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Interview with

Alec Fu & Alex Alice of Slave Republic

The newest signing on German label Accession Records, SLAVE REPUBLIC, has already released their debut 'Electric One' to critical acclaim on 12th March. Some colleagues of ours found there are still lots of open questions and questioned the duo to get some answers. Here's what the two had to say.

Daria: Your album has already been released on 12th March. How important was that date? What has changed for you? Are you satisfied with the result, or are there things you actually wanted to do better?
Alex Alice (Alex): Time & money you have for making an album are always limited. So we were forced to emphasize on certain things. On some songs, we've been working a year, others mustn't take 3 days. For some tunes we could rely on external knowledge, for others we didn't have those resources. We know exactly the points we could have done the album better at. But I think we made the best of the time and the money we had and we're very satisfied with the results. Since we sounded quite crap for a long time, we didn't think we'd be doing such a good album once, and we're a little proud of that. And 12th March was a day to celebrate for us. Nevertheless it's already clear which things we want to do better on the second album. The sky is the limit!

Daria: I know asking an artist which song's the best is like asking a mother which one is her favourite child. But could you still write down a Top 5 list of your favourite songs on the album? I'm interested in how big the difference will be - if there's one at all.
Alec Fu (Alec): Here's my Top 5 list: 1. The Driver, 2. (I'm your) Slave, 3. Electric, 4. Number Three, 5. Destiny. My Top 5 has got something to do with the song's genesis and which meaning they have for me personally. I've been surprised by Alex's choices when I saw them for the first time. The two halves of SLAVE REPUBLIC complement each other quite good obviously.
Alex: 1. The Driver, 2. Hadron Collider, 3. Electric, 4. Less of me 5. Destiny. What I love about 'The Driver': The record was connected with a terrible tension and exhaustion and within the C-Part of 'The Driver' all the tension dissolves in that triumphant Synth layer and guitar lines. It ends with this line in the lyrics “let it all go and free your mind” and apart of the Synth layer is made by a backward echo of that line, compressing more and more to this very line. That's where the SLAVE REPUBLIC works precise like clockwork.

Daria: I'd also like to talk about the artwork. I didn't see the album so I'm kind of lacking some information here. Who had the idea for the artwork and did you add a concept in order to rouse more people's attention. Many musicians now put much value into the creation of the design to prevent people from downloading the tracks from the internet and making them want to buy it instead to get all the bonus materials and the booklet.
Alec: Frankly, I underestimated the artwork of the album at first. First when I was asking myself as a consumer I realized I was a fan of well-crafted and nice booklets. And it's another way to convey the personality of a band. It's about much more than just the printed booklet: The lettering, the font, photos, colours, layout, and cover design. There are so many things you can do really good or really bad. As a new band you can make lots of mistakes and we've had long and intense discussions about everything. Some ideas came from us, but we were glad we could rely on some good people, helping us with the creation. Adrian’s (Adrian Hates) contacts definitely were beneficial to us here. He's always putting much value into the visual appearance of his label's bands. That helped us a lot.

Daria: As I see it, SLAVE REPUBLUC is a bit of an unusual choice through its style for Accession Records. How did you meet Adrian Hates and when did you decide you'd be working with the label?
Alex: They still exist out there; modern legends. We've been discovered via MySpace. We were offered a deal by a little European label. Literally in the last minute, Adrian Hates of Accession Records crossed our way. He obviously liked SLAVE REPUBLIC that much, he offered us a deal very quickly. We only had 3 songs on demo level recorded at the time, but Adrian saw the raw diamond in SLAVE REPUBLIC. Of course, we didn't think about it that long afterwards.

Daria: Let's also talk about your concerts. When you started, did you fear to go on stage and facing the audience?
Alec: I wouldn't exactly call it fear; it's a mixture of joy, flurry and tension. Not only at the beginning but at every single show! Especially at the first gigs we were a little more nervous, since we didn't know how people would react. Particularly for me as a singer it feels like there's a very big pressure. I think that most attention is paid to the singer. I had to get used to that at first. But I'm using my fear and turn it into something positive, so I'm awake attentive and focused.
Alex: You'll never know until you've experienced it yourself. Playing bass guitar is so much fun. The louder, the better! I love this deep growling beneath my feet, so it's not fear with me either; it's anticipation.

Daria: You played two shows with ASSEMBLAGE 23 in February. How did that feel and did you like it? One of the two shows was taking place in Berlin. I know that the audience is quite ambitious there. Was it tough to play for them?
Alex: The audience in Berlin is hard to impress since everyone there has a band themselves, is a DJ or other cool things as the cliché tells us. We found they're very nice. One of them even filmed us and put it up on YouTube. There's no bigger compliment than that.

Daria: Shows with DE/VISION and SONO are also on schedule. Do you feel comfortable sharing a stage with bands, having much more experience in the music business?
Alec: DE/VISION and SONO are incredibly good and experienced bands, so we do have respect of course. But you can always learn something from more experienced colleagues. I think it's great sharing stages with such people and I've made the experience those kinds of people are into good music also. Tom Shear of ASSEMBLAGE 23 or HAUJOBB watched us and had fun at the show. So far everyone's been nice and curious. Chats with colleagues really are something special.

Daria: Are there any musicians or bands you'd like to collaborate with, say making a remix together or something?
Alex: There are actually two lists: One with realistic partners and one containing dream partners. We won't tell anything about the realistic list since negotiations are still in full swing, but I think I can give away some of the dream partners' names: Conny Plank (A pity that's not possible anymore), Mr Oizo, Mike Hedges and Andrew Eldritch.

Daria: It is rare that musicians can earn a living from their music. Are you an exception and if not, what are your day jobs?
Alex: No, it's quite the opposite. You need a good day job so you can finance working on the record. There are only a few musicians able to earn their living with their music only. Both of us are having ordinary academic jobs. So we have the freedom to make music the way we want to. I guess that's what you call independent.

Daria: What kind of music are you listening to in your spare time?
Alec: We love to listen to music together. Usually we're making longer sessions, where we play our newest favourite tracks for each other. That can be mainstream stuff like JUSTICE, or the new single of SADE, but also underground stuff like EXPLOITED, ARCHITECT or THE MARS VOLTA. The only thing that matters is that this music is something special and has an emotional quality.

Daria: It's just my opinion but I think your album is very pleasant and interesting. Thanks for the interview and your music. I hope I'll be seeing you live once and I'll wait for the new material. Of course you're always welcome in the Ukraine.
Alec & Alex: Many thanks to you as well and we hope we get to play in the Ukraine some time. That would be fantastic. Many greeting from Berlin & Düsseldorf!

Interview by Daria Szegeda for Ukrainian Support Project Diary of Dreams / Diorama (


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