2nd Face founder Vincent Uhlig speaks with ReGen about the artistic development of his sound and vision to become one of Dependent Records’ most exciting artists.
An InterView with Vincent Uhlig of 2nd Face
By Guy Lecoq (GuyLecoq)
Vincent Uhlig comes from a musical tradition of progressive and exploratory attitudes, which he has aptly and amply demonstrated across his two album releases as 2nd Face. With the release of utOpium, he continues to refine and push the parameters of electro/industrial songwriting and production. With this InterView from contributing writer Guy Lecoq, the artist is provided the opportunity to explain his processes in-depth and prepare listeners for what utOpium holds in store, as well as hints toward his live performances, and his fruitful collaborations with fellow visual artists to enhance the look alongside the sound of 2nd Face.
What was your first encounter with electronic music?
Uhlig: I was introduced to electronic music quite early, when I was still going to middle school, in the form of :Wumpscut:’s Wreath of Barbs. Up until that point, I had played piano for several years and my musical interest consisted of soundtrack, classical music, krautrock, and classic rock. Wreath of Barbs opened up a whole new world for me, which is why I have the album cover tattooed on my arm.
With this new album, utOpium, we can feel a true evolution and affirmation in your project. There are a lot of tones and atmospheres, and new ones can be discovered with each listen. How did you manage to create such a balance between all these effects and soundscapes?
How do you translate such sound work in your live shows?
2nd Face is a very thought-provoking name. What inspired this name? Would you say that each of us, as human beings, has a second face, a nightmarish side that we hide or repress on a daily basis to better fit into the mold of our modern societies?
Uhlig: In the broadest sense, 2nd Face is a metaphor for the ambivalence of the human nature. So yes, repressing or hiding certain facets for the sake of ‘fitting in’ makes us the adaptable species that we are.
Your texts pay a particular attention to this ambivalence. We also find a strong emphasis on visuals with your artwork and your recent video for the track ‘Life(l)over.’ How do you work to match lyrics and visuals with your music to create this unique atmosphere, and how do you work with your collaborators to bring your vision to life?
In many ways, utOpium goes against the grain of the music market since the rise of streaming platforms. There’s the album itself, of course, but also all the work that’s gone into the physical editions, with their extensive artbook and booklet. How do you perceive the evolution of the music industry and its consumption patterns for years? Are you feeling a little nostalgic?
Uhlig: I think that it’s nice to have an actual product with a visual aspect to go with the music, especially when lyrics are involved – it just completes the work of art. Obviously, looking at streaming platforms, the trend appears to go in a different direction at the moment. Luckily, the large majority of my supporters are people who never stopped buying CDs and vinyl.
Artists seem to release shorter tracks these days, which is, at least partly, due to Spotify’s monetization system and a shame, really. Our fast-paced world progressively cripples our attention spans, which of course reflects in the music people create and listen to. I’d like to take things back a bit, to when music still had time to breathe.
Is it harder for an artist to exist nowadays than it was back then?
Music has always followed trends that are coming back into fashion as new generations reappropriate the styles and classics of their elders. What do you think tomorrow’s music will be like?
Uhlig: At a certain point, everything has been said and done. That was probably also the common narrative when the grand masters of classical music had passed away. Then came The Beatles, and then techno music – two phenomena that respectively opened up new dimensions, altering the perception of music in general. Now there’s an abundance of cross-genre style fusions, electronic experimentation, and genre revivals, but not really anything new. The next best thing that might yet have an impact on the evolution of music is A.I…. isn’t that ironic?
Photography by Plastic Hand Druck – provided courtesy of 2nd Face and Dependent Records