Electrowelt. com visited this year’s Amphi Festival at Cologne (Koeln) in Germany and had a blast! Great organization, line up, parties, fans! The festival was sold out, 16.000 visitors celebrated in Cologne and enjoyed themselves with a number of festivities, such as movies, parties, except concerts. We had the chance to meet up close some of the band leaders of the electro, industrial, dark music scene and interview them thoroughly for the Electrowelt readers!
We start with Erk Aicrag, Hocico and Rabia Sorda frontman, he definitely needs no introductions. He answered us kindly to our questions concerning Rabia Sorda, his solo project since 2006, and of course new plans for Hocico and he also shared with us his thoughts and some very interesting points of view.
Erk Aicrag Interview – Rabia Sorda, Hocico [Part 1]
1. EW: until 2006, you were almost solely responsible for the lyrics of a Hocico tracks, as well as vocals. Was the transition from Hocico vocalist to solo artist with Rabia Sorda easy to make?
Erk: There was a moment when I felt like I have to explore music in another direction to feel complete. I didn’t think much about it, I just had to do it, it was an inner call. Even though I had already composed some songs on my own, this solo project represented a major challenge for me, so a fantastic journey of self-exploration began. I discovered a whole new inner world that was utterly amazing to me, so as hard it appeared at the beginning, it happened naturally after all.
2. EW: I have read in one of your interviews that Rabia Sorda means “deaf rage”. How did you come up with this particular band name? Does it mean anything special to you?
Erk: It pretty much defines my attitude towards life. Rabia Sorda is a feeling, a reaction and a way of thinking for me. In a very personal sense, it means that I’m deaf to other’s opinions about me.
3. EW: You started out with RS in 2006 and your first successful EP was “Save me from my curse”, which became and still is a big dance floor hit. What are the main differences between your first album “Metodos del Caos” and the second one “Noise Diary”?
Erk: It’s more elaborated, more open. I try to blend influences from different music styles, mainly rock and punk music, along with killer melodies to create the Rabia Sorda sound.
The production details, the song composition, the structure of the songs are just better. The concept and sound of the band really developed and somehow it got to another level. I think it’s our strongest album, and really it’s just the best.
4. EW: I saw that John Fryer mixed your first single and album. How did that collaboration occur, and what are your feelings about it?
Erk: John Fryer is a magnificent producer and he did a great job on the mix of “Métodos del Caos”. He is a hard worker, but at the same time calm and relaxed and he was completely open to my ideas and suggestions to get the sound I wanted just right. Working with him was a unique and wonderful experience. Out of Line contacted him, he listened to some of the rough cuts, and then simply said, ‘yes’. We will collaborate again soon in the future.
5. EW: how would you define the RS sound? It seems like an effort on your part to reach out to a wider range of EBM audience. It’s a different sound from Hocico.
Erk: Definitely! That’s actually my main aim, to produce a sound that actually sounded different from whatever I had done before. That was my real aim. It took time to develop into a sound really different; I wanted to construct a new project a new way. I wanted to do the sound treatment very differently than with Hocico. Actually, I would buy different equipment, create my own thing. I don’t know how to define it exactly! It’s hard… I would say it’s more like electronic, dark, punk, rock, something like that. All I want is to present it with energy that really says exactly what I have inside of me. The main point I would like to make clear with RS is that the energy is very important to feel what is really inside of me. I feel that inside of me there is a machine revolutioning all the time, I have to just let it out!
6. EW: you were in Athens some months ago for your dj set at Sin City club. I noticed that you played some powerful old school EBM tracks. I was wondering if you were a fan of old school EBM music. Have any such bands influenced you in some way?
Erk: Definitely! I come from the Old School EBM, I really come from this kind of music. I started, actually the first bands I listened to from the scene back then was Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, à;GRUMH. All these legendary bands that I still listen to date. I still have all the records. I love this music! Back then I think music was still used to show exactly how the situation was back then. I mean, there were a lot of political messages inside the music. It was used as a weapon to fight against injustice or to tell what was wrong in the world. And I really love that spirit from this music, you know, in a way that’s what I want to do now. I wouldn’t say that I make political lyrics and texts, but it’s important to say …
EW: …but you protest!
