Alien Sex Fiend – interview 10/2018 (ENGL)

11 Oct 18 Alien Sex Fiend – interview 10/2018 (ENGL)

Alien Sex Fiend once appeared in our Diskögr section in the never forgotten Obsküre physical edition. It was early 2014, and it was powerful.
Four years later, Nik and Mrs Fiend are back. Who can kill zombies?
Possessed, the new album, is once again complex and terrifying : its structures and lyrics refuse the radio format, simple and effective… Reject your preconceptions on what should be ASF today. The duo makes its own music, for him first. Spectators have only to cling and follow the wanderings of these pilgrims never undone. Black suits them so well.

ASF portraits 2018 : Per Ake Warn

Nik, on your painting, I see the three colors, white, blue and red, those of the english flag, american and french ones (and so many others). Did you think about this painting as something political with the strong black parts ?
Nik Fiend :
No, it was not my intention to make reference to any flags or anything political, but everyone sees and interprets things differently, it is interesting to hear that you are seeing the painting used for the cover in that way, but that artwork does have purple tones in there as well, perhaps if you saw the Possessed album Double Vinyl cover which is a larger image you would see the purple and more details in the painting , I think it is more like a psychedelic voodoo image!
Mrs Fiend : We have made this as a « record », as a complete entity, with the music and the artwork together. You will not see the full picture (entity) until you see the front cover as well as the back cover and either the gatefold inner on the LP or the booklet with the CD… then it will become more apparent that it is a combination of the « light » side and the « dark » side – the 2 sides in balance…
Nik Fiend : The music and the art are intertwined, the two together create a theme.

Alien Sex Fiend

There’s a return to the blues influences, voice and lead guitar (« Shit’s coming down ») or something about surf music with « Ghost in the Machine ». Is it your own primitivisim ?
Nik Fiend :
We’ve always been primitive, happily so, we don’t like being overly complicated, if it turns us on, that’s it.
Mrs Fiend : Well, rock music was essentially built on the basis of blues, so perhaps you are picking up on that « in built history », with the guitar? But to any blues « purist » it wouldn’t be considered blues in any way,! Like many of our songs, «Shit’s Coming Down » is a blend of different elements , it has very heavy drums and a throbbing bass line and keyboards plus gunshot sound effects as well as the guitar and vocals, so with all of those elements on top it becomes something else.
Nik Fiend : That’s what we often do , we combine 2 or more very different genres of music to create a new hybrid… As I said about the cover, the red and blue colours together create purple, a new hybrid, and we are also doing that with the music.
Mrs Fiend : The same with « Ghost in the Machine » – that has some weird backwards psychedelic guitar as well. Also, I always thought drum machines and synthesizers, samplers, etc were « punk » instruments and punk was a « primitive » music form to many people…

Unless I’m missing something, « Invisible » seems to be your first attempt with an acoustic vibe, isn’t it ?
Nik Fiend : I wrote « Invisible » on an acoustic guitar originally, and perhaps this is what has given you the « acoustic » vibe, although there isn’t any actual acoustic guitar on the final recorded track, it was all electric guitars. When we were recording the song in the studio I passed guitar duties over to Doc Milton (RIP) so that I could concentrate on singing the vocals. I am not against acoustic guitar though! There aren’t really any areas musically that we wouldn’t explore or haven’t explored, I think that the first real “acoustic guitar” that we recorded on a song would have been « Isolation » (from Here Cum Germs album 1987) so it’s not something we’ve avoided.
Mrs Fiend : Someone else who heard « Invisible » thought it sounded like The Who!

It’s not usual for you to use some natural sample, even harmonica (end of « Gotta get back »). I feel this title like a kind of folk prayer. Does ASF has now a God or a Goddess in whom to believe ?
Mrs Fiend : We have used lots of natural samples in the past and on this album – especially percussion – sometimes we have recorded a natural instrument or even a thunderstorm and used that on past recordings. The ending that you are talking about on « Gotta Get Back » was taken from a home recording…..
Nik Fiend : Mrs Fiend and I, along with Doc Milton – were working on some ideas that would be become some of the songs on the Possessed album and we had a harmonica lying around, Doc picked it up and started blowing into it, he was just messing about, having some fun. We had an old cassette tape recording everything, just to capture basic ideas, Mrs Fiend was laughing about it and said « I’ll get my washboard out in a minute » – as a joke about the old 1950s skiffle bands, so I thought it would be a cool historical recording to include, a good memory, as it was Doc in an unguarded moment… and all of us laughing….
Mrs Fiend : Perhaps ASF would have a voodoo swamp goddess!

