Jan 2013 05

On the verge of the band’s new release ReGen speaks to Wojciech Król, the mastermind behind Controlled Collapse, about what shaped the upcoming album and what the future may hold for this prolific Polish act.

An InterView with Wojciech Król of Controlled Collapse

By: Damian Glowinkowski (DamianG)

Since the release of the band’s first material in 2003, Controlled Collapse bravely went from strength to strength, largely due to the determination of its creator, Wojciech Król. After gaining the attention of legendary Johan Van Roy of Suicide Commando with their first official song, ‘Guidance,’ Controlled Collapse released its first full-length album, Injection, under the wings of Van Roy’s own Noise Terror label. Restless and always pushing forward in the following years, the band was busy remixing some of the genre’s most notable acts like Combichrist and DisKonnekted until the arrival of the sophomore offering Things Come to Pass in 2010 to much critical appraisal.
Now, only months before the release of the newest effort, ReGen gets a chance to chat to Król about what he has in store for Controlled Collapse’s fans and how his musical experiments from almost 10 years ago translate into his current work.

 

You have a new album, Babel, coming out within a few months. With this religious hint in the album’s title and the apocalyptic imagery of your latest EP, Dzien Sadu (Judgement Day), can you reveal if there were any particular themes that define this album? Should audiences expect a strong conceptual frame for the material on Babel?

Król: First of all, hello everyone and thanks for having this interview with me. It’s not really going to be a religious album at all to be honest. Babel is a symbol – a symbol of pride, conceit, and what goes with it. God didn’t like humans acting like this and made them talk in different languages, creating communication problems, and it’s exactly about that – problems with self-communication, self-awerness, self-conciousness. The single, ‘Dzień Sądu’ is actually a song that is quite off from the rest of the songs that will end up on the album; musically that is. I wanted to make it sound more old-school. It was supposed to be more guitar driven, but it ended up like this instead.

Your previous album, Things Come to Pass embraced a much more melodic approach when compared to the EBM heavy Humanization EP and Injection. What is the trajectory now for Controlled Collapse? Musically, where will Babel fit between your debut and last album release?

Król: I don’t believe it fits between those two albums. It’s way beyond them. It’s standing on a hill looking at those albums, pointing at them saying, ‘pffftt.’ In all seriousness though, the new album is more varied, complicated. There will be one or two, typical EBM songs, but there’s quite a lot of songs that are hard to describe and put into a label – more mood, atmosphere, meaning. I also did things I’ve not done before like high tempo tracks, more rock type of drum programming.

Listening to Controlled Collapse’s previous releases, and even the newest EP, reveals a plethora of recognizable industrial tropes mixed with your own signature harsh style and explicit vocals. The titular track from Dzien Sadu is in some ways strongly reminiscent of artists like Android Lust. Are there any notable influences that might be permuting your work on Controlled Collapse that you knowingly attempt to channel?

Król: The whole modern industrial style is, unfortunately, how you called it – a plethora of recognizable industrial tropes. For people who don’t usually listen to this kind of music on a daily basis, most of the bands sound the same. I really don’t want that with mine and I think that the new album and a bit of a new approach will get me closer to achieving this goal. Of course, there are still bands that I listen to who somehow influence me. Before starting the programming process, I was trying to hook myself on bands like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and other ’90s ‘dark rock’ music. But I was also listening to some modern stuff – new Velvet Acid Christ, Front Line Assembly, etc.

You are a part of not one but several ongoing projects. You have released an album under the Clicks moniker and had one of the tracks featured on Dismantled’s recent remix album. How do you differentiate between one and the other? Do you delegate some particular musical sensibilities of yours to Controlled Collapse?

