Interview with: Philip Noirjean
By: Nina Mende
– Are you still in contact with some of your first fans?
“Yes, we have some fans which are around since long time, they still come to our show. We used to have another name, I don’t know if you are aware of that. We used to be called Carpe Diem. It’s very funny to see people who are telling you “Yeah, we’ve seen you ten years ago when you used to be Carpe Diem”. It’s very funny. ”
– Did you ever have any doubts about continuing playing music in the way you are doing now?
“No! Never! It’s essential. I mean I would die without music. Let’s say it like that. That’s one thing. And music is my therapy, so I would never stop. ”
– Do you have some funny backstage stories to share with us?
“We’ve been on tour with Apoptygma Berzerk, so we have plenty of stories *laughing*. Millions of stories. But that would take too much time. Yeah, it’s always very exciting, depends on who you are traveling with. And usually with Apop the part in the backstage, the after party, is better than the part in the venue. Let’s leave it like that.”
– Where would you like to see yourself and/or the band in 5 years??
“In five years? At Rock am Ring. *laughing* No, we are just continuing what you are doing and see what happens. Of course you wish to become bigger and better. But it’s the wrong way to think where you want to be in five years. We focus on our next record, we focus on every year and we try our best to be still around in five years.”
– Is there anyone you would love to work with, that you haven’t?
“Yeah, I am a big fan of Moby. I love Moby. He is one of the very few guys who is able to Techno music and Punk music during one live show. The people love him for that. That’s amazing. I love what he’s doing. I’d just like to meet Moby some day. Yeah there are many more, of course.”
– Like whom? Name some?
“Thom Yorke of Radiohead. I’m a big fan of Radiohead. I just like people who are against the commercial stream. Thom Yorke is a very good example for me. ”
– How do you define “success” for yourself?
“It changed. I don’t want to sound like a smart ass. But it changed. A few years ago successful was becoming bigger and better, selling more records. I think the older you get you realize that success is like a satisfying feeling you want to have. At night when you lay down in bed, you want to lay down with a smile no matter what you’re doing and if you reach that day by day I think that’s a biggest success you can reach. It’s not about selling records, it’s not about how big you are. It’s just how happy you are with what you’re doing, I think that’s success and I think that’s the biggest thing you can reach.”
– What would you be in a circus?
“In a circus? What I would be? I definitely wouldn’t ride the horses. I would break a leg. In a circus? Interesting… I would probably like to be the host, or in the orchestra. Maybe the conductor.
But I’d be the clown backstage, not on stage. *both laughing* ”
– What can we expect from the new album?
“A lot! It’s a concept like the Jack the Ripper case. We worked on it for about two years now. And I am like obsessed with the Jack the Ripper case, I studied it for two years, and I traveled the UK, London and so on. So my idea it was to create which involves historical facts combined with personal thoughts about the case and we didn’t want to do a usual pop record because it wouldn’t match with the Jack the Ripper case. That’s why it will be quite more complicated, more towards Nine Inch Nails, IAMX, more that direction. I think that’s the right kind of music for a theme like Jack the Ripper so it’s going to be very different from the last album “Is Pornography Art”. ”
– Why did you choose that concept for Whitechapel? (the time, London, the story)
“I’m just fascinated. And while I traveled the UK I met some people who told me about it. And I started reading about it, and I was just fascinated because it was the first serial killer ever. This year it’s 120 years ago. And that’s the amazing thing, it’s the perfect timing for it. I tend to release it on August 30th, because that was the day of the first murder. I am just getting fascinated by the case, the Victorian England, Jekyll and Hyde and all that. ”
– Is there any collaboration with anybody on the new album??
“No, besides the producer. The producer is Philipp Groth of QNTAL. We wanted to involve more artists, but it took us long enough already to record the whole thing. Involving other artists usually takes even more time, so to have some nice duet or whatever would simply take too much time. That’s why we focused on ourselves.”
– Why did you work with Jenna Jameson for the album “Is pornography art”?
“I’m in personal contact with her for many years and we decided to call the record “Is Pornography Art” so it was a close step to ask her to participate and work with us, since Jenna Jameson tries to close the gap between commercial success and porn. She is one of the very view who brought porn into the commercial outlook. So I asked her since she’s the biggest anyway, and she said yeah. I was really surprised because I thought she’d say “talk to my lawyers” but she simply said “yeah, let’s do it”.”
– And how was it working with her?
“She’s a very, very busy person. And I made the deal with her, but as it came to what pictures to take we only talked to many people of her management, her former husband and people like that. So I was very little in contact with her then. But yeah, we talked about the artwork and the concept and everything. She agreed and was very easy going. I was very surprised.
So she is quite down to earth?
Yeah, she is. You wouldn’t even think that since she is the biggest porn artist and the most famous woman in the USA. But she is very down to earth.”
– Do you have any side projects?
“Yeah, I do. I have another band which is called AIX, it’s more like a classical rock pop band like Placebo, Coldplay and that style. We are currently producing our record in Norway by Vegard Blomberg who used to work with Apoptygma Berzerk. And that’s why I was very busy in the last few months because I was about to produce or record two albums at the same with FAQ and AIX. So I was very busy.
And then I have this other project with, I don’t know if you have heard about it, this fetish stuff.”
– Yeah, Rubberdolls, right?
“Yeah, exactly, Rubberdolls. That’s another thing where we combine live music with fetish performance which became a very unexpected success. So it started out as a joke “let’s do some music with some fetish performance” and all the sudden everybody wanted to book us for fetish events. And I actually became busier than I expected. And we have shows booked all over the world. So I have these three projects.”
– Keep yourself busy, right?!
“Yeah, that’s for sure.” *laughing*
– What do you think, how important are portals such as myspace, facebook or trig for bands nowadays?
“I don’t know about facebook yet, I mean I heard about it. It’s probably like myspace. And I’ve never heard about trig.com either.
But I remember like two years ago when everybody told us “you don’t have a myspace profile yet?” and I said “who cares?”. But when I looked into it I realized how important it. And then we built up our profile and all the sudden hell broke loose. So we realized how important it is to keep in touch with fans, people and promoters. What a good opportunity for promoters if they want to get an idea of what you are doing, they check out your profile with some pictures, music and everything. Nobody has the time anymore to check out a complete website.
Do you think it’s good though?
Yeah it is. I hate to say it, but it is. For bands it is very important, there’s no way around it anymore.”
– Why do you prefer f2f interviews over email interviews?
“It’s more personal. If you get an email with questions you answer them but it’s not as spontaneous as you are face to face. On email you think about it, you answer, you write something and you delete it again, and it’s not as spontaneous. And I still think intuition is spontaneous and that’s what you want to read. You don’t want to have anybody thinking 5 minutes for an answer. And it’s nice to meet nice people like you.” *both laughing*
– How come you decided to call the band FAQ? And not Carpe Diem anymore?
“We had to change because we didn’t have the rights for Carpe Diem. There was a classical formation which was called Carpe Diem and they had all the rights for the name to produce merchandise and so on. So one day they knocked on the door of our record company and said we have to put away all the CDs, all the merchandise and whatever, and there was no way around to change our name. And then everybody asked us why we changed our name, and that became a frequently asked question. That’s how it became FAQ.”