I am not a generous person by nature, I’m here ripping struggling young bands a new asshole everyday. I’m not proud of that, but one thing is for sure, if I tell you something’s good, I fucking feel it through every fiber of my drug ravaged body (don’t get started with drugs, people will not want to fuck you). One thing that I absolutely love from 2012 is the Vehical EP by fucking Bay Area raging-powerhouse-fucking-juggernauts INHALT. I did not know shit about this band until Soft Metals pointed them out to me, but listen to this, and if I’m wrong then you can find some other source for whatever the fuck it is you source from me. Let’s start by checking out their new video, created by Logan Owlbeemoth of OS OVNI, before you’re allowed to read their words. They are one of the best new bands out there, and they aren’t fucking cheaters like most bands, they’re actually recording and performing songs the old fashioned way, like the people who would be insulted by your existence did long ago. We are lazy assholes who juice maybe 1% of the potential from the technology we have available to us, so accept it and read this. Am I in a bad mood? No. But I am trying to illustrate your standards should be a lot motherfucking higher, start with INHALT and we’ll talk after.
How did you come together as INHALT?
Philip: I had just moved to San Francisco from Switzerland and one of the first people I met was Matia. I came here with the goal of making electronic music and finding a professional outlet with a solid partner.
Matia: Philip and I both were greatly inspired by synthesizers and drum machines that were physical and by powerful electronic music. Philip was the only other person I had really met that was, much like Bryan and myself, fascinated by a diverse set of music, had a passion for synths, and respected an elaborate production process.
Bryan: I met Matia when he was 16 and I worked for a music shop in Marin County after I graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, in Tempe, AZ. He would ask me loads of questions about MIDI, routing audio, and synths. We then, years later formed a sort of minimal wave/industrial band called Red Youth with Tyler from the Lumerians. When that project fell apart, Matia and I both started to work for Asphodel Records and Recombinant Media Labs.
Matia: After Asphodel shut down I moved to London to do an MA at Goldsmiths College and on my visits back Philip and I would get together and write music. Every session lead to an essentially done composition.
Philip: We found an automatic and fluid way of working.
Matia: When I moved back from London to San Francisco, Philip and I resumed working and invited Bryan to join the project which became INHALT.
Bryan: At this time I was building a professional studio, and with the help of Matia and Philip we christened The Bunker, which is our main base of operation.
What were your first bands like?
Philip: I never really did anything in a band per say. I did everything as an individual. My biggest challenge was to find someone I could share that with. So I sort of made music for myself. I had collaborated with a few people but nothing really stuck. I would say some of my other projects were not as serious nor generated anything quiet substantial.
Bryan: The first music project I ever did was a two piece radio show called Warp Three in Rochester, New York. We were a sort of DJ collective where we mixed records with found sounds, VHS movies, weird sound FX CD’s and created downtempo ambient music live on this radio show. This was in the early 1990’s. Sort of when the rave scene blew up in America. This led to my fascination with music production and recording.
Matia: Most of my early days were spent exploring Sound Edit 16 and a Korg Polysix that my parents were very kind to buy me as a teenager. I played synths in a couple of bands and really the first major project was Red Youth. We were really the only one’s in the SF area at the time making really minimal, vocally led music and playing it out with hardware synths. However, I quickly switched to professionally doing production work and sound design. After several years of that, it was a major shift back to writing and arranging when we started INHALT.
How did you hook up with Dark Entries?
Matia: Andy Blake and Joe Hart of World Unknown became very good friends while I lived in London. I absolutely and completely connected with what they were doing and are some of the nicest and most honest people I know. We did a split 12″ for their label with an extended INHALT cut and Joe sent me some records to give to this guy named Josh Cheon of Dark Entries. Turns out Josh was also friends with my girlfriend and some of her friends so that’s how we met. I sent him the almost finished EP and we went from there. There’s nobody that I know that invests as much as Josh into the projects he puts out and when he offered to put out “Vehicle” on Dark Entries we all knew we were in good hands. He has an amazing label and is a great friend to boot!
If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead who would it be?
Philip: Ralf Hütter without a doubt.
Bryan: Future Sound of London.
Matia: Fad Gadget, not just Frank Tovey, but his whole band at the time of the first couple of records.
