New World Revolution make very intriguing and challenging music for a new generation of rock-loving-electroheads, and the mastermind behind it all is H3rwig Maurer. He is a multi-skilled performer with a taste for space-rock. We got a chance to chat with him and discuss his music, the ideas behind it, and most importantly we talked about robots…
“I always wanted to do a video with an animated George Bush singing to Queen whilst blowing stuff up”
S] You started in punk and moved into industrial, can you remember what inspired your passion for electronic music – explain as much as you can what was it that you heard or saw?
H] As a teenager in Austria I was both playing and working in local venues, and someone from that scene referred me to work the door at an early rave party, I don’t think that’s what they were called back then. At the time I despised drum machines or synthesizers, believing them to lack the rawness or soul of true and rock’n roll. Prejudiced against electronic dance music, I took the gig anyways because I had heard great LSD was to be found in that crowd.
After sampling the sheet of acid I got from one of the DJs, I was released of my duties at the door right around the peak of the party. All night long I had seen all these strange cats head into the club, and now finally entering the bowels of the operation myself, I was in for a great experience. It was truly eye-opening how at that event the DJs were housed in a room hidden from the audience, and there was no stage or performance to look at, I was amazed by this futuristic idea for an event, centred around “audience” participation, the community, the process.
Strangely, in this context the robotic monotonous machine music just made so much sense all of a sudden. Right after that I heard Ministry’s ‘Land Of Rape and Honey’, and I wasn’t able to keep rock and electronica separate from each other since then.
S] You have contributed production and sound design to some major films, and you run your own Gallery. Have you thought about producing your own film and can you outline a concept?
H] Yeah some concepts and ideas have been floating around. A bit premature to talk too much, but since you’re asking. One pet idea that’s been germinating is a psychological sci-fi thriller/chase movie, a team of astronauts crash land on a desert-like planet, attempting to establish the identity of a traitor amongst them. They’re taking each other out as resources become scarcer, and their human behaviour is degrading as conditions worsen. The plot is predominantly driven by internal dialogues of the survivors (with themselves in their heads), and by heavy visual and sonic stimulation. It’s designed to be an abstract study of human nature really, and I’ve been playing around with it as it’s something that can be realised without a super-huge budget.
S] What would you see as the advantages and disadvantages to being a robot?
H] The Advantages:
1] Robots don’t have inner resistance to uncomfortable and difficult tasks.
2] Robots have a terribly easy time being thoughtful and considerate.
3] Robots don’t exhibit self-sabotaging, compulsive or addictive behaviour.
4] Robots don’t get bored when performing repetitive or hard labour.
5] Robots don’t need rest or sleep.
6] Robots maintain objectivity at all times.
1] I can’t think of any.
S] Can you explain what you want to achieve in the future with your gallery, The Pacific N3xus – we understand you do things like community projects?
H] Yes, currently the Pacific N3xus hosts study groups with a focus on esoteric matters, jam sessions, art shows, movie screenings and performance art. Mostly low-key and underground, there’s no commercial focus to the happenings here at the moment. I love it when random people off of the street find their way in here and are flabbergasted about some strange performance in this historic Venice Beach building, that from the outside looks like an uninhabited industrial spot. The agenda for the future is to continually provide a platform and breeding spot for (r)evolutionaries, philosophers, artist, magicians and futuristic thinkers to meet, connect and cross-pollinate with each other. I’d also love to expand and build a bigger recording studio as soon as some more lofts in here become available.
S] Can you explain what kind of ideas inspired the [RE]evolve comic by James Mathers that accompanied your ‘Karmakaze’ EP?
H] The ‘[Re]Evolve’ comic accurately maps out both of our views on the nature of reality, as it breeds within space/time: Our “reality” is both a living organism as well as an artificial creation of other entities, and each incarnate being is really an avatar, a vessel guided, played and directed by some higher conscious entities. The story follows the quest of the main character, my alter ego Agent H, in this case appearing as some kind of White Knight. We witness him having psychedelic revelations, learning about his True Purpose, of his heroic mission to go back in evolution, attempting to fix genetic manipulation. He saves Adam and Eve, eventually uncovering that aliens had caused primates to evolve into humans by distributing some kind of a media-virus on earth. Then we see typical “greys” and “reptilians” lounging together, watching the whole reality-fiction-poem on a plasma screen, somewhere in their own other-dimensional living room.
