‘Click Interview’ with Cubic: ‘It Was Time To Pull The Plug And Leave Ebm To The ‘Jügend’’
Franky Deblomme got some recognition with his EBM-project Darkmen. After having stopped the project we didn’t hear new stuff from this musician till he started working under the CUBIC moniker. After the excellent “Alphabet Hymn”-EP and having revisited the 808 Dot.Pop-album “Cubic Temperature”, Franky unleashed CUBIC’s debut album “The Cubic Alphabet”. The work has been released by Alfa Matrix, which in a way is a kind of consecration for the artist and a promising start for Cubic. The sound has a clear connection with 808 Dot.Pop and Metroland; a kind of Kraftwerk-Pop with a personal and more diversified touch on top. “The Cubic Alphabet” is a refreshing opus, which brings something extra to traditional Electro-Pop.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Franky, I think you started experimenting with music in 1981! What kind of musician are you and how did you see yourself evolving throughout the years?
Franky: The fascination for synthesizer started in ‘81 (seeing Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran behind a prophet 5 synth); the experimenting followed a few years later .
At first with toy machines: a casio SK5 and some cassette players, as the years passed I was able to buy the real stuff. I’ve always been a collector of hardware synths, samplers and sequencers (even now). Getting to know these machines inside out is something that drives me.
I’m not a trained musician, but with 30 years of knob twiddling and a trained ear, I dare to say that I know what I’m doing. Even now I’m still eager to learn, especially in the mixing and mastering process where there’s still room for improvement .
Q: EBM fans for sure remind you from your involvement with Darkmen. How do you look back at this project and how did you finally come to set up CUBIC, which is still Electronic although quite different –and your first new music experience in years?
Franky: I did the Darkmen-thing for 10 years together with one of my best friends, Thomas Vrambout. We managed to meet or play live with bands we admired ( like DAF, Nitzer Ebb, Orange Sector, SA42, Terrence Fixmer…) and we travelled the world for free to do something we liked to do. So you can say It was a wonderful experience.
The downside, EBM is a quite restricted genre in terms of artistic freedom. EBM is almost like a mathematical formula (in sound, structure, artwork and lyrics ). In the end I felt too restricted. So when we both turned 40, It was time to pull the plug and leave EBM to the ‘Jügend’.
With CUBIC I wanted to incorporate a lot of my other musical influences and preferences .
Q: I experienced a kind of duality in the sound of Cubic; pretty old-school driven and yet a pretty refreshing sound. Tell us a bit more about Cubic-sound and the different sources of inspiration?
Franky: Like most of us I was influenced by Synth-Pop (Duran Duran, Depeche Mode), the dark Belgian sounds (Front 242, Neon Judgement, New-Wave).
But the Electronic sounds and bands that emerged in the early 90’s, were the ones that had the most impact on me; think Orbital, Leftfield, System 7, The Orb or labels like Warp or R&S Records .
In that period I also was a ‘Techno’-DJ, playing in clubs and parties so the whole 90s club sound is something that I still like .
Not that I’m into EDM or the current Techno sounds, but bands like Der Dritte Raum, Steven Rutter or Extrawelt can inspire me.
All those influences I wanted to incorporate in the Cubic sound. With the first album I still had to find my musical direction, but the new demo’s will be a 100 % Cubic.
Q: Behind your debut album “The Cubic Alphabet” is a kind of concept, but what is it really all about? And how did the writing and production of the album happen?
Franky: Well, the alphabet has 26 letters so I’ve intended to write 26 letters/songs , each one referring to one letter of the alphabet.
So the first full album (with 13 letters / songs on it ) is the first part . In a later stage a second full length album with 13 letters will be released, forming the whole alphabet .
The album was written/mixed and mastered in my ‘Bong 13’ studio over a period of 12 months. All songs are based on hardware synths, drum machines and effects, recorded to a digital platform. Half of the songs already existed in demo form, and were rearranged for the album, others were newly written .
Q: I think you’ve always been pretty close with Sven Lauwers aka ‘Passenger S’ from Metroland and 808 Dot.Pop (and formerly Ionic Vision). You even reworked all songs from his 808 Dot.Pop-album “The Colour Temperature” into a new work entitled “The Cubic Temperature”. What can you reveal about this ‘musical friendship’ and how did “The Cubic Temperature” see the daylight? Any plans to set up a common project?
Franky: It must have been 16 years ago now I got in touch with Sven (he was running the EBM sublabel Machineries Of Joy). From the beginning It was clear that we had the same taste (in music, humor and beer). So many years later, he’s one of my closest friends. His musical ear for details in his music and the way he translates concepts into sounds and songs both are a real inspiration. We both push each other to a higher level.
I have made a lot of remixes for all of his projects, and “The Cubic Temperature” is to my opinion the highlight of our collaboration over all the years. That album is not a remix album. I wanted to keep a lot of the original 808 signature sounds and add layers of Cubic on top. It started out with one song (cf. “Placnk’s H”) and the result was so exciting the idea grew to do the whole album.
I still think it’s a great concept, one artist doing an interpretation of another artist without losing the soul of the original songs (and remixing it to death). It took almost 6 months to finish, but it was worth it.
Other plans? Yes and now: we have to be careful not to overdo this collaboration. When we get together it often results in crazy ideas or concepts, maybe some of those will see the light of day.
Q: What brings the future? Do you’ve concrete plans to go with Cubic on stage? How do you expect Cubic evolving after the debut album?
Franky:Playing live is for sure something I want to do in the future, full live or a mixture of DJing and live, everything could be possible.
The fist focus is now releasing some more music, and creating the real ‘cubic’-signature sound and creating something of a following.
Let’s hope to get some live action in 2022 .
Some remixes I’ve done for fellow Alfa Matrix bands will probably be released soon… and some more Cubic sounds.
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