Orkus: It seems to me that the lyrics of Contact can be interpreted in many different ways. The song could simply be about problems in a relationship. On the other hand my phantasy goes as far as to think of an astronaut who looks down on planet earth and into his past - contemplating interpersonal difficulties. What is common to both interpretations is the fact that they end with a catastrophe (death/suicide). What is the true story behind the lyrics?
Frank: Your different interpretations reveal that Contact leaves room for different interpretations. To me, these different perspectives belong together. There is the (inter)personal motif where one is simply glad that the other person is not able to read his/her mind. Two human beings - in close contact - fool each other. An unpleasant thought, and central to the song. Consequently, the term "pretend" appears repeatedly throughout the song.
Then there's the motif of "wanting to let go completely", thus your astronaut idea is quite right. Everything revolves around the desire to take off ("I just want to fly"). However, just like modern roundabouts, what you need is a solid foundation if you want to fly high (given that you want to come back in one piece). In that respect, it's a deceptive detachment; there's no real freedom and there's no way around keeping contact to what you wanted to leave in the first place.
You have even found the third motif: Looking back into the past and trying to make contact. Here I was inspired by a séance that goes wrong. Imagine you desperately want to make contact with a person in your past. Everything is prepared, the medium is ready, you go for it. You receive a signal but it is too weak. You just don't get through, the medium collapses, silence.
Orkus: The different vocal effects in Contact indicate that the story is told from different perspectives. You have used this technique before, e.g. in Progress Nil. What do you like about this way of delivering your lyrics?
Frank: We use vocal effects to bring out different facets in the lyrics. I love this tool because it creates variety in the vocal delivery that you actually hear. At the same time it facilitates the change in perspective. Sometimes it's like an inner commentary. Did you watch "Fight Club"? In this movie the very same idea is carried to its extremes, because the main character invents a second person who acts out the "other" side of the protagonist's personality. Lying and so called "dissociation" are among the most fascinating human capacities in my opinion: We do one thing and think the opposite. The new songs often deal with the battle between different facets of a person. Some of the songs on the album come from the "good" side and some come from an extremely mean side. In that respect, "beyond Flatline" will be much more direct and will go much further than "No Sleep Demon". In Contact the good and the mean sides meet and take turns. This is what the different vocal fx express.
Orkus: In my opinion, the different points of view in the Contact lyrics
as well as the lyrics to ”The Attic” reveal that there is a psychologist
at work. Frank, obviously you haven’t lost interest in dealing with the
human psyche, have you?
Frank: Absolutely! And I don’t think this will ever change. When I work
on Seabound lyrics there is nothing I find roughly as fascinating as the
human psyche and the abyss that always lurks in close proximity. In ”The
Attic” I toy with the idea of being a patient of an ”institution”. The
attic is of particular importance, because that’s where they take me for
”special treatment”. I am on medication and I am waiting. Unpleasant.
Maybe. But... what if I actually enjoy the situation? (”Scorched and
drowned and all yours”) What if this situation has become my reason for
living? Of course it’s up to the listener to imagine what actually
happens in the attic (laughs).
Orkus: It’s been more than two years now since the last Seabound
release. Do you feel that you have to make a particularly good
impression? And why is Contact the right choice as a release in that
Frank: That’s a good question! Strangely enough, Martin and I do not
feel that we have to make a good impression at all (laughs). Seriously,
one of the reasons why we chose Contact as the single is that the track
surprised even ourselves. Surprised in such a way that the whole (music
and vocals) suddenly became so much more than the sum of its parts. On
some other tracks we worked extensively and consciously until we were
satisfied. When Martin sent the demo version of Contact, I was excited
immediately. The same happened when we gave the song to Stefan
(Dependent), thus we used the enthusiasm and decided to make Contact our
Orkus: You have been touring a lot lately. Was there any way in which
your live experience influenced the way you worked in the studio?
Frank: We toured the US with Stromkern in October 2002 and we supported
Covenant on their German and European tour in November 2002. We had a
lot of fun and my most vivid memories concern the kind of ”parallel
universe” you inhabit when you are on tour. Your usual daily routine is
turned upside down, news and developments in the world become almost
irrelevant. Instead, what interests you is whether your soccer team
beats Eskil’s soccer team at 3am on a deserted parking lot or whether
you can have mulled wine at 11am on the ”Christkindl-Markt” in Nürnberg.
To be honest, I don’t think that the live gigs had much of an effect on
our new songs. The music and the lyrics always come first. Whether we
can effectively turn these songs into a live show is a completely
different matter. What was important for us, however, was the reaction
from our fans, to see what is well received and what is not.
Consequently, we are working on some specific ideas for Seabound ”Live
2004”. There will be a few surprises.
Orkus: What I love about Daniel’s Mix is how he brought your vocals to
the fore. Wouldn’t that be a stylistic device you could use more often?
It’s a very common thing in pop music, and your voice is certainly
Frank: We also love the way the vocals are in the foreground in the
Haujobb Mix of Contact. It works perfectly in the mix and I think that
we will use this stylistic device more often ourselves in future songs.
On the other hand, it’s one of Seabound’s distinctive features that
vocals and music are balanced in the mix which implies that the vocals
should not smother the music in its facets.
Orkus: In one of your last interviews you said: ”Just like The Matrix
surprised the movie genre, we want to present a unique new style to the
genre of electronic music”. Matrix Reloaded received reserved reviews.
Obviously, technical perfection is not enough to enthuse people. What
can you tell us about your upcoming album?
Frank: We will not bore you to death with unnecessary kung-fu, that‘s
for sure (laughs). Seriously, what personally bothered me in Reloaded
was the impression that things were too calculated. ”Hey, we need
another fight scene” – ”There are no enemies left” – ”Nevermind, let’s
throw in a fight between friends then”, and the like.
With regard to “beyond Flatline”, what I’m saying is: There won’t be any
unnecessary stylistic devices or arrangements just because they have
become possible with our technological advances since ”No Sleep Demon”.
Instead, the musical and technical progress that you can hear on “beyond
Flatline” has a function and always serves the greater goal. Our main
aim was to make an album that is as authentic and personal as our first
record, and still explores new territory – both musically and lyrically.
And I think that ”beyond Flatline” successfully lives up to our