Pedro Engel setup Acylum in 2004. A few years later he got joined by his wife Nadine ‘Cooraz’ Engel. From the very early productions the German project revealed an extremely dark and tormented Electro style. Acylum released some very successful albums, “Pest” released in 2015 being becoming an essential opus for Dark-Electro lovers. Six years later, “Kampf Dem Verderb” released on Alfa Matrix, appears to be even darker than ever before. A work filled with terror, provocation, controversy, but still with great and accomplished Dark-Electro. I talked about different topics with Pedro Engel.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: After the “Pest”-album released in 2015 you seem to have focalized on different side-projects. What do these side-projects mean? How do you make the difference between all projects? And when did you finally start writing new songs for Acylum?
Pedro: The “Pest”-album was the fifth Acylum-album and after that we just wanted something different.
With Aengeldust you don’t need to think much about content or lyrics. You just have to produce hard and raw Industrial, it’s just a lot of fun. All you need is a cool topic, some great samples and let’s go!!
Things look different with Totem Obscura. This is more about darker and more mystical topics. The music also sounds in the direction of Dark-Electro, but also with many other influences; here we also use Medieval sounds or even go more in the direction of Gothic-Electro.
The work on “Kampf Dem Verderb” began more than two years ago. Problems with the software and the fucking Corona virus cost a lot of time so it took more than 5 years until we finally had a new Acylum album! It will be faster until the next one .. I promise :-)))
Q: “Kampf Der Verderb” sounds to me as your darkest and most tormented work ever, but what kind of album did you want to accomplish; sound- and lyrical wise?
Pedro: This was actually not an intention; maybe it was because of the long time between the albums. A lot has changed; we changed and the world changed as well… Acylum should always reflect current events, and what are they like at the moment? Terror, the Covid-19 virus, corrupt politicians and sometimes freedom of speech is not advisable in these times. I think that’s the reason!
Q: What have been the different stages you had to go through to achieve the album? What have been the main difficulties and maybe challenges you encountered and what makes this work maybe different from previous Acylum productions?
Pedro: For me it is important that I don’t copy myself. I don’t want a new album to sound like another one I’ve already released. And of course it shouldn’t lose our typical style. In addition, finding the right choice of content is not always easy. Ten years ago it was somehow a lot easier… maybe that’s because you thought less about what you’re doing ;-))
Q: One of the most surprising songs is the reworked version of “The Enemy” (originally released in 2009 at the same-titled album) featuring Nano Infect, Viscera Drip, Wolfchild, Xentrifuge, Technogenetika and your own side-project Totem Obscura. How did you get the idea of this reworked versions with different artists and how did it happen? What has been the input of each artist?
Pedro: Ohhh yes I love this song!! The beat is probably one of the darkest I’ve ever made. That’s why I really wanted to record it again. I always try to do something that nobody (in our scene) has done before. Hence the idea to put many different artists on the track. There was only the requirement that it should be aggressive and provocative… otherwise the artists had a free hand with the lyrics. I just love to hear the different styles, voices and languages on a track. We will definitely repeat that!!
Q: How do you see the evolution in sound and composing process from the early Acylum songs till today? What do you consider as the major changes and evolutions?
Pedro: It’s not that easy to answer. The biggest change is of course myself. The quality and the production both have evolved, of course, but the attitude and the approach has always remained the same. I have never paid attention to what is currently in vogue… the critics have never interested me… So I would say we have been walking our way for 6 albums and it will stay that way for the next.
Q: I noticed there have been people on social media denouncing Acylum for being ‘politically incorrect’. Do you feel affected by these accusations and do you have something to say to the critics?
Pedro: Oh yes we have had this problem for a long time… I am aware that our music is very provocative and many topics are very sensitive and in today’s social media time it happens very quickly that people write bullshit about you and others believe it too. But that doesn’t bother me.
I can only say that I am neither a political person nor a racist. We work with so many international artists that it’s just ridiculous. But I don’t think the critics even want to hear that. It has just become trendy to denounce people who have their own opinion that does not correspond to the mainstream.