Tag: The KVB (Page 2 of 2)

THE KVB Only Now Forever

The follow-up to 2016’s ‘Of Desire’, ‘Only Now Forever’ develops on the brooding post-punk sound of THE KVB.

Getting together in 2011, the British audio-visual duo of multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood and keyboardist Kat Day actually relocated to write and record in Berlin, adding a more independently-minded edge to their reverb coated sound in the process.

If NEW ORDER had been weaned on shoegaze, they might have sounded like THE KVB.

Signed to Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, with previous collaborators such as Joe Dilworth and Mark Reeder on their curriculum vitae and a prestigious invitation to perform at Robert Smith’s meltdown Festival 2018, THE KVB certainly have their esteemed admirers.

The excellent uptempo motorik of ‘Above Us’ is a good start, accessible yet suitably mysterious and coming over like LADYTRON fronted by Kevin Shields. Under layers of string synths and attached to a solid bass rumble, ‘On My Skin’ has a good chorus while with more psychedelic overtones, ‘Only Now Forever’ recalls early ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN when they used the odd smidgen of synth and drum machine.

The unsurprisingly gothic ‘Afterglow’ looms with heavy beats and penetrating textural six string as Wood announces “here comes the night” but with ‘Violet Noon’, there’s a more steadfast nocturnal mood, like THE JESUS & THE MARY CHAIN with more washes of atmospheric synths, as if the Reid brothers had been dropped onto the set of ‘Twin Peaks’.

The guitars take more of a backseat on ‘Into Life’ while the spectre of CABARET VOLTAIRE circa ‘The Crackdown’ make its presence felt via a hypnotic bass sequence and assorted sweeps; it also sees Day put her breathy allure to the forefront on this arty slice of moody electro-disco

‘Live In Fiction’ recalls THE CURE meeting THE SOFT MOON but is less reliant on wall of sound intensity, but the wonderful clubby vibe of ‘Tides’ offers some vibrant electricity with a combination of sequences and synths for possibly the album’s highlight.

The 6/8 percussive drift of ‘No Shelter’ looms away but cut from a similar cloth to ‘Above Us’, ‘Cerulean’ does have a slightly more frantic edge, Woods’ vocals harmonised by Day’s angelic tones although the track does seem to disappear into a cacophony of haze.

More refined and sharper than previous offerings, the melodic emphasis on ‘Only Now Forever’ has paid off and there is plenty of crossover appeal for those who like a bit of synth and a dash of alternative rock. Some might find THE KVB’s overall template old-fashioned, but being uninhibited in their willingness to mix technology with live instruments and a bit of darkness like in days of yore can only be a good thing.

‘Only Now Forever’ is released by Invada Records on CD, double vinyl LP and digital formats

THE KVB 2018 live dates include:

Glasgow Hug and Pint (24 October), Newcastle Think Tank (25th October), Manchester Yes (26th October), Leeds Hyde Park Book Club (27th October), York The Crescent (28th October), Birmingham Hare & Hounds (29th October), Brighton Green Door Store (30th October), London Corsica Studios (31st October), Bristol Rough Trade (1st November), Roubaix La Cave Aux Poetes (2nd November), Nantes Soy Festival (3rd November), Le Havre McDaids (4th November), Amsterdam Sugarfactory (6th November), Cologne Bumann & Sohn (7th November), Gent Charlatan (8th November), Hamburg Hafenklang (9th November), Copenhagen Stengade (10th November), Stockholm Debaser Strand (11th November), Oslo Revolver (12th November), Berlin Lido (14th November), Poznan Meskalina (15 November), Warsaw Poglos (16th November), Prague Café v Lese (17th November), Brno Kabinet MUZ (18th November), Budapest Dürer Kert (20th November), Vienna Fluc (21 November), Munich Kranhalle (23rd November), Yverdon-les-Bains L’Amalgame (24th November), Zurich La Mascotte (25th November), Rome Largo Venue (27th November), Bologna Locomotivclub (28th November), Barcelona SiDecemberar (30th November), Madrid Moby Dick (1 December), Jurançon La Ferronnerie (3rd December), La Rochelle La Sirene (4th December), Bordeaux Iboat (5th December), Paris Le Badaboum (6th December), Amiens La Lune des Pirates (7th December)






