Final Selection

With a new album, Anti Hero, Final Selction could break into the UK Darkwave pop scene. Keith Elcombe speaks to them to
find out that makes them tick.

1. For those who do not know you, please describe your sound and style of music.
That’s not an easy question because usually we don’t start to compose with an actual plan in mind about how a song is supposed to sound like. But we do experience a certain mood when we are in the studio, and following this mood, mostly our songs turn out to be warm, longing, and pleasant to hear in the end. If you want to put it this way, we make romantic pop-music full of melancholy.

2. If you would put yourself in a musical genre, what would it be?
We understand that consumers may need this kind of help on today’s vast music market. Therefore, we have no problem being called a pop-band, although that’s not 100% true. If we were to put down a description for our kind of music, we would have to invent one ourselves, which would resolve in such strange phrases as “melanchosynthwave” – something most people wouldn’t understand at all.

3. To my knowledge, you’ve been around for a while now (since the early 90’s?). Can you tell us what was the driving force behind the formation of ‘Final Selection’?
Our driving force has always been ourselves and the ideas in our minds. We want to entertain and make people dream, if that’s possible – we want to show them the way to another world for a few minutes. Another very important factor are the positive reactions from people on concerts or over the Internet. That’s extremely encouraging.

4. Do you both work with other musicians? If so, how easy do you find this? If not, why not?
No. We are working together at final selection for almost ten years – in a way, you could compare our relationship with a good, successful marriage. That means we both know what we want and we understand each other blindly, even if there are some difficulties sometimes. From time to time, there have been musical experiments beside the band. For my part, I’ve played keyboard in a Gothic Metal band for some time and Mario participates in an Electro project of a good friend once in a while. There were also active third members of final selection, but to be honest, it works best with only us two.

5. How easy or difficult was it to secure a record deal? Were you ever put off at any point?
It is probably never easy for a band to find the right label. We were looking for partners who think in similar ways, who are committed to the work they do and who still give us enough freedom to be ourselves. Black flames is such a label. Of course, in the beginning we contacted mostly German record companies, but after a while our attempts seemed to be quite futile. Very rarely did we get any response at all, and oftentimes an answer would include "guidelines" they wanted us to comply to musically. At that time, more and more records were published by German labels, resulting in more and more average quality. Finally, the contract black flames offered to us came at the right time, and after we started working together, we realised they were the label we always wanted. Pure luck... Second part of the question: absolutely no!

6. What bands and artists influence you the most, and who would you say has been your biggest influence to date?
Very important sources of inspiration for us are creative people such as Vince Clark (erasure) and Bill Leeb (delerium, fla). These fascinating musicians have been influencing us with their sound for a very long time, and they still do. Then there are haujobb, the cure, swans, or nin – bands or musicians who can create a certain mood with their music, who can capture your attention to the very last note.

7. How will you surpass the incredibly good album, ‘Anti Hero’?
Thank you very much for the compliment! Yes indeed, the reactions towards “antihero” have been especially good, and we know that the expectations for the next album will be very high. But we don’t put ourselves under pressure, we simply do what we have always done until today. In other words, we listen to our feelings and trust our musical taste. We have been working on the new album for quite some time now, and we already recorded several tracks. We are pretty happy with the material so far, and we also think we have developed a bit compared to our debut.

8. When song writing, what and where do you take inspiration from?
Well, first there is real (or sometimes surreal) life itself, but also literature – I confess, I’m a Stephen King fan myself, as an example. When it comes to movies, we get inspired by films with a certain threatening mood as in SEVEN or TV-shows as MILLENNIUM. Hence our cautious, but regular use of samples. Science fiction movies such as ALIEN are on our list, as well.

9. Have you worked with any other ‘famous’ musicians?
No, not yet. But we were lucky to meet “Marlow” at the Eurorock Indoors Festival and we had a few words with them. We must say that really was something special for us, since Marlow’s “The Peter Pan effect” is one of my favorite albums. Best Greetings to them…

10. What do you aim to achieve in the future?
We would very much like to play live as often as possible in the near future. And if we succeed in getting some people excited about our stories, that would be heaven.

11. What book/s are you currently reading and why?
Right at the moment, reading books is a hard thing to do – timewise, there’s only enough room for the fast-food-kind of literature. But I’m already looking forward to the next part of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower.” I’ve consumed the first four parts like icecream on a hot summer’s day… I was seriously fascinated by the theme of the parallel universes.

12. When not working for ‘Final Selection’, what do you both do?
Mario is working as a male nurse at an old people’s home. Actually, I’m a mechanic, but due to the current economic situtation in Germany I’m free to take care about final selection as a full time job. I’m currently unemployed.

13. Your website if very well laid out, and very clean looking. How important do you think the internet is when it comes to promoting music?
The Internet is very important for us as a new band, since it allows us to make contact with people around the world, people we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. We received some feedback from abroad, and it’s always a good thing to know that there are people out there who are familiar with your work, and it’s also interesting to think about how those people heard of you. The world of music seems to be changing way too fast to survive without a decent homepage. We also wanted to offer mp3s for download since this is one of the few and easy ways for a relatively new band to give people the convenient chance to listen to our music. We could also imagine to put live tracks or a remixes online from time to time. Oh yes, and without our internet platform we would have never made contact with our record label black flames in the first place.

14. What are your tour plans for 2003?
We regret there’s nothing to tell at the moment, but plans are being made right now. Of course we were more than happy to play live as often as possible.

15. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be, and why?
We both would like to hear „antihero“ for the first time. And I would love to visit Scotland one more time. I’ve been there once, and it was simply fantastic.