Dirk Ivens talks about the music life


1. Hello Dirk and thank you for being our guest. Being so long on the music scene as you have been and having various projects as a part of your life opus, can you tell us how is it for one person to be able to do so much, having so many projects and quite a list of releases by now and having your own record label?
I don’t see it that way really because music is a hobby for me and I can praise myself only that I am lucky enough to do what I want, day in and day out with the things I really like. Making music, singing demos, performing in the weekends, running the label.
It sounds more busy than it is, believe me, I still have enough freetime for myself.

dirk02. Have you ever felt that committing to only one or two projects would be limiting for all you have to express and offer to the outer world?
The four projects I´m involved in are totally different from each other, otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense to create them. In each project I know how far and in which direction I can go. It’s all clear. ABC is synthpop, Dive hard electro, The Klinik more dark and Sonar danceable beats.

3. Even though you have never gone mainstream, as I feel that was never your intention, you have a great reputation and recognition as being one of the most influential figures on the electro scene. How does that make you feel?
For myself I don’t feelk like that. I play with my instruments and on stage I go for it.


4. You have been a part of the Klinik for some years then devoted to some of your other projects, so once you decided to reunite with Marc how was that experience for you?
After 12 years of no contact we met again and we realized how special the songs where and how much joy it was to bring them on stage again. It was something we never expected to happen again as we are two different persons with two different characters and even the fact that a new album came out of this was the biggest surprise.

229139_15195839886_519_n5. Each of your projects differs, but as I can see a joining thread between Absoulte Body Control, The Klinik and Dive, Sonar is the one that I consider your greatest experiment. Can you tell us a little bit more about the sound and the intention of Sonar music?
I’am a big fan of the spanish band Esplendor Geometrico and the fact to be in a band, not having to take care of lyrics or singing again was very attractive to me. Sonar should be bringing movement to the people and having fun for the musicians on stage. We have a backing and all the other sounds on top are improvised and depending on the moment itselves. I really love this kind of freedom where you in a way can react on the mood of the audience.

abc6. As my favourite of your children is Absolute Body Control that I was lucky to see live twice, can you tell us how did ABC came to life and how do you think you managed to maintain the enthusiasm of the crowd for so many years after the materials were written?
Inspired by bands from the U.K and German scene we started in 1980, made one 7 inch, released some tapes and been on numerous compilations worldwide before deciding after 4 years to go different ways. But the songs were there and in 2006 after 22 years we decided to start again because we really loved the material. So we re-recorded everything for an up-to-date sound and started writing new songs. The secret of ABC is that the songs are catchy and poppy.

Dive7. It was a very bold decision to make a solo project Dive, as being a one man band is always a bit difficult, but did you feel you needed the project to depend on you and only you? How hard or how easy is to run a solo project?
When we decided to stop the activities with The Klinik in 1991, I had enough of making musical compromises all the time.
So I discovered my own sound with a minimal on equipment. And I wanted to go as minimal on stage as possible, no instruments only a backing tape, no lights only two stroboscopes. It’s very confronting to do this complete on your own and I was lucky that people loved it. Some years ago, I was playing with the idea of bringing somebody extra on the scene but the people said no, no, then the Dive concept would be gone and they were right 🙂

sonar8. Do you feel your projects share the same audience or the audience is divided between each of them, especially Sonar? Do you feel Sonar attracts some new people who have not followed your other projects?
For Dive and Absolute Body Control it’s more or less the same audience who have been following us for years. Although women like more ABC because it’s less harsh. It’s clear that Sonar operates more in the dance / trance scene. You don’t really have to know the songs, just get into the rhythm. And a lot of younger people really dig that kind of music but the only thing is they mostly don´t know who is behind it, they just want to have a good time on the dancefloor and lose themselves in the hypnotic beats.

9. Since you have been a part of the music scene for so long, how do you feel it evolved? Is it harder or easier now in the digital era for a musician to get through to the right audience? Back in the old days we exchanged tapes and now everything is available online, so what are your thoughts on that?
Getting exposure and feedback is so much easier now and for sure instruments are a lot cheaper and now you have all these programs with the right tools. But I keep it saying, you can have the most expensive and best instruments in the world, if you don’t have it in you then it will take you nowhere.

10399877_112735909886_1085607_n10. What does having your own record label mean for you? More work or more freedom?
Both, I guess. It’s a pleasure when you can do what you want and we always did. I can say that we still stand 100% after all we put out, there was never any pressure. And it gives me also the opportunity to release music from other bands that I like. It’s well appreciated because as we all know, it’s not easy these days for newcomer bands.

11. Eventually you went to Out of Line with The Klinik album “Eat Your Heart out” (in 2013), so what’s behind that decision?
For this album with great expectations from everybody we wanted the best possible promotion and Out Of Line also has excess to some big festivals like Mera Luna which you can not contact by yourself, you need somebody in between. I must say they did a great job and the record was everywhere available.

12. So being a musician yourself, how much do you listen to other music and are you keeping up with new releases, new bands that are coming to the scene? As someone who has been active and present for so many years, do you have some secret recipe for success as we can witness so many great projects emerge and disappear or have trouble breaking through and gaining recognition?
I wish I knew a recipe for that but on the other hand wouldn’t it be boring? We have a very good live reputation, always giving ourselves 100% and for the rest we just go with the flow, getting inspired by the world around us.
I love to explore new bands on the internet and record stores or on live gigs. Music is a virus ha, ha 🙂

dirk413. How important for you is to play at big festivals opposed to small venue gigs? What’s the difference?
To be honest, I prefer to play in small clubs where the audience is coming especially for the band. On festivals you rather have to play early, the sound is so-so and the people are very mixed because of different taste in the bands who are playing.
On the other hand, it’s always a good feeling when you succeed to convince those people who didn’t know you before.

14. As you have played throughout the years in various countries, is there a place you would really like to play but you still didn’t get to?
The countries I didn’t play are not familliar with that kind of music. I don’t know if it would make sense to play in China because the musical culture is so different. This been said, Iceland would be perfect, bringing some noise to this peaceful island.

15. You have collaborated with quite a number of your colleagues during the time but is there any artist out there you would like to collaborate but you still haven’t?
Yes, ALAN VEGA from Suicide, I had the chance to meet him a few times in person but in a way I’m too much of a fan to even think to ask him that question 🙂

the_klinik216. Even though you were not oriented towards video making, you make quite a daring appearance on stage and as I have seen some of your promotional photos, I find you flirt with visual aesthetics to quite an extent. What are your thoughts on the importance of the visual aspect in connection to music?
I think it always gives an extra dimension to a live gig. In the old days it was very expensive to rent the gear and a lot of work to put something together but now everything is much cheaper and programs are very friendly. When we have the chance to use it live then we do.

17. Where do you draw your inspiration for your lyrics from?
Daily life, it could come from everywhere, themes like Love, Hope, Death, Fear are from everyday. You see it daily on television, newspapers, radio and so on. And no need to say we live in turbulant times these days.

18. As you have been an inspiration to so many other musicians out there, how much are you willing to share some of your experiences and advices to the newcomers if they turn to you? Do you have some advice for aspiring musicians in general and if so, what it would be?
My only advice would be, follow your inside. You will find out soon if you are on the right track and if you are you will get there no matter what.