“SIECHTUM does not promote any political opinions or views. It is the solemn interest of this project to provoke and inspire discussion as well as to criticize the grievances that haunt our society. Not forgetting that people still should move their bodies to our sound.”
– from “[[gessellschaft:mord]]”.
Siechtum was initialy a solo industrial project by Thomas Rainier, predating the highly successful L’Ame Immortelle project which nearly caused its premature end. In time, this project was reactivated and musician Joachim Sobczak was invited as colaborator.
Siechtum’s first album, the acclaimed “[[gessellschaft:mord]]”, was released in 2000 and was followed in 2001 by the limited edition “[[kreuz:X:feuer]]”, sound-track for trash-movie “Desecrator”. 2002 saw the release of Siechtum’s third album, “[[diagnoze:zeit]]”, and, a few months later, the first Siechtum live performance (at Leipzig’s Wave-Gotik Treffen festival) as well as the debut of Joachim Sobczak’s solo project Shattenschlag, in the form of the album “Flashback”.
C.B. – How did the Siechtum gig in Leipzig go, especialy in terms of audience response?
It was an outstanding experience for me to have a gig in Leipzig. I guess we had about 2000 visitors at our gig and the response to our music is awesome. Even though we did have some minor problems with the monitoring and due to that fact with our sound everybody was dancing and having a good time. Thanks again to all who attended that gig and did make it for me for a gig I will remember in years !
C.B. – Not long after Siechtum in Leipzig and the first Schattenschlag CD and you’re scheduled to perform at the Zillo festival. A quick evolution of events or were you expecting this already? Any special expectations for this particular upcoming gig?
I was quite astonished when I was called by my agent and when he told me that Schattenschlag will perform live at the Zillo Open Air festival just two weeks ago. I never expected to play at a Zillo Open Air festival with Schattenschlag that soon or ever. So just guess how excited I am feeling at present. At the upcoming gig Schattenschlag will perform approx 45 minutes playing songs from the actual album “Flashback” and the upcoming album “Schlagabtausch”. I guess it will be a good mixture and I only expect a good gig there and nothing more as I never ever heard of a band before that released just one album and which plays at such an important festival. So playing and performing is enough and I hope that the audience will be astonished too as I have a couple of live musicians around me e.g.: Tom “Djschingi” Nass who formerly was the drummer of Garden of Delight Frank “Tattoofrank” who played a couple of e-guitars for L´ame Immortelle and who was their live Stageroadie, Tony “the kraken” who is also the soundtechnician of such famous bands as L´Ame Immortelle, Killerbarbies, Garden of Delight, etc…
So I guess my crew just speaks for itself and I am very proud of having such an outstanding crew around me.
C.B. – How did you end up joining the Siechtum? Were you involved in any other musical projects at the time? And nowadays?
I ended up joining Siechtum after chatting with Thomas on the internet relay chat (IRC) just a couple of months after the whole team of L´ame Immortelle finished their third album. During the recording of the LAI album I got to get to know Thomas as the whole team behind LAI did sleep at my place. At this point of time I was involved in a commercial game project for Core Design Ltd. and was busy composing as well. So Thomas got to know of my musical experiences and he liked them. While talking on the IRC Thomas did ask me to join up with Siechtum and so did I.
Today I still do some commercial game music for the Gameboy System and I am composing music for a game on the latest Playstation 2 system, but I also started my own musical project which is entitled “SCHATTENSCHLAG” and I do music for two famous fetish artists. One is Steve Diet Godde from the US and the second is Harald A. Jahn from Austria.
C.B. – About the Schattenschlag project… can you tell us something about its origin, ideologies and aim?
Schattenschlag is definitely not a fun project. At present I am really pleased that the debut “Flashback” is recognised as some flash into the past. “Schlagabtausch”, the second album, which is nearly finished, will do a step forward to find the whole identity of the project. I personally like the idea to show reality in the music with a hint of provocation in it. I can not change the world, society or media, but perhaps I can tell what is unspoken or spoken truth or what is wrong.
C.B. – The obvious question: why the name “Siechtum” (enfermity) for the project and the kanji for ‘power’ on the logo? Isn’t there some sort of paradox? How does this relate to Siechtum’s view on the world and modern society?
I do not see a paradox in it. We have movement and power in our music joined up with enfermity of the composition and arrangements of the songs.
C.B. – How do you feel that the notoriety L’Ame Immortelle acquired affected public acceptance and recognition of Siechtum? I mean, less people would probably check out Siechtum than if it was not related to a famous band…
Siechtum still is a side project of Thomas and I do think that Siechtum found its own style of music and of course its own acceptance after releasing three albums so far. The notoriety L’Ame Immortelle has, only worked out that the acceptance of Siechtum has been a bit faster.
C.B. – Is there currently any sort of creative interactivity between L’Ame Immortelle and Siechtum? Would you say that one can eventualy turn out to be detrimental to the other in creative terms?
Like Thomas I also know the other artists behind L´Ame Immortelle, but I think that we handle it the perfect way. Siechtum belongs to Siechtum and L´Ame Immortelle belongs to L´Ame Immortelle. There is, of course, the possibility that some influences are shared in both bands, but these influences are handled differently on the composing side.
C.B. – How does Siechtum work creative-wise? Do you work together in a studio or separately, meeting from time to time to compare ideas and develop them? Do you have any problems coordinating “real-life” activities and music creation?
