Interview with Daniel Myer (Haujobb, Architect, Destroid, Covenant)
Daniel Myer is one of the most active artists in the electronic music scene. Mostly known for his main project HAUJOBB, he has recently become a member of the band Covenant as well.
On Friday the 21st of December we had the chance to see Daniel Myer performing live in Underworld Club in Athens both as Architect and as Haujobb (unfortunately without his partner, Ribi), an event co-organized with the Spectraliquid team. On the next day, although tired, we had the chance for coffee, food, a bit of shopping and a very friendly conversation on the way to the airport…
DM: I have been releasing records for the past 15 years, yes.
::EBM.gr:: Tell us what made you start Haujobb and what was the concept behind this project?
DM: I was working with my band mate, Dejan, already for two years, on just music, just doing some things like Metallica, Sepultura, and we just wanted to do music like Skinny Puppy and there was no concept really behind it, we just wanted to make intelligent industrial music.
::EBM.gr:: The term “intelligent” wasn’t popular at that time…
DM: Well, maybe just different industrial music… Everything was EBM at that time, bands like Front 242, Front Line Assembly… Yes.
::EBM.gr:: Does the word "Haujobb" have any special meaning?
DM: It's supposed to be “Hautjobb”, from the movie "Bladerunner". In the movie it's "Skinjob", but when we watched the movie in German I couldn't hear the "T" sound, so I just heard "Haujobb" and it made kind of sense. In German "Haujobb" means something like… beating up someone. In the movie it’s a term for showing no respect to the androids… they call them “Skinjobs”, like calling "nigger" a black guy. It sounded to me something negative for something that doesn't exist yet, and it was cool!
::EBM.gr:: Before starting Haujobb what kind of music you were into?
DM: Very early, Depeche Mode, like anybody I think… New Order… I hated guitar music at first so I was into synthpop, italo-disco stuff, like Dan Harrow and shit like that… then we got into the metal thing, first it was more goth stuff, like The Cure, The Mission, Sisters Of Mercy – “Floodland” is still one of my favourite record of all times – and then we explored EBM and anything that was different, like Skinny Puppy, like Clock DVA which were a main influence.
::EBM.gr:: And your all-time favourite artist?
DM: I have a lot actually, but I only like several periods of their works. Skinny Puppy – “Too Dark Park” is still amazing, Speedy J – “A Shocking Hobby” is one of my all-time favourite albums, Depeche Mode – “Violator” is amazing. It's just certain records… For directors is still Ridley Scott with James Cameron with all their early works like “Bladerunner”… “Alien 3” is an amazing movie, everything that David Fincher is doing is pretty good – except for “Zodiac”, which is OK…. it's not that great.
::EBM.gr:: And then you started touring straight away after releasing your first Haujobb record?
DM: We did our first show supporting “X Marks The Pedwalk” and the label was there and discovered us and signed us right away, it was like we got signed in our first show, we released our first record and they sent us on the road with Blind Passengers… The tour was called "Electronic For Nature". It was a funny tour… a part of the fee that people paid went for some purpose… I don't know what it was… it was funny because at that time Black Passengers was really synthpop by the time, and we were very young and very harsh, we had these metal drums on stage, so they looked at us like freaks! It was pretty weird…
::EBM.gr:: Do you still think as "Polarity" the best album for Haujobb?
DM: I always say “Polarity” because I love it… but I always find something interesting… like last night when I played "The Renegades of Noise"… it reminded me how good it is… there is always something special behind my tracks.
::EBM.gr:: And what’s your best Haujobb track?
DM: I think it's "The Noise Institute". It is very powerful, very simple… I like that a lot… but there are a lot of other tracks… I like "Subsonic" for the beat, "Unseen" for the breaks, I like "Noise Institute" for the power, there is a lot of different tracks that I really like….
::EBM.gr:: We recently learned you decided to stop Haujobb… Do you think that their sound belongs to the 90s? Do you think it is outdated?
DM: No, because I think what we did in the 90s is still popular now. What we did with "Solutions For A Small Planet" that was in 1996, that is popular now…If you listen to Mind.In.A.Box – "Crossroads", that album reminds me a lot of what we did back with "Solutions For A Small Planet", with the breakbeats, and the trancy melodies, that's what we did ten years ago. And we never did anything that was retro, we always tried to find something new, so I don't think it's outdated… how we are, how we behave, how we are thinking is outdated, because we think that with our music we want to try out new things, we want to explore new things, and that's not what other people want. Every new band tries to sound like another band, but they sound exactly like it, they don't want to be different they just want to sound like Suicide Commando or VNV Nation… Just exactly the same…
::EBM.gr:: They want to follow a recipe…
DM: Yeah… We started that… kind of… with Haujobb, we tried to sound like Skinny Puppy but there was always our own little "something" to it…
::EBM.gr:: You launched the first Architect EP back in 1998. Did you think that Haujobb and drum'n'bass were incompatible?
DM: The first Architect record was actually outtakes from Haujobb… it was remixes we did and demos we wrote but didn't use in the end. I think by the time I released Architect we tried to find something else with Haujobb and then “Ninetynine” was released with Haujobb…
::EBM.gr:: So with every new project you try to experiment with different kind of electronic music?
::EBM.gr:: You went silent for six years, and I then “I went shopping to get some noise” was released. What made you continue with Architect at that point?
DM: I think partly it was because I love to work with labels like Hymen and Ant-Zen. It's a great label, great people behind it… I don't know why it took me so long to find something new… I think I was just travelling a lot at that time, doing a lot of Haujobb shows of course… and I think I tried to get Haujobb back to where we were, but it didn't work out.
::EBM.gr:: So you were too busy to notice that a long time had passed.
DM: Yeah, I think so…
::EBM.gr:: Would you say that there is a representative release for Architect?
DM: No every release is different.
::EBM.gr:: Do you intentionally try to change the sound?
::EBM.gr:: Do you experiment with the sound with each project?
DM: I know exactly what I want when I write something. With Architect it's kind of a mix…. every time I play live I play something new and that adds something to the next record. I think it gets more danceable and more and more powerful with every record.
::EBM.gr:: When you write something new do you get the idea first and then choose the project that idea belongs to?
DM: No. I decide first which project I write for.
::EBM.gr:: Architect, Haujobb, Destroid, cleen/cleaner/clear vision, s'apex, myer, hexer, aktivist, g_flow, appendix, r:a, scope, newt, dots+dashes…..So many other projects…Have you actually ever counted all your projects?
DM: Once… yeah! It was fourteen by the time…
::EBM.gr:: Fourteen? Wow! Which is your loved one? The one you won't ever stop? Or you think you won't stop?
DM: I stopped almost everything. By the time I had these 14 projects, I released a lot of drum'n'bass and every label wanted their own name for some reason, so I had like four or five different drum'n'bass projects by the time, and it was all the same sound basically, but the labels wanted different names. Then I had a little minimal house project called "Aktivist" which I am going to continue because I really like it…
::EBM.gr:: Was there fourteen different names for fourteen different kinds of experimentations?
DM: No, only six were needed because there was house, drum'n'bass, downbeat, EBM, industrial and some ambient sounds, I think with “S’Apex”, which was basically sound design.
::EBM.gr:: Rumours about you replacing Clas Nachmanson of Covenant seem to be true. So, you are now an official member of Covenant?
DM: Yes, I became. We celebrated last week in Spain with an expensive dinner.
::EBM.gr:: We've seen you performing live as a percussionist and a drummer with Covenant in their latest tour in 2007. How did this collaboration occur? They chose you? You chose them?
DM: It happened like this… The first Covenant tour in Europe was with us, Haujobb. They supported Haujobb in 95 or 96. From that point we became very good friends, and a couple of years later I supported Covenant with Cleener or Clear Vision and we became even better friends, and we always run into each other, like with a gig here in Athens four years ago, when actually it became obvious that Clas wanted to leave. So last year in December Eskil asked me if I wanted to do a Christmas show with them because Clas wasn't able to do it – he had family plans – so I said yes of course! I like them, I like their music, it was good money by the time, and from that point they asked me for every other show. And then we did the tour together in Russia. I think the first tour was in South America, which was incredible, the best time and tour I ever had. The best food I everhad! The steak in Chile was fucking amazing! And then we did the tour in Russia, like two weeks on the train, it was crazy! We spent 150 hours on the train. And that's when we became very close, and they asked me if I wanted to join. From that point I was like "if you want to…" and they were like "well if you want to…". And finally last week they made it official.
::EBM.gr:: Will you be songwriting with Covenant?
DM: Eskil wants me to have at least one song on the next record written by me.
::EBM.gr:: Covenant are well known for making simple but brilliant futurepop music, while we know that you continually experiment and always try to stretch the limits of so-called IDM. Do you plan to follow this kind of songwriting with Covenant?
DM: No idea!!! We are going to the studio in February and see where it goes. I think it's three very strong personalities, especially me and Eskil we are both very "Alpha males", I think you can say that… like the king of the… whatever… so it's going to be a little challenge for us to go to the studio, because Eskil knows exactly what he wants, I know exactly what I want. So we are going to see where it ends…
::EBM.gr:: Will you be stopping any personal project then?
