Tag: Delerium

RHYS FULBER Interview

Few, if any musicians on the electronic music scene could claim to be as prolific as the duo of Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb.

The Canadian-based pair have collaborated as FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, DELERIUM, INTERMIX and NOISE UNIT and have also brought their musical talents to several other diverse projects over the last 35 years.

Rhys Fulber kindly took time out of his busy PR schedule to talk about the new FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY release ‘Mechanical Soul’ and a selection of some of his high profile side-projects.

How important was the influence of your father on you getting into music?

Hugely important. His record collection alone was a solid foundation for anyone, but then the fact our dining room was a jam space from when I was 5 or so meant there were always instruments set up to mess around with. The keyboard player in the bar band he played with had a Minimoog, so I remember playing with that when I was 7 or so. I also started playing drums maybe even earlier than that.

Who were your earliest musical influences?

KRAFTWERK is number one. My parents took me to a show when I was 5 and I still remember it. After that it’s Pete Shelley’s ‘Homosapien’ album and all the BUZZCOCKS original LPs. Their music really connected with me when I was young and still does today.

What kind of effect did growing up in Canada have on your music?

Vancouver was still very colonial when I grew up so we got more of the British music scene than the US, as well as Canada promoting a lot of their in house bands so we had our own take on things in some ways. Also Vancouver was a world class studio city already in the 80s so there was a culture of that in Vancouver. All the studios we worked in were first rate, and connected to a famous Canadian musician, like Bryan Adams or Paul Dean.

How much have the themes of ‘Mechanical Soul’ been influenced by the situation of the pandemic?

I think maybe lyrically a bit. I was still living in LA when we started the album so we were already used to working remotely, so it wasn’t a big change for us in that way.

What have been your other sources of song material for the album?

I had clips of music from various things and times that we pulled together as the basis. One was meant to be for my solo techno material as well, so it was a bigger variety of starting points that usual. We used to get in a room together and write all the music so this one is different in that way. I had some track ideas and Bill made suggestions to them and then added vocals and lyrics, so in some ways we both focused on our roles more than in the past in a way.

Were there any particular synths or pieces of technology that had an impact on the making of ‘Mechanical Soul’?

Each one had a different key piece. I added that to the liner notes; which was the featured instrument on each. For instance, the main riff of ‘Alone’ was from a borrowed Moog Model 15 reissue that I just recorded jams on for a day and pieced those core elements together from that. The single ‘Unknown’ has a lot of a Roland Alpha Juno 2 synth I think I have only used on maybe two other songs over 20 years or so…

You have two featured songs out of the 157(!) on the recent ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ computer game. What is the story behind ‘Drained’ and ‘Subvert’, were they written specifically for the product?

Yes, they were. I was put in touch with one of the music supervisors as just a general contact, because he had worked for a label FLA had released for in the past and he just asked if I would be interested in submitting some ideas to this new game project. I had submitted a total of 6 or 7 tracks and they chose those two. The song ‘Stifle’ on ‘Mechanical Soul’ was one of the tracks that didn’t make the cut. Bill liked it so we developed it into a Front Line song. Two tracks on my last solo album ‘Ostalgia’ were also from those sessions, and the ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ material spawned the rest of that album as well, as it was done at the same time.

In pre-pandemic times, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY co-headlined with DIE KRUPPS on the ‘Machinists United Tour’, what are your recollections of those shows?

It was a pretty good tour. Just adding another name band does a lot for the draw it seems, so we had some shows that we hadn’t had in a while in places like Munich for instance.

What means most to you? Recording new material or playing live?

Well, you can’t have live without the studio for this music, so I think the studio means more to me although I really like both.

Sampling has always been at the core of your musical projects, what have been the highs and lows of creating songs using this creation method?

Sampling is just like another form of synthesis to me so it’s hard to extract it as a separate thing now. We didn’t think too much about what we sampled other than if it sounded good. I still think that holds true now, though I have just gotten much more covert with how I do it now. Random and obscure sources, for instance.

‘Voices’, which featured on the INTERMIX album, has always been a favourite. What are your memories of working on this album?

I don’t remember that album too well. I remember the mix room and the gear we used, but it’s not exactly clear. It was a busy time and we made that album fairly quickly as a way to experiment with new ideas without committing them to FLA. So it was like a testing site album.

