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Nitzer Ebb – The Electronic Industrial Renaissance

Originally formed in 1982 and led by Bon Harris and Doulas McCarthy, Nitzer Ebb is a British Electronic, Industrial, EBM group that has been making music and playing to global audiences for the last four decades. Known for their unique and aggressive industrial dance sound as well as their explosive live performances, the group has once again reunited for a number of shows over the past couple of years and are now looking forward to playing a limited number of dates and shows in Europe along with Front 242 in the new year. We discussed this history of the group along with the following topics:

  • Four Decades Of Nitzer Ebb 
  • The Early Days Of Nitzer Ebb
  • The Simplicity Of Early Electronic Music
  • What Was Behind The Aggressive Sound Of Nitzer Ebb? 
  • 40 Years Of Longevity
  • Touring With Depeche Mode
  • Electronic Music Renaissance
  • Metallic & Militant Funk
  • The Visual Influence Of Nitzer Ebb
  • Working With Terence Fixmer
  • Trent Reznor & Al Jourgensen

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Originally formed in 1982 and led by Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy. Nitzer Ebb is a British electronic, industrial e B M group that has been making music and playing to global audiences for the last four decades known for the unique and aggressive industrial dance sound, as well as their explosive live performances.

The group has once again, reunited for a number of shows over the past couple of years, and are looking forward to playing a limited number of dates and shows in Europe along with front 2 42 in the new year. Bon Douglas, welcome to the Run, g p G podcast. Thank you for having Thanks. Cheers. Thank you. Yeah, excited to have you guys.

And I, as I was telling you this, this one’s,  personal for me in a lot of ways because I, I, I did grow up with Nitzer Ebb music. I, I still listen to it, you know, I go to the shows,  I see the group’s influence on, on new music today. I do. And as mentioned in the intro there, four decades. Of music albums and touring 40 years.

Now, when I say that, when you’re asked about it in interviews, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you’re reminded that you’ve been making music or been involved with Nitzer Ebb for 40 years? How, how much had back ? Yeah.  mean we, it’s, it’s funny actually because you know, there’s quite, obviously with the advent of the.

The internet, there’s a lot of stuff that gets trolled up that you’ve kind of forgotten about. And,  I was,  a friend of ours was,  she’s playing in Amsterdam and,  as part of this,  join the forces to the Nitzer Ebb Front 2 42 Tour in January in Europe, we play at the Pardiso. And I mentioned Dear Tour that.

The first time we were in Amsterdam to play, it was at the Parone. And then she asked when it was, and I, you know, couldn’t remember, but then looked up. I knew that we’d played a gig with bad brains and that was, I think it was like 80, 85 . And there’s a recording actually of David Goodday, who was still in a band at that time, singing.

Alarm, which is the song that we’ve got him singing on, on stage throughout the shows this year and probably next year as well. Any sounds same,  an of,  of how things change, but don’t change. I was guess that’s about it. Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say is that you know that the thing that you get is, you know, sitting where we are in 2022 is how.

Things come round. Again, you know, analog since are popular again, vinyls, popular again, peop, you know, in certain countries we’re seeing a lot of young kids, you know, 20 years, 25, who were just getting into the music maybe because of their parents or whatever. So definitely how much. Yeah, how much the whole thing goes in cycles and how much at the moment.

It does feel curiously, a lot like the early days, you know? So,  yeah. So that’s, that’s the thing for me is you see these cycles come and go and, you know, circles keep completing and then moving on, you know. Well, and I think the, one of the things I was talking about with,  we were talking about Kevin as,  David said, but one of the things that came up when I was chatting with TE Kevin on.

On Sunday was the amount of bands that are still around, you know, of, of what he kind of considers to be a kind of golden era. And we’re all still out there. I mean, to one degree or another, some have gone into other outfits, but it is pretty much all of the older, the older bands from that period. And I, I made the, the comparison to skaters, you know, we used to skateboarding, we were friends with a few of the older.

Skaters pro skaters of that time and none of them stop. I mean, they don’t have to keep going, but they do it cuz they love it. And I think that there’s a, if we weren’t enjoying it, I guess 40 years would’ve been  bit arduous, but, but listen, you guys look fantastic. Thank you. 1985, you just referenced 1985, and I don’t know if you know this Bon, I don’t know if you know this, but the first show you played in North America was in Montreal, according to Douglas.