What inspired the “Vehical EP”?
INHALT: An expensive parking ticket. It led to many sociological discussions. You are constantly being surveyed and “suggested” what to do in society. In a way our perseverance became the process of making the music. Vehicle was a vessel for expression for all three of us. We all felt the difficulty in making music professionally and living in a society that does not really support that.
What is it like being in a dark electronic band in SF, what is the scene like there?
INHALT: We don’t think INHALT is necessarily a dark band. We discuss some alarming things in our current society and state as a human race, but we intend for something cathartic within the music. This is often expressed with musical or lyrical cues. “Walking on Glass” could have been about the young everyman in London, San Francisco, or any other major Western city, feeling intense alienation from his peers and a longing for beauty. While that may seem dark, the music offers a power from which to extract motivation to do or think differently about the situation. We think the scene of the music world in general right now is highly caustic therefore many other jobs are needed to finance a project.
With INHALT, we like to take things through what we consider a proper production and writing process, sometimes spending three months on one song. We use predominantly hardware, large format mixing consoles, compressors, EQ’s, tape … so on and so forth. Our design and mastering is completely in-house, with Leo Merz heading aesthetics in Germany and Paul Lavigne in London putting the final touches. These things require infrastructure, maintenance, calibration … which in turn requires financing that simply isn’t there in the current music world on our level. Thus you see so many in the box Ableton productions, which INHALT is not.
Because you need a source of financing outside of the music industry, your time is split between working for said financing and the production of the music. That really doesn’t leave much room for anything else. We don’t really know what the SF music scene is like because we are too busy making music and financing all of the production ourselves. Apart from our families and close friends, Dark Entries Records is probably the biggest supporter and ally INHALT has in San Francisco. Outside of SF and internationally we have found a lot more support and encouragement.
What are you astrological signs, are they a good combination for creating your sound?
Matia: I’m a Leo.
Philip: Taurus. Stubborn and independent.
Bryan: Libra. I am constantly balancing and always looking for beauty.
INHALT: Earth, wind, and fire. It’s a good combo.
If I were to vacation in your hell what would I find there? And what should I pack for the trip?
Bryan: Burning man. Bring ear plugs and a power generator.
Matia: My hell would be the inability to express yourself while surrounded by egotistical, pharma-drug induced, wastes of soul-less human flesh. Bring a shotgun, a warm coat, a copy of “A Thousand Plateaus”, and a Korg Monotribe.
What piece of equipment would you save from your gear if you could only rescue one piece from a burning building?
Bryan: DNR Orion, our mixing desk.
Philip: Our Roland TR 808.
Matia: The Jupiter 8 is too heavy for me to lift on my own so I would grab the Oberheim OB 8.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Philip: Deep in cold mountains. The Alps.
Bryan: Green trees, fresh air, and an SSL 4000B. In other words Türnitz, Austria.
Matia: I try to make wherever I am my favorite place. When that fails, I usually think about my friends in London and how wonderful it was to live there.
What is your favorite sequence from a film?
Philip: “Metropolis”. Where the workers are on the big machine and you see them going into this tunnel. Brilliant scene.
Bryan: The scene in “Apocalypse Now” when they are surfing in the Da Nang river after they take the hottest spot in Vietnam. In the face of adversity they are still able to enjoy themselves and do something they love.
If you could accomplish one specific thing with INHALT what would that be?
INHALT: To do this for as long as we are alive.
What is the most inspiring concert you’ve been to?
Philip: Jean Michel Jarre during the Oxygen Live in Your Living Room concerts in Zürich where he used all analogue synths and played the complete Oxygen record live. The best part was hearing the idle synthesizers waiting to be played with all of this phasing, wonderful noise as you walked in.
Bryan: Plastikman during his Musik record release party in Toronto, Canada in 1994. You could hear the Cerwin Vega sound system, emanating from a renovated office building, for nine blocks in each direction in downtown Toronto. 808, 909, 303 for four hours among black plastic covered walls. Pure analogue techno madness.
Matia: Kraftwerk at The Warfield for the Minimum/Maximum tour. The sound was beyond intense. I think probably the best sounding concert I’ve ever been to and the projections were a work of art.