From the same album, ‘S+M=y’ features a sample from Clive Barker’s seminal horror film ‘Hellraiser’. Was there a specific process with getting the “we’ll tear your soul apart” dialogue cleared, or was this an early case of let’s sample it and hope no-one will notice?

We didn’t think that way then at all. We just sampled whatever. It wasn’t until ‘Millennium’ (1994) that we had to atone for our sins!

In terms of commercial success, the DELERIUM track ‘Silence’ sticks out. The original version still stands up, but how did you feel when the trance versions brought the track to a more mainstream audience?

It was pretty surreal, like you are somehow disconnected to it. But who can complain about a magic moment like that? I think hits have to be accidents, because nothing about that was planned.

You have produced for other artists, notably working on KANGA’s superb eponymously titled album and ‘Automaton’, the upcoming single by AESTHETIC PERFECTION. What do you think makes a good producer?

Someone who can make an artist comfortable and not afraid to try new things and push themselves. It’s usually done with lots of support and being careful with words and constructive criticism.

You have worked with co-collaborator Bill Leeb for over 30+ years now. What do you feel helps to keep that relationship fresh creatively?

It is mainly around a similar taste and we still listen to new things. I think our working relationship is better than ever because there has been so much trust built up.

How influenced are you by current forms of music?

Moderately. I think you can’t have stale beats in electronic music, so it’s good to hear what the current sounds are to keep your sound fresh without jumping too much on one thing. As you get older you realise being yourself is the most important, but buying new shoes and a jacket really helps.

Do you feel that the Industrial format is a bit of a straitjacket? Is this a reason why you have pursued several side projects?

It doesn’t have to be, but I think the audience wants the bands they like to deliver the sound they were drawn to. When you go too far off that they feel betrayed somehow. It’s easier just to have another banner to keep everyone happy.

Your CV of outside artists you have worked from a production / remix perspective with is pretty incredible including MÖTLEY CRÜE and MEGADETH as well as Alice Cooper, Sarah Brightman, Sinéad O’Connor; do you find working with other artists more or less stressful than working on your own material?

It really depends. Both can be very stressful. Working on your own, you can lose perspective which can really slow things down, whereas with a band or something there are more ears in the room.

You have been pretty vocal about the way that streaming sites such as Spotify give musicians a raw deal when it comes to royalties. What musical formats do you tend to generate most of your income from?

It’s hard to answer that because I get income from so many places now after so many years in the business, and sometimes it’s really random; suddenly one song will get used somewhere and you get a blip, so I can’t complain too much.

I just think YouTube and Spotify is devaluing art in many ways and it’s hard to steer away from ‘free’ for a lot of people once the toothpaste is squeezed from the tube. I much prefer the model Bandcamp have come up with, where you get some streaming and the appreciation of tangible product as well.

You are stuck on a desert island, what is the one piece of electronic gear you would have with you and why?

My Waldorf Q+. It literally can do it all, and very well!


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Rhys Fulber

Special thanks to Gary Levermore at Red Sand PR

‘Mechanical Soul’ is released by Metropolis Records, available in double vinyl LP, CD and digital formats from https://frontlineassembly.bandcamp.com/album/mechanical-soul

A selection of Rhys Fulber solo material is available from https://rhysfulber.bandcamp.com/

http://www.mindphaser.com/

https://www.facebook.com/frontlineassembly/

https://www.facebook.com/rhysfulbermusic

https://twitter.com/f7a

https://twitter.com/rhysfulber

https://www.instagram.com/front.line.assembly.official/

https://www.instagram.com/rhys_fulber/

https://www.metropolis-records.com/artist/front-line-assembly


Text and Interview by Paul Boddy
Photos by Chris Escamilla, Bobby Talamine and Simon Helm
26th February 2021

BLACK NEEDLE NOISE Lost In Reflections

Last year saw yet another metamorphosis for the legendary John Fryer, this time masquerading as BLACK NEEDLE NOISE.

The first opus under the name, which contemplates the scratching sound of black record, ‘Before The Tears Came’, introduced a plethora of sounds and noises performed by the cream of who is who in the world of vocals. Elena Alice Fossi, Zia, Ledfoot, Andreas Eleveness, Attasalina, Jarboe and Betsy Martin amongst others, all got invited to share the “strange and interesting journey”, which proved to be a rather popular outing.

