Interview 2006 Douglas McCarthy

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ZERO talked things out with Douglas McCarthy! Many Thanks to Stefan from the swedish Zero Magazine in Göteborg.

Zero Music Magazine
Box 2002
40311 Göteborg
Sweden
Phone: +4631-195 777 (Office) Cell: +46709-269 734


http://www.zeromagazine.nu


 
Nitzer Ebb was angry about anything and everything. The guys with crew cuts from Chelmsford, England were declared a cult through their image and their minimalistic, aggressive electronic music. After internal fighing led to the band's split, during 1995's ”Big Hit” tour, Swedish fans were left out on a muddy field in Arvika. Now Nitzer Ebb is back, to make things right for Swedish fans, and the rest of the world. They'll perform as the Arvika Festival's main act on Friday, July 14th.
 
ZERO:
What is the reason for the reunion of Nitzer Ebb at this time?
 
Douglas:
As a famous Swede once said “Money, money, money …” No, not entirely true. My agent was getting a lot of requests from promoters when booking Fixmer/McCarthy shows and finally asked me what I thought Bon would say if asked to play again. I felt it was fair to at least let Bon know there was a lot of interest in the Ebb playing, so I emailed him and found that he had been giving it some thought as well. So after a few phone calls we met up in Chicago – neutral territory in case things got nasty - for large amounts of beer and a chat. It seems to us that NE has, if anything, become more influential than ever within the electronic music scene in general, and that our fragile egos just can’t resist basking in the glory on offer.


ZERO:
Have you and Bon been talking about this reunion for a while? Who came up with the idea?

Douglas:
We started talking in September, I think, and then hooked up in Chicago in mid October. So around 4 months I guess.

ZERO:
How are you both feeling about the reunion? Are you looking forward to it?

Douglas:
Yeah we’re both slightly giddy with it all. Strange mixtures of emotions of course, but basically we are very much looking forward to the shows.

ZERO:
How does it feel to work with Bon again?

Douglas:
Haven’t done it yet. Well we are discussing elements of the shows, but we haven’t yet got down to some hard graft.

ZERO:
How has the reunion tour been welcomed positivaley by fans and the press?

Douglas:
Seemingly so.

ZERO:
You said on Nitzer-ebb.com, ”It will be very limited - miss this chance to see Nitzer Ebb and you will miss out forever.” Why is that?

Douglas:
As I have already alluded to, we want to make a statement along the lines of “this is what we created, and we look and sound like this”, it’s not something that we would be able to do more than once.

ZERO:
Does the reunion mean that you and Bon have solved the problems that split up Nitzer Ebb back in 1995?

Douglas:
I think ten years apart solved the problems that led to “the split”. We both needed to tread very different paths for as long as it took to feel comfortable again with the thought of getting back on stage together.

ZERO:
I think many of your fans are interested to hear why Nitzer Ebb split up in1995. Can you tell us about this?

Douglas:
“The split” was more a cecation of daily activity and communication, i.e. there was always a door left open for the continuation of activity and communication at some stage, which has obviously arrived. As I have said previously, we were in need of some space, from each other and from this thing called Nitzer Ebb which like most bands had become an all encompassing machine that consumed pretty much all of our lives and those around us. We were worn out, I think, with that process and needed to re-establish a more singular identity.

ZERO:
Who will make up the band? Do you have any contact with David Gooday, Namen Nhan, Julian Beeston or Jason Payne? Will any of them be in the line-up? And how will the line-up set look like? Are you going to use two drum sets from the good old days?

Douglas:
I have known David Gooday since I was 8 years old and he has remained one of my closest friends ever since, so yes I have a lot of contact with him. Bon and I have discussed the idea that, as a founding member of NE, David should at the very least appear as a guest drummer at a London show. Probably for one or two of the classic Ebb tracks. As far as the other guys, I haven’t had any contact at all. We will definitely be approaching the live set up in a very old school way, just as we did in the beginning – very minimal, very raw, and very powerful (we hope!).

ZERO:
When and where will you start to rehearse?

Douglas:
Well right now Bon is recreating or bettering the original sounds in LA, and we haven’t yet decided where to rehearse. Also, we need to find a drummer. Our first shows ill be in June so we need to be on the case by the end of April i guess.

ZERO:
What set lists can the fans look forward to hear? Will there be a focus on the earlier years or the more guitar-oriented later years?

Douglas:
Yeah, all I can say for sure is that we will be making a very electronic show, so obviously the earlier material suits that format, although maybe a couple of later tracks could pop up.

ZERO:
How many shows will you play, and where?

Douglas:
We have offers from all around the world – South America; Central America; North America; South Africa; Australia; Japan; Europe; Russia etc – and of course we want to play all of them! So it’s a growing tour right now, but we hope to do something in the region of 25 shows globally.