Text by Chi Ming Lai
20th October 2018

A Not So Short Conversation with MARK REEDER

Having remixed NEW ORDER, DEPECHE MODE, PET SHOP BOYS and BLANK & JONES, Berlin-based Mancunian Mark Reeder possesses a notable portfolio of work.

The one–time Factory Records representative for Germany and respected techno trailblazer has been credited with introducing electronic dance music to NEW ORDER.

Meanwhile, his acclaimed documentary film ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’ captured the legendary subkultur of the divided city from the post-punk era to The Iron Curtain fall at the end of 1989; playing in cinemas all around the world, a number of showings were accompanied by Q&As with Reeder himself afterwards.

The symbolism of The Berlin Wall and its relevance to the current worldwide political climate inspired his album ‘Mauerstadt’ which was released in Summer 2017, featuring remixes of NEW ORDER and INSPIRAL CARPETS, plus collaborations with THE KVB, EKKOES, MFU and QUEEN OF HEARTS amongst others.

Taking time out from his busy schedule, Mark Reeder chatted about a number of his recent music projects, including an exciting new Chinese band called STOLEN he has produced and whose debut album ‘Fragment’ will be released on his iconic record label MFS, which has been resurrected for the occasion.

A year on, how do you think ‘Mauerstadt’ has been received and are you generally still happy with it?

Well Chi, to be honest, I’m never ever one hundred percent satisfied. I always feel that I could have done better, that’s just me. I am very strict on myself. Luckily, I know when to stop and always hope that I can improve with the next release.

The ‘Mauerstadt’ limited CD was released in Autumn 2017 and the limited double vinyl finally at the end of December, just in time for Christmas. Naturally, it would have been really nice if we had been able to release them simultaneously and sell thousands, but in today’s physical record market, that’s sadly no longer the case. That said, it’s done really well and I’m quite pleased at the reactions. I think it’s an album you can listen to today or in ten years time.

We still have a couple of CDs and a handful of white limited vinyls available, because we put a few aside for latecomers, but once they are gone, people will start selling them on eBay for ridiculous prices, like some of my previous releases.

The main attention drawn towards ‘Mauerstadt’ was with your two remixes for NEW ORDER of ‘Academic’ and ‘The Game’?

Of course, yes the main attraction of ‘Mauerstadt’ were my two versions of ‘Academic’ and ‘The Game’ that I had made for NEW ORDER. These were released a few weeks before my album by Mute as a digital download package only, so all those NEW ORDER music completists that want to have a physical version are practically compelled to buy my album, which I hope doesn’t disappoint them too much.

Initially, I was asked to remix ‘Academic’, but then I ended up remixing ‘Singularity’ instead and so ‘Academic’ found its way on to my album, along with ‘The Game’ that I had reworked especially for ‘Mauerstadt’.

One of the most interesting collaborations was with THE KVB, what attracted you to their brooding percussive sound?

I had been following THE KVB for quite a while and I really loved their ‘Of Desire’ album. Then I discovered they were living in Berlin, so we met up for a coffee and one thing led to another. I ended up remixing one of my favourite tracks off their album, ‘White Walls’, which they released on a limited edition 12” vinyl.

As I was in the process of putting together ‘Mauerstadt’, I asked them if they would be interested in collaborating on a track. They told me they had started on a piece, but it was basically a skeleton, in fact, just a simple guitar sequence, so I added some twangy rhythm, a bass guitar and a synth melody and Kat fleshed it out by adding vocals, more keyboards and her riff; Nic added more guitars and vocals and then it started to come together.

I wanted to make it sound foreboding and tense, and present a dark insight to what our future could be if we don’t get our act together, by giving it a bit of a dystopian feel with the threat of imminent nuclear attack.

