Ronny Moorings (vocals, guitar, composing production) from Clan of Xymox
If I could speak of any band that had one of the biggest influences onto my music taste, sensitivity and aesthetics I would CLAN OF XYMOX was definitely one of them. Masters in creating fantastic, mysterious atmosphere, amazing music and unique style they’ve built the faithful, devoted fan base worldwide. With their new album, ‘Spider on the Wall’, they prove they are in a fantastic shape! About new album, music in general and living in Leipzig - with Ronny Moorings
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello Ronny, it’s really nice that you agreed to spend some time with us and answer a few questions. You are actually in the middle of the tour promoting your new release ‘Spider on the Wall’. The concerts take place with limited audience and pandemic restrictions. What is your experience with live shows in view of Covid-19 pandemic? How do the regulations implemented influence you as artists on stage?
Ronny: In March 2020 were indeed in the middle of a sold-out USA tour when we had to return home. Trump banned all flights from Europe when we were in Texas and it seemed the best course to fly from Houston back home. It was already eerie on the airport. The whole international airport was dead. No one was working there apart from one small airliner who took luckily care of our re-ticketing. The next day we could leave the USA. At home we got a few days later under a lock down. No airplanes were allowed in. We were very lucky under the circumstances. Since there were no more shows to do I concentrated on the new materials in this period.
Since August we do here and there a show where all the regulations and restrictions allow us to do a show. We played Prague, Zabrze and Lindau so far. The next show is also in Germany in a circus tent. I consider ourselves lucky we can still play shows in these dire times. Countries and cities go in lockdowns or code red all the time. It changes all the time and it is enough to make you insane regarding the uncertainty and planning. Nothing is sure up to a few days before a show nowadays. I am not sure how long people will hold it out with this constant level of “fear”.
RoD: In ‘Spider on the Wall’ you seem to be returning to the very essence of what CLAN OF XYMOX is associated with. The album features beautiful, atmospheric, dark, melancholic Rock and a dancy tint at times, too. What inspired you while creating it? What was working on the album like?
Ronny: I started working on this album last year. My starting point was ‘Black Mirror’ which was actually written for ‘Days of Black’ but wasn’t finished at the time. All the songs came to me very quickly. It was already a few years ago I wrote the last album ‘Days Of Black’ in 2017 so I felt very inspired. It was almost if these songs were “boiled up” inside of me waiting to come out. In a matter of two months the entire album was written. Many different topics are being touched by the individual songs. All in all I am very happy with the result and with the feedback I got so far it seems that our fans like it very much too. Also the artwork is great. Again Mojca did the artwork for the album. The first single ‘She’ came out in February 2020 just before the pandemic hit Europe and the USA. The single was an instant success with being on the DAC charts number 1. It came with a video directed by Zoe Kavanagh in Ireland. In retrospect this video perfectly fitted in the later lock down feel all over the world. I asked a lot of current bands from our scene to make me a remix for a particular song and released each single ‘She’, ‘Lovers’ and ‘All I Ever Know’ with remixes and B sides which I wrote in the lock down period.
RoD: I always wonder what determines the choice of singles to preview the album. Why did you choose ‘She’ and ‘Lovers’ to forego your album?
Ronny: They simply felt like singles to me and when it was released it certainly proved my point.
RoD: Could you tell me more about the idea and production of the video clips that go with the singles?
Ronny: The videos ‘She’ and ‘Lovers’ were directed and filmed by Zoe Kavanagh in Dublin, Ireland. I gave her full reign to produce a video for us. I delivered her some shots of the band which she integrated in the video. The storyline etc. was completely hers. I love the way she works and find her a very talented young director. The third single, ‘All I Ever Know’, I made myself with archive shots and current vocal ones. I decided on the feel and all is in black and white to enhance the historic feel. The lyrics is about the reflection of how you met your partner, in this case Mojca, that’s why she’s featured in the video by me. It is some sort of “ode” to her. It just came like that because I already had some pictures in my head when I wrote the song. A love song. I know a lot of people wrote me how they liked the honesty of the video. That is exactly what I wanted to achieve.
RoD: Is there a song on the album that you particularly find the most outstanding, or perhaps the most personal one? ‘I do not like myself’, ‘When we were young’, the title song ‘Spider on the Wall’, actually all of the songs seem to carry a huge emotional load and touch fundamental matters. Is making music a more logical or emotional process for you?