DM: I am not going to stop Architect, Destroid, or Haujobb either… I am just going to stop performing live as Haujobb. But I always try to work with Dejan on new music. There is just no need for us to play live anymore. There are some people, like you guys, that enjoy what I played last night… but I don't know… four or five years ago we would have drawn maybe four times as many people. It is not popular anymore. So it doesn't make any sense to go to places and pay for everything for our selves. For example, If I play in Germany I have to pay to play basically. Why would I do that?
::EBM.gr:: You’ve been quite a long time on the scene. What do you think is the future for electronic music? Is it towards the IDM, breakcore, ambient?
DM: I have no idea. The music in the scene becomes more and more simple. It's fucking stupid. You just need a kick drum with a bit of distortion and some horror samples and people would go nuts…people with the "neon" hair…
::EBM.gr:: …and cyberlocks…
DM: They just need a fucking kick drum and they are happy and I fucking hate it! I like melodies and tricky rhythms and good sequences but they don't care.
::EBM.gr:: What was the idea behind Destroid? Maybe a simpler kind of music then? To get closer to a bigger audience?
DM: The idea was to work with my other partner, Sebastian. He had a project that I really liked and I just wanted him to continue. And he told me "yeah, but why are we not working together?" because we lived in the same apartment by the time, and so he was there all the time and was working on music. The idea was to create a mix of everything that we liked and was popular. Even stuff we don't like just to make it our own. Hocico were cool but not our favourite, but we tried to evolve that and to make it our own, like with the track "Broken And Abused" by Destroid, which was like kind of a Hocico track.
::EBM.gr:: What is the difference that you see between "Future Prophecies" and "Loudspeaker"?
DM: With Loudspeaker I think, as Destroid, we have our own sound now.
::EBM.gr:: So "Future Prophecies" was something like experimenting with the sound of Destroid?
::EBM.gr:: And Destroid should be like what Loudspeaker sounds?
DM: No, there is much more to come, we are still evolving and experimenting, always.
::EBM.gr:: We’ve seen you use a lot of real drums on stage. Would you use them in the studio as well?
DM: For the next Haujobb record we will actually use real drums. This guy that plays drums for Project Pitchfork, and Die Krupps, Achim Färber, he is a really cool drummer, and he works for Haujobb whenever I have the money to pay him, he comes with me. He is going to record some stuff for us and we are going to use it for the next Haujobb album.
::EBM.gr:: Tell us about the equipment you use (software/hardware etc). We’ve seen you have a Sony VAIO laptop. Do you prefer PCs to Macs?
DM: I don't care if it's a Mac or a PC. It's the same tool basically. You just need to run plug-ins. I am happy with what I use, I use Cubase, and lots of software and it works good for me. There is one good thing with the Mac and Apple. For example, I bought a Firebox a couple of months ago and I couldn't get it to work with PC because the firewire output doesn't have any power and then I had to install drivers and everything and it didn't work out in the end. And then I tried it with a Mac. Just plugged it in, and it worked. No driver, nothing! That's the good thing with the Apple, you just plug it in and it works, it looks cool, the design is amazing, it’s light, it's not heavy like a PC laptop.
::EBM.gr:: So, your main equipment is your laptop. Do you use it on stage as well?
DM: Yes. Well that's kind of dangerous, I think I should get a spare one as well.
::EBM.gr:: How do the people react at your live shows? What do you expect from them? How do you expect them to react?
DM: I don't expect anything anymore.
::EBM.gr:: How would you like to see them?
DM: I would like to see them as when I was in Buenos Aires, they were like football fans, they were going nuts! When we played with Covenant they were yelling the basslines along [makes the noise – ooooh oooh], it was fucking amazing! The promoter told Eskil that one of our Haujobb tracks – "Penetration" – is a very big hit in the clubs and they asked me to perform the track in the set, and I did that and the response was amazing! They were an incredible crowd! And then in Russia for example they are very enthusiastic, they are very physical, I played in Novosibirsk, and I also had drums with me, but very big oil cans, so at one point in the show I threw the oil cans in the audience, and jumped in the audience, and we were all playing together the drums! That's what I like, I like to interact with the people, like yesterday when I walked up to you and…
DM:…because I don't think that I am someone special, I am just a guy who's on stage who tries to have a good time, and when I have a good time I want everybody to have a good time. And if I don't and if they don’t well what's the point? It's like a waste of time, it's stupid.
