. But the gig was so intense. Sometimes an artist can have a form of electricity with the audience. I witnessed one of those rare occasions on that gig. I buyed the album right after the concert, but it wasn’t that convincing at all.

Belgium undoubtedly has the best chocolate, but which country has the best beer?

Oeps, hard question. A colleague of mine actually teaches people to brew beer. He is a very well know maker of beer recepies in Belgium. Some of the best and strongest Belgian beers are his. He is the one that made delirium tremens (if you don’t know this one, try and find it, it is 24° … really strong for a beer, and still tasteful). He also has a triple beer that he specially made for the school. This is the gift we give to all our business associates and all. This beer is by far the best beer I ever drank. Each year around eastern he is bottling these beers, and coincidence providing; I always need something of him this week. And I always end up tasting his new brews. My wife even knows when I visit André. But according to André, the best beer is South African beer. It has something to do with the hours of sun he tells me. And after a few of his beers, one can only agree with whatever he tells J

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

That the new baby will be healthy. I know, very selfish, but since you only allow me one wish…