On the other side of the spectrum, you did two songs with synthpoppers EKKOES who appear to have a much tougher sound when you’re at the helm?

I like them. I worked with them on one of their first tracks and debuted it and the band on my ‘Five-Point-One’ surround sound album. They made a very surreal and dreamy video for it. I think John has got a very distinctive voice, which is complemented by Rose and Dave is a man of many talents. I wanted these two songs to have a more poppy-dance feel to them. Of course, their versions of these songs will eventually be featured on their own album.

You recently remixed Mute signings LIARS’ ‘Staring At Zero’, what was your approach to that?

I think LIARS are fantastic. One of the best live bands I’ve seen. So entertaining. I met Angus in Berlin and a while later I was asked to remix ‘Staring at Zero’, a track off their ‘TFCF’ album. Their original version is quite disjointed and I wanted to make a version that I could play in my DJ sets. So I listened intensely to the track and discovered all the little bits that I could use.

I took a short part, looped it and added a heavy duty beat, with a sub bass, which I then made into the main groove and then I added a crunchy bass guitar riff and more synths. As always, I used as many of the original parts as I could so that I could retain the feeling and sound of their version. Angus was really pleased and thanked me by saying it was the best LIARS remix he’d ever heard, which was a huge compliment, especially coming from him.

You’ve been to China and worked with an electronic band called STOLEN, how did you discover them and how do you assess their potential?

I was introduced to STOLEN by an old DJ friend of mine, radio show host, NiBing of Drum Rider Records. I have worked with NiBing since the end of the 90s and he brought me over to China many times.

He had arranged for me to perform at a great little festival on the edge of a forest outside of Chengdu and STOLEN were headlining one of the nights. Just before I arrived, they sent me a few demos and I could already hear their potential. They just didn’t know how to get there… yet.

Before the gig, I sat in at one of their practice sessions and I was really impressed. Their demos didn’t do them justice at all. So, we went into the studio in Chengdu after the festival and we recorded three new demo songs, more to see what would happen than anything else. They posted them up in China, and the response was very positive and so the band decided to release them in China as an EP. It was quite successful for them.

In China they don’t have a chart, they have a ratings system, whereby a song, album or film is rated by how many likes it receives. Their EP got a very high rating, which brought the band to ask me to produce their new album, but as these three songs were already on the EP, I decided to remix them for the album, so that they are different to the EP versions. I really like STOLEN as people, they are a dedicated and ambitious bunch of working class lads, who are very passionate about their music. They work, practice, write and tour. They obviously live and breathe it every day and I like to see that ambitious fever.

China is a huge country, so have different music genres grown and mutated in particular regions?

Yes it is, and unfortunately I haven’t seen all of it yet, but I hope to one day. From what I have seen though, there is a desire to achieve acceptance, especially from the West. Most Chinese bands feel they are not worthy or competent enough to compete with their image of well-promoted Western bands, but I think this is an illusion and quite the wrong attitude.

They should be proud, as they have some super talented and creative musicians in China, all waiting for that one lucky break, and it’s really only a matter of time before they get recognised by the West and are able to perform on an equal platform.

Like I previously mentioned, there is a budding new music scene in Chengdu, and I saw some great bands there like the all-girl group HORMONES. I noticed there are a lot of girls making music and DJing in China. Which was very refreshing. At most of the talks I gave, the girls were always in the majority. While I was in China, I also produced an album for an all-girl band from Beijing called HANG ON THE BOX, who told me they had initially been inspired by MALARIA!

In a weird way, the rapid rise of K-Pop in the West is starting to open doors and change perceptions towards all kinds of East Asian artists. Westerners are discovering new things from Asia all the time, thanks to connected links and tags on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo and this is broadening people’s musical horizons.

