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%
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,
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
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
Fingerlickin' Good Records,
"Twenty First Century Skin"
Fingerlickin good records
Fingerlickin good records
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