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UCNX - interview (2008)
2008-06-23 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz and Marco Gariboldi | e-mail interview
Marco: UCNX, it's a cool and interesting name for the band. What's the meaning of it?

Doug: No idea. It's pronounced "Uck-Nix" though.
Ha! Just kidding. Actually it's the clinical shorthand for unconsciousness. We chose it partly because it refers to the recording process which is entirely subliminal if you think about it, partly because it has a nice layout from a design sense (think Front 242), and partly because it passed the 2 week suck-test.

John: Yeah it passed the test because we had a different name every week before that.

Marco: The title track of your debut E.P. called "Absolute Zero" featured a production of Jared Louche. There's also a remix you did in the past for Chemlab put on the extra E.P. Eckstrahschitt and which has been never released until now. You also worked on art and music for Chemlab tribute album 'Songs from the Hydrogen Bar'. Jared has been an icon of coldwave/industrial rock genres for many years. It seems like a dream which came true considering your work with him. How has this collaboration begun? How did Jared help you in writing/production process?

Doug: Oh it was a dream come true indeed, one which he lovingly mocked when we told him all glassy eyed at a show this past December :) But we were and still are huge Chemlab fans. Never would have dreamed our favorite band in high school would go on to not only be a friend but also a colleague. Really, the collaboration (and friendship) is living proof of one of the best things about this "scene", how connected to your idols or inspirations you can become. I found out years ago a friend & colleague of mine was longtime friends with his wife Maja, and so we mentioned that when we joined up to The Hydrogen Bar forum when it debuted in 2003 and it blossomed from there. Though I don't think he liked being called "Papa Bear" so much in the album, heh. But it was true, without him or others like Sean Cyanotic or the people at the H-Bar this album wouldn't be here, or as strong as it is.

As for the process he just put his valuable insight and opinions to some of the tracks as we were recording them. A lot like how he does with Chemlab. The bastard knows what works in a song, and we quickly saw his advice and pointers were things worthy of much consideration indeed. He also wrote lyrics for the title track, but they didn't quite fit with the feel of the track itself.

John: We're honored to have some input on the tracks from Jared because he is one talented individual. Each project he chooses to work on has a different vibe and style. The Chemlab stuff is some of the best coldwave material you can get, but the Jared Louche and the Aliens, the Vampire Rodents work, and the other hundred projects are just as great. Now Mark Spybey and him have to get that Altered Statesmen CD out because my ears need the tunes! Also visit the www.hydrogenbar.com (Chemlab website) and give the place some noise.

Marco: Your debut E.P. drew a lot of interest on you. Are you working on a follow-up full album? Are you planning on releasing it this fall?

Doug: Absolutely. We're not a flash in the pan, or just pursuing a hobby. Music started out as a hobby for us, but we want a nice long musical legacy to leave behind. That so many people are praising our efforts and listening only inspires us to keep going (like any artist SHOULD). I always envisioned "Absolute Zero" and "Presence" as part of a larger form (remixed/re-done of course), and so we're working on an LP to hopefully be released by the end of the year. After that, we have plans for an album called "Replicator" which will play on the title by being half remixes from us & others and half covers. We love doing covers...Killing Joke, Noise Unit, Front 242, Tears for Fears...lots of interesting surprises in store.

John: The follow-up is moving along at a nice pace so the end of the year we might exactly hit. It won't be like our debut E.P. that was 5 years in the making. LOL! But for some of the interesting surprises make sure to check out our myspace page and website because we'll be posting some the info on there about it. Maybe one of the surprises will be Doug moving into some Keane or Morrissey vocals. LOL j/k.

Doug: That would require either a swift punt to the balls, or no balls at all soooo no :) Never rule out a cover of "Ass N' Titties" though!

NINa: You did a lot of remixes put out on a variety of CD compilations. There were remixes for Wumpscut, Combichrist, Cyanotic etc. Doug also sang for Audio War. Are there any plans for other cooperations, remixes, compilations or will Absolute Zero be followed by a completely new album recorded only by you two?

