Angels & Agony is an electronic futurepop band from the Netherlands. Founded by by Reinier Kahle in 1995, the futurepop band has produced 2 albums and a good few EPs. Angels and Agony’s lyrics deal with the state of what it feels like to be "really" alive in a state of happiness for the rest of your life. The songs portray visions that help you remember you are one with the universe, and therefore constantly changing, the changer is you. They also portray meditations of society, life, and death.
Where does your band name, “Angels & Agony” come from?
Reinier: Well, it stands for duality. We experience Angels in our life, as well as Agony. It’s a matter of perspective how you interpret these experiences. In 1995, I worked as an illustrator/graphic novel designer. I published a small collection of dark, black stories. I called them ‘Angels & Agony’, since there was one story of an old man visited by an angel (of death, actually). I was working on some music as well, maybe to combine my graphic novel with my music, and I called this project Angels & Agony as well.
Some of your songs to me talk about making wise decisions in life and to go with your instincts. Was there a wise decision you had to make for A&A that would affect the release of an album or EP?
Reinier: Haha! ...Hard to say. But we had to let go our first singer, since he had quite other intentions and expectations (if any) being in a band. After he left, we had the opportunity to record our first EP. So, life shifts and manoeuvres itself in the most beneficial position ;-)
Who is your female vocalist in your songs like in the song “Darkness”?
Reinier: Now THAT is a long kept secret! If I were to tell you, I’d have to kill you! I’m not telling you names, but she played in a television show portraying the wise and serious partner of Agent Mulder
Why did you guys all of a sudden switch from a steady beat in Avatar to a fast pace beat in Unison? Does this show a new future for A&A from what the beat will sound like for here on out?
Reinier: Unison doesn’t particularly stand for what’s going to happen next. I needed a change in sound, in approach. Sometimes, you have to lift yourself up and kick your own ass. No more whining, time for action! Avatar was and still is a very dark and emotional album to me. Sad and dark, because about 5 relatives and close friends of mine were murdered or died of natural causes. I was trying to deal with my, usually very positive and happy nature, darkened mind. I couldn’t see the wisdoms I’d gained and grown into anymore, I felt lost. Unison is a natural step from that state of being. I chose to step into the light again, if you will. That explains the change of sound and tempo.
I heard you are doing a remix for a project called “Danger Global Warming” and for a remix for The Dreamside, can you please give me some more information about this. Also when will your remix for STID be released?
Reinier: I’ve no idea when the remixes will be released or in what form. The DGW song will be on their website (www.blacksmoke.org) shortly. John Fryer, who mixed the Unison album, got me into this ;-) The Dreamside remix is almost done; I think they’re doing a re-release or so. The SITD remix will be on one of their upcoming EPs, I guess..??
I noticed you guys had a very peaceful calm opening track and a sad ending closing track for Avatar and Unison. Were these tracks used to help prepare us listeners as what to expect from the cd or are they there to represent something?
Reinier: You’re correct. I did want the album to end somewhat sad. It’s a feeling I wanted to convey, although it’s not necessarily sad or gloomy, really. Have you ever seen an episode of the Millennium series (with Lance Henriksen as Frack Black)? To me, a wonderful feeling of emptiness, deepness is portrayed there, at least at the end of those episodes. Almost like an open end, for everyone to fill in what they think is right. Just go and see one of those episodes, and you maybe know what I’m trying to say.
What inspired you to write the song "Wreckage" from your Unison album?
Reinier: Loss in general and the death of my father in particular. Although everyone should have their own interpretation of this song. If you make the connection between the ship mentioned in the song and a human being, you’re not too far off ;-)
I'm sorry to hear that. I saw in some live videos at at M'era Luna you say something like "Darkness, i'm playing this song for my father, I know it's for you." He would be proud of you for your beautiful music. I'm guessing the song deals with fighting emotion and forgetting about it or having to deal with it for the rest of your life?
Reinier: I know my dad’s proud of me, no matter what. Thank you for the beautiful compliment J.
If that’s the way you see it, that’s more than okay! Really! Wreckage is indeed about struggling with emotion. How about this: if a beautiful, priceless ship (a human body)is ‘damaged beyond repair (…)’ (terminally ill), would it be beneficial to repair it? Or would you grand it to sink, to dissolve into the waves, to run it’s coarse? Or would you resist, even when you know and experience there is no way to get it repaired? Why not just letting it sink?
Your band’s lyrics remind me of the band Mind:State. You guys should do a remix together. I’m sure Mind:State's Per Holmström would love to do a music track with you guys. Do you plan on doing any remixes in the future with other bands?
Reinier: Sure, if there’s an occasion and we’ll see a ‘connection’, why not? At this moment, I’m not too familiar with Mind:State’s music yet, I must admit.
Lol, how many albums from other bands are you familiar with then?
Reinier: Well, I know lots of bands! My room is filled with cd’s! ;-)
The thing that makes A&A so unique from other electronic bands in the electronic music scene is that most bands talk about obliterating things, suicide, violence, blood, and other repugnant things, while A&A focuses on cerebrational matters in life like society, life, and death. I have never heard anything in any of A&A's songs before that would offend me, not even one cuss word. Do you guys focus on trying to keep the lyrics in the songs clean and peaceful or do the lyrics come straight from your hearts?
Reinier: The lyrics do come straight from the heart. In all honesty, I don’t swear or use ‘foul language’ a lot in daily life as well. Not that I’m never angry, irritated or whatever; I try to get a more, well, balanced way to express myself, no offence. Usually, I’m quite a constructive person, trying to reason my way out of misunderstandings or problems, instead of using blunt violence (physically or verbally), since it doesn’t solve anything. Quite contrary. The lyrics are meant to be ‘universal’, multi-interpretable and objective, in a way. But the lyrics are not always as peaceful, as you state. There’s lots of hurt and grief in there. I’m just not the guy to write songs, singing ‘Fuck’ 116 times in 4 minutes, or singing I’d like to cut up my bitch or what have you not. I’m very glad you mention this, since it’s quite distinctive for our music.
So you think those bands that do mention "fuck" many times in their lyrics put a bad impression on the electronic music scene?
Reinier: No, not at all! It’s just a way to express themselves, there’s no ‘wrong’ in that. It’s just not a way I would be comfortable with to define myself through my music. I’d never judge or condemn anyone for doing that. Actually, A&A is about just that, there’s no right or wrong; it’s all a matter of perspective. The electronic music scene couldn’t get a bad impression because of band saying ‘fuck’ all the time. WTF?!
Any other comments you would like to say?
Reinier: Well, I hope there’s an American booker who can arrange a decent tour for us! We’ve had quite a few people contacting us, but when push comes to shove nothing is heard ever again!? There are a lot of people wanting us to come over, so I really hope it succeeds this year!
Yes, I hope you guys come and tour in the U.S., many people here on VF like you guys. I've seen videos of you guys performing and you have the crowd jumping. Who if you could choose would you tour with?
Reinier: Ooh….many bands! Why not Depeche Mode (duh!), Gary Numan, Faithless, or The Prodigy. I do hope we come over soon…
Love & Light,
-Ying & Yang, You & I, Angels & Agony.
Click Here to Check out Angels & Agony on vampirefreaks
Click here to check out AngelsandAgony.com