(Picture by Daniela Vorndran) Almost 20 years ago (it’s like yesterday if you ask us) the influential goth-electro-industrial-cyberpunk band The Cassandra Complex released “Wetware”, a milestone in the dark wave scene. Now it is finally being made available again, fully remastered and resequenced, in three linked releases.
First up is the 3 track “Twice As Good” EP on November 22, featuring legendary electronic acts Front 242 and Apoptygma Berzerk, who were now both called in to do remixes. December will see the release of the other songs from “Wetware” split into two parts: “Hardware” and “Software”.
Rodney explains this special re-release treatment of the “Wetware” material: “When we were originally working on Wetware we ended up writing so many great songs that we couldn’t fit them all into one 70 minute CD, so we had to leave some songs off. When it came time to remaster it for streaming I realised that I could now add in the missing stuff, and split the whole thing into two albums instead. So now Hardware contains the harder, faster, more in-your-face songs, while Software contains the longer, slower, more psychedelic pieces. Listening to each one individually is a much more coherent experience – it’s the two halves that make up the totality of The Cassandra Complex.”
“We had gotten fairly burnt out”
The “Wetware” songs were originally written in 1999 in Los Angeles and Hamburg, and were seen by the band as the culmination of the work they had been doing in the previous 15 years of near-constant recording and touring.
Rodney Orpheus: “From the moment I started The Cassandra Complex we had basically never stopped working on music – when we weren’t touring we were in our studio in Hamburg doing production and remix work for other European alternative bands. I literally lived in our studio. We had gotten fairly burnt out by that stage which left us wondering where to go next.”
With the band lineup down to just Rodney and guitarist Volker Zacharias, Rodney was offered a job with music software company Steinberg in Los Angeles, and things looked bleak for the band’s future.
“Getting out to LA forced me to look at our past from a new perspective. I started listening to our older records in order to rediscover what had made them so good in the first place. I had also been doing some work with Kraftwerk, which got me involved with their interest in the Man Machine interface. I realised that was something also intrinsic to what we were doing with The Cassandra Complex – the synergy between very rigorous and computerised rhythms and human improvisation and emotion. That got me thinking about computer systems, where you have Hardware, which is the chips in the machine; Software, which is the information running on it; and Wetware, which is the biological operator controlling and directing the whole thing i.e. us. That became the working basis and title for what we wanted to do next.”
Working on the record meant frequent trips back to Hamburg where Rodney and Volker would feverishly work on finishing songs in the limited time they had together. The final mix was then completed back in LA.
Formed in 1980, still going strong today
The Cassandra Complex was originally formed by Rodney Orpheus, Paul Dillon, and Andy Booth in 1980 in Leeds, England. Over the years, the band’s sound has included elements of EBM, industrial, goth rock, new wave and synthpop.
Earlier in 2019 the band remastered and re-released their two earliest albums “Grenade” and “Hello America”. In recent months Rodney and Volker have again joined up along with band co-founder guitarist Andy Booth and keyboard player and “button-pusher” Axel Ermes to tour across Europe with The Cassandra Complex. This year they have successfully played to thousands of fans at WGT Festival and Amphi Festival in Germany, W Festival in Belgium, and DarkMAD Festival in Spain; and have a forthcoming headline performance in December at BIMFest in Belgium. Coming into next year the band have already committed to major shows in Germany and Greece, with more European dates to be confirmed.
You can view a full video of the band’s recent concert at WGT Festival in Leipzig, Germany below.