utopia:banished

Following on from his previous Nano EP, and now giving the world another release Innocent pt.2, Hard WIred speaks to Chris, the man behind utopia:banished, to find out a little more about the act that sounds like nothing you've never heard before. (Keith Elcombe, October 2004)



1. So who are Utopia Banished, and where are you from?
It’s like a brand within it’s context I can make music, or…That’s better: I make music for utopia:banished. It’s something like the company I work for creatively.
Me and others… an open collective… but I can decide who get’s involved. And I’m located in Germany.

2.What’s behind the name, Utopia Banished and what inspired this as the name of the band?
I like the sound of the name. And it describes what’s inside of the lyrics, quite well!
Like: There is no utopia, no perfect solution! Everything we build will break, everything we imagine will be wrong in some conditions and every creation will fail. And it really sounds good!

3.Did you know there is a Death Metal band in New York that shares your name?
Yes, a friend of mine told me… Do you know them? Personally? I hope both of us will get very rich and famous so there can be a great struggle for who will have the right to use the name and get even more money!


4.What was your musical experience prior to forming/being involved with Utopia Banished?
Getting bored from playing in bands with members who don’t really care about nothing…
When I think back, I have to realize that utopia:banished was born out of frustration.

5.How would you describe your music, and why?
I wouldn’t describe it at all. I can’t…
To me there are just too many names it could have to pick one of them and that’s really bad! See, I know it’s always good to say “It’s this-and-that!”, because it not only classifies the music, it classifies the listeners as well. They read it and may think about if they can stick with it.
But I can give you a hint! Utopia:banished is featured in the Hard Wired-Magazine, so what could it be?

6.To me your style is that of a young and experimental NIN/Trent Reznor. Would you share this view?
Young & experimental sounds good! And Trent Reznor?
I think I’m fine with that, or have to be, because many people really share this view and it reminds me how “not grown out” this genre is…
In the minds of the people there was only him combining the styles of electronics, sampling and rock music that way. And it seems that after NIN, well, there was nothing relevant. Just some rock bands using one or two synthetic drum loops… So, it’s ok for me though I know, there is much more than NIN!

7. It’s been a while since your last release (the Nano EP) – why the delay in releasing more material?
Not even one and a half year…
Things are taking time and I wasn’t in a hurry.

8. What have you been doing in the time between releases?
Everything for both records! Promotion for NANO, finding a distributor, sending records to magazines and then just writing and producing new songs.
Having a life to have something to write about. Meeting people to work with…And, oh yeah, I remixed several songs for some artists!
By the way, not every songs I’ve written in this period made it’s way onto the record.

9. I notice that your website is undergoing some sort of change too – is this to support the new release?
Sure! The new homepage ( http://www.utopia-banished.de ) will be online with this interview!

10. How important do you find the internet in promoting your music?
Well, it’s a great tool for presenting music or yourself, if you like to…Good for intercontinental communication as well, but it rarely leaves thelevel of information without obligation. Though we have a lot of possibilities with the net we don’t really use them.

11. What equipment set up do you have for constructing the UB sound?
Samplers, synths, guitars, effects, computers and microphones…I try to use anything there is, from synthetic to organic, as long as it makes a sound.

12. Where have you drawn the influences from for the material on the new album?
Listening to music! Nearly all he time! Then making music…Take what you know, know what you want an fix it on hard disk.I listened to a lot of stuff like these weird, dark records, Tricky made. Or Tom Waits! Dillinger Escape Plan is amazing and I got taught to listen to Big Blacks “Songs about fucking” which is one of the greatest rock-records of the last 20 years…

13. The style on the new album is far less ‘in your face’, when comparedto the Nano EP – was this a conscious decision, or is this the direction your are planning to take UB in now?
I think it’s mostly a result of improving the technical skills in producing the music. I think I’m just off this “overdrive-everything”… But maybe you’re right! When I was writing the songs it felt good to keep a balance between “creeping slowly” and “crashing forward”. I really like that! It gives a song more space to develop.

14. What next for UB? Where to in terms of musical direction are you planning to go?
Up next there’s the score for short movie I have to finish. Very electronic stuff, though this isn’t the way I want to go… It is or has been quite interesting but, well, first I have to see what it’s gonna be with “Innocent”.

15. When not being Utopia Banished, what do you do to pay the bills?
The job I have isn’t really that interesting that it’s worth reading about…

16. Finally, if offered one object (be it mechanical, electronic or organic), what would you like, and why?
I think I choose something organic… whatever it may be. Mechanical or electronic stuff is supposed to work and then it blows but organics are never to be trusted so you know what you have!
And thanks for the interview and all your support!