In a cultural landscape where live music leans heavily upon pre-produced and pre-recorded material, Nöi Kabát strive for a performance of electronic music that is unaided by computers and incorporates elements of chance into the arrangements, making each show unique. This approach adds a visceral element to their sequential rhythmic music.
Nöi Kabát are Dee Rüsche, Owen Pratt and Jonas Ranson, who were brought together by a shared love of London’s electronic music culture and catalysed by their club nights. What emerges sounds reminiscent of the early industrial pioneers, new wave and EBM. The songs speak of a world as imagined by early science fiction, weaving a narrative which traces this tradition through the lens of personal experience. Throughout the undulating mechanical rhythms remains a voice that is distinctly human. IVIYH talked to the members of Nöi Kabát to learn a little bit about their background and musical direction.
Tell us about the formation of your band? Were the members in some other bands before?
Dee – I used to run clubs and dj where me and Owen met and both me Jonas would guest dj at each others nights.
Jonas – I was running Deus Ex Machina and Futurebrain at the time and it was obvious how we all bonded in our musical tastes.
What does the name of the band mean?
Dee – It simply means women’s coat in Hungarian. I like the feeling of it’s androgyny. And also how some people can look at it from a non-Hungarian perspective and think that it is very dark and elusive, almost like Depeche Mode (fast fashion) in it’s pointlessness. I loved the connotations of smothering and sexual ambiguity.
Can you tell me about any projects new recordings you’re currently working on?
Jonas – We released a double A side cassette in the summer of last year (2012). One of these tracks, ‘I Corrode’ is on a 12″ compilation LP ‘And you will find them in the basement’ on Desire Records we put together with bands like Soft Riot, Lebanon Hanover and Linea Aspera. It includes a number of synth bands based in East London that form part of the emerging scene. There’s a number of club nights where we all play and hang out.
Owen – We’re also releasing our songs ‘Make Room! Make Room!’ and ‘Industry’ as a 7″ on German label Aufnahme + Wiedergabe that will be due in the July.
Dee – And we’ll be going on a second European tour with Soft Riot. Some other dates also with Keluar, Die Selektion and Uj Latasmod Fuzio.
Who does what in the band?
Jonas – It’s a fairly paired down sound really. Just Keyboards, Vocals and Drums. Owen uses a machine drum too which enhances and is key in boosting and adding to many of the rhythm parts. I play the drums in the band and use a mixture of a mid 80’s Simmons SDS pads and trigger unit plus an old Akai 3000XL sampler. This with a 4 piece TAMA Artstar ES acoustic kit. The intention was to steer clear of as many digital elements to the sound as we could, and rather, make a move to source analogue equipment. Sometimes it’s all too easy just to get up on stage with a laptop. It’s a result of listening to a lot of music from a pre digital or midi age, digging this and wanting to replicate it somehow.
Owen – I use a MiniKorg 700 as our bass sound through guitar pedals and a bass amp, an Oberheim Matrix 1000, a Doepfer Dark Energy and a couple of handmade contact mics through big echo’s for noise.
Dee – I sing and hit scrap metal.
Who are some of your biggest influences? How you can label your own sound? How much are you influenced by the 1980’s?
Jonas – We listen to 80’s things certainly and yes as I said before we have acquired instruments and equipment from this period. But it’s a reconfigured approach. The music we end up playing is very much of it’s time, it’s contemporary.As far as 80’s bands go, It has to be The Associates for me, purely for such uncompromising and imaginative approach to making music, the Fourth Drawer Down and SULK LP’s. I like the artful recording process that went into making those albums so different. Drum wise I really respect what Steve Jansen did with Japan. Very imaginative playing, real virtuosity. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of stuff by Yukihiro Takahashi, the drummer from YMO. Neuromantic and What Me Worry Lp’s . Also Chris Carters Mondo Beat and Space Between.
Dee – I know a lot of the influences people will consider us to have come from the 80’s and that is mainly because that was the huge pinnacle in synthesizer led music. For me, our influences go a lot further back than that and I think we all have enquiring minds. From Suicide to Bernard Herrmann to Silver Apples and back.
