It was fun for me doing an interview again after all these years and discussing Anorkia, which is a project that’s very deeply ingrained in my heart. Dirk and I will do our best to begin a new chapter in Anorkia’s life at a future time. Anyone who reads these words, please know that you are loved, and I hope you create a beautiful day.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
Andrew L. Hicks is Dr3w
Dirk Försterling is firstname.lastname@example.org
“What was your inspiration and/or influence in creating Anorkia?”
“I joined Anorkia around Spring of 2002, as the third member to a previously two-person project called Kr-LiK & FANG. I was a passionate aspiring vocalist who had an absolute need to emulate my favorite artists while adding my own authentic and unique set of skills and visions.
The legendary artists who most deeply inspired and motivated me were initially KMFDM (facilitated by German industrial pioneer Sascha Konietzko) and PIG (run by the epic and ever saucy British Lord of Lard, Raymond Watts).
KMFDM influenced my worldview, especially pertaining to politics, more than any other band to this day. I found something to love about all of their records, but the most personally fulfilling of them all for me, was NIHIL (from 1995). I can easily identify ways that every single second of NIHIL helped me understand who I was, and sculpted me into the person I am today in 2019.
Sascha of KMFDM usually used heavily distorted vocals on their studio cuts, and I’ll always remember starting around the age of 17, I sang along with KMFDM so much that I could distort my voice in similar ways to Sascha, using nothing but my own hardcore fuckin’ larynx.
I loved singing along to Raymond Watts of PIG even more. Watts, who can sing decently when he tries, is more known for his unrestrained, snarly, dirty, deep, seedy, and sexy vocal patterns. Watts’ work encouraged me to take that final step to getting involved with making my own music, because he instilled in me a truth I believe in to this day: “A good singer can be a bad vocalist, & a bad singer can be a good vocalist!”
My work on Anorkia’s 2002 demo, Children of Pride, and the other material we produced in the early days, was heavily influenced by my love for PIG and KMFDM.
The song ‘An’ is a prime example. The lyrics were my thematic emulation of a KMFDM track, even down to name-checking “Anorkia” (KMFDM is known for using their name in many of their songs). The vocal style was influenced by Raymond Watts, but we ended up using distortion that makes the vocals more reminiscent of a bastard lovechild created by the merged seed of Konietzko and Watts together. To add to the beauty of it all, ‘An’ uses a knife-sharpening sample that sounds very similar to the one used in the PIG classic, Blades (I had nothing to do with the selection of that sample in ‘An’, but I fully appreciated it).”
“I really didn’t take part in initially creating Anorkia. In 2001/2002 I took part in the first :wumpscut: remix contest (and was one of the winners). On the :wumpscut: website, there was a list of all contestants, some with and some without links to their remixes. I contacted some of the remixers without link, because I wanted to hear their mixes. One of them was kR-LiK, who later told me about Anorkia. He sent me some demo tracks and we talked about them. During that discussions, I ended up with kR-LiK sending me raw recordings and I sent some mixdowns back. Those tracks later became “Children of Pride”.
My influence is a mess 😉 I’m influenced by a wide range of things, not necessarily music alone. It’s hard to describe. In my music I try to (re-)create specific sounds, styles or moods, not necessarily from one specific genre. I listen to music from a wide range of styles (old school rap/hip-hop, 80 synth pop, metal, early 90s techno from germany and belgium, EBM, trance) and all of it adds to my feeling and perception of sound and music. I love extremes. That means, for example, that I sometimes try to exaggerate with my music. For example making ridiculous long remixes which are some kind of “journey” through the song. Or maybe remixing a song of one specific style/genre into a completely different style/genre.”
“Whilst creating Anorkia has it helped you’re wellbeing for example mental health? For me music is a very big part of my life it has played a part in healing me during my depression. Would you guys agree?”
“Music is also a big part of my life. Unfortunately, my current life situation only allows me to listen to music instead of creating new music. Modern computer technique and forced updates also made the process more tedious than is healthy. I hope I can find a solution to this, because I’d really like to get back to making music.There were times, especially during the active Anorkia phase, when I couldn’t sleep too well when I didn’t do my daily music work.So yes, it helped my well-being, and I’m sad I cannot be creative at the moment.”
“Dirk, I didn’t even know that, about you having difficulty sleeping when you didn’t do your daily music work. I was the same. During Anorkia’s most prolific period (2002-2007, probably), our work was profoundly cathartic for me. In 2007 we completed songs like Deeper, Mirror of Darkness, Strike Me Down, and Alpha, all of which vividly reflected parts of myself that I felt a total need to express (and it took me many years to build up the ability to convey those messages in any form).
