Clan Of Xymox

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 1997

An interview with Clan Of Xymox founder Ronny Moorings:

1. How has the evolution of music technology affected the way you make music? Do you think it’s affectd your creative process or just made things easier on a technical level?

The main thing in music is that artist always try to find other ways to approach things as with painting etc. The development of all sorts of technological instruments are a big help in that. It gives you greater freedom to express your inner world without being too dependent of other people to interpret your ideas. So on a technical level it makes things easier, but you still have to come up with alot more than that!

2. The band name went from Clan of Xymox to Xymox and then back to Clan of Xymox – why?

To confuse you and the rack jobbers in the record store. OK, every time we changed the name it was a sign there was a certain change for us. So I feel Hidden Faces connects better with the 4 AD period, so you could say it is the 3rd album of Clan of Xymox.

3. How would you compare the acceptance of gothic/industrial music in Europe and America?

I think the USA is a bit slower in recognising that in Europe Gothic/Industrial etc. is making a huge come back and that it is “cool” to wear black again

4. Since your music makes use of a lot of electronics, are you thinking at all about how it will work live as your’re composing it?

No never, after everything is recorded I simply look at the songs which would work live and as we have already a whole back catalogue it is easy to pick the right songs for playing live.

5. What are the advantages of being on an independent record label?

I guess it is more personal, you know everyone involved with the label and you get much more attention than you would get with a Major. You also have more control over everything you do and you are better informed about what is going on. So you could say it is much more artist friendly, but I only talk about Tess ; as there are a lot of Indie labels who are not in it for the band/ music but to rip off their artists.

6. If you got the right offer would you consider releasing your music on a major label again?

I have learned the lesson not to sign with a major label as I think they are not in it for the music , but for the obvious reason to sell a product which has to sell millions in order for them to be interested in it.It’s very impersonal and it operates as a big multinational. It is frightening to know there are only five major labels dominating the whole music industry.That’s the reason people should give independent companies their full support. Every record we make for an independent label is one step forward.

7. Do you make a conscious effort to make each album sound at least somewhat different than your past releases, or is musical evolution something that just comes naturally?

Whatever you do and where ever you are, you are always influenced by anything you hear, see and feel. No one can block out influences around you. The only thing you can do is trying to be as selective as possible and stick to your taste. During” Phoenix” Xymox was in a real identity crisis. At the time all sorts of people were telling me in what direction the band should go. At the time I was living in London and I think the worst thing of London is that it really wants you to be the hippest of the scene. You can’t help but to get caught in that musical trap. That’s why there is already on Phoenix an indication of moving towards a sort of dance area, which was coming up in the UK in the early 90’s.( Even the Cure got caught with their Mixed Up album) Metamorphosis and Headclouds are just a follow up on that general mood everyone was in. On Headclouds Xymox tried to combine dance grooves with a melancholic sound plus vocals. It was part of an experiment of which we now steered clear of. Personally I find it always interesting if a band tries something different for a change as it is easy to repeat your same sound over and over until people are sick of it. Not too many people appreciate a band changing or trying something different.(see Depeche Mode) After Headclouds I moved back to Amsterdam and had a break from making music and regained my interest by meeting different people, going to Industrial / Gothic parties and basically rediscovered myself again. Now I am sick of anything relating to dance as there is nothing underground about it any more. OK that was then , this is now….In a way I feel like I have come full circle again. Now with the new album “Hidden Faces” the band has returned to it’s roots…

8. I saw you in November in NY- was that part of a full US tour? If so how did it go?

Well since you were at the Bank you could see that the audience was ecstatic, and kept asking for more. We played 13 dates in the US in November 1997 and it was part of a full US tour.

9. When you started making music, were you thinking about it in terms of a career, or just a creative outlet?

I started Xymox in Amsterdam with releasing Subsequent Pleasures on my own label.(1984)Of course I wanted to tour , so I asked my at the time girlfriend Anke to play the bass live and sing on one of my tracks of Subsequent.Pleasures .and my former roommate Pieter to play the keyboard. Looking back I still have good memories of it’s creation. At the time I studied and tried to make some music,,but most of the time didn’t have a clue what I was doing on the keyboards. It was recorded on a portable 4 track recorder. Also it was a period when you had to play everything in real time. The whole process taught me a lot about the workings of music in general. Now looking back at those tracks I find them pretty chaotic. The good thing about “Subsequent Pleasures” was that one day when I was promoting the mini-album in Nijmegen I met Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance in a restaurant. They were having dinner at the same table I was sitting and they told me they were the support act of the Cocteau Twins. After talking for a while they invited me to see the show and asked me to come backstage after the show. There I also met the Cocteau Twins. This was the first real life encounter with 4-AD artists. I gave Brendan a copy of Subsequent Pleasures and we kept in contact. A few weeks later he asked me if Xymox wanted to do a tour with them in the U.K. Of course we felt honoured and accepted the invitation…….. Soon Ivo Watts , the label boss of 4-AD offered us a recording contract………….

10. Whats in the immediate future for you? We’re still touring our new album Hidden Faces and we are scheduled for festivals, also we will release a new single “This World” on Tess. Further we release on various compilations certain tracks. Also some live dates in the US, Mexico and Canada this fall.

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