Arzt+Pfush is certainly known to some of
you, from some of the club play they've seen. But to others, they may as
well remain a cipher, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum. If
you did a web search it is highly unlikely that you'd uncover much mention
of them at all. For a band with two excellent albums to their credit, as
well as a growing list of high profile production credits; we live in an
unjust world indeed that this band should languish in semi-obscurity. They
are one of the most exciting and challenging industrial influenced bands,
that I've ever heard. Who are they? Where did they come from? The time
has come to share these eccentric Dane's with the world.
StarVox: Who is involved in Arzt+Pfush? For the sake of clarity, what are their given names and pseudonyms?
Dr.A-funz: Arzt+Pfusch is compromised of 2 persons, Der Doktor and Dr.A-Funz, their real names have to be withheld because the world would end in riots and plague and finally Crapocalypse if our real identities were known to mankind...
SV: I understand that your primary music project is the band CHAIN. Would you tell us how Arzt+Pfush's music differs from the music of Chain?
Dr.A-funz: Chain is at the moment only Dr. A-Funz. There are plans toinvolve other sentients, but at the current stage, it's only me! Nothing of interest has been released commercially though. The music is still in it's early stages. Chain will NOT feature other members from A+P. The music is VERY different from Arzt+Pfusch, I will not go into a detailed description now. You will just have to wait and hear for yourself, but be prepared for a LONG wait.
SV: I'd like to elaborate further. Could you characterize the differences and/or similarities in the music of your other projects (i.e. Transistor 6, and A Sonic Incident) as well?
Dr.A-funz: I have nothing to do with Transistor 6, except I have been producing five tracks for him. The current activity level in Transistor 6 is none. It's being very dead at the moment, but will be revived in this century. A Sonic Incident is more or less Metal with a few industrial elements. I am not that much involved in writing the songs. I merely program synthlines and an occasional breakbeat sampling. But when they are in the studio recording demo's, I'm very much involved in the music. I'm not active in their rehearsal room, at least with their music. But drinking beers, I'm pretty much active.
SV: How does each band entity, act as a vehicle for expressing your personal interests, musical and otherwise?
Dr.A-funz: I do not use my music to express any particularly personal interests, except making music!?! Arzt+Pfusch have no deeper meaning except we just want to have fun and make fun of the scene. Arzt+Pfusch do NOT take the whole underground music scene attitude seriously. We hate all that shit about appearance and image. In the "old" days it was only about the music, but now it's also about who looks most cool, and who looks most depressed. We do NOT care about that, just the music. That's probably why you would be in for a shock if you saw our homes. It looks like something from a furniture catalogue, and not a Gothic sex cavern! :-)
SV: Are you self taught musicians, or have you had some training? What are your educational backgrounds?
Dr.A-funz: We are completely self taught, doesn't that show?? We know jack shit about making music. We just do what sounds cool in our ears. I personally do not care about music as an educational subject. I do what feels right. Fuck all those "rules" that we have been subjected to over the years. This also applies to the industrial scene. Everybody has to have elements from each other, or else people do not understand it.. That's my impression of the music scene right now.
I am educated in engineering, and road construction. But it never caught my interest, why did I take that education?!? Now I am working within my interests, music/studio technology. I work for a company callled TC Electronic. We produce effects processors for the audio industry. I must admit, if I had to choose between music and my job, I'd instantly quit the music. This is just so interesting.
SV: I sense that you have a lot of fun creating this music, despite the darkness of it's content. What is your outlook on life?
Dr.A-funz: My outlook on life is quite bright. I do not wear black to feel black. If I want to feel black, I just turn into black mode. I have no psychological diseases. I do not feel the world is unfair. If the world is unfair, it's probably your own fault. Everybody is their own fortune maker! So, I guess why Arzt+Pfusch might sound black is because we just use all the cliche's that's available. To us, Arzt+Pfusch is nothing special. We're just another band in a crowded scene... We are NOT trying to break any boundaries, except maybe the sound barrier, and the great barrier reef. We have no other goal than to rule the universe.
SV: Tell me about Denmark, and being Danish. How do you feel your music reflects the realities of your particular culture?