Doug: Well the Audio War album's not done yet, but hopefully will be by the end of the year. I'm only playing vocalist on that role, though I can tell you the new album is absolutely sick. I'm really excited about it, it's going to transcend a lot of boundaries. Hardcore, d'n'b, rock, indie, dance, a lot of influences on this album. We just completed a remix for Portion Control that's on our Myspace page and going to be featured on their site soon as well. They were quite pleased with it and of course that meant alot to us. UCNX will always be us 2, but we're working on track with Blayne from Idiot Stare at the moment, and hopefully Jared will be able to contribute as well. Collaborating is a joy, why the hell not!

John: We also have some remixes that are currently unreleased that we hope get picked up somewhere. But it's true the new album is going to be very diverse in it's style and sound. As for collaborating, we have no problem with it because it's fun to work with other creative minds.

Marco: Cyanotic's "Asbolute Zero remix" is a guitar driven track and sounds great. Have you thought about including more guitars to your next release or will you rather continue to develope your electronic/IDM/ambient sound?

Doug: Funny you should say that, as we just finished an almost 100% coldwave track called "Preset" and I'm waiting for some riffs to come in from our friend Bubba for another track. The next album will absolutely feature some more guitars, but not at the expense of any other elements of course. We don't just sit around listening to one kind of music, so we can't write like that. Electro, coldwave, metal, ambient, rock, even some hip-hop are all a part of our palate, and we take pride in that. We love Underworld as much as we love Chemlab as much as we love Portion Control as much as we love Killing Joke... the list goes on and on.

We take the FLA approach to guitars pretty much, and have a few collaborators such as our friend Bubba Swearer and our other longtime supporter Jeff Tryon to swing the axe if we so desire. Whatever we feel like basically. Call it the KMFDM/PIG method, we have an open door policy.

John: And that list is a long one of influences. We just like to mesh different styles with each other and really explore the sounds that develops from it. Basically the proper description is UCNX does electro/coldwave/bluegrass/new age with a hint of motown vocals. :)

Marco: You wrote about your album on a "famous coldwave discussion board": "No HELLEKTRO, no screaming about war and dead things, no mindless 00ntz-ing, actual singing, electro with some actual goddamn SONG-writing". Have you referred to any particular bands?

John: If you ever see us bring out the bucket and the ladder, then we're in serious song-writing mode. UCNX is 100% Preset Free.

Doug: We're not trying to slag anyone in particular. If Hellektro or whatever is your thing then go out there and support it. And we certainly won't lie and say we don't like some of the things mentioned. I'm an unabashed Hocico fan, for one. What we were referring to was bands that can't or won't break out of those boundaries, or who take advantage of how easy it is to obtain some soft-synth progs and call yourself a band. Seriously, how many more Genocide Commando 23's can you have? There's a fine line between influence and imitation. It's a point of pride for us, being primarily an electro-industrial act to be able to factor in so many other influences, such as guitars or IDM & noize. One of our goals when we started getting serious about this was to be one of the only bands making EBM or electro music but using rock-style vocals (of which Imperative Reaction has proceeded to do extremely well and scare the shit out of us in the process!) And it's so easy to just download FruityLoops now and make a few sequences and call yourself a band. It's obvious a lot of new bands don't take the time to study the music they like, figure out what works and why; to write an album instead of just a bunch of songs, or a song instead of just a bunch of loops.

Marco: Artists have been trying different ways to promote and sell their music. Your album is available for a download in the major legal online stores but you pressed 100 copies with Momt Records. An interesting promotion of yours is where a listener needs a barcode from the physical E.P. to download and open an extra file content. What's your comment on this?

Doug: We're not above bells & whistles to help sell a few more units :) But not at the expense of anyone who's a true fan. None of this 4 bonus tracks each only available if you buy the album from 4 different stores bullshit. But the true fan should be rewarded, and so both us and the label proposed the 'Eckstraschitt' EP of b-sides and mixes be given to anyone who bought the album. And it's 2008, anyone who just nabbed the album from the torrents certainly knows how to nab the bonus tracks the same way. But if anyone bought the album digitally and can't get the bonus EP they're more than welcome to Myspace or e-mail us and we'll give them a copy ourselves. Just prove you're listening, that's what's really important.

