Edwin Alter, of Die Sektor, and I had the chance to talk recently about some remixing and things for the new [product] album/EP and it turns out he’s had a lot of the same experiences I have had with music. I asked him to do this interview based on some questions I had, but also because I know it would be interesting for fans to read about things that they might not have heard about yet, like the new (new) Die Sektor album that is in the process of being mastered now!
Interview: Die Sektor
Current Release: Applied Structure In A Void
Label: COP Int, Noitekk, DWA
Die Sektor released Applied Structure In A Void in early 2011, which turned out to be a very different album than I think most people were expecting. Overall I believe it was extremely well received – Did you expect some flack for sort of abandoning the A-typical TerrorEBM sound?
EA: Yes, we did. We had no doubt there would be a fair amount of misunderstanding and those who wouldn’t give the album a chance. However, we were unsure what the broader reaction would be and were very surprised at how well it was received by parts of our audience. There is a sample in the first song on the album of a man playing Russian roulette. I interpret that sample as Die Sektor playing Russian roulette. Fortunately we won.
There were a lot of different influences sighted for Applied Structure; what were some of your influences vocally for the new songs?
EA: We are big fans of various vocalist and their styles but try to go our own way and not use the influences in songs consciously. Going back and listening to the album I can hear certain influences more strongly. Daniel Myer (Haujobb), Ogre (Skinny Puppy), Skold/Sascha (KMFDM), Trent Reznor (NIN), Dismantled and Marilyn Manson. Lyrically Raymond Watts (Pig).
Following the release, you guys hit the road for a little bit and played a number of shows on the southern east coast here in the US – What cities would you most like to play in the future?
EA: The big cities always stand a chance to bring a large crowd. New York, L.A., Chicago. Most cities we have played we would play again. We seem to have the largest fan base in L.A. so we want to make it out West in 2012.
Do you have any plans to take Die Sektor overseas/out of country, and if so – where would you hit first?
EA: We would love to play Mexico City again and we have a good fan base in South America and Mexico so that would be great but nothing planned right now. We had plans to take the show to Europe in 2012 early on but have since changed those plans to a possible West Coast tour instead. One of the problems we have faced going to Europe is that we have a 4 man band. We have received offers and interest but for a band of our scale they want us to have a 2 man band to cut down on cost. We have been working this winter on making a 2 man Die Sektor set with the same quality and impact. So we will see what happens.
If you could tour with one band (in current rotation) who would it be?
EA: Best case would be a good mainstream act along the lines of NIN or MM so that we could get exposed to a larger audience. If I was to go with more industrial related bands then KMFDM or Combichrist. You know the tour would be organized well and you would play to good size crowds. I think it would be most fun to tour with DYM, vProjekt, SML8 and Omen Machine.
There is already talk of a new album – How far along is it, and do you have a title yet or any common themes?
EA: It’s complete. We are getting our tracks ready for mastering. The artwork is almost complete along with all titles. It’s hard to say when it will come out as it takes a few months to master, manufacture and package the album. Then the label has to find a good release slot. We have heard from March to May.
The album is titled “The Final Electro Solution”. As far as theme we describe a combination of a concept album of a mental and physical apocalypse, a sarcastic stab and a nervous breakdown- in stereo. Lol
It has a much darker tone than Applied Structure both in sound and lyric.
Is the new material primarily software or hardware based? And what are your views on the advantages of either one?
EA: The first Die Sektor EP Scraping the Flesh was more hardware based and written almost entirely on a Yamaha Motif. Since that point Die Sektor has been 90% software. There are plenty of occasional Motif appearances and some cameos from the Nord lead. Software is so much easier a simple to write with when you are recording everything into a sequencer like Logic. Die Sektor uses a lot of sampled sounds and we make our own sounds by layering samples and synths so the workflow is easier when working with software. The only real advantage of hardware is if you find an amazing sound that you can’t recreate in the box. You always have the option of writing some midi sequences into your sequencer and then dialing up a sound on your hardware synth if you can’t find a good soft synth sound. That method has been used in the DS studio several times.
I know that Daniel Grant has his own side project going, Chloral One – are there any other projects sprouting off from within the Die Sektor camp?
EA: Scott had one called A Silicon Wasteland that has a few songs floating around on the web. That project morphed into a new project that we will announce after the next album. It has a very mainstream electro/alternative sound with some dubstep elements. Scott also has some solo instrumental stuff floating around under the name sK0tt deadman.
We have been putting together ideas for a new project we are going to work on after this next Die Sektor album. It will be mainly instrumental but will not have any boundaries of genre. No restraints. Not sure of the spelling yet but the project name is Fuck You.
You had mentioned to me in an earlier conversation that Die Sektor had fans popping up in Middle Eastern Countries, which have been under some turmoil recently with protests and all kinds of governments being overthrown. Do you believe that industrial music sort of follows political turmoil or social unrest?
EA: I think music is often found everywhere and always. The tone that it takes can tell you about a time and place, communicating what words alone can’t explain. I would be willing to bet if any industrial music was to come out of those regions that it would be very dark. But I might argue that since they are at least making music, music with a strong beat too, that they are expressing a form of freedom and showing perhaps a flash of optimism.
Are there any clubs that you guys frequent in the Atlanta area that I should check out if ever to stop down south?
EA: There’s pretty much a constant rotation of different club nights I will usually check out a few times.
Every tour has something ridiculous happen, no matter how small it is – Did you have any ridiculousness happen on your last outings?
EA: No doubt there was plenty but most of it too embarrassing to bring up. There was a venue where we had to steal power from another business. One of the guys in one of the other bands knew how to do it. Getting dressed and doing makeup by a cell phone flash light while people keep walking in on you. A lot of stuff like that. Maybe just as much lameness as ridiculousness.
If you could make a music video for any of your songs, which one would you choose?
EA: A new song called “The Final Electro Delusion”. Off the last album I would say if we did one then it should be “Accelerant” probably. For fun I would pick “Dissector”.
Are you playing any video games right now, and if so what system is your preferred system?
EA: I prefer the PS3 system hands down. Right now I am playing Skyrim. It’s really good. I prefer RPG’s usually but I like a few action games like Arkham city and Assassins Creed. Daniel is playing Skyrim too right now.
What new release are you currently listening to? EA: Been on a kick lately looking for rare and obscure late 50’s early 60’s music. As far as new releases for 2011 I probably listened to the new Dismantled and new Haujobb the most. The Korean pop band 2NE1 had some cool stuff in 2011.
What would you say was the most influential album when you think about when you first got into industrial music?
EA: NIN “The Downward Spiral”
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, and we here at A Dark Figure are definitely looking forward to your future endeavors and seeing you on the West Coast sometime in the future!
EA: Thank you. Look forward to doing it again someday!