Interview with Clan of Xymox
Oslo, Norway, 01.10.2010
Interviewer: Eastern Strix
Ronny Moorings [RM]: Hello!
Ronny, have you ever played in Oslo before?
RM: Never ever ever....
Okay, and how do you find it?
RM: It’s quite a new experience to me and I have a feeling like I’ve flagged another country. I think people are great tonight and they seem to know our song. The club is really beautiful and the backstage has all the old furniture, there’s a lot of character. We had a great evening. Good organisation, everything was really nice.
Understandably, there is a huge difference between a stage in an underground music club and a huge stage at some open air music festival. What do you get a better kick from – small underground clubs often filled with connoisseurs or massive music events sponsored by the biggest music labels? Or do both have their pros and cons?
RM: No, I think one doesn’t go without the other. I think every band knows that they have to play in a club circuit and the icing on the cake is always big festivals or big stages and festivals. That’s how you kind of appreciate both basically because I don’t think it would be normal condition for a band to play stadiums all the time. You need them both in order to get the perspective and everything has its own charm.
Thank you very much. Now, you’ve said somewhere that you’ve never had proper musical education. Yet, Clan of Xymox is one of the most versatile bands, your music has changed a lot over the years. Does lack of musical background make it easier to experiment and be creative or is it more difficult?
RM: I think you just hit the nail right on the head because you keep on looking for almost like the holy Grail. Even if you don’t study music there are limitations to the courts and the amount of court schedules you can make. If you experiment a lot or even write music for a long time you know the limitations. But the combinations you can make are infinitive so that’s where you just have to follow your taste. I think I’d rather go on feeding on the actual written notes.
You’ve come a long way to where you are today. I don’t believe there’s a popular music encyclopaedia without Clan of Xymox in it. How does it feel today in comparison to the 80’s and the 90’s. Is there anything you miss from the times of Medusa and Creatures?
RM: I’ve always hated to look back and be nostalgic about a certain era. I’m not! Every era has its pros and cons. To me nothing goes without the other. We are here in this kind of clubs because of when I started making music and you know, you need your past in order to have your identity. So, you cannot stay in the past because then you don’t have an identity and then it’s just like pathetic. I think, keep moving on and enjoy it while you can!
‘In Love we Trust’ has been described as an album influenced by people splitting up. Since love and romance seem to be strong sources of inspiration for you, I’d like to know whether you get inspired more by couples that split up or by those who stay together?
RM: Oh, ha ha, the ones staying together are actually pretty boring, so of course when there’s turmoil... I mean everyone knows it from personal experience when their friends split up and they’ve known each other for a long time, they of course come more often that they normally would at your house to have a coffee and to complain about things. But it all kind of makes it more interesting. It’s like when people have difficulties in their life it makes them actually in a way more interesting because they’re more open again and people who have relationships for a long time tend to fall asleep and never do anything anymore in their lives, just be content. It’s also fine but you tend not to notice these people anymore, so it’s more interesting when people have a bit of turbulence in their lives.
What else inspires you and how do you write music? Do you have a schedule or do things pop into your head unexpectedly?
RM: No, ha, I wish I was disciplined like that! No, I just write when I really feel like it. [sighs] ‘cause I don’t have any discipline that I’d say ‘okay now, I’ll do this or that’, just whenever I feel like doing something, I’ll write something and there’s no pressure in the sense that I need to finish anything. No one is standing above me telling me that now I need to finish this or that. It’s not that way, so I’m just doing what I do. So far I’ve always got away with it on my own schedule but I do have to thrive and if I don’t do anything for a long time I kick myself because I really feel like I want to write something again. So the best motivator is myself because I can’t sit around for too long without writing anything.
Clan of Xymox have quite a few dance floor hits in their discography. How do you feel about contemporary ebm/alternative dance music and clubbing culture? Would you like to be remembered as part of it?
RM: I don’t think overall one would classify us as ebm although we have lots of ebm songs and I actually played along with them. I just want to be remembered as a band with a lot of different tunes. I don’t actually want to stick to one genre either, I find it pretty boring, like this band is a dead band in this type of music.... I like to keep evolving or I like grabbing back to what I like. I’m working on a new album actually and it’s going to be more... maybe fans are going to be very happy with it... because maybe it’ll gain [the status of] a really timeless thing without the pretence that I even have a club stamp on it. I’ve kind of driven away from that. Yeah, to the music is important. When a club song comes out of it it’s always nice but I’m not striving for it.
In one of the interviews you said you’d like Clan of Xymox to be remembered as the band that created Gothic Electro Music. What does the word ‘gothic’ mean to you?
RM: It’s more like.... Nothing much actually, it’s like an overall style of things. Sort of standing in live, the clothing you like, the music you like, it could be very widely interpreted. It’s not like... I know a lot of people think about guitar bands and dark vocals, you know, like Fields of the Nephilim kind of images. To me that’s not..... It’s like all the styles from ebm to electronic, to anything leftfield of the music industry. To me [this is what] gothic always was and always will be.
The last question to you Ronny is out of my personal curiosity. You used a dialogue from Bitter Moon on your track There’s no Tomorrow. Did the film inspire you to write this song or did you make the connection between music and film afterwards?
RM: I think I made the connection afterwards when the lyrics were there. I’m kind of like....I like my movies and I know the dialogues and the feeling of a certain movie and I thought that would be applicable to it. Because I actually wrote those lyrics about friends of mine who were in a situation as from ‘Bitter Moon’, so it was a very obvious choice to take some lines from that movie. I love that movie, it’s great!
Yeah, me too!
Okay, thank you very much Ronny.
This was Ronny from Clan of Xymox at Elektrostat festival in Oslo in Norway.
RM: You see, so you’ve saved a lot of time!
Haha! Ok, here we go again – this is Elektrostat festival, Oslo, Norway, 1st or really, 2nd of October 2010. We have Mojca from Clan of Xymox here with us too. Hello Mojca!
Mojca Zugna [MZ]: Hello!
Mojca, we’ve got one but very important question. You’re one of not so many women in this scene that have seriously bonded their lives with music and undoubtedly you inspire a lot of young women to follow their dream. I’m sure many of our readers would like to know how it is to be the back bone of one of the most acclaimed gothic bands ever? Do you actually feel like an icon?
MZ: Ha ha ha! Actually that I inspire people is news to me as well, ha ha! I just go by and do things I like doing and you know, doing the music stuff is part of it, really. I never planned to do any of that stuff. I don’t even know that music is such a big part of my life, actually... I don’t know! You just find things that you like to do in life and you do them! That’s it, really!
Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers and fans?
MZ: Yeah! Find out what you want to do and do it! Really, I mean... you’re doing it, she’s doing it... You don’t have to be a man or a woman or whatever, just be a person, right? Figure out what you want and do it!
Thank you very much!
MZ: Thank you!