Haujobb has been a part of the gothic/EBM/industrial music scene for 25 years. Although their early work was inspired by Sci-Fi movies and industrial music icons Skinny Puppy, their sound is hard to label; it may be described as a mix of different styles wrapped up in the unique and distinctive Haujobb music expression. Their live shows are always special; Haujobb will never leave you cold-hearted. We finally had the opportunity to talk to Daniel Myer in London after his DJ set at the Nitzer Ebb after party in Slimelight.
1. Haujobb, undoubtedly, left a mark on the modern electronic music scene. It is impossible to pinpoint the exact genre; the music you make can hardly be labelled. What are your thoughts on your work?
Daniel: I know we have a very special sound and I know we don’t belong to a genre. We always try to create something new with every new album and we are influenced by a lot of musical styles. I consider myself very open minded and I always try to be special with every new record I put out.
2. The atmospheric vibe makes your music sound fluid and ethereal. However, your music always comes with a “dark” twist. Where do you find inspiration for your music expression?
Daniel: Ambient and other stuff you mention is something that we started to work with from the very beginning. We loved Sci-Fi movies which always had this haunting atmosphere…
Your name comes from Blade Runner, right?
Daniel: Yes it does, of course!
I think it’s just in me, I can’t write happy music. I tried, but I can’t do it. Whenever I start something new, it’s always on the darker side.
Where does that come from? From inside?
Daniel: It comes from the inside, yeah. Blendwerk is less Sci-Fi, I would say, it’s more direct. Because Dejan has more analogue approach to music, he works with hardware, while I am more software based. It’s easier for me to just add the samples to the track, but Dejan likes to be more direct and he is more sound and atmosphere oriented, I guess, because you can also create a certain atmosphere with certain sounds, with a certain harmony and stuff like that.
3. Although some songs incorporated Drum ‘n’ Bass and Jungle beat into IDM, a lot of Haujobb admirers are old school EBM fans. What do you think attracts EBM fans to your music?
Daniel: I don’t think we have a certain fanbase. We lost it with our forth album. We mixed Ambient, Trip-Hop, Jungle and we lost the fanbase at that point. Fan websites closed because of the album, they hated us, so I think we have a very large variety of fans, not only the old school EBM fans. When we first started, I was a DJ in a mainstream club, so I played all kinds of music, but I was always interested in Hardcore, Gabber, Jungle and stuff like that, so it was just natural to me. I was never closed to any particular scene, except maybe for country music. But I love all kinds of music, so I always try to incorporate whatever I like into my music.
4. Your sound can be appealing even to those who grew up on techno or ambient music. Do you have any feedback from the Techno music scene?
Daniel: Yes I do. Actually, a lot of techno producers use our sample CD. We put out a sample CD, a matrix, I think it was in 1998. or something like that, and a lot of techno producers use our samples, our kick drums, our loops and stuff like that.
I didn’t know that.
Daniel: I was also surprised! I play at a lot of techno events nowadays with my other project and people know me and I always get a tip on the shoulder or something. They usually comment with “Wow, we love Haujobb!”, because the new Techno scene is also very very dark, very very EBMish, I would say. So people know me, people know us. But I don’t think our music is very dance floor friendly.
5. Houjobb has always been experimenting with the sound; each of your albums has delivered new ideas and new approaches. How do you divide the work between Dejan and yourself?
Daniel: It’s always different. Sometimes I start with the album and then I just pass the tracks to Dejan. New World March was done 50-50. It was mostly me who started with the tracks on Blendwerk, and now I’m waiting for Dejan to come up with the first ideas for the sound of the new album.
Daniel: No! We kinda did that with one album. We kinda did it a little bit with Vertical Theory, because we got signed to a new label and we tried to win our fanbase back, but in the end it was just “Fuck it!”.
7. All of the Haujobb albums are a great material to listen to at home. However, some of the tracks work amazingly well live. How do you choose the tracks for the set list?
Daniel: It’s been more like a “best of” and some fillers that we thought were just great songs for the last few years. For example, we have been playing “New World March”, although it’s not a live track but it’s very intense and it’s fun to perform. Some tracks are just for us. We like to have fun on stage, to, basically, entertain ourselves.
Has Haujobb ever played in front of the Techno audience?
Daniel: No, never.
What do you imagine it would be like?
Daniel: I don’t think they would like it.
Daniel: Vertical Theory is almost a dance floor record. We just signed to a new record label and we also wanted to play live. We were kinda out of the loop for a while… it was also difficult. I remember I travelled a lot, Dejan was still in Bielefeld and he also was not so much interested in writing another Haujobb record. He was more into “weird” music, so I just presented some ideas to him and he liked them. I don’t know how it ended up like it did. I think it was our first record which we did exclusively with the computer. Maybe that’s also why it’s so, like, simpler, I guess. I think most of it has to do with the record label because they told us they needed hits, they needed club tracks. They had a big promotion lined up for this album.
9. What were you doing between Vertical Theory and New World March?
Daniel: I moved to Leipzig and, I think, 4 years later Deajn moved to Leipzig, so it just took a while to get back into the groove.
Daniel: A lot of anger caused by the woman who was sleeping and snoring behind me. I hated her… my ex-wife. I wanted to release that anger. But it’s a mix of different women. And I tried to play with my vocal styles… that’s why it’s also so different. I love the stuff from Boris of Klangstabil, I like The Horrorist, he also plays a lot with his vocals… And a lot of the anger came, I am sorry to say that, from frustration with women. I am responsible for the most part of it, but it was just in me. I was very angry.
