Swedish artist Peter Elm strikes back with the third full length album of his EBM sonic alter-ego ELM. “Penetrator” sounds as furious old-school EBM. Hard, aggressive, and powerful cuts which can be placed somewhere in between Nitzer Ebb and Pouppée Fabrikk. The album has been already released by Alfa Matrix and is available in different formats. I talked with Peter Elm about “Penetrator” and a few more things.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: You third album as ELM has been composed and released during the ongoing pandemic. Did it have an influence and impact to write and release “Penetrator”?
Peter: Well, it’s been a weird couple of years to say the least… The pandemic in itself enabled me personally to sit and work in my home studio a lot and to be quite productive, so that was a good thing.
At the same time there was this isolation while simultaneously watching the world get more and more insane through the magnifying glass of online media. Most of the songs on ”Penetrator” were written around 2019-2020… I think the pandemic made it all the more obvious how unhealthy social media really can be. It’s not natural and it’s not healthy. There’s so much to be said on this subject matter, way more than what would fit in this interview. Another thing that really started to piss me off more and more is this political correctness, woke and cancel culture and how absolutely devastating it is to all forms of creative expression, humor and human relations.
Q: “Penetrator” seems to deal about subjects like ‘mass manipulation, social media insanity, violence, propaganda, pandemic and war’. How do you as citizen versus artist face this reality? And how do you transpose themes into music?
Peter: Yes, some of the lyrics touch on those subjects… It’s very easy to feel discouraged by the world we live in. You see how easily people are corrupted (on all levels), how integrity and values mean nothing. Hypocrisy has reached new and unsurpassed levels! It’s easy to lose hope.
To transpose themes into music just comes naturally though… If you genuinely feel pissed off you will probably express rage through your music. If you feel sad you’ll express sadness, etc… That’s why my music is 100% honest and hopefully people feel that. I’m not trying to be this or that or to belong to this or that group. That’s just pathetic. I observe and express. That’s all.
Q: Lyrical wise ELM seems a bit like an antithesis to most of the EBM bands dealing with simplistic themes. What’s your perception about it and does your ‘engagement’ go further than only writing lyrics?
Peter: Good lyrics are good lyrics regardless of their subject matter. I consider mine more like small notes or poems about the state of things. Be it within myself or the world around me.
Q: Production-wise “Penetrator” sounds as your most professional work to date; great mix and sound production! Tell us a bit more about this constant progress and improvement? Is it just growing experience or still the need to learn new techniques about mixing and producing?
Peter: Thank you very much! I just try to keep learning and hopefully I get better at what I do with experience, watching tutorials online, asking friends who produce music, etc… There’s a lot more to learn and there are far better producers out there than myself but I try to get better and learn all the time. I love making Electronic music but I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of material I’ve released in the past has had a very amateur production. I try my best to improve!
Q: “Penetrator” has been released as a special 3CD digipak edition featuring the surprising third disc “Fragments Of Longing”. Sound-wise this album has nothing in common with the hard EBM stuff of “Penetrator” so what means this album to you and what did you try to express?
Peter: I listen to a wide variety of music all the time. I love music and it has a very profound role in my life. The songs on ”Fragments Of Longing” span over a very long period of time and I needed to release them so I could move on. This was more a personal thing I needed to do…
I didn’t touch the songs too much production wise but kept them quite simple and ‘naïve’. These songs come from within me. I feel harmonies, atmospheres and lyrics are my strengths. ”Fragments Of Longing” is really more like Soundtrack music for me. It was important for me to show that I can do more than just ‘old-school’ EBM even if I fear these songs will get a bit ‘lost’ and should probably have been released on a different type of label.
Q: What brings 2023 for ELM? What are the further plans and would you ever consider bringing Restricted Area back alive?
Peter: There are gigs planned in Germany, Belgium and France for 2023…
ELM and Peter Elm is what I focus on, but who knows what other projects could see the light of day. It’s been a few exhausting years though so I really don’t know what the future holds… Right now I go back to basics, find the essence of what I love, stay away from the noise and we’ll see.
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