Alec Empire, former member of Atari Teenage Riot, is a versatile artist: musician, producer (with his label Eat Your Heart Out Records), remixer, DJ… He has played and collaborated with an astonishing list of great bands and musicians and shook many consciences with the charged political statements of his previous band. Now, after having released his new album The Golden Foretaste of Heaven and toured all over Europe, he kindly had time to answer the questions that I shot at him.
Hello Alec. How was the recent European Tour?
It was great… this band is really what I want to do now. It feels so right. The energy, the crowd reception…everything. I wish I had thought of this much earlier. We have found a way to bring all the different elements of my music together.
Is there any gig or venue that you specially liked?
I never look at shows like this. We control the atmosphere with the crowd together. So we can go into any venue in the world and do it! I really liked Manchester.
I have seen that you re-scheduled more shows in Germany and France. You played in Helsinki on February. What is your opinion about Finland and the Finnish audience?
We try to play there again. The routing didn’t make any sense this time round. But of course we kept it on our plan for this year. There is no other country which can be compared to Finland. Finland is dark, nobody is laughing…everybody is drinking haha…I love it….but there all have a strong sense of design, architecture and a certain kind of music.
What has changed for Alex Empire´s attitude when going on stage from the times of Atari Teenage Riot?
Not that much actually. I am still me….I don’t compromise. I always do what I feel is right.
I interviewed recently Alex from Einstürzende Neubauten, and he commented that the spirit of creativity in Berlin is getting lost and it is not what used to be. Do you agree with that, or how do you see the artistic scene in Berlin nowadays?
No I disagree with him. He belongs to another generation. And for that generation it is perhaps true, but there is so much energy where I am at…Berlin is the future capitol of music in Europe. There is no doubt about that. In Berlin artists always think towards the future. In no other city in the world there is that creative power right now.
There is no other country which can be compared to Finland" -Alec Empire-
What got you inspired for creating this new album?
Berlin. I wanted to build a bridge between the past and the present. I pushed a new side of my music, combined with my ideas about electronic music this has created a new mixture. It is funny, everybody says it sounds familiar but nobody knows what to compare it to…
You have very different roles: musician, promoter, booking agent, DJ… How do you find time to cope with everything?
I am not a booking agent. I also don’t promote in the traditional sense. I put nights together. But I always did that. I feel I always have to come in when other people lack the imagination. I think it’s easy. Someone once said to me it’s how my brain is wired haha…. it’s just different.
If you would have the chance to choose a perfect place, time and musicians colleagues to play with you the last concert of your life, what would your decisions be?
I would play for myself alone in my place. This sounds strange to other people, but I would love the chance to play and really remember my life and the situations I played these songs in…
Do you have any concert or venue confirmed for the summer festivals?
There are talks right now, but I got offered two film soundtracks, so I might have to do those (It was just confirmed that Alec Empire has composed the soundtrack for Japanese director Tadanobu Asano´s new film). I could play some festivals but somehow the line ups have become so boring… I don’t know… I am looking for new challenges in my life. Every time I go to a festival it feels like a graveyard….Festivals used to be adventurous and exciting. Now I just see sponsorship and bands on many stages… it doesn’t feel like one big party…more like watching little adverts on TV…. When I go to a concert I want to come out as a different person on the other end…
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