‘Click Interview’ with ELM: ‘The Music Is What Is Important’
I will always link Peter Elm to Restricted Area. This Swedish EBM and body-pop project released a few great productions from the midst of the 90s till the early millennium years. The last productions were released on EK Product in 2010 and 2011. After a break of several years Peter Elm got back into business, setting up ELM and signing to Alfa Matrix. The album “Hardline” released in 2016 revealed a hard and pure old-school EBM. Three years later ELM strikes back with a new opus entitled “Extreme Unspoken Tension”. The album was preceded by the great EP “Death Of The North” revealing the raw power of ELM. This production is for sure one of the EBM high lights from 2019 and will appeal for all retro-EBM lovers. This is what Peter Elm has to say about it.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: You’ve just released the second Elm-album “Extreme Unspoken Tension”. What have been the main triggers and influences to start writing this work and did you’d a specific focus in the composition/production process?
Peter: It’s just honest self-expression and reflections about ’the world we live in and life in general’. If you’re pissed off, the music you make will naturally reflect that. Anyone with some integrity and sensitivity left will know what I mean and feel my sincerity in the songs. I’m not trying to fit into any genre or to be cool.
Q: “Extreme Unspoken Tension” is an intriguing title, which clearly has a deeper significance. What’s hiding behind the title and what have been the main lyrical themes you tried to express?
Peter: Yes. I like the title and the sound of it. I also find that the artwork adds yet another dimension and enhances the meaning of the title. Anyone not entirely brainwashed knows there are severe problems in Europe. Political correctness is badly disguised fascism and there are more and more restrictions about what you are allowed to say and how you are allowed to behave. There is an underlying tension. And all along Big Brother watches closely. Of course the whole atmosphere is soaked with hypocrisy. It’s disgusting. The development on a moral and philosophical level is quite devastating and is slowly and effectively removing charm and humor from our society. And the sheep follow. Nice.
Q: What did you try to achieve sound- & song-wise? Did you try to incorporate new elements in the production? What have been the main challenges?
Peter: The main challenge is achieving a solid, high-quality production and of course you need to have good songs to start with.
Sound wise I will always go towards and develop a sound that I personally am passionate about. Solid synthetic bass sounds and well-crafted bass-lines combined with honest aggression. The songs and lyrics need to be there though and need to find their place in the right musical environment.
I think there is a lot of variation on ”Extreme Unspoken Tension” and I don’t like albums where all songs sound the same. There are a lot of quite alternative song structures on the album such as ”Altitude 100”, ”Apocalypse” or ”Redemption”…
I also find that the album also has quite a more modern and fresh sound.
Q: The limited edition of this album became something very special; a great concept featuring alternative edits from every song. How did you get this idea? What did you try to accomplish with this disc and alternative edits and how did you get in touch with Rummelsnuff?
Peter: Thank you. Yes, it was a lot of work. It started with the feeling that I actually always preferred when bands did their own remixes as opposed to letting other artists do them. I used to love the 12 inch-style remixes of bands like Depeche Mode or Nitzer Ebb. I also thought it would be an easier and smoother process if I just did the remixes myself… Although fun, it turned out to be rather tedious…
In the end I found that I could have more fun and relax more for the disc B songs since they were ’only’ remixes/bonus versions. I actually prefer some of these to the originals.
I’m a big fan of Rummelsnuff and had a chat with him when he had a gig in Brussels a few years back. I contacted him about doing a translation/poem with one of my songs and we came up with ”Distracted”. Personally I find that the song suits his vagabond-style of storytelling. I also tried to make the song a bit more ’German sounding’ and stomping. Rummelsnuff is really cool since he always did his own thing. I respect that. Honest self-expression.
Q: Image is an essential item when it comes to EBM; bodies have to be muscled and sculptural while clothing is important as well! It sometimes even becomes more important than the music properly speaking. Is it an aspect you’re taking care about and where do you place image in the story of ELM?
Peter: Images and concept need to go esthetically well with the music. Once again, this is all about the art and the expression. In the case of both ”Hardline” and ”Extreme Unspoken Tension” the artwork combined with the music form a fist forged by fire from the heart. The artwork should be like a statement. This is what I have to say. Join in or fuck off.
I’ve always been a huge fan of NSK, Laibach and totalitarian art so my covers will naturally have influences from them. When it comes to superficial image or clothing I really don’t give a fuck.
The music is what is important.
Q: You’re based in Brussels since a couple of years. How does it feel living in the center of Europe and does this town and/or Belgium have a real impact on you as musician?
Peter: I like Brussels a lot because of its diversity, movement and international feel. I love the mix of languages. It’s easy to travel anywhere and I’ve come to get great friends here. There is a lot of music going on also, in a sense even more than in Berlin where I also used to live. In a way it’s like a mix between Paris and Berlin.
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