Michael Schrader from Tension Control
EBM force TENSION CONTROL do not stop just because the concerts are ceased. There is a new single, a new album, ‘Ton from Strom’, will be out in May-June. And why should the idea of live streaming not actually work for EBM as well? Let’s see what Michael thinks about this idea…
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello …it took us a while to talk… first I’d thought we would meet again in Wroclaw at the EBM event, then the pandemic happened and here we are like this, locked-down and, at the moment - with no hope of any cross-country exchange in terms of music. How are you feeling during the isolation period? Concert-wise and creation-wise? It could have not been totally wasted since I’m hearing there is a new single on the way…
Michael: At first, I have to say that Eli van Vegas and I go our separate ways for some time now. Eli has so many projects of his own that there’s not enough time for continuing our live cooperation. I really appreciate his stage support and his own art, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we find each other again one day. When the isolation started, I was sure we talk about some weeks, maybe a few months in the worst case. But over time it became apparent that our politicians won’t choose a brave way to get through the situation. The bad perspective for the next months brought creativity to a standstill. But only for some weeks, because it became more and more obvious that the government and authorities in Germany are as bad organised as bad as I couldn’t even imagine. The learning curve has not shown any increase to date. The anger about so much incompetence has turned into creativity.
RoD: Please, tell me more about that new single ‘Ahoi Herr Kommandant’. The release was scheduled for 19 March 2021. I wouldn’t expect less of you than a perfect energetic kick, but still… tell me about the idea, production and what we can expect of it?
Michael: ‘Ahoi Herr Kommandant’ was released on Bandcamp already and will be launched on the common streaming platforms on 2 April 2021. It’s one of the few new songs which doesn’t deal with the current grievances. It’s influenced by Hamburg, where I live for three years now. The maritime environment here gave me some good ideas about thirsty seamen and harbour pubs. A little seafaring romance with a military background were a good starting point for creating strong energetic beats. The single additionally contains an old friend in a new guise - a special mix of ‘Liebe statt Krieg’ from the last album. A really danceable version that hopefully will find its way into the clubs soon as they can open the doors again.
RoD: The new album ‘Ton from Strom’ is scheduled to be out in April? Are there any things you may tell me about it at this point?
Michael: The new album will be released in May or June 2021. It definitely is the angriest and powerful album TENSION CONTROL made until now. The incompetence, corruption and unworldly behaviour of our overpaid politicians were a great source of inspiration. Some typical EBM topics are of course also dealt with, but the anger runs through almost every synth sequence of the album. I can’t wait any longer to get on stage with the new songs and to shout out my dissatisfaction to the world…
RoD: Will there be any new collaborations on the album? You started the one with CALM T recently - how did it start?
Michael: It started with a casual dialogue after our tour with DIE KRUPPS and FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY in 2018. Tamás Purczeld visited the show in Budapest. We have been in contact since this time and some day he had the idea to put German lyrics on his music. He had a few words that I developed into complete lyrics. One thing led to another and completely unexpectedly we had a song in which my singing fits perfectly. Collaborations will not be found on the album but an interesting cover version. I revived a song that was wrongly almost forgotten. Let yourself be surprised!
RoD: What do you think about the idea of live streams with the bands performing online? Are you planning any such event with TENSION CONTROL?
Michael: No, there are no plans for live streams. In my opinion EBM only works really live. Without all the blood, sweat and tears, it’s only half the fun. It takes the beer haze and all the testosterone in the air to get the full experience. It is literally body music for me! At the moment I can’t even imagine giving concerts with seats. It’s a body orientated overall experience you can’t feel while sitting on a chair or the sofa in your living room. Maybe I have to swallow my pride someday but under no circumstances in advance obedience.
RoD: Apart from the single and new album, do you have anything else for us in the pipeline?
Michael: Indeed, I have! My own rules of the game to make old school EBM are very strict. I had to try what would be the result to use my gear without my own guidelines. The result is an already finished album which also will be released this half of the year. The name of the side project is MICHAEL MATTERS. No restrictions regarding the lyrics, the drums and melodic ideas. But it has become much darker than I had thought in advance. Perhaps also an effect of this time of the pandemic. I am very curious to see which audience will be interested in this music! Analogue synthesizers only but electronic drums, singing with vocal effects, partly computer-generated vocals, some Russian and French lyrics.
RoD: One last question: what will be the first you do after the pandemic is over?
Michael: Travel somewhere to eat and drink together with friends to recharge our batteries for freak out completely in row 1 at a live concert! I hope it will take place later this year. One more year in isolation will do more damage than a brave opening strategy in my opinion.
RoD: Thank you very much very much for your time!
Michael: I have to thank you, Karo. I hope to see you again soon, maybe the Wroclaw EBM event will happen somehow. All the best to you!
Pictures by Su Firlefanz