ZERO:
Do you and Bon have any connections with Chelmsford these days?

Douglas:
I have a couple of friends who live in the town or near by, but it’s very rare that I’m ever back there. Bon still has most of his family there.

ZERO:
Is your old friend Simon Granger involved?

Douglas:
Simon is the same as ever - elusive! It would be great to get him involved, but time is always an issue. I have been designing some new NEP ”tour” shirts and will be happy to do the sleeves and other related work, but also just as happy to have Simon work on them too.

ZERO:
Will the DVD/CD "Body of Work" be released now? What is the reason that it didn't get released?

Douglas:
Yes we have been in close contact with Mute and the release should coincide with the tour commencing in June. Daniel Miller was one of the first people I contacted after Bon and myself made the final decision to go ahead with this little project.

ZERO:
Are you going to record new material?

Douglas:
Nothing planned. Technically we don’t have a record deal.

ZERO:
What have you and Bon been doing during the years that Nitzer hasn't been together? Have you heard Bon's project Maven? Has Bon heard your music, or seen any of your shows with F/M?

Douglas:
We are both aware of each others work, and in fact I played Bon a selection of new FM tracks while I was in Chicago. Other than FM, which takes up the majority of my time and is my main focus, I studied at University for a degree in graphic design and do some design work; I at various times directed short films, promos, and adverts etc; I have been working on tracks with other artists such as MOTOR, and FELIX DA HOUSECAT; and I am also working on a variety of projects, from photography to clothing, music to film making with my girlfriend Polly Tootal.

ZERO:
You are going to play at the Arvika Festival this summer. The Arvika Festival was one of the festivals that Nitzer Ebb canceled in 1995. Do you feel that you owe something special to the Swedish fans at this Arvika show?

Douglas:
Yes, sorry about that. We have always had very special feelings for Sweden since first coming with Depeche Mode in 1988. I have some great Swedish friends both here in London and in Sweden (hello Betty!) and it is always fun to be there, in fact after the SAMA show me and Polly stayed on for a few days to enjoy more Swedish hospitality – I’m a fan!

ZERO:
You have played at the Arvika Festival with F/M in 2004. What is your impression of the festival?

Douglas:
Arvika is fantastic! Very friendly festival and neighboring town. I hope they chill out about the alcohol this year though! Not tough for me because there was plenty backstage, but a little hard on the audience I feel.

ZERO:
Can you tell us about the nude performance that occurred during your show with F/M in Arvika?

Douglas:
They had no clothes on.

ZERO:
You have now been touring with F/M for a while. What is the biggest differences you have noticed from the time you were touring with Nitzer Ebb?

Douglas:
Of course there is a difference in the personalities of Bon and Terence, but FM is less of a ”stage show” in terms of lighting and stage set etc., so in a way it’s less structured than NE was. I’m yet to see how NE will be this time around, but I would like to import some of that FM looseness into the show. It’s a lot easier now that technology allows a freer and more reliable perfomance.

ZERO:
Will you clean up your black shorts, your white tanktops and your black Doc Marten's for the tour? Or can Nitzer Ebb fans expect the more modern style, with pilot glasses?

Douglas:
I think we have to get right back to how NE started, so there will be a military feel for sure, and I rather like putting on the shades these days, hmmm let’s see.

ZERO:
What is happening with F/M at the moment?

Douglas:
We have finished recording the new album, and we’re very happy with it! We will release a limited vinyl in February 2006 and continue to play shows around the Ebb tour, but the album will not be released until September 2006 so as not to confuse the issue with Nitzer Ebb. After that time the Ebb tour will be winding up and Fixmer/McCarthy will hit the road on a proper tour.

ZERO:
You recently recorded new material with Die Krupps. Can you tell us more about that?

Douglas:
Jürgen and Ralph asked me to drop by after a recent F/M show to re-record the Machineries of Joy, so I did. It was very nice catching up on old times, and I sang the track in German! With a lot of help from Jürgen. It sounds great and me and Terence will do re-mix of it in the new year.

ZERO:
Does the Nitzer Ebb reunion affect work with F/M?

Douglas:
Yes of course it means that my time is taken with something other than FM, so it has an effect. We would have probably been releasing the new FM album sooner, but also because of the profile of Nitzer Ebb we think it will help FM get to more people too. FM is at the centre of both my own and Terence’s activities regardless of me as Nitzer Ebb or Terence as Terence Fixmer. We feel very happy and confident about our future together.

ZERO:
F/M plays some Nitzer Ebb material. How does it feel to play those songs with Terence Fixmer?

Douglas:
It’s been fun for the reasons I stated before, namely that we have a much looser approach to how the songs are structured, and so in a sense they can be like a new song every time we perform them.


End

 

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