Set up in the 90s by Sascha Mario Klein, Neuroticfish became one of the ‘hottest’ formations active during the so-called future-pop years. The albums “No Instruments” (1999) and “Les Chansons Neurotiques” (2002) became real references featuring multiple hits. After the album “Gelb” (2005) Neuroticfish disappeared from the electro-radars to finally get back into business releasing “A Sign Of Life” in 2015. The album got released on Sascha Klein’s own label Non Ordinary Records. The fifth album “Antidoron” has been one of the major releases from late 2018. It still sounds totally Neuroticfish-like mixing harder dance-cuts with slower-melancholic pieces. Sascha Klein has been already assisted by producer Henning Verlage. Here’s what Sascha has to say about the new work.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I just realized your first official album “No Instruments” and the first EP “Music For A Paranormal Life” were released 20 years ago now. What does it evoke to you and how much of this ‘early’ Neuroticfish sound and production do you still recognize in your new work “Antidoron”?
Sascha: Yes, It’s 20 years now and as “No Instruments” was more naive and edgy from todays point of view, I still find some little pieces of sound and themes in there that have travelled alongside with every new album. I guess it is a continuous struggle to maintain a unique sound of our own without repeating ourselves over and over again. On “Antidoron” we embraced a more ‘synth-pop’-sound and for that we dug a bit deeper into our own history.
Q: I’m intrigued by the title of the album; “Antidoron” is related to religion so what does it say about the album, lyrical themes and its influences?
Sascha: I’m not a religious person at all. So as “Antidoron” comes from the rites of Eastern Orthodox churches, I was interested in the literal meaning. In the Greek language ‘Doron’ means gift or present and ‘Anti’ means opposite of something or negates the meaning of the word. So what is the opposite of a gift or present? Not to return it, I guess. You give something as a gift. Can you give the opposite of a gift? I came across the word ‘Antidoron’ while visiting the “Documenta” art exhibition on Kassel in 2017 an it felt that this word fits perfectly with the connotation and the concept of the album.
Q: Sascha, you told me “Antidoron” is ‘different’ from your previous work. I noticed a ‘harder’ sound in a few songs, but how do you perceive this album and what makes it ‘different’ for you?
Sascha: “Antidoron” is different in a sense that it has a clear theme and attitude throughout all of the songs. It’s basically a concept album in its own right. I’ve never written a concept album before and at first I did not realize it. Later on in the writing process it felt that the songs entwine with each other and that the stories connect. So this album is new for me too.
Q: What have been the main challenges and difficulties you encountered writing this opus and how do you perceive this album in Neuroticfish’s discography?
Sascha: It was very difficult to write and record this album. We all have our challenges, disappointments and set-backs in life and so did I. The lyrics of “Antidoron” evolve around grief, depression and the inevitability of things and so I needed new recipes to transfer the mood to the music without losing the energy. Some people have already complained about the fact that there are fewer up-tempo tracks on this album than on the former ones. The only thing I can say about this is, if you only recognize Neuroticfish for what you can dance to, then you do not understand us at all.
Q: “Antidoron” got an instant positive response in Germany; number one album in the DAC (Deutsche Alternative Charts)! That’s pretty cool, but what’s the real importance and impact of the DAC and/or any other kind of charts?
Sascha: Well, as far as I know, the DAC is voted by DJ’s, promoters and other music professionals. This gives us a good feedback on where we stand professionally and if “Antidoron” works even in a club environment. That’s about it.
Because we are self-releasing and self-distributing, we aren’t included in official sales charts and we simply don’t care. We are in the lucky position to be completely independent, artistically and business-wise. Given that, the feedback we get from our audience is more important than any chart position at all. I’ve just got a message from a person who told me had cried during every track of “Antidoron” because the songs reminded him/her of some bad experiences and helped to express what he/she felt. This is heart breaking and beautiful at the same time. I am very thankful for the fact that “Antidoron” resonates with our audience. I really am.
Q: I noticed you remastered and released some of your ‘older’ works. I’m always fascinated why remastering an album? Is it just a strategy to bring an old album alive, which can be good for the sales? A way to improve some details? Maybe a kind of neurotic obsession because some artists are never totally satisfied with their work? The use of better techniques in remastering?
Sascha: Well, there are few reasons for remastering the old stuff. First of all, with remastering we have the opportunity to fix mistakes in sound we have made in the original versions. Then the listening habits of the audience has changed over the last 20 years. A louder sound is expected, a brighter stereo image and the medium has changed to compressed digital formats. And in our case most of the original releases went out of stock when we went in hiatus and the people still wanted them. So when I founded my own label ‘Non Ordinary Records’, we took the chance to revisit everything and to resurrect our back catalogue in a new way.