Getting the chance to interview Collide on each album release is often a joy, and there is no time like the present – So we are at it again, Banging on the creative door to kaRIN and Statik’s minds – demanding answers, truths and generally as much of their attention as we can get.
They have just released their latest studio album “Counting To Zero” and now they discuss working on the material, being fussy, remix albums, today’s music scene and cleaning fish tanks!
Counting To Zero is here – How do you both keep such a fresh and healthy working relationship with both each other and with coming up with new material?
kaRIN: Hmmmmmmmmmmm...It is never easy...I wish it was easy. We just try to make music that we can both bear to listen to and our standards are high.
Statik: When we’re working on music we try to keep things as positive as we can. We’re both going for the same goal, which is just making things the best we can. The problem is that sometimes it’s just not that easy. kaRIN might not like something I’m doing musically, and I might not like something she’s doing. If we both end up liking whatever we’re working on, we’re doing good.
So what new ideas have you been tinkering with this time round?
kaRIN: For me, it is just letting myself get inside the music and pulling out pure emotions and doing it in an interesting way.
Statik: I just try to keep myself entertained...try not to repeat myself from song to song, or what we’ve done in the past. I don’t know if I have any “new ideas”, but I just try to make a decent song with some cool sounds. I’m really hard to please though and very picky about what I like, so it’s an ongoing challenge.
kaRIN: Yes, a good word from Statik might be...”I don’t hate it”, then you know it’s going well.
I’d say this album is quite heavy in the electronic department this time round, compared to the past. Statik any comments about your approach to the sound?
Statik: So it sounds more electronic? It sounds weird, but I never really know how people will perceive a song. I guess there are some sounds where the keyboards kind of sound like guitars, which I’m kind of fond of...like in Mind Games, or the solo in Lucky 13. Overall, I think we have just as many (or few) live instruments as ever...so..I don’t know. I wouldn’t want our songs to be without a heavy electronic element though, that’s for sure or too many live instruments...I’d get bored right away with that.
I’m always curious as to where you get the tiles of your albums from. What can you tell us about “Counting to Zero”?
kaRIN: We take the name from the words in the songs and write a list of them down to see which one feels right.
Statik: I think he means what does “Counting to Zero” actually mean? I don’t actually know what some of your lyrics mean sometime. I just liked the idea of counting to zero. Go ahead and count to zero. ready...go. Ok, you’re done. I’m not sure if you can’t do it, or just say zero, and your done. Either way, it’s not something you normally do.
kaRIN: Ohhh... something abstract about the end and the beginning. I like abstract BIG picture things. Things that can’t be pegged down too much.
Now you both tend to work apart: Statik on music, Karin on the lyrics and vocal work... is this still the case?
kaRIN: Yes, that is still the case... I would like to work together more live as that is fun, but not really always the most productive. As in, I can easily just throw out words and vocal melodies to anything I hear, but it is not always as good as it can be without proper development and then on the flip side sometimes the first capture is the best and most pure and you can never get it back again.
Statik: We’ve tried to work a bit more together, but I can become too attached to melodies that she comes up with, and won’t want to sacrifice that for a change in words...and that irritates kaRIN. And then later, if kaRIN wants to change the melody for the sake of getting some other words to fit, or making up words all together, that will irritate me. Overall, we just try to limit irritating things.
Despite this process, do either of you lay down criticism of each other’s work (I.E. Would Statik ever say lyrics need work, or would kaRIN give criticism on the music?)
kaRIN: All the time. I don’t think Statik hardly likes anything until he gets in there and messes around with it himself...so I translate it to nothing is good enough and I will re-write the song. That happens all the time.
Statik: (laughs out loud) We both have pretty strong opinions on things. I don’t think we have a problem saying what we think about what the other is doing. It’s just about trying to be respectful, and saying what you think in a way that doesn’t sound too negative.
kaRIN: Ummm... I think I am much less critical. I take the music for what it is and it’s my challenge to bring something that I like out of it. Sometimes though I have a hard time pulling what I like out of it.
Once the album is out – do you intend to pursue live performances – it seems to have been a while since you went down this road?
kaRIN: No plans to play live at this time. It is one of those things, we are so short on time and totally obsessed with making music. When we are working on a CD it is all consuming and even frustrating because the amount of time needed takes over your life. As soon as we are done though, we both want to work on something new. It is an obsession, in order for the live thing to get in the way of that it would have to be the right situation. I have come to understand that in myself there is definitely a difference between being an artist and a performer. I want to create things that can be a completed art form. I do not necessarily want to entertain...and although I think I could be entertaining for a short amount of time, I think my stamina for it would have a short fuse and I would burn out.
