mind.in.a.box interview:

mind.in.a.box - Interview for magazine 'VampireFreaks', Interviewer:'Rafi', about: 'R.E.T.R.O', Date: 2010-06-01
Link: VampireFreaks
Often times I have heard of video games inspired by music, but the thought of video game programmers and designers making music? Who would of thought such a thing? Apparently mind.in.a.box. has and wow have they delivered. There music maybe a form of electronic music, but where to put it in this massive scene with more options of sub-genres than I can count? When you find the answer to this riddle please let me know! Either way it's genius and incapability to be classified makes them a true stand out today.
I got a chance to sit down with the guys of MIAB to talk about the past, present, and future for this unique project. So sit back and join in the story, perhaps they will inspire you as well:
So I understand that you both grew up together, how did you both find yourselves learning to make music and was this something you attended together?
You know, we spent a lot of time in the past making computer games, where Markus did the programming and I was doing the music. After our game Parsec -- there is no safe distance, which was our biggest computer games project, we started mind.in.a.box as an independent stand-alone music project. This was the beginning of our present collaboration. I knew that Markus could write great lyrics because he was always very talented in languages. Of course it took some time before each of us actually got the results that we wanted, but today both sides of our work fit together very smoothly.
I have heard that you both started out by making computer games, what made you decide to do music instead?
The main reason for me was that we all decided to stop working on Parsec and so I thought about what I could do after that. So I decided to start a stand-alone music project. Maybe there also were not many other possibilities for me because I was a shy guy and could kind of only work on my own little projects. But I think it turned out to be a really good idea.
You have listed Sci-Fi writing as a form of inspiration for the bandís creation and material. I was wondering what kind of writings influenced you and how?
At the moment I donít read a lot of books. The last Sci-Fi Books I have read and can remember were Snowcrash and Ringworld. And of course I like the books by Andreas Gruber a lot, who is working on the mind.in.a.box background story with us. Reading books and watching movies inspires me a lot because it makes you think about things and always creates new ideas. Itís hard to quantify their influence on your work, if you watch for example a movie. Mostly it is about moods and emotions that you can transfer to another medium. So if I see or read something that moves me, I very often feel compelled to compose music that transports or evokes that kind of emotion. This helps me to stay balanced in everything. I understand this today more than before. I was more a guy who didnít easily want to accept that I need something. Maybe I really have to make music... but Iím not sure at the moment. :)
Speaking of influences I was surprised to see that you were influenced by legendary bands like the Melvins and Mr. Bungle. What made them stick out and how did you apply them to your band?
Roman, our live bass player, is a huge Melvins fan, and he was the one who brought that band to my attention. I can remember a long time ago, when we drove many hours by car together, and Roman put on an audio tape, forcing me to listen to Melvins songs all the time. My brain was spent after that, because at the time I was only listening to electronic music, very clean electronic music, without distortion or anything like that. So my head was heavy after that trip, but I really started to like that kind of music. Many years later I saw the Melvins playing live in a cinema in Vienna, where they were playing along short movies in the background. It was completely crazy. They made nearly 40 minutes of pure noiseÖ and then at the end, they started to play a real song where you could actually recognize a melody. It was like you just walked weeks in the desert and then suddenly you could see a pool of water in front of you. It was really amazing. That was real art. With mind.in.a.box we also try to make our own kind of music, inspired by the spirit of bands like the Melvins who are very unique.
Live shows is something that the fans are craving, have you made plans for a tour? How do you hope to incorporate the live shows with the album concepts?
We have no real plans at the moment to go on tour but maybe there is a possibility in the near future. We must wait and see. This year we'll play at some smaller festivals. Iím sure we will be able to announce more show dates soon.
Going live was not easy, and that was one reason why we needed so much time to finally go on stage. We created a visual, a video clip, for every song, which we play back live in sync with the music. For the songs that have an important role in our mind.in.a.box story we filmed visuals with actors who are playing the main characters of the story. My vision was that we will play along to the visuals, instead of that the visuals are running in the background of the music. Sometimes, we also have real interaction between the visuals and the music. On stage we are four people, with Roman (Bass), Adam (Guitar), Gerhard (Drums), and me. You can imagine that with this setup we sound quite a bit different than on CD.
The new album seems like a really smooth evolutionary step for the band, how did you guys approach this one? How do you feel about the end product?
It was a little bit like going back to our musical roots, and it was something that I really wanted to do. But I was not sure how and if we ever could release something like that. I wanted to do a kind of tribute to all the great composers of my past, who inspired my own work so much by their spirit. The Commodore 64 was simply amazing for that time, and for me the best sound device that I ever knew of. Now it feels almost like with R.E.T.R.O we were able to close an open chapter of our past. It was something we simply had to do.
Watching the video for '8 bit' brought back so many memories, of technologies from the older days. How do you feel about the technological revolution and how it has changed our lives in the last 20 years?
restrictions anymore. You can do whatever you want. When you compare this with the possibilities of a Commodore 64, with only three available voice channelsÖ itís simply unbelievable. So that is really great. You can sit in front of your computer today and can just do whatever you can imagine. On the other hand, today everything is much more complicated. It is not easy to build a good musical setup that really works. There are so many things that can go wrong or not fit together well, but for me this is an important part of todayís process of doing electronic music. You have to pay very special attention to your setup because it is a major part of the electronic music you make. You canít say, I want to make electronic music but I donít know anything about computers and all that crazy stuff. It is simply an essential part of it. With the Commodore 64, everything was still very simple and easy. You couldnít do a lot, but the small things that you could do were working very well. After all, it was just one machine that did everything.
Do you find yourselves using mainly older analogue equipment or have you started to use the newer technologies for making music?
I always tried to use new equipment, as long as it worked well and was affordable. I use some older hardware but also software for making music. I try to use everything where I think that it could be a step forward for my personal music setup.
What is in store for the future of the band?
At the moment Iím really happy with how everything has turned outÖ for example our live project. That really was a huge project to set up for me, because in the past it was unimaginable for me to actually play on stage, and so I took on a lot of risk with this. Besides the live project and playing more gigs in the future, we are working on a new storytelling mind.in.a.box album. We hope that we will be able to release our next album this year as well. Stay tunedÖ it will be ground breaking. ::)
What would you like to say to all your loyal fans on VampireFreaks?
Thank you all for supporting us!
Öand donít drink my blood. It will make you crazy. :)