Computers are great for looping, and editing, but nothing replaces playing by hand, and writing what you're feeling.
23/08/2011, Dennis OHRT
Celebrating 25 years of 'Insomnia Theatre', Psyche have just released a massive boxset on Vinyl On Demand. Before going on the road again (Psyche will play REWIND-mini-FEST in Gent on 7th October, 2011), Darrin Huss kindly agreed to an interview with Peek-A-Boo.
Psyche just released a massive vinyl-box on VOD around 'Insomnia Theatre', can you enlighten us a bit about the background of this release?
I had been planning a 25 years "Insomnia Theatre" release for awhile, but didn't know exactly which shape it would take until I got in touch with Frank at Vinyl On Demand, and we went through various packaging concepts until will came up with a 3LP box covering all the material of the period as well as the original artwork, and lyrics for the first time ever printed. Because we already had "Re-Membering Dwayne" on the market last year, we waited and added a few more bonuses for this year's release. So we covered all the videos and films my brother made, as well as material from 1983-1986 and added a bonus 7" with Misery and Goodbye Horses for collectors who have wanted those hits on vinyl. I'm the kind of person who prefers to look forward, but the years are piling up, and it's even fun for me to make a fresh product out of older material. It brings it back to life in the present, so I have thoroughly enjoyed having this release happen.
Last year saw the release of 'Re-Membering Dwayne' and quite a few other archive releases, which were true fan-pleasers, is there still enough left in the vaults for future surprises?
Ironically, Psyche has now managed to release just about everything that was made around that time. After I found "Nightmare" and "Fragility" for "Re-Membering Dwayne" I was thrilled to finally have a platform for these tracks that never seemed to have a place in the early 90's Psyche. That pretty much covers any rarities. Most of the albums that followed included all that was written, and often if we had a demo for a track, like "Ghost" for "Daydream Avenue", it got released as the B-Side of the "Angel Lies Sleeping" single. What I do have is new versions of later songs such as "Sanctuary", or remixes of "Uncivilized" and tracks like that where I am looking for the right release to combine these things as I feel it's more than about time for a new album instead of back catalogue, or remixes.
Your last studio album with completely new material 'The 11th Hour' has been released in 2005, are you working on a new Psyche album at the moment?
Yes, I had a long break for the first time in my life, and decided rather to tour, and cover new territories like Australia and South Africa. After making 11 albums, I also truly felt that "The 11th Hour" was a final statement. For Psyche to "continue" on that albums themes is impossible. It's time to make a rebirth, and find a way to make music that I still love in this day and age where everyone with a computer, and a home studio can be an "electronic musician". I still stand by the old school concept, that new music, especially for Psyche must be an event, and something that can still be discovered and enjoyed over the next decades by future generations. This is very difficult, and that's why groups like Kraftwerk took years in between albums. I need to be amazed myself before I can play my stuff for an audience. I hope I manage the new Psyche for 2012. It would be cool if it's like a new album with a bonus CD of new versions of our "hits". Thanks to digital piracy and all that, CDs will definitely also be more of a limited affair as we're now seeing with independent groups making an album, T-Shirt, and postcard box edition of their releases. Until then, I'm really enjoying doing shows, and finding a new audience for what we've done so far. When I was first starting out, I didn't really calculate the time, or think about how long a "career" would last. This is why I called my DVD "Imaginary Life" because it really is in a way. At least in my case. Psyche has almost always been starting anew with each album we make.
Over the years, Psyche have recorded quite a few cover versions & especially your version of 'Goodbye Horses' has given the song so much new energy, does the title still have a special place in your heart?
Yes, even more so since I learned of William Garvey's death, we continue to carry the torch for this song, that really contains a once in a lifetime lyric, and atmosphere. Occasionally other bands have started covering the song, and I know some people still prefer the original, but I think we basically took over the feeling of this song as it was presented in "Silence Of The Lambs", and that our version captures this sound in the movie much better than when you hear the original on it's own. I had a moment in the last 16 years since we did this song where I tired of it, but then I re-recorded it in 2008, and since that version is now available, I enjoy it even more now. I only feel strange when for some people it's the only thing they know from Psyche when we have had other great successes such as "Unveiling The Secret", "Misery", or "Sanctuary".
Technology changed a lot as well, how has that influenced your songwriting?
Not so much actually, as I said earlier, I try to listen through all that is around me, and still find a core of what makes synthesizer music great. I think our song "15 Minutes" is a fantastic example of something that sounds like a minimal classic made with newer sounds and production. Then there are songs that just sound like instant wave classics such as "September Moon" or trancelike experiments like "Until". All on the "The 11th Hour". I'm more inspired by older music, and then I try to recreate it in my own way with synths. I'm still more inspired by atmospheric film soundtracks than the latest pop music trends. Lately everything in the dance scene has gone back to 90's techno. I'm now most inspired when purposely avoiding all these sounds that I dislike. Computers are great for looping, and editing, but nothing replaces playing by hand and writing what you're feeling. Otherwise it wouldn't be Psyche.
You have worked with different people over the years + others have asked you to sing on their songs, is there anyone you'd love to collaborate with in a 'a dream would come true' way?
