On the occasion of the new single release, ‘Heartbox’ (out on the 28th of May 2021), I spoke to Felix Marc - not only about the new release, but also the pandemic experience, future plans, staying positive, and all the new / old collaborations.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: ‘Heartbox’ was released on the 28th of May. Apart from the title song it also features the instrumental version. What inspired you to write the song and what the “heartbox” stands for? What is the song about?
Felix: At the end of last year, I renovated my basement to fit my studio and once installed I found myself sitting there, underground, ambitious for new creations, but without the usual live concerts and club contact. This resulted in a certain restlessness within me. What will become of the artists or people out there depending on the income of the concerts? Will they be remembered? And why do we have this lockdown when it is apparently nobody’s fault? Humankind is treating the environment like shit for ages and now we suffer the consequences, resulting from a lot of little mistakes over a long period of time. Everyone must identify the situation. The world is in a pitfall.
The “heartbox” is a symbol for our mind. It is meant to be free and wild and happy. But sometimes a mind can be caged in, and we start collecting things in it that disturb us. They sit there and rot. They do us no good. Better to face them directly and act accordingly. So concretely the “heartbox” stands for the creative soul of the artist that was caged in during the lockdown. Composition-wise the song was created in a 1-piece-flow. The lyrics followed the music on the same evening at the beginning of the year. Out of a haze of lockdown dizziness for sure, thus very melancholic but with a touch of optimism.
RoD: What was the feedback from fans so far?
Felix: As far as I can relate to the comments on social networks the feedback is particularly good. I am really pleased and thankful for the people who even shopped the song on my Bandcamp page.
RoD: Was the song inspired by lockdown in any way? Was a lockdown experience difficult for you?
Felix: Yes, the lockdown played its role in the creation of the song as I stated already above. The lockdown for me was a challenging situation. It still is. I used to travel a lot - for concerts, but also for my daytime job, mobility and social contacts were usual and essential. On top of the lockdown came the task of homeschooling the kids, while working in parallel. This stressed me out quite a bit. Now, we are domesticated to a large extend in our home offices as we are communicating through webcams. But it is not a state I want to preserve. I am looking forward to return to the normal way.
RoD: Further to that question - some artists state that lockdown introduced no difference to their usual routine, that in fact they had more time to write new material. At the same time, lockdown meant no concerts at all - no direct contact with fans, etc. What was it like in your case? Were you working on something new during that time? Also, in regard to your activity with FROZEN PLASMA and DIORAMA.
Felix: I learned that a lot of artists had struggled to maintain their living because the concerts were all cancelled and federal funding was barely flowing. If you must worry about your daily income and such things, I doubt that you can speak about maintaining the same daily routine. I also believe that the social distancing and global lockdown situation has a certain influence on the artists and the music as an outcome.
Also, our concert calendars were well filled when the cancelations happened. This was for sure depressing for me. Especially, since both of my other projects, DIORAMA and FROZEN PLASMA, had new releases in the pipeline and we were eager to perform them live. Nevertheless, we decided to publish the albums for FROZEN PLASMA (‘Gezeiten’) and DIORAMA (‘Tiny Missing Fragments’) during last year. In parallel, I recently recorded a new single with Vasi for FROZEN PLASMA, which is a cover version of Dan Harrow (MAD DESIRE). For DIORAMA, we recorded and filmed a live studio session end of last year to emphasize some songs from the new album. We have spent several evenings ever since to cut the video material and mix the live recordings. I hope we will be finished soon and able to publish this in summer. There are also some remixes waiting to be released still.
RoD: On the cover of the release, there is a pixelated cage with the heart locked in it. What is the meaning of the image as you see it?
Felix: The cover is a collaboration with my long-time friend Yonit Fehl from Tel Aviv. She is a graphic designer and started her own business creating these pixel images from famous people (pixel.it). This inspired me to do a cover in that style that summarizes the meaning of the song in a reduced, but catchy 2D pixel setting. I am really happy with the result. The cover perfectly transports the meaning of the song, where the heart (=soul / mind) of the artist is caged in by external factors he / she cannot influence. Yonit also animated the music video to the song in this pixelated style, which can be found on YouTube or Facebook. I love the result.
RoD: With the restrictions being eased with every subsequent day the concerts are being resumed as well. Are there any plans for you to play live in the nearest future?
Felix: I am so happy to see the concerts coming back. We need the social interaction and ease of mind of the music for our souls. However, my plans for my solo project have not changed. It remains a studio project. I cannot handle three live projects, a daytime job, and a family in parallel. But I will be happy to infuse some Felix Marc songs in a FROZEN PLASMA show from time to time if the setting is right.
RoD: I heard there is a new collaboration with Lis van der Acker with whom you worked previously. Could you reveal any details?
Felix: I wonder, where this information leaked from... But it is true, after our last collaboration (‘The Promise You Made’), which was a very pleasing result for both of us, Lis and I discovered another song from our musical past that means a lot to both of us during a late-night chat. Basically, the song has to do with some fools on a ship. I am in the process of finishing the mix, so the release should be somewhere soon during the upcoming two months.
RoD: What are your plans for the upcoming months? I think with the wind of optimism and European cities slowly going back to life this question has more sense now than it had, say, 2-3 months ago…
Felix: I will get my vaccination and start being mobile again. Play some longed-for concert shows with DIORAMA and FROZEN PLASMA in Germany, hoping that the restrictions will be completely waived by the end of the year. I talked about the next Felix Marc single with Lis already, but I am also planning to release another single shortly after that, followed by an entire Felix Marc album by the end of the year.
RoD: I’ve known you to keep a realistic and optimistic approach to life. Having in mind the experience of the past 1.5 year - has it changed in any way? Are you still on the bright side?
Felix: Thank you. Yes, I am a hardcore realistic person and still on the bright side. I believe that the past 1.5 years have an impact on how we will move on in our society. This will end up in a new normal with changes and chances for everyone. But the most important thing is that we can consciously return to parties and festivals and meet each other in person again without any restrictions.
RoD: Thank you for your time!
Cover design by pixel.it.art (https://www.facebook.com/pixel.it.art / https://www.instagram.com/pixel.it.art), promo picture by Thomas Wuhrer (https://www.wuhrer-fotostylez.de/)