Can you tell me about labels and or bands who you feel are putting out some of the best new music?
Owen – Really into Alva Noto/Diamond Version & Herz Jühning, The Death Grips album was really good, Factory Floor are good live.
Jonas – I really like White Car who are on Hippos In Tanks I think. Nuva Forma Records are releasing some interesting things. Most of the interesting contemporary bands I like at the moment seem to come out of the United States. Some friends of ours, the London based group Pavlov’s Children have recently brought out a new 7” single, ‘Little Douglas/Repeat Prescription’ which has been released through Tim Burgess’s , O Genesis label.
Dee – Lots of good people to mention like Moduretik, Keluar, Knothole, Mild Peril, Soft Riot, Uj Latasmod Fuzio, your project Zex Model…
Can you tell me a little about touring, do you enjoy it, what is some of the coolest shit you’ve seen or you’ve been to while traveling?
Owen – Touring for us usually involves driving incredibly long distances in incredibly short spaces of time. the overall effect is that even the most mundane things get given a new slant and become interesting. travelling at high speed slows down time and we age less than we would if we stayed at home.
Dee – I got a nasty little cut and scar in my hand in Prague from hitting a wheel rim with a bit of metal. I was bleeding through the song and someone came and gave me a bit of tissue. Stigmata.
Can you give me an example of something you consider perfect?
Jonas – The Italian actress Claudia Cardinale. See Visconti’s ‘The Leopard’.
Owen – A circle
Dee – Nothing is perfect, except the imperfections.
If I were to vacation in your hell what should I expect to find there?
Jonas – There’s a new shopping mall recently opened in East London, very near to the Olympic site, called Westfield ‘Stratford City’. 1.9 million square feet, biggest urban shopping centre in Europe. Very much a symbol of aspiration and envy, set amid unredeemed tower blocks, precisely the sort of thing that, post-riots, we should not be building in the UK. This would definitely feature in any vision of hell I may have the misfortune to dream up.
Can you describe your most emotionally moving moment involving music? Or, the moment of live music that has had the greatest impact on you?
Dee – I don’t think I have had such an emotional moment yet on stage. Most of the time I try to detach myself. As for listening to music I have had too many moments to specify one.
Jonas – Listening to Brian Eno’s ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ for the first time. Also hearing Can’s music and the masterful drumming of Jaki Lebizeit. Stephen Browns album ‘Decade’ always makes we weep… that’s why I don’t play it now.
Some are saying this is the greatest era to exist as a musician, others say it’s the worst, what has your experience been like?
Jonas – Not sure if I would consider now to be the greatest era to exist as a musician. It has always been tough to get ahead in music, you have to be very committed if you want the music to develop, recording and playing live take considerable time and energy to do well. People often hark back to movements passed and say that may have been the best time to be around, but I’m sure at the time many of the musicians involved didn’t realise they were part of something as significant. Retrospection often makes things look better, more mythic than they felt at the time.
Have you ever been to a psychic, would you be willing to share that experience if so?
Jonas – I’ve dabbled in Tarot a bit, had readings and done them for myself. The I Ching as well, but less so now. I used this divination process as a way of seeking guidance on certain key situations in my life, rather than trying to predict or foretell things. It doesn’t work like that. Rather it reveals things that you may need have considered or seen before. I have a personal interest in Theosophy also, teachings of Rudolf Steiner, Helen Blavatsky, Ouspensky. I came to it more by way of my interest in Art, the work of Mondrian & Kandinsky.
If you could choose how the world would end, what would you choose?
Jonas – In Douglas Adams book Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy the Earth is destroyed by Vogons in order to facilitate an intergalactic highway construction project. Much like a company would knock down someone’s house to make way for a motorway or supermarket or something. Seems a fitting end to me.
Dee – Every end is a beginning. Maybe the world could end but we have an alternative choice. We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.
And here it is the new track re-worked by Zex Model entitled “Industry”