I'd love to do something with Marianne Faithfull, but otherwise I'd prefer to give tribute by covering something I think is overlooked. If I was a better producer, I would've liked to have discussed mixing and song selection for Blondie's new album "Panic Of Girls". I really think that could've been better. But other than maybe working with someone like James Blake maybe, I just enjoy listening to other artists I like because they do something I admire, and that's good enough for me. Ok, one dream would be to have Nash the Slash play on a new Psyche tune. Perhaps that could come true.
Most of your recent concerts have been together with NO MORE, how did the idea of such an excellent double-package originally happen?
We first met at the end of 2009, as we had a show together with friends from another duo NOAH GRAIN. We really liked their "comeback" album Midnight People and Lo-Life Stars, and found we had alot of common experience, and interests even though we didn't know much about them before. We both discovered that we'd played alot of the same places, and felt that the audience of both bands had some common points, as well as definite variations in listeners, that we should play together for the purpose of broadening the horizons of our respective audiences. It's actually a lucky accident that this happened as both bands have been around for over two decades, and are still pioneering with our music, and recording choices. We have since recorded some songs together, and will continue our double package as often as it works for the events we are part of.
Psyche have played gigs almost everywhere, is there still any city/country you'd love to play, that to this day you haven't?
Oh yes, we're missing still the whole of South America. I hope to manage Peru, Brazil, Chile sometime next year. I've also never been to Japan, Hong Kong, or Russia.
There are also many places we haven't been in North America, for instance, never in Vancouver, Canada! My main focus has always been Europe and Scandinavia, so we're happy with this territory, but South America is a must.
With the number of concerts you've played, was there ever one of those 'everything's gone wrong - I should have better stayed in bed today'-ones?
Hmmm, I've been damn lucky so far, but yeah once a long time ago my brother and I had a show at a festival in a small town outside of Paris. It was a rock festival that went on from the afternoon till late at night, and we were the headliner, and the only synth act. We were in a sort of waiting room/backstage far from the concert hall, and when we came to the hall to play, all of our instruments were unplugged, and there was about 10 people wandering around drunken in the building where all the lights had been turned on, and we had to plug in our analog synths to retune. Instead we plugged in our backing tape machine, and played maybe 4 songs from "Mystery Hotel" before giving up. It was sad and pointless, although the promoter was a big fan, and really wanted to make this happen for us. I think he paid us pretty well too. But that was a good lesson in not just doing something for the money or for a friend if the situation is all wrong. There has been maybe two or more similar experiences, but nothing as bad as that one.
On 7th October you'll be playing in Gent @ Rewind-mini-Fest together with Absolute Body Control and Blancmange, what are your expectations and what can the audience hope for?
I think we'll focus on a more 80's style set, and I am just excited to have a show in Belgium again, especially with one of my favourite bands of all time! I listen to songs like "Game Above My Head", "God's Kitchen", and just about everything else at least a few times every month since 1986. We are going to do our best to make the evening as special as possible.
Recently some bands came up with the idea of performing an old album in its entirety, have you ever toyed with the idea?
I have, I will be honest that I didn't have the courage to make a tour for "Insomnia Theatre", so instead I have been considering "The Influence" as a starting point for such a tour. Most albums were only 45 minutes at the time, so I could imagine featuring two albums actually. Or as some do, one album, and then the single hits from the time. It depends what the future brings. We don't have any media control chart hits anywhere so I'm not sure what kind of audience there is for Psyche doing this kind of thing, but many have told me "The Influence" would be the right choice.
As there are still so many almost undiscovered or almost forgotten songs from the early postpunk/mininal days when Psyche started, is there any song or band you can recommend that possibly not everyone has heard of?
I have all my tapes with me, but one of the ones when my brother and I started as "Broken Chant" has been destroyed. It's too bad because there are two early Psyche songs called "Verkümmern" and "Crushed & Glazed" that I can't seem to find a copy of anywhere. Otherwise it's all been released as of now. Thanks to YouTube, all kinds of obscure goodies are showing up from fans who remember. I can only recommend that everyone get their hands on a Nash The Slash album, or at least the "Dance After Curfew" single, and my other favourite Chrome's "Red Exposure" which has been re-released several times.
I also love "Pylon", "Liquid Liquid", and stuff like that. They all have been released on iTunes recently. I suppose most of these "non-chart" bands are truly our heritage.
Darrin, thanks so much for taking the time to answer all our questions! I leave the last words to you, anything you want to say to our readers?
Thanks for listening, and for those who have enjoyed following my journey with Psyche.
POUPPÉE FABRIKK • Hail Jägermeister!
SEVERED HEADS • Being in a band is a fine thing for the young, but stifling once you’re old
UNITARY • I don’t believe in limiting myself strictly to one concept.
SOL 19 • SOL19 is able to move and touch some people who in their turn respond great, so I’m happy about that.
XMH • XMH is primarily about the music, not about lecturing people.
TRUMMERFRAU • Man, we live in 2011, we are Generation iPod! We can discover tons of music and mix it all into our personal usage.
NINE CIRCLES • People did not understand us and were thinking that we were very strange people...
ATTRITION • We will be playing in Bredene on Friday September 30th!!! So the timing for this interview is pretty good …
PARADE GROUND • Suicide is the only truth , space changes form , it’s the choreography of chaos.
LEAETHER STRIP • For me it has always been about the music and the lyrics. All I want is for people to get something out of what I have to offer.
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