Here is an Interview I did with Cristian Vogel for DrownedInSound.com.
Cristian Vogel Speaks
It is perhaps only fitting for a man born in Chile, who has lived in England, Germany and Spain to have trodden perhaps one of the most varied musical careers of the last decade or so. Having produced and DJ’d techno across the world, manned the mixing desk and provided remixes for artists from Maximo Park to Radiohead without forgetting his time with Jamie Liddell in innovative electronica duo SuperCollider Cristian Vogel has constantly and restlessly moved forward. His latest project, Night Of The Brain, sees Cristian stepping away from straight production and into playing in what is perhaps the most conventional construct he has ever challenged himself with. NOTB brings together the varied strands of Vogel’s past and unites them in a new setting that appears to have invigorated the wandering man.
Hi Cristian, how is Barcelona?
Very sunny thankyou!
Great! We are here today to talk about Night Of The Brain. What prompted the decision to persue a full band project?
Well, If I was being honest I would say a big part of it was growing very bored with travelling the world alone as a DJ. It can get very lonely, it is a lonely art. It is easy and it pays very well and it can be fun but I needed a change. I had also become very bored of the techno scene in general.
Was that your internal boredom with the scene or the scene itself boring you?
A combination of the two I guess. The techno scene moves fast. Always very very fast. One week one record is massive and the next week that record has been outdone and everyone moves to the next one. I also felt that there had been a change in the clubs in terms of the atmosphere. I don’t know what it was, maybe people changing what they were drinking or whatever else it might be that they were taking but the whole vibe has definitely changed.
So is NOTB a means to reinvigorate yourself?
In a way yes, I think I just needed a new challenge. The thing with a band is that it is a different kind of pressure to the pressure you have making a techno record. Whereas if you are producing a techno tune there is that pressure to make it the very best tune and compress that high-hat sound or create the best kick drum sound or whatever with the band there is no sense that we are going to be the best band in the world. That pressure is not there, we simply want to play good music.
Is it in some way reaching back to the fruitful creative patnership you shared with Jamie Liddell in SuperCollider?
Well SuperCollider was great in that we made some great music and got to travel around together and see some places and we got on very well as friends but the whole process became a little wearying. Doing things like whole days locked away in hotel rooms doing press and things like that was not so good. This is a very different band to SuperCollider though which was a highly collaborative project. With NOTB I tend to come up with most of the ideas for the songs and then they are played out in the studio.
Did having worked with lots of bands from Chicks On Speed to Radiohead both in production and remixing influence your approach to NOTB?
When you are producing you are really on the other side of the fence, trying to coach the best that you can out of a band which is a different set of skills to those that you require to make the record in the first place. I actually ended up producing this record myself and putting it out on Station 55 my own label just because there weren’t the people around at the time to get involved with it. We are already talking about getting Franz Tiechler from the Young Gods involved in producing on the next record. I have worked with him before and he is a very hard man, very exacting.
How do you separate the creative processes between what ideas might be relevant to your more electronic recordings and what ideas might be more relevant to the band project?
It is actually fairly clear cut, ideas for the band stuff. They might come in the form of a riff or a melody and I just play that out on the guitar or the bass. The bass is an interesting instrument to compose with as it fairly narrow in its field, With a guitar you can go all kinds of crazy and off on tangents but the bass keeps it concise. And then you just keep playing the song out until it show its true colours and there you go.
In terms of the instrumentation there is a mix between live drums and programmed beats was there a reason for this?
The plan was always to have live drums because I have spent so long programming beats. On one level it is easy because I have done it often but on another to get the exact sound that you want can take a very long time. I had always wanted live drums for this band it just took a little while to find someone suitable, but we were very lucky to find Cristobal Masis who is a wonderful drummer
Are you looking forward to playing this record out live?
We have already played some dates and it was good but we have our biggest show yet at Sonar which should be great yes.
In terms of your previous recordings would you place NOTB as continuing that body of work or is it something you view as being separate?
I would say that everything I have done up until now has lead to this.
Finally, you have already mentioned a second NOTB record, do you have any electronic projects forthcoming or is the band the sole focus?
I actually have a new techno record I am working on that should be released in September.