Yeah. Yes. Yeah,   oage was the club.  yeah. Don’t know it. Don’t know it.  no. I mean, I guess it’s gone about 35 years ago.  was a fairly pivotal gig in getting us signed to Geffen. There was, there was a little bit of a mini label war going on at the time. Several exec came to that show to,  to witness the magic for themselves.

Well, it was it. Yeah. And it was magic.  well, again, shout out to Canada,  for being involved there. Kevin, Kevin Key,  fellow Canadian as well.  that’s very interesting.  but listen,  let’s, let’s. You know, in the time we have, I, I, I do want to,  go back to the beginning because you don’t get a, a lot of opportunities to talk to,  Nitzer Ebb about, you know, the early days originally from Essex, I believe.

Correct. Essex, right, right. Yeah.  tell us how and why the group formed, and maybe just describe the early days for us, like what was the genesis of the group? We all skateboarded together as, as kids in, in high school or, or the, the core of the bandaid. And  you know, through that interest in skateboarding, obviously we got turned onto music and, you know, skating at the time sort of split between old style.

Rock and roll, but a lot of new wave and sort of getting into electronic music. Divo were a big influence on skating music, so sort of we were getting turned onto electronics through that and you know, and we gradually migrated from skating with music. Side to being more focused on music with skating on the side and,  kind of developed from there.

And also, you know, the town we’re from Chumps back then was, you know, it was quite a sleepy little town. It was, you know, down the train line from London. It was a suburb in some respects, but it was also still really rural in a lot of, in a lot of it. And,  there just wasn’t much to do. And we were always quite energetic and creatively minded, so we were.

You know, for things to do to keep ourselves occupied and, and to channel the energy that we had. So, you know, eventually starting a band seemed like the logical next thing. Given our interest in music throughout the uk, there used to be,  a movie theater group called the And So Bands, it was kind of a throwback to.

Might be even the sixties, but certainly the entire seventies. Then bands would do an Odn tour and it meant that they could, they’d do a package with Odn and then they would play odn cinemas across the country and get to more of these kind of, You know, out the way places and the,  the childhood ion was actually quite a big theater.

So bands like Susan Aban, we went to see them on their,  on the Juju Tour in 81, Adam and s  similar kind of time period, 1980. So we, you know, the band and, and because as Bon said, we were at like 25 minutes from Central London, so we would go and see bands like Bowhouse, the birthday party in London.

And,  it was actually a lot of the opening acts as well. You know, like when we, when we saw Bowhouse, oh, sorry. When we saw a birthday party at the ly, it was the first time that Einstein and I had played in the uk. And we, we had a, a really good record store in the town, so as young teenagers, you know, like sort of 13 years old, 14 years old, we’d go down to the record store and just couldn’t really afford to buy that much.

But we would play a lot of music and had a good collection of European sort of, you know, stuff like, Dodge America Fry Shaft and Halle Shamberg and Decs. And so we were able to listen to stuff that although it was a small kind of tucked away town, there was a lot, if you had a mind to do it as by said, you know, which we were excited to get as much experience in life as possible.

And music seemed to be just an, an obvious step to make once we’d been listening to it for a few years and it didn’t take us that long. You know, I think the first gig we ever did there, we were like 15, 16 years old. So it, it, things started quite young, out of boredom. And also, you know, another thing in the UK was licensing laws at,  at, at pubs was.

Certainly in, in, in,  in small towns was,  was, wasn’t really enforced. So we would go down the pub and drink and like, you know, sort of live a life of what would be in North America. Certainly the states would, you know, you’d have to wait until you’re like 18 years old to be able to do the stuff that we were doing at the age of about 13, 14.

What a, what an era of music you just referenced there and, you know, and preparing for this. I, you know, I saw an interview that both of you did in 1990 on M T V and Bond pretty much said the same thing where he said, we lived in a small town with nothing to do, and then Douglas said,  the easiest thing was for us to grab a cheap synthesizer.

And now you have a band that’s a, so Douglas said that, do you. Like, looking back, you still think it was as simple as that? You know, we, we just had, you know, Patrick on the show and he said the same thing. He said, we don’t play any instruments. We just push buttons. Yeah. I mean, he, he was pretty prophetic at the time because as it turns out, the rest of the world caught up by the sort of late nineties, early two thousands and everyone’s making music on the laptop or then their phone.