So like with all the other stories in ‘Karmakaze’, ‘Re-Evolve’ follows the actual lyrics and is heavily inspired by James’ and my own explorations of esoteric matters and space/time travel experiences. Beyond that, some of the panels are composed like Tarot cards, you can find The Chariot, The Fool, The Moon, six of Swords. On a closer look you’ll also notice further esoteric and occult references, like Egyptian Gods, trans-dimensional power sources, Guardian Angels and more. Some panels render visual interpretation of dreams I’ve had (which also reflect heavily in the lyrics), and of course of James’ own inner mad genius.
S] What inspired you to cover ‘Never Let Me Down’ by Depeche Mode and how do you relate to the lyrics in that song, also will you cover more in the future?
H] I don’t exactly remember how I ended up choosing that song. Partially it was due to my working relationship with the publisher of the song, EMI. I love all of Depeche Mode’s lyrics really. But when we started playing this song live, I gained a whole new appreciation of the lyrics. It’s such a great juxtaposition, a sense of bliss and beauty offset by the hopelessness of drug addiction and escapism.
To answer your second question, I have covered a few other EMI songs too; maybe we’ll release them sometime. I did a pretty cool one of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.’ I always wanted to do a video with an animated George Bush singing this song while sending missiles all over the place and blowing stuff up. I guess I’m a bit late with this idea now.
I’d love to do a whole album of covers sometime, but I think I want to earn myself that right first and release some more original material before I tackle that one.
S] A number of ideas and philosophies accompany what you do with NWR (you believe in the healing powers of art and music alongside enlightenment through sound) how do you believe that NWR can help someone not to wholly achieve a sense of enlightenment but certainly to experience it?
New World Revolution is a kind of hyper-sigil-experiment. By exposing yourself to it, you automatically tap into the current of its intent. This is true for all art on some level, but I believe I have taken it to a new level here by embedding all these symbols and ideas that speak directly to the audiences’ subconsciousness. “Enlightenment” is such a stigmatised word. I can pretty much guarantee that by exposing yourself to NWR’s music, performance and visual content (all containing patterns that resonate with your sub-conscious mind in specific ways) some inner switches are flicked on, prompting you to see reality in a different light.
S] You and Sean Beavan are both particularly passionate and well versed in electronic music, can you tell us about your best experiences working with him on Karmakaze and is there potential for future collaborations?
H] The best part about working with Sean was that I could totally trust him musically, which is usually very hard for me, not to say impossible. I can be such a control freak and perfectionist. Sean instinctually got my vision for ‘Karmakaze’s’ sound, and he took it right to where it wanted to go. Much of the process worked through online communication, which made it super efficient, he’d send me mixes, and I emailed back comments, and we’d work on several songs at the same time. We already did work together on another project after ‘Karmakaze’, I produced the debut album for the Iranian Rock act Hypernova, and Sean ended up mixing this project too. Beyond that I’ve remixed the track ‘Stunning’ for Sean’s band 8mm, and also have taken some photos for 8mm’s last album ‘Songs To Die For’, so I’m sure we can expect further collaborations of various kinds.
S] Can you tell us about how the process is going on your full-length, will there be any guest spots and special ideas that you can tell us about?
H] It’s too early to say too much, I’m in the process of writing material now. Since I’m so production oriented, I’m doing my best to break the pattern and allow the material to ripen a bit more before fleshing it out too much in Pro Tools. I have recorded a bunch of demos already though, and it has much more of an organic feeling now, more live drums. I’m not sure if that will survive to the end stages of the album though. We’ll see. Lyrically it’s a bit more personal, I’m opening up more about personal experiences, while still very much following inspiration from dreams, visions and shamanic experiences.
S] How has your opinion of the music business changed since you began as a musician, would you say that the way artists like Radiohead and NIN give away music for free now represents a positive evolution for music?
H] Today more responsibility is returned to the artist, and with that comes a heavier workload. Personally I’d prefer to focus on creating music, content, poetry, art. I do embrace and appreciate the advantages of the new emerging paradigm. I think it’s great for music to be given away for free. Obviously that’s a bit trickier for artists who are just establishing themselves. But alternate ways (beyond charging for music) to support the artist will surely be established. I have faith that this is happening in the larger social, cultural and economic context as well, basically redistributing resources and control more evenly. I believe bartering, more efficient management of resources and smaller community-based trade are going to play a huge role in future “business,” So much for my eutopian hope and beliefs.
S] What are you most looking forward to achieving this year both musically and non-musically?
H] So much on the horizon, but the most immediate exciting prospects are to continue birthing the new NWR album, performing live as much as possible, and completing my art book of Sidereal Astrology Portraits, an ongoing project over the past few years that seems to near its completion finally.
Thanks very much for taking the time out to answer our questions Herwig,
We very much appreciate it!
For more information visit the band’s Myspace and website.
You can buy ‘Karmakaze’ by clicking below: