Terence Fixmer and Douglas J. McCarthy (Nitzer Ebb) are back on track unleashing one of their hardest and most industrial cuts ever. The new EP “Chemicals” released on Sonic Groove is a must have for all fans of minimal-techno & EBM. I got the opportunity to ask a few questions to both protagonists.
(by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: After a hiatus of several years, “Chemicals” is your second single in less than 2 years. How does it feel to be back again in studio?
Douglas: Actually, we haven’t really been in the studio together much. A lot of the new material has been worked on remotely – me in LA and Terence in Europe. We have worked on songs whenever we’re playing shows, so a lot of ideas have literally been tried for the first time in front of an audience.
Terence: Strangely, the years have passed by fast, but in my head we have never really stopped, we are always in contact for one thing and other – to start to do the “So Many Lies”-EP and now “Chemcials” are just a normal flow without any strange feeling to ‘re-work’ on music.
Q: Do you notice some changes/evolution in the global writing and approach compared to the earlier work of F/M?
Douglas: We made a very conscious decision to return to a more aggressive and minimal approach similar to “Between The Devil…”, but I think there is a progression in terms of the sound and production that Terence now has.
Terence: The first album “Between The Devil…’ in 2003 was really instinctive and direct, and when we did the 2nd album, “Into The Night”, we wanted to show another side of us, including more melodies, but I think we realized that the real fun for F/M is to be on stage, and when we played some melodic songs live, I feel like we wanted to be harder. It is not like we are bored but we like to deliver powerful music and to see Douglas running from left to right all the time!
Q: From a very personal point of view “Chemicals” is without a shadow of a doubt the rawest and maybe most ‘industrial’-like song you ever have written. What kind of song did you had in mind and tell us a bit more about the writing?
Douglas: I agree. Terence sent me the baseline and I was immediately reminded of the mid 80’s when Nitzer Ebb first began doing shows in Spain, specifically in Valencia and Murcia on the South-Eastern coast. There was a club in Valencia called ‘Spook Factory’ that we’d go to after playing. It was pre acid-house but certainly an early version of what was later termed ‘Balearic Beats’. There was a penchant for having a drug capsule sticker on the back of your car, basically the same design as I did for the cover.
Terence: To me, it is just a direction or a sequence which could have been in our first album in terms of energy, and style. I don’t think it is a more industrial song but it is a really powerful sequences which maybe could become a classic F/M track such as “You Want It” or “Destroy”.
Q: The sound of F/M has been often described as EBM and techno-like, but I’m more interested to know your own perception about aspects like ‘sound creation’, ‘composition’, ‘equipment’, ‘production’ etc?
Douglas: I think that analogy is a fair description. Terence is a prolific writer of baselines and other parts. He presents ideas to me and if I hear a vocal idea we continue with the track, if I don’t we choose another of his ideas. I record in LA if I am not able to be in Europe. Our approach to what particular style changes. After the melodic-ness of “Into The Night” we were in the mood for a change.
Terence: I work instinctively. I use some classic old analog machines coupled with some modern ones. In the end it is just about feelings and usually i really know when it will fit for F/M or for my solo work.
Also, I think with Douglas we both have the same feelings about music with a common taste for underground music, and we both are really instinctive and direct, so actually it is never complicated with us, if it works it works for both at same time.
Q: So what makes the chemistry between Terence Fixmer and Douglas McCarthy and do you have a particular way working together?
Douglas: We are both extremely childish and have a really dumb sense of humor. We spend most of the time laughing and joking about pretty much everything. We do not take ourselves seriously at all. Fixmer/McCarthy is fun.
Terence: Totally true, we have the same level of stupidity (or maybe wisdom) so we understand each other really well.
Q: You both played at the biggest festivals and all kind of events so what makes the magic to move on playing live and what might the fans/audience expect from the next few shows?
Douglas: We try to give a performance that inspires a reaction, even if it is one of curiosity. We’re never afraid to be ourselves and each show has differences based on how we are feeling the audience is, we seem to be able to win over a crowd.
Terence: What I like is to realize that we have an F/M fan base who really follow us and knows all our tracks. So of course we like to play those classics F/M tracks, but we always add the new ones, and unreleased ones. Sometimes we play unreleased ones, and people follow quite quickly the lyrics from Douglas and sing with him… then at this moment we know that it’s gonna be a good one to release.
Q: “Chemicals” is the first F/M production released on Sonic Groove. What incited you to join hands with Adam X and what are the further plans for F/M right now?
Douglas: We’ve both known Adam for a long time. I first met him in New York before he moved to Berlin. He’s always a very positive guy with a lot of energy and drive. He saw us perform at Berghain last September and asked about releasing “Chemicals” and we thought it was a great idea. We definitely look forward to continuing to work together.
Terence: I know Adam for many many years, we both really understand, belong and play in the same scene. I know how deep he is into industrial, EBM and techno. Adam is one of the most true and passionate artist, he has been faithful to his sound and vision for decades so industrial, EBM and techno are his keys elements. As friend I always told him I’ll do something for him, and then I realize that he’d be really happy to have an F/M release on Sonic Groove, as he has always supported F/M and myself solo.. so it was obvious to do this release with him and it is a good match sonically.
Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries