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Fix8Sed8Interview with

Martin Sane (vocals, music) from Fïx8:Sëd8

I've known Martin and his music for quite a while now and I must admit the way he drives his career is impressive. Uncompromising, talented, consistent and very hard working, he created a project that is widely acclaimed among the fans of dark electronic music. On the occasion of ‘The Inevitable Relapse’ that was out in 2021, I asked him a few questions - about his creative process, an exceptional creation of his called “New Eden”, but also about video making and why he is not that keen on doing remixes.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: The album ‘The Inevitable Relapse’ released in 2021 sounds a bit like your very own musical comment to movie base, a very structured, stunning, Dark Electro composition. I must say I love every single track on it. Could you tell me more about what was the initial concept of the album?
Martin: First of all, thank you for the kind words regarding the new album! While I still and always will make music for fun and the only criteria that matters to me is me being 100% satisfied with it, it would be hypocritical to claim that the reception of each release doesn’t matter to me. I consider ‘The Inevitable Relapse’ my best album to date and it certainly would have bummed me out if people didn’t like it at all. Whether an album turns out to be coherent and homogenic is pretty much based on dumb luck. I take things song by song, meaning, each song has to work individually. Sometimes the sum of 10-12 songs makes for a “conceptual” album like in this case or with ‘Foren6’, sometimes it’s more of a collection of hopefully individually good songs like it was the case with ‘Warning Signs’. I don’t plan these things in advance since I feel it would limit my options within song-writing. Having said that, for the next album I actually DO have a very concrete concept in mind, regarding both, structure and sound. So far it’s been going well but I wouldn’t sacrifice an otherwise perfect song just to make this concept work.

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RoD: The musical canvas for the album is very dynamic, yet it features a spacious, a bit profound tint to it. Do you have a particular effect that you have in mind when you start working on the album or the final effect comes during the work?
Martin: I like my electronica dark and eerie. Or aggressive. Or a combination of both. And within that, I like diversity in sound and structure. Repetition bores me easily, so these are the parameters. The process differs from song to song. Sometimes it starts out a certain way and I think I “know” how to continue or even see the entire path of it unfold in front of me only to discover later that this doesn’t work at all for me or, more or less coincidentally, something unexpected works much better. And then, much rarer though, I follow through with this path and things come to me rather easily. ‘eNIGMa’ for example turned out to be exactly how I imagined it right after writing the opening sequence. ‘mETABOLITe’ on the other hand has gone through tons of changes and versions until I found what I was looking for. So again, chance always factors into the process to a certain degree.

RoD: You put a great deal of your own work - as usual I’d say - to promote your releases. Do you think it works the best way to do it yourself - wouldn’t you rather have a manager do this sort of promo stuff for you? I mean, I realize you’ve always been a self-made man, but I’m thinking - perhaps something might change in this respect? Like a big, fat PR agency coming into play?
Martin: Could it be that you drastically over-estimate the success of the band and the work that comes with it? Well, I do have a label (Dependent Records) which of course does its share of promotion. And I know many signed bands who are glad they don’t have to do any of it themselves. I on the other hand truly enjoy this whole process of promoting an album. I love writing and posting on FB, communicating with people directly, getting feedback from them. I think people prefer to hear and read from the band itself, rather than some soulless label or PR agency. I’ve been doing this for so long now that they could tell immediately if the post wasn’t written by me. It’s all very much manageable and I am enjoying it a lot. Should it ever get too much to handle I’d rather pull the brakes and slow things down. Definitely wouldn’t hire an agency to do it for me.

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RoD: I also wanted to ask about the videos that go with ‘The Inevitable Relapse’, like e.g., ‘Chlorine Clean Tears’, ‘Pale Light Shadow’ or ‘Tremors’ (with Emke from BLACK NAIL CABARET) - the atmosphere for those is dark and disquieting. What is the video-making process in your case - do you have one team working with you?
Martin: The funny thing is that each of those videos was made by a different person! In general, and considering FÏX8:SËD8 status of being a small, barely known band, I don’t see a point in making super-lavish and expensive videos. Some sort of visual representation is important though, for the simple reason that videos get shared more often than some Bandcamp link. Within the parameters of a certain (small) budget and the visuals matching the atmosphere of the particular song, the creator of the video has all the freedom they want. I’ve started making my own baby-steps into the world of video-making and ‘cHLORINe cLEAn tEARs’ was actually put together by me. It’s certainly not great but good enough in my opinion. The footage matches the music and it’s edited accordingly to beat and song-structure. That’s pretty much the only requirement I have for the vids. Sure, you can go all fancy and creative and pump dozens of FX, transitions, layers and filters into it. Maybe one day I’ll get there but frankly, I don’t see a necessity for this.

RoD: You are consequently following the dark electro, EBM path. Haven’t you ever thought of flirting with other musical genres?
Martin: I have a shockingly narrow horizon when it comes to music and there isn’t much I truly like. And since I want to make music, I enjoy myself, it’s pretty much narrowed down to Dark Electro. Within this, there is of course room for expansion. Introducing new elements, sounds, structures etc. But it will most likely never be too drastic. Hopefully enough though, to avoid all albums sounding the same. ‘TIR’ is my fifth album and I did notice that I have a certain working pattern, preference for certain sounds and recurring themes. On the one hand, this is almost impossible to avoid once you’ve written a certain number of songs and also these are the things that give a band their “signature sound”, so it’s not a bad thing per se. On the other hand, I am consciously trying to include new sounds in the next release, while maintaining some of the “signature” sounds as well. A slow, gradual expansion so to say.

