Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Even Drones. Your debut album Ethics for Freund Der Familie is an explosive ride through the sights and sounds of everything you love about music exploring influences from across the spectrum. How important is it for you as artists to carve out your own individual path while not sounding like everyone else?
Chris: Hey there, thank you for showing interest in our work. We really believe that if you look hard enough, you will always discover parallels between what you accomplish and the earlier works of other artists.
Paul: Eclecticism is somehow the essence of art. In terms of music, we believe that everything is already present and just needs to be discovered.
Chris: We simply attempt to find a sound that completes each piece we are working on and improve our sets of skills and knowledge. The more from others we can learn, the more we can incorporate our own ideas into our art and are able to leave out stuff we don´t like.
Paul: As most children, we began by listening to music rather than by creating it. The simple preferences we developed in this period are the foundation we now use to create our own music.
The musicianship is exemplary. Can you tell us about who played what on the album?
Paul: Our band doesn’t have any set roles. We like to stray from the traditional method of fixed roles and teach and demonstrate to one other as we learn. Being ‘not so comfy’ with an instrument might be really interesting in order to produce something unique.
Chris: On one of the songs on this Album (Bad Memory Overwrite), Paul provided the bass.
He believes he is a terrible bass player, but for this track it was perfect.
Tell us about your introduction to music growing up and which artists still influence you today?
Chris: Together, we have been making, playing, and listening to music for a very long time.
We have been friends from the early childhood. Thus, this unavoidably leads to the development of similar tastes, although both of us as individuals are constantly looking for something new to discover.
We enjoy to impress the other band member with obscure or new kinds of tracks we discovered.
Paul: Maybe one of us started listening to Rap or Electronica when we were little, and the other to Jazz and Alternative a bit earlier. However, for us, this situation was cool because we could share what we learned in this specific styles within our band.
Paul: At the beginning we were teenagers and didn’t have a wide variety of instruments to choose from. So we were both constantly attracted by sampling from old, inexpensive vinyl. This forced us to learn about strange music, B+C movie themes, weird recordings, cheap cassette tapes from the trash bin and ridiculous spoken word recordings. The influence of many current and past musicians and producers, including Rick Rubin, Raymond Scott, early Warp Artists, Lalo Schifrin, Bernard Herrmann, Miles Davis, Bob James and Morton Subotnick still has an impact on us
Chris: I think we never really had any – Idols – in music, art or poetry. We always were more interested in the subjects, not so much in the personas. With so many new songs being released since the emergence of streaming services, it is more challenging to find new music we enjoy.
Is too much contemporary music built around clique and nostalgia? What are your feelings on social media and how people engage with it?
Chris: We believe that a large portion of contemporary music is composed using “tried-and-true ideas”, old ideas are “interpolated”; sometimes only a tiny portion of freshness is incorporated into the majority of current contemporary music. Mostly modern production techniques are used to squeeze proven concepts into modern shapes.
Paul: Regarding social media, we hold very different perspectives.
Chris: In my opinion, social media is beneficial because it has made it incredibly simple to communicate and exchange information. The majority of platforms are very easy to use, but because of this, they are also very vulnerable to misuse and manipulation. Paul avoids social media, he uses his time more for more offline stuff.
What are your favourite pieces of hardware/ software? Do you have a valued instrument?
Chris: Every track is a new beginning because we use a variety of techniques and instruments. I have so many favorites instruments and software that making a complete list of them would take forever. If I would only be allowed to bring three instruments to a deserted island I would choose: my kitchen modular system, a bass, and the Symbolic Sound Kyma system!
The limitless potential of a modern DAW is incredibly appealing to both of us and allowes us to create complex arrangements that we later rebuilt, resample and mix. The hardware we still use since the early days: Korg MS20 and MonoPoly, Yamaha Recording Custom Drums, Fender Jazz Bass , Fender Rhodes, Sequential Prophets 2000 (Prophet 6 since it came out), Akai VX600, Ensoniq Synths and Samplers, various Akai and Emu samplers, Elektron Octatrack and Analog Rytm, Eurorack modules and many oddities. And more modern stuff like Waldorf Iridium.
Paul: We both love the Ensoniq ASR-10, it is the only instrument we have in each of our studios.
Are atmosphere and rhythm as important as words in music, particularly in today’s world? Do you feel music can change the world or more simply just connect with the individuals experiencing it?
Paul: I don`t think that any contemporary music has changed anything.
Chris: I fell that music is THE universal language. We place a lot more value on sound, rhythm, mood, and feeling than on words. The human voice is a beautiful instrument by itself, regardless of the language spoken. And to be honest, most lyrics can sound good, even if the words have no meaning or are totally nonsense. However, words can easily injure others and be highly detrimental.
Paul: Maybe in specific genres lyrics could persuade those who are closed to new ideas to listen. This might be cool if the lyrics empower a citizen’s movement or a noble cause. Like Blues, Soul or bands like Public Enemy for example did with their lyrics. Unfortunately, this is a very rare phenomenon in modern music culture.
How would you describe the albums artwork and what it represents for you?
Chris: The artwork inspired us to consider the ethical and cultural transformations happening in our globalized, networked, business-dependent society which is currently dominated by just a few worldwide operating companies. How will “homo sapiens” evolve if artificial intelligence becomes considerably more prevalent in all facets of society? How will ethics change or kept alive when most AI platforms are controlled by a few commercial projects? Is it possible that AIs may eventually be able to evolve on their own initiative?
Paul: We have always aimed to a Moebius-inspired artwork that provokes while also allowing simple enjoyment and exploration.
How do you see the future for artists/ musicians in terms of survival and generating income from their work?
Paul: Very dark. Very, very dark.
Chris: In the long run, we think that live performance, human-made music that is distinct from AI-generated music, and perhaps combining those two things with an enjoyable live experience can be a survival strategy.
Outside of music which artists, writers, cinema etc. influence your day to day the most?
Paul and Chris: Isaac Asimov, Frank Miller, M.C. Escher, Jean Giraud, Hayao Miyazaki, Ted Chiang, Goef Darrow, Kurt Gödel, John Romero, Tim Sweeny (Epic), Shigeru Miyamoto and many more.