Finding a way to express the deepest messages in our hearts, is a very human need. There are a lot of feelings and needs in the human psyche that may be difficult to understand and express, very cryptic and ambiguous. So, decoding and communicating those needs is truly liberating, and art is an impactful way to facilitate that liberation.
Writing songs becomes about more than just expressing oneself, because when a song finds an audience, then it can become a force that inspires, invigorates, molds, and even saves the lives of the people whom it most deeply resonates with.
Music is just one medium for this phenomenon. Visual art, movies, videogames, dancing, Broadway/local theatre, and much more. Anorkia has definitely been inspired art of all kinds, and even non-art. Part of the nature of being human is being influenced in some way by every facet of life and culture that we encounter.”
“Question for both Dirk and Andrew. What were the pros and cons of working together in creating an Anorkia album… One of my favourite songs is Mirror in the Darkness… What is the influence on this song?”
“It’s always positive to work with someone who shares a vision but with different contributions. I make the music, Drew creates the lyrics. There’s no specific workflow for this. Sometimes, I’m composing music for already recorded vocals and sometimes, I send an instrumental and Drew starts to fill it with a voice. What were the cons? Well, I don’t know if there really were any. Yes, it would have been great to meet in a room together and play around with sounds and voice in real time. But I’m not so sure if this would have had a positive effect. If we had planned to perform live, then the distance between us would have been a major drawback.
When I created the Mirror of Darkness music, I wanted to produce a cold, dark, dismal mood with some elements of relentlessness (I hope that makes any sense. Even in German it’s hard to describe for me). In different words: A combination of sadness (as caused by loneliness) and violence. If you can match both descriptions in your mind, then you might understand what my motivation was. The biggest influence for the synth programming on Mirror of Darkness might have been :wumpscut:’s Wreath of Barbs album. Especially on that album, :wumpscut: did a great job in programming “cold” sounds.”
“In regards to Mirror of Darkness. In 2006 I was struggling with drug addiction on a level worse than I’d ever imagined could happen. One night in March that year, I had a complete blackout at a hotel, which led to me getting arrested. That was a huge wake-up call for me, and I thought, “OK, it’s time to get sober.” But I couldn’t get sober. I kept using and using, more and more than ever before. Every time I tripped, I said and meant, “This is the last time!” and then a day, maybe two days, or a week later, I’d be right back to my vice. It was absolutely insanity-inducing.
I wrote a poem about that cycle of insanity. The poem was the voice of my addiction, speaking to me, snarling in my ear, basically telling me that I’m its bitch and I can’t live without it. After some time, another side to the poem emerged, which was the soft and whimpering voice of the part of me that needed to be free of the madness.
At some point in 2006, Dirk sent me the music for what would become Mirror of Darkness (Dark Thinking, may have been the original title of the instrumental). The music instantly clicked with the lyrics in my head, and I began practicing. I wanted it to be as perfect as possible, since it was such a personal subject for me, so it took until around late 2007 to finally produce a mix we were all happy with. That was so cathartic for me. Taking an inner demon that loves to hide in the shadows out of sight, and to turn the lights on and let everyone see it for what it is.
As for working with Dirk. It’s been one of the most heart and mind-expanding collaborations of my life. There were times when there was some creative tension between us, artistic decisions we didn’t quite agree on, but we handled it like an old married couple would: We took turns letting the other one have his way. Honestly, all of that helped me become a better, more empathetic and disciplined person. Honestly, I considered and consider Dirk to be one of the dearest friends I’ve ever had, and hell, I used to consider him something like a father figure (especially when he’d get on my ass about smoking cigarettes, pretty much every time we talked in the early to mid 2000s).
We had some truly great experiences that I think were enhanced by our distance, and the ingenuity we had to put into overcoming technical limitations (when we started, I was on dial-up!) and to a lesser degree, language barriers (more like slight cultural barriers- Dirk was from the start more fluent in English than a lot of native born English speakers are). For me, these “problems” became a true joy to navigate, and this relationship is a large part of what made me who I am today.”
“Heh. That struggle with working out differences is what I meant when I wrote that I’m not sure if the distance between us was something bad (con) but maybe good (pro). I think the time it took to send things to and fro gave us the room for thought and consideration. You don’t have this in a real studio situation where all people sit together in the same room. This method might work with others, but Drew and I are somehow mind-driven philosophical beings. We need to think.”
“Do you remember though? I used to fantasize about this and talk about it quite frequently: Writing an album in person with you, in a cabin in the mountains or deep forests somewhere, the kind of beautiful place there’d definitely be some ancient demon curse in a horror movie. Haha, I am still down for this. Some dreams, I never outgrow. Also, when (I say “when” rather than “if) we finally get on stage together, it will be one of my oldest dreams come true. I’ve always imagined covering Alice Cooper’s Hello Hurray as our opening song in a live performance. “I’ve been waiting so long for this day to come!” So yes, we’re philosophers who need to think. But my oversized heart also needs space to dream. Dirk has always tolerated my heart, for which I am grateful!”
