Psyche
With the release of their tenth album, 'Babylon Deluxe', Psyche seem to be a band that you cannot hold down.
Keith Elcombe gets to speak to the band and catch up with things since the release of the album.
(December 2003)

1. Firstly, congratulations on the new album! How did this one come along in terms of production? Did it demand more than previous releases, or pretty much the same?
Darrin: This was very special because it’s Psyche’s 10th album and for me it’s also my 20th year making music. We wanted to redefine our standard in electronic pop with this album, and it took a while to think of all the feelings and styles we represent in the scene. To sort of cumulate the whole idea in one unified yet diverse flow. I also really wanted to return to the more experimental and atmospheric side of Psyche. Also I’m not really a factory like songwriter. The lyrics take a long time to develop.

2. What has the overall response been to the album, globally?
Darrin and Remi: We don’t know yet but we’ve noticed “Gods And Monsters” has reached universal appeal and that we’ve been true to the meaning of Psyche has been applauded. “Edge Of 17” is a real crowd pleaser in the live sets, and “Final Destination” has turned out to be popular as well. Certain territiories have taken this whole album more seriously than “The Hiding Place” so that’s a good sign.

3. How would you define the Psyche sound now compared to that of say, five years ago?
Darrin: It’s more defined and direct in purpose I guess. Remi’s production is excellent and has a lot of power. There are always those who say it’s not the same as before, but I think on “Babylon Deluxe” we’ve almost made a tribute to ourselves and that some tracks even echo the mood and style of earlier Psyche favourites. My voice is getting smoother and I am able to express myself better I think.

4. Are you musically where you imagined yourselves to be at this time, and if so, where do you see yourselves as being in the scene today?
Darrin: Hmm.. No idea, just getting on with our ideas, and seeing where we stand in the grand scheme of things. I always imagined Psyche as a “pop” success, but since we’re more underground, we’ve remained some cult object
Like Fad Gadget, and I think the name Psyche stands for a certain special quality so that is the main thing I always aspired to. A body of work that can be respected, and remain timeless hopefully.

5. How would you say the sound on Babylon Deluxe has evolved the Psyche sound?
Darrin: I think this is a refining of the Psyche standard really. This album represents all the moods and atmospheres that have made us our own special entity. I think we made a step forward on some of the tracks, but we were more concerned with just defining our own standard this time.

6. As for tracks on the new album, “Nobody Superstar” – what influenced this song?
Darrin: The Pop Idols thing has obviously affected the whole music business and I just wanted to make my statement on this theme is all. I’m not saying it’s bad, but also not good either!! I left the lyrics open to interpretation in that I don’t point a finger of blame, and the refrain is almost a celebration of the whole idea. So it’s a pretty ironic song considering it’s the poppiest on the album.

7. The CD single of The Quickening featured eight mixes of this track – why single out this one track for so many interpretations?
Darrin: We thought it a strong follow up to “Sanctuary” at the time, but it was also an experiment with the idea of a Remix EP to see all the possibilities for this song. We were really enamoured with this track until we’d written more for the album. I think it bridges the gap between “The Hiding Place” and “Babylon Deluxe” alright though.

8. You’ve played recently with Icon of Coil – how was that for you (and them)?
Darrin<. <in 1998 IOC was support for us in their own country! For the UK I think it was good to be together. We were happy to finally present Psyche in London, and also we really like the band. Who figured that in just 4 years they’d be such a big deal. We’ve traded mixes with them, and I hope that we’ll
Hitch up again sometime next year, but everyone has their path to follow, so we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store.

9. You’ve toured quite hard recently – does playing live still give you the buzz it did in the past? Has it got easier, or harder?
Darrin: Both in a way. I’m not 20 anymore, but on stage I always feel like I did when we first started. Just with more knowledge and ability. Depending on where we’re playing and the audience reaction the buzz is definitely still there.
Without the enthusiasm of an audience you have no show. I think the most exciting so far was doing a huge festival in Athens, and then flying the next day to do the Black Celebration event in London. I certainly felt like we’d become globetrotters, and it was exciting to experience two different countries all on one weekend.

