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Born For Bliss - Interview

Interview with: Frank Weyzig
Conducted by: T.V.

After a long wait and uncertainty what will happen with the band, now the Dutch dark/indie rockers Born For Bliss are back with a mesmerizing new album, Falling Back To Never, a true jevel inside the alternative dark music scene. I believe that the band doesn't need any introduction to most of our readers, but let's say that its mastermind Frank Weyzig started his career as a professional in the former years of Clan Of Xymox and released with them the first two albums, the self-titled one and Medusa. In Born For Bliss he's joined by drummer Willem van Antwerpen, who is also known from Clan Of Xymox, as he stepped in to play drums after the second album. The third member of Born For Bliss is bassist Remco Helbers, known as an ex member of The Dreamside and live member of gothic rock legends Love Like Blood. The band was formed in 1994 and released the debut album, Flowing With The Flu, in 1997. Two years later Born For Bliss completed the sophomore album Between Living & Dreaming, but due to some bad luck with the label the band went on more than ten years long hiatus and released this album in 2011, when the German label Echozone liked the idea to do a release of the long forgotten Born For Bliss treasure. Now on the new album, Falling Back To Never, the band sounds more matured than ever, songs became much more flawless and incredibly flowing, even darker, add to all that also very intriguing lyrics and the whole productional concept and what we were offered is nothing but one of the highlights of this year. The album is released on 16th October once again by Echozone, but in collaboration with Frank's own label Turmoil Music (you can read the review over HERE). Frank is also a second part of the amazing duo Vaselyne, together with vocalist Yvette Winkler, and the two artists make some really overwhelming psychedelic and ambiental darkwave rock music. I did the first interview with Frank Weyzig almost two years ago, when Vaselyne released the debut album, and before proceeding, you are invited to give it a read over HERE. Now I talked with friendly artist, composer, vocalist and multiinstrumentalist especially about the new Born For Bliss album, but we couldn't skip also some of other thematics.

T.V.: Hi Frank! First of all congratulations for a new Born For Bliss album, Falling Back To Never, it's really an amazing release! I can easily say that it's the best piece of music you ever released, the most passionate as well. How do you feel about it?
: Thank you. I feel pretty good about it and I am very pleased with the final result. It’s always an exciting moment to wait for the first reactions and reviews to appear.
T.V.: There's no secret that you've put a lot of effort into it. Also you did almost everything by yourself, from compositions to production and mix. How the whole process went and how much time did it take?
Frank: For my studio setup I work with two computers that are synced to each other. One for everything that is midi related installed with software like Nuendo, Cubase, Ableton Live, and Reason and the other one is basically running my Pro Tools rig. When I come up with an idea for a song, I first record the basic layout in Pro Tools with a simple rhythm track as a guide and then start to layer tracks to try out different sounds and structures. Sometimes I start with recording guitars, other times I start with piano or synth. Later in the process I try out different vocal melodies and then when the song really gets some shape I send a demo file  to Remco and Willem. Remco then returns me his files with bass, loops and soundscapes and Willem sends me his drum arrangement. After I have loaded these files into Pro Tools, I start to edit and rearrange the song, add extra instruments and write the final lyrics and record my vocals. Then it’s time to do a final mix. I usually do a couple of edits for a song, like a long and short version etc… On other occasions Remco sends me a short looped guitar- or bass riff that I use to build a song around, but the process of building the song is basically the same. It took me about a year to write, record, mix and finish this album. That’s the beauty of working in your own studio. No time schedule to keep and no pressure.
T.V.: So, if I understand that right, you guys didn't rehearse the songs together, in a classic rock band way? And can you reveal me how big is the percentage of the instruments used on Falling Back To Never artificial/programmed and how much of it consists of real instruments?
Frank: All of the tracks were completed in my studio by me. We will only rehearse later if we are going to perform these songs live. All of the acoustic and electric guitars, the bass  and vocals are analog recordings that have been digitized in Pro Tools. All drum tracks, loops and sound effects are digital recordings. Most of the keyboard parts I have recorded directly into Pro Tools, other parts, like sequences and triggers are edited in Nuendo and Reason and then later transferred to Pro Tools. It’s different for each song, but in general I would say that the percentage of real instruments and programmed instruments is 60/40.
T.V.: Your previous album, Between Living & Dreaming, was done almost 16 years ago and released in 2011. What was the reason that it took you so much time to come up with a new album only now?
Frank: In 1999, we finished the final recordings for our second album Between Living & Dreaming. Unfortunately, a few months later the band disintegrated due to problems with our management and record label and the album was never released. At the same time I got frustrated with the music scene and decided to step out of it for a while. It’s an understatement to say that this took a bit longer than I thought it would be… In 2010 I started to work with White Rose Transmission and we released an album (Spiders In The MindWeb) on German label Echozone. That’s how I got into contact with Jörg Tochtenhagen from Echozone. He was interested in releasing Between Living & Dreaming. One led to another, and finally the band got back together again. In the fall of 2013 we released the EP Innocent as an introduction to the new full album Falling Back To Never.

