“Digital Outcast” is the third album by German formation Darkness On Demand which is available now on Bandcamp and on CD via the Alfa Matrix webstore. After having released two albums on Repo Records ‘Falgalas’ and Gary Wagner signed to Alfa Matrix where they released the “Final Way” EP, the “Hang On (Winterhart remix)” and the “White Clouds” EP. The former Dance Or Die-members now strike back with “Digital Outcast”, a powerful, sophisticated and engaged EBM work. I talked about the album and other things with front man Gary Wagner.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: After a successful career as Dance Or Die you guys are now busy for a couple of years under the moniker Darkness On Demand. Do you perceive significant changes and/or evolutions between both bands or is just a natural evolution? And do you sometimes miss Dance Or Die?
Gary: We actually don’t miss anything of our former career with Dance Or Die. Falgalas and me played together since 1993 and the old producer and composer, who did not go on stage, had not enough material for new songs anymore… that’s why we decided to continue our story under the new flag Darkness On Demand.
The idea was to leave Dance Or Die as a Cult to start with the new material Falgalas had composed. The new songs are more Industrial and EBM and got much more melodies than before. The development of the new tracks started with our first longplayer “Post Stoneage Technology” continues the near future items. Just like the second one “Detoxination” which is concerned with man-machine themes we march on in that genre to keep Science Fiction alive. The astonishing thing was that the old fans expected the new start straight away. We still are the guys they know from stage and the short logo DOD is still up to date.
Q: I was surprised you signed to a Belgian label –Alfa Matrix. Why this move from a German label to a Belgian one and are there also plans for your side-projects?
Gary: Well the main reason for signing abroad was that Belgium is the Walhalla of Electronic Body Music. We are definitely inspired by Front 242, Klinik and A Split Second which come from Belgium. We planned to get the thing more international.
The former label was more concerned with Germany which was pretty all right for the start. But the fact that we were popular in countries such as Sweden, Mexico, USA and the European East pushed us forward to be promoted worldwide. There were music colleges who recommended Alfa Matrix to start that enterprise. We are very happy about that and we know that the label believes in our work.
By the way we still work on our other project Winterhart which is Martial, Industrial and Dark-Folk orientated.
Q: Over now to “Digital Outcast” which is the third full length by Darkness On Demand. The lyrical themes are –once more, very engaged and introduced as an ‘ invitation to reconnect with nature and reality, to escape from that digital world dominated by artificial social medias and credit card consumption’ is really interesting to me. I can imagine it’s a very personal reflection but can you give us more details? And how do you see it regarding the digital world and social media which is that important today for labels, bands etc…?
Gary: “Digital Outcast” is the digital answer to the digitalized world. We fight fire with fire, like we use Electronix for creating our answer to Goth-Rock. Real life turns into a cyberworld which is mankind created and has nothing to do with the real world outside.
In Kraftwerk’s “Computerwelt” you heard the warning of observation and a transparent mankind. The more data they get the more you are controlled by them. The problem in Germany is that they consider you as a conspiracy freak when you know and talk about this. You can have an attitude but the mass medias tell you what your attitude has to be. Quite complicated for bands that came from Punk-Rock .
Q: How do you look back to the writing and production of “Digital Outcast”? Do you’ve any experiences and/or anecdotes you encountered that come directly into mind?
Gary: During the lockdown we found ourselves in ghost towns. Everything was closed, life stood still people were ill and lots of people died. It was a terrible time, we hope it won’t repeat. But in somehow it changed the attitude towards the government. Some were absolutely into the rules of authority, the others questioned it like they did before. Feelings such as loneliness and depressions came to our mind and that influenced our album conception.
One day during that period they closed Schleswig Holstein after we finished our singing recording and I had to leave this Bundesland for a return to Berlin. What a strange situation…
The EP “White Clouds” exactly describes this time I mentioned before.
Q: “White Clouds” sounds as a solid addendum to “Digital Outcast”. Is there anything more you want to say about the EP?
Gary:The EP “White Clouds” exactly describes this time I mentioned before. In some of these happy pills you find a little picture of grey clouds turning to white to take the medicine regularly. Sometimes pretty necessary to avoid a serious illness. Anyway… we still stand for the idea to make great Clubmixes on our EP’s. The dancefloor is still an important fact to communicate with the fans, besides the live activities.
Q: Gary and Heiko, I think you’re now working together for thirty years –or even more. What makes the chemistry between both of you and how do you perceive each other as ‘artist’ and the person behind the artistic creation?
Gary:As I already mentioned we both played the Dance Or Die shows since 1993. After a long break in the early 20th we decided to make new music together. Falgalas created lots of material with Classic sounds and instruments. We added real acoustic guitars and trumpets to form Winterhart. We released our albums on Danse Macabre Records. But then, once upon a time we were a little frustrated that Dance Or Die stood still. Therefore we found Darkness On Demand to return to Body and Industrial music.
Those days Falgalas lived in the middle of Berlin and we worked together at new songs every afternoon. Then he moved to Tönning near the North-Sea und built-up a New Studio he calls Dreiklangstudio. So I got to travel to the North for singing recordings. Less helter skelter than in Berlin. Silence enough for our future stories to keep the Dark Side alive. We turn Future into Reality
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