It was that, it was essentially that, but it was a little bit more expensive and slightly harder. To navigate, but essentially it was a lot easier than learning to play guitar. Yeah, I mean, there was just a general impatience on our part. We had that energy and we were used to skating where you just jump on a board and get it done.

And also we were fascinated with electronics. You know, that was an emerging sound that we’d become curious about. So the two things kind of came together and it, it made sense. So, well, you know, you, you’re, you’re referencing it and it, and it’s interesting cuz at that time there was this emerging sound,  a golden era.

You, you, you referenced it earlier. It was that industrial synth dr you know, electronic sound, E b m, whatever you want to call it.  groups like yourself. Front 2 42, throbbing, gristle, craftwork.  but Nitzer Ebb. Nitzer Ebb in particular,  was known for its aggressive sound, right? In fact, critics thought it might be overly aggressive for the time considering, you know, the genre they did.

In fact,  the phrase I remember reading was angst rid. Yeah.  was a phrase I remember. Now you were known for that cold, you know, minimalistic driving, synth, you know, drums and vocals. However, that’s I think what created your fiercely loyal fans. You know,  I read an article that said The undercurrent of violence in the early days of Thatcher’s Britain shaped the.

Yeah. Do you agree with that or what was behind the influence of the group’s, you know, aggressive sound? Well,  we were fairly,  certainly Bon and myself, David Goodo was,  was a bit more kind of imposing, looking physically, but Bon and I were really small and,  And, you know, back kind hair and little bit of makeup, you’d get slapped around at a bus stop if you  if you weren’t careful.

So it was, there was a, it was kind of a defense mechanism to dress up as tough looking as we could and be at least put a little bit of doubt in someone’s mind before they, they messed with us. And that transpired into the music as well. I mean, there’s. We also actually liked the, the aggressiveness of, of punk,  even if we didn’t like necessarily all of the, the music, but things like, I mean, at, at the time that another influence on us was Public Image Limited.

The first public image limited album. And that, you know, I mean the song itself, public image, the single, it was the first single that’s kind of like Devil May Attitude mixed with a good, healthy splatter. Impending violence  was, was always appealing to us. And then, you know, killing joke, other bands like that, even birthday party, birthday party were incredibly violent on stage.

Yeah. And again, a lot of it goes back to the skating route. I mean, skating was definitely an aggressive sport, you know, if you’re doing, doing vertical skateboarding and stuff like that. And when we first started getting into skateboarding in 76, 77, punk was emerging as a mainstream force. You know, for us as teenagers, that’s when we were sort of making the transition from being kids to young adults, and that was, our environment was like a fairly aggressive, fairly violent social scene mixed with a sport that was high energy.

Had a lot of aggression and, and allied with punk music as its soundtrack. So that was kind of in our D n A at that point. And  you know, I think subsequently, you know, when I read back on some of the comments about how angst ridden and everything else it was, was what I get from it more. These days, looking back was that it was defiance, you know, it was kind of really standing up for yourself and making a statement more than sort of trying to radiate aggression.

It was more like a stand in our ground and being very forthright in that we weren’t gonna be deterred or intimidated from what we wanted to do. You know? And, and the more that we were, people did try and deter us from it, the more defiant we got. And you know, that came out in. And then also going back to the kind of the political atmosphere.

At the time there was,  the politics themselves were, were,  foreign, but it, it was also a very violent place in terms of police,  heavy handedness. I mean, that hasn’t changed that much. They’ve just kind of dressed it up a little bit. Notorious,  you know, like there was a, a group, a special police group, S B G that was part, that was based in London.

It was a metropolitan police force, and they literally murdered people that were protesting,  you know, anti apartment, apartment and,  Apartheid. Sorry. No apartments. That’s not . They weren’t anti apartments. No. But,  but there was, there was an aggressiveness and then there was a, through the, the Thatcher Doctrine of Politics, it, it was, it was very much allowed.

Everybody was allowed or not encouraged to be really selfish and uncaring and flant, whatever they had. And so it created quite a self. It never really turned back from that, I don’t think, quite a selfish atmosphere throughout the country. And there was a reaction against that from us of like, we didn’t wanna look like the people that were aspiring to look wealthy, you know, like mm-hmm.