T.V.: As you mentioned the Innocent EP, I'm wondering why have you decided to use all of the songs from the EP also on the album? Are those in any way reworked, because I can't find any difference?
Frank: No, these are not reworked versions. However, I didn’t use the song “Forever” from the Innocent EP. The EP was only a warming up for the upcoming full album. I wanted to use the three other tracks from the EP on the full album as well because to me all tracks are equally important to give the full album the feel and concept that I was looking for.
T.V.: How would you describe the difference in sound between Born For Bliss' previous albums and the new one, Falling Back To Never?
Frank: As I already mentioned with my answer to the previous question, It has been a while ago since we did the last Born For Bliss album. Since then I did a lot of other projects and productions. During those years I improved my studio skills and I learned a lot of new things about producing and working with software like Pro Tools. I have been experimenting with different sound structures and building arrangements existing of many layered tracks to create our typical Born For Bliss sound. Today it is much easier to do this in my own studio then how it was back then in 1999 when we recorded and mixed Between Living & Dreaming at the Impuls Tonstudio in Hamburg. In those days it would not have been possible to do the complete production in my own studio like I did now. So for our latest album, I could take all the time that I needed to work on the songs until I was really satisfied about the final product. That’s why this album sounds much more balanced and more mature than everything else that I did before and our typical Born For Bliss sound has evolved to something real solid.
T.V.: Yes, the sound and compositions on the new album are truly fantastic. Now, please tell me what do you wanted to say with the album title, Falling Back To Never? I suppose there must be a deeper meaning behind it. And as well I believe that lyrics must be somehow connected between each other from what I understood. Is there a special concept behind the whole thing? What was the main inspiration, as there's strong communicativeness behind those words?
Frank: I don’t like to explain my lyrics. I would like to leave that open for interpretation by the listener. But to me personally the lyrics are equally important as any other element of a song. The main inspiration for the whole album is a series of events that took place in the last cycle of seven years that drastically changed the course of my life. I relocated from one place to another. Relationships and friendships ended, new ones began, people close to me died. Fate and causality, my interest in astrological psychology. That kind of stuff. All of these events changed my perception of things and my view on life in general. They say that we live our lives in cycles of seven years. In that perspective Falling Back To Never could perhaps represent the end of a cycle and at the same time the beginning of a new one.
T.V.: And if I dig a little bit deeper, I'm pretty sure that the front cover artwork was chosen very carefully. I like it very much and wonder who made it and is there any kind of symbolism in connection with songs behind it?
Frank: A close friend of mine, who is befriended with Polish painter Waldemar Mitrowski, suggested to me, to use one of his paintings. When I saw this particular painting I instantly knew that this was the right image to use for the album. Together with the astrological charts, it completes the visual concept for the album. As far as what this image could symbolize. But again, explaining too much is killing the beauty of it. Some may see the image of a man’s soul or spirit leaving his body… Some may see the image of a man and his lover leaning on his shoulder...  Some may see a man falling back to never, but actually, I would like to leave things to the imagination of the listener.
T.V.: You decided to get the necessary finances for the release of the album by starting a crowdfunding campaign. How satisfied were you with the campaign? Do you think that this kind of campaings are the future for artists who can't get bigger labels to cover their expenses?
Frank: It’s a lot of work to organize a campaign like that and to have as much people involved as possible. You definitely need to have a substantial fan base and you need to use all of your available connections through social media like Facebook and Twitter and create and keep track of your mailing lists. Furthermore it’s a good thing to use all your resources and music pages like ReverbNation and MySpace and create your own band website(s). Once you have started the campaign you can’t just sit back and watch the funding come in. That’s not going to work. You need to put a lot of effort into it to keep everything going and to make sure that everyone stays motivated to support you. For us the Music Pledge crowdfunding campaign was successful and we reached our goal to get the funding for our new album release. I do think this will be the future for independent artists who can’t reach out for the bigger labels. It definitely is a lot of work but at least, if you do it right, you have a lot of control over what you want to release.
T.V.: That's really great that the campaign was successful, but still I find it pretty bad that bands like for example Born For Bliss must use this kind of help to finance the music to be released. What's wrong with the world???
Frank: Well, there is a lot of things wrong with this world and releasing an album is really a trivial thing compared to the problems that occur in Europe right now with all these refugees seeking for asylum...
T.V.: Like your previous album also this one will be released by Echozone. I suppose that you must be in a way satisfied with their job...
Frank: Lately, the music industry has not taken a very friendly approach towards indie music and with the coming of ‘streaming music’ giants, like Spotify, who don’t really seem to care much about the independent musicians but mostly have eye for the mega artists, we have come to the point that it’s almost an impossible task for us indie musicians to earn money for our hard work. So therefore it’s nice to have my albums out on a label like Echozone. I really feel comfortable with them and especially Jörg Tochtenhagen has helped me with a lot of things. They have a good promotion and distribution system and Echozone gives me the freedom to also co-release my albums on my own label Turmoil Music.  I think that, in the future, constructions like these, together with an additional well thought croundfunding  plan, will be a good solution for independent artists to get their music out to the public and at the same time make it possible to generate some income to at least reach the breakeven point.
T.V.: You already explained me a lot of things about your label, Turmoil Music, in our previous interview we did almost two years ago. I saw that there will be a re-release of solo album by your bassist Remco out soon. Do you have an intention to sign and release albums of any other bands/artists, who are not necessarily connected with you?
Frank: Four years ago I first started Turmoil Music as a network platform to help promote independent alternative music and it has now evolved into an independent music label, from artists for artists. Turmoil Music is not about profit or commercial production but it is a place where professional, independent artists and musicians with similar views connect over creative ideas. At this time, I would like to keep it small and just release the stuff of my own projects and some befriended artists, but I do have the intention to try to make it bigger as soon as I have more time available. Of course I’m always interested in other indie artists who would like to connect.
T.V.: Back to Born For Bliss. I suppose that there will be some live shows or perhaps a tour once the album is out? Anything planned yet?
Frank: A short answer to this one. No, not yet.

