Nebula-H - I am not against a good remix
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The Belgian electro commando Nebula-H have finally returned with the 3rd and final chapter of their "H" trilogy, "rH". Sound wise "rH" can be situated half way between the "H" debut album's EBM darkness and the "H20" album's heavy danceable feel but with a darker edge. The sound change on "rH" goes hand in hand with the expansion of Nebula-H to a trio with the addition of Noa (Propulsion) as the main songwriter while Mika Goedrijk (This Morn O'Mina, Pow)der-Pussy, etc.) has mostly focused his expertise on the production aspect of the album this time. As usual "rH" Nebula-H's label Alfa Matrix also releases the album as a limited 2CD boxset featuring exclusive tracks and special additional collaborations with other Belgian bands like Trimetrick, Psy'Aviah and Ex.es (the brand-new side-project of Noa and Deranged Psyche). Side-Line got hold of both Noa and Deranged Psyche for some more insight on their latest child explaining the long pause between releases, the new sound and the future. More info and sounds at www.myspace.com/nebulah . (By Elise Din)
SL. The addition of Noa aka Bart to the Line-up has quite drastically changed the song structures, making the whole a lot more versatile. Was that what you were after and why exactly? Did the first two releases bore you, the sound I mean?
DP. The original idea to work with Bart aka Noa was meant for 2 or 3 songs. We rapidly realized Noa brought some new ideas to the music and so he finally became a full time member. Speaking for myself and concerning our first albums, I haven’t been bored at all. "rH" is just a new chapter in the history of Nebula-H and the main difference is for sure that we welcomed Noa on board. I think the sound -except a few songs- remains quite Nebula-H like.
SL. I know some demo work from Propulsion and I would never have thought that Bart had this in him... So Bart, what is the story?
Noa. There are a couple of reasons for this remark I guess. The moment I started working with Nebula-H, Ben (from Propulsion) and I were already busy looking for new ways of recording our Propulsion songs. In Mika’s studio I experienced the advantages of working with Cubase. Using this sequencer was and still is a real revelation for me; I discovered the possibilities I had been dreaming of during many years. I also want to mention the importance of Mika in this process, being my teacher, showing me the tricks and secrets of the program and teaching me different production methods. Of course I will take this knowledge stepping into the future, working on other projects such as Propulsion and EX.ES. I am very grateful of working with Mika and DP; DP came up with some great ideas as well. For example adding the choir samples in "Prince Of Darkness" was his idea. He also gave some other impulses to fatten the sound by using more aggressive leads and drums. Working with more people can really broaden your mind and improve your own recording methods. As a matter of fact the collaborations with Propulsion, Psy’Aviah, EX.ES and Foochow are nice examples of interesting co-operations..
SL. How different was working with an extra song writing member?
DP. It worked pretty good as a new member also brings more ideas, refreshing ideas and sometimes when you don’t find the ‘key’ to a song, an extra member eventually can find a solution. At the other side you just have to make more compromises with each other as one of the main rules of Nebula-H is that every song has to please to all members! It felt just a bit strange in the beginning; to have an extra member in the studio and/or starting to write a song with someone else was an element all of us had to get used to.
SL. The production qualities of Mika and the writing skills of Bart are a perfect match, tell us how this joined venture start?
Noa. In the summer of 2006 I met DP and for fun I made 3 Nebula-H like songs. He was quite enthusiastic about it and decided to introduce me to Mika. The first sessions in Mika’s studio were successful and resulted in the song "Masks". From then on the collaboration seemed to work.
DP. Noa seems to have forget that his real first involvement was when he found that chorus line for the "69"-song, which was the very first song we wrote for the new album. Mika and I were really impressed about Noa’s talent to write great chorus lines. Another main aspect has been that Noa is also very open-minded when speaking about music, influences and styles. To be honest Mika and I were thinking to ask someone involved in dark electro to help us a hand. We’ve been never totally convinced it would have been a good idea to get joined by a ‘dark electrohead’; especially as it has been never the main musical style of Nebula-H!
SL. Leaving the songwriting to Bart, do you feel this also changed the soul of the band?
DP. Not the soul, but for sure some elements of the sound. I don’t know if there’s a real ‘soul’ inside Nebula-H, but we have an aim. As I already knew Noa personally before he joined Nebula-H, it was much easier for us and also for him to get used to each other. At the other hand he has been for sure responsible for the diversity of the songs. "rH" is for sure our most diversified and open-minded album and this was because of Noa. When diving together with Noa in his home studio, my main preoccupation was to hold on the Nebula-H-sound and not to lead it to Propulsion (which is much more poppy and melodious than Nebula-H). Mika as a producer add his own touch by reinforcing some drums, bass lines etc... as he of course better than no one else know how Nebula-H has to sound.
SL. 4 years is quite some time in this scene, aren't you afraid it might take some time to convince the people again? For what it's worth there is already a new generation in the clubs?
DP. That’s for sure an important item, but better than releasing one album a year, Nebula-H is meant to work on new songs when we feel the good vibes and motivation to do it. Because of some different kind of troubles it took us quite a long time to achieve this new album. At the other side we just realized that people kept our name in mind while other people discovered our music on the net. Nebula-H has been always a project with a different attitude in making music.. In a way you can say we are like working at a side-line of the scene about a new generation in the clubs and will all respect for all people and new fans of this scene, those people have a different way of experiencing with music. They’re more into clubbing, taking care about their image and less interested in buying cd’s. They just copy and/or download it from the net. I’m afraid the new generation you’re talking about slowly ruins expectations of bands and their labels and more than that… you see that a lot of labels, distributors and online shops are closing their doors. Sales are going downwards, labels are losing money… I think it’s high time for some changes and that’s probably like a challenge for labels and bands during the coming years!