Bara boys made good as they. Well, it’s interesting to look back,  that era again. You know, I keep bringing it up, but, you know, 40 years of longevity, right? I think it was the fact that you were,  you weren’t conforming or you didn’t care to make critics happy. I’ve heard you say that, right? You weren’t doing it for the sake of popularity.

Do you think that attitude lent itself to the 40 years of longevity? Four decades of music? Yeah, definitely. I think you mentioned,  a lot of the early aggression and. Engendered such as dedicated fan base. I think it was, we felt something and we tapped into something that a lot of other people were obviously feeling and maybe didn’t have the circumstance or whatever to put a voice to it.

And we did. And I think people did pick up on the fact that we weren’t posturing. This wasn’t, wasn’t a marketing scheme, you know, this was for us. It. Probably literally life and death to get involved in a band like ours. And  and still, you know, when we see young kids come into the gigs and stuff like that, there’s a certain amount of raw honesty about it that I think does, we’ve all felt that kind of thing as well, where we discover an artist mm-hmm.

that has managed to encapsulate some vague feeling that we. And that’s why we get totally like, you know, enthralled by that artist. They’re like, that’s it. They’ve nailed exactly what I was feeling so well, and that’s what makes you devoted to following certain other artists, you know? Thousand percent.  like I said, I, I, I mean, to this day I still have nire on my playlist, you know?

So 40 years.  now you were,  you know, very popular, you know, coming outta that post-punk era, you know, industrial, that, that fringe element of music. But I think it was the tour with Depeche Mode. They gave you some, like commercial attention, I guess you could say.  would you agree with. Yeah, I mean the, this kind of the story of working or going on the road with dsh started obviously when we signed to, to Mute and we tried to sign to mute with, with our producer at the time, Phil Harding and his business partner, we started a record label called Power Voice Communication, and Daniel Miller of Mute record contacted us and basically passed us to, to sign.

He wanted us to tour with Depeche for the music of the masses. Initially for Europe, and we were very much set against it, partly out of inexperience of what the, the record industry and certainly was then for a, a young band like ourselves. So anyway, we acquiesced to go on the tour and it was pretty much like from the first date, Bon and I were just like, you know, either front of house or side of stage, watching them as say there , but obviously within the confines.

That we, it set around ourselves of that performance, but it made us realize that you could go, you could take what you, what we were doing and make it bigger in terms of like audience size. And then when we did the Violator tour by that time, which is a 1992, then we played, we did the tour in North America and we’d actually, with Showtime, which was the album we were promoting at the time, we, we had written a few songs that had that stadium or larger venue.

In mind, you know, festivals or whatever. So it was part of that evolved sound was definitely being on the road with, with de Pesh and like thinking about how we can can move ourselves into a bigger version like both in sound and performance. Yeah. And we couldn’t have had a better education really in making that transition from being, you know, wanting to be absolutely underground to understanding that you have to have some kind of profile to carry on and survive.

Yes. And you know, watching Depe who was like just a masterclass in how you can scale those kind of heights, but maintain your, your integrity. You know, so,  it was just a perfect place for us to be, to learn how to transition and, and what things to do to try and make a transition. Yeah. And much like yourself, they’re showman, you know?

They are,  yeah.

Yeah. A group. You know, Depeche mode,  we were talking about front 2 42,  nine ish nails,  yourselves active again, right? Making music on tour. There’s a resurgence of, you know, these influential groups from the eighties and nineties that are making a comeback again.  the tours have been alarmingly popular.

 especially the Depeche Mode tours, like alarm, like they’re doing multiple dates sold out. I went to the, the one here, I couldn’t believe it. It, it was insane. Yeah.  why do you think there’s been this electronic music,  Renaissance over the last few years? Like, why have they become so popular again?

I think you, you know, it could be the overlap of generations like you mentioned, but off the top of your head, what do you think is behind that resurgence? I mean, historically, Then the,  you know, Detroit techno list of influential bands on, on, you know, people like Derek May and pretty much, you know, the Richie Hek, I’ve heard him mix your stuff.