Ronny: To me making music is my personal outlet for things. I am a pretty closed person not really expressing myself in real life. Maybe I am too cowardly for that. I rather say and express myself through music and words. So in this way all songs are equally important to me. One says other things than the other song but all topics have a meaning for me.
RoD: You are very independent and self-sufficient when it comes to making CLAN OF XYMOX music - you are the author of lyrics, music and post production - do you find it easier to be responsible for every element of your art? What is your experience with co-operation in music?
Ronny: Yes, some call me control freak. I just do what I do and I do it best on my own where I can think about and feel the track on my own without any disturbance or interruption. I tried in the past to create songs with people but it always did not quite work. The result was people frustrated with me in the end. This way I do not “hamper “ anyone.
RoD: You have been present on alternative stage for almost 40 years and you keep being faithful to your original sound, keep performing and being creative. Is the love for music the reason you manage to do it this long? Or there are other reasons?
Ronny: Well, I did try out some “experiments” with my music and style, even personal appearance but I found in the end the true me was just in me and I should listen to that and nothing else. Indeed I love music , it is what I do on a daily basis : I am always doing something related to music. If I don’t do the band I also DJ once in a while. I can’t imagine a world without music and yet with this Covid crisis we are hard on the way to kill it all.
RoD: Do you think line-up changes in a band are necessary? Do changes bring a new vibe, help to prevent you from falling into routine or are they rather a natural thing?
Ronny: It is more a natural way things evolve. Not everyone in the band is actually doing music all the time and it can happen that over time they have to choose for a career or family life. Since I work with friends it is for me very pleasurable to be on tour with them.
RoD: What do you find the best about being an artist, a musician?
Ronny: I can only comment on the pre Covid times because at the moment it is unbearable to be a musician. No one can got on a real tour or play for their fan base in most countries. Pre Covid I find it’s great feeling to be able to travel the world and play for large crowds, meeting fans, and seeing and feeling the reaction of them during the shows. This gratification you cannot emulate with castings or the sort. Live is live with people! So the best would be when we can pick it up where we left it. I fear however (and maybe we also have to rethink touring the way we did ) that travel will not that easy anymore in the near future. It will be a long way from here and hopefully in a much greener way than before.
RoD: How do you feel your idea of music, related aesthetics, sensitivity, world overview and you as an artist have changed through years? How is it represented on ‘Spider on the Wall’?
Ronny: A change goes slowly, mostly unnoticed. A radical change would be a revolution. Observing your own change is the most difficult. When you look into the mirror each day you hardly won’t see any change but your friends who haven’t seen you for a few years will see the change immediately . That goes also for music. Change creeps in slowly and taste changes gradually but not obviously. ‘Spider On The Wall’ is just an album which came out of me very fast and spontaneously, without any concern for how people would conceive the end result. I am more than pleased it got such an impact.
RoD: You keep inspiring people by your music and lyrics. Who are the people that listen to your music? Has the profile of your audience changed in your view? In what way do the meetings with your fans inspire you in return?
Ronny: The people who listen to my music are certainly the alternative ones. When I meet and greet with people I most of the time hear stories about how my music has had an impact in their lives or anecdotes about a situation , how people met on the dance floor etc. It is all just mostly very flattering.
RoD: Can you imagine life without music? Or is it your integral part?
Ronny: Like I said: Music is my life and no life without music.
RoD: Is Leipzig still inspiring to you? Have you ever regretted moving to the city? What is the best about living there?
Ronny: Are you kidding me ? Leipzig is the best thing ever happening to me. I love this city and will never move from here. It is an ideal city, 700,000 inhabitants, lots of green zones, capital of WGT, the most monumental buildings of Germany and Leipzig is now discovered by a lot of people who want to live here and is already called Hype zig. We still have a relative corona free experience here. Nothing really happened in Leipzig or the star Saxony . So we are not curbed like anywhere else on the planet. We have a big garden in the middle of the centre so even with a future lockdown (don’t think so) we will be ok… moving? NEVER!
RoD: There are some shows planned ahead for CLAN OF XYMOX (we will meet in Wroclaw on 15th November - I’m really looking forward to it!). What can we expect of you in terms of line-up and setlist?
Ronny: That we will see a week before the show. In any case I never tell anyone what we are going to play. You just have to go to the show and see. Hopefully Poland will still be a country where we can play at that time . Fingers crossed!
RoD: Is there anything you’d like to share to your fans and readers of Reflections of Darkness?
Ronny: Stay healthy and let us hope we get back into a normality next year or sooner.
RoD: Thank you very much for your time!
All pictures by Karo Kratochwil