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front242logoInterview with

Patrick Codenys (keyboards, programming, samplers) from Front 242

Already in few weeks Munich will be greeting the guests of Dark Munich Festival. To make this waiting time easy for you we have found a possibility to speak with Patrick Codenys from FRONT 242, who will be headlining on third festival day.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: As it is known the recent years, FRONT 242 had a little break because the band members worked on their solo projects. But at the beginning of 2014 you played in Mexico and Germany and this spring there are expected concerts in Spain, Switzerland and Belgium. Are you already working on a new material?
Patrick: Studio work or work on new tracks became a little obsolete in regards of what record sales meant. It is important to create and in that matter we constantly change the “live” versions of our material. This becomes the main sound and musical platform for us to experiment. Some demos do exist as possible option for the future, but we need to address a common planning to come together.

RoD: Could you please tell us a bit about 32CRASH, where Jean-Luc De Meyer is a singer? The project's music is quite electro clash while the lyrics are deep: toxic rains, nuclear war, alien invasion, the end of the mankind - so do you think something of that could really happen?
Patrick: I cannot comment on Jean-Luc’s side project except that I am supportive of his work in general. As for aliens, prophecies, etc… I am not a believer but it is good lyrics material.

RoD: In which other projects do  the members of FRONT 242 also participate?
Patrick: It is quite impossible for me to enumerate all the projects! (see Only on my part, I was involved with the band MorF, Gaiden, did remixes for Dave ID, Escalator, worked on several documentary soundtracks, did music for contemporary dance companies, artwork, installations in museums, performances with Red Sniper, DJ sets, etc… doing workshops and teaching sound. Soon, I will release an album of pre FRONT 242 tracks in a project called UNDERVIEWER.

RoD: Daniel once said that it's necessary to dominate over technology when you are making electronic music in order to prevent it from dominating over you. So in your opinion how can a musician control totally that technology. What is important for you: experience, professionalism or skills?
Patrick: Personally, I think the relation with the machine has to be balanced, you are the brain, the concept and the machine is your tool and playground. So, I inject all kinds of ideas, dreams, delirium with the hope that technology can satisfy my fantasies, but then the machine always delivers unsuspected options… I can take them or not. I believe it is interesting to work within limits to frame your work but you should be open to “accidents” when the machine sends you on another path… Sometimes, my relation with gear is also intimiste (not fetishist); I like to name it, punish it or cherish it… within a love/ hate relation. But do not worry, I am not a freak, I have a sentimental life outside my work.

RoD: If we compare the 70s and 80s when German bands were inspired by the roots of electronic music. What may inspire them now? What do you think? And do you try to follow modern music tendencies?
Patrick: I believe that the creative part of German bands and KrautRock, for example, were by far the centre of the electronic music… although English press try to make us believe that only English bands created the genre (revisionism). Experimentation, deconstructed or longer song structures, new ideas, etc… taking the early concepts from Italian Futurist, Concrete music, etc… to the more “popular” music experience is due to the work of those bands. As today, I still listen to those tracks as inspirational material to create. The form, production, might sound old but the creative process and freedom of experimenting remains interesting. I do listen to modern music from Gesaffelstein, The Haxan Cloak, Byetone, etc… to Daft Punk.underviewer1

RoD: Could you name any modern electronic bands that you like and find promising?
Patrick: See above for example (except Daft Punk).

RoD: If earlier in your lyrics you touched upon such subjects as love, passion, romance, psychology, religion, ecology, which subjects are interesting and urgent for you now?
Patrick: Subjects above were developed by our singer but I relate to most. As myself, I am interested in Sound, International politics and human generosity. As for urgent matter, there is no doubt that ecology and nature is endangered – this is a priority and the stand taken by Greenpeace is relevant.

RoD: What is your attitude to mass media? Do you think that its influence may be destructive for people and why?
Patrick: Mass media became a religion for a lot of people and although it promotes the cult of the individual; it is destructive for all the believers who will not find their place in this mess. Also, like a religion, mass media has a certain spiritual and commercial aim in their way of thinking (mostly culturally Anglo-Saxon). They format a sort of global culture where all the films, songs, software, etc… follow the same mercantile spirit. Although it can be very creative and interesting, it smothers the other cultures and identities.

RoD: If there were a battle between a man and a machine who or what would win? Do you think it's possible for robots, machines whatever to replace people in different industries?
Patrick: It is possible but then it would not be because machine being intelligent but because of man being stupid enough to abandon their creative abilities and sensibility to metal and circuits… we are responsible of our future.

RoD: You've experimented with sounds a lot; your songs are full of samples from radio and TV-programs, voices of newsreaders of the soviet TV and so on. And now are you open to new sound experiments as there are many modern technologies which allow to express yourself through creativity even further?
Patrick: New technology is fine, it is the amount of possibilities that kills creativity. Like I said above, first use your ideas, sensibility, passion or sadness to conduct your choice. Then the tools. Technology is just a flexible tool to reach those ideas, or sometimes induce them . New supports, new technologies, can call for a new aesthetic. The music field can be plural-disciplinary and explore all kinds of technologies and fields like contemporary art does. Personally, I kept my way of working back to the 80's with collages, experimenting etc... the old reflexes into new technology.

RoD: As it was already said you used to touch upon different subjects in your music, but are there any subjects that are a taboo for you?
Patrick: No, not taboo…

RoD: FRONT 242 cooperated with many famous labels such as Wax Trax!, Zoth Ommog,
front4Metropolis, Epic, Alfa Matrix. Did it help you in your music carrier? And is commercial success important for you?
Patrick: No, what is important is to be able to keep your integrity and make the album you want to make without any concession… thing that we could do with those labels.

RoD: At the beginning of the carrier FRONT 242 identified themselves with a mirror and their compositions with the reflection of the world in that mirror. Has anything changed now or you still keep that mirror image?
Patrick: I believe it is not only FRONT 242’s way of working but it is the way artist work in general ; be like a filter of the world and enhancing the issues with another language which is Art. If there is anything pretentious I can say, it is that our mind is closer to an artistic attitude than an entertainment one.

RoD: Is for you important the impression that your music produces on the audience? Do your songs have any message? Is there any main goal you try to achieve writing songs?
Patrick: Yes, of course, people’s feelings are important. We do not have necessity a defined message but the way that people interpret or dream or sometimes have change their lives because of certain songs is certainly a nice reward to our existence… although we did not ask for this, we did our music because we first believed in it…

RoD: What are your plans for the nearest future?
Patrick: Staying active and curious of the world…

RoD: In the end of April you will be playing on Dark Munich Festival, what are you expecting from this show, and what should expect your fans from this show?
Patrick: We expect a powerful dynamic between the audience and the band through generosity of music and emotions.

RoD: A few words to your fans that waiting for your show.
Patrick: Keep on being Modern Angels ……

Dark Munich Festival:
Written by Daria Szegeda & Iryna Kalenska (Ukrainian Gothic Portal). The Russian version of the article is available here

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