interview with ex machina

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Have any of you played in other bands? Claudio: No not really. I was always occupied with my own projects, the forerunners which eventually became ex machina.
How is it that you started playing music? Claudio: I always had a strong interest in sounds and music so it came quite naturally to me starting to make music and especially electronic music because i was so interested in sounds.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Claudio: Beside me the other core member of ex machina is Tobias Schwerdt and we both produce the music and play synthesizers and do vocals.
Have you had other previous members? Claudio: No it was only me in the beginning and then Tobias joined the project in 2010. Sometimes we have guest musicians who add something to the music. That's part of the ex machina concept, our doors are always
open for cooperations with other musicians.
Did you make music even when you were young? Claudio: Yes i did, not so intensive i'm doing it right now, but there  was always music in my life in one way or the other.
Where are you from? Claudio: I'm from Clausthal-Zellerfeld a small town with a university in  the centre of Germany in the Harz mountain region (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausthal-Zellerfeld -https://www.google.com/maps/place/51°48'18.0"N+10°20'08.0"E/@51.805,10.335556,12z/). There is nothing much else to do and so I became even more interested in music and in the creation of it.
What year did the band form? Claudio: ex machina started in 1999 with me as the sole member, Tobias joined the project in 2010 and is a member since then.
What's your style of genre? Claudio: I would describe our style as a mixture of alternative, dark wave, eletronica elements.
What inspires you? Claudio: Quite honestly a lot... way too much to mention everything. It  can be book that i read, a movie that i watched or just the life in  general, for example a special situation that i just encountered. Life is so rich in inspirations and ideas you just have to be open to see them and to accept them.
How often and where do you rehearse? Claudio: At the moment we rehearse individually as i moved to Dresden last year. But Tobias comes to Dresden regularly and then we see what we other has done and we put it together to make new stuff.
How have you developed since you started with the music? Claudio: I think ex machina as a project has evolved a lot since its founding in 1999. If you compare the first album "bewegung / movement" with the latest release "no one" from 2013 i think you can hear this progress on your own.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Claudio: I have a strong interest in art in general and visit often exhibitions, beside that i'm interested in everything technical. At the moment I'm a bit obsessed with everything that's retro.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Claudio: We are thinking about that. But if they are any agencies out there that may be interested they can always contact us.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Claudio: We already have a label. But we are always looking for ways to expand ourselves, if you are interested get in contact.
What made you decide to make this music? Claudio: Since i was always interested in sounds and very odd ones in general, electronic music was the right choice. But I remember one situation that made me wanting to make electronic music quite vivingly: i was a child and sat in our kitchen. Suddenly Autobahn by Kraftwerk was  playing in our kitchen radio and the sounds that i could hear then made want to do the same sounds on my own and that sparked my interest in synthesizers.
What are your songs about? Claudio: There is no general theme. Whatever comes along and is inspiring can be a potential new track. Our instrumental tracks are like soundtracks to a specific situation, scenery, emotion, etc. we try to capture the essentials of these inspirations and put it into music that fits.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Claudio: In general we compose together. One of us comes up with a basic idea and then we sort of jamming around with our studio equipment. Every idea is allowed during this phase, we do not try to limit ourselves to certain rules, but sometimes a bit of restriction can trigger new and unexpected ideas. Sometimes we encounter some discussions in because of some radical ideas, if something like this is happening we leave the track as it is and revisit it some days later and listen to it with some fresh ears and normally we both find an agreement.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Claudio: It depends on waht comes along as inspiration... sometimes we have some lyrical phrases in our heads or a general direction and other times it's just an interesting sound we created on our synths, or a beat, or musical phrase. It really depends.
Do you compose in a certain enviroment? Claudio: We had our studio in Clausthal, but since i moved away we both have our home studios where we work out our ideas and record stuff.
Have you done any covers live? Claudio: No, not at the moment.
What language do you sing in? Claudio: English and German
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Claudio: I don't know.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? Claudio: I don't know that, too.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? Claudio: As we haven't played that many gigs so far, i would say we would vary our set list.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? Claudio: No.
What was your first gig like? Claudio: It was great to finally bring our music to the stage and to  play it in a live environment. It gave me a lot of new inspiration and i really like playing our music live.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? Claudio: We started to sell merchandise very early on. We have evrything from T-Shirts to Hoodies to Cups... nearly everything is available and you can also design you own product in our merchandise store.
Where can people buy your merchandise? Claudio: http://exmachina.spreadshirt.de/
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Claudio: Well, as long they pay for the stuff I don't really mind. Of course it's nice to have something physical in your hands but it also has something liberating because carrying around even your entire music collection has become so easy now. It really depends on what you prefer.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Claudio: I think the music industry was way too late in realizing that the distribution channels were changing and they were too slow in installimg legal ways to download music for customers. Beside that they also did a bad job in making clear to the average customer that music has a value and that musicians need these income to pay their bills. Most of the people who downloaded music illegally said that the musicians behind the music would make their money anyway and that the most musicians are wealthy enough. Of course the opposite is true, only a small fraction of musicians can only live from their music, most artists have to do other jobs as well to generate enough income. Luckily  there was a turnaround in recent years, people have rediscovered that  music has a value and pay for music that is important for them and support their favourite artists in this way.
What do you think of my work? Claudio: It's great to meet a person who has such a diverse interest in music.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Claudio: We will see.
Do you have any role models or idols? Claudio: No not really idols... I have some favourite bands that are  always inspirational, bands that trigger my own crativity but i would not say that they are idols.
Why do you think that they exist? Claudio: I think they exist because people want to have some guidance in  this ever changing and sometimes really insanely crazy world in which we live.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? Claudio: Both. absolutely both. I listen to every kind of music an it doesn't matter to whether it is old or new.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Claudio: At the moment or biggest obstacle is the distance between our places where we live and that we need to adjust our working methods accordingly.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Claudio: Do what you want to do and do not corrupt yourself or your creativity for some fast money. Stay true to yourself.
How do you get psyched for a gig? Claudio: Coffee.
Do you have any new material? Claudio: We are currently working on new material.
What are your web sites?
www.exmachinaproject.com
facebook.com/exmachinaproject
soundcloud.com/ex_machina
How can people reach you? Claudio: Via Facebook or via our website
What are your plans for the future? Claudio: More music and more live gigs.
Do you have something to add? Claudio: Thank you for this interview!
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