Of course, there are a lot of imitators out there too, especially when it comes to musical styles, such as EDM, hip hop and rap or even traditional techno. It’s easy to jump on an already successful bandwagon. It’s normal, once something becomes popular everyone wants a piece of the action. We also have to understand, the young Chinese don’t have a long, evolving pop or rock music history, like we do in the West, as theirs is only happening now. We all know that copying is all part of learning, but eventually, you decide to go it alone. You want to establish yourself, and this is where China finds itself now.

The über-commercial pop music styles, which the West has successfully sold to the Chinese since the start of the millennium, have over-saturated themselves and are becoming a bit stale. After talking to many young students for example, I could feel their frustration and I felt that Chinese kids shouldn’t really be imitating America anymore, because that’s a one-way street.

They should now be thinking about creating their own playworld. I guess they just had never thought about that before, because it just wasn’t possible before. The new generation of fashionable twenty-odd year olds that I met, are simply thirsty for culture, but who up until now, they didn’t have much in the way of an alternative to adhere to and certainly not a home-grown one whereby people could really identify or be proud of.

Now the tables are slowly turning. I believe if one Chinese band manages to achieve recognition and real success in the West, this will open up a whole new playing ground for both sides. A prospect which I find really exciting.

If the USA carries on shutting the doors on foreign artists, they will eventually stop being influential. We need to look towards the East and embrace these young, fresh and eager artists and see how we can come together and be creative. That is exciting!

The Chinese are on the brink of creating their own brand of progressive underground music and the scene to go along with it. I found there is a very strong desire to create something new, the bands are experimenting by mixing genres and styles and adding a touch of their own, they just haven’t found the right formula to get there yet. Eventually they will. Being a musician in China still isn’t easy however.

They still have strict rules and regulations, especially when it comes to lyrics, but these are just obstacles an artist has to work around, to find a compromise which will make both sides happy. It is not rebellion, that is all part of being creative. It’s great that they’re almost reinventing themselves.

I discovered that STOLEN are an exceptional band, they are all very good musicians and each can equally play drums, guitars, bass or keyboards. They have been together since their early teenage years. I discovered some very talented people on my tour too, many who are floundering in their huge mega cities and not knowing there are others out there with a similar desire and no idea where to turn.

This maybe has something to do with the lack of focal points, like the availability of music periodicals or platforms which focus on a particular music and fashion genre. That is unfortunately, the modern world. China is so immense and there is not a single platform anymore. I hope that with their achievements, STOLEN can help to change that.

You brought STOLEN over to Berlin to record their album ‘Fragment’. What changes did you see in them as they absorbed the local atmosphere?

Actually, almost none, as there just wasn’t enough time. We had such a tight schedule, that we decided to take advantage of their jet-lag and so we worked all day in the studio and in the late evenings they just ate, rested watching TV, listened to music and slept. They hardly went out. Besides, Berlin in winter was much too cold for them, coming from the tropical climes of Chengdu. They went to a couple of gigs while they were here, but really not much else. I was very happy with their conscientious approach to work, which was great, as we could always start really early.

Thankfully, they had been to Berlin before on a holiday trip, so they had already experienced the music scene here and had visited clubs like Tresor, Berghain, Griessmuhle and such places. I think this time, they probably spent more time in music instrument shops, supermarkets and cooking than clubbing – By the way, they are all great cooks too – Szechuan style!

As a six-piece band, how did you capture STOLEN’s obvious spiky energy while ensuring that there was a reasonably polished product that at the end of the day could sell their sound?

We had quite a few long talks even before they came out to Berlin. I wanted to see where they wanted to go, what is their aim. They had played me a few demo ideas and expressed their desires.

Atmosphere was very important to them. We wanted the album to invoke a particular feeling. One thing they were initially worried about was performing the songs live. Their first idea was to just record the songs and then mix them so they had more of a live feeling, but I thought it would be a wasted opportunity. I wanted to make them an album that would help to elevate the band to another level.

I started out with their live idea and just worked on fine tuning the rest, that way I was able to capture the energy of the live element without it sounding like a live recording. I convinced the band that they had to separate live from studio, after all, the album is the thing that will last, whereby a live gig is a thing of that moment.

