Ionic Vision

In 1997 Hard Wired seized the chance to become the first UK magazine to print an Ionic Vision interview. Back then; as a trio of Belgian EBM fanatics, their sole purpose was to keep the ‘old-school’ Electro Body Music sound alive. This objective remains the same today.
The Ionic Vision story began as far back as 1986 when Sven Lauwers began experimenting with electronic music, soon afterwards Andy De Decker and Kurt Rotthier were drafted in to complete the line-up and by 1992 their first tapes were recorded and eagerly snapped up at their gigs. A working bond was created between the band and the Side Line team, and in no time at all their popularity grew, resulting in a record deal with the rising German label Celtic Circle Productions. In 1996 came the release of their first maxi cd “Prophecy” which was followed the next year by the album “Rage Against The Acoustic” along with many compilation appearances and another maxi cd “The End”.
It was an ironic coincidence with the titling of that last maxi cd, as the end of an era was unknowingly looming over them. No sooner had the release surfaced, the CCP label collapsed and disappeared into obscurity, leaving its bands with no explanations or funds.
Ionic Vision hid away for two years with no outside contact with their fans or media, many feared the worst….Until out of the blue in December1999 an album “Homo Sovieticus” emerged on the US label DSBP, signalling a fresh start for the band that by now were reduced to a two piece. The story continues…..
Richard Hobbs catches up on those missing years with Sven and Andy, as the long awaited release of their forthcoming album “NeuMaschinen” draws ever nearer….
(September 2002)

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1. During the early years of Ionic Vision you had a great working relationship with Side Line and their various related projects. Without their valued support at the time, how would you of strived to achieve the status that you have today?
IV : That’s hard to say. We probably might have done some things differently. But the relationship worked in both ways in those days. Both Ionic Vision and Side-Line were growing together to what we are now, as were Aiboforcen, Fuze Box Machine etc. We do realize that without the aid of Side-Line we might not have gone this far or might have stopped along the way. And let’s not forget the fans and DSBP.

2. When the CCP label collapsed, you shunned the limelight for two years, unanswering fan mail, refusing interviews, live shows and compilation appearances…. why did you feel this necessary….was it not a little hard on your fans?
IV : We guess so, but we felt we had to do this. We needed to get back on track with Ionic Vision and decide what to do. We even thought a while about making other kind of music, but this project was deleted before it became a fact. Even before the label collapsed there were problems with keeping Ionic Vision alive. The best thing that happened to us at CCP was the discovery of Louis Zachert and now we found him back, there’s no stopping us. He’s the best. In fact, to us Louis is and will always be a part of Ionic Vision. As is Electrinity with her magnificent artwork.

3. With the departure of Kurt soon afterwards, did you find it difficult to reinvent the band as a duo?
IV : Sadly to say, no. We won’t get into details of what happened, but all 3 of us decided this was the only way to go about it and none of us grieved for that decision. Kurt is still a friend.

4. On getting back on your feet, you signed to the New Mexico based label DSBP, why did you decide to look to the US instead of your own European home base?
IV : We think it was the fact that he actually was interested in working with us. Other labels that we knew at that time were only interested in new music and not in old-school EBM like we strive for. Thanks to Pouppee Fabrikk, C.A.P and DUPONT the scene has changed a bit again, but still it’s hard to do what we do. The input is always much bigger than the output. That is something we had to live with for all those years and we can tell you it’s not easy. Even now we only have an understanding with DSBP. We do ourselves all the marketing and distributing for our own products. This takes up a lot of time and energy, while other bands continue to work on new songs. It's obvious to anyone that this is not an easy situation.

5. The first Ionic Vision release on the DSBP label was the compilation of new and old tracks “Homo Sovieticus” in 1999. I suppose that after your previous label experience, it was a welcome relief to finally see a new product available on the shelf again and even more so one that would provide the band with some financial support?
IV : Yes, it was. We even got some response on that CD from people who were surprised that Ionic Vision still existed !! One thing is sure, it was a close call.

6. Back in November 2000, you scrapped the original 12 tracks of the forthcoming “NeuMaschinen” album for sounding ‘too poppy’. Did you totally bin these songs or adjust the music/vocals to suit what you have now?
IV : To be honest, only 2 songs survived, but then after some hard remixing and reshaping to end up the way we would want them to. The rest was really totally deleted. They are not even on the hard-disc anymore, just to make it clear how bad we thought of them !!!

7. So…what is the latest news on “NeuMaschinen”… I believe the release date is at long last creeping up?
IV : At this moment we (Louis and us) are in the middle of endmixing the tracks. The sleeve art is completely done. We hope to get the CD released by October 2002. Promos will be sent out sooner of course.

8. ….And is there planned to be a BIG promotion to follow the release?
IV : As Ionic Vision is paying for most of it themselves it will BIG up to a limit, but this is for the European part. In the U.S.A Tommy T is doing his much appreciated promotion.

9. Can we assume that your last Mcd “MachinenAngst” is a good taster of what’s to come, it features four of your newer hard hitting tracks in many remixed formats. How did you select the bands that contributed the remixes and on what terms with them was this settled…‘remix in exchange for remix’ maybe?
IV : We are convinced that the songs on ION005 are even soft compared to what is in store on "NeuMaschinen". Concerning the remixes : some remixers were contacted by accident (don’t ask!) and some remixers did this as a favour. It was all for free and some might ask for a remix in exchange at some point in time, which we will provide instantly.

10. You have stayed faithful with the recruitment again of ex CCP label mate Louis Zachert as a sound engineer, what quality influences does he add to your music?
IV : We don’t know where to begin. As stated before, Louis is a part of Ionic Vision. He has an unbelievable experience in music, computers and marketing, which we cannot begin to describe. Louis is the best! Ionic Vision needs his vision!

11. Has sticking to your guns and going back to your roots with the ‘old school EBM sound’ raised much negativity from your critics?
IV : We are used to that. We mostly got good reviews, but always they were nagging about not being innovative and such. This was not our intention from the beginning to start with! During ION005 we found ourselves making too many compromises and losing our identity. We decided to go back to our roots and not to compromise ever again. "Old-school" is what we started out with and that’s how we shall end.

12. Incidentally, why do you “Rage Against The Acoustic”?
IV : This goes back to the years where crossover was a trend. All our influences like NITZER EBB, POUPPEE FABRIKK, DIE KRUPPS, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, etc started messing around with guitars and this sucked big time. Up to this point we still find the sound of a guitar mixed with those lovely synthetic noises totally disturbing. We will never ever do this! In fact, when you look at those bands who did, they died or came back with only electronics. Who was right??!! RAGE AGAINST THE ACOUSTIC is what we believe in and will always be our slogan!!

13. With experience in both markets now, what do you find are the differences in attitude towards the EBM scene between the US and Europe?
IV : Tough question. We do think that electro made in both continents are different, as well are the fans. In what ways we cannot tell, but there is a difference. Concerning performing, we have no idea, because we never performed overseas.

14. Your past cover versions of "Work Hard" and "Tour De France" were damn fine interpretations of the original classics. Are there any more likely to appear from the Ionic vaults or has that 'cover version bug' lost its appeal?
IV : We never say never, but if we do so, it will be for a "tribute to"-compilation or maybe to use live only. In fact we have a cover lined up for our gig in Dessau, but we are not telling you what. You should come over and find out! So? See you in Dessau on the 30th of November? We will perform together with Dupont and Proceed then. So all you old-school EBM lovers, move your arses and come!!!

15. How does it make you feel when you look at the sorry state of the music charts now, with the amount of manufactured boy/girl bands that seem to dominate it?
IV : Let’s get real. Ionic Vision is nothing for popular music charts. It never was and never will be. We sound too "old-fashioned" and aggressive for this. I don’t think we would want to be in the charts. Now Ionic Vision is fun to do and we do whatever we want to. Let’s keep it like that, unless a European label sees it differently.

16. Would you like to add any further comments?
IV : As ever, join in our rage against the acoustic and never stop enjoying Body Music !