We got an exclusive interview with the probably most hyped synthpop act in Europe right now – Mirrors. Mirrors has recently finished their European tour together with OMD and Stereoklang caught up with the frontman in the band in their studio chatting about their music, gear, influences and their work on the new album. Below is one of their latest video releases.
You have been touring with OMD during the fall, how was it?
It was of course a very special thing for us, we have always been big fans of OMD and it was even more fun to discover that they were also fans of us. The fact that we now come to play in front of an audience made up entirely of people devoted to electronic music is a tremendous experience.
Mirrors lets me know that they also felt that the two bands really complemented each other on stage, rather then just that Mirrors were there to warm up the crowd. Mirrors adding perhaps a more saturated, heavy and modern sound to the equation.
You have received very positive reviews, what is the secret behind the success?
Apart from being happy by this for me obvious fact they gave me this explanation: For Mirrors it is all about combining great and cold electronic sounds, with a heart. If your soul is not present there will not be any great songs, a cliché perhaps, but you need to follow your heart. A lot of bands are “just” making futuristic music, Mirrors wants it to be warm as well – just like Kraftwerk. Of course the songs need to be well structured. Almost everything we do emanates from a traditional piano exercise, then you can get carried away when you do remixes
Your stage line up resembles another quartet based out of Germany, is that a coincidence?
– Not really ☺, although I need to say that the dress code is a coincidence. Kraftwerk is certainly a massive influence. However, in a sense Mirrors is more kind of a revolt to the massive indie-scene we have in the UK – and we are the anti-thesis of that.
Can you tell me what synths you are using on stage, are you a pure hardware band or are there software synths hidden in your studio?
To begin with James is writing most of the material and what is being used differs, but in general you will always find a Juno 60, Moog Phatty (although they are dreaming of a Moog Voyager) and a Prophet in the mix. The Juno is used for pads and chords, the Moog for basses, and then we have some samplers like the MPC in there as well.
We asked them if the Linn drum sounds were genuine or samples, and although they could have lied to us, they said that they were samples. In general Mirrors rely very little on backing tracks. – If we can´t play it we loop it. We want to do everything live on stage. So if you spot an Apple on stage it will only be used for the visuals.
Side-Line Music Awards are now ready, each year Side-Line nominates the best songs, bands and acts in the electro, synth, EBM etc space and now the final results are here, as voted by the Side-Line readers. And it seems Recoil got a fair share of the prices
The results of the Side-Line Music Awards 2010 are in. Yes, it did take us a few days more than we had originally planned. But then again, we never imagined getting stuck in London and Brussels the past week due to the unexpected harsh winter conditions circling over Europe. We spent the last two days counting the votes and deleting the invalid ones. But before we give the results, we really want to thank all those readers who have cast their votes in the past two election rounds. You were among the 39,203 people (!!) to have cast a valid vote. That is an all-time record for Side-Line.
- Combichrist (5,391)
- Unter Null (4,985)
- Front Line Assembly (3,818)
- Front 242 (3,803)
- Mesh (2,756)
- Recoil (2,542)
- Suicide Commando (2,459)
- Hocico (2,327)
- Depeche Mode (2,314)
- Leaether Strip (2,201)
- A-ha (2,227)
- Kant Kino (1,837)
- De/Vision (1,571)
- Edge Of Dawn (589)
- Diorama (383)
- Recoil – “Selected” (10,442)
- Front Line Assembly – “IED” (8,252)
- Unter Null – “Moving On” (7,898)
- OMD – “History Of Modern” (6,908)
- Angelspit – “Larva Pupa Tank Coffin” (5,811)
- Covenant – “Lightbringer” (10,330)
- Combichrist – “Scarred” (8,983)
- Rotersand – “Waiting To Be Born” (7,038)
- In Strict Confidence – “Silver Bullets” (6,825)
- I:Scintilla – “Prey On You” (6,027)
- Mute (13,072)
- Alfa Matrix (10,736)
- Metropolis/Dependent (10,479)
- Trisol (4,916)
Best Live Band:
- Recoil (14,545)
- Combichrist (9,107)
- Depeche Mode (6,032)
- Front Line Assembly (4,851)
- Leaether Strip (4,668)
Out on November 15th is OMD’s newest single “Sister Marie Says” taken from the album “History of Modern”. But the band has now released the video for said single. The single will also be released as a limited edition 7″ coloured vinyl. This limited edition 7″ coloured vinyl includes “Sister Marie Says (Radio Edit)” and the exclusive B-side “History of Modern (part III & IV)”.