I also thought, it would be good for them to have a challenge afterwards, to bring their album to the live stage, as that would help them to solve problems and evolve. They asked me to choose the running order of the album and so I decided it should unfold a bit like a story, similar in the way they write their songs. I am very pleased with the end result, as it has turned out to be something to listen to as well as dance to.

Personally, I wanted their album to sound like nothing that had come out of China before, as their music is not stuck in one particular style, but is a nice mixture of darkwave rock, techno and a billion other influences, even krautrock. They are such talented and open-minded musicians that it was very easy to suggest something and try it out, and when it worked, then we would just go with the flow.

They were also always very excited when I played something on a track too, and as soon as I would go to the keyboard or guitar, all their phones would immediately come out. I think ‘Fragment’ is a very listenable album. The club tracks work in a club environment, I know that because I have tried them out in my DJ sets, and the quieter tracks are to sit back and relax to.

So you’ve revived your label MFS to release ‘Fragment’?

Yes, I have decided to defrost MFS and bring it out of retirement, as I wanted the album to go to a good home and I wanted to be able to manage, to a degree, what happened to it, as the album has a lot of me in there too. So what better place than to release it on my own label?

Although I am not managing the band, I feel a necessity to guide and help them understand the mechanisms of the Western music industry. I wanted to give their music the best possible platform and by re-igniting MFS, I thought that in itself would be an interesting attraction too. I think this band deserve to be heard and seen. This is only the start.

You’ve been doing a few DJ sets at selected events, how are you finding this or do you prefer the live Q&As that you’ve done for ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’?

It’s all part of the job really, the Q&As are usually fun and hopefully informative, the DJing has just evolved out of that. As ‘B-Movie’ has now been accepted by the educational system and become part of the German school curriculum, I do quite a few Q&As over the year.

I used to get asked to show the film and then DJ at an 80s style after-party event, then it just became playing a DJ set, but I’m not your traditional techno DJ and I don’t play generic techno, or a load of lacklustre oldies. I only play the tracks and remixes that I have made or produced myself. That way I can usually test new stuff too and see what works and what doesn’t.

I never had the ambition to be a DJ, if I had I would have started decades ago, I simply see DJing as part of the event and it is actually quite fun too. Events are all different and as it’s usually never a straight techno event, I can just play whatever I want. I always try and take the crowd on a little journey though, and they get to hear tracks they might even know in their original form, but when I play, they are all remixed by me.

What’s next for you?

I have quite a few projects on the go at the moment, but I really don’t like to talk about things that are not finished. One thing is for certain, I won’t be making ‘E Movie’. My main focus right now, is getting the STOLEN album out at the end of September and working on the promotion and remixes. Everything else is top secret.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to MARK REEDER

‘Mauerstadt’ is released in CD and double vinyl formats by Kennen, still available direct from http://www.mauerstadt.com/

STOLEN ‘Fragment’ co-produced by MARK REEDER is released by MFS, available from https://mfsberlin.com/





Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
4th July 2018

MARK REEDER Mauerstadt

‘Mauerstadt’ literally translated from German means “wall city” and it’s the title of the new album from renowned Berlin based remixer Mark Reeder.

Its release date set is on the day that the French Revolutionaries broke down the walls of the Bastille, so Reeder says the album title is significant “because my album’s title / theme is about breaking down the walls in your head and confronting the idea that building a wall to keep your enemies out or your own people in, is starting to become fashionable again and how it really isn’t such a good idea”. Reeder adds “It’s not a concept album though, it’s basically an album full of tragic love songs”, but he readily admits “ok, it’s basically ‘Collaborator’ part 2” 🙂

‘Collaborator’ was Reeder’s previous compendium of remixes and of course, musical collaborations released on Factory Benelux in 2014. Featuring highly on the album with a number of vocals was his long standing friend Bernard Sumner on tracks by BAD LIEUTENANT, WESTBAM and BLANK & JONES.