11. Where do you find inspiration for the lyrics?
Daniel: It’s usually every time something else, but most of the time, with Haujobb at least, it’s the media, the influence of media, political subjects, but it’s not very opinionated. Maybe that’s because I grew up in East Germany, so I have this oppression on my neck and I know how it was back then. Now I have this kind of freedom which allows me to travel and go wherever I want to, so it comes mostly from travelling, from seeing a lot of things, from experiencing a lot of things. Some of the stuff is very personal but I don’t try to make it sound personal. I don’t say “You bitch!”, I don’t say “Fuck you!”…
12. Although you are a German band, you sing in English. Did you want to reach a wider audience or it just came naturally?
Daniel: It came naturally because everything we liked back then was in English. Our biggest influence was Skinny Puppy, so it was very natural to sing in the same language as our heroes. Even though I couldn’t speak English back then, it was natural to express myself in English.
13. You collaborated with many artists. Can you tell us about the nicest experiences?
Daniel: One of the best was with Skinny Puppy, because they are our biggest influence and then in 2014 we finally toured with them. I met cEvin Key many times before, we DJed together, I remixed Download’s first album. It was just great to tour with your heroes! I met Ohgr then for the first time. I’d heard many many stories about him and when I met him he was just incredible, he was amazing! After almost every show he walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said “I love your energy, I love your voice!” and I was melting down. It was amazing! I love Jean-Luc from Front 242. I think he’s my favourite. He’s just very very smart, very educated, he loves history and he loves to share his knowledge, but he can also be very quiet.
Back to collaboration, have you recorded something with him?
Daniel: You’ll see!
So, it’s not released yet?
I love Boris from Klangstabil, he’s my best friend. I just did something with Combichrist. I love Andy and I like the energy when they play live. The track I did for him is very electronic and he loves it. I like Daniel Graves, even though I don’t understand his music. He’s a very very nice guy.
14. What’s going on with Destroid at the moment?
Daniel: We did some promo shots in Athens just a month ago. There’s going to be something new but it’s going to be a DSTR release, because I sold the name Destroid to another band.
There hasn’t been anything new from Destroid for a while.
Daniel: I know, I was lazy. But also the label stuff. It has to do with the label mostly.
Are you working on the new tracks?
Daniel: Yes, it’s already finished.
When can we expect something?
Daniel: Hopefully in March, or actually before March!
Daniel: We chose those songs because that’s what we played live at that time, so it was just a main set list. It was just a natural selection, I think. We included some classics that we liked but it was more a live album than a “best of”. We had the idea of the “best of” anniversary album, but we never got around to doing it.
16. What is the key to a successful gig in your opinion?
Daniel: I guess each artist has a different view on that, I’m never happy after a gig, never.
Because you’re a perfectionist!
Daniel: Maybe, but I am also very critical of everything I do, and I don’t like myself that much. I think the show is successful when I feel that they want more after the last track we play. When they want more not just because one starts clapping “Encore, encore!”, but when I really feel it. When I feel they don’t want us to leave. Then I feel “Okay, we did a great job!”. And it doesn’t happen that often. And also sometimes we go out after the show and most of the people say “Hey, great gig, well done!”.
But what do you think makes your gig good?
Daniel: We are very unique. And it’s always something special. Sometimes I say the same things between songs or the same thing to introduce the song, but I always try to add something different to it, I never try to repeat myself. It’s always something new and I love to challenge myself. I just love to give 110%. I just want to transfer my passion for music to other people because I love what I do and I hope they can see and feel that.
17. What do you think about the current electronic music scene?
Daniel: Just bad, that’s a good answer. But there are some exceptions.
It’s quantity over quality, would you put it like that?
Daniel: Yeah, but it’s the whole world now. You get bombarded by media, you get bombarded with good music, bad music, bombarded with everything. Too much information!
Daniel: I had a lot of songs that I didn’t have any use for, so I asked Frank from Seabound if he would like to collaborate and then I had the feeling “Okay, this could be something!”. So I wrote a few more songs and I asked my friend Sascha… So it’s Frank Spinath from Seabound, Sascha Lange from Lepzig who is an author and he was also singing in some Shoegaze bands back in the 90s and Krischan Wesenberg from Rotersand, so it all came together. I wrote all the music, Frank and Sascha did the vocals and then I asked Krischan if he would produce the whole thing, if he would put it all together in the end. That’s how we ended up being Radioaktivists.
19. We could listen to your DJ set last night in Slimelight in London. What kind of music did you play?
Daniel: Yesterday was difficult! I had prepared something completely different because I thought I was DJing after Nitzer Ebb upstairs. So my set was slower, more classic, more EBM. But I had to play downstairs and I had to take over from a cybergoth DJ, I guess. That’s why I tried to be in the same vein, because I wanted to keep the people on the dance floor.
What do you usually play?
Daniel: It depends on the audience and it depends on what I’m booked for. When I can do my own stuff it’s a mix of everything; a lot of noise, a lot of techno… a mix of everything, basically.
20. When can we see Haujobb again and where? What can we expect next from Haujobb?
Daniel: No idea. I think we’re booked for WGT and Amphi festival, but that’s basically it. And I hope Mak asks me every time I come here if Haujobb would play, but there’s not enough money to bring all of us over here and we don’t get big fees.
What can we expect after Alive? Is there already something new in the pipeline?
Daniel: We’re working on it. The plan is to release the new album this summer.