Interview with Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb - 6/24/95

Interview with Nitzer Ebb, Cabaret Metro, June 24th 1995, 6:15pm We may our way into Metro on a blistery evening and tried to figure out where the heck we were supposed to meet the band. After fifteen minutes of talking to the shirt salesman, the doorman, the ticket taker, and club general manager, and finally the band's sound engineer we managed to weasel out way into an interview. The sound engineer swears we were not on the list, but I wasn't about to argue. He lead us into the back of the tour bus where Bon Harris sat, and told us we had ten minutes in which to conduct the interview, we ended up with fifteen. What follows is the first half of the interview from memory as the stupid tape recorder failed to record the first part of the interview.

Nick: As you look at the track listing/dates for the songs on the album you notice a definite change in the sound as time progressed was this planned or simply to do the time passing?

Bon: Well, it wasn't really planned, it was just one of those things that developed as time went along i guess.

Jester: Rumor has it that you've been officially dropped from Geffen Records, is that true?

Bon: Not to my knowledge. Some funny things are going on with the label, but as far as being officially dropped, I haven't heard anything of that nature.

Jester: If you look around a good record store you can find a few import singles from the new album, are there any plans for a domestic release of those singles in the U.S.?

Bon: It all depends on the record label. Obviously there was the Cherry Blossom single, but that was prior to the album release. We were also told that the first single, "Big Hit" had been released in the states but we received no official word concerning it.

Jester: Several rumors were said that Frank Black of the Pixies had actually performed on several tracks on the album. Can you lend any validity to the rumor?

Bon: When we discussed the possibility of using live guitars on the album we went and talked to several people. Frank was one of those people, but no he did not play on the album, but he did teach me a little about how to play and in the end we bought a guitar from him, which is the one I use on stage.

Jester: Your sound is constantly changing, and getting very distant from the minimalistic dance style of the past. What was your primary musical focus with this new album?

This was the point in the interview when I noticed that the tape was NOT recording, and the actual conversation is now taken word for word from the tape instead of being hacked together from my memory.

Bon: We wanted the electronics to match kind of seemlessly. And that was the only real sort of focus that we had in mind. I think the record ended up sounding pretty much like I imagined it would sound like before we started it. The rest of it was completely circumstantial and it kind of steered its own course.

Jester: How have the fans reacted to you during this tour? There is a lot a guitar on stage, which is a lot different that most of your fans are used to. Has is been positive, negative?

Bon: I think most people think that it is an augmentation and the show is still quite sparse and very energetic. The performance really isn't that far away from what people are used to. I think that for a lot of people it has added another dimension. Obviously we get a lot of people that want it to be electronics only. In general I think people feel that it is a bigger, better, new and improved Nitzer Ebb.

Jester: Are there any plans at the end of this tour to immediately record another album, or do you plan to take some time off?

Bon: We are going to take a little bit of time off. In August, Doug's wife is having a baby. I'm getting married and so is Jason, the drummer. Not to each other. (laughter) We definitely won't be going in to do another album immediately afterwards just yet.

Jester: What do you feel influenced you the most music wise for this new album?

Bon: Flood! Obviously he is a massive influence. Generally, because we recorded most of the album in the United States, and we sort of unofficially relocated to the U.S. Being in a different place with different people was quite an influence. There was general stuff like old records we've used to listen to as well. Jason, the drummer was also a very strong influence into what was put into the new record. His acoustic drumming added a lot to the album.

Jester: What do you feel is your best work (album) to date? Was it "Big Hit" because it was such a great deal of work over a long period of time?

Bon: I really think Big Hit is out best work. Most bands do think that their latest record is their best one, but it has managed to probably marry many of the elements that we were probably trying to marry before but because we did just use technology and didn't have certain elements it didn't quit probably come across. I think that definitely it is the most well rounded thing that we've done and the emotional impact of the songs is a lot truer. I just think it feels right. I know the history of some of the tracks on the previous albums and most of them didn't quite hit the mark of what we were trying to obtain. They ended not quite what we started out with. We're not very much more direct. The entire album came out pretty much exactly as we wanted it to.

Jester: I was going through a few of your old videos the other day, and I noticed that "I Give To You", and "Ebbhead" seemed to have the same set, same wardrobe, were they filmed at the same time?

Bon: They were filmed within months of each other, but they certainly were not part of the same shoot.

Jester: That all the questions I have, I thank you very much for your time, I know the interview was kind of thrown together on short notice.

Bon: My pleasure.

At this point he noticed Nick's Convergence T-shirt, which was basically an advertisement for the HUGE net.goth gathering in Chicago during the weekend of July 24-25th, and he was very curious about it.

Bon: How was convergence? (pointing at the shirt)

Nick: It was excellent, but the sound man should have been shot. The vocals were going out and fading away, but the bands were trying really hard to deal with the technical difficulties.

Bon: That's a shame. Who was playing?

Nick: Sunshine Blind, The Wake, Machine in The Garden (looks at the T-Shirt) ,Arcanta, and Seraphim Gothique last night.

Jester: Tonight is Mephisto Waltz, Lycia, Lestat, Garden of Dreams, Trance To The Sun, most of which I had never heard of before.

Bon: Excellent!

Jester: They had a lot of good bands. The opener was a good mood builder, a lot of chanting, great stuff to build the mood for what was going to come on stage later in the evening.

Nick: The crowd was pretty impressive to. Basically it was put together by a bunch of people on the net. Most of the goth there were net goths.

Bon: That's rad! (yes he actually said this) That's fucking excellent. I heard it was going on in town and thought it was pretty excellent.

Nick: Are you on the net?

Bon: Unfortunately not, but as soon as this tour ends, and I find someone who knows how to hook an Amiga up, then we'll be on the net. There's actually a company in England that does a package. I actually own a PC, but I don't want to have anything to do with it.

Jester: Once again, we thank you for your time.

Bon: My pleasure!

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