Outside of the music are you still creating art in other mediums? (Jeweller, paint etc)?
kaRIN: Yes, completely obsessed with all things artistic...just not enough time in the day.
Statik: This is probably the time to post something about your Saints & Sinners website..so here it is.
You both set out on your own label to manage your own work and get it out there – utilising common tools such as the internet. Do you think this has helped the band thrive?
kaRIN: 100%. It is a lot of work though...there is little free time.
Statik: It has at least helped us from sinking into oblivion. Thriving is an awfully big word.
It’s been a while again since you have been using these methods... Have times changed in that time, and have you found Collide has had to evolve with those times?
kaRIN: Yes, in music from the time we started many years ago until now... absolutely everything has changed.
Statik: It’s definitely work to keep sure that everything is working. Things are always in a state of change, and always evolving. It’s important to know how a lot of things work, and have people around you that can help you make it happen. Like our online store (NoiseplusMusic.com) for instance...there are always things to make better, or that need updating...changes for security, or formats, or servers. Our own website too, Collide.net has a ton of information that we try to keep updated. I don’t know if people still go to anyone’s individual websites since places like Facebook, but I think it’s important to keep it updated and current. Look at MySpace. I think there were a lot of bands that just had that for a website. How sad would that be now?
Let’s see how you feel about music at the moment. Is there anything in the current trends of music that either of you have been impressed by (this can relate either to artists, or technology)?
kaRIN: Hmmmmmmmm not too excited by too much musically these days, but really I have not explored too much either. I liked Android Lust’s last album “The Human Animal”, and I really like Fever Ray.
Statik: Not too excited about anything music-wise. It’s sad, I know. I don’t know what the deal is. Technology, I don’t know if it’s anything to really get excited about, but I love my pro-tools system. I’m looking forward to the 64 bit version, so I can run more plug ins simultaneously. I was pretty happy with my setup during the album. I upgraded my computer last year, when we were really getting into making the album, and it was the best thing I did.
Looking to the future. You have previously released re-mix albums as well as a covers album. Can we expect either or both of these again in the future?
kaRIN: Yes, I am sure we will begin a remix album as soon as time permits. Yes, on the cover album too however not for quite awhile as we would not do them back to back. We really like to work with other people’s music though. I wouldn’t say we find it easy, but we find writing our own music so hard that it seems easy in comparison. The song is already there...you just have to try not to screw it up.
Statik: We have some sort of remix thing up our sleeves, but we don’t really know exactly what it will be yet. I did like the way Vortex came out, so we might think of doing a remix album with songs from more than just CtZ. We’re really not sure yet. So you’re just going to have to wait.
Vortex was quite a substantial effort. It was a double album featuring remixes by yourselves, fans and other professionals – and also a few covers. If you do decide to put out another remix album – would you follow a similar approach?
kaRIN: Yes, that works really well for us. One, there is so much talent out there; and two, we never really know what we will love until we hear it. We did mention that we are fussy. We would rather have an inspired remix from someone unknown than a remix from a big name who is just going through the motions. Having a contest enables us to pick what we like and of course Statik can’t help but get in there and tweak it some, so it enhances the mix to the maximum potential. Also, we like it when they come back completely changed for the original. The way we see it is the original is already there. Why not go someplace new with it. It has worked really well for us in the past I would say.
Vortex covered material on both the “Chasing the Ghost” and “Some Kind Of Strange” albums. Would a future one cover material from the new album and also “Two Headed Monster”?
kaRIN: Yes, I’m sure we would offer up songs from both.
Statik: See previous answer
You are getting a lot of play on Television and film as well these days. Do you get contacted by people to use your music?
kaRIN: Yes, we have been very fortunate in that department. People contact us all the time to use our music. We hope for more of that...so bring it on.
Statik: I don’t know if I’d say they contact us all the time. How about every now and then? We’d love to do more, it’s just really a process of trying to make more and better contacts with the right people. I think it just helps the more we get our music out there too. If someone has at least heard of us before, I think they might automatically think of us if the right thing came across their desk. We’re putting it out there in the universe to be on the next Underworld soundtrack. You hear that Universe??
And for the immediate future. What are you doing this weekend?
kaRIN: Well this weekend just passed and it was very busy, packed a bunch of CDs for the new release...went to see my good friend Monica Richards play on Friday, saw Ladytron play on Saturday and was introduced to the singer Helen. She was very sweet with a lovely accent. Didn’t get enough sleep and then we did a festival for my design stuff on Sunday. It was crazy and I am totally and completely exhausted.
Statik: I might clean my filter for my fish pond, and get covered in muck.