10. You mentioned that you’d like to tour South Africa at some point – any particular reason, or is it just a country you haven’t toured yet?
Darrin: Mainly because Diary Of Dreams had already been, and I found out there is a bit of a scene there. Also because I was there on holidays, and found it to be absolutely beautiful. So I hope we’ll find a way to make it happen, at the very least I’d go there for holidays again anytime.

11. To date, who would you say is the best band you have ever seen perform live?
Darrin: I absolutely loved seeing Marianne Faithfull last year. That was one of my favourites. I also have to mention Soft Cell of course. Thank God they got back together for awhile. Saw them twice in Cologne. If you mean bands from our scene, I’d say And One put’s on a good show, and of course Icon Of Coil
Have the most energy and look the coolest that I’ve seen so far. It all depends on the music as well whether I like the concert. Alison Moyet is probably the best singer I’ve ever seen live. I even cried! Her sad ballads from “Hometime” just hit me. But hey I’m another generation. The only “indie” electro band I really enjoy live is “S.P.O.C.K”. And I must’ve seen ‘em about 10 times in the 90’s, and after a few years missing them the performance they blew me away at the Infest last year.

12. How has the Psyche line up changed over the past few years? (Not only the band, but those that support it as well)
Darrin: Oh you mean the “audience”? Or what, the booking agencies?
Other than the band members, nothing’s really different. We have a certain core audience, and then we have the ones who’ve just discovered us circa 2000 or so. The record label has changed, but the process of marketing and that is also similar, only now the Internet of course has opened up the whole world to every kind of music and all that.

13. What keeps you producing music after all these years? What’s the driving influence?
Darrin: It was always because I felt that so much could be done in electro-pop
And that synths rule. I have moments when I think, ok we’ve done enough, but then whenever I feel the scene is stagnating, or going nowhere I feel inspired to make another album. Also now that we’re getting more international for the first time since the late 80’s it is like a drug to see how many countries we can bring Psyche to. I haven’t started feeling my age yet.
When I reach 40 or 45 I may feel differently, but I am a singer, and that’s all I can and want to do for my life. Nothing else really has replaced that for me. So that’s the driving influence, and sure I could do that probably without making another album, but I love it when a new song is created and it becomes it’s own little entity.

14. Who influences you musically today?
Darrin: Musically for Psyche it’s a mix between the stuff I listen to and what Remi likes. He’s the younger generation who doesn’t know much about The Human League, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire and so on. So there is a bit of Covenant or Apoptygma Bezerk flowing into our sound which is o.k. but can be worrying because Psyche should continue a high standard and not be inspired by contemporaries. I make “commercial” compromises now and then, but my favourite Psyche tracks are usually the weirder more innovative things like “Stormtrooper” or “Snow Garden” on the new album. Too much ear candy will rot your brain!

15. Where do you see yourselves in five years time? (The ‘cop out’ question? <grin>)
Darrin: Either touring the world as Psyche or maybe I’ll have also attempted a solo album by then as well. I often doing little things outside of Psyche for fun that isn’t a part of the “goth-electro” community. But Psyche has been and continues to be my life so I plan to continue living it.

16. What are Psyche’s plans for 2004, both in terms of new music, and touring?
Darrin: I am planning a DVD with all the music videos, and some live performances to commemorate 20 years of Psyche. We have a new song that I feel strongly about as a single but we’ll still be promoting “Babylon Deluxe” for the first half. There’s been talk of re-releasing “The Influence” album but for me the DVD is the most important, and making new music rather than rehashing older products. As for touring, we want to cover territories we haven’t been yet because the Accession Tour will carry us through most of Germany and then we’ll be looking outwards again. I hope to have us in the UK and probably USA again. The rest is being considered, and we take every new opportunity as a pleasant surprise on our journey.