Król: Clicks was created for one purpose: I wanted people to dance as wild as they can during my gigs. Clicks is 100% techno, dance, club music. There’s no ‘theme,’ there’s no meaning in those songs. It’s just made with fun in mind. Controlled Collapse is my firstborn child and I take it more seriously. It is, and was, meant to be dark, melancholic, and powerful music. I haven’t done Clicks songs for some time now… I guess it’s not the best or most fun moment in my life at this moment. There’s also a third project that I’m involved with for some time now. Deathcamp Project is a Polish goth/electro/rock band that I’m playing live keys for. This is another totally different project that I have the chance to play with. It’s good to do different things once in a while.

Like many bands these days, you also offer some of your music as free downloads and embrace the ‘name your price’ trend. How do you feel this increasingly popular model of consuming music by audiences shapes the industry and your role as an artist?

Król: It is a tough question. Throughout the Controlled Collapse history, I’ve tried many different approaches on this. Injection was released by a label so I didn’t really have anything to say there, but we decided for this album to be on the ‘cheaper’ note (9 euro instead of 12 euro) which was supposed to increase the sales and interest. And I guess it did work. With proper label promotion, I have to say that quite a lot of people did get the album. Hell, it even was #6 at DAC at some point. I know what people think about this ranking, but for me (and at that time), it was really something amazing. Things… I had to release with help from my friend from Warsaw – Alchera Visions. We… well, I decided to do it in three different ways: The album itself being free to download on the internet, a two-disc (second disc with remixes) release, which was 8 euro and a limited to 100 copies, and a Things… box, which had some swag along with the two-disc release. This didn’t end up that well as I still have quite a lot of the two-disc editions around. Then again, the promotion of this album wasn’t really that big. This time around, I would really like to work with a label again as it does give you promotion that you can’t – or it’s really hard to – do yourself. First, you need to know the right people and second, you need to have quite a lot of money. So yeah, a label would be great, but for whatever reason, this probably will not be happening. I have a plan that I would love to implement with the release of Babel, which takes good things from both approaches but that is still quite uncertain as this still costs quite a lot of money in the first place. But the question was about my feelings. For an up-and-coming band still developing its fan base, free/promotional releases might be a good thing if they can promote/hype this release. You need to get recognition and free releases will definitely help you with this.

What are your plans post Babel? Are you planning a tour to promote the album?

Król: I would love to. This is one of my dreams to be honest. I have a big plan in my head of what I want to do with the live shows and how I would like to do it. I did a Monster tour this year which was couple of dates here in Poland and a visit to Wave Gotik Treffen and the Summer Darkness Festival. This gave me some idea of what I can do here in Poland. Unfortunately, I hardly know anyone in other European countries; therefore, it will be hard to do any shows outside of Poland. If you know anyone, contact us!

Poland was always a home to several recognizable industrial and metal acts but still remains a rather uncharted territory for fans of the genre. How would you describe ‘the scene’ in your home country and how do you think Controlled Collapse fits into this landscape?

Król: I don’t know how we fit here really. You’d have to ask people who come to our shows. As for my opinion about the Polish scene… well, there are quite a few very talented people who make music. There are also quite few people with less talent who also make music. Seriously though, there are some ideas and concepts that are around. You might like them or not, but it’s good that something is going on here. There are still places where people want to go to a concert, which is also great. I’ve seen many new, young people at parties, which does give you hope that this isn’t really music just for older people.

You are releasing Babel as part of the Machineries label that was created with this purpose in mind. What was the logic behind this move and how do you plan to, if at all, evolve this platform?

Król: Machineries is a brand I want to market as much as I can. I do parties under this name where I invite bands to play live and DJ’s to do the afterparty. There’s also the label part. Since no other label has enough interested in my stuff I decided to do things my way. I also have a third band – Już Nie Żyjesz – in my roster and we’re all working as a collective to have the best results in promotion and quality control of what’s being released. If everything for the Babel release goes as planned, we might see this growing strong.

Is there anything that you’d like to say to our readers?

Król: Well, again, big thanks for talking with me. I hope that everyone who heard ‘Dzień Sądu’ was intrigued and will be checking out our upcoming album and our live shows. I wish you all a great 2013 full of great music!

 

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