Geert De Wilde started composing music under the IC 434 moniker in 1994. After some promising demos he released his first official album “Weathering Skies” (1996) on Dirk Ivens’ label Body Records. The album and the live performances both got a very positive response. Being considered as the Belgian answer to Calva Y Nada, Geert De Wilde moved on releasing “Dogondance” (1998) and “The Banished” (2002) both released on Body Records as well. After a hiatus of six years IC 434 got finally signed to Infacted Recordings unleashing the album “Bacteriate” (2008) and “Anhedonia” (2011). After this last opus the dark-electro & EBM project remained pretty silent, but from time to time you can see IC 434 on stage. The upcoming live show planned for February, 29th, 2020 at the ‘Fetish Café’ in Antwerp is an opportunity to see this great artist back on stage again. It also incited me to ask Geert how things are evolving with IC 434.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: IC 434 will be again on stage at the end of February. You didn’t release any new work since the “Anhedonia”-album (2011) so how’s the project doing and what’s your personal evaluation from the past years?
Geert: I haven’t written any IC 434 songs since “Anhedonia”. Besides a few gigs and some work for side-project Skyshifter, my focus is on organizing non-related party events the last couple of years so IC 434 is in a deep sleep. Last year, I did a single concert for the 25 years of existence, and indeed, at the end of February I will be on stage in ‘Fetish Café’ in my hometown Antwerp, because that’s quite a unique location of course and the organizers are very kind and enthusiastic people. But don’t expect a complete revival.
Q: You’ve been involved with numerous side-projects (from Genocide to Temesta to Pangea to Obedience…), but here again, it all looks like these projects are in stand-by or no longer active. Did you get the feeling to have seen it all and what’s your perception about the evolution in the electronic scene?
Geert: It’s not that these projects were all complete different, for example Temesta and Pangea are just other names for the same thing, and Obedience was meant to be the new path for IC 434, but fate decided it was not meant to be. I’ve always been interested in a wide spectrum of musical styles and I also wanted to make different kinds of music, and earlier on I had the compulsive idea this was not possible all under the same moniker.
But honestly, I hardly know anything about the evolution of the dark electronic scene, answering your last question. The few songs I got to know recently kept me mostly completely indifferent. Probably this is partly a result of getting older, my complex personal life and as you said ‘having seen it all’. And at the same time, let’s compare the year 1980 to 2000 and then 2000 to 2020, and I think we all have to admit the evolution has become much less prominent in an objective manner.
Q: I’m in touch with a lot of artists and label owners and I often get the feeling some of them no longer enjoy what they’re doing and that makes me think to the title of your last album “Anhedonia”. Do you recognize this sensation and in, which way does it symbolize the world and society we’re actually living in?
Geert: Perhaps it’s not so strange you start to enjoy other things when you’re getting older. But there’s more going on I think. We live in an overstimulating world where everything goes faster and faster. We get a little taste of something new, and move on rapidly to the next because of the overwhelming amount of things to choose from. I think the resulting addiction to new stimuli makes your brain exhausted and leads to anhedonia without much doubt. Being heard in such a world as a musician or label owner is much harder than it was in the 20th Century and as a result, reducing the joy.
Q: You’ve been always concerned about important topics such as death, social themes, but still about astronomy, nature, animal rights… It all looks like things are progressively evolving, some people (and even adolescents) getting aware about what’s happening with our planet, but at the other side others who don’t totally care about it. What’s your own perception and personal involvement?
Geert: In these social media times, everyone has his or her opinion on everything. The need to having an opinion seems to be more important than using valid arguments, because the ego gets more and more importance, which I see reflected in a lot of those same opinions. To me, the future does not seem very bright, on the contrary. There’s the environmental crisis that’s still neglected by the majority of people for reasons of mainly cognitive dissonance, and there’s also the growing importance of ‘believe’ (superstition, alternative medicine, astrology, religion…) based on not knowing how to interpret data and/or not knowing how to get to a valid conclusion based on those data, or it’s even just based on gut feeling. In both cases psychological mechanisms we all share are involved. The challenge is to be aware of those mechanisms and I am convinced they should be teached at school prior to many other things.
Q: What did you keep in mind from the early IC 434-years? What have been the major facts you’ll never forget? The biggest challenges? What makes you proud and what makes you sick? What brings the future?
Geert: I enjoyed the early years the most. The days I switched on my Korg M1 and the inspiration came faster than my fingers could translate it into music. Being proud of releasing the first demo tape. Not thinking about how people would react on the internet. Just taking care of the composition and not getting nuts in the mixing and mastering stage, what became the biggest challenge later on. During the years, it all became less spontaneous, and things in personal life did not help for sure. So many things happened in those 25 years that it’s just too much to describe, even if they’re really important in a positive or negative way. And now I have absolutely no idea what the future will bring for IC 434.
Q: Geert, I know you as a humble and discrete man and artist. You’re not the kind of guy who has the need to get in the spotlights or someone obsessed by ‘image’ and talking about his life on social media. What does (or did) music bring and maybe change to your life? Do you see music as something pure artistic or is it more than that?
Geert: I feel this as a compliment, but it hasn’t always made things easy because that’s not how our world generally works if you want to get somewhere. Although IC 434 has not been a priority for many years, music will probably always keep an important role in my life, just as it always did since I was 13. I’ve spent most part of my spare time in musical activities in one or another way. Creating songs, doing masterings for others, meeting friends on related activities, setting up events, going to concerts… It’s definitely more than something ‘just’ artistic, it’s about emotions and the will to express whatever I want to at a certain moment, even without words.