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Interview with Ivan Iusco of Nightmare Lodge - conducted via e-mail - 3/23/98

Jester: What is it like running a record label as a business while trying to release and promote your music as an artist?

Ivan: It's really strange. You're free to release your own music at any moment without sending demo tapes around the world or licking the asshole of the label managers, but at the same this is too easy. I'm more pleased when other labels publish my works!

Jester: What were the circumstances around you forming Minus Habens Records?

Ivan: I started Minus Habens in 1987 completely alone with little money, using Minus Habens as a ghost label for Nightmare Lodge, my first audio project. I was satisfied from the first release and I started to release limited edition tapes for other Italian and foreign electronic artists. In 1988 I published the first vinyl and in 1990 the first CD. Until now I released around 140 products, most of them are on CD, and Minus Habens is considered as pioneer in the electronic worldwide scene.

Jester: Why did you decide to segment your record label into two distinct sections (Minus Habens & Disturbance)?

Ivan: The decision was made to distinguish two styles of music with different atmospheres and purposes. In the early 90's the various electronic realities were still like independent islands. So, when we started in releasing experimental Techno on Disturbance, a lot of people were skeptical. But today with the continuous merging of the styles I think that people listen to different things without problems.

Jester: Are there any plans to license Minus Habens Material to US Record labels? (I have only seen a single Klange release here) What is the best way to order your material from the US?

Ivan: At the moment it is very difficult to find our products in your country and our mail order service is still the best solution to buy our products. Just a few distributors as such Metropolis, Digital Underground and Isolation Tank are selling Minus Habens. So we'd like to find a U.S. company interested to license our new releases, implanting a sort of U.S. associated company.

Jester: How did you first get involved with writing and composing music?

Ivan: I think that my first real approach to the sound is directly connected to the electro soundtracks and special effects that appeared on the first Japanese cartoons (78-83) featuring robots, alien invasions and some old science fiction/thriller movies. I was a child with long ears. A few years later I started to describe my inner worlds using synthesizers.

Jester: Have you ever had any type of formal musical training?

Ivan: In 1977, at the age of seven, I received a red electric organ. In 1985, at the age of fifteen, I began to take my first music lessons of piano and I bought my first synthesizer (Casio), setting up a small home studio to create electronic music. After two years I decided to leave the piano school and I started Minus Habens.

Jester: How did IT and Nightmare Lodge initially form?

Ivan: Nightmare Lodge was born in 1987 as a band and our music has always been the product of the symbiosis of different minds inspired by different sources as industrial culture, Dada, dreams, and TV. At the end of 1990 I started to manipulate rhythms, sequences, sounds and I decided to start a private experience called IT, a place to be completely free to give substance to my own ideas, rapidly and without any direct external interaction.

Jester: How do you distinguish between the projects musically, when they both seem to have such a similar sound?

Ivan: This is the reason why I avoid releasing too similar projects. I always like to hear different sounds and different approaches to the music. For many people it is difficult to follow our releases because they sound different and you don't know what to expect from us. It's true, our production is heterogeneous but it would be very boring to always release the same kind of things.

Jester: What does the future hold for It / Nightmare Lodge?

Ivan: A lot of new stuff will be out soon. Regarding It, the new album entitled 'Concubia Nocte' will be released in May on Materiali Sonori, including an exclusive remix by Richard H Kirk. As Nightmare Lodge, we've just finished recording our 10 year anniversary album. It will be out within the end of this year but not on Minus Habens. We're dealing these days with another label. In the meantime we've completed the soundtrack for Syrena, an independent science fiction Italian movie. The CD soundtrack will be out soon on Minus Habens, and last but not least, 'Theme for Nosferatu', a limited edition 7" picture disc that will be published from Ant-Zen. A lot of things are on the way and we're just thinking of working on a new album. The voice of Sumiko Yamada from Tokyo will be featured on two tracks. She's perfect for Nightmare Lodge and we're very excited!

Jester: Does either project perform live? What do your live shows look like?

Ivan: In the past I've done some dates as It in Italy (touching Switzerland), but we never brought Nightmare Lodge on stage for several reasons. At the moment I'm thinking to organize both the shows in a new way with a good visual impact.

Jester: How did you come up with such a diverse collection of musicians to remix material off of "Era Vulgaris"? (On NCoded)

Ivan: As you can see, the word 'uniformity' isn't in my dictionary. The idea to remix Era Vulgaris album was suggested by some musicians of Disturbance. Afterwards I decided to involve old friends of mine like Attrition, Lassigue Bendthaus and Lustmord. The Black Dog remix comes from a nice story. Diverse minds for a diverse collection.

Jester: Where did the ideas to develop an Internet Underground Guide and the Virtual Reality Handbook originate?

Ivan: I've always been strongly interested to technology, ancient civilities, rituals, extreme sex and other thousands of different things. So, I did enjoy publishing little books on Minus Habens as Virtual Reality Handbook, Hypermuseum, Dive/Images, Internet Underground Guide and CD's with cultural connotations such as Body Frequencies and Outer Space Communications.

Jester: Do you have a day job outside of your music and record label?

Ivan: My last day job was around 10 years ago in a fashion studio.

Jester: Now that Minus Habens Records is ten years old, when you look back, would you have done anything differently?

Ivan: I think it would be very dangerous to change something in the past, also a very little thing. I'm very careful in my work, so I'd like to change everything to reach perfection, but it's not possible, so I prefer to not think about the past.

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