Hey there, this is DJCYBERCHRIST the second member of VIRTUAL EMBRACE... Mike is massively busy with the new Sero.Overdose and Agonoize album promotions, so he's asked me to wade in and help you out with this Interview, hope that's OK.
DH: Hello Mike. Tell us something about Virtual Embrace. What is the story of the band?
Well Virtual Embrace was set up to satisfy Mike's need to produce music. Not content with three bands there was something magical in his brain that had not yet been expressed in the other bands he had put together. He wanted something more experimental, a techno-industrial hybrid, that would appeal to the club goer... the result was Virtual Embrace. His Sero.Overdose band was already signed to Alfa-Matrix so it was a natural place to sign Virtual Embrace, and in June 2004 the first Club EP was released - 'Evil Roots EP'. I had just met Mike (in his Agonoize moniker) at the Dark City Festival in Edinburgh, and we'd got on famously. So when I heard the Evil Roots EP, I was blown away... and I thought shit! I'd love to work with Mike.
In August 2004 the album -Escape to Insane was released to much critical acclaim. Anyway fast forward to January 2005, I'm DJing in Berlin (Mike's hometown) and the two of us hook up at the famous K17 club - I'm DJing and it's the Solitary Experiments 10 years anniversary gig, and the two of us a pretty pissed on Jagermeister and getting on famously. It really was a brilliant night, and during the course of the night we decide that we must do SOMETHING together... And 6 months later we are working together on the new Virtual Embrace album and Mike has invited me to join the band. Hellektro is released in August and we get 9 release parties all over the globe... it's been a whirlwind ride, but I truly believe that this is just the beginning, there is much, much more to come from Virtual Embrace!
DH: Your music is very powerful and purely electronic. Do you think you are an industrial or an electro band? Which are the reasons for you to make such music?
OK so now we get into semantics... The genres across the globe are called so many different things. I'm from the UK and when I first got into this type of music in the early 90's it was called EBM or Industrial. So bands like :Wumpscut: or Psychopomps were called Industrial music. EBM was Nitzer Ebb or Laetherstrip. Nowadays Industrial means Noise bands like the stuff on Hands or Ant-Zen, and although there are noise elements in the beats and samples we use, I wouldn't say we;re a noise band! Hellektro - the phrase we coined (which now seems to be used for many different acts) is like Dark Electro but more club orientated and with noise/techno elements in it's sound.
I think you can listen to VE song or remix and go 'yeah, that's Virtual Embrace' our sound is pretty unique, which I think makes us stand out from other Dark Electro acts... We make the music because it moves us, why else would you make music? Music is about passion, when the passion dies.. so does the music :)
DH: Your new CD is called Hellektro. Tell us something about the CD. How long did it take to record the album? How did you get in contact with your label Alfa Matrix?
Mike is a really fast worker... I think it took about 6 months from conception to realisation. Mike is constantly creating new loops, recording melody lines and hooks. He never stops, so by the time we come around to recording the next album in May/June of next year he'll already have 10 or so demos together! As for Alfa-Matrix - well as I mentioned before Mike's band Sero.Overdose which is more his 'Electro-pop'ish band was signed to Alfa-Matrix already and so Alfa-Matrix were delighted to sign Mike's new project Virtual Embrace. It's a good relationship we have with Seba and Bernard... I write for their Side-Line publication too, so it's all a big family really. This scene is REALLY small, once you know a few key people, you start bumping into them everywhere!
Why did you named your new CD Hellektro?
Is this a kind of expression for your musical style?
Yeah, Mike wanted to express what it was he was doing with the music from Virtual Embrace, it's Electro - but from Hell! ha ha ha... like they always said - "the devil have the best tunes!"
DH: What do you think personally about hell? Are you a religious person? Could hell be a comfortable place for yourselves?
I can only talk about this from my own perspective... there's no such thing as hell. Sure it's great IDEA, and it's inspired some awesome literature, poetry, lyrics and music through the aeons, but does it really exist? I don't think so..
If anything we make this Earth a living hell for those around the world who do not have food to feed them, or education to help them to a better life, or a roof over their heads to give them shelter. Perhaps if we used the $900 billion dollars spent last year in the world on Arms and Defence and put that to feed and clothe and house the world the world might be a better place!... OK rant over ha ha ha ha..,!
DH: I like very much the song "Welcome To My World". Tell us something about this song. When did you have the idea to record "Welcome To My World"?
Welcome to my world was written at a very dark time in my life. Most of my songs are autobiographical and express some of the darkest feelings that we all have locked inside of us. That's what Welcome to My World is about, the dark feelings and desires we have inside of us and the crazy fantasy worlds our paranoia and addictions can create.
DH: On "Hellektro" you show us the dark sides of human existence. What do you think about the future of the human race?
I'm actually very optimistic about it. Sure there's a lot of shit around in the world and a lot of things to worry about. But there is also a lot of good stuff going on in the world.. we just don't hear about it so much. With every attrocity another human being stands up and says 'not in my name' and that voice is growing louder. And soon the leaders of this world will have to sit up and listen.
DH: There are some very good dancetracks on your new CD. Are you making music for the dancefloor? How important is it for a band like Virtual Embrace that their music is played in clubs and discos?
I have to confess that being a DJ myself, this is something I consider VITAL if you are to make it in this scene. There is no real record-store network, music is promoted via clubs mostly. Therefore it is pretty important to have at least two or three stand out Dancefloor tracks on an album. Once you have the DJ's on-side, the people will follow. I have always wanted nothing more than to hear a track that I have helped to create be played at a club, and now with Hellektro I have had that dream realised and that's pretty awesome I can tell you!
We did a DJ only Promo CD release pre-Hellektro with some of the best club remixes we got done by bands like Grendel, Tamtrum and Pride and Fall along with our own most Club-Friendly tracks. We sent it out to over 40 of the best club DJ's in Europe and the USA, and the response we got from that was phenomenal, so I'd like to thank that DJ's for their support, they really are the backbone of this scene!
DH: On your new CD you work together with DJ Cyberchrist. How did you get in contact with him? Will there be other kinds of collaborations in near future with other musicians?
Well I've already mentioned how we met, and how we got together... would I like to collaborate with other musicians? You bet! I'd love to work with some of the good friends I've made through the years in the scene.. There's a few I've got my eye on, but to talk about that would be to spoil the surprise for the next album, so all I can say is... stay tuned!
DH: Will there be a tour from Virtual Embrace in Europe? Which further plans do you have? Are you working still on new tracks?
We';re continually working on new tracks - I'm writing more lyrics and Mike (between his other projects) is already thinking of what next for Virtual Embrace. I'd like to tour, but Mike is not so sure, first of all I am going to try doing the vocals on some of the tracks for the next album... if that is successful then who knows!
DH: Thank you very much for answering our questions. We wish you all the best. Your famous last words to our readers please:
Life is for the living... so LIVE IT. :) And check out our new website at www.mao-music.de - sign in our guestbook and let us know what you thought of this interview and also the new album!
Interview: Andreas Ohle (für Dark Heart)