mind.in.a.box interview:

mind.in.a.box - Interview for magazine 'Neurozine', Interviewer:'Patrik Lindström', about: 'Lost Alone', Date: 2004-11-16
Link: Neurozine
First of all Stev, tell us more about yourself and Mind.In.A.Box
Stev: Actually, mind.in.a.box is more than just the name of our music project. I view mind.in.a.box as a science-fiction world where we advance or narrate the events that are taking place there with our songs. There is a whole concept behind mind.in.a.box and we will only reveal all the different parts over time. In the future I also want to integrate other artistic elements beside the music such as movies, artwork, or short stories. A first short story that has been inspired by the concept of mind.in.a.box is already available at www.mindinabox.com (unfortunately only in German right now), and we would like to flesh out the world of mind.in.a.box in a similar way in the future. So in some sense it can be viewed more as an integration of various artistic elements into a dark science fiction world, although the music itself will certainly stay the central element with all the other parts just in a supportive role. But we want to emphasize the concept behind it through different media, and in the future there will be a lot to discover in the music and world of mind.in.a.box.
I've read that you are originally a videogame music composer, name some games are we able to here your work in
Stev: We are, and still are, hopeless idealists who always wanted to do their own independent projects. There is only one commercially released game where I was doing the music, the game “Motor City (Oldtimer)” from 1994. Before that and afterward we were always working on our own independent projects, some of which are still collecting dust in our drawers. The biggest and also quite successful project was certainly “Parsec” which is still freely available for download (http://www.parsec.org). It is a 3D space shooter for pure network game play that got quite some attention a while ago because its scope was quite big for a non-commercial game project. Developing a really good computer game, however, is an incredible amount of work and if you are doing it in your spare time it takes years and years and nowadays it is nearly impossible. In contrast to a full game, working on music on your own is more feasible and so I already started to work on mind.in.a.box during the development of Parsec. This was essentially the point where I departed from computer game music. But maybe there will be a mind.in.a.box computer game sometime in the future
And the follow-up question for the last one, what video game have the best music?
Stev: This is very hard to answer. I will certainly always remember “Last Ninja 2” on the Commodore 64. The game “Dune 2” on the PC had a breakthrough soundtrack in my opinion. Not only was it just really good music, but the music was driven by the game play and always changing accordingly. In this way it created a really great atmosphere. I also enjoyed the sample-based music of “Star Control 2”, which was not at all common at that time on the PC. Nowadays, music in computer games is converging more and more with film music and commercial music in general. I think the typical “computer games musician” will disappear. The technological differences to general music have been gone for quite some time now. In some sense I think this a bit sad, because the restrictions of technology in computer game music have facilitated a lot of special creativity in these musicians. It was incredible what people did with the three voices of the C64 soundchip or the early PC soundchips, for example, and there is still an active scene preserving this kind of music nowadays.
I find your debut album 'Lost Alone' somehow kind of 'traveling', almost like travelling by train, or maybe the different states of life. What are your own opinions about the album?
Stev: Yes, I see it very similarly. It can be seen as a kind of journey through some of the locations or settings in the world of mind.in.a.box. The character we can hear talking on the phone in “Forever Gone”, for example, is even sitting in a train if you listen closely. I view it as a mixture between the soundtrack of a science fiction story in this world and regular songs. These soundtrack elements give the album a bit more depth and I think in this way it avoids being a random sequence of individual songs. I am very happy how “Lost Alone” has turned out and also glad that in the end I could also produce it myself. For this reason it is exactly like I wanted it to be, which is very important for me and will continue to be in the future.
Did you expect the huge success of 'Lost alone'? What were your thoughts when you were placed Nr.1 at the DAC (German Alternative Charts)?
Stev: I was driving to a coffeeshop in my car when Stefan Herwig of dependent records called and told me about it. I think my smile is still etched into my rear view mirror :) Really incredible! I never suspected that this could be possible with a debut album, and I was also very surprised and happy that the clubs also reacted so positively to the “Lost Alone” songs, which is essential for a good DAC ranking. Now the expectations for our second album are probably quite high and it will be hard to beat five out of eight possible weeks in the top DAC position… so I think it is important to stay on the ground and in reality :) But we are working hard on the second mind.in.a.box album.
Usually I don't listen to techno-pop/electro, but there's something magic with your music, what do you think makes your music so special?
Stev: I think some of the style of mind.in.a.box can be attributed to the fact that my background is in a different kind of music and I never tried to follow the lines of established acts. I think the more you are part of a certain scene and listening to a specific kind of music the more you integrate parts of it into your own music, even if you do not want to. It happens subconsciously and you can control it only to a certain extent. I have been working on music for a long time but I never had to compare myself to any particular act and was simply doing my kind of music. Technically, some of the style of mind.in.a.box can probably also be attributed to my way of working, which was quite “different” for a long time too. I was using our own hand-made sequencer software, that msh had written for me, for more than ten years.
Where do you find inspiration to your lyrics?
Stev: The major inspiration for the lyrics of our songs comes from the background concept of the mind.in.a.box world. The stories in this dark science fiction setting provide the background and allow character development of the protagonists of our songs, even though it is not possible to provide a lot of detail in actual song lyrics. And we also like the brevity and special conciseness of song lyrics, because they allow listeners to project their own meaning and interpretation into a song. We also see multiple meanings in most of the mind.in.a.box songs and like this kind of freedom in music in general. Apart from telling a story, the fundamental feelings described and the emotions evoked in listeners are very important to us and they can stand on their own even without the actual story behind it.
How's a live set with Mind.In.A.Box formed? How would you describe it?
Stev: This is really hard to say, and the issue of live performances is still very unclear. Right now it is definitely too early, and I also do not have a clear picture yet what a mind.in.a.box live gig could look like.
What are your tour plans? Will you visit Scandinavia soon?
Stev: Right now there are no mind.in.a.box tour plans.
Tell us more about the future of Mind.In.A.Box, any more releases on its way?
Stev: The most important thing right now is the second mind.in.a.box album, which should be released in the middle of 2005. This time we will also release a single before the actual album. Work on the album is progressing very well and we are currently also reviewing different tracks as possible singles. As I said before, I also want to have more content in addition to the music of mind.in.a.box that you get access to via our webpage, and we will also need some time to work on these goodies. In December I will also DJ in a local club in Vienna, and I might do this kind of thing more often in the future.
Any last words to our readers?
Stev: I don’t have anything wise to say, just thanks a lot for listening to our music and caring about the world of mind.in.a.box!