German dark-electro formation Agonoize last year unleashed their sixth full length album. “Midget Vampire Porn” released by RepoRecords, reveals thirteen new songs filled with rage and sonic terror. I consider their new work as one of their best albums to date; maybe the best one! The constant energy carried by pumping rhythms, elevating choruses and harsh vocals made from this opus one of the best dark-electro productions from 2019. I’d a chat with the band’s captain Chris L. (still involved with Darkness On Demand, Funker Vogt, The Sexorcist).
(Picture credits by Kevin Stevens / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Agonoize is back with a new album, but still with a somewhat different line-up and on a different label. How did these changes happened and what has been the impact of the ‘new’ line-up on the composition process?
Chris: The contract with Out Of Line was fulfilled so it was time to find a new home for Agonoize. RepoRecords are doing amazing work for Funker Vogt, so it was the best choice.
Our ‘beast’ on the drums was planned as a live-drummer for already a long time and Sam jumped in as live-keyboarder when Oli took a step back from the live shows because of health Issues. So not that much changed in the end.
Q: Gerrit Thomas (Funker Vogt, Eisfabrik) also joined in for some additional programming and mastering. What has been his real input and maybe that little ‘extra’ he added to the work?
Chris: I am a musician and a performer and to be honest, I don’t have a clue about mixing and mastering and I don’t want to be able to do it at all. But Agonoize needs a fat mix and a brilliant mastering, which is important for the typical sound. Gerrit is a genius when it comes to that and he added some sounds, which made the whole sound more bombastic in the final mix. We work very close together on Funker Vogt and our old friendship became a lot deeper, so he was my first choice. In the beginning we both didn’t knew if he could give Agonoize the needed punch, without sounding like Funker Vogt. But he got into the sound very fast and I think the credits for the ‘killer sound’ goes to him.
Q: “Midget Vampire Porn” sounds to me as the most accomplished and successful Agonoize-album ever. How do you perceive the album in the band’s discography and tell us a bit more about the ideas, sound treatments and lyrical content of the work?
Chris: I think the lyrics are pretty typical for Agonoize. Maybe the music sounds more evolved because this time I didn’t had any ‘leftover’ songs from Mike like on the “Apokalypse”-album. There I used 8 songs from Mike and just had to fill in with the missing songs.
I wanted Agonoize to became a bit more mature, but without changing it too much for now. So in the end we added some new sounds to the songs, but kept the basics. And after 5 years I had a lot of rage to get rid of. Also I wanted to experiment with slower, really dark, depressive songs from the deepest dark of my soul. We did that already with, for example, songs like “My Battlefield” or “Drowning In Isolation”, “Unchained” and so on, but “True Blood” and “The Fall”, which is from the upcoming EP, are different from what we did before.
I think when I finished the “Apokalypse”-album I was at a turning point; not a 100% into what I’m doing, tired and disappointed. Now I’m back with full energy and I think everyone can hear that. And thanks for the compliment 😉
Q: The song “Blutgruppe Jesus (-)” clearly is an important song from the album and has been first released as EP-title track. You also (self)made a clip of that song so what’s the deeper meaning behind and what did you try to express by the clip?
Chris: As usual, mankind is looking for a savior, someone who takes the blame for our failure and sins. We think ‘Hey, let someone else suffer for our mistakes’ never willing to take the blame ourselves. But only you can change your life, your fate. We think we only have to pray 3 The Lord’s Prayer and everything is forgiven, or we just pay for our sins. But in the end that would mean, if Jesus existed, he would have died for nothing. The church is using our fears against us, but in my opinion religion and especially the catholic Church should be well known by now.
Church is oppression, religion the reason for war. Believe in yourself in the first place!
Q: When you’re listening to the new album (and EP) right now, what are the elements of the writing/production getting you proud and are there some aspects you would have done differently?
Chris: I would always do things a difficult way; I’m too self-critical. But after 1,5 years delay with the album I’m happy that it’s finally on the market. When it came out I already had 6 new songs done, so the next release will not take another 5 years and on new EP “A Vampire Tale” you’ll find 3 exclusive songs as a bonus track meant as a gift for all the fans who were waiting.
Now that the album got an unexpected, overwhelming good response I start to be proud of it, but it always takes a while for me to realize it.
Q: I often get the impression bands are putting more efforts in their image and artwork than in the music while with Agonoize, every aspect seems to be important! What does it really mean to you and what do you try to express with the imagery (live) and artwork?
Chris: Thanks, indeed it was always very important for me that the videos, the artwork and the stage presence all fit with the songs. I don’t like to give the job to an outsider who doesn’t has a clue or feeling about what I want to express. I was never too much into looking pretty on stage, but more into doing a good and freaky performance. I always created the stage shows myself.
I am going back to my roots now also, directing, filming and cutting the videos myself. For the artwork I’m very happy to have Sam as part of the band. He is a genius with Photoshop and understands my ideas very fast and he has also very good ideas which fit with the project. It’s similar to Funker Vogt right now; we all work very well together as a team, ideas become a concept and especially live I love to entertain and gladly everyone plays along with my stupid ideas for shows 🙂
It’s slowly getting better and better and I look forward to present my newest ideas to a bigger crowd 🙂
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