Despite his association with Factory Records as their German representative in Berlin and NEW ORDER over the years, it was only until recently that Reeder got to work on material from his favourite band when they returned to the fold in 2015 with ‘Music Complete’. Invited to remix three of its tracks, two of them appear on ‘Mauerstadt’ as the centrepieces of the collection.

The ‘Akademix’ version of ‘Academic’ gives the primarily guitar driven anthem a superb sequenced makeover that improves on the original. But with the already quite electronic number ‘The Game’, Reeder takes a different approach on the ‘Spielt Mit Version’ by stripping it down and restructuring it with more orchestrated overtones. Although both previously released on the ‘Remix’ download EP through Mute, these tracks now get a much requested physical release as part of ‘Mauerstadt’.

As well as NEW ORDER, Reeder is also known for his love of female fronted electronic pop with MARSHEAUX, MARNIE and QUEEN OF HEARTS among the notable inclusions on ‘Collaborator’. The latter contributes two songs on ‘Mauerstadt’, the best of which is a mighty extended ‘Bonded by Sadness Mix’ of ‘United’. Effectively the song with a lengthened instrumental end section, after Queenie coos passionately in Bush-like banshee style, Reeder takes to his guitar for a short solo that is part-Sumner and part-Hooky. Meanwhile, the heart wrenching ‘Killer Queen Mix’ of ‘Suicide’ sees more strings added to the QUEEN OF HEARTS fan favourite from her album ‘Cocoon’.

But ‘Mauerstadt’ opens with British duo THE KVB and ‘In Sight’, their brooding collaboration with Reeder. More accessible than FACTORY FLOOR, this is danceable electro with mood and melody. The album is also notable for featuring some of Reeder’s more recent solo work. There’s a tribal filmic quality to ‘Giant Mushrooms’, while his ‘RIAS Mix’ of the title track which was originally part of his ‘B-Movie – Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979-1989’ soundtrack, is a cavernous swirl of hard electronics and big beats.

The frantically paced ‘Like A Sonic Tonic Remix’ of ‘You’re So Good For Me’ for INSPIRAL CARPETS is a fine tribute to their late drummer Craig Gill on one of his last recordings with the band, providing an enticing indie disco hybrid. Continuing the Mancunian theme, ‘Mmm Mmm Ahhh’ from electro wave duo MFU grooves along with some Cold War inspired drama and a gritty bass guitar line on Reeder’s ‘Umm & Arrggh Remix’.

Driven by a mighty Linn handclap and an imperial PET SHOP BOYS styled club vibe, the ‘Power Surge Mix’ of EKKOES’ ‘Electricity’ certainly delivers more bite than their original material on the ‘Elekktricity’ album, although the Italo House feel of ‘Heartbeat’ on Reeder’s ‘Heart Throb Mix’ is perhaps less appealing.

Thrusting with a synthetic bass triplet, ‘Broken Hearts’ is Reeder’s collaboration with Swedish songstress Maja Pierro and with its uplifting HI-NRG feel, blips away for the kind of hypnotic dance number that Our Man In Berlin is known and appreciated for. Perhaps coincidentally, the ‘Will Love You Tomorrow Remix’ of ‘If You Love Me Tonight’, also featuring Pierro, sounds like a female fronted EKKOES or could that be more that the Reeder sound is actually the identifying factor here?

So Mark Reeder does the trick again with ‘Mauerstadt’ and ably uses his punk, pop, disco and trance sensibilities to procure another fine collection of remixes that work at home, on headphones, in the car and on the dancefloor. That is no mean feat; as Reeder’s friend Rusty Egan once commented about the inane material contained within Beatport: “Name that tune, if you can hear one…”

Luckily, ‘Mauerstadt’ has the tunes and the beats.

‘Mauerstadt’ is released in CD and double white vinyl LP formats by Kennen Limited, available from http://www.mauerstadt.com/




Text by Chi Ming Lai
26th June 2017

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