By: Peter Marchione (with Marcus Larsson)
Always an odd bird among the icons of the industrial rock scene, The Young Gods started dabbling in cabaret music, ambient and searing guitar loops before many of the stars of that scene had even reached puberty. Release fired off half a dozen questions at Franz Treichler to mark the release of their new album "Super Ready/Fragmente".
How would you describe the sound of the new album in your own words?
– It's pretty "in your face" since we've been working a lot with guitar samples again for this release - quite the opposite of the last album, which was an ambient one. After the anniversary release we felt a need to make music that sounded more like the Young Gods style again. More like "TV Sky" but with the input of a lot of new technology that wasn't available back then.
Do you still chop the guitar segments into pieces in order to treat them in the sampler or do you use computerized recording systems?
– There is stuff that we play, but afterwards we generally treat it in some way. We use the things that we've learnt about computer technology along the way. When playing live we still use our old samplers, since I don't feel comfortable that the laptops will cope with the heat on stage.
But have you jumped the bandwagon by using software stuff in the studio, like many others?
– Actually we never got rid of the old samplers; we still use them along with the new stuff. But I have to say that we used software sample editors quite early. We used to run the program Avalon by Steinberg on our old Atari computers. You know, tweaked the samples and then re-injected them into our machines.
Do you ever miss the good old days when you were more limited with what was actually possible? With all the stuff that is available today it is pretty easy to get creatively lost...
– Well, in case you have a problem with all the new tools you can always go back to using the Atari again. You will always have the choice to be minimal, maximal or whatever really. I think it is all about discipline in the end. New applications like Garageband actually democratize music making in a way. Anyone can start creating tunes with pre-made loops at home, but in the end talent and creativity are the most important things.
When we created the ambient album we actually chose to move away from the looped way of making music. And when you start thinking of it; not only computerized music is based on loops. Most popular styles of music are based on repeated patterns.
Quite a number of people consider The Young Gods to be the "godfathers" of industrial rock and other genres as well. Do you feel connected to the generation of bands that followed?
– In some ways we do, but I think we were part of a movement and just happened to be a part of it at quite an early stage. If what we did then has influenced others, it's all the better 'cause music doesn't belong to anybody. In some ways it is like planting seeds.
Do you enjoy listening to any of these bands yourself?
– I think Trent Reznor is a really good songwriter and I am proud to be mentioned by some of these bands. At the same time I am not that proud in some other cases, without mentioning any names, or do you want a scoop or something? (laughing) When something becomes a cliche it's not interesting anymore and we've always been trying to avoid becoming one. This may have confused our audience over the years.