First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
We are PERSONNEL, a hot duo from cold Siberia, we are playing something like electro-industrial with horror-elements. My name is [littlefoxy] and I'm in charge for lead vocals, music, lyrics and this interview, I'm 30 years old. My colleague - [eule] is in charge for bass and back-vocals, she is 23. We live in a sunny industrial city Omsk :) How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity? Our city has nurtured us and shaped our psyche - it is kind of its own reflection. As for the music community - concerts are held regularly in Omsk, but mostly it's rock or metal. Dark-electro bands go on stage much less often, as happens in many cities of Russia. I can't say that the local scene somehow influenced us - I think that western bands had more influence on us. What do you feel separates your music from the rest of the music in the Industrial music scene? It's hard to be objective about your own creation. When creating music, I adhere to some principles that I have developed over a long time of practice. I don't like the classical sound of dark-electro and EBM, so I design the composition in a way that most of it is made up by live sounds. Because of abundance of layers of sounds the music quickly turns into one big pile of trash very often, and it's very difficult to find a balance :) As for the synthesizers, I try to pull them to the background if possible, or not to use them at all.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes? Nightmares, sci-fi horrors and inner dramatic experiences. They fascinated me from the very childhood, and to this days. I think that only strong and sincere emotions are able to inspire a person, everything else can not be a good fuel for creativity. Industrial and Attitude seem to go hand in hand. With global war, civil unrest, injustice, and political revolution being primary musical themes that dominate your music, how do you feel nowadays about the current state of world affairs? We are far from it. Our creativity is not connected with politics, religion, ecology and quite far from common human problems - they are not interesting for us, and in fact they are very fleeting: in each epoch they are different and constantly replace each other. Sometimes it happens that some band inserts the names of some politicians into the lyrics of the song, and 20 years later no one remembers who was it ... No, our music about terrible and ugly worlds, about extreme environments, about distant space, about extraterrestrial monsters - in a word, about an alien nature. What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output? It's hard to guess anything here, the world is too chaotic and unpredictable :) Now we need to finish the recording of the debut album as soon as possible - we thought that we would make the release back in August, but underestimated the amount of work. Then we need to find a label that could support our music, and then - take a breath, and try to take a new height :) We want more concerts and quality content - especially video, we don't have good ones.
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself? I have been composing music since 2003, but back then it was completely different than now - I think I was just slowly accumulating experience. The PERSONNEL project was formed later, in the winter of 2009. My former vocalist and I were fond of many groups - Skinny Puppy, Das Ich, Depeche Mode ... We wanted to make music as cool as they are, but in our style, which still had to find. When it comes to your musical self and your real-world self, would you say that there is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self? These states are diametrically opposed, but to a certain extent they penetrate each other. I think if I had an ideal life, I would not be able to create such music, and vice versa - what I create, greatly affects my life. On ordinary days, like many people do, I like sunny weather and tasty food, I like it when my family is in a good mood. But as soon as I get down to work on songs, streams of cruelty and nightmarish visions start to flow from me. At this moment, no matter how disgusting the world I depicted, no matter how ruthlessly I kill the main character in the lyrics - it would never be enough for me :) Are you musically self-taught? Or have you had mentors along the way to help you develop? I learned everything myself - working with a virtual studio, composing skills, mixing and mastering. Vocals had to be mastered mostly intuitively: sometimes on my own way, sometimes with the help of video lessons. I must admit that I'm still not very good at it, and I hope that after we release our debut album, I'll find a good teacher who can help me ... As for [eule] - she and her 5-string Schecter learn from each other :) When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent? Each composition is collected sequentially, layer by layer. The image of the future song is born immediately and completely, but I detail it gradually, step by step, intuitively picking up the necessary details and strokes. In general, I do not have creative crises, I write easily and with pleasure, but when it comes to recording, polishing the sound, searching for the right samples, the real hell begins. Here I overcoming myself beyond measures, and I do this for months, until I get the right result, until I feel that I have nothing more to add to the song. This greatly exhausts, sometimes even breaks me, but most likely, there is no other way. When it comes to making music it can be difficult to balance atmosphere, song progression, musicality, and excitement. Do you have any tricks, techniques, or methods that you commonly use to help your music sound coherent and engaging? I just sing how the environment of the song feels. I close my eyes and clearly see that, for example, in this moment the door should slam shut, at once cutting off all sounds (as in the "Industrial Song"). And in this moment, for example, I need a roll of thunder, because the scene that unfolds there must just light up with a flash of lightning (as in the song "Agent"). Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What' your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music? I take the necessary sounds from everywhere - from movies, from video clips, from sound libraries. Most of them we record ourselves. This takes a huge amount of time and effort - sometimes the sound, which lasts only half a second, can not be found for several days. Then, slowly, but surely, a structure is built up from different sounds, they set on each other - in some songs the number of audiotracks grows to the murderous one. For example, in the "Industrial Song" 237 tracks work. As I said above, I rarely use synthesizers and do not pay much attention to tuning their sound - I usually just take the factory preset that I like and pass it through a whole cascade of external filters that spoil and crumble it into dust. As for the melodic passages, here, alas, I'm not particularly strong, but of course, I try my best - in this way I'm really more of a software musician :) I will not say that some means are vital for the creation of music. The first recordings I made on an old two-cassette tape recorder, overlaying tracks of cassettes and a microphone on top of each other. Most of the PERSONNEL songs are created and mixed on an old computer that could not even process them in real time. So often I did't even hear what I was doing :) I think that the most important thing when writing music is a good microphone and good monitors, everything else is secondary.
Interview continues after this video...
Do you ever find it difficult to balance the creative and technical aspects of musical creation? How do you strike the balance for the need to craft and tweak your effects and sounds, in contrast to actually just getting the song itself created with structure and melody? What sort of element of creation do you prefer, the sonic shaping or the song creation? They are in no way separated from each other! They are in such a way that I first write the frame of the song, and then decorate it with effects. On the contrary - the melody, arrangement, samples and even the lyrics themselves consistently generate each other, as magnetic and electric fields generate each other in radio waves. Tact after tact, to the very end. Then the second pass is made, then the third, and so - as long as the sound is not brought into the desired form. It's like building up a thread of pearls. Do you find that when you are working on projects where you ended up learning new techniques during the process? Always :) Sometimes it even tires - it seems that the learning process will never end, although ... most likely it will be so. Every day, there are some problems, the solutions of which I do not know. I have to find new tools, methods, do my best to wiggle the brains, try dozens of options until the desired result is achieved. Sometimes it turns out to be only half done, and I'm terribly unhappy with it.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction? This is the weakest and most vulnerable part of the whole affair, it is connected with a total lack of time and energy. You have to hurry and dodge all the time. You have to sacrifice many vital things - to some extent it even destroys life itself, but it seems to me that if you want to get something, you must definitely give something in return. So far I have not found a balance and have not found wisdom in life in all this, so often I get knocked out of the rut. For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented? Our songs are first and foremost scary stories. Performing them live, I try to play out the roles of protagonists, antagonists and the narrator himself. Very much in these subjects is connected with horror and violence, therefore we behave extremely expressively - after all, the transfer of these emotions completely does not tolerate cold-bloodedness. In general, on the stage, we are not shining with full of life fun :) But I am always in contact with the audience, I constantly check whether they are with us, in the special space that we create. When it comes to performing, what are your favorite sort of venues to play in, and what are your favorite areas to tour? If you could tour with any other band in the world who would it be and why? What are some of your favorite memories of touring? So far we have not had much tours, so we do not have any favorite places yet. We were on a small tour of Siberia, and I really liked how we were received in Tomsk. In general, about this tour I have a lot of memories, but they all look like some continuous trash :) As for the tour with another band - here I find it difficult to answer. I think the most important thing is that this band is stylistically close to ours, so that we do not disagree with this band on stage, and that the necessary atmosphere is maintained throughout the whole concert. And of course, it's also important that these musicians are just good people :) If you could play any anywhere, with anyone, in the world, dead or alive, who and where would it be? It would be a giant platform in open space, at the event horizon of a supermassive black hole in the center of our Galaxy. It would host an intergalactic festival of destructive music, and trillions of the darkest musicians from all the star systems would be there. We would like to receive an invitation to perform there as a headliner :) Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path? One day we had a concert at which we were supposed to be the last, but the audience shouted "PERSONNEL! PERSONNEL!" almost from the very beginning of the gig, and so it went on all evening, until our turn :) In general, I was always inspired by the enthusiastic feedback of our listeners, whether it was a response about a new song, or about a past concert. Their support gives me strength. What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career? For 8 years of existence of a band there were a huge amount of problems. Some of them thoroughly undermined me and my belief in success. There were problems associated with equipment, and with people, and with money, and with the organization, and most importantly - with the time slipping through my fingers. Now I try not to think that this whole long way consisted of problems. In the end, whatever happens - we continue to record, and have not canceled yet a single concert. Outside of Industrial music, what other genres could you see yourself composing music in? Or should I say, do you see yourself inspired by? Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity? I'm a big fan of classical nu-metal, like KoRn or Limp Bizkit. I also love progressive music, like Pink Floyd or Tool. For today, PERSONNEL is my only project, and within its framework I will try to make as many diverse music as possible. I like to hybridize genres, to bring elements of different musical styles into the sound... About cooperation - so far we have not cooperated with anyone on a permanent basis, but I think that everything is ahead.