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RoD: Further to that question - what are the bands that are currently inspiring you or the ones that you personally find noteworthy? You often mention BLACK NAIL CABARET, but also G.O.L.E.M. or PYRROLINE for instance...
Martin: I am good friends with G.O.L.E.M. and PYRROLINE and all three bands you’ve mentioned have fantastic new albums out. The beauty (and curse) of the internet is that you have a platform that you can use to share your music. So of course, I am supporting these bands as much as I can as they do for me. Besides those three I am listening to CRYO a lot and I really love the new PLACEBO EFFECT album. New MILDREDA, 2ND FACE, OBEJCT and FULL CONTACT 69 albums are in the cooking, so this is something I am looking forward to. As for inspiration, I notice, now that I am thinking about it, that for the songs I’ve already written for the next release I haven’t been inspired by anything I know. I bought a bunch of new VSTs and the inspiration comes from fooling around with them and exploring new directions in sound and structure.

RoD: On the 22nd of March you released a remix for PYRROLINE’s ‘Battleground’. You said yourself that you rarely do remixes. Why is that?
Martin: Yeah, I don’t know how he convinced me to do it... I love the original and remixing a perfect song is kinda pointless in my opinion. I hope I could give it a bit of a different perspective and interpretation and I actually did enjoy working on it but in general, I prefer to use the time and ideas for my own songs rather than remixes. I’ve never “learnt” to fully appreciate remixes. I understand it’s an art on its own, it’s simply not my cup of tea.

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RoD: Please tell me more about the idea of ‘New Eden’. It’s definitely an exceptional thing.
Martin: The concept of the new album is to make eight songs, each eight minutes long. The name of the new album will be ‘Octagram’ and it will revolve around the symbolism of the number eight. There, you’ve heard it first! Again, this idea was born out of a pure coincidence. The first new song I wrote turned out to be 8:30 minutes long which led to the concept. ‘New Eden’ is the second song I made and I have finished a third since. It is extremely satisfying to finish a monster of a song like this. They all consist of several parts, ‘An Unquiet Mind’, the first demo, consists of seven different parts so it’s like writing seven short songs. That alone is difficult and time-consuming but the trickiest part is to make those many snippets work as one coherent song. So far, it’s been going surprisingly well but I do get stuck more often than I did previously and I need longer breaks in between finished songs. It is very draining, almost exhausting, and it takes longer to recharge and be able to approach a new song with a fresh mind. Besides the very different structure, I am adding more noisy elements, mainly in drums and percussion but also in bass and pads. It all sounds a bit grittier and harsher. If I manage to come up with enough ideas for 5 more songs this could become a very interesting artsy fartsy-album and my pretentious vanity-project.

RoD: On releasing it you mentioned in your statement you were worried it could reduce your fanbase. Are you at a point that you still worry about the feedback you receive? Do you take your fans’ opinions into consideration while working on new material?
Martin: I didn’t say I was worried. But I am aware of it being hard to digest and it might not be everybody’s cup of tea. You got to give Dark Electro fans lots of credit though. They love complex music and have a very good understanding of it. So, my statement of the fanbase being cut in half was a bit of an exaggeration of course. Those who are into FÏX8:SËD8 have been nothing but loyal over the years and I am sure they will at the very least give it a try and that’s really all you can ask for. With every new release. And no, I don’t take anybody’s opinion into consideration as in actually adjusting or changing things. I listen to every opinion, I think about it, analyse it and then do what I want. The moment you actively start trying to please as many people as possible you stop being an artist and start being a business man. Praise and a certain amount of success are great and feel good but it should be (and is) a coincidental result of doing what I like and not something I calculated or tried to force.

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RoD: To what extent the music you make is personal to you? Is creation an analytical process in your case or rather a spontaneous impromptu act?
Martin: Well, it is very personal to me because I am making it for myself. Of course, some songs age better than others but in general I still like a vast majority of them and listen to them quite often as they were by a different band. That’s how it all started: I didn’t know what to listen to so I’ve decided to make the music I want to listen to. I am glad that this approach and mindset hasn’t changed in the past 15 years. It guaranteed that I will only release a song if I am 100% satisfied with it. The writing process is different almost every time but I do like to start with a beat to have a foundation. Unfortunately, a good, complex beat is among the hardest things to do (at least for me). Sometimes it’s a single interesting sound that initiates everything. Sometimes I have a concrete idea that I try to realize (which as mentioned earlier sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t). The very first notes are the most difficult for me. Once this is done things become easier but given the complex structure of particularly the new demos it’s still just a small step. So, I don’t know. It’s certainly not impromptu, a lot of experimenting is part of it for sure though. As is a somewhat analytical process but I am trying not to fall into too obvious patterns.

RoD: No point asking about live shows at this point I guess - are you planning anything at the moment or simply focussing on creating new music?
Martin: I am scheduled to play three big festivals in Germany and a couple smaller ones in Belgium and Sweden. While I usually shy away from making any kind of predictions, I don’t think you have to be Nostradamus to understand that none of those will take place this year. I am preparing for them nevertheless, what’s done is done. I’d love to play ‘TIR’ shows, I am working on what I think is a cool new concept. Also, I am sitting on four boxes of merch… So, fingers crossed for 2022 and who knows, by then maybe even with songs from ‘Octagram’!

RoD: Thank you very much!

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)
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