Erk: Exactly! I protest, I try to say what I don’t like from this world. I think it’s important to have a point of view of the place you live in. I think if you just close your eyes and don’t want to see what’s wrong here, you are not really living! That’s my opinion. And music lately has lost this sense, you know. People try, most of the bands want to be superficial and they prefer just to talk about superficial things, to make the people not to think, they just wanna party. Back then, people used to listen to this song or make music you could dance to and at the same time to think about some stuff; to give you the feeling that you are participating in the change at least, to make you think about what’s wrong in the world. Yes, I come from Old School!
7. EW: today’s situation in the EBM scene isn’t of course like that… does it annoy you? I mean most new EBM bands don’t have anything to say, they don’t make music, don’t have any lyrics…
Erk: Exactly, yeah!
EW: …it’s so hard to get to where you are now and it’s totally different with them.
Erk: Yeah, yeah! I don’t know, it’s hard to talk to people, to the new generation. Most of them, they don’t care about any situation in the world which is wrong or right… they just wanna party. We were all young, I couldn’t say that I have always cared about what was right or wrong, but at least, if I wanted to listen to a band, it was important that the music and lyrics were intelligent. It seems now that everybody with just two words can make an EBM band, you know! It’s like “fuck”, and “shit” you know! With these two words, they mix them and make 2 or 3 albums! That’s a little bit sad. People don’t care about the lyrics anymore. And lesser bands care about them too.
EW: …it’s their attitude too. It’s different; they don’t respect other artists, the scene in general. They only wanna be famous and party!
EW: it’s annoying even to us, I imagine how much annoying it must be for you!
Erk: it is to me too! I realize that most of the bands right now, they don’t even print their lyrics anymore, the cds, they don’t care! They want people to dance and listen to the beat. When I started listening to underground music, it was something that made me feel special, because it was against sick rules of society. Right now that is almost forgotten or actually it’s almost lost.
8. EW: what about the scene in Mexico City? Besides Hocico and 1-2 mexican bands, which are influenced by you, we don’t really know anything else. Is the scene there much stronger now?
Erk: Yeah! Always new Mexican bands are coming, always, always! I know that most of them have not the big challenge for a break , because most of them when they go out to concerts, outside of Mexico, they get the attention, but the first band they will be compared to is Hocico. For some bands is a problem, for others is everything. I respect some bands that try to do something original out there. Most bands try to do this hard thing, evil, they try to do the Hocico thing. What I really like there is that a new generation is coming, that’s a good thing. I really hope that soon another band comes out of Mexico to really get to see what we have experienced. So far there is Amduscia, which is a club music thing, they got the attention from people, it’s something coming to Europe. I really hope to see more and more bands coming soon. The scene in Mexico is huge really.
9. EW: by the way, do you know if Amduscia will continue to make music after the death of Edgar?
Erk: I think his brother will continue with the band in a kind of solo project. I talked to him on the phone right after his brother’s death; we know each other well enough, so I was really concerned about the situation, when I first heard about the death of Edgar. So I called him and tried to cheer him up, he was very sad but at the same time tried his best to deal with the death of his brother. He said he would like to continue the name of his brother and with the band on his own. Before his brother died, he was about to complete an album. He will try to do it on his own. But it’s hard, because he has all his files in the computer, all that stuff inside there, he doesn’t know how he will manage to put all this together.
EW: it must be so sad, listening to recordings with his brother…
10. EW: so on another matter, do you visit Mexico? Your family lives there…
Erk: Yeah! Yeah!
EW: you live in Leipzig now?
Erk: Yeah! I live in Germany now. But I always try to go as often as possible to see my family, my friends there; well actually my best friends, they don’t live in Mexico anymore. But I still have friends there. I was very sad I didn’t have the chance to do it this year; I am really working hard on the Hocico new album and with the Rabia Sorda EP coming up.
EW: Rasco, your cousin, is still living in Mexico?