Of course Fryer isn’t a stranger to exquisite productions. Having been a living and breathing backbone of the famous London Blackwing Studios for nearly a decade, during its most prominent years of synthpop, with the likes of DEPECHE MODE, FAD GADGET, COCTEAU TWINS, DEAD CAN DANCE and many more, Fryer learnt his graft masterfully, also being the responsible adult as far as the production of NINE INCH NAILS’ ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ was concerned.

More recently the man himself lent his skills on the wonderfully ethereal MURICIDAE and fantastically glamorous SILVER GHOST SHIMMER, at the same time being an active producer of other artists.

A year on, and the noise magician is ready to serve his follow-up dish of BLACK NEEDLE NOISE, this time thoughtfully titled ‘Lost In Reflections’. Having recently swapped his home studio in the frosty Oslo onto the warmth of LA, Fryer has been busy with further collaborations.

The opening one being, ‘Treasured Lies’, with the returning appearance of Zia Land. This emphatic track is a gripping catalyst of emotion, laced with ominous musical elements and Fryer’s signature guitar as a closing point.

Kendra Frost of KITE BASE makes her entrance on the newest long player twice, firstly on simplistic ‘Warning Sign’ and secondly on the empirical ‘This Kind Of Road’. The latter is a quintessential Fryer track, reminiscent of his ability to build the whole picture in an atmospheric manner of flowing intricacies, without the danger of overloading or dislocating the musical joints. A harsher reality is introduced on the quirky ‘She Stands On A Storm’, even though the angelic voice of Andrea Kerr is delicately interwoven within the grittier, almost STABBING WESTWARD-like arrangement. The track represents an idea of “killing with delicateness”, and it’s exactly what it does.

The highlight of the long player enters half way through, with the generously exquisite ‘Heaven’ with Jennie Vee, stealing the limelight with her distinctive vocal, crying out the melancholy and dreaminess a la Angelo Badalamenti. Oh please David Lynch, use this for the new ‘Twin Peaks’ series!

OMNIFLUX’s Mahsa Zargaran creates magic with her assimilating vocal extravaganza, utilising a soundscape of its own, canvassing the bass heavy background and a profusion of turbulence.

Clearly impressed with Mimi Page’s guestwork on the latest DELERIUM’s album ‘Mythologie’, Fryer borrows the multitalented singer to perform on magically atmospheric ‘Swimming Through Dreams’. As if taken from the parallel reality; this ghostly, mist engulfed gem features humming sounds, which drift away into another world, until “nothing remains”. Indeed ‘And Nothing Remains’ with DEAD LEAF ECHO’s Ana Breton. Continuing the theme of ethereal, otherworldly and from another reality, Breton’s delicate songsmanship glides over abrasive textures of Fryer’s musical aura.

Where one genius meets another is on ‘A Shiver Of Want’. Probably the biggest collaboration on ‘Lost In Reflections’ is that with the legendary Bill Leeb. Leeb, classed as one of the most influential electronic masters, as showcased on his works with FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and DELERIUM, lends his grainy vocal over a timeless track, which could have easily been released in another era. The piece drags under, creates an uncertainty and leads into the unknown, but the attraction of being pulled is irresistible.

Sivert Høyem guests on ‘Breathless Speechless’, which changes the atmosphere, still keeping the slower tempo in place. Dreamy to the point of oblivion, scary, but addictive, dirty but virgin, seductive, yet clean with that guitar again, which leads to the sinisterly terrifying concepts of The Black Lodge. Just waiting for Bob to appear out of nowhere…

The closing ‘Neon Noir’ couldn’t be more different from the rest of the production; faster, more positive, inviting and very synthy, Fryer gathers the posse to follow the “neon shines so bright” and lose themselves in music. Fine by us.

Refined, very arty, evoking different emotions is what BLACK NEEDLE NOISE is about. John Fryer, with a wealth of experience, paints various musical landscapes with a little help of capable vocalists.

More cinematic this time round, the master pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable and inevitably he wins, again.


‘Before The Tears Came’ is available as a download album from
https://blackneedlenoise.bandcamp.com/album/lost-in-reflections

https://www.facebook.com/BlackNeedleNoise/

https://www.facebook.com/John.Fryer.Official/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
23rd June 2017

DELERIUM Mythologie

delerium-mythologie-a_w-medresDELERIUM originated in Canada as a side enterprise of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, with Bill Leeb as the only constant member.

