[:SITD:] have had a startling rise to fame. Just 3 years ago they handed their first demo to DJ Mike Kanetsky of the world famous MATRIX Club, Bochum. On that first demo was a track called “Snuff Machinery’’ and soon every DJ in Germany was pestering Mike for a copy. 6 months later, released on the Septic III Compilation, it was to become a worldwide Club smash hit and soon Tom and Carsten of [:SITD:] were hunted down and signed by Adrian Hates from Accession Records.

[:SITD:] were hot property. Their debut album “Stronghold” was a worldwide hit. They had managed to get that perfect mix of club-friendly dark electro that could be listened to at a club or at home. They were swept up in a whirlwind of success, and when I met these guys two years ago at the UK’s INFEST festival they were still on an emotional high, unable to believe their stratospheric rise to fame. Two years on, plenty of festival appearances and critical acclaim later.. Does [:SITD:] really have what it takes to break into the big time? I took Tom and Carsten, founding members aside to ask them about where [:SITD:] was going next, and whether fame had altered their lives.

A lot of people are looking to you as the next "big band" on the EBM/Industrial scene.. how do you feel being given such a label?
T: It’s lovely to hear such nice things about us it really is.

(Tom cracks into a broad smile)

People have high expectations and we intend to deliver on our promise and give them a great new album.

How do you think that you have refined and evolved the [:SITD:] sound since STRONGHOLD?
C: Be it DJ, the media or our audience, the feedback on "Stronghold" has exceeded all the expectations we had! I can’t tell you how good it feels to see the press appreciating the CD and the DJs playing our songs in the clubs. This time we have tried to create an album which works in the clubs and also at home. The upcoming album sounds very well produced and has an increased strength and intensity.

(It is Carsten’s turn to grin.. you can tell that he’s enjoying telling us how strong and intense the new [:SITD:] album is, he continues..)

C: If you listen to “Wegweiser” for example you will recognize that there are more influences from the techno scene, but don’t be afraid [:SITD:] fans! It’s still the [:SITD:] sound that you know and love from “Stronghold”... only better! This album is made to be listened to with headphones while playing at maximum volume, or to be danced to on a Club Dance floor!

After the great success of your debut album Stronghold, did that make it harder to make the new album? Did you feel a pressure to make the next album better?
C: We didn’t feel any pressure. The fact that our fans expect a lot from us shows that we have done the right things in the past. We are very ambitious and we hope that with “Coded Message:12” that we will live up to those expectations, and even exceed them.

So I hear you’ve gone full time on [:SITD:], surely that must make you worry about money if nothing else?
C: We don’t need bags of money to be happy. It’s a gift to live your dream and we are living our dream. Our fondest wish came true. That’s all that matters to us!

I believe that you have a new member of the band, who is he and why did you feel you needed to extend the band?
T: That’s right. Now Francesco Frank D’Angelo is the official third band member of [:SITD:].

(Frank runs Dark Dimensions record label and it’s subsidiaries home to, amongst others, Xotox, The Eternal Afflict, and Absurd Minds)

Frank is our additional keyboarder and backing vocalist when we perform live. Frank has always supported [:SITD:] and it was a natural step to invite him to join us and add a new dimension to our live shows.

What is your favourite bit of the writing process.. the composing, the recording, or the playing live?
C: We like all these things, but nothing compares to standing on a stage and seeing the audience dancing and waiving their hands in the air to our music. This always sends shivers up our spines. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a big festival or in a small club, it's just a wonderful feeling to share your emotions with the crowd, to give something and get something back.

When I met you at INFEST two years ago you were blown away by the success and accolade you were receiving, has fame changed you, does fame sit with you well?
C: Yes, the INFEST gig was really amazing! Actually, there's no more time left to do other jobs or study. The band is our priority but we don't want to exclude the possibility to return to our occupation or studies in case we have more time in the future. Except for this nothing has changed. We hang around with the same friends, we go into the same clubs and we do the things that we did before!

That’s strange.. I would’ve expected it to have impacted your lives more?
C: No, it isn’t strange !

(Carsten is wagging his finger at me)

We are still the same boys from the Ruhr-Area as ever and we don’t feel like stars. We see ourselves as a part of a scene in which everybody is important ! When we play live we’re partying with the audience. The audience is what matters, not [:SITD:]! There is no place for egos in this business!

(Carsten bursts out into huge guffaws of laughter, it seems to tickle him that they might be seen as ‘stars’)

So Tom, what do you think is the secret of your success?
T: There is no secret. We don’t have the intention to write the history of electronic music again, but we guess that [:SITD:] has build up its own identity and over the years we have created our own style. This may sound simple to you, but we love what we do - that’s all !

But what about your compositional style...tell me a little about that because that’s one of the things that I think stands you apart from all the other dark electro bands.
T: Atmospheres and melodies are a very important part of our music, that’s true. We have a way of composing our songs we call it ‘dramaturgy’. You can compare our music with a stage play, that is, it has different scenes, with different emotions. For example if you listen to “CM:12” you’ll find such elements in every song. I think the sounds we use are also unique to us.. We are not sure, but maybe these things are the secret of the success, it’s difficult to say!

