20 years ago: Interview with CLAN OF XYMOX

Automatic translation. Improvements are constantly being worked on.

(The following interview was first published in the Orkus! issue September 2003)

Nihilistic Melancholy – Part 1

Nowadays, when you put the word “band” in your mouth, you can mean very different things. On the one hand, there are these cardboard-nosed stars who have been plugged together according to market research results, and who are blaring out at you every day from the TV set and the radio. On the other hand, there are bands that have remained true to themselves from the very beginning, that seek their own style and can hold their own with it over the years. With “Farewell” Clan of Xymox are fresher and more modern than ever, but after only a few notes still reveal the typical Xymox darkness and heaviness as ever. An extremely talkative and good-humored Ronny Moorings took a lot of time to chat about himself, the new record and the industry.

Orkus: It’s been almost two years since your last longplayer “Notes from the Underground”. Why did it take so long – by music industry standards?
Ronny Moorings: I think you mean more like, “Why did it happen so fast?” (grins) Writing an album is a really labor-intensive business, where you need to gather a lot of ideas and of course you need a break between records to get the previous one out of your head so you don’t repeat yourself. You definitely need some time in between to find the necessary inspiration to write, especially for the lyrics. Also, last year we released “Remixes from the Underground”, which also needed a lot of work – even remixes sometimes need some minor repairs or polishing, and coordinating the whole thing is the hardest part. Furthermore, we released the single “There’s No Tomorrow”, and I think you shouldn’t overfeed the fans. Touring between albums also takes up a bunch of time. When you’re playing live, you’re constantly on the road, and then when you get home, you don’t run straight to the studio, you take a little break. A little time for yourself is incredibly important, as are other ventures. I still spend a lot of time organizing the biannual Gotham Festival in Amsterdam, and I take a Spanish course that takes me a whole day every week… somehow I’m too slow, I think. (laughs) If you add up all those things, I think it all went pretty fast and could have taken a lot longer if the songs hadn’t just bubbled out of me.

O: Have there been any significant changes in Clan of Xymox in the meantime?
RM: If you mean us as a live band, I can only say that everything is actually pretty consistent with us at the moment. We’ve been touring a lot since our last record and are really eager to showcase our new material. It’s going to be a little bit harder for Denise because she’s starting a new degree program, and that’s going to make it difficult for her to coordinate that with the live shows as well.

“However, if you read my lyrics, you’d think I was doing pretty miserable…”

O: And are there any changes in your life that may have influenced the new work in one way or another?
RM: My life has been pretty stable for a while now. However, if you read my lyrics, you’d think I’m pretty miserable, but I always try to explain to people that I often get my inspiration just from observing people, their lives and behavior, or through problem stories of my friends. These things often trigger me to sit down and write a song or a lyric, and most of the time I try to identify with the subject matter, because of course I’ve been through a lot of emotions myself over the years, and it’s just a snap to switch out the “my,” “I,” and “you” forms. Of course, I also sing about very personal things, like on “This Cold Damp Day,” which is about missing a person intimately.

O: This piece is about longing and deep desire, a love full of self-sacrifice. All other things in life seem to pale beside it and become insignificant. Is this the kind of love that Ronny Moorings lives?
RM: Definitely! I am full of self-pity and love to surrender and let myself fall in this way. For me, “This Cold Damp Day” and “Losing My Head” are the real positive songs on the album. I sing about how much they validate how much that person means to me.

O: I felt more like the two tracks “There’s No Tomorrow” and “lt’s Not Enough” were a bit more positive than the rest of “Farewell” due to the heavy electronic elements – lyrically, though, they are just as somber. The songs are brimming with nihilistic views, even if they are about love Is this gloom an important aspect of your music?
RM: Ha! (laughs) “There’s No Tomorrow” is extremely dark in my opinion, with the rhythm being a little misleading. It’s about someone who sees their relationship dying, but is still trying to save it somehow, while just not getting a positive response from their partner, even though they feel equally broken “lt’s Not Enough” is about a person who gets on my nerves, and who I would like to never hear from again. I’m sure we all have people like that in our lives, and we all just want to get rid of them. But in general, you can definitely say that I prefer the darker areas of music.

Peter Sailer

In one week we will continue with the second part. We talk to Ronny about a dark, ominous mental torture and the problem with major labels.

Here you can read the review of “Farewell”:

The work will finally be released as vinyl and is already available for pre-order at fantotal.de

Listen to “Farewell” on Spotify:

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