Thomas and me work seperatly and we meet via Internet, phone and of course personally. The difference between other bands is that we both have our own style of composing which is really different, but we manage it to build up as a team through talking and some meetings. After finishing the work on the different tracks we discuss the music and coordinate which would fit perfectly to Siechtum and Siechtum style. Normally Thomas has the last word on which track is going to be released or which one we should work over.
C.B. – Do you have any sort of formal musical training? How did you find yourself attracted to the creation of electronic music?
I started doing music back in 1989 on the Amiga system and still own an Amiga. Before that I only did play drums, but lacked experiences in it. Some time later I discovered Jean-Michell Jarre and liked his style, then followed a period of metal music and finally I got back to electronics via Front242 and Nizzer Ebb.
C.B. – You mentioned Jean-Michel Jarre, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb having been ‘responsible’ for your interest in electronic music. What other bands were also influential in shaping your sound? And what about other music-styles as Schattenschlag does show a bit of d’n’b influences here and there.
I also like some old-school Ministry songs and my original roots in music may be found in old metal tracks to which I listened when I was at the age of 16 to 18. The d´n´b influence probably is a result of some other aspects. As I like listening to different styles of music as well I found an old record by Cubanate in my cd-rack and really like it. Surely some other influences are AphexTwin and Astral Projection (that is a goa band). I like the experiment of testing something new, being openminded to other influences as well and I guess that is the reason why Schattenschlag does not sound like any other band I personally know. It is something new, experimental and open minded music. That explains tracks like “Unsterbliche Gier” on the album [“Flashback” by Schattenschlag] and the cooperation with other musicians and singers.
C.B. – While other bands that also assume a critical position on society (like :wumpscut: and Suicide Commando) have a more emotional approach, Siechtum appears to be much more distant, colde and mechanical despite the rage in the songs.
In my opinion I think it is the style of Siechtum being much more distant, cold and mechanical than e.g. other bands like :Wumpscut: and Suicide Commando as we do not want to copy from other bands. Instead we form our own identity with it.
C.B. – From “[gesselschaft:mord]” to “[diagnoze:zeit]” there seems to be an evolution in this attitude, in addition, the songs seem not only less raw but also almost clinical, like a surgeon dispassionately performing a vivissection or an autopsy. Would you care to comment on this?
“[Diagnose:Zeit]” has a special theme in itself and that is the atmosphere of a hospital which we wanted to create. I guess you also did notice the coverartwork and inlay of “[Diagnose:Zeit]” which are filled with surgery arts.
C.B. – What would you consider as relevant in influencing Siechtum? Political movements, literature, cinema…?
Society itself and, of course, the media and its work on the public opinion as well as political movements and literature.
C.B. – Siechtum’s second album, “[kreuz:X:feuer], represented somewhat of a departure from what was originaly stated as Siechtum’s purpose (a critical view on society) by presenting us with a movie sound-track, for the film Desecrator”.
Can you tell us something about the movie “Desecrator”?
I have a couple of friends at a university nearby who produced “Desecrator” as part of their studies and who asked me to do the soundtrack for it. It was quite fascinating working out tracks for a movie just from a few scratches of paper. Desecrator” is a mixture between “Jekill and Hyde” and “Bladerunner”. Of course not that professional, but I personally like the trash style as I like watching movies like “Bloodsucking freaks”, “Braindead” and “Premutos – The fallen angel”.
C.B. – How did this sound-track end up turning into a Siechtum album?
After finishing the tracks I presented them to Thomas and our label manager who both liked the idea of producing a soundtrack as some sort of “Best off” of the movie. So we did it.
C.B. – Could, in a way, Siechtum’s album “[kreuz:x:feuer]” be considered an embryo of Schattenschlag as it was pretty much the result of you working solo?
It would be nice if I could say “YES, you are perfectly right”, but “[kreuz:x:feuer]” is another experience I did have in the past. As a soundtrack for a movie it can not be called an embryo even when I did compose it on my own. Schattenschlag and Siechtum are two different projects with different styles of composing to me and the most exceptional thing is that Schattenschlag is my own project.
C.B. – Some Siechtum songs have been remixed for release in the past (in particular the last 3 tracks from “[kreuz:X:feuer]”). Should we expect more remixes of Siechtum work in the future? And what about Siechtum remixing other bands?
At present I finished a remix for the upcoming remix album by ASP (Song is entitled “Schwarzer Schmetterling (Evil Side RMX by SIECHTUM) and a remix of “You’re the psycho” by Diva Destruction. Siechtum also did some remixing work back in the past. Perhaps you remember the Siechtum remix for “Zauberschloss” by In Strict Confidence, “Rearranging” for L´ame Immortelle and a remix for God Module on their european release of their album “Artificial” (Song is called “Illusion (Fortified rmx)”). There is of course the possibility of remixes of Siechtum songs in the future, but there are none planned at present.
C.B. – What are your views on the double-edged sword known as ‘file-sharing applications’ (Napster, AudioGalaxy, etc…)? How do you feel they can affect musical creation and the music industry in general and Siechtum in particular?
I personally do not care much about the ‘file-sharing applications’ as I think that people who like the album will buy it or perhaps the next one. In my opinion it is some sort of advertising our music and that is also the reason that you can download full songs as mp3 from our homepage.
— interview by Miguel de Sousa. (July 2002)