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Interview with

Florian Schäfer (Noyce TM)

After several push backs the third NOYCE TM album ‘Un:Welt’ is finally in stores since 27th March. A welcome occasion for us to plt the voice and lyricist of the band Florian Schäfer with some questions about the new release!

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): Now the time has finally come. ‘Un:Welt’ is in stores now! How does it feel after so much work?
Florian Schäfer (F): Well, it’s always a good feeling to know you can’t change anything anymore. I mean, it’s always hard for us to say “Now the song or the album is finished” because it’s so definite. Latest when the disc is in stores every chance of modification is gone. But I think we can be quite proud of Un:Welt. I was already in a store and bought our CD. I always do that with a new CD of ours. If I’m poised to spent money for a NOYCE TM CD even though I have own CDs I’m entirely sure we can expect our fans to put up with an album of us, in this case Un:Welt, as well.

RoD: How are the reactions of the press to the new material? Rather mixed up or largely positive?
F: Well, what I read and picked up so far is more than positive again. I think, without any arrogance, that we’ve created a very valuable album. Production and artwork are consistent and leave no room for something negative. Actually, you can only say whether you like the songs or not and that’s a matter of taste! Luckily, all the songs get very positive feedback so far and this surely might be due to us managing to create much diversified music again.

RoD: Let’s go a little more into detail. The spelling of the album title ‘Un:Welt’ instead of ‘Unwelt’ surely is no coincidence. You did that for a certain reason and I can’t believe that it’s the sole meaning of the ‘un’ prefix as negation of every word it precedes, so what was your intention for this spelling?
F: Actually there’s hardly any words starting with ‘Un’ and being positive. It matches the mood of the album very well. The topics on the album then leave no room for another following word than ‘Welt’. It was the same back then with ‘Un:Jahre’ “Un” brings for instance “Wasted Years” or “Unreal World” straight to the point with only two letters.

RoD: The cover is showing the foggy skyline of New York including the well-known Twin Towers which you can still see very clear. Why those strong symbolism and why isn’t the torch of the statue of liberty burning but smoking. Has the torch of liberty gone out?
F: Exactly! For me the statue of liberty stands for the global freedom and not for the US. I just like it when things first bring up questions on second sight, thus the dead torch actually is a symbol for the no more existing freedom. Even if we’re not aware we’re already being observed more than we want. Be it with cameras in the city, computer surveillance or an NSA satellite able to see if I’m picking my nose right now. Even so we consider ourselves a free world. The Twin Towers in the picture are still standing because it is my strong belief that if the Bush administration would have acted differently in some situations they still would be there.

RoD: How did you come across Christian Bonannen who’s, according to your homepage, responsible for the cover artwork and one more word about the cover: Somehow I got the impression that the smoking torch is the origin of all that haze or am I wrong here?
F: I came up with the idea for the statue of liberty and stumbled across that picture in the course of my quest and after some mails with Christian everything was approved. Regarding the haze and the torch: Of course we modified the picture in parts, added a little haze to create this impression! I think it has become a quite expressive cover intended to bring up questions we can hopefully answer with the songs and lyrics on the album.

RoD: Did the concept, subjacent to ‘Un:Welt’ develop in the course of writing and producing the songs or was the conceptual frame already set before you started working on the album?
F: Actually it was clear to me after the ‘Our World EP’ how the album would be called and which topics it would deal with. The text not only conveys the negative but also the feeling to stand up and not take it all anymore and so is the album as well. We’re dealing with many topics but without telling how the solution looks like with a pointed finger. We’re no politicians but I think every once in a while you can even address unpleasant things.

