July 12, 2012 by sshhoobbmmxxbblloogg
This an interview, conducted by me with Alec Empire, from Germany’s favourite(??) noise-punks Atari Teenage Riot. Read on, and witness the awesome….
SHOBMX: If Alec Empire was a colour, what colour would he be?
Alec: Red I guess…many would assume black…not sure..
SHOBMX: ATR have a new album on the way, and judging by preceding single its a return to form… a decade or so on from 60 Second Wipeout… what are you angriest at now?
Alec: the new album ‘Is This Hyperreal?’ is about keeping the internet free from government control, it’s about hacker activism, modern control technologies being used by those in power against citizens, cyber crimes, human trafficking, anarchy and the class war in our time…It’s the ultimate protest album for the Google age
SHOBMX: You are incredibly outspoken about your disdain for MTV behemoths like Jay-Z and Beyonce. How best can regular folks take positive, impacting action?
Alec: That was because of their show for dictator Gaddafi in Libya. People like Martin Luther King fought for equality and freedom. Shame on those artists for playing for dictators who murder and torture their own people. How can we take action? Inform everyone you know, write about this on your blog, and boycott those artists, call in your local radio stations every time a song by these artists gets played. If you believe in freedom of speech you can’t let this one slide. These artists represent not only the US but also Western values to people in those countries…Think about you live under this oppression and in constant fear, then see those artists team up a dictator…that breeds more and more hate also for you and me, especially if people don’t have access to more detailed infos because the media is not free in those countries. Would have you played for Adolph Hitler? 80 years ago Beyonce and 50 Cent would have done it…I have lost any respect for these artists. They didn’t need the money, there was no reason for them to support a dictator like that. What’s next? Beyonce performing at a public execution in Iran?
SHOBMX: In a fight between a giant crab and a shark…. who’d win?
Alec: It depends where the fight takes place I guess haha… probably one of those fights that ends in passionate sex…Makes me want to watch those Godzilla movies again…I always loved the sound effects in those films…and the robotlike animation
SHOBMX: East or West?
Alec: I grew up in Berlin…so I’d say …both?
SHOBMX: Are you flattered or kinda pissed off by the wave of new musicians fusing third hand rhetoric to noise / punk / electronica? ATR set the bar pretty high back in the early 90′s, and it just seems that the ideals have been stolen for hype and credibility.
Alec: I never think about that really, I focus on my own music. There is so much ignorance out there, it’s impossible to solve this…just focus on what your instinct tells you and you’ll be ok. In theory I think it’s great that bands are inspired by what we do, but in reality only time will tell how much they really mean it. What I find more interesting how many of the hipsters hate ATR because of what we’re saying politically. Of course it’s easier to go with any new trend and don’t have an opinion at all. Those people love the watered down versions of Atari Teenage Riot. Well…we won’t change for them.
SHOBMX: You sample some very diverse reference points, from Nirvana to Anime to triple speed James Brown drumfills…. Is there any artist/band/source you WOULD NEVER sample?
Alec: I can’t think of anyone right now… probably a lot of artists…it is easier to look at what you think fits the song, rather than thinking about those who wouldn’t… I sample in a different way than Hip Hop producers for example. I always think beyond the actual sound itself and imagine how can I manipulate it and turn it into something else. Sometimes we have the obvious references, that we want people to see, so they understand the context and meaning of the song. In ATRIII on 60 Second Wipe Out we start with a sample from a film “Black Gestapo” which is about some Black Power guys in SS Nazi uniforms. It’s a very bizarre underground film and is not available in Germany. The sample makes total sense, but when you realize where it comes from, it just explains why we used it. Sympbols and logos change their meanings, so don’t believe in them.
SHOBMX: ATR covered/reworked “Kids Are United” by Sham 69. In an ideal world…. who would you allow to cover ATR?
Alec: Anybody can cover us as much as they like. The Canadian label D-Trash put out a cool compilation with many bands covering ATR songs. I was blown away…man..it was so awesome to hear all these different takes on songs we wrote. I totally love that comp. Pursey from Sham 69 also liked our version of Kids Are United. Music is a language and should be spoken freely…
SHOBMX: What do you think of the blog? Do our esoteric sensibilities suit, or do you think we are aimless fools with too much time on our hands?
Alec: Aren’t we all aimless fools with too much time on our hands? haha…like the blog! the stranger the better…
SHOBMX: Has this been a total waste of 10 minutes of your life?
Alec: I’ll find out on my death bed…doesn’t feel like this now haha