mind.in.a.box interview:

mind.in.a.box - Interview for magazine 'Side-Line Magazine 48/2004', Interviewer:'Stephane Froidcoeur', about: 'Lost Alone', Date: 2004-06-05
Link: Side-Line Magazine 48/2004
Dependent Records has maybe found a new diamond. The American mind.in.a.box-duo consisting of Stev (music & vox) and Msh (lyrics) emerges out of the blue with the fascinating 'Lost alone'-album. The production sounds like a forum to express fictional stories surrounded by a modern approach of music writing where different ideas ranging from EBM to cold future-pop are crossing each other. Both guys already knew each other for more than 20 years, working together in a bunch of projects to finally set up mind.in.a.box.

Your debut album 'Lost alone' has been released on Dependent. How did you get in contact with them and what were your expectations?

Stev: More than three years ago, I sent several songs to Dependent Records, and Stefan Herwig called me back soon after. I only had expectations of myself, and wanted to be completely satisfied with the quality of the album. But now I am really pleased with the result. Still, all the really great responses are exceeding our expectations by far. Unbelievable!
Let's talk about the 'Lost alone'-release. What does this album stand for and what did you try to express here?
Msh: The stories on 'Lost Alone' represent metaphors for certain human traits and problems that have to do with loneliness and the feeling of aloneness in this world. This feeling can be something many people provoke through their own actions, which is the basis for 'Change': But most of the songs are dealing with the fundamental feeling of aloneness that is an important part of our existence. One of the major points of 'Lost Alone' is that you need other people in order to overcome this aloneness, although it is only possible to a certain extent.
I have to say that musically speaking, this album impressed me for different reasons: originality of the style, complexity of the sound and structures ... like a new wind that blows through the underground electronics! Tell us a bit more about each of these aspects?
Stev: Thank you! I think that my approach to making music has lots of different influences, but mostly unconsciously. I never tried to imitate a certain style, especially not just for getting a record label interested. Another part of the reason for the difference might be that I've been doing music for computer games for some time, which has definitely influenced the sound of mind.in.a.box.I've also been working for more than ten years with custom sequencer software that Msh wrote. This probably influenced my approach to music a lot.
Production wise, I perceive a cold and sterile sound that reminds me a bit to Clock OVA, although you're definitely more into pop influences. How did you come to create the sound that makes this album?
Stev: Each of the mind.in.a.box songs is a small story, and I most of all tried to convey the underlying feelings of each of these stories. But I also think that melodies are very important to my songs. Most of the songs on 'Lost Alone' consist of many melodies that create the whole impression only when taken together.
I already referred to the pop influence, but I also perceive several other ideas like space atmospheres and techno ingredients. What does it all say about your possible influences?
Stev: I think the major influence for each of the songs was the atmosphere it is intended to create in the mind of the listener, and the feelings it should convey. We both are fond of science fiction, and so many of the mind.in.a.box songs are fictitious stories with science fiction influences, which is also reflected by the music itself. The term 'Futurepop' could probably be used to describe it quite well, but it is now synonymous with a different kind of music. In general, I listen to lots of different musical styles, whether it is industrial, pop, electro, metal, or many other styles ... in some sense I am influenced by a large variety of styles.
The production of the vocals is another interesting element, revealing a quiet, but spooky way of singing! How did you come to sing this way and what means the human voice in addition to the music?
Stev: I think vocals are extremely important to a song, and this is probably also just my way of singing. On 'Lost Alone'; I've experimented a lot with different vocal styles. One reason for this is that I wanted to create a lot of variety, but I also wanted the vocals to correspond to and fit the surrealistic setting of each of the songs.
Talking about the vocals, let's concentrate on the lyrics, which seem to express some deep inner feelings. What's it about and what do you try to exorcise/express this way?
Msh: We want to tell stories with their own protagonists and focus on the feelings they are experiencing. And, although they are naturally rooted in personal experience, most of the songs represent these stories and not necessarily our own personalities. All the 'Lost Alone' stories take place in a fictitious world, which reflects many of the aspects of our real world in the form of metaphors. So in some sense we are only the narrators of these stories, not the protagonists. The music tries to express these feelings and metaphors as they are related to our real world, although the stories themselves are often surreal.
In which way does the name of your band, reflect the content of the lyrics and what lies behind Mind.ln.A.Box?
Msh: The name mind.in.a.box is a metaphor for everything that prevents us from truly being free and thinking for ourselves, from the shackles of everyday life to the strong influence mass media are having on us. In the world of mind.in.a.box, minds are literally imprisoned, however, which is meant metaphorically.
I suppose that Dependent will probably release at least 1 maxi. 'Change' sounds to me, as a real potential Mcd-song although I guess the choice will be difficult! What's up?
Stev: The current decision is not to release a maxi, because no single song really represents the entire album. But 'Change' was under consideration. As an example, the two songs 'Walking' and 'Lost Alone 2' are available as full-length mp3s on our web page, but they sound completely different.
Maxis are traditionally filled with a bunch of remixes by other bands, so what are you plans concerning this aspect and the use of remixing. Do you already have some names to reveal?
Stev: Up to now I have very mixed experiences with external remixes of my material. It might not be very easy to remix, because the songs consist of many melodies that create the whole only when added together in the right way. But there are also several remixes that I did myself, which will be released over time in one form or another. In principle, I think the concept of remixing is very intriguing and it is very interesting to see how other artists view the same material.
I read on your web page that the album is planned to be released on Metropolis as well! What the situation right now?
Stev: Yes, it will be released on Metropolis Records on 8 June 2004, which makes us very happy!
The design of your web page is quite impressive as well! What did you try express by the web page and in which way does it stands for the music you compose?
Stev: Thanks a lot! We wanted it to fit the music,and express the fundamental feeling of aloneness in a cold world where people are more and more turning into machines. Alex Mastny (www.alex-mastny. com) has invested a lot of time, with me nagging him all the time :) But he did it really well!
That brings me to ask you about the artwork of your album, which shows some kind of imposing cyber-sphinx like characters. Where does it come from and what's the meaning of it?
Stev: The artwork represents the song 'Lost Alone';where someone is wandering about a huge city in desperation, but the city speaks to him and tries to give him hope, telling him that he is not as alone as he thinks he is. The cyborg represents the essence of this city and our mind.in.a.box world.
Where do you see Mind In A Box within a couple of years?
Stev: The next major goal is to release the second mind.in.a.box album within a year. Otherwise, it's still hard to judge how the music of mind.in.a.box will be received. We are very curious about it :)
Anything essential to conclude like live plans, side-projects ... ?
Stev: Right now there are no plans for either of these, but anything is possible.