If you could collaborate with any musician or artist, dead or alive, who would it be? And what in particular draws you to want to collaborate with them? What sort of new bands have come out in recent years that have caught your attention? Is there any bands out there you see yourself, or would like to, remix or collaborate with in the future? I would very much like to collaborate with Hans Giger, a famous artist in the genre of fantastic realism - his paintings have completely turned my world views. Unfortunately, he has already died. It happened about a week before our next concert, and we dedicated him to our performance ... I do not keep track of the appearance of new bands, and in general, due to the recording of the album, I has dropped out of reality in the this year. As for the remixes and collaborate tracks - I do not remixes, and I do not even listen to them, I prefer original songs. And to do something together is unlikely to come due to the specificity of writing our songs :)
Promotion can be one of the most difficult things in the music industry. Do you have an agent that helps book shows and manage your online presence, or have you decided to trek it out without and mantle the reigns of the social media apparatus yourself? Is it difficult engaging the online world consistently and originally, or do you find it easy? We do it all ourselfs :) Of course, it's difficult to deal with everything at the same time, but so far we do not have such an agent. Now we are looking for new listeners on Facebook - the other day Josh Guinan helped us a lot, he is DJ of the show "Dark Essence" on Australian radio "444Z", he took some of our songs for rotation. However, I believe that for a truly effective promotion, we need a large geography of performances, and this is still beyond our capabilities. With your band becoming increasingly popular have you had any insider attention regarding label support? What's your thoughts regarding being independent music scene versus being part of a record label? We have not yet reached a high level of coverage for this issue, but I think that both of them are well together, they are simply occupy different posts in world of music. In an industry that is driven by sales, and consumerism, what are your thoughts on digital downloads (legal and illegal)? Do you feel that streaming and digital download stores aid the accessibility of music? How bout music piracy? It obviously hurts sales in some regards, but it also boosts the access and distribution of the release which could lead to potential fans who do come to shows, buy physical copies of music, and get merchandise? Do you feel there would be enough turn around in that sort of system or are you firmly against file sharing? I think that technology changes the world very quickly, and the music industry simply can't evolve at the same speed. CD's and vinyl are most likely not going anywhere - these are not just sound media, they carry the very concept of the album, its design, and they are a tangible embodiment of the musicians' work. If you have a good stereosystem at home, the collector edition of the Queen album, white wine, cheese and olivese they will make your evening :) However, when you are in a hurry to work, or have planned a run in the park, you need digital. You just need to let these things coexist together. As for streaming services, like Spotify, it's difficult to say how much they will change the industry. We have not yet reached them, but you can listen or buy our tracks on Bandcamp :) Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements? [eule] is fond of runology and art history, and I love good movies and animation. I also like science, I read and watch a lot of popular science content. I try to write books, but I do not have enough finished works yet :) Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience? Listen to more good music, have fun at gigs and be happy :) Follow their activities on their official Facebook page:
Download their music from their official Bandcamp:
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