Their influences were Craftwork de pmo, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, you know, like the influences that created techno. And then in some instances, you know, within a city, Into sort of pop dance music and the evolution of all of that into pretty much every music form. You know, country and Western can sound pretty electronic these days, , and I think that initial interest that got kids in, you know, literally the darkest parts of Detroit making electronic music, it goes full circle.

And people were beginning to maybe have a more nuanced here than they had. In terms of general public and they, they can recognize it’s electronic music. I like electronic music because of more of a pop reference, but this sounds pretty similar to something I’m used to. Like the actual sound. Yeah. I think also as well, in terms of things coming full circle, you know, when we started, you know, everyone was living in the shadow of the Cold War.

There was high unemployment, high inflation, a lot of inst. And we’re back there. You know, we’re It’s in, yeah, it’s in a d. Way that it’s manifesting itself, but it’s essentially the same things. We live in a fairly tense time and I think that,  a lot of the music, like ourselves and Front and Nine Inch Nails, they resonate with that kind of atmosphere.

People, people are feeling the tension. People need an out outlet and people need to, to let go of some of their anxieties. And I think that sort of, yeah, this kind of music re resonates with that kind of climate. Well, funny enough, someone sent me a link this morning of a news story on a b BBC that the new,  right wing Italian government are gonna,  ban raves

A little late. It’s a little late. Wait.

Real activity. Like last time I went to a rave, it certainly was criminal. It just got that years ago. Yeah. The, the golden age of raves.  You know, fantastic breakdown.  speaking of the music, you know, the best description of Nitzer Ebb music I’ve seen was a metallic and militant funk, which I thought was, was great.

How do you describe the music? It’s interesting because, you know, I was asked that question last night and the thing that I find most overlooked with all this term terms of aggression and everything else is the funk element. And that’s something that, again, is a massive influence on, on us. Before we really got into, you know, electronic music and post punk music growing up, it was all funk and reggae and.

That we were listening to. And I think that’s what sets us apart from a lot of later industrial bands that were influenced by us, is that they picked up on the sort of mechanical starkness. But I think especially on albums, I believe there is a kind of a warmth and organic funkiness to it that we never wanted to.

Or we, I think we were powerless to not have in the music. And you know, even on the first alb that Total Age, you know, we, we used to love listening to, you know, stuff like,  Sylvester and Divine Gay Music, you know, and that’s pre prevalent on that album. And we’ve gone back to that quite often, you know, 16 b  baselines and.

And straightforward, funky, but straight ahead drums. Yeah. Yeah. That’s all part of, but again, that music, you knows, Sylvester and Divine and, and all that kind of stuff, you know, driving electronic music that was kind of defiant and, and uplifting, you know, very much of its culture, supporting its culture and not apologizing for its culture and, you know, so we picked up all those influences from, from that scene as well.

You. Yeah, I do notice a,  it’s interesting, the, the, the electronic groups from the UK back then had a huge,  there was a big, like almost southern. Us influence, you know, you got the blues and the reggae and the ska, a lot of Sky and Reg, things like that. And there you, you can pick up on it. You, you can the undertones of it, right?

It’s there. Yeah.  I, I do wanna ask you guys about the visuals, because this is something I’m obsessed with, which is design,  graphics and design have always been a big part of, of Nitzer Ebb, and the Nitzer Ebb. Can you talk on the visual side, like what influenced the look of the. I mean the aesthetics of a lot of the bands we loved, not necessarily in keeping us with what we entirely used, and so we, we gravitated to that, that sort of self-identifying.

Strength in the artwork. And then mums quite early on, pretty much because of the record store Parrot records that we used to go to. We met Simon Granger, we offered to, who is a designer working alongside Simon has been a big part of that. But yeah, Bon and myself have a. A strong design element. And then again, I mean, keep, seemingly keep saying it a lot in these, in, in this interview, but, you know, we loved skating deck designs.

Certainly some of the more,  artistic writers, something that is identifiable. You, you, you kind of get an in inkling of the style of the music and the style of the people. . Yeah. One of the,  you know, the imagery from the, the early days is, you know, people mentioned,  it was socialist looking, right?

Mm-hmm. , it definitely had a political look to it, right? Yeah. What are your thoughts? Was that deliberate? Yeah. It kind of reflect, you know, a lot of what was dominating our lives. Like I say, you had the shadow of the Cold War. You had social political things. You really couldn’t get away from politics and, and a political statement.

