Interview by Final Man (ElectroAge e-zine - October 2001)

Divas & Electronics

No need to introduce Jonathan Sharp. The man behind New Mind and numerous successful side-projects including the dancy EBM-pop of Hyperdex-1-Sect, the grinding technoid of Takshaka and the diva-esque Hexedene; is undoubtedly a talented musician. A figurehead of the modern electro-industrial movement, Jonathan Sharp is now celebrating a decade of New Mind.  Ten years of creating a soundtrack for our modern world, often tainted with Sharp's angry look at our society...

As we thought New Mind was a closed affair, the project has reborn from its ashes with the release of "Phoenix", a collection of rare tracks and remixes representing the project at its best. Ten years of music, this was more than enough to ask Mr.Sharp what we always wanted to...

EA: Welcome to Electroage. Already 10 years for New Mind; how do you feel about it? What do you think of the evolution of your project during this decade?

JS: How do I feel ? Surprised to still be releasing material. I never ever imagined in the beginning that this was going to go on for so long. I had no initial goal, other than do one release. Ten years later it's still
on-going. That's nice. I think the new album, "Phoenix" really does illustrate the growth of the project. From the early days of being profoundly influenced by my musical peers, to the way the project has diversified into something truly original in a genre that's become increasingly insular and stale.

EA: Musically, is New Mind now what you have ever wanted?

JS: Yes, I think so. I mean, sure it'd be nice to have access to more expensive/better equipment. But doing things at this level means I retain total creative control, so that's a fair trade off I think.

EA: What was your first intentions when you started the project?

JS: Actually the whole thing grew out from a very long multi-thousand words prose-poem I wrote around 1990. Parts of it are included in the "Phoenix" design work/layout. I wanted to give shape to this piece of writing, make it into something more, I chose music as the way to express this, and that's really what the first single and then "Fractured", the first album, was all about.

EA: A lot of political and social issues can be found within your lyrics, what do you want New Mind to say?

JS: I think it's really down to each own person's interpretation. I know things I have done have been completely misunderstood, but to me the issue is perception, not my own standpoint. If people misunderstand the content of the CDs, it's their own prejudices. Around the time of "Zero To The
Bone" I had a lot of criticism levelled at me, that sugested I was some kind of woman hating misoginyst. That's about as far from the reality of my personality as it's possible to get. But whatever.....

EA: On "Phoenix", you say about the title track that you wanted "to bring this project back to it's original  form". What does this mean regarding New Mind's further releases?

JS: It meant that I needed to re-asses why I started doing this in the first place in order to continue. The current industrial scene seems to have split off into all these subgenres, like power-nosie, future-pop,
whatever. I got into industrial music at the time because it was innovative, open minded and creative, it seemed like it was a genre that wasn't bound up into cliquey little sub-groups. My other philosophy was
that I made the music of New Mind for me and nobody else, if people liked it, than it's even better. I needed to get back to that to be honest. When I started this, there was no obligation to make "X" number of club tracks per album just to sell it.

EA: Something particular about your musical career is that you have a lot of side-projects (Hexedene, Takshaka, Hyperdex-1-Sect just to name a few.); which of them are still active, which not?

JS: Okay, I admit I've probably done so many things under so many names, I have honestly lost track. I tend to work on things on an album-by-album basis. So having just completed a Hexedene and a New Mind CD and I have no plans to return to these for some time; I can say there won't be another Hyperdex-1-Sect release either. A further Bio-Tek album has been completed and will be out soon. The Takshaka album is now finally completed and that also should be out very soon, though this one I feel is going to bemuse a lot of people, it's pretty out-there.

What am I working on now ? I have a project called Vent, which is ambient electronica; I'm doing a joint release with some friends which is a limited CD-R. So thats on-going. These days I concentrate my efforts on
writing music for commercial broadcast media, sound library music. To be honest it pays better, and this is something I've always wanted to do. Writing for TV and film is a total buzz.

EA: What does having such numerous projects is providing you as a musician?

JS: Well when you operate on the indie label scene and you aren't committed to 6 to 8 months of roadwork to promote a release, you have the time to do more music. So writing 2 to 3 albums a year is not impossible.

EA: Finally, what can we expect from New Mind and your other projects in a near and distant future?

JS: At this point I can't say. I can't ever see a point where I would stop working on music, for me it's something I have to do. It's like an addiction. Will there be more New Mind ? I vowed after each album I
released, I'd never do another. I said that in 1993, and here we are 2001. Still at it. So who knows. Outside the genre, it would be wonderful to make that jump from writing incidental music that's used in broadcast to being sole soundtracker for a movie project. But again, who knows?

EA: Thanks for your time. As a conclusion would you like to tell something to the fans and readers?

JS: I'd just like to express my thanks to all the people who have supported New Mind and all my other releases over the last 10 years. Thats what has made it all worthwhile.