Hello, thank you for giving Vampire Freaks this interview. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves
Hi, I am Ronny Moorings , the founder songwriter and lyricist of Clan Of Xymox . I do this already for quite a while and released 13 Studio albums and numerous singles etc.
I started the band in the 80s, the first label Clan Of Xymox got signed to was 4-AD and now as we speak, are with Metropolis Records in the USA and Trisol in Europe.
Ronny, everyone sees the happiness in your life but what has been the darkest point of your life?
I don't think I have reached that point yet., luckily I have to add.
So far I have been fortunate enough not having to experience this feeling of desperation and hopelessness. When I felt down at various points in my life most of the times about relationships and the like. It was something temporarily which you can write off in a song. It is a good way of transferring that feeling into a song. This way something positive comes out of it and all is in balance again.
You have a new CD entitled 'Kindred Spirits', featuring some great covers of classic songs. What made you choose which songs to cover and do any of the songs hold a special significance to you?
I always wanted to do a project like this and this year 2012 was perfect for it.
Of course I know that I am not the first band to do this sort of thing but there are not too many cover albums either of bands who normally release their own music for a few decades
I like to see this album separate from the Clan Of Xymox releases and more like a one off adventure into the days of yore. Personally I had a good time recording these songs and would have never dreamed in the beginning of my musical career that I would ever record these well known tracks myself one day. Sometimes it is nice to step out of oneself and just do that.
Sometimes musicians forget or want to forget the past influences on their music and the importance on the development of it.
This album is my personal homage to bands who at a particular point in time were important to me and motivated me to do something with music.
I have been interested in music since a very early age. I could fairly say the Beatles were the first band I saw on t.v. and made me want to have a band too. Of course I was way too young, so I sang" I love you yeah, yeah, yeah" on the school yard instead.
The single Venus of the Dutch band "Shocking Blue" was one of the first singles I possessed as a child. Many Dutch bands in that era followed suit, having success abroad and at home.
I had particularly fun with "Venus": This used to be the first record I bought as a kid, so to cover this song way later is something I could not foresee. It is a pop song, a number 1 hit, so my version is way darker than the version you know of Shocking Blue.
After this song I made a leap to the end of the seventies and early eighties which were the most important to me musically speaking.
There are of course many bands i would want to have included, but that would almost be an impossible task.
With music one grows up. Music often is a soundtrack to our lives. We all have at least a few songs that have a special meaning in our lives. It reminds you of a person, a special occasion, a holiday, in short : any association is possible.
The tracks I covered certainly fulfilled that role in mine.
Your track 'In Your Arms Again' was featured in the popular film 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', how were you chosen for this film and has this helped you in gaining new recognition?
It was a nice surprise when Dave of Metropolis told me that they used it in this movie. It was just before X-Mas when Iheard the news so that was most definitely my X-mas present. I think the song fits in with the style Trent Reznor , maybe "In Your Arms Again" triggered that association. In any case it's great and I hope they think of my band again when they film the sequel
I hope certainly that it opens further doors into the use of my songs forays other movies.
What has been the best and worst parts of recording and releasing Kindred Spirits?
The worst part is always the wait for the release. We still have one week to go in the USA before it gets released. The recordings were done in a relaxed manner. Whenever I felt like recording I went into the studio , so I never felt the stress of a dead line.
I have my own studio so I don't have to walk that far
Matter of fact I only told the labels only when my album was ready that I actually had a new album available, so I didn't have anyone asking before that if it was finished or not.
Because I didn't know on forehand how it would turn out I didn't want to promise the label anything until I was sure I wanted to release it.
Some people compare your vocals Ronny to that of Andrew Eldritch, now I tend to disagree. But what do you say to this and why do you think your vocals are different?
Well, with Kindred Spirits you can hear many of my different voices . I have a low, mid and a high range, so take your pick. You of course can always pick an artist in the " range" group. I covered "Alice" of SOM so he was also influential on me, just like the other bands I covered.
I always liked the way Andrew sang his songs, but so did I of Robert Smith in the early days and Dave Gahan not to forget. So there, all ranges are present
What was childhood like for you?
I had a great childhood. I had and have loving and supporting parents. The most important for me was that my parents also let me do the things I wanted to do and supported that in a constructive way.
I grew up in a small town and felt pretty secure there. The world was not a scary place but a place where things were possible.
My first instruments i got at a very early age , you know the type of instruments like a flute and guitar to learn how to play. In a friends place they had a piano where I always could practice some chords etc. I even had a small drum kit which I broke in 3 weeks time.
When I was 10 or 11 I found a local older guy who was willing me to teach guitar and after a few weeks I played in my first band. The first shows we did was in local youth clubs and we just played cover songs. My first synthesizers I bought when I was 19.
Any formal musical training I never had. I still cannot read musical notes…I just like to follow my emotions and ears instead of looking at notes to see the theory behind it.
It is important to keep music fresh with new ideas, what do you feel is the most important part of innovation and evolution of music?
