DH: As a begin could you please tell me a little bit about you and your artistically development. How did Alien Sex Fiend start out? Which musicians are involved?
Nik Fiend : I didn't feel that there was anything going on that was exciting, nothing new coming up ....
Mrs Fiend : Bands like Killing Joke, Bauhaus & The Cramps had all gone onto the next level, playing bigger venues, & we couldn't see anything new...
Nik Fiend : that we found interesting following behind those bands ... we used to get together with the original guitarist, Yaxi, & Johnnie Ha ha (drummer) & draw mad pictures, we'd make mad noises, we were just having a laugh really. Then I told them we should go do some recording, I had done it before but they hadn't so I knew how to do it. We just made it up as we went along, we did some sessions in a couple of recording studios during the summer of 1982 & I made up some cassette tapes from that...
Mrs Fiend : Parts of those tapes were later released as the CD "The Legendary Batcave Tapes".
Nik Fiend : One music magazine used to have a demo tape section so I sent ours in, the review said we were the ugliest thing in the name of music & that we made the Birthday Party sound like ABC, & Killing Joke sound like the Go Gos... Ollie (of The Specimen) who was running the Batcave Club in Soho in London immediately phoned up & offered us a gig there!
Mrs Fiend : & the rest as they say is history!
Nik Fiend : So it's still the same really, I still do mad drawings, that goes hand in hand with the music. The music is still not "normal" ! We've never compromised or sold out, I like being more underground...
Mrs Fiend : Also, no-one was really using any visuals on-stage, so we brought the theatre thing in & mixed it up with the art & music. A lot of the smaller clubs would just have a brick wall or something boring behind the stage, it wasn't very interesting for the audience to look at, so we got hold of a backdrop & then added the webbing, it looked great even if the lighting was basic.
Nik Fiend : We used broken TV sets, painted up, a refrigerator full of red paint that Mrs F used to put her equipment on.... Mrs Fiend : I didn't have much when we started off so it all fitted! Over the years as we have gathered other bits of equipment & props they have been integrated into what we do. So it's all been an organic process, new things coming in bit by bit, & the music has been the same. We have learnt as we've gone along. But we have always kept what I suppose is a punk sort of idea - that of the "do-it-yourself" attitude.
DH: Why did you choose the name Alien Sex Fiend? Do you want to express something with the name?
Nik Fiend : I toyed around with the name for about 2 weeks, drawing it out, making up logos with it. & I felt there were so many different meanings to the words that it was inexhaustible. The other option was "The Boneshakers" which was more a psychobilly type name & but I felt that it would have restricted us. Although we did have psychobilly elements in what we did (like The Cramps) there was a load of other elements to both the music & the visual side that I had in mind that were no way of that genre... so Alien Sex Fiend was much more flexible, also it was unforgettable. Once heard, never forgotten! So that's why I chose it.
Mrs Fiend : It's proved its point. It can be & mean so many different things...
Nik Fiend : "Alien" means one thing .... "Sex" means another "Alien & Sex" together are something else again & so on & on....
DH: Can you decribe your music style in your own words?
Nik Fiend : Mad!
Mrs Fiend : Bad! And dangerous to know! (Laughs) It's very difficult for us to describe it, it seems to be "alien sex fiend" music.
Nik Fiend : We like all different sorts of music, ambient, hip hop, metal, guitar stuff, trippy, punk, electronic, industrial, dark stuff. Whatever. If it's good, it's good. We're both like that, we don't just like one area of music, of course we are inspired by other people's music but I don't want to copy it, it inspires us to do our own thing.
Mrs Fiend : A track might start off in one area but then we will introduce another element....
Nik Fiend : & it goes off in another direction entirely. After doing it all these years, the music ultimately will go where IT wants to go, there is no formula. That's why we're still doing it, WE don't know what it is - we just like it!
DH: Your new album is called "Information Overload". Can you tell something about the release. Where did you record the album and how long did it take to record it?
Mrs Fiend : It was a weird process in that it was elongated, over quite a long period of time. We had various things going on both personally & with the band & the record label....
Nik Fiend : We had a lot of legal shit to deal with, we couldn't ignore it, some of that dragged on & wasted so much of our time. The worst thing was that we had to stop recording & deal with it. Also we had deaths in our families, we had to move our studio twice, etc. I think that because sometimes our minds were so tied up with this other shit we couldn't just switch off from it. When we are doing our music we have to be inside it 100% we can't have other things going on at the same time,
Mrs Fiend : We have to immerse ourselves, lose ourselves in our own funny little world!
Nik Fiend : There weren't very many times when we could do that.
Mrs Fiend : Sometimes when we did get the chance we would just listen to what we had already recorded, we might not actually put anything new on the track at all... we wanted to keep the energy & feel of the original tracks & not lose anything.
Nik Fiend : We wanted to make sure that we hadn't gone up our own arses! The only way to check that out is to JUST sit & LISTEN to what you've already done, to re-enter that same place, to keep that same feel.
Mrs Fiend : We knew we had something special going on with this album & we didn't want to fuck it up, we felt that it would tell us where to go with it when IT was ready, so we had to wait until it all became clear!
Nik Fiend : I nearly gave up a number of times, at some points it was so frustrating dealing with all the other crap I doubted that it was worthwhile doing music, it felt like every time we tried to do something we hit a brick wall again. But I think it says something about our staying power that we did get to finish it.
Mrs Fiend : And we did have to get all that crap into perspective - after all neither of us had terminal cancer, so fuck it! We've been very lucky being able to do our music for so long, everyone has to pay a price & maybe our price was all that crap..