RoD: Now I’d like to elaborate on some of the songs a little starting with ‘This World’ and ‘The Last Effort’ sharing a very strong contextual connection in my opinion as if dealing with the same story only at different points of a timeline Is that something you can agree to or was the intention behind these songs a different one?
F: No, you’re absolutely right! With a concept album it is very important for us that it’s consistent in the end, hat is, has a beginning and an end. After the rather thoughtful intro, ‘This World’ stands for irony and doubt. Due to its very melodious character you easily fail to hear the irony in the second part of the chorus. It’s indeed a to ‘The Last Effort’ with the difference that the exhilarating start on ‘This World’ ends on ‘The Last Effort’ with the fiction of a revolution with gasmasks after a nuclear assault. The repetition of the ‘This World’ melody is meant to underscore the stasis of the world, that is, nothing will change anyway, thus these songs are indeed in a very close context with the crucial difference that lyrically ‘This World ‘ is situated before and ‘The Last Effort’ after the nuclear assault.

RoD: The title track of the album paints a scenario as it is already usual in many countries. London is a good example here where cameras seem to be on every street corner and this craze to have to control everything and everyone expands more and more generally. Is 9/11 the reason for this paranoid behaviour or is the ultimate cause a different one and lies even deeper?
F: Let’s put it this way. After the assaults the Bush administration could reason every law with the headline ‘Danger of Terrorism’ and many other states did it the same way. But sadly it’s also a fact that many questions to 9/11 are still unanswered. There’s an internet film, titled ‘Loosing Change’ raising some questions and if only 10% of it is true it would be enough to make you sick. You should really watch this on the net and get an own idea of it. Why this hasn’t been and still isn’t questioned by the people is pretty simple “Tell your people there’ll be a war and the people will follow you!” Word was also that the US doesn’t torture but the opposite has been definitely proven by now. Currently it looks like there’ll be an investigation committee. I guess Bush and Cheney will do everything to prevent that.

RoD: With ‘Karolinko’ you broach the issue of the heavy abuse and subsequent death of 3-year old Karolina. I must say I was deeply shocked when I read material about this case. One can hardly imagine how this little girl must’ve suffered, thus the song respectively its mood then of course is anything but happy and drives you to tears. Why did you decide to pick and work up this case and how was it recording the vocals. I imagine it must be pretty exhausting on an emotional level.
F: I’d like to say that I chose the “Karolina” case because it was the worst story, but is it really less badly when a child is killed in another way, starves in a dark room or is thrown into the dryer by its father? No, it’s not but Karolina is indeed a very deviant example of violence against children. Sadly the world is full of such sadists and swamped parents. For every shit in Germany you need permission but everybody can have children no matter if the parents are able to raise them or not. Back to the topic! Like many other people I saw this shocking picture in the press 5 years ago. Already back then I was deeply shaken! When German magazine ‘Stern’ reported about this case with all its worse backgrounds and new evidence one year ago I had to cry… it was just so incomprehensible. It haunted me for days…for weeks. I don’t know if you know the feeling of having to do something even if it is painful but the feeling tells you again and again to do it?

That’s why I had to write the lyrics and do the video. Today, when I listen to the song or watch the video it still gives me the chills and I have a very bad feeling. Of course that is also due to the fact that every normal human being can’t grasp such a thing! But sadly there wasn’t anything to whitewash - Quite the contrary! There was no room in this video for many deeds of this monster. German child welfare assumes 150,000 child abuses a year with only 2,990 officially known cases, so if the song or the video can help to rescue only one child because people listen and watch more attentively in their environment then we’ve already reached a lot.

RoD: How about planned live activities in the near future. Are there any plans at all?
F: Currently there are three dates: The Elekktroshokk Festival on 18th April. A sole gig on 6th June in Duisburg with our friends of A SPELL INSIDE as well as the Summer Darkness festival on 8th August in Holland! We had hopes to add some more festival gigs but there they sadly rely on well-tried stuff, but hope dies last as we all know.

RoD: That’s it with questions from my side. If there’s anything you want to get off your chest you’re welcome to do that now.
F: This album and our music mean everything to us and it would be great if all people thinking the same about NOYCE TM and taking our music into the soundtrack to their lives would obtain or music legally as we’ve financed everything with our own money! You are welcome!


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