mind.in.a.box interview:

mind.in.a.box - Interview for magazine 'Grave Concerns E-Zine', Interviewer:'Julie Johnson', about: 'Lost Alone', Date: 2004-06-02
Link: Grave Concerns E-Zine
Congratulations on your debut release of 'Lost Alone' can you tell us a little bit about your project Mind.In.A.Box?
Thanks a lot Julie! Mind.in.a.box is a music project that tries to combine a dark science fiction world with metaphors for our real world, expressing feelings and emotions that our world provokes in many of us. The music itself is the most important factor, but we try to integrate it with an underlying concept and stories that we are telling in our songs, and we will continue the stories of “Lost Alone” on subsequent releases. With respect to personal information, we try to emphasize the stories and protagonists of our songs and the “world” of mind.in.a.box instead of ourselves as real persons.
How long have you been in the music making business, and is this your first release?
Our first release was the song “Beyond the World (1m1 remix)“ on the “Septic IV“ sampler by dependent records. Another track called “Unicorn” was released on the “Aderlass Vol.2” compilation at about the same time as our debut album “Lost Alone”. We have been working on electronic music for more than fifteen years by now, but these two songs and “Lost Alone” are the only actual mind.in.a.box releases that are currently available.
Where are you currently living?
We are both living in Vienna, Austria, which is located in the heart of Europe. Vienna is a very beautiful city, and we enjoy it a lot.
You have used all sorts of different sounds within this album, how difficult and time consuming was this?
Sounds and melodies are closely related to each other. A given melody can work with a specific sound and not work with another sound at all, and vice versa. Sounds and melodies have to be in harmony and thus both are very important to the music of mind.in.a.box. An advantage for me is that I have already been doing electronic music for a long time, and I can often create the specific sound that I have in mind quite quickly. In the end, however, only the result is what matters, and I don’t think that a lot of required effort should be a reason to use simpler sounds. So it is more a matter of the desired result than a matter of how long it takes to achieve it.
When you listen to this project it is hard to come up with an exact description, what would you call your style?
You are right, and coming up with a single term that describes the music of mind.in.a.box is not easy. The basic direction could probably be called Techno-pop or just Electro, but I do not really want to think in terms of genres or types of music. The individual songs on “Lost Alone” are also quite different from one another in this respect.
What kind of equipment did you use for this project?
I am using a lot of actual synthesizer hardware because I prefer to work with real devices than just software synthesizers. I think in this way it is easier to influence and control the resulting sound and experiment a lot, so it is very much a matter of usability for me. But for effects I usually prefer to use software.
There are many stories within your songs, from sadness to really being able to see into one's mind. How have real life experiences played a role into these songs?
The stories on “Lost Alone“ express emotions and feelings that we think are becoming more and more relevant in a world dominated by technology. Some of these stories are rooted in personal experiences, but most of all we have tried to look around and describe what we see in a metaphorical manner. We have taken these emotions and feelings and embedded them in a dark science fiction setting, where there is a constant interplay between “real” stories in this fictional world, and metaphors for our own world. There are fictional protagonists in these stories, but they have many personal traits and problems that we are seeing around us.
Do you have particular song that is very uplifting for you personally?
My favorite song on “Lost Alone“ is “Questions“, although I wouldn’t exactly call it uplifting ;-)
What was your influence for the song called 'Questions'?
”Questions” is a variation on the story of “Waiting” and “Forever Gone”, where basically everything went wrong, and the protagonist ends up realizing that he has been long dead. Like many of the songs on “Lost Alone” this is also meant metaphorically, and this death need not be physical, but can also be seen as total stagnation or the “death” of a free mind.
Is it easy or hard for you to hear all the emotions and feeling within 'Lost Alone'?
Although the songs on “Lost Alone” express deep feelings and emotions, the underlying theme is a collection of stories inspired by dark science fiction. So we do not really have a hard time coping with these emotions, there is a clear line between “Lost Alone” and reality.
Why did you use robotic vocal effects on certain songs?
These vocal effects represent a surreal setting, and express the corresponding emotions and feelings. They also separate the different protagonists of the stories on “Lost Alone”. For example, in the refrain of “Forever Gone” you can hear someone who doesn’t exist in the “real” world anymore, which is symbolized by the distorted robotic voice. In contrast to the refrain, the phone conversation takes place in the real world and uses a more standard voice.
Do you like singing or making the music better?
I’ve been thinking about this right now, and I just cannot decide. I like many things in both, and they are both very important to the music of mind.in.a.box. Naturally, vocals are very important to narrate a story, and for many songs on “Lost Alone” the vocals are the most important ingredient. But most of all, it is really important that the music and vocals are in harmony, expressing the same emotion. They can only create a conclusive whole when taken together.
Do you like to play videogames, if so which game is your favorite and what do you currently like to play?
Some time ago I’ve played a lot of Quake 3. But playing games is very time-consuming and it is increasingly hard to find that time. The last recent game I’ve played was Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow.
How has videogames influenced your music if at all?
Since I have mainly done music for computer games in the past, the soundtracks of various computer games have naturally influenced me a lot. The soundtracks of computer games are very similar to movie soundtracks. Both have to express and underline a given emotion that is dictated by the current situation. However, the music in these settings is somewhat relegated to the background. Doing soundtracks is very good for developing composition skills, since almost everything is instrumental and the emotion has to come across even without vocals.
'Lost Alone' was holding steady on the German Alternative Music charts for several weeks, how has that made you feel?
Right now, “Lost Alone“ is holding the number one position for the fifth week in a row, that’s just incredible!! Of course this is a truly great feeling, and it gives a lot of motivation to continue in the same vein for future material. It is also especially satisfying since “Lost Alone” corresponds closely to the vision we had in mind originally, without any changes for a specific market or other concessions. Thanks a lot to everybody who is supporting us!!
What are your hopes for American audiences when they hear this CD?
We did not aim for any audience in particular, but American audiences will probably be particularly able to appreciate the dark science fiction setting of “Lost Alone”, with the added twist that it represents many traits of our real world and interweaves pure fiction with metaphors.
What do you typically do for fun when you go out?
Apart from just hanging out and meeting friends, mostly something related to sports. I do a little BMX and inline skating, with some snowboarding in the winter.
Will you be pushing the boundaries again on your next CD?
The next mind.in.a.box album will continue the stories of “Lost Alone” with some new twists. Actually, work on the second album had already started when the first album was released. Stay tuned!
Do you have anything else you would like to share with our readers on Grave Concerns E-zine?
Go with the flow!