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Interview with Christian Pallentin of P*A*L - conducted by e-mail - 12/97

Jester: How is "M@rix" different than your previous releases?

Christian: It is more influenced by the so-called 'Techno' music, such as Aphex Twin, Autechre and the like. I discovered this stuff a few years ago, and the influences were used on my new recordings. I think the future is a crossover of the Industrial and Techno styles.

Jester: Whose idea was it to releasea a "M@rix" box set? What is inside the box set that differentiates it froms the normal release of "M@rix"?

Christian: The release was SALT's idea, Stefan Alt runs Ant-Zen records. The regular "M@rix" release is just the CD. The special edition is a bag containing the CD, a t-shirt, a badge, some stickers, a poster, a flyer and a postcard. It was limited to 349 copies and was sold out at Ant-Zen within two weeks.

Jester: What is your favorite track from "M@rix"?

Christian: I like all of the "M@rix" stuff. However, I like 'Cyber Junkyard' the most because it turns a bit into Drum-and-Bass, and at the moment I listen to this stuff a lot.

Jester: How did you get involved with Ant-Zen records?

Christian: In 1986 I formed my first band, I started listening to Industrial-oriented sounds in 1985 and I wanted to do something like that myself. I met Stefan Alt in 1993, in these days he was a DJ at a local club. The first Ant-Zen release was a double cassette compilation and he wanted me to do a track for it and so it began.

Jester: While some of your music contains vocal samples, none of the music I have heard contains lyrics. Why is that?

Christian: I don't see myself as a 'songwriter', but there are so many good things to cover. I do some cover versions such as The Fall, Pere Ubu, Public Image Ltd., and Clock DVA at my live performances. The cover versions are songs I like a lot and I sing them on stage. None of the cover versions appear on any album but maybe there will be a live album some day.

Jester: When you start working on a new track, what type of methodology do you use to start composing? Do you always start with certain musical elements, such as a bassline?

Christian: It depends. Sometimes I only have a vocal sample I build a track around, sometimes I have a rhythmic or melodic line and sometimes I start with the title.

Jester: You seem quite fluent in English, yet most of your music remains in German on the albums. Why have you chosen to remain faithful to your mother tongue in the music unlike so many other German musicians?

Christian: I don't think all of my music is German, just some samples and titles, but many titles are in English. On "M@rix" there is not a single German sample.

Jester: Are "Signum", "Reel" and "M@rix" the only P*A*L releases still available?

Christian: You can get the "Remote" 7" on German Hands label and a cassette entitled "Initiation" on Japanese SSSM label. The rest are out of print. Infrarot still has "Reel" in stock but it is difficult to find elsewhere. The other material was released years ago so anyone who is interested should ask around on-line. At the moment there are no plans to reissue any of the out of print material.

Jester: What can you tell me about the new LP called "After-Hours Sounds" that was just released on Dark Vinyl?

Christian: It is a re-release of a taped I did in 1994. It contains more quiet, dub-oriented sounds, very recommended for headphonic listening.

Jester: I know you have collaborated in the past on a 7" with Deutsch Nepal. Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? Why those bands?

Christian: There will be a remix album in early 1998 entitled "M@rmix" - featuring remixes by Synapscape, Beefcake, Ultra Instinct and Imminent Starvation. On Belgian label Spectre there will be a collaboration 7" with Hybryds / Yasnaia and there will be a collaboration on the forthcoming Hybryds CD on Ant-Zen. Why that? I like their music, and for example the Hybryds asked me for a collaboration which is an honor.

Jester: The music on "Signum" seems more modern, yet "Reel" was released after "Signum" and sounds a great deal more simplistic and minimalistic. Why is that?

Christian: No particular reason, that was just the track selection, of course you have more variety on a full-length release but if you take the four "Reel" tracks you can find something hard on 'Decay', some regular dance stuff on 'Reel', something quiet 'Severity' and something noisy on 'Intercourse'. On "Signum" you have the same variety, there are just more songs from which to choose.

Jester: What does a P*A*L performance look like?

Christian: I don't perform that much. In 1997 there were seven concerts. On stage I am working with electronic drums, keyboard, some vocals and a background tape, sometimes background video. I perform alone onstage but there are some friends who help by driving me to the concerts, loading onto the stage and with live mixing.

Jester: What do you do outside of composing music?

Christian: My main hobby was, is and will be music - listening and doing. I work as an employee for living as there is no chance of getting enough money just by making music. But this compromise is good for my creative work because I don't have to worry about commercial success.

Jester: Is P*A*L an acronym that stands for something? Or is it meant to stand on it's own without any meaning?

Christian: It's the acronym for Pallentin which is my last name.

Jester: How has being on the Internet helped you promote your band and keep in touch with the fans that enjoy your music?

Christian: Playlists on newsgroups such as are helpful. I made some good contacts because people have played my music. I also have a web page. Many people have made links to this page and I have had about 1000 visitors since the end of May.

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