Alien Sex Fiend

Year after year, your music tends to be more experimental and expressive : breaks, unlinearity, long title in the third place in the tracklist, low tempo, noise intro of « Amnesia ». It’s more a music to stand and stare, and feel, than a music to danse and scream. A confused music for troubled times ?
Mrs Fiend : Wow you’ve thought about this! We don’t tend to analyse our records or songs, we allow a record or song to take shape, organically…
Nik Fiend : For me, personally, there are too many records that are all of the same style, or one style throughout, they do not explore different areas, they stay in one small space, or the music is like « elevator music » or « background music », that is not the case with ASF’s music, it can go anywhere, it leads us where it wants to go. I don’t want every album to be all about “dancing”, in fact none of our albums have ever been like that… they are always peculiar to themselves…
Mrs Fiend : Different tracks have different atmospheres or vibes. We try to create something new on every album. It’s no mean feat after 35 years to still be creating something experimental! So thank you for that!
Nik Fiend : As an overall thought I think this is more of a psychedelic album, it creates a journey, a trip, musically taking people into different realms. With the resurrection of vinyl – people are making time to have the experience of a real record, and I think Possessed will be more like a ritual – get a floor cushion out! Use the gatefold sleeve…!
Mrs Fiend : You could definitely dance to some of it though – « Shit’s Coming Down (Monster Mix) »” would definitely work in a club… And « It’s In My Blood » too… but later on the album there is a change of atmosphere from the heaviness of what’s gone before… as we said earlier “light and dark”.
Nik Fiend : There have always been troubled times, there have always been conflicts somewhere for some reason, it is nothing new. We’ve always written songs about such things – Another Planet (1988) and Information Overload (2004) are two examples and again with « Shit’s Coming Down » but that is more personal view than a world view , I write about the human condition… what it means to be a human, emotions and feelings, there are no barriers between people, we are all the same in that respect. I don’t think this is confused music though – yes it’s challenging music, but as we’ve said elsewhere it’s music to disturb the comfortable and to comfort the disturbed!

Simon ‘Doc’ Milton – guitar (RIP 22/09/2016)

With « It’s in my Blood », did you wanna say that music remains an outlet ?
Nik Fiend : That is definitely what I’m saying! I do not have any choice, until my brain or body or voice says « stop » – music and art is something I HAVE to do, it has been that way since I was young,. Due to some traumatic experiences I had a choice, either to go with music and art or to go with heavy medication – I chose music and art….. Yes « It’s in my Blood », it is a statement, IT IS in my blood, IT IS in my soul, IT IS in my head, IT IS in my heart – to me those lyrics are saying it all…

Alien Sex Fiend

What are these vocal effects on « Spine-Tingler » ?
Nik Fiend : What effects? That’s my REAL voice!!! (laughing)

When do you consider that a track is done ?
Nik Fiend : Sometimes things happen spontaneously in the moment, and that version stands out to me. I don’t choose a final version on mix on the « technicalities », my decision is based on whether the overall « feeling » of the song is right. It is all music to me – whether a song has vocals or not, the important thing is whether it connects with me.
Mrs Fiend : Sometimes we continue to do other mixes but then when you listen back you sometimes realize that you have gone past the point…
Nik Fiend : Yes, an earlier mix might have captured the essence of the song and you don’t always realize that at the time, you have to listen back to the mixes later. Sometimes you are too close to a track to realize what you have created, you need some distance from it, it could be a few hours later, a few days or even weeks later and you can assess them then. But the most important thing is that our songs have to make me feel fired up (excited) or I wouldn’t release them as a record!

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Official site – 13th Moon
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