T.V.: But if there will be a tour or at least some live shows, will Born For Bliss perform as a trio or will you invite any live members to complete the live line-up?
Frank: I would love to have extra members on stage to perform our new album live, but in most cases venues don’t have the budgets anymore to pay the smaller indie bands enough money to put up a good live show with the extra needed live members. I simply could not afford it to pay for extra musicians. So, if we play live we will perform with the three of us and use extra backing tracks to complete our live sound.
T.V.: I can't go past but noticing that your way of singing improved very much in those years between the three albums, I find it more emotional, powerful, dynamic and matured. Did you take any singing lessons?
Frank: No, I didn’t take lessons. I think my voice has changed through the years and I guess indeed my voice sounds more mature now. Ha ha, at least that’s one good thing about aging... Also, since I recorded all my vocals in my own studio, without the time and money pressure of an expensive studio, like I had to deal with in the old days, I know could experiment and try out different layers of vocals to get my voice sounding exactly the way I liked it.
T.V.: As well is the performance of the guest female singer Lori Sloan fantastic. You two performed some amazing duets on the album. How did this collaboration started?
Frank: I met Lori a couple of years ago while she had moved to Amsterdam. She was looking for a place to stay. I helped her and we had a connection. She was singing a lot and I really liked her voice, so I asked her to try and do some backing vocals for "Innocent". That worked pretty well and then I asked her to do the backing vocals for a bunch of other songs as well.
T.V.: I know it’s hard for an artist to choose between his songs, but still, which one of the tracks from the album is your favorite and why?
Frank: That would be "Falling Back". I think it’s the best song I’ve written since years and I am really satisfied with the atmosphere and feel of the final mix. This song will always be very special to me and although it has a very dark edge to it, to me this is a song of hope...
T.V.: In a chat we had recently you mentioned me that you are in the middle of sound editing for one project… Can you give me some more details about what’s all about?
Frank: Oh, nothing really special. Being an independent musician doesn’t really pay my bills. To be able to pay the bills and my mortgage, I also work as a teacher at a high school in Amsterdam. I also give guitar lessons and occasionally I do the sound-editing and compose music for different video and small budget documentary film productions.
T.V.: Oh, interesting. What kind of school subject do you teach?
Frank: Ha, nothing musical. I’m teaching Information Communication Technology (ICT).
T.V.: Recently your second band Vaselyne released a new EP. Is this a sign that a new album is coming soon or is in the making?
Frank: Yes, I’m not sure yet when we will release a new Vaselyne album, but I am working on new music as we speak.
T.V.: There is featured a great cover of Nine Inch Nails track "Home". It’s interesting because you never really released any cover tracks, so I suppose that you are a fan of Nine Inch Nails?
Frank: I like Nine Inch Nails and all other projects that Trent Reznor has been working on, but it’s Yvette who is a big fan. It was her idea to do a cover of "Home".
T.V.: Before ending this interview I must ask you if there are any news about the possible reunion of Clan Of Xymox former line-up with Ronny, Anka, Pieter and yourself, as you hinted in our previous interview?
Frank: Well, I only have some contact with Pieter once in a while when we message each other over facebook but to be honest, I don’t see a reunion with the old line-up happening in the near future. Maybe Pieter and myself would want to give it a shot, but I don’t think Ronny and Anka are in for this.
T.V.: Thank you for taking the time and answering my questions. I think this would be everything from me this time, but is there something that you would like to add at the end of this interview?
Frank: Thank you for the interview. It was a pleasure to answer your questions. I would also like to thank our fans and pledgers who made it possible to release this album and I hope that the readers who are not familiar with Born For Bliss will take the time to visit our website and discover our music.

Born For Bliss links: Official website, Facebook

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