Dr.A-funz: Our music reflects nothing from this world. We only use subjects from our alter universe, in which we travel a lot. There's nothing in Denmark we want to criticize, since if we would criticize anything social we would be SO FUCKING pathetic that you couldnt understand it. We have both been using the social security network extensively, so we actually OWE the system a lot of respect. Some might say our culture is only about work and sitting in front of the TV after work. Well, that might happen in 40% of all Danish homes, but that happens everywhere. What I really like about Denmark, is that in most instances you can trust the government. Of course they fuck up, but who doesn't? We do not live in a police state. We have freedom, even more freedom than you Americans have (not meant negative ). We have avoided being swallowed up by big corporations yet, and the mentality is quite peaceful here. There's not much violence, and not much crime, compared to other countries, So yes, WE LIKE DENMARK, othervise we would probably not live here.
SV: Dr. A-funz, I understand you dj at Electrocution? What bands are you enthusiastic about lately, and for what reasons?
Dr.A-funz: Assemblage 23, because Tom is probably one of the few who does this kinda music without it feeling "forced". His production skills are top notch too. Rob Zombie, because he's got so-oo much humor, and energy. Madonna, because she's just one hot bitch, and makes music that is incredibly good and interesting. Yello, Those old farts still know how to make funky stuff, without selling out. Korn, because they got balls. Slipknot, because they got boring. Decree, because they are probably the only industrial band that's got anything interesting to offer.
SV: Am I correct in understanding that you are mastering all of Inception Records releases? How did you fall into this line of work?
Dr.A-funz: I stumbled... Well, I just talked to Switch about him needing help, since I think the mastering of the first Flesh Field cd was so-oo POOR..Anyone with a singleband compressor out of phase could have done that better. He liked my masterings, so we agreed upon me doing their stuff. I have not heard from Switch in about 8 months. So I really have no clue about what's happening at the moment. He still owes me some Cd's. I still have not got the Cd's I mastered in their final form. I still only have CDR's at home, and that's it. CRAP!
SV: You remixed "Dein Herz, Mein Gier" on Suicide Commando's Love Breeds Suicide. Do you do a lot of remix work with other artists? What do you enjoy most about the process of remixing other people's music?
Dr.A-funz: Yeah, I did that remix, but it was FUCKED, RAPED AND PUKED at the mastering studio. I have never heard anything that sounds as bad as that mastering. I would like to kick the asshole in the balls that mastered that disc. He completely removed the vocals from the mix, he also managed to remove the dynamics from the mix, and boosted the highs to insane levels. The unmastered track I sent is sounding WAY better than on the CD. Well, Arzt+Pfusch is not that active in remixing. We have only remixed Flesh Field, Grendel, and Suicide Commando. The most fun thing in remixing is just to get the chance to ass rape other people's music. Changing the sound of the music is fun, but far from as much fun as making your own music.
SV: On the Arzt+Pfush news and events page, I read under Jan 26th, 2001 "It is highly unlikely that Arzt+Pfush will ever record one single note again, this is due to lack of iniative from within the band." While on the Biopsy page, I read "The process of writing new (and interesting) material has started (in the very small) so the (oh so splendid) future can't look any brighter!!" Tell me, do you or do you not intend to record further with Arzt+Pfush?
Dr.A-funz: We will record a new album. I just wrote those statements to get the other half of Arzt+Pfusch to start moving his lazy ass and getting some music done. The shit on the biopsy page is written about 3 years ago, just to state some general stuff about Arzt+Pfusch. Nothing you can't count on. We are always doing something, but not always Arzt+Pfusch
SV: I can't imagine you not continuing with Artz+Pfush. I don't know about your other projects, but Arzt+Pfush is critically successful if not commercially. With the right promotion, this particular musical venture could be very successful. How do you feel about Arzt+Pfush? Do you feel the project achieved what you'd inteded for it? Do you feel it has life left in it, more to express?
Dr.A-funz: Arzt+Pfusch is very much alive, we just had to settle somegrudges. They are settled, and we will make some new shit. I personally do not care much about peoples opinions about Arzt+Pfusch. We do this for ourselves. But if on the other hand, we had the perfect recipe to make music that sold 50,000 copies, we would be just like the average greedy citizen, and we would go for it. Money solves problems, but does not make you happy! But it sure helps! We still aim for controlling the universe, until then you are forced to listen to Arzt+Pfusch material, new as old.
