STROPS IS ONE OF THE MOST PROMISING AND POWERFUL FRESH PROJECTS FROM LATVIA, THE IMPRESSIVE LIVE PERFORMANCES OF WHOM ARE ALREADY WELL KNOWN AND THEIR FIRST ALBUM HAS JUST BEEN RELEASED. TO SOOTHE EVEN A LITTLE THE SCORCHING INTEREST IN THIS PROJECT, WE OFFER YOU THIS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH YORICS/ STROPS HOW DID EVERYTHING GET STARTED? HOW DID YOU GET TO INDUSTRIAL AND MAKING THE MUSIC? Only man to blame here is Knab. In the year of 1997 I first heard his drum’n’noise set broadcasted from the local radio station and from this moment on I lost my peace of mind. I felt the urge to start something myself as well, and spontaneously I began to gather people who could help me bring my ideas into reality. It was more like a performance project, with nothing planned in advance. As soon as I got some new idea, it was carried out in 1 or 2 days, with a help of my people around me, using all the technical equipment we had in our hands back then. I still keep some of the most successful recordings and I’m even planning to use some of these fragments on one of my future CD’s. WHAT DOES THE WORD „STROPS“ MEAN? AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS NAME IN PARTICULAR? It’s a word in Latvian and translated to English it means „beehive“. This word has for me many different sub-layers. It’s something mechanical and yet mental. In the beginning I wanted STROPS to be an open project, for many artists to take part in, bringing along their own ideas and work with them in the name of one greater achievement. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION? WHICH IDEAS, FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS HAVE GOT THE GREATEST SIGNIFICANCE FOR YOU, WHAT LIES BEHIND YOUR MUSIC? MAKING MUSIC, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU? Lately I’ve become deeply worried and interested in contemporary mass-media and the culture which follows it, to form a perfect consumer society. Any manifestation of this mentioned culture, such as TV, radio, press etc, are directed at fixing the attention and controlling the choices and freedom of the individual. These are the main factors, which are impeding individuals to create and move on in this world. It’s a form of control, which does not bring about anything new, just relying on the old and tried out formula of consumer societies. I do realize, I’m creating my music, using the products of this same culture; but for me it is like attacking the murderer with his own gun. The only style of the music, which doesn’t have any barriers or constraints is industrial. And that’s why this is the most interesting genre to express the spectres of personal emotions and mindscapes for me. STROPS’S LYRICS ARE QUITE UNCONVENTIONAL, WHAT ARE THEY ABOUT? COULD YOU TRANSLATE FEW TEXTS OF YOURS HERE? It’s hard to explain the poesy.. It is a way of communication from one soul to another.. Here are the translations of some, though it all sounds different and better in original. EXCERPTS FROM MELNZEME [BLACK EARTH] TRACK 001 brother! take these hands finger by finger.. – brother! let those bees sting.. don’t kill! leave them dying… – brother! read these words letter by letter as ripen grains from the palms of the world – listen! lilacs are wailing so lonely. it’s already Fall, the Winter is coming, after Winter the death as slow falling snow… listen! black soil is crying so lonely, the grains of your memories ripen.. EXCERPTS FROM SLAVE [LV FOR LATVIA] TRACK 004 my country so unbearably desolate I grasp for the contours not to get myself lost concrete, glass, sweat work, buy, die I touch every bullet which chases me every single one marked with the breath of your money the supermarket windows reflecting my shadow as the last reflection in the eyes of a hunter work, buy, die strada, perc, mirsti Excerpts from novirze [deviation] track 005 today behind the windows of mine bees as snowflakes attacking in blood tangling in laughter laughter tangling in blood look! how surprising! love and death sipping the water from the very same spring Excerpts from slepenie rotallaukumi [secret playgrounds] track 011 I close the lids of the eyes of my childhood stabbed by the roadside here clenching hands into fists „I’m adult already“ to leave behind not to feel not to touch not to perish to stab not to feel