REALITY OF LIFE IS TRAGIC AND UTMOST BRUTAL

REALITY OF LIFE IS TRAGIC AND UTMOST BRUTAL

ALEC EMPIRE TALKS TO CHRISTOPH DE BABALON ABOUT HIS NEW ALBUM, BREAKCORE, SAMPLING TECHNOLOGY AND GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Alec Empire: „Please tell us about your new album. What made you come up with the concept? I think it is outstanding that a musician would think himself into such a imaginary world and drags the listener into it.“

Christoph de Babalon:

„My new album „Scylla & Charybdis“ deals with the destiny of two greek mythological figures, who once used to be beautiful nymphs and then became monsters because of witchery. I wanted to work with the story, because i find it very touching. I didn’t only want to emphasize the fact that both are monsters and kill lots of seafarers but rather concentrate on the tragic elements of their lives. The pain of suddenly being a monster, they had no choice and no way out of it. I also like the fact that their fate can be seen as a symbol for the Tragic in everybodys life nowadays, as a very real thing and not just a mythological one. Reality of life is not a polished, beautiful or fun thing. It’s tragic and utmost brutal. Bless those who have not seen it, yet. Most of us will end up as tragic monsters or as their victims. Resistance is futile!“

Alec Empire: „Your tracks take time to build up the intensity. This is one strength of your music. It wouldn’t work as a 3min song. Do you think we will see more music which is longer, now that radio is becoming less important in the age of the internet? My secret hope is that the traditional song structure will be forgotten at some point in our culture. Have you ever felt you should write a „song“? or did you ever write some?“

Christoph de Babalon:

To reach an intense experience, a piece of music has to be dense and compact, rather than just be long. I also feel it is not so much a matter of „song“ or not „song“. There has to be a reason why something is three minutes or thirty minutes or three hours long. If it is both long and intense and keeps the suspense, it’s perfect. I like music that spreads out to eternity as well as having a lot of atmospherical information. Music that really creates a world around you and in you.
In these superficial and fast times it seems like the craziest thing to make tracks that are longer than 5 minutes. It seems to be some kind of taboo, because people lose attention so quickly.“

Alec Empire: „Do you think spending time of writing music is important to reach a certain level of intensity? I think it’s an interesting question to ask in these times, when everything happens faster and faster. It sometimes feels that people don’t make the effort to explore music as deeply as they could. You seem to be very careful about how and when you release your music to the public. I think that’s great…. Too many seem to load up their music on the internet right away without thinking. How do you feel about this?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„Of course, Music is a mirror of society, things are going faster and faster. So how do i feel about this? Generally i think, a great work could be done in very short time. It really depends on what the idea is. Also how it is done. I prefer spending a longer period of time on making records, because i discovered for myself that i can go deeper into the feelings and sounds. I try to create different worlds, that takes more concentration and time. For me and the listener. The first idea and selection of instruments usually goes quick, but i take a lot of time sculpturing, taking breaks and listening back. „Scylla & Charybdis“, for example, is the most complex work i have ever done, i worked on it for more than three years! Most music that’s done quickly cannot go really deep or last long. I think its not just a problem of uploading fast, also downloading today is very easy. I Like to play with different formats, as i did with the „Premium Edition“, to make people more aware of what they are listening to. i would like people to do things that are more defined and pay more attention to their lives. I have never followed any trend with my music so I guess it’s OK, I have got the time!“

Alec Empire: „Radio legend John Peel used to love your records? How did that feel to be recognized by such an important DJ ? I really miss him, I feel that we would need a person like him so much right now. Someone who discovers new music and communicates that in an interesting way to people.“

Christoph de Babalon:

„It made me very happy that he supported me. It felt like an accolade. I have always looked up to him and his way of „half of what i know people will like and half of what i think people should like“. There is noone to take his place as far as i can see.

Alec Empire: „In my opinion you redefined „dark“ in this genre. Before your releases, Jungle and Drum’n’Bass had never reached this kind of intensity. When they used „dark“ string samples it always felt like a 12 year old acting as Darth Vader or something. What made you go deeper at that point in time? What kind of music did you listen to back then?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„When I started making music I had no intention of making D&B/Jungle, of course i was influenced a lot by Jungle Techno rhythms but the atmospheres i wanted to work with come from deep within me.
Some sort of melancholical longing. A sea of tears, a universe of sadness, a romatic apocalypse. I always took more atmospherical inspiration from classical music and from books and paintings. I have always seen my music more as an artistic medium to express what I feel about this world than to worship some form of lifestyle/DJ- and Clubculture. I make music for people who look beyond the shallowness of this world.“

Alec Empire: „What do you think about sampling? To me it seems that despite the advanced technology that we have today , most „artists“ imitate electronic music from the 90ties. Do you feel the same way? Have you spotted any new talents which actually use technology to move music forward instead of just speeding up the process of making it?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„Sampling is great but i don’t think about it so often. I use technology not to imitate something that has been done before. I use the voodoo of sampling, I feel, I sample atmospheres rather than music. Like sampling a large room with someone crying in the corner on the other end while it’s raining outside. Someone coughing while the orchestra plays a pianissimo. Some poor soul singing in the subway and being barked at by dogs. Because we have this complex technology we must use all the new possibitlities, but incorporate and learn about the past as well. Otherwise we just repeat history, and thats not my idea. The human composer must have dominance over his machines and create something that evokes new worlds.

Alec Empire: „I thought about the whole history of breakcore and I want to talk a bit about that first….do you remember exactly when we first met? It was this „illegal“ free rave near Cologne , in some forrest…if you compare 1994 to where we are now, what do you think has changed and how do you feel about it?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„That rave was crazy. It was very foggy and superdark. Back then it all was very exciting, it was something that just started. This kind of music just hadn’t been there before. We didn’t even call it breakcore. Also there was some kind of youth culture thrill. I haven’t got much relation to a breakcore scene anymore, we are talking about 3rd generation now, and sadly, most „artists“ couldn’t add anything to that style. Breakcore now is just boring repetition of formulas and to be honest the whole thing is really DEAD for me.“

Alec Empire: „Please tell us about Cross Fade Enter Tainment. It is one of the few labels which is still going. Has anything changed since you started?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„CFET is not a traditional record company, it’s a label but more like an art project. So at least we won’t go financially bankrupt, perhaps morally. We have taken a break since 2003, because we had done all we wanted at that point and we didnt want to repeat ourselves. We have received some interesting demos, some new concepts are coming up.
A new era has begun for Cross Fade Enter Tainment. We have started working on the next releases already. Stay tuned!“

Alec Empire: „You moved from Hamburg to Berlin a while back. Was there a reason ? What do you think of Berlin ? Some people look at it as the darkest city in Europe, others feel it’s changing so fast, that it is quite superficial. What do you think?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„I live in eastern Berlin in the former Stalin Allee since 10 years. A lot of the GDR-military parades were held here. A lot of history surrounds the place. That’s what I like about Berlin, this crazy history. Not so much a lifestyle thing. Berlin is very complicated and fucked up.

Alec Empire: „What are your favorite 10 electronic albums?“

Christoph de Babalon:

„No order, only valid now:

Wicked Messenger – Black Tourmaline
Iannis Xenakis – Persepolis
Toecutter – Wetopia
Atari Teenage Riot – The Future Of War
Drumcorps ? Grist
Revolting Cocks – Beers, Steers & Queers
Underground Resistance – Revolution for Change
Cabaret Voltaire – Red Mecca
Atomsmasher – Atomsmasher
Bourbonese Qualk – On Uncertainty“

you can order this crazy packaged album here: http://cfet.com/stores