Following on from the release of their superb remix album (Goteki OS: Corrupted files), Keith Elcombe catches up with the band who are growing up fast since their Sneaky Bat Machine days! (March 2004)
|(S = SNEAKY C = CRASH)
1. Firstly, congratulations on the new album. Are you pleased with it?
S: Oh yeah, definately! I guess I'm also a lot less critical than usual cos technically this is the work of other people ( mostly ). I'll tell ya though, this album has taught me a lot about the way I feel about my music. I thought originally I'd love other people to play around with my songs, but in the end I found myself getting really defensive and protective over it all! Given a bit of time though, I now think the remixes are amazing, such fantastic variety and complexity to them!
C - Very pleased, I think it surprised a lot of people, especially with its diversity of style.
2. How did the concept of a remix album come about?
S: I don't know really, just something I've always loved and always admired. I was very intro old skool industrial stuff as a teenager, and a remix album is something I always thought of as a defining step for a band. The kind of things all the bands I loved did - Skinny Puppy, NIN, Pigface etc etc. And now, I'm at a point in my career that I'm lucky enough to know a lot of people I admired as a teenager, as well as a lot of people I admire now - and can ask em all to do remixes! You wouldn't believe how exciting it is waiting for your Sigue Sigue Sputnik remix to arrive! I was like a kid waiting for christmas!
3. Did you choose who you would like to mix the tracks, or did you have artists approach you?
S: About an equal amount of both. I also asked fans from our online club 'Goteki Otaku' who they'd like to remix us. One of the names from that was Yendri. She was soooo cool. She agreed to do the remix and sent it back, remixed, in like 2 weeks. But no ordinary remix, oh no, a SEVENTEEN minute version of a five minute song! It was far too big for the album but beautiful all the way through! She kindly let me crop it down to 10 minutes, but I promise I'll release the full version at some point. Other than Yendri though, I think it's mostly remixes by people that I know and work with. It was cool getting Crash to do a track (.Intron.Depot. ), his stuff is fantastic. As Mick Mercer described it "Drunkenly numanesque", nice!
4. Were there any problems with this?
S: Not really... it would have been realy awkward if somebody had done a remix I'd hated and not used, but I love all of them! It would have been rtaher tricky to tell a friend I didn't like their music - you know, I'm glad I'm only thinking about that now!
5. Were there any remixes that you werent happy with, and hence did not make it onto the album?
S: The album takes up the entire capacity of a CD, with no room to spare. I actually had a few bits and bobs of my own that I was gonna add, but as time went on and the remixes turned up I realized their wouldn't be room. I'll make sure it all get's released somewhere though, even if I just stick it on the website for free.
6. Do you feel that this remix album has strengthened the image of Goteki, or added to the image of the bands who have done the mixing?
C - A bit of both, it's nice that there are some 'names' on there that might make people who might not have normally bought a Goteki CD give it a listen.
S: At the risk of repeating myself, a little of both! The whole remix thing is funny really, the sheer pleasure of remixing aside, everybody's drawing strength from somebody else. The smaller bands on the remix CD will be helped by being associated with us, whereas the bands that are more well known than us will pull in new listeners. I hope the CD reflects both of those areas. There was a certain logic to my choice in bands though, I don't want people to think of Goteki as 'yet another european future-pop band', I want people to feel a strength of personality to the band, and I tried to pick remixers all know for their individuality - and they certainly are that - individuals!
7. Were there any bands you would have liked to remix your tracks, but havent for whatever reason?
S: Yeah, for one reason or another, some people didn't have the time or were away touring when it was all being done. I don't want to say who though, as they're all high contenders for future remixes and it'd ruin the fun if you knew who right away. You'll be excited though, believe me! I know I am!
8.So how has life been since Sneaky Bat Machine was consigned to the history books? Are things better for Goteki than they were for Sneaky?
S: Certainly. Everything is so much more open ended now. SBM was in danger of becoming a formula. The last thing I'd ever want to be is formulaic.
C - Infinatly better, As Goteki we're taken a lot more seriously and given a lot more respect, but everyone knows we used to be SBM so we can get away with mucking around. We've got the best of both worlds now!
9. Any regrets about the Sneaky days?
S: Nah, they rocked! POSSIBLY should have spent less time throwing bats at the audience and more time rehearsing, but never mind.
C - No, No regrets. Looking back a few things make me cringe...well a lot makes me cringe but it was all a good learning experience and formed a solid base for Goteki.
10. For those of us who have been living under a rock, what prompted the name change?
S: Really, we just weren't Sneaky Bat machine any more. That was definitely a one album band. Nice idea, but limited. I'm glad I stopped it when i did. Goteki is much more open ended, and I can take it on whatever twisted path I feel is right.