“Wow, you both have a fantastic friendship. When I heard your music, I instantly thought about the group Evanescence… Have you ever thought about them joining forces with you?”
“Evanescence. Their lead singer is Amy Lee, right? Well, I do like the name Lee (it’s my middle name). Also, back in 2003/2004 I worked at Subway, where they played mainstream pop music all day while I made sandwiches. I got so sick of hearing the same songs over and over again, but Evanescence – Bring Me to Life or Wake Me Up Inside or whatever the hell it’s called, never got old to me. I loved the contrast between male and female vocals. That kind of contrast was always something I tried to implement in Anorkia, but we never got the balance quite right (yet). I’ve never thought about joining forces with Evanescence, but I am open to collaboration with literally anyone in the world.
Dirk, do you know of Evanescence?”
“I know Evanescence. But I never thought about collaborating for two reasons: Even though I like rock & metal, I know nothing about making it. I’d be in for a remix, but then, a they must be prepared for some weird stuff, because I would do some electronics. The second reason is, that I’m usually looking for unknown bands / newcomers / local bands to collaborate with. I’m afraid that established bands are looking too much into what they might call professionality. Also, those bands might be difficult to deal with because of a commercial attitude I don’t have. That’s all unproven, but this is the way I am thinking. Sure, I would be open to collaborate, but I won’t ask.”
“It’s easier to work with “unknown” artists generally due to a number of psycho-sociological factors. First of all, unless there’s an established connection, it’s generally difficult to get the attention of larger acts due in part to the sheer volume of correspondence they receive. Thousands of people dream of working with them, and there’s only so much of them to go around. Plus, an established act usually has a solid and healthy sense of ego, and a very specific vision for their output. It can be difficult for them to make room in their vision for other people’s ideas, and that’s not inherently a tendency of established musicians. That’s a human thing. I’ve noticed these trends in many areas of life, most prominently for me in music and also in my political career. Even the most progressive mainstream candidates and players in US politics have a hard time making room for new ideas that challenge their current platforms and preconceptions, even if those ideas are pretty clearly for their own good.”
“Have you both ever thought of doing something to raise awareness of a charity of some kind…. Or to do with politics…. Something that carries a powerful message… And open people’s eyes?”
“Back when Anorkia started, I considered myself apolitical. I didn’t follow American or global politics at all, and I wasn’t too interested in causes greater than my own survival. And getting laid (haha). I was very philosophical and had a fascination with figuring out my own mind, and felt like people who are so concerned with what’s happening externally missed out on developing themselves internally. My theory was that if everyone developed themselves internally, then the external world would work itself out a lot more fluently.
However, I was always more political than I realized, thanks to the inspiration of KMFDM. I can’t really emphasize enough how their music shaped and sculpted me in ways that continue to make themselves evident as I age. Over the past ten years I slowly at first but exponentially over time became more interested in politics and causes greater than myself. A few years ago I realized I had developed enough problem-solving acumen, empathy, compassion, and resources, to do my part to make a huge difference in this world.
Since then I’ve founded a new political movement called the World Peace Party, and am running for President of the United States in 2020 on the platform of transforming competition into synergy and leaving no one in the world behind to fall between the cracks of society (amongst other platforms).
One of my projects that’s closest to my heart is an outreach and community development initiative throughout Africa, specifically so far in the Gambia, Nigeria, and Ghana. The people I’ve met there are so sweet, but they often lack the resources to realize their full potential. The violence, instability, and poverty in those regions is truly oppressive and heartbreaking. But it is possible to make a difference, and it’s happening. On that note, I know a drummer in Ghana who may just contribute to an upcoming Anorkia project…”
“Well… my music is basically completely unpolitical. No wonder, because it’s mostly just that: music. No lyrics. If I write lyrics, they are either personal or fit a specific thought and play around with that theme: ironically, provocative or philosophical. For example “My Friends” is a song I wrote to finally tell my friends that I feel something for them even though I never directly show them. Another example is the email@example.com song “Waldspaziergang” (walk in the woods) which isn’t really about some easy / romantic walk but more about a chase through the woods.
I’m fine with and would welcome to donating music for charity, but I would probably not try to make music specially for it. Also, I basically prefer to be as political neutral as possible. Said that, I think I can be very political, even through music. I just don’t put a political label to it like the name of a political party or direction. Everything political I might express is my personal opinion, without regard to anything any politician might say.”
“Right on. Well, our interviewer Louise had to cut out of the interview to attend to some personal issues, so we’re going to call this a wrap. Namaste.”
@N0RK!@. Lansing, Michigan. +h3 future of musik and @rt must not belong to the mediocr3 ! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org