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INTERVIEWS :
Maurice Engelen & Olivier Adams of PRAGA KHAN

Life is great, life is beautiful, especially for Praga Khan and its members, Maurice Engelen aka Praga and Olivier Adams. We met the pair of them in an asian cafe somewhere in Brussels. Oh yes, let's not forget the two lovely french only speaking ladies behind the bar serving us with delicious drinks. Life is beautiful, life is Praga Khan you hear us think. Praga Khan has survived their six weeks live tour during February and March 2000. After the smashing hit album "21st Century Skin" we have just received the pretty retro sounding double album "Mutant Funk".

Q: The difference with " 21st Century Skin" is quite immense, whereas you were frontrunning with that album in the dance scene, "Mutant Funk" really goes back to your roots.

Olivier: Yeah, we especially went back through our new wave collection with references to the Sisters of Mercy and so on. I wouldn't go that far saying that New Beat was part of the "Mutant Funk" roots because I really hated New Beat! I was a hardcore New Waver. Listen to "Sayonara Greetings" and you' ll immediately know what I was listening at. We always had this New Wave element present in our material. Have a look at our german public, it is 100% gothic.
Maurice: Hm, everybody we talk to thinks the second track "Love" is New Beat like...
Olivier: ... on the other hand, I've been working on the tracks at night, so that could explain something already, ha!

Q: "Mutant Funk" became a very psychedelic album and quite diverse compared to "21st Century Skin" , why this sudden turn again?

Olivier: Praga Khan has always evolved through each album. Some albums were even complete rock tainted. Evolution has therefore always been part of anything we did. We always have tried to experiment with Praga Khan. For example on "Dreamcatcher" you hear noise which was nothing else than radionoise being looped and filtered. It sounds like a guitar though.
Maurice: "Mutant Funk" could well have been the album we have been working on the most and that may also explain why we have digged up so much from our roots.

Q: The vocals have also been worked out a lot more than in the past, what happened?

Maurice: With our two previous albums "Pragamatic" and "21st Century Skin", the singing lines were kinda straight. This time however we wanted to vary a lot more when it came to vocals. It also demanded a lot more, time-speaking then. On the other hand there was less time and that's why I was already working on the vocals while Olivier was still constructing and finishing of the actual tracks. The approach was completely different really. Plus this time the songs including the vocals stand on their own, in the past, the tracks were independent and the vocals were just a detail, an extra.
Olivier: To me the difference to "21st Century Skin" is not that big, but then again, I've been working on the material for quite a while and to me it's just the logical continuation of what we did on "21st Century Skin". "Mutant Funk" is also an album you can listen at at home, whereas "21st Century Skin" was really an album that had to be played in clubs and on festivals.

Q: This reminds me of what Martin Lee Gore from Depeche Mode once said in an interview concerning "Ultra", he couldn't get past 100 BPM. Does this counts for you both as well with getting older?

Olivier: We don't have a problem surpassing the 100 BPM! (laughs) Honestly, we haven't been thinking much about this really.
Maurice: I must say though that at a certain moment when we had finished four tracks or so, that in my opinion the material was getting very visual. We kept on seeing visual elements popping up, such as a flowercanon for Werchter to shoot flowers instrad of confetti. The clips for the songs were immediately materialised in front of our eyes. That's also why the album turned out to be psychedelic rock.

Q: "21st Century Skin" was your break through album in Belgium, at the same time you were big in Japan and America for years. Do you sometimes think about the fact that music journalist didn't even bother talking about Praga Khan before "21st Century Skin"?

Olivier: Belgium is just a tiny part of what Praga Khan stands for. We've always made international tainted music. Whereas with other music you could always say it was belgian. Praga Khan has never had a stamp put on it for being belgian, german or whatever. And that has been the strength of the band.

Q: There's also a new Lords of Acid album coming our way?

Maurice: That's right, officially we start working on the album on May 1st, it's just a date nothing more. Nothing has been recorded yet but the album should be released in October plus we have a tour with Lords of Acid coming up as well.
Olivier: But that's peannuts you know, we recorded the first Lords of Acid album in just one month and a half and it sold 750,000 copies (laughs).
Maurice: But then again, we have a pretty good picture what we want to obtain with Loa, Praga Khan is more about doing our own thing and looking for experiments. Don't get me wrong, we still have fun when we are recording a Lords of Acid album so...

Good luck guys!

 

This interview was done by and appears with kind permission of
frontstage.com
entertainment shop

 

date interview:
May 2000

 

Buy music of
Praga Khan:


Praga Khan
"Mutant Funk"
Fingerlickin' Good Records,
2000

 


Praga Khan
"Twenty First Century Skin"
Fingerlickin good records
1999

 


Praga Khan
"Pragamatic"
Fingerlickin good records
1998

 

 

 

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