no:carrier the Duo with no Descriptive Format

Written by on June 26, 2014 in Interviews, June 26, 2014, News To Shout About! - Comments Off on no:carrier the Duo with no Descriptive Format

no:carrierElectro Noir Pop – a description that fits no:carrier best. This duo originally founded in 1995 in Germany, but active in its current line-up since 2001, is now a long-distance musical affair, with Chris Wirsig living in San Francisco while singer Cynthia Wechselberger still resides in their home country Germany. But as with all long-distance relationships this can add some spice to the mixture. Now that they have been activate with making music and doing shows no:carrier has high hopes and plans that will continue to express and expose the reality that is their descriptive style of music. The duo both discuss their new works and the plans for it.

AAM. Why did you want this band to be a duo instead of a full fledge band?

Chris: Mabe it was subconsiously as I grew up with a lot of duos – Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, The Communards and many others. So this typicial synth band constellation with one person playing the keyboards and the other one singing somehow suited me. But I also played in bigger bands and love that, too. For our music it just fits.

Cynthia: Who needs a band if he has synthesizers? 😉

AAM Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Chris: I’ve founded no:carrier with a friend from school in 1995. Back then it was typical european EBM, influenced by bands like Front 242, Laibach and Wumpscut. After the first self-released tape this friend left the band and I carried on alone for some time. But the band really started to evolve when Cynthia came into it. Until then I already had refined the sound to a much more Dark Wave and Synthpop inspired thing. Over the years we really found our own sound.

AAM Why go and call yourselves a name like no:carrier? What does this even represent or mean?

Chris: That’s from the old EBM days. You see, “no carrier” was the message a modem displayed when it couldn’t get online and didn’t get the carrier signal. Being a very hard electronic project we thought that’s a good, technical name 😉

Cynthia: Nowadays it still represents the electronic aspect of the band, but also that we are really going our own way musically, not walking the trodden paths. So we don’t need that carrier signal to play our songs.

AAM “Wisdom & Failure” contains stories of hurtful memories, fears, tragedy, and strong personalities? What was one of the worst fears, hurtful memories, tragedies and strongest personalities you have experienced?

Cynthia: I do not tend to be fearful. Maybe this is because I have always been living in a safe environment. For me the most tr agic moments in life are when you have to leave a place and know you will never return, or even worse, when you lose somebody whom you have felt very close to for any kind of reason.

Chris: I tend to be fearful at times and I can be very nostalgic, very brooding about past memories. That’s reflected in songs like “Alone Now” or “Last Scene”. One of the most hurtful memories is losing my grandfather when I was 13 years old. That still resonates in me today. On the other hand one of the strongest personalities I know is his wife, my grandmother. She’s always strong, working, and always so helpful.

AAM Your genre of choice is called Electro Noire Pop can you elaborate?

Chris: A journalist once coined that term desicribing our music. And it really fits, so we now mainly use this term. Our songs are often like Film Noir movies – dark, melancholic stories, like shady characters walking through lonely, sepia colored alleys.

AAM. You guys were founded in 1995 but have been active as of 2001, why not active since 1995?

Cynthia: Well, Chris has been active since 1995 and released two tapes under the name no:carrier. But when I joined in 2001 we started to work on the first full album “My Own Dream”. And the sound changed at that time, too. So the no:carrier that is known today really started out in 2001.

AAM What’s your favorite song on the album right now?

Cynthia: One of my favorite songs is „Losing Sight Of The Coast“. I always feel like dancing when I hear it. But the emotional highlight and in my opinion the best composition on the album is the title song „Wisdom and Failure“, which is quite complex and dramatic.

Chris: For me it’s hard to say as I wrote them all – that’s like chosing your favourite kid. And 12 kids is a lot 😉 But musically I really like “Last Scene” as it’s a very different approach and still has this electronic feel to it.

AAM. How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?

Chris: We started the first recording sessions in 2011, soon after the last album “Between The Chairs” was released. My moving to San Francisco delayed the production a bit, and I also somewhat changed my style of production during the last two years. So all in all we worked about two years on the songs – on and off, not full time.