John: And if any fan bought the CD from Target.com, e-mail us and we'll hook you up with something special for doing that. Honestly, we're really interested to see how that worked out.

NINa: Momt Records is a record label you're signed to. Do they fulfill your expectations, are they very helpful in UCNX music and associated events promotion?

John: They handled the Chemlab Tribute CD we assembled prior to Ab0 and that ran with no problems. So we knew MoMT Records would fulfill our expectations.

Doug: MoMT has been very helpful indeed, mostly so just by giving a new band a chance. So many labels now are afraid of losing returns so they won't give you a second thought until you have a full discography behind you already. I see the business sense in that, but it hurts so many newcomers out there with something to give the world. Would we like to be in every major store in the country? Of course, but we're not in the business of looking gift horses in their mouths, and we're very grateful for all Ian has done for us. And there are some prestigious acts on this label we're honored to say. And we don't just say that because we're deathly afraid of Christian (K-Nitrate/Audio War) & that board-with-a-nail-in-it he carries around...

NINa: As far as I know you've been hanging out mostly with Chemlab and Cyanotic teams so far. You've also known each other with John since the 2nd grade. Have you ever thought you'd be making music or did you plan other future for you? Is making music an escape from daily tasks or is it going to be your main life goal?

Doug: It's all of those things. We've actually been making music for over 10 years now, but only really got serious about it within the past few years. Believe me I kinda hate having a debut release at age 27 when we really hit our stride at age 21, but what can you do? Keep going that's what. We definitely want to leave a legacy behind, and that's even more important now that people are really listening. The goal is to get paid for what you love, but even if there's no money, you still have love. And we love making music. UCNX is here to stay. Sorry bitches!!!

John: Yep we'll be cranking out tunes even when we are 85 years old. The Rolling Stones of the industrial scene. LOL.

Marco: Do you plan to go on tour as a support act or to promote the full release in the near future?

Doug: Eh, I have to lose a little more weight first. LOL. :) Actually we're looking things over. Money and work schedules are working against us at the moment, but with the acquisition of a potential live drummer & guitarist now it might become feasible. No 2 guys and a keyboard for us.

John: If we ever do live shows, it would be one-off shows here and there or maybe a UCNX karaoke tour.

NINa: Doug wrote a few reviews for Mindphaser's Front Line Assembly, Delerium but also for Cubanate what I found over the Internet. How much do press and the internet give a spin to music trends these days if it seems like everything was said and done in the music matter? Do you expect a music messiah's coming ever because there haven't been any more revelations on the rock music scene since grunge?

Doug: It seems that everything 20 years old just gets regurgitated with a new spin to it anyway. Look at the rise in Nu-Wave stuff over the past few years... most of it just sounds like remixed New Order to me. I don't know is a "messiah" will ever come because if you look at it technology is always moving towards making everything easier now as opposed to true innovation. Industrial rose because people started to utilize these new machines that started to become more readily available, capable of making new sounds and doing new things that previous instruments couldn't. Now it seems to be just "how can I download this faster, how can I get more people to view my favorite movies and see how funny I am." I think in times like these, on the verge of a cultural revolution (or maybe ice age) that Brian Backlash and I have spoken about at length, the way to go is to master your craft. If every story's been heard before, find new ways of telling them.

As for the press, it can definitely always make or break a band. Popular opinion has always had that power. But money has always been stronger, and so we've seen the demise of a lot of great resources for bands now, not to mention the fact there's no more music on Music Television. But thanks to institutions like Fabryka and Re:Gen and hard working people like NINa, Ilker, & Brian Backlash, new bands like us can still get a voice and reach more people than we ever could shouting from our little corners of the web. Thanks for everything guys!

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