And also I think we were very aware of. Media manipulation of messages, you know, and that’s become even more prevalent in, in the 21st century. You know, black is white, up is down, it’s, it’s, you know, people aren’t saying what they mean and that, and they’re inverting things. And we became fascinated with that.

You know, we were kind of fascinated with propaganda and how that worked and, and sort of,  turning images on their heads and, and, you know, inverting certain things and, and. Making people ask questions, really. And  and there was, there was, on the political side of things, there was, you know, even beyond the Soviet Union, there was like the clash using the sand ANDAs and you know, the South America was, and south and Central America was a really scary place and it had fascism alive and well.

And they used all of the trop. From the Nazis and then, you know, obviously the only reason that most of Eastern Europe became,  part of the Soviet Empire was because of the Nazis , you know, like it’s all very much in Europe at that time. I mean, you know, so you’re talking about the early eighties, there’s, you are only less than this far away from World War ii.

Yeah. Listen, the kids don’t know. The kids don’t know. Yeah. . They don’t. They don’t. And we’re also like a lot of the artists that, you know, particularly Doug and Simon were interested in like Dadda and John Hartfield and all that, like the sort of a prop approach that they took, you know, that was really kind of fascinating.

Where, where,  it wasn’t necessarily obvious all the time or it could be misconstrued. And again, it. We were interested in just making people think below the surface level and think things through, because if they didn’t do that in their normal lives, they were gonna get suckered by a lot of what they were being sold, especially by the right wing and the conservatives, you know, and ability to, to stop and question what you are being served up on a plate.

Mm-hmm.  was something we were kind of, we were interested in that approach. You know, the other thing was,  you know, bands. Camera roll here and a certain ratio, you know, where there was a lot of time. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Jokes. Yeah. Nice. Again, you know, again, with the funkiness that gets overlooked. I think something that does get overlooked in our music and our approaches, essentially, there is a sense of humor in a lot of it.

 you know, an ironic sense of humor, and not everybody gets that. But again, it’s a, a similar thing where we’re like, well, it’s in there if you care to look for it.  and, and we tend to appreci. People more who do identify it cuz it means that they’ve studied it a little bit harder and asked themselves a few more questions about it.

A hundred percent. No, I love that breakdown. And just a few more questions left,  to wrap up. But I do wanna get your thoughts on the fact that you’ve had such a large influence on industrial music, electronic groups over the past, you know, four decades. You know, still, as we, we talked about many techno DJs, they’re still mixing Night Nitzer Ebb into their sets, they’re sampling and you can clearly see the influence on a lot of, you know, modern industrial.

I keep. Hate to keep using the word industrial, but mostly industrial groups. Yeah. You know, what does that mean to you to, to, to know that you’ve had that, that impact. Like, you know, sometimes you don’t realize that you’ve had such a large influence until you, you look back and you go, damn, we’ve been doing this for four decades now.

So what does it mean to you to have that, that influence on not just music, but you know, people like myself, you know, we talked about the visual side. You’ve had a, it’s been a, you know, you’re, you’re the, the Web of Nire has gone a lot of different places over the last four decades. Yeah. In a lot of ways I think it feels like a kind of a, a vindication in, in a sense.

You know, the early days they weren’t easy amount of sort of press resistance, general resistance, you know, even, even when we were fairly well established, like open to us for Depeche in the us. The US was still like, where are your guitars? You know, there was a lot of, we had to break through a lot of barriers and at certain points in our career it was fairly lean times and a fairly thankless task.

So to see it, you know, eventually come round where it, you know, other people have taken that on board and we’ve broken through a. Barriers. And like Doug says, you know, modern, popular music is now made pretty much the way we were trying to make it back then. And trying to say to other people, look, this is legitimate to us.

This is how we wanna do it. And, you know, we had to break through a lot of prejudice to get there and, and sometimes, you know, be on fairly short shrift to carry on. So, so it’s,  it, it, it does feel good in. See, you know, to be able to see, like, see there was something to what we were saying. We weren’t completely delusional and idiots all the time, although we did have our moments.

definitely. And also I, I feel like there’s, there’s sort of an, there, there’s an affinity to the, something that is part of a music tradition. Before, I guess before mtv, before, yeah, before the sort of eighties, the bands would borrow from each other. Cover versions were a normal thing that bands did. I mean that, you know, jazz and blues was.