AAM. What kind of “sound”, production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?

Chris: Somehow I’m going after our own sound without thinking too much about it. Of course there are a lot of influences that you can (and sometimes can’t) hear in the songs. But I think the overall sound of our songs is somewhat special. Probably because of the way I use some instruments or how I arrange the songs or how I mix them. For me it’s really hard to compare them to other bands. Most people hear traces of Depeche Mode, Portishead, Gary Numan, Pet Shop Boys – and all of those (and a lot more) are definitely some of my biggest influences. And I’m always trying to get the vocals to stand out: Cynthia’s a great singer, and our lyrics are as important as the music.

AAM. What kind of input did the producer have during the process?

Cynthia: As Chris is the producer he did just what he wanted to 😉

AAM. Are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound – production wise)

Chris: Well, I’m never fully pleased as years later I still will hear things I would then change – a HiHat that could be a little louder, or some effects that I now would use differently. But all in all I’m very pleased with the new album.

AAM. Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?

Chris: Not for the vocals, those were recorded quite traditionally. But I like to use strange effects on instruments and vocals sometimes. And of course there’s the use of acoustic instruments from all over the world (though mainly in sampled form) that add a special vibe to the songs that you usually can’t get with pure electronics.

AAM. How did you go on about capturing your “live sound” in the studio, or perhaps you didn’t?

Cynthia: We haven’t played together live yet. So this was not a task in the studio 🙂 But we’re playing our first concerts on the US West Coast late April, early May.

Chris: I usually construct the songs in the studio as I’d like to hear them. So it’s probably more the other way round: Capturing the studio sound when playing live 🙂

AAM. What would be the cinematic equivalent of “Wisdom & Failure”?

Chris: That’s a tough one… Probably older movies that deal with tragic life stories and personal failures, but also with the strength to do what you need to do, to go your own way. Movies like “Last Year At Marienbad” or “Casablanca” somehow fit the overall tone, I guess.

AAM. Any overall theme of mood that you’re trying to capture while writing songs?

Chris: I’m not desperately trying to write melancholy or brooding songs, that somehow comes naturally to me 😉 Most of the lyrics (and usually the songs start with the lyrics to set the mood and theme) start with some spark of inspiration, and I can’t always say where this is coming from. That can be personal thoughts or emotions, but also a book, a story, some TV documentary… I also like to write songs about nearly forgotten, but still interesting (sometimes tragic) persons, like Lady Jane Grey, the protagonist in “The Nine Days’ Queen”, who ruled England for nine days and later was beheaded.

AAM. Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?

Chris: Yes, definitely. I think the new album is our most mature and best so far and although I still love the songs from the first album I’d like to update them. My songwriting evolves with me and as I change and learn new things the songs also change. But I can’t say where this is leading, but I wouldn’t like to still write the same kind of songs in ten years from now 😉

AAM. Did the record company interfere with anything on your “sound” and songs?

Chris: Luckily not as we are releasing the album on our own label Electric Heresy 🙂

AAM. Are there any “crazy” behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?

Cynthia: For one of the songs we recorded the vocals in our old studio that was near the Munich airport. And on that particular day the starting planes were really loud. So I always wondered if we can manage to do our vocal takes without also recording the noise from the planes. 😉

AAM. How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?

Chris: I’d say “We call it Electro Noire Pop, it’s like a dark, brooding movie set in electronic pop songs that are a cross-breed between Dark Wave, Synthpop and Electropop. Somehwere between Depeche Mode, Portishead and The Crüxshadows.”

AAM. What are the plans that you guys have for the future, shows, and touring that we should know about?

Chris: We’re going to play some concerts on the US West Coast soon (i.e. at The Viper Room in West Hollywood on April 29th, and at the First Friday event in Las Vegas on May 2nd). At some concerts our great cover artist Cassidy Bliss Cooper will also be there to present her art. And later this year we plan to tour Germany and Europe a bit.

Cynthia: And of course there are some new songs to record already 🙂

AAM. If there’s anything you’d like to add, say, please do.

Just thanks for all of the support!