May 27, 2024

Acylum interview: ‘Stay focused and go your way!’



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With “Zuchthaus”, the sulphurous German duo (and couple) Acylum aka Nadine and Pedro Engel return with a new chapter in Acylum’s career for another ear- and eye- provocative effort. They are experts in setting the scene and plunging us in unbearable poignant atmospheres through their sinister and bombastic  harsh elektro deprived of any compromise.  We had a quick chat with the master of darkness…

The album is out as a limited edition 2CD and as an extended bonus version via Bandcamp.

SL: “Zuchthaus” is described as your most sombre and despair-ridden album to date.What inspired you to delve into such profound depths of tragedy and darkness for this release?

P. It wasn’t necessarily planned, I don’t always go to work with a deep plan, but always act spontaneously according to my mood and desire… Also, this time I didn’t really pay attention to what the listener might like in the end, I just really paid attention to my feeling about the music and nothing else.  Very spontaneous…

SL: The album’s rallying cry, “Fight! Victory or Death,” is quite powerful.  Can you elaborate on the message you aim to convey with this phrase and how it ties into the themes of the album?

P. This saying can be interpreted in different ways by everyone. And this is our intention! For me personally I would say it means something like… “do your thing”, “go your way”, “don’t give a shit about what others say”.  Everyone in this society is in their own personal war and you must never lose sight of your goals and your path. Plus it just sounds really cool and is a great opener for the album…

SL: Your music often immerses listeners in historical and political themes, such as the Cold War and gulags for example. What draws you to these subjects, and how do you approach integrating them into your sound?

P. These themes and the typical ACYLUM sound simply harmonize perfectly with each other. Furthermore, these topics are always very attractive to me and of course (especially in Germany) provocative. I like to create a kind of soundtrack for topics of this kind.

SL: Tracks like “Gabriel” and “1000 Meilen” introduce slower, melancholic moments.How did the creative process for these tracks differ from the more aggressive songs on the album?

P. For me an album needs variety and diversity,  If it just banged and crashed all the time I would probably get bored… and you too! For me it’s just super important to incorporate quieter moments into an Long player… and the contrasts between the songs make an album really interesting for me!  This is also what ACYLUM is all about.

SL: You mention a mystical touch of Nordic mythology in the background of the album.Can you discuss how you incorporated these mythological elements into your music and the significance they hold in the album’s narrative?

P. I am a big fan of Nordic mythology and its music. Thematically they don’t really have any meaning on this album, but musically I wanted to bring a little something into it (e.g. the song 1000 Meilen). It’s always nice to mix a few rather foreign instruments with the typical electronic style.

SL: Your sound is known for its confrontational and oppressive industrial noise sequences. How do you balance creating music that is both challenging and addictive for your listeners?

I think we managed to create a rather strange and perhaps unique style over the years. Of course, we are often compared to other bands, but we make it our mission to always be a little different than others.

SL: “Zuchthaus” seems to reflect a cyclical nature of human folly and chaos. What do you hope listeners take away from this portrayal of unrelenting misery and historical repetition?

P. I just hope you enjoy playing it and listening to it, and that you can vent your aggressions or make love to it… whatever you want, but at least it triggers something in you!

author avatar
Eldrina Mich
As Eldrina Mich I work as a go-between and a devil's advocate when it comes to Side-Line. If our own staff needs to be interviewed then ask the questions no one else dares to ask.

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