Sonic Seducer interview - October 2008 issue

1. Your last cd "relapse" was in 2005 …. What have you done within the last three years? I know, you have done an online-single. “Prefrontal” was successful in your eyes? Why didn’t you put this special track on the album?

Well, I've really been working on both Reform and Prefrontal during this time, as well as dabbling in some sideprojects (:10:, BioMod) and collaborations (Diverje, Vigilante, Carphax Files) here and there. I think Prefrontal was very successful. As an EP it allowed me to really branch out with a few songs I'd had stashed away since 1997 in my pre-Chiasm project, "Electrophoretic Transfer" (short-lived), and really make them the tracks I wanted them to be from the beginning, really gruesome and harsh compared to a lot of the other Chiasm material. I viewed it as sort of a tangent from the Disorder-Relapse-Reform series, just separate from the rest. And it was the first online-exclusive release that COP had done also, so it was an experiment of sorts. Successful, yes.

2. Once again I have to talk about your break between 2005 and today... I really enjoyed “reform” - I think it is much better than your old stuff: Better songs, better sounds, better production. Do you agree?

Well, I just try to keep moving forward. Much of the differences you're hearing have to do with experience, which comes from a lot of trial and error for me.. I learn best by doing, and that I've certainly done. I am really happy with how Reform turned out, it was a real struggle at times, and it feels great to see (hear) it completed.

3. What about your plans for the future? First, your cd should have had the name “Emerge”. Why did you call it “Reform” now? What about your plans to collaborate with labelmates Soil & Eclipse for their new single,"Grace"?

I already have another new album in mind, "11:11". I'm hoping it will be the first full-length computer-generated Chiasm album. So far every song I've released has been done strictly with hardware (synths, samplers, stand-alone equipment) in my studio, and I'm ready to be converted. I keep hearing that Reason 4 is pretty nice, so we'll see how the assimilation goes. As far as the "Reform" title, it just fit the album best in the end, and also felt like more of a natural progression from "Relapse". I also had the track Reform ready and it felt deserving of the album title, that's where the name came from. Soil and Eclipse and I are currently doing a remix swap, they're doing the track "Reform", and I'm doing their track, "Light of Ages". I think we both just got busy before so the collaboration just didn't happen before their EP.

4. By the way, all your album titles consist of one single word: "disorder", "relapse". Why? Always rather negative titles,this time, it's positive...

Again, I wanted Disorder, Relapse, and Reform to feel like a continuous series, because that's what music-writing has been for me, like a long story, or a trilogy. Reform also represents change, and that's what I'm expecting for the next album, "11:11". I was going through a lot of unexpected life changes during the writing of the Reform album, and much of the lyrics revolve around coping with that. A shock to the system, really, from several angles, and learning to find anything good from it to focus on simply to keep functioning. I'm not sure I'd call it completely positive, just the state I found myself in.

5. When you are young band you are dreaming of your first own CD. But you are not a newcomer anymore … Why do artists work for years on one album, even if there are less and less people who buy their stuff? It is not for the money,right? Isn’t it a bit of pure masochism?!!

I can't speak for other artists, but for me I want my album to be a good representation of who I am, and feel like I'm doing myself justice by handing someone my cd, and saying, "here, this is what i have to say". It has to feel right in the end. So if a song feels incomplete, it's like you're not telling the whole story and it's just not ready. I tend to know when the time feels right to let it go, and that's what a release is, is that process of letting go. It's not always easy.

6. Or do you still hope for a “big breakthrough”?

What I consider a breakthrough, is people finding my music and appreciating it for what it is. Reaching people through what I've created is a big deal to me. Just finishing Reform is a huge personal breakthrough for me, because I'm ready for change in the process of how I work, I can move forward now. As far as a breakthrough in the terms of "fame and glory", that's never been what I'm about. I just want to be able to continue writing music and enjoying it.

7. Generally speaking, how would you define “success”? I think, in the USA those casting shows are as populär as in europe…. Do you like those shows? In general all musicians hate this way.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but there are certainly touring artists in the U.S. that make performances their main focus, and that's not something I've done in the past. I do enjoy attending shows, and I perform also here and there which is a lot of fun. But success doesn't have to come from shows. Certainly it's a great form of promotion, but it doesn't have to be the only way. Personally, I have a full-time career outside of music, so my focus is a little different.

8. Just because we just talked about money… What do you do for living besides music? What’s your job in “real life”?

I work in a research laboratory, currently in the field of public health, as a molecular biologist in virology, helping to create annual vaccines for the general population. So I spend most of my time in the lab.

9. I Think there are some female artists right now, who are singers, composers, musicians. Everything. Do you like Ayria or Emilie Autumn? Do you know them, are they popular in america?

I do know of them and have heard their music. My understanding is that they have a lot of people helping them, so I'm not sure we relate musically. But there are certainly other solo female artists out there that are taking on greater challenges as time progresses and I applaud that.

10. What about playing live? I think you have never been to europe … And you are not playing very often in america.

I play shows when I'm invited to, have the time, and it's feasible. So that usually means a quick trip here and there to locations not far away. But if I became independently wealthy that might change:) No, really, I just need to buy a passport first. I would love to do a tour eventually if things work out that way, I've learned never to say never and not be surprised when change creates a situation you'd never expect. So we'll see!

11. Something else about touring/traveling ... To quote you: “I'd love to travel more, I've never been overseas…” Lots of americans stay in their own country for their whole life, they never travel to europe or asia. Why? Do you want to come to europe?

This is very, very common for Americans. Part of it just feels like a financial barrier, but I think a big one is the fear of the language and cultural barriers. We're completely isolated over here, you can travel all around the US and feel at home anywhere. But I think we're brought up to feel like the rest of the world is so "foreign" that we're afraid to take that step over, even to visit. And most of us only speak English fluently. So I feel kind of robbed in my education, even though I took 6 years of German, I'd feel completely out of place trying to communicate with someone there. I'd need a multi-lingual tour guide of sorts. Or, I could just wing it. :) Be brave, Emileigh, be brave!

12. Still, after all these years you release on COP … Is there a special relationship between you and this strange label?

They've never asked me to change my music. They allow me to complete every step of the process on my own, because I want to. And they do a good job of getting my music to the people. What more can you ask for?