DH: On the album there is a song called "Gotta Have It". What is the song about?
Nik Fiend : Greedy people. People being selfish, people having the attitude of "fuck you, I want this, I'm having it, I'm taking it" regardless of anyone or anything or the consequences. People taking. Disregard for other people. People being self-obsessed - you know the body beautiful & all that.... also craving for things like drugs or drink, or rather the depravity of craving. Anyway that's what I think today, it might change a bit tomorrow! All music, lyrics & art is down to the eye or ear of the beholder, everyone has their own interpretation, so I expect people to have their own view of what it's about. They don't have to accept what I think, it's gone beyond me, I've put it out to the world now so the listeners will make their own minds up, different songs say different things to different people. It's not always immediately apparent to me what I'm on about, some songs have taken years for me to suddenly realise "Oh that's what I meant!" There are layers of meanings & feelings in the songs & sometimes the deeper, lower layers, take time to emerge.
Mrs Fiend : Also for me, as other songs on the album hint at, it's also about the question of do you actually NEED this particular thing? People are so busy buying crap that they think will improve their lives & it doesn't. They are looking for quick fixes (as in Motherf**ker Burn lyrics), facelifts, big cars, whatever, so Gotta Have It is not a song or idea in isolation, it goes along with the other ones on the album too.
Nik Fiend : It seems to me now that "Information Overload" is a type of concept album, although it wasn't planned as such.
DH: Since your first release had there been changes in your music? Tell us something about the process writing a song.
Mrs Fiend : As Nik said before we don't have a formula. Our formula is "there is no formula!!" We start off with "an idea" which could be a line of words, a drum beat, a keyboard line or a weird noise, it is something that is saying something to us & we start off from there & build from that. Things like my wacky noises are not just any old wacky noise, they will have some relevance to the song.
Nik Fiend : The songs do seem to have a mind of their own! Part of the fun is that we don't know where a song is gonna end up.
Mrs Fiend : Some songs come together very quickly & some take a while to finish. Sometimes an idea might get shelved for a long time then we'll come across it & the time will be right to continue that idea. They're all different. As for changes in our music, obviously we learn things all the time...
Nik Fiend : We have heard more music, we have seen more films, read more books, more comics, all these things inspire us too. They provoke certain things sometimes.
Mrs Fiend : Also life & what has gone on has an effect on you as a person & therefore also your music.
Nik Fiend : All your experiences come out in your music, lyrics, & art.
Mrs Fiend : So we'd be a bit weird if we hadn't changed at all!! (Laughing) But our essential attitude hasn't changed.
Nik Fiend : There was nothing wrong with what we were doing in the first place & time has proven that!! Actually in our case I think it's "adapting" rather than "changing"....
7. How important is your work as musicans for yourselfs?
Nik Fiend : It isn't more important than my personal relationship with Mrs F or more important than our families, we do mean what we're doing with ASF & we are committed to it but not at the expense of those things. If I could I'd be doing music & art all the time - but that would mean not doing interviews (laughs) & not taking care of business stuff....
Mrs Fiend : & if we don't take care of business stuff we'll....
Nik Fiend : be in trouble!
Mrs Fiend : with the taxman!
Nik Fiend : 13th Moon Records is our own label so we have to look after that. We set it up to free ourselves from certain restrictions but there's a price to pay to have that control. That's the way it is.
DH: Do you play concerts in Germany this summer and are there further projects for the future planned (new releases, sampler contributions, ...)?
Mrs Fiend : Yes! We have just agreed to appear at the Zillo Festival in Germany in July. It will be our first live show in a long time!
Nik Fiend : We don't have a crystal ball so we can't look any further than that. The new album has only just been released in Germany & it's also just now available world wide (instead of only via the website at http://www.asf-13thmoon.demon.co.uk) ) - again all that took a while to sort out & to find the right people to work with....
Mrs Fiend : Take a bow luce music!
Nik Fiend : Our time is pretty much taken up with all of that right now, we haven't been around in the public eye for a while so there are quite a lot of interviews to do! Also we're quite involved with our website. We were involved in setting up our new online store Blue Crumb Truck (http://www.bluecrumbtruck.com) so even if people can't find the new album in the shops
Mrs Fiend : - & a load of other stuff like T-shirts & older CDs -
Nik Fiend : they can still get hold of it online. Without the support of our fans we wouldn't have been able to get this far, so a big thanks to them is due. The fans wouldn't let us go away quietly! So that's part of the fun again - we don't know what the future holds...
Mrs Fiend : It's been a very interesting journey so far, so we'll keep going for a while longer!
Nik Fiend : It would be silly of me to comment on the future right now cos when we set the band up we had NO idea where it would lead, so there's no point in me trying to be a fortune teller - we are just trying to enjoy what we can when we can.
DH: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Mrs Fiend : We look forward to seeing everyone at Zillo!
Nik Fiend : At least we're playing on the Saturday so I hope that people can make it. And they'll have the Sunday to recover!! Or get even more wasted!! The choice is theirs! (Laughs) I'm looking forward to getting back to playing instead of talking about it!!
DH: Thank you very much for this interview and go on having fun and success with Alien Sex Fiend.
Nik Fiend : Thank you for the questions, some were a bit unusual, & as always by talking about things it makes us more aware of where we're at, it makes us think about the creative aspects... & appreciate it all the more. And it's cheaper than having a psychiatrist!!!
NOW OPEN! The new BLUE CRUMB TRUCK ONLINE STORE
Go to http://www.bluecrumbtruck.com
BUY the new ALIEN SEX FIEND studio album
"INFORMATION OVERLOAD" ONLINE NOW!
Interview: Andreas Ohle