Leeb and Michael Balch started off as darker ambient sound enthusiasts, but the evolution of line-up changes gradually migrated DELERIUM’s sound onto electronic dance.

Since, the venture has had an established career spanning over twenty nine years.

The strategic idea to use various vocalists on their projects, such as Jacqui Hunt of SINGLE GUN THEORY, Niels van Gogh, Sarah McLachlan, Kirsty Thirsk, Lisa Gerrard, Emily Haines of METRIC, Matthew Sweet or MEDIÆVAL BÆBES, has proven financially beneficial to the outings by DELERIUM. In fact, surpassing even FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, who have always been known for having a cult following.

‘Mythologie’ is the fifteenth studio album by the Leeb-Fulber collaboration, with a helping hand from Jared Singerland and Craig Johnsen. It’s also DELERIUM’s first album released under the umbrella of Metropolis Records.

delerium-1-cr-eric-rodent-chesiakMimi Page guests on the opening ‘Blue Fires’; Page is an established LA based composer, vocalist and songwriter, mostly celebrated by her ethereal, cinematic vocal techniques and celestial soprano voice.

‘Blue Fires’ is very much a Page track; with atmospheric philosophy and dreamy sequences, it is a perfect opening to the opus.

‘Angels’ is the second out of four songs with Mimi Page in charge. Another JULEE CRUISE styled vocal, hauntingly beautiful, hovering over the extravaganza of synth, guitar and piano. ‘Made To Move’ and ‘Dark Visions’; the latter closing the production, continue with the LA songstress’ signature soprano, painting the sublime soundscapes characterised by layered synths and grandiose textures.

Phidel takes the reins on the second track, ‘Zero’. The Londoner, whose background was musicless, having grown up in a house where music was strictly forbidden, had to fight for her passion, which resulted in the production of some fabulous pieces, which have been extensively used in television ads and various campaigns.

‘Zero’ resembles a FIFI RONG creation, with aptly programmed synths and generous amount of emancipated vocals. Phidel also features on ‘Rhitual’; an ambient piece with exquisite elements sounding like a renaissance of GOLDFRAPP’s ‘Voicething’.

‘Keep On Dreaming’ sees the acclaimed Swiss band LUNIK’s songstress Jaël, whose spellbindingly clear vocals adorned productions by SCHILLER, MICH GERBER and DELERIUM once before. The Svensen and Gieler remix of ‘After All’ went to number one in the UK dance charts in 2003.

delerium-8-col-2-cr-eric-rodent-chesiakThe New York born and LA based JES, co-wrote and lends her vocals to two pieces on ‘Mythologie’; ‘Stay’ and ‘Once In A Lifetime’. A well-known and celebrated producer and singer, a Grammy nominee and a host of her own radio show, the artist gracefully lifts the mood of ‘Stay’, which musically bears elements of Madonna’s ‘Frozen’. ‘Once In A Lifetime’ showcases the vocal abilities of JES over a perfect synth pop track.

‘Seven Gates Of Thebes’ is an instrumental gem, introducing ‘Ghost Requiem’ with Geri Soriano-Lightwood. The singer and songwriter of trip hop Supreme Beings Of Leisure characterises herself with the sultry vocal and seductive lyrics. The old record feel of this track resembles the productions by John Fryer on SILVER GHOST SHIMMER.

The last LA artist to collaborate on ‘ Mythologie ‘ is a vocalist and bass player Leah Randi. Randi is best known for playing bass in PINK’s band but she has previously collaborated with Leeb on FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY’s album ‘Civilisation’.

The two year period of completion for ‘Mythology’ pays off now. The album is wholesome, gratifying and wonderfully ethereal. Leeb’s use of various artists from three different countries, each with their own vision and incomparable vocal techniques, makes this collaboration a notable success. It truly is a production for the lovers of atmospheric, ambient and celestial music. And a very different style from FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY.


‘Mythologie’ is released by Metropolis Records, available as a download from https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mythologie

https://www.facebook.com/Delerium/

https://twitter.com/Delerium


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by Eric ‘Rodent’ Chesiak
24th September 2016