::EBM.gr:: What’s your best memory from a concert? Something you will not forget?
DM: They were like many…back in the days it was of course the "rock star" thing….getting drunk, getting wasted, getting laid…That's always a good memory when you are old and fat…
DM: …then the thing in Buenos Aires with the people…It's always, I think, people that are impressive, or food that it is impressive, or places that are impressive, like four years ago when I was here in Athens, I had "gyros", it was amazing to have that, somewhere near the monument of Acropolis. It's always a mix of people, the country…
::EBM.gr:: Well, yes… You do some DJing as well…
::EBM.gr:: Tell us about some clubs you've been to that you really liked them.
DM: Last year I did some DJing at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. I really liked that place because it was a fetish night, and there were beautiful people there, getting beaten up… or beating each other, and it was like bondage or whatever, and it was surreal! I was in my skater clothes, and they were almost naked…
DM:…it was fun to watch! And then I always like to DJ at Wave Gotik Treffen, at Moritzbastei, I do that for five years now. And I can play whatever I want, people love it, they love to dance to new things, even stuff they haven't heard, because they just want to have a good time. It's like the best part when cultures are clashing together, which never happens if you just play at a German city on a regular club night. It’s always on festivals, like Wave Gotik Treffen, where there are people from all over the world, they just want to have a good time together, so you can do whatever you want, they are going to be pleased, because they are drunk, they are laughing, they are horny, they just want to party, you know…that’s just perfect!
::EBM.gr:: Do you also experiment when DJing as well?
DM: Not really. I do a lot of mixing… when I did drum’n’bass I used to DJ a lot and I did a lot of experimentation, like scratching and shit like that but for our scene it’s not necessary, I just like to beat-match and have a nice flow.
::EBM.gr:: What should we expect from you in the near future?
DM: In the near future there will be a new Architect record, and I am going to work with Covenant. And I just want to continue with some past projects…I have a show with “S’Apex” which is dead for six or seven years now and it’s going to be fun… You know the Global Noise Movement?
::EBM.gr:: Yes. We know the party on the last day of Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig.
DM: They do a party I think in January and I am going to have a S’Apex show, this project is dead for six years now, it will be fun.
::EBM.gr:: Is there any artist you'd like to work with on a songwriting basis that you haven't worked with?
DM: No. I mean it’s always hard to work with other people. I would like to get, for example, a record produced by someone, I just want to work with music, like with Destroid, and then maybe someone else can have the final touch on it. I really love David Sylvian and I would really love to have him in one of my records… or the guy from Dead Can Dance, Brendan Perry, I think he is an amazing singer. I am not so much into Lisa Gerrard, my favourite Dead Can Dance tracks are the tracks he is singing, like “American Dreaming”, “The Carnival Is Over”…
::EBM.gr:: Do you prefer female lyrics?
DM: I like everything, but I prefer male lyrics, male singers better, because of the anger… if a female yells her voice sounds like “fuck you” or “ shut up bitch!”…you know…
DM:…a man can be like “aaaarghhhh!” …I don’t like yelling females, they are annoying. But I like beautiful female voices. I appreciate them a lot. But I prefer more the male singers… No wait… There is one female that can yell… Do you know Battery?
::EBM.gr:: Yes of course.
DM: One track “Aftermath”… phew…that track…turns me …it’s very good, I always play that in my DJ sets. When I want to dance I play that and go to the dance floor…
::EBM.gr:: So you dance while you DJ?
DM: To one track only! And only when I am very drunk!
::EBM.gr:: (laughs) Have you listened to any new artist worth mentioning lately?
DM: Lots… I love Hecq, it is amazing, I love Headscan, just stuff that it is different… Headscan is quite like a mix of Covenant and Haujobb and maybe you’ll like them.
::EBM.gr:: Indeed! The word "genius" shows up quite frequently next to your name (which we find quite reasonable!!). How do you feel about that?
DM: It’s annoying!
::EBM.gr:: Is it?
DM: Yeah. Because I am not a genius, I am someone who tries new things… I would say brave… I am not a genius, I am a brave man!
::EBM.gr:: (laughs) We think the word is quite reasonable, you maybe don’t see yourself this way, but we do.
DM: Erm…Einstein was a genius…
::EBM.gr:: Any message to all Daniel Myer fans here in Greece?
DM: You missed a fucking great show!!!
::EBM.gr:: (laughs) Thank you very very much for a great show on Friday and for sharing all this info with us! We hope to see you soon as Destroid as well.
Our many special thanks to the Spectraliquid team for co-organizing this event.
More info on Daniel Myer and his various projects: