Set up in 1983 Clan Of Xymox aren’t just pioneers from the dark/cold-wave scene, but also a band that never stopped composing new music. Clan Of Xymox never stopped releasing great music even after more than thirty years of involvement. Ronny Moorings already took my by surprise releasing the dark and catchy “Days Of Black” in 2017 and he this year strikes back releasing “Spider On The Wall”. The singles taken from this album became instant hits, revealing a new catchy approach mixed with darkness and melancholia. The album has been released on Trisol (Germany/Europe) and Metropolis (USA). I talked about this newest opus with front man Ronny Moorings.
(Picture credits by Edmund Messerschmidt / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Your new album “Spider On The Wall” has been released 35 years after your self-titled debut full length “Clan Of Xymox”! What do you still recognize from this early production in the new album?
Ronny: Wow, that sounds like a long time ago when you read it in years, but it feels somehow much closer. The instrumentation choices haven’t changed that much regarding the use of synths, keyboards, drum programming and including more live instruments like guitar and bass. These are the main ingredients making and shaping the sound of Clan Of Xymox together with vocals of course. The production is for the last 30 years solely in my hands. I had a great learning school working with producers like John Fryer and Pete / Greg Walsh. Since the days of big studios is over (at least in our scene) it is easier to produce yourself because there are no time restrictions in your own studio. That way I like it the best because you can get back to a song any given time of day or night.
Q: I experienced “Spider On The Wall” as a logical successor to the previous album “Days Of Black”; typically Clan Of Xymox-like, but with this extra, catchy touch on top. Tell us a bit more about the songs and the writing globally speaking?
Ronny: I feel what you are saying. Yes, I also have a feeling there are a lot of ‘hits’ on this album as already proven with the three singles we released, two of which already made it to number one on the DAC charts ( “She” / “Lovers” ) and are still on the DAC charts now in 4, but reached 2 already “All I Ever Know”.
The songs and lyrics just came out of me really fast. Apparently there was a lot boiled up in me and it felt the words wanted to get out of me. I have no idea why that is, but that is what happened. I find it easy to delve into my memories and get inspired by certain moments or feelings I had at the time. Writing a musical score for those thoughts really is what I do 🙂 I started to write in August 2019 and finished writing in November. After that I was mixing the album and working on the singles for release. In the meantime we were still touring everywhere so I tried to slot the writing in the times I was at home.
Q: The title of the album is pretty intriguing; it makes me think to arachnophobia or delirium, but it also is a song from the band Ghost. What is it really all about and what did you try to express by this title?
Ronny: Haha, yes, it would be an obvious thought when you see the album sleeve although it is more innocent than you maybe think. I have a line singing ‘If the spider on the wall could only tell my woes’ was for me a stronger lyrical image than the proverbial fly on the wall. So that became the album title. I often choose an album title relating to some lyrics I have. A spider is a strong symbol, it It symbolizes the shadow of yourself, or the dark aspect of your personality…
Q: I noticed an interesting quote about the album claiming that it’s ‘a manifesto of melancholy’. I’ve always linked Clan Of Xymox to melancholy, but what do you like -or fascinate, you in this state of mind and what does it say about the person hiding behind the musician?
Ronny: I always love what record company sees or hears in my music. I can of course agree that most of the songs are very melancholic. I can express myself better through music instead of laying my heart bare eye to eye. I am not like that. There has to be some duality in an artist and with me this side of me comes out. In daily life I am much different I think, but I am sure some close to me would or could disagree 😉
Q: I think there’s a beautiful word (‘saudade’) in Portuguese to express melancholy, which is all about a sad look back at the past. That’s rather interesting as I think to remember you’re more looking towards the future. What does it evoke to you?
Ronny: The past has already been processed. So it is easier to delve in those emotions and know what the outcome was. For me a lot of these memories are finished stories without a soundtrack. Writing about this and putting it to music the emotions become even more real or close than it ever was. That is the beauty of music. I don’t think I have any songs about the future so far simply because I still need to experience it 😉
Q: In which way is the video of “All I Ever Know” also a melancholic wink? I especially refer to the black & white format? And what did you really try to express by the video?
Ronny: I think not so much a winky, but more an ode to my relationship with Mojca and reflecting this with making the video myself so I could have the right feelings displayed in the video. The song is about the question what would have happened if I didn’t meet her there and then. The black and white footage makes it more realistic from a memory point of view .
Q: The album has been released during the Covid-19 pandemic. Did you or the label(s) ever considered to postpone the album because of the pandemic? Do you feel an impact on your artistic activities and especially the live tour, which is planned? How do you manage this situation?
Ronny: The first single “She” was already released in February , pre-Covid. The album was also announced. Most people thought it would be over in a month or two. Now there is no certainty at all about anything anymore so a release this year is as good as next year or the year after. In any case it is fresh now and relevant now. Also people need to hear music, especially in difficult times.
We March 2020 were in the middle of a sold out USA tour when we had to return home. Trump banned all flights from Europe when we were in Texas and it seemed the best course to fly from Houston back home. It was already eerie on the airport. The whole international airport was dead. No one was working there apart from one small airliner who took luckily care of our re ticketing. The next day we could leave the USA. At home we got a few days later under a lock down. No airplanes were allowed in. We were very lucky under the circumstances. Since there were no more shows to do I concentrated on the new EP “All I Ever Know“ I made a video for it. Wrote some extra B-sides for the E.Ps. Further I did a remix for Lesson Seven released in July. Spent quality time at home. Tried to catch up with a lot of things waiting to be done, but never had the time for it. We just have been on holiday , pretending things are ‘normal’ again until you check in with a facial mask into a hotel. In Europe we try to get back into a normal live, but all seems to be hard work with lots of insecurities. End of the month, 29 August, we will play our first show since the lockdown in Prague. Hopefully from that period onward all will be better again. I keep my fingers crossed. Most of the planned shows are however pushed forward due to uncertain situations in cities. It is all very daunting. I keep on updating our tour page on www.clanofxymox.com
Q: I think we don’t always realize a tour needs a lot of preparation and a perfect physical condition. Can you tell us a bit more about how it all happens?
Ronny: We toured constantly, so the preparations are not like a classic tour of a band with a release and a standard tour after the release. We never stop. Now we are forced to, but start the moment we are allowed again. I take care of my health. I don’t smoke, eat healthy food, do sports and keep fit with walking as much as possible. That also strengthens your immune system.
Because we traveled so much I already was used to washing hands a lot and try not to touch surfaces people generally touch without thinking. Airports and airplanes I always considered as cesspools for germs ;).
I don’t think we fly this year anymore, but drive when we can. This is a better way of transport and more flexible when there is another lock down of some kind. These are dire and trying times for all of us and I certainly hope something good will come out of all this. So far I haven’t seen any proof of that.