SV: Who and what influences your creative sense? What books, comic books, movies, music, artists, video games, and idea's inspire you to create and for what reasons?
Dr.A-funz: Actually I have no particular source of inspiration, I mostly get inspired by pressing a key on the good ol' trusty Nordlead. But of course we love bad horror movies and lousey science fiction. Games only inspire me to make less music, so blame ID, EPIC, SIERRA, MONOLITH, FOX, TOPWARE, for no new Arzt+Pfusch material the past few years...
SV: If there was one thought you could express to the widest possible audience about anything at all, what would it be?
Dr.A-funz: Gimme Rebecca Gayheart and a Euphonix mixing desk...
SV: What plans if any do you have for the direction your music will take this year? Will you be touring, gigging, or releasing anything this year?
Dr.A-funz: There are NO plans about doing any gigs or touring until we have released a new album. I don't know if our music will direct your ear in any particular direction, but what ear do you refer to, the left or right? But expect something completely different than what you might expect from us. We do NOT cling to old successes. We want progress, not future pop...
SV: On behalf of Starvox.net and it's readers, I'd like to express my gratitude for your time and candidness.
Dr.A-funz: Candiedness?... I just feel like a Pink fluffy cloud of Candyfloss now....We also humbly express our deepest gratitude to you, for showing some interest in Arzt+Pfusch. We thought everybody had forgotten about us..
Arzt+Pfush Web Site: www.chain.dk/ap/home.html
Interview with Peter Wichers (guitars)
~by Eric Rasmussen
Peter Wichers was nice enough to answer
some of our questions about Soilwork's newest release, Natural Born Chaos.
After some small talk we got right down to business:
Eric: What musical influences do you have?
Peter: There's a lot of bands I listen to. Usually right now I'm listening to a lot of Opeth actually, I like the latest album with them, that's a killer album. I like Nevermore as well. There's a band called Porcupine Tree, I don't know if you've heard about that one. It's an English band, the guys that produced the Opeth album actually. It's a little bit softer than anything else but it has a lot of cool ideas. I dig the new Terria album as well with Devin, that's usually what's spinning in my CD player right now.
Eric: Do you have any big non-musical influences or inspirations?
Peter: For this album I think that I pretty much wrote everything out of my head. I didn't take anything directly - I didn't have any direct inspirations for this. So I just took the risks that came naturally to me and you know, just put them togeher and that's what turned out on the album.
Eric: The guitar solos sound a lot more progressive on NBC than the last release. Was this just a natural progression for you?
Peter: I just did the guitar solos that I think were interesting in my opinion. I like to do rhythmical guitar solos, you know what I mean? Everything is supposed to be rhythmical in my opinion because otherwise for me it's not very interesting to listen to. Sometimes you just need a simple solo and sometimes you need something more rhythmical and up to tempo. Whatever comes natural to me. I usually try to blend in different kinds of musical styles into our music. Sometimes people will not hear the solo that they are expecting because people might think "oh, this is almost jazz" or "this is almost Spanish" or something like that. So that's usually what I try to do. And not do the classical thing that I'm seeing, fast as hell guitar solos all the time.
Eric: What was it like working with Devin Townsend?
Peter: What can I say? It's an amazing experience, it's like a dream come true for us because me and Bjorn have been highly influenced by Devin for a lot of years. I always dig the stuff that he's been doing. So when he came to the studio he's pretty, what can I say... he's a bunch of laughs all the time, you know what I mean? Because he can make you laugh all day long. But once you come into the studio he's like totally focused at what he's doing. Trying to put down the best takes that he can do with the band. He's a very good person to work with in the studio.
Eric: Do you have any US touring plans?
Peter: Actually I think so. I think we're going to do a full US tour but that's not going to happen until the fall. We might end up doing a few gigs on the east coast but I know that you live in California don't you?
Peter: [Nuclear Blast] have their head office down in L.A. so I'm hoping to perhaps come over there and do a few shows in California. There's not going to be a big tour until the fall I think.
Eric: The rhythm guitar sounds a lot more energetic than the last release.
Peter: You mean like the playing on that one?
Eric: Your earlier work (first two CDs) was really energetic and it seems like you went back to that, with the really high octane songs.