What do you want to achieve/say with the new album?
C: According to numerology ''12'' stands for unity and perfection. The number twelve has had significant meaning in many cultures and systems of belief. The European Union decided to use 12 stars on their flag as a symbol for unity for example. The number ''12'' is symbolic of the creation of the universe. Twelve appears a number of times in the Bible, i.e.: the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Disciples of Christ, etc. In the old Babylonian written language the ''12'' stands for Nergal, the God of the underworld, war and death. This is the background to the new [:SITD:] album and what you take from that is up to you the listeners!

Other bands have gone for this coded message concept, like Interlace for example from Sweden.. does it bother you if people don’t get the message?
And just listen to it as a good club/home album?
C: We are just happy if people like the music! But if someone wants to go deeper into the lyrics there are always meanings there. We have no influence on whether people will ‘get the message’ or not, but we always try to write songs with a background and it’s fantastic to talk with the some of the audience about the content of our songs after concerts or via e-mails.

OK, so talk us through the album, give us some of the themes, the ideas behind the songs.. and which ones are your personal favourites?
C: Gladly, “CM:12” consists of twelve tracks:
“Curtain Raiser” is an introduction to the album this is where the journey starts.
“Brand of Cain” is about a person who is taken over by jealousy. The song describes a tense relationship and its termination.
“Richtfest” is inspired by mass-murderers. We read a lot of biographical stuff about such shady persons like Fritz Haarmann, Jeffrey Dahmer or Jack Unterweger. Then the human cannibal story in Rotenburg / Germany happened: Armin Meiwes - the press called him the Cannibal from Rotenburg - has confessed to murdering and eating a fellow homosexual who volunteered to be killed in one of the most bizarre ritual murders in Germany in many years. Armin Meiwes was convicted only of manslaughter and sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison. “Richtfest” is about the “mask” which those criminals wear to hide their perverted desires.
“Upstairs” is a song about dissociative identity disorder. Dissociation is a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. When faced with overwhelmingly traumatic situations from which there is no physical escape - for example sexual abuse or experiences with massive violence - a person may resort to "going away in his head”. Dissociative Disorders are often referred to as a highly creative survival technique because they allow individuals enduring "hopeless" circumstances to preserve some areas of healthy functioning.
“Wegweiser” means “signpost”, but we made use of this expression in a very metaphorical way. The song is about the people’s disappointment concerning the Reunion in Germany and also about specific problems in the European Union.
“Plastination City” is a critical view on Gunther von Hagens, the inventor of the plastination technique and the creator of Body Worlds. A documentary, which was shown on German television, reproaches that Gunther von Hagens would buy the bodies of executed Chinese prisoners to create a “perfect” Body World.
“Crusade” is about the conflict between the Muslim fundamentalists and the west. The song criticises both sides and stands for the wish to restore peace.
“Sentiment” tells the story about a person in desperation who has lost his faith in God.
“Yield to Despair” is the instrumental “bridge” to the following song “RELIEF”. The song gives a word of comfort and consolation. Tom has performed the vocals on this track.
“Ascension” is about a near death experience and “The Final Curtain” starts from where “Ascension” ends.

Now to the second part of your question. We like all the songs on this album. We have worked so hard and long on them, so it’s difficult to find a favourite after the intense time we spent working on them!

Come on though, surely you have a favourite, if you were on a desert island and you could only take one of these tracks which would it be??
(Tom raises his eyes to the ceiling; it’s like drawing teeth..they need some more encouragement..)

Come on guys!
(with a shrug and a smirk Tom starts them off)

T: For me it would be “Ascension”.

(Carsten is more reluctant, but gives in with a laugh)

C: Okay, my favourite is “Brand Of Cain” and I know that Frank really appreciates the song “Upstairs”.

Thank you! Now that wasn’t so difficult now was it??
(Tom and Carsten are in fits of laughter, and so am I, after the laughter has died down again I carry on...)

Now an easy one for you - What can we expect from [:SITD:] in the upcoming year?
T: Well of course the album “CODED MESSAGE: 12” will hit the streets on March, the 29th 2005. Then we’ll go on the CODED MESSAGE: TOUR with our special guest GRENDEL. All confirmed tour dates can be found under

Why did you choose Grendel to go on tour with??
T: We personally like the music of Grendel, it’s very energetic and we think that they will work together well with [:SITD:]. We have been working on our live package and so be prepared for some thrilling live-action!

And finally if anyone is in any doubt, why should they go and buy your album?
C: Hey, friend read the teasers: It’s dark, it’s harsh, it’s powerful! It’s full of bone crunching beats and apocalyptical Electro hymns that seamlessly move from full on aggression to haunting beauty . . . I think that’s enough, right ?

He’s right!

At this point I have to leave Tom and Carsten to get on with their tour preparations. You won’t meet two friendlier guys. They might well be the next big thing, but you’d never know it to meet them. There’s not an ego between them, and during the interview they’re all smiles and laughter. They love what they do, and that comes through in everything they say. On a serious note though, if their new single is anything to go by, forget about Covenant, Icon Of Coil and VNV nation this year, there’s a new, darker star rising. From out of the shadows comes a dark electro storm. [:SITD:] are back with avengeance - their time has come.