It was like trying to hear someone do the greatest version of a song, you know, so I was having a conversation about, so I think in some ways it’s, I feel like there’s an affinity with that, that people are, there’s it, it is such kind of long tradition of borrowing and experimenting with other people’s ideas and then it, you know, incorporating it into your own setup, which is essentially what we did.

And I feel like now, You know, like I say, M T V looking back and it was a terrible idea.  like it, you know, in some ways it meant that there was lots of artists signed because they needed content, but they had a very, very particular, you know, mandate to fulfill. And it kind of eradicate a lot of that freedom.

And with the, although, although I think it still exists as a channel, one of the upsides of. Of the internet is that you can access anything and see. Influenced by anything, again, in the same way that you would go into a record store just seeing Ben. Yes. No, that’s a good point. That’s a fantastic perspective.

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In the time we have left guys, maybe tell us about the,  the side projects you’re both involved in. I guess they’re not really side projects anymore, right? Like, it’s almost like Nitzer Ebb or E is the side project in a way.  sometimes it feels that way. , right? Bon, first of all,  the, the Lemon Tree project.

Can you tell us about that? Yeah, that came about, you know, as a,  product of the pandemic really, you know? Mm-hmm. , I was,  I’d been meaning to get back into singing a little bit. And,  then, you know, we all got locked down and I was fortunate enough to live in a place where I had a really nice garden, so I posted a couple of little innocuous clips of me just acapella singing, wandering around the garden.

Cause I wanted to show some sort of fairly bright and happy images in a fairly dark time. And,  I got sort of, Surprising response from that, people asking if I could sing the entire song, people asking if I could do an electronic version of the song. So since the lockdown was carrying on, I thought, well, it’ll keep me busy to work on some cover versions.

And you know, people were starved for new things and live shows. And I thought, well, it might be nice to do something to share with other people. So, you know, I picked songs that. Really important to me personally growing up through the years from a wide range of genres. And also tried initially to pick songs that were very soothing or nostalgic or relaxing because it was a dark time and I felt we had enough tension.

And,  so I, you know, kind of did it as a. As a project, keep me busy and just give something back in a difficult time. And yeah, there was, people took it on board like that. People were very, very appreciative of it and, and really got into it. So,  you know, it, it, it served a lot of purposes in one and it’s all been extremely positive and good fun.

So I’ve been really enjoy. You know, as, as you’re speaking, I’m thinking, what a true artist, you know, you go from the, the angst ridden,  cold, hard,  Nitzer Ebb to playing acapella in the garden. You know, you, you . You know what, I hear that, and I’m like, well, I mean, artist. An artist. Yeah. And it kind of goes back to, to your earlier statement like, Nitzer Ebb.

In some ways being the side project, there’s so many aspects to both Doug and I’s personalities that don’t necessarily fit within. Yeah. The template that we’ve created for Nitzer Ebb. But you know, as an artist and to continue growing, you do have to. You know, address those other areas in some way. Mm-hmm.

that’s, that’s, that’s, again, that’s in your DNA as a creator. Yep. To, to have a lot of different perspectives and if something doesn’t fit in the thing that you are known for and established, well then make the space to express yourselves in as many ways as you can. You know, even outside of music, graphics, visuals, painting.

Whatever. If you’re a creative person, you’re gonna have those impulses and they’re gonna be wide reaching, so I love it. I love it. Yeah. Thanks for sharing. And, and,  Douglas, you’ve been working with the, the Terrence Fixer Project, among other things.  tell us about that. Cuz I, I love the music. I absolutely love it.

Thanks. Yeah. Terrence,  this was at a time where I was, I’d, I’d moved back to London and. Terrence and a few other of what used to be called the the French Techno Mafia, which was like the hacker. And they’d asked these,  at that time up and coming artists to do techno artists to do remixes.  and  after Terrence had finished that, he got in touch with me.

But anyway, yeah. And then we, within a week of being in his studio, we sort of wrote an album and then decided that, and so that kind of found itself almost immediately getting a lot of response. It got labeled deal and started touring. Europe and then the states, Terrence, quite rightly, is one that is sort of recognized as one of these, one of the artists that really took the influence of E B M and techno as they describe it.