Peter: Well, yeah. Both yes and no. I think we wrote the material for this one a little bit more simpler and we just wanted to make songs that were more interesting in our opinion. They're not as long as before and bascially I mean the reason the guitars are so tight as they are is because of Devin, because he's so anal when it comes down to the guitars as well. So he was the one who cut all the guitars for the album as well. But I think that they turned out pretty good. The riffing is still very heavy but we took away a lot of the melody guitars and just added more vocals instead to make the sound even bigger.
Eric: Speed's vocals can definitely handle the melodies now.
Peter: I'm proud of having this guy in the band.
Eric: How does the songwriting process usually go? Do you add the vocals after writing the music or base songs around the singing?
Peter: Usually what I do I come up with an arrangement or an idea for a song. Then Bjorn tells me if it works with his kind of stuff or he says "there's too much guitar here and we can't do vocals with this" or "you need more guitars" and so basically he compromises with the stuff that he gets back home on a CD-R because I usually program all my music on the computer before. So he gets like a pre-production or demo tape so he can do vocals on top of that one.
Eric: So you do handle the majority of the songwriting?
Peter: Most of it, and the last song, "Song of The Damned," was written by me and the keyboard player. He's also a guitar player and an excellent one as well. So he came up with the chorus riff and then I did the verse. Ola the other guitar player did three of the songs on the record and then the whole band co-wrote "The Flame Out," the third song on the album.
Eric: The keyboards had a stronger sound this time around, was that just because of the better production?
Peter: Nah, you know we have a good keyboard player now haha, so that's probably the reason. The last few albums I was the one who made all the keyboards but this time it was so nice to just leave all that up to him. And he could do whatever he wanted in a certain way. He likes his keyboards; it can tend to be a little bit too much but he's definitely an awesome keyboard player and I gave him free hands to do whatever he likes.
Eric: Do you have any additional thoughts on how the album turned out?
Peter: Like favorites?
Peter: That's a common question. It tends to change from day to day, once I listen to it. I think most of the tracks are pretty cool. The ones that stand out the most in my opinion are the first four songs or the first five songs. And then there's "The Bringer;" and "Blackstar Deceiver" is also a cool song as well. The choruses are a bit unexpected because people might think "ok they're definitely going to do something like this" but then once the chorus kicks in it's still catchy but catchy in a different way. We didn't want to make classical choruses like the ones people were expecting. I dig most of the stuff. The songwriting process and everything - I think it pretty much went through the way that I wrote the stuff.
So there you have it - Peter Wicher's thoughts on the upcoming "Natural Born Chaos," which will be released via Nuclear Blast Records on April 2nd. Be sure to also read our review of the album this month.
Soilwork Official Website:
Nuclear Blast Records:
~Interview by Eric Rasmussen
Virgin Black is an enigmatic group. "Sombre
Romantic," their debut full-length release, was an amazing piece of work.
I did my best to review it in the February issue, but you'll get even better
insight into their sound from the source. Virgin Black's Rowan and Samantha
took the time to answer our questions, and here's what they had to say:
Eric: There aren't a lot of women in today's "metal" scene, and it's even rarer to find a woman guitarist. What influenced you to pursue this path?
Samantha: Guitar has always been inherent in my nature, I was instinctively drawn to it. As a child I yearned to learn yet was constantly denied the privilege. It is an instrument which captivated me and its hold is unrelenting. My relationship with it swings from trepidation, to pure quintessential jubilation. For me, the gender is not relevant, only the passion by which it is executed with.
Eric: What else has influenced the band as a whole? That can include music, or other non-musical influences such as art, life experience etc.
Samantha: For me personally the most genuine answer I can bestow is simply - dreams and loss of dreams, hope and loss of hope, life in its great array of splendour and horror. From the time the band commenced, our perpetual focus has been to write the music which vehemently meant something to us and hence in so many ways, Sombre Romantic is a very egocentric album. It is a description of our characters. There is no acting, just inordinate drama.
Eric: How does the typical song writing process go for the band? And who typically writes the different kinds of material? (that is, who handles the guitar solos, who handles the aggressive riffs etc)
Rowan: Samantha and I wrote everything on the album. We never write together and certainly never write at rehearsal, it just doesn't work like that for us. Ordinarily the other musicians in the band are ignorant to any features of a song up until the time it has reached completion and is ready to be attempted and ultimately perfected as a conglomerate. A song comes into existence when its soul is born, which is a moment of intense inspiration. From that point onwards we don't really direct it, it directs us. It's like writing a soundtrack where the development of plot and mood is established, all it needs are embellishments. We don't bring our specific styles of playing and writing to the table and make a song, we wait to see who will receive the gift of the next piece of the puzzle. (As far as guitar solos go, when they are needed Samantha usually writes them).
Eric: For those of us who haven't had a chance to see Virgin Black perform live, can you describe what generally goes on during your live performances?
Samantha: At times we choose a very elaborate performance, for example we have opened with an expanded theatrical version of "Museum Of Iscariot". But our shows can also be portrayed in an austere manner; five performers on a perfectly black stage. Regardless, one aspect still lingers, the immensely emotional atmosphere. When Sombre Romantic was released here in Australia, the unremitting feedback was "finally, you have released a product which captures the live performance". Ultimately it all comes down to the feeling one gets during the performance; how it is executed is insignificant, as long as it subsists.
Eric: "Sombre Romantic" can get very intense (and disturbing). Do you have any plans to expand the more experimental elements of your sound on future releases? (I'd consider "Walk Without Limbs" to be more experimental).
Rowan: Looking at the two words, "disturbing" and "experimental", I would have to say the former would excite me a lot more. The disturbing mood in "Walk Without Limbs" is certainly encouraged by the experimental and strange nature of the sounds but the mood is the prize. Just as despair can be conjured through the classical slant in "Of Your Beauty" and also the black metalish "Drink The Midnight Hymn" so too there are different ways to describe a disturbing mood and paramount is unpredictability, so I'm sure there will be more experimentation in the future.
Eric: Analyzing lyrics is a tricky business.
Virgin Black's lyrics certainly have a dark and sad quality to them, and
the topic of religion comes up frequently. Can you explain some of
the messages behind the lyrics? I'm curious to know what your stance
on religion is, because for all of the negative emotion surrounding it
in the lyrics, glimmers of faith seem to spark up now and then. generally
leaving me confused.
Rowan: You say "confused" but that's far from the truth. A reaction like yours suggests to us that we've explained ourselves well, not necessarily because you understand every song in great detail or the overall concept of the album, but because you see that we are something different to the crass, self-righteous and sometimes down right evil misrepresentations of God within so much of religion. We have a simple faith that is not simple to explain because so many words have been tarnished. (just tell someone you're a communist and observe their reaction. Communism is in essence a beautiful scheme, but has certainly had it's name destroyed). There is fervent hope within our album, it's just not always easy to see, more than a little similar to a lot of lives.
Eric: The cover for Sombre Romantic is as frightening as a lot of the music. How was that picture conceived?
Samantha: We feel it delineates the album perfectly because great sorrow and great beauty can be drawn from it depending on the individual's focus. All aspects are interwoven and some will gravitate toward the decrepit scarred skin, the "Sombre" from the title and the "Black" in our name. Some will enclasp the strength of the front cover pose and the beauty of the cello, the "Romantic" from the title and the "Virgin" from our name. The most sagacious however will recognise the seemingly impossible harmony between them all.
Rowan: As on all our prior releases, Samantha photographed the artwork.
Eric: I really liked your use of the cello. The use of an instrument like that makes me think you aren't trying to gear your music solely towards live performances, which definitely makes for more interesting studio releases. Do you consciously try to separate the studio music from the live show?
Rowan: It's difficult to explain exactly how it works but the two are genuinely very similar to us. We have always been a live band but also very ambitious. I think perhaps it's mostly a matter of satisfying the listener's expectations of both intense and subtle emotions. Live music has its advantages as does a studio recording, and we always implement those advantages.
Eric: Do you have any new releases or surprises in the works?
Samantha: Since the completion of "Sombre Romantic" we have been slowly putting some pieces together to work toward the next release. We never have a plan, so usually we find ourselves waiting in expectation also. The material we have at this stage is already very special to us, so that's certainly a good start.
Eric: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for the privilege of this interview. "Sombre Romantic" is released in the U.S. through The End Records and in Europe through Massacre Records. Our website is as follows: www.listen.to/virginblack