only children’s playgrounds will never fall silent as the thirsty bullets keep trembling by temples Excerpts from nekusties! [don’t move!] track 014 don’t move! lonely are creaking the swings the pieces of rust slipping down too early freeze! drops of blood will never reach ground don’t talk! silly are smiles of the toys. until the first wounds.. and childhood is left to ache in us still.. Excerpts from TV-alhalla track 015 let’s hang out our past in the wind as blanket, white and ice cold let’s clench the hands and let’s watch as flitting shadows are playing on it the theatre of our made mistakes in the past DO YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF IN ANY OTHER FORMS OF ART IN ADDITION TO THE MUSIC? I like to work with different forms of digital photo art, video art, antibrand, as well I’ve taken part in workshops, and I have some ideas regarding creation of performance-theatre, but this will happen in the future. STROPS IS A STURM LABEL PROJECT AND HAS ALSO PERFORMED ON STURM EVENTS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY? I am a member of Sturm collective yet less than a year, but from the very start I am impressed by the helpfulness and unanimity of these people. To my mind they are truly interested in developing the industrial culture, instead of just promoting their own projects. Thanks to their feedback and support my CD sounds the way it does today. WHICH LATVIAN AND OTHER COUNTRIES‘ PROJECTS DO YOU LIKE PARTICULARLY? AND WHICH LIVE-PERFORMANCES HAVE IMPRESSED YOU MOST? I listen to many different kinds of music, it’s hard to point out any specific group or project. From the Latvian scene.. I basically listen to all of them whose discs I’ve been lucky to get, some releases I possess are very rare or officially do not exist at all. First formation I heard was Claustrum, I’m waiting impatiently their new releases, as well the ones from Marchwitza, Rosewater, Barodarho and 2ot. Most impressive performances I’ve seen, was the concert of JARBOE (ex-Swans). Powerful vocals, strong personality, impressive lyrics.. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE SPECIFICS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF LATVIAN SCENE? WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL? Referring to the known sentence „only a hungry artist will create a masterpiece“, it seems Latvia has got a good potential, with its unstable social systems. We all are here „hungry“, „unbalanced“ and „angry“.. 🙂 I haven’t yet heard of any industrial project, trying to copy the foreign groups (the way pop-bands constantly do)! And this gladdens. STROPS IS KNOWN AS A VERY VERSATILE LIVE PROJECT, HOW DO YOU COMMENT IT? We haven’t yet had too many shows, thus it’s a bit early to talk about it.. But if this kind of impression has already been made, it means we are moving in the right direction. WHICH KIND OF FILMS AND BOOKS DO YOU PREFER? Books: I love the old school sci-fi, from the authors such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Clifford D. Simak etc. Films of Jim Jarmush, Peter Greenaway, Emir Kusturica, Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone.. Can’t name them all! The last film I watched over again, was „Apocalypse Now“.. As well I admire all films of Andrei Tarkovski, particularly „Stalker“.. It’s not just the cinematography, it’s visual poesy, which you can’t grasp with the reason, but the soul only. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF INDUSTRIAL MUSIC AND CULTURE, IN YOUR OPINION? Industrial culture in its initial forms should be a mirror of the past and postulation of the future. It’s like a wailing alarm, everybody worried, looking and running around and comprehending nothing. But the feeling of danger remains.. Only those who stay, instead of running away and hide, will know the reason why sirens are on. SOMETHING FOR THE ENDING, YOUR MESSAGE TO PEOPLE? As much as I am informed, comparing to Latvia Estonia doesn’t have any active industrial projects.. I wish you to start creating your own stuff, because to stay only as a consumer is not right and is boring.. Do not believe anyone, who tells you’re not capable or ready, it’s just the talk of those with pessimistic attitude.
questions by Messalina and der 5pezialist – exclusively for Schwerindustrie (Baltic Industrial Media) and Terrorverlag!