That's the development and innovation of the computer to me.
I started recording on a 4 track recorder in the very beginning, it enabled me to be independent of other musicians. After that my first commodore computer made it possible to record all the midi data, making it easier to work out songs before you would put it down on tape.
Later the Atari did the same and was most musicians friend before we could afford a Mac.
The affordability of the computer at the end of the eighties or beginning of the nineties, made it possible to work and re work compositions outside the studio.
In the end it made life so much easier for the musician to write, record and mix without having to go to a professional studio which you could only do if you would have a decent record deal.
The whole independent scene is still alive thanks to the capability to take so many matter in your own hand. On the other hand easy technology is also helping with the downfall of the music industry as we know it.
I still update all my gear to the latest standards. Having access to these normal priced computers simply makes a difference with the "olden days" in not having to think so much about the technology behind it and simply record what comes up in your mind.
Music evolves all the time. You can see that with the amount of genres and sub genres that came up say in the last 30 years. Each genre influences the other, some in a more domineering way than others. Most of it slowly evolves, some for the better,some regrettably.
It is a natural cause of events. We need change and music has been always generator of change. We need to evolve as humans and music will be always its soundtrack.
What do you feel the advantages and disadvantages of growing older are?
Well for a starter we all grow older each day, if we want it or not. I personally find it "the human tragedy" that when you are who you are, or the feeling that you are the person you want to be, you slowly see the deterioration of your self and eventually die, leaving all behind. It is simply an image I do not want to think about too often or preferably never.
They say "you are as old as you feel you are " and I totally agree with that statement.
How do you think the current global economy has affected the music industry?
Well , unless any of your readers lived under a rock we all know that the other side of technology made it possible to transfer data with the speed of light. The moment a release is announced it is already on some blog spot available by some dear "fan" who thinks everyone should have it for free. It is an old and tiring discussion and the bottom line is that people don't really care unless it is gone. You see that in the animal kingdom too. We only care when there are a few species left. Well, now we have a few dinosaur Major record companies left and the only way they react on this change is gulping each other up. I believe we will soon have 2 or even 1 Major record company left with a gazillion subdivisions.
The strange thing is that we all think it has changed so much because of the internet but still, the
power of radio, tv and newspapers is still as big as it always was. People still want to hear what is trendy by the media. The hyped up records still sell. Go figure..
What do you feel is your best trait?
I think I am pretty determent in what I do and sail a course I personally believe is the right one. I stay true to myself and respect others with their beliefs.
When do you feel the alternative music scene was at it's best?
At its best I can't say. It is the chicken and the egg question. We started with way less bands end of the seventies going into the eighties with lots of indie labels signing bands left and right. Some really good bands came out of this.
Now there are more indie bands you can ever know or hear. Everyone can record music and put it on i tunes and youtube. Most labels don't have the cash to stay alive, let alone sign new acts so it is the wild west out there concerning indie acts. The market gets flooded and people get overwhelmed having to know the latest of the latest hip band.
Time will tell what bands get generated out of this period. Personally I still find very good new music here and there but also appreciate the bands I used to love coming out with their new songs or album.
What is your earliest memory?
Wandering in the park with my slightly older sister unsupervised when I was 3 years old. My grand father found us and brought us back home. My sister instigated a " break out" from our home.
How do you feel you have inspired musicians worldwide?
I guess the same as the musicians who inspired me in making music. I hope one day they will cover a song of me
Where do you feel home is and what makes it home?
I feel most at home in Leipzig. Somehow it is the town I feel most comfortable in. The city is one of the most alternative cities of Europe I think. You can see that every year at WGT, the festival for the Gothic scene. Because of its musical roots, the classic musicians like J.Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Edvard Grieg, Gustav Mahler, Clara and Robert Schumann who all worked in Leipzig, (Hanns Eisler and Richard Wagner were born in Leipzig) In short a very musical town in that sense with a rich history.
It is also a very green city. I can walk through the forest and park to the centre of town. It because Leipzig has a real green belt. The nightlife is fantastic and the restaurants are top notch. So far I haven't seen any visitor going away disappointed but more surprised how wonderful of a city Leipzig is.
What is a typical night out for you?
Meeting friends in town, seeing a band and having drinks afterwards. There are plenty of opportunities to do that in Leipzig. There are so many venues here that each day you can see a band you might like. My favorite venue to see a band is the Moritzbastei in Leipzig.
What do you feel is the key to the longevity of Clan Of Xymox?
Trying not to repeat myself too much, evolve but also not forgetting the blue print of the band, the roots so to speak.The duality of synth and guitar. Further we tour all the time, meaning we play dates all year round but not in tour blocks. This way we can give more energy to the audience instead of a tour tired band playing.
In general you have to love making music.
Thanks so much for giving Vampire Freaks this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Yes, "Kindred Spirits" is out 24th of October in the USA.
Thank you for the interview and hopefully we will see each other one time again in NY.
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