Interview for Sonic-seducer after the release of self-inflicted.

How do you hire your female guest singers? Are they friends or do we have to imagine the music business as a huge pool where lots of musicians just wait to be fished out?

It is safe to say that they are friends. Jennifer (ayria) I met when we performed Canada and I stayed at her boyfriend for a week. Myriam is the sister of a friend of mine I know since I was 15. And Els (the new voice) is somebody I met through the implant management. But I like the idea of your pool J

Please tell us about your 2 songs with Anne Clark. Has the cooperation been planned since long or has it been a spontaneous decision?

Anne and I joked about it for a long time, but the fact that it actually happened was more of a spontaneous thing. Anne played a festival in Lokeren (Belgium) this summer. Backstage was a fun night with lots of beer and Luc Van Acker going at his typical madness. Somewhere down that night Anne and me came up with the plan to pick Anne up at her friend she was staying with. Nico (Anne her drummer) came along too, because he wanted to see how I worked. I think we spanned more time in the sun drinking and talking then we actually spend in the studio. Maybe that is why it worked, because it was such a spontaneous thing to do.

Whereas "SurfaceTension" seems to be tailored for Anne Clark's Voice, a strange contrast appears between her grave, melancholic singing and the melodic, happy song structure of "Tune up your Chips and Circuits". Has this effect been planned, did it develop during composing or is this just a subjective impression of the listener?

None of the tracks are tailor made for Anne. Both tracks were ready when Anne came to the studio to do the vocals. These are the tracks we picked together and were the one that worked with the text we had.
But I think it’s a bit wrong to always pinpoint Anne on depressive music. She is a very warm lady with a healthy sense of humor. And she told me she found her peace with the world. I’m sure she doesn’t mind contributing to a bit more of an up-tempo experimental melodic track.
Also ‘tune up you chips and circuits’ is not really a happy song, but more of a euphoric song. It’s a subtle difference. It’s about upgrading your body functions with technology to prolong your life. Blind faith in technology, which will solve everything. So live now without morals, all you need is the right upgrade later on.

How many guest singers appear on the album? More than 2? How do guest musicians join your songs? Is the songstructure finished when they come to your studio or does electronic music allow jam-sessions and spontaneous changes?

I have anne, christa (hungry lucy) and romell (razed in black) doing some guest contribution for the album. Anne came to the studio. Both songs were finished at that point. But I revisited them, so they would suit the vocals a bit more. Cleaning out some samples and thing like that. The other 2 collaborations happened with the use of Internet. The new gospel was finished when I asked christa to sing on it. She sends me several takes of her vocals that I cut and edited till you have the result you have now. The track with razed in black was not finished at all. During compositions of the track, I realized I needed real guitars and not a guitar sounding synth line. So I send out the basic loop to romell, who did several different guitar recordings. Those then went through heavy studio manipulations. Looping, cutting, and a lot of effects. Once I had the samples, I just totally remixed the track with the loops at hand.

How do you compose your songs? Do you have in mind some sythie-sounds before you start with a song or is it the outcome of an experiment with sounds?

I almost never start a track with the idea in mind to make a track. Most of the time I’m trying to figure out how feature X on synth Y works. And while toying with the feature, slowly a tracks starts to emerge. It also very rarely happens that a track is not reworked for a couple of times before release.

Some of your songs end exactly by full minutes. Is this caused by regular rhythm patterns or are you a perfectionist?

I was not aware of this. Frankly it sounds creepy the way you put it. After reading this question I checked it. And you are right, 2 tracks end on a full minute.
But no, it was not intended. And yes, I’m a big perfectionist when it comes down to music. Especially on implant related stuff.

The lyrics to Dirt & You Watch Me seem to be rather explicit. Where is the connection between music and sex?

For me music is about life, and sex is part of that. Dirt is indeed about sex. Actually, about bad sex. But I’m not so sure if it’s that explicit all we sing is ‘I feel so dirty, deep down inside’.
You can watch is about cybersex. Girls stripping on the Internet, in front of private web-cam, and getting paid to do some explicit actions.

Sex became a topic often used in music, is this the modern equivalent of a traditional love song?

I think sex and love are both often used in music. I’m not sure if those songs about sex are meant to replace love-songs. I think they both serve their own purpose.
I think music can be used to express a lot of socially relevant things. And sex or the way we look or talk about sex has changed in society in general. It is normal that music, something that reflects society in all its aspects, will also be submitted to these changes. I see TV shows on the use of a vibrator, and then why not sing about a girl masturbating in front of a web-cam while some jerk pays for it?

Drugs are also a topic used in your songs, what is your attitude concerning drugs? Does creativity need drugs? What relationship exists between drugs and violence?

I don’t think drugs are needed to be creative. But for some people it works I guess.
My attitude towards drugs is very liberal. I think we all have to live with the choices we make. If you are ok with drugs, then who am I to judge you on that. I like a joint once in a while. But I’m not at all into hard drugs. I smoke (that is a drug for sure). But smoking is my responsibility. I never smoke when the kids are around. I go outside. So for me, it’s pretty much a free choice if you’ll do drugs or not.
And yes, to me there is a relationship between drugs and violence. Look at how some people react on alcohol. And some people I know who are into coke and speed can also be unpredictably violent. And the worst part is they aren’t even aware of this.

Why did you use the female samples on "Drugs vs. Violence"? (Somehow they remind me of a one-hit-wonder called 2Unlimited of a decade ago).

Haha, 2 unlimited! They were Belgian too J
Actually a version without that sample got released twice already on compilations. But at the end of a CD I always think of what would make the CD sound as a coherent thing. For this CD I had a feeling most tracks had a very poppy and catchy feel to it. Except drugs vs violence. That was more of a hypnotic repetitive track. So I revisited the track and tried to make it more poppy. We did a lot of recordings for this one and Els had complete lyrics and all, but then the hypnotic feel was gone. I think we recorded 3 hours on Els vocals for this one. And I ended up sampling a line out of the microphone testing we did in the beginning of the recording session. Normally those get deleted but somehow I kept the one of that day, and even ended up using it. Els thought it was extremely funny that I ended up using this one because believe it or not, during microphone test, she was joking about 2 unlimited J

Where do the roots of the oriental and ethnic touches of your music lie?

Since I started listening to psy trance, I’m experimenting with those more ethnical touches in my music. And over the years it slowly became a trademark for implant. And I have a feeling those ethnical influences give me more room to experiment. I also have a feeling a lot of other artist are doing it more and more. When I hear ‘push the bottom’ by chemical brothers or the complete prodigy album. It just simply works, that is why even the real big electronic artist are doing it. My biggest example in how these ethnical influences can work is juno reactor. They invented it. In a lot of progressive trance and hard house those ethnical percussions are there too.
Just look at it this way, suicide commando has a distorted clap as trademark, I have a bongo sound J

Why is your voice rather in the background?

I’m trying to treat vocals like instruments in the studio. So I mix them not to be the most important part of the track. Well, that kind of depends on a track-by-track basis actually. Just like I do with sounds. Sometimes a sound needs to be in the forefront of the music, while sometimes a sound needs to be subtly in the back of a structure. For me a voice is just another studio sound.

Which is the most important and personal song of the album and why?

I think the most personal song for me is ‘in your dreams’ because it’s about my 2-year-old daughter.