Erk: He is kind of living now both in Mexico and Germany. He came here in February this year to start producing the new Hocico album in studio. He is in Mexico right now, he is planning to come back 1-2 months before we go on tour. I think by then the album will be complete. Now he is planning to try and live in Germany in December this year; after that he will decide if he continues living here. he always said he would never go out of Mexico; he is checking up the best place for him to live!
11. EW: when you perform live in front of a Mexican, American audience, or in Europe too, what are the differences? Where do you like performing the most?
Erk: it’s a hard one, you know! We’ve been around for about 15-16 years now. So we have seen so much! At the beginning, I thought European audiences tend to be more relaxed, people dance, but don’t really get crazy! Lately, I realized I was really wrong! If they feel the music…
EW: they act like crazy!
Erk: exactly! Everybody can understand the music in a very special way. You don’t need to speak the same language or you don’t need any explanation. You just need to hear the music and you react the same way. In my experience, I would say most of the audiences are almost about the same. We go to Mexico, people go crazy, in Peru really really crazy! In Sweden, Russia and in Greece for example people go crazy too! I love it! In London, Berlin and cities where people tend to be more serious…
EW: they don’t dance a lot!
Erk: yeah! Yeah! Well at the end we get the people to dance too! So it’s always a good thing.
12. EW: it was a very difficult bet when you started out with Hocico .Your lyrics were in Spanish. Were you afraid that the people would not connect to that?
Erk: You know I never really thought about it; we just did it, because we wanted to do it that way. We wanted to say things we wanted, in our language, because back then we didn’t really play anywhere else but Mexico. We got to do, I think, good songs in Spanish. Right now, we don’t do it much often. We are working on some stuff in Spanish for our next album. It’s not ready yet, we will see! I wouldn’t say now that we will have Spanish lyrics there, but we will see! We will do our best!
13. EW: did you expect it to be such a large success with Hocico?
Erk: Honestly? No! I knew we had something special, we had something to say, that we would do something that could move the people. How the people would react to this? I didn’t know! I was not afraid, I was insecure. I mean, two Mexican guys playing electronic music? Right from the beginning it was a strange thing! When we started sending out demos to magazines and labels back then, in ’95, some magazines were like: what’s this? EBM coming from Mexico? Electro music from Mexico?! They couldn’t believe it! At the beginning, I must admit, that even if there wasn’t big prejudice, some people had them. How people from Mexico show us, mix and make electronic music and not be from Europe?
EW: especially this kind of new powerful music back then!
Erk: Exactly! Luckily enough we got signed by Out of Line back then. They took care of the tour in Europe, the connection was instant! Our first tour, it was really what made the connection with Europe! They saw we were different, they probably they never had heard until then electronic music that sounded Spanish. I think it was like something exotic that people liked. I am really glad that we have come so far. I even have the chance to develop a solo project that I can help from time to time other bands recording. I am playing my own game, we play our own game. That’s good!
14. EW: would you like to share with us any future plans with Rabia Sorda? Is there a new album planned or tour?
Erk: We are gonna tour mainly UK, one show in Ireland, one show in Paris, with Combichrist, Dismantled. We are very happy, we want to play in cities we never played before, and we are looking forward to that. Right after we will complete the new EP, it’s about to be ready; right now I have to complete the new Hocico album, it’s about to be ready in 2 weeks or so. As soon as I am done with that, I will complete the new EP with RS, then it should be out hopefully by the end of the year; that could give us more impulse to go out and play more shows next year.
EW: is there an official release date for the Hocico album?
Erk: No there isn’t an official date yet. But I would say around October, it all depends on when we will be finished, if everything will go as scheduled. We are having a lot of fun with Hocico, Rabia Sorda, playing live, touring. I really feel that I am living a very good moment in my career as a musician and have the chance to say things the way I want. I am very glad to do this.
15. EW: Erk, thank you so much for the interview and the time you spent with us! We wish you all the best with your plans.
Would you like to give a message to your fans in Greece?
Erk: Kalispera, kalimera! Parakalw! Thank you for the interview. I hope to see you all soon in Athens. I love Greece, I love gyros, I love the people there, they are really warm!