Interview 2006 Duc Nhan Nguyen

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Duc Nhan Nguyen, one of Nitzer Ebb's string of drummers, tells how he went from being a backstage DJ to accompanying the band on their groundbreaking, “rock n' roll”-style tour with Depeche Mode in 1988.
 

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


http://www.zeromagazine.nu


 
ZERO:
Tell us about yourself.

DUC:
My name is Duc Nhan (pronounced duc Nhien). I was born in Belgium, from Vietnamese origin. I lived in Austin, Texas in 1986 and I came back to Europe after one year . I' m still an artist, but in a different field. I replaced David Gooday, who left the band for professional reasons.
 
ZERO:
What did you do before you became a member of Nitzer Ebb?
 
DUC:
I was in a band called “War Tempo.” I worked as a DJ in different clubs and exclusive bars.
 
ZERO:
How did you come to be a member of Nitzer Ebb?
 
DUC:
In 1987, NE played in Brussels at the Plan K . I was then the “After Party” DJ. Backstage, I met NE and had a little chat with them. A month later, I received a letter from Doug asking me if I would like to work with the band. I thought it would be DJ job. Doug said it would be as a full member. He asked if I would join them and be their new drummer. A few weeks after, I arrived in London and had two weeks of rehearsals and played two gigs before the Depeche Mode tour in1988.
 
ZERO:
What other bands did you play in before Nitzer Ebb?
 
DUC:
War Tempo, which is similar to DAF, Front 242, Klinik.
 
ZERO:
What did you know about the band before you became a member?
 
DUC:
As a underground DJ, I was quite informed of the alternative music scene. But I had never met the band before they came in Brussels.
 
ZERO:
Were you a drummer before entering the band, or did you have to learn?
 
DUC:
Not really. We had our drummer and drumbox. I had to learn in a couple days all the songs. It was a bloody challenge for NE, and me.
 
ZERO:
Tell us about the tour with the band. Did you only accompany the band on the Depeche Mode tour?
 
DUC:
Yes. The DM tour was very rock ‘n roll, as I expected. The first tour was my best time ever. Most of the DM fans had been smashed up against the front of the stage by the NE fans when we played the first song “Fitness to Purpose.”Bang, Bang…What a Pogo. It was a very strong set: full of energy, quick and powerful. A surgical hit, for those pussy fans.

ZERO:
What song of Nitzer Ebb was your favorite to play live? Why?
 
DUC:
Join in the Chant. The rhythm is so great, fun to play.
 
ZERO:
What other songs were your favorite?
 
DUC:
Let Your Body Learn, Fun to be Had, My Heart, and Hearts and Minds.
 
ZERO:
Why did you quit the band?
 
DUC:
Because of Belgium army duty. They said, you will be a man after that. Am I? Hope so.
 
ZERO:
What did you do after quiting the band?
 
DUC:
I became the Front 242 tour manager, for the Front by Front tour in 1989.
 
ZERO:
Nitzer Ebb has had lots of drummers over the years. Do you consider Doug and Bon hard to work with?
 
DUC:
No, I had great time with them. At that time the only frontier we had was my basic English language. For communicating feelings...things can sound rude to anyone.

ZERO:
Have you played in other bands since Nitzer Ebb?
 
DUC:
Yes , I was the sound engineer for Philadelphia 5. My other projects include working with Richard 23, Patrick Codenys (Front 242), and Jean-luc De Meyer (Front 242's singer).
 
ZERO:
You where a manager of Front 242 for a while. Tell us about that.
 
DUC:
In that time I lived in Belgium. Jean-Luc De Meyer was a regular costumer in the club “La Haute Tension.” Patrick Codenys became my best friend. We share a lot of things. At that time, they were looking for a tour manager. I offered my service and experience.
 
ZERO:
Did you follow Nitzer Ebb past the time you worked with them? Did you go to shows and so on?
 
DUC:
Not really. I saw them two times in Belgium. That’s it.
 
ZERO:
When was the last time you talked to the members of Nitzer Ebb?
 
DUC:
Two weeks ago in Antwerpen. We had a great time backstage. Eighteen years later, and it was like yesterday. It brings me so many good memories. There are things that will never change.
 
ZERO:
What do you think about the songs the band has released in more recent years?
 
DUC:
They wrote great songs. Seeing Doug playing guitar was not my cup of tea. I wondered what kind of artistic direction they would take. I did not like that part .
 
ZERO:
Do you think Nitzer Ebb's sound would had taken a different turn with you in the band? And why?
 
DUC:
Yes. If I had that chance. As a DJ, you listen and experiment sonority,mix different styles. The Belgium electro approach is quite different, with Front 242 , Klinik, Dive, Neon Judgement.
 
ZERO:
Were you surprised when you heard that the band had broke up back in 1995?
 
DUC:
No comment. Things happen. It is better to look forward. “Make it better with maturity.”
 
ZERO:
What are your thoughts on the Nitzer Ebb comeback?
 
DUC:
It does not end now. They are part of history. Hope they will still be on the road for year, and not be a '90’s electro revival for money.


End

 

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