A free download demo of the track was released on 25 November 2009. Elements of the song were originally composed in 1981 and a reworked version of the track was due to appear on the 1996 album “Universal” but got shelved because it sounded too much like early OMD and was out of step with the more reflective tone of Universal.
OMD’s 11th studio album, “History of Modern, was released on 20th September 2010″. It is their first album since 1996, and the first album featuring the classic 4-piece line-up since 1986’s “The Pacific Age”. A tour to promote the album will follow in November 2010.
OMD are returning to their avant pop roots, Andy McClusky and Paul Humphreys tells The Quietus‘ Julian Marszalek. I really nice and in deep interview.
OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) has released the first single from their forthcoming album “History of Modern” (which you can now pre-order here on iTunes), their first since the 1996 album “Universal”. You can now download the “If You Want It” single bundle from iTunes which includes the exclusive b-side “Alone” and “If You Want It (Album version)” and “If You Want It (Villa Nah remix)”.
The full remix bundle is available here including 6 mixes. A very limited amount of yellow 7″ vinyls with the exclusive B-side “Idea 1″.
No mistake it is OMD
The sleeve is designed by Peter Saville, the inhouse designer from old Factory Records.
The first album after the OMD reunion, “The History of Modern”, is scheduled for a September 20 release on 100% Records.
– The title felt appropriate, says Andy McCluskey When we started we were very conscious of trying to be modern in the future. But that was over thirty years ago. You were trying to do something that was modern and then the world changes and what you did use to do somehow has become historical.
Its seems to be a metaphor for the band, Andy thinks.
– Also, currently electronic music is very much in fashion. But again, a huge percentage of it to me is really a pastiche of something from thirty years ago. They are not really doing anything new. They’ve just bought a lot of old records and copied them. So it is just this idea of perception of what is modern and what the future is.
The first single and video pick will be “If You Want It” (September 6), released in a limited edition yellow 7″ vinyl with the B-side “Idea 1″ and as digital download with another B-side, “Alone”.
There will be an album listening and launch party at Club 24 in London on the day of the single release (September 6), featuring a 30 minute performance by Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey. London is where Paul lives with his partner Claudia Brücken (ex-Propaganda). Andy has remained in Merseyside near Liverpool.
The new tour starts in Liverpool on October 2 where OMD will perform with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. UK, Germany, BeNeLux and France are the countries in question for the tour so far. Mirrors is the support act.
This is a clip from Synth Britannia, a 2009 BBC special about the rise of electronic music in Britain. Andy McCluskey of OMD pointedly says what he thinks about some of the people who have criticised electronic bands.
Page is currently celebrating 30 years as performing artsist on the Swedish synthpop stage and are currently planning summer gigs after the release of their first new album in 10 years. Stereoklang got an one on one interview with the synth pioneer Eddie Bengtsson, who’s electronic music really kick started the Swedish synth-pop scene in the 80’s, active in Page, Sista Mannen På Jorden (Last man on earth) and This Fish Needs a Bike. Page really became the Swedish answer to Yazoo/Erasure, OMD, and Depeche Mode, and made ground for popular acts like Elegant Machinery, S.P.O.C.K and many others. In this interview we have invaded Eddie’s home studio to take a closer look at the synthesizers and music production gear he uses and what it really takes to make a great synth-pop song.