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SL. Your 2nd album "H20" was far from being as versatile as this record, looking back, a miscalculation?
DP. I think we were really satisfied and proud with the result of "H20". We worked really hard to achieve that album and there’re for sure some points I would change today, but back in time I think it was a real strong album with several good songs. The reactions weren’t that bad at all, but the limited edition with the dvd wasn’t a real success. I think the main point we probably made a mistake was the explicit tech-trance orientation of "H20". It for sure wasn’t dark enough for this scene. That’s what we tried to improve on "rH", like going back to the darker side of the "H" album mixed with the danceable side of "H20".
SL. You guys still have an anxiety for being remixed it seems... when can we hear remixes of your tracks?
Noa. As I am not against a good remix, we might consider being remixed or doing remixes. In our scene there are many interesting bands and projects which put all their energy and patience in making a remix (I do!:). Unfortunately the contrary has been proven as well. So when we go a step further, it will only be with bands we can trust 100%!
DP. I think we aren’t anxious at all, but I simply don’t like remixes and let’s not forget that from start on we had an alternative to the remixes. We set up ‘featurings’ with a lot of bands. It’s much more fun and intimate as here we’re working with these bands in studio and in real life. It’s definitely better than sending your files over the net while waiting for the remix (and work) of the other band. But we’re thinking about an exclusive concept with remixes; the point is to know if we’ll do it or not.
SL. You have returned with the 3rd and final chapter of the "H" trilogy. Is this also the end of Nebula-H ?
DP. Why the end of a trilogy would be the end of a band? You know this trilogy is a bit like a joke. We didn’t have the idea to release a trilogy from start on (when working on the "H"-album), but it just came into mind during the next albums. I don’t know if there’s a future for Nebula-H, but honestly we’ve never known it. Time will tell, but I think if we’ll go on, we’ll probably evolve in sound and maybe in the lyrics.
SL. The "H" debut album featured the massive hits "Twilight Zone" and "White Light"; the second album "H20" featured "Mobilis In Mobile" and "Symbiosis"; the 3rd album has several tracks that can be labeled as hits. Do you first work on the hits and then create an album around it or how do I have to see this?
Noa. There is not a single track I started writing by claiming "this is going to be a hit". But, there are a few tracks where you get this special feeling from the beginning, the track has a lot of potential. These are the unforgettable moments when I start dancing with myself, headphones on, and suddenly notice my girlfriend in the background taking me in the very act. This doesn’t happen with every track. If only I knew how to compose one hit after the other, I’d never stop writing hits... J
DP. We actually don’t know what will be the ‘hits’ of "rH". I think there’re several songs with a huge potential. When we were busy with the writing of "Prince Of Darkness" I got this vibes telling me this could be the "Twilight Zone" or "Symbiosis" of the new album. This song has a real potential.
SL. The most recent new material was tested out as support for Hocico and it was extremely well received by the public I saw. I was also under the impression of the new look/image the band has, it's less slick and more guerilla like, whose idea was that and why exactly?
Noa. Again, the very danceable part of Nebula-H has been proven. The energy on stage comes very spontaneously. There is no reason to stand still on stage with this kind of B O D Y music!
DP. The ‘guerilla’ image is a kind of legacy from my previous band (FuzeBoxMachine). At the other side it’s also a change in our perception…in the past you never saw our eyes, but only the face while now it became the contrary…you see the eyes while the face is hidden and this new image also fits to the title of the album "rH" (rage)! It was time for some change…
SL. I saw you no longer work with a VJ, what's the story there?
DP. Time for changes; we were quite satisfied with the input of Goahoma, but with a new member on stage, it would have been difficult to manage it. You can’t go on with the same visual concept year after year and album after album. We’re now busy with new visuals, which will be more into the lyrics and concept of the band. Ben, the other half of Propulsion made some real great visuals, which have been already used during the concert with Hocico.
SL. Any tracks you prefer on this release and why exactly?
Noa. Of course there are some songs we were working on for ages and sometimes these are not the favorite ones, but "Train 2 P.D." proves the contrary. I am really proud about "Hitch" and "Prince Of Darkness" because I wasn’t used of making these kind of songs in the past. Also "PCM (version)", to be found on the limited edition, is one of my favorites. I was so delighted when hearing Trentemöller’s "Moan", I started writing my own heavy compressed deep trance / minimal track. When DP came up with the Salvador Dali samples and cool lyrics, and Mika found the right structure, it was Liberty Hall. An atypical Nebula-H track, but I am happy this track appeared on our limited.
DP. "Hitch" is one of my favorites for being less Nebula-H and so well-crafted! "Prince Of Darkness" for its hit potential, "69" for the power and great chorus, "Train 2 P.D." for the global writing and being probably the hardest song ever, "Art Or Pornography" for the Empirion-touch I hear in it and "Freaks" for the carrying, dark chorus… When releasing a new album it’s quite difficult to have some favorites…I like them all.
SL. On the bonus disc you added additional collaborations with other Belgian bands like Trimetrick, Psy'Aviah and Ex.Es. Who is behind Trimetrick?
DP. Kate is the singer of Trimetrick and I think her cold timbre of voice perfectly fits to the "Hitch"-version of the limited album. Aside of this I think Trimetrick is a band with an own sound and some real potential! They compose a cool form of dark electronics and it’s a band to keep an eye on!
SL. Ex.Es is your brand-new side-project with Noa. A Nebula-H inside a Nebula-H??
Noa. EX.ES is a new challenge. As we have already done some experiments with drum’n’bass, breakbeats and dark electro, resulting in two remixes for Diffuzion and Nebula-H, we are still in the first phase of the project, which means doing some research concerning sound and influences. Also Ben from Propulsion will deliver some ideas for this project. There even has been some talk of adding somebody else, but who this will be is still a secret.
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