I’ve done a various other projects. I’ve got another one based in London with a guy called,  headman.  we have a project called Sasm, S A S M. Which is sort of,  we’ve released like one, one Track, but we got in the works on album and that’s kind of like sort of dirty funk, sort of post-punk sounding,  funky tracks.

 and then as, as Bomb was saying about the different facets of our personalities that don’t necessarily fit too perfectly with. With Nitzer Ebb. We’ve also got a side project  from Nitzer Ebb called Drag, e r a G, which is done with another artist in  la  which hopefully we’ll see Lighter day, some point this year.

And then there was Black Line and I did like solo project stuff and did a solo album. So new music is coming. Nature of music is. There is drag . Well, that’s, well I’m calling it New nature music. Yeah. But then there is, and then there’s, there’s some conversations about something later in the year. Let’s go.

You know, we’ve had some, we’ve got so much sort of music that we’ve done outside of the air waiting to go. I’m, I’m actually gonna go to Mexico next week and,  finish up a solo EP that I’ve been working on. So, it’s a little bit unfortunate in a way that drag and our various solo things have been held up a bit because I think it, it does,  make the clamor for new nights or ebb stuff all the more, which I think, you know, if the.

Staff and,  various other projects,  are out. I think it, you know, is very obvious, although the projects are different, that it is members of Nitzer Ebb involved in all those projects. There’s a flavor of it and,  you know, just in terms of kind of. Creatively clearing the decks to do new nights or e stuff.

It’s, you know, until those projects are complete and out there, it’s sort of like, feels like starting to read a new book before you finish reading the current one that you’re reading. You know, we’ve gotta get those things out and I think there’s plenty there for the Ed fans to grab a hold of. So that’s kind of important for us, is to get the other projects, see them.

You know, to their completion. And then we can think about new abstract. I’m looking forward to it. And just before I ask you about the,  the tour coming up with,  front 2 42,  you recently played shows with Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. How was that? It was awesome. It was good. What, what? Yeah, it’s great.

Really good ministry. Were were amazing. I mean, all the bands that played that night were great, but I, I hadn’t seen ministry in a few years and they were, they were really on point that night. Kind of surprising that, you know, since all of us have been around for so long that none of us had ever actually played together until that night.

We, we hadn’t played, you know, directly with ministry or, or nine Inch Nails before. So, you know, and the. You know, we’re all long established and everything else. It, it was nice to, to,  to be able to get everyone together, you know? Oh, fantastic. What, what comes to mind when I say the name Al Jorgenson in ministry?

Chaos. . General Chaos. What about,  what,  I say the word Trent. Resner, what’s the first word that comes to mind? We knew him,  flood. Really? Because Flood was working with him doing,  Pretty hate machine. Yeah. So it kind of like, just remember him being this, you know, just he was an up and coming eyes at that point.

And then it obviously came and upped , kind of whe when I think the Trent is actually the opposite of Al Trent is very kind of calm, organized. Very smart. So like, they’re chalk and cheese, really. One’s, one’s chaos and one is stability. . That’s interesting. Good, good.  comparison. Okay, guys, you know,  final question here.

Have you thought about the word legacy? That’s a word that, you know, I, I hear a lot when you talk to,  people that have had long careers, successful entrepreneurs, groups, bands, whatever, musicians, creatives,  40 years of music and counting.  we know you’ve been an influence on a lot of groups and, and,  bands over the years.

 we discussed that. But when all is said and done, what do you want to be remembered for? Like, what’s the Nitzer Ebb legacy? Yeah. Personally, I would say just honesty and commitment. You know, it’s, we’ve, we’ve always sort of gone into everything with our heart and soul and kind of worn our hearts on our sleeve and, you know, still to this day with the live shows, we give it everything we’ve got, you know, so as honestly as we can.

So for me, I’d like to be remembered for that, you know, just for doing our best to, to, to be honest and, and fully committed to what we. At least they tried . . Yeah. I love it. You know, it’s funny, I ask that question quite often and, and  it’s, it’s a tough one to answer sometimes when you put on the spot for that, cuz you think, whoa, okay.

Never really thought about it, you know? But,  interesting perspective.  thanks so much guys for joining us today.  so good news. Thanks. In more detail, right? Four decades of Nitzer Ebb. Looking forward to the next 40 years guys.  see what indeed.


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