Neatly mounted in a corner of a 10sq/m room, sharing the space with Star Trek memorabilia and a huge vinyl record collection, several of the classic hardware synthesizers are hooked up and ready to bleep. Although Eddie tells me he have had to sell of several synthesizers from a logistical point of view I enjoy finding vintage gear like the Moog Rouge, a Korg DW 6000 and the personal favorite of Eddie’s the Yamaha CS15 (used on every album), coupled with recently acquired gems like the Moog Little Phatty, the Moog Voyager and then some modern virtual analogs like microKORG and Yamaha CX1x.
What is used use for what
The CX1 is used as the mother keyboard and the DW 6000 mainly for strings. ”Sound 11 is a personal favorite” Eddie says☺. You can for example find it also on all S.P.O.C.K songs. If Eddie on the other hand only were to take one synthesizer with him to a deserted island it would be the CS15. In fact Eddie tells me that due to the flexible routing and filters; he’s able clone the bass sounds of all other synthesizers with it, if you treat it nicely. Perhaps the only drawback is the useless noise generator, which is too weak, although a weakness that many synthesizers has as he puts it.
Neatly tucked under racks of synthesizers a well hidden Roland S760 sampler can be found. Curious about the fact that this particular device hasn’t been replaced by software versions already, Eddie admits that years of collecting disketts has made him somewhat lazy, somewhere among all those hundreds of disketts there is always that one with the right sound. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that device will be left out from future productions in favor of software alternatives.
The lazy side of Eddie shines through on several occasions during the interview and for the last two records other people have contributed in replacing sounds with updated versions. However, the new Page album actually came as a turning point for him and a lot of hard work has gotten into it, resulting in more focus on sound search and music production then before.
Moving on to the next rack of synthesizers Eddie tells me that the microKORG is actually a very capable machine used primarily for strings and pads. The Rouge on the other hand is the real stage machine and a trade mark for Page in live sets. It’s compact and easy to bring, cool looking and splendid for single oscillator sounds. (Indecently the Rouge uses the same circuitry as the Taurus II Bass Pedals). (Listen to this song, all sounds by the Rouge by Hannes Rasmus. http://www.vintagesynth.com/audio/moogtheroguedemo.mp3 ) Other old gems like the Roland SH02 and Moog Prodigy have been replaced with new bass and sequencer gear; the Moog Little Phatty, as you can easily spot on the new Page album.
Why all the Moogs?
Easy answer would be that everyone is talking about them, prestigious and expensive stuff that is. And although proud to have them, some drawbacks can be found also here; the sound is a bit chilly and there is no noise generator to be found at all, as with the Prophet 8, it takes forever to heat up and sometimes the oscillators are not really in sync. The Voyager is really a beast and lit up it looks really impressive. Currently it’s mainly used to discover cool sounds in the studio it might end up on the stage some day. “But why on earth did they implement this totally useless performance pad on it, when turning the knobs is the way to do it and it is not even multi-touch, which might have given it some extra advantages”. I asked what’s next and Eddie kind of suggests that a DSI Mopho might end up on the rack within short.
Where do you start making a song?
“Never, or very seldom, I have an idea or the song in my head. When I feel like making new songs I always start off with a bass, then adding drums, melody and finally the vocals. I really need to get the beat going first.” >>>>>
OMD’s original line-up are to release their first new album together in 24 years. To be called “History of Modern”, the album sees Paul Humphreys, Andy McCluskey, Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes reunited in the studio.
The album is due for release later this year. In a reaction to Electricity-club.co.uk Paul Humphreys says: “It’s coming along really well actually. I spent a few weeks up at Andy’s studio in Liverpool and I’ve been bringing stuff down here and working on it. We’re sending files using YouSendIt to each other. I have a play on it, he has a play on it! We just go back and forth but the album will be slightly more weighted with some of Andy’s songs because he did a lot of writing while I did the ONETWO album.”
The album’s sound is said to be… very electronic.