C - It wasn't just a name change, I mean really we weren't Sneaky Bat Machine anymore, as far back as tracks like Wicked Little Girl and Lasergun Music we were becoming less and less 'spooky', particularly asteticly, we'd been 'cyber-goth' from the outset but the 'goth' bit was becoming less relevant. I think the way SBM went showed us that we could actually do this seriously with some degree of success. SBM was kinda like proto-Goteki and Goteki (v1.0) was kinda feeling the waters of being a 'non-comedy band', only now are we truly becoming the Goteki we've been working toward.
11. Whitby X: How was it for you, and out of all the acts playing that weekend, who were your favourites?
C - We all had a wicked time, I swear I was constantly drunk!, Saw a lot of people I haven't seen for a while, met some new people, had a laugh. The gig was pretty special, It was Dr. A's last performance. I think we gave him a good send off It was a great show. It was good to see Icon Of Coil again, DeathBoy rocked as usual as did The Chaos Engine. Sheep On Drugs were cool.
S: Oh it was wicked. I loved it. Apart from the hangovers. We blew up a speaker during our first song though, the cursed 'Do Not Listen to Goteki', which is known worldwide for making stuff blow up!. Favourite band of the weekend. Dunno really. It was all a little blurry to be honest. Deathboy and Chaos Engine rocked. Icon of Coil were pretty cool too. Christian from IOC and I made a cool sculpture out of a warning sign, and sold it for £2. We kept half each.
12How do you feel your own set went? Anything you would have done differently?
C - It was cool, we had a great crowd. I'm not to sure about them showing 'Blade II' on the screen behind us though!
S: It was good. A very important one for us, as it was the final one with Doktor A. I was pleased to end on such a happy positive note, and I think he feels the same. I managed to fuck up oe of our new songs 'Kama Sutra' by telling the audience that it was new and I mustn't fuck it up. Except I talked at them for so long I missed my cue for the first verse!
13. What next for Goteki? Another album? New material? Another name change?
C - The next big thing will be Headlining the Friday night of Convergence 10 in Chicago with the possibility of a few more US dates and maybe back up to Toronto.
S: No more name changes! Arg! It took people forever to get used to the new name! New album, yes indeed. I have about 5 songs completed for it so far. It's VERY different again, much more crunchy and dirty, it's filthy lo-fi biiiatch! In the meantime, we're putting loads of stuff on a cool new website called www.mperia.com - you can download mp3s for a dollar each. It's great, as it means I have an outlet for all the mixes, outtakes and oddities that I wouldn't normally get to release.
14. Musically, who rocks your world?
C - Echo Image, Alice In VIdeoland, Caberet Voltaire, Depeche Mode, S.P.O.C.K., Neuroticfish, Seabound, Atomizer, Human League, Skinny Puppy etc...
S: Anything with style and personality. Too much to name.
15. Lets get geeky for a while, and speak about computers more importantly, Apple Macs. I notice the Apple images/references on the album sleeve how important are Macs to your music (if at all - I know The Cruxshadows swear by them), and to life in general. (for info, Hard Wired is run off of a Mac call it an addiction OS X rocks out!)
S: I've always worked with Macs, I love em. PCs suck. Don't ask me to explain why and talk about speeds and stuff, they just suck. I started on an LCII, then got a Quadra. All of SBM and the first stages of Goteki were done on an iMac and now I have great big supersexy G5. I want to marry it, it's made my life so much easier. Good god I'm a geek.
C - I run Slackware Linux so I wouldn't know about all your proprietary software!!!
16. How would you describe the alternative scene today in the UK? How does it compare to that of 5 or 6 years ago?
S: Different. There are loads of changes, both good and bad. Less people generally go to gigs these days, and less bands tend to play smaller venues. On the other hand, the scene is much more open minded musically now. People aren't so blinkered. I think the electroclash explosion helped a lot. It's not such a chasm between mainstream and underground now, which is a good thing.
C - There is defiantly less gigs but more clubs, which has both pros and cons, the enthusiasm is still there, which is cool.
17. What musical kit makes up the Goteki arsenal?
S: G5 running Cubase SX, Access Virus B ( my baby ), JV1080, Korg Er-1, Casio VL-1 ( rock! ), and anything else that makes noises when you poke it. I got some cool mini bagpipes in scotland. S.P.O.C.K got some too. We may form a bagpipe based sci-fi supergroup.
18.Finally, youre to be stranded on a desert island for eternity, what three things would you like to take with you?
C - 1) A fast PC running Linux and a satellite connection and a huge mp3 collection. 2) My cat 'Fuchikoma' (and a supply of cat food!), 3) Crate of Jack Daniels!!!
S: A Mac Laptop, my robot OMNIBOT that I've had since I was seven, and a Japanese cheerleader. It's like a phuturistic beach party!