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Chris: I think there has to be some construction at some point for you to base it on but I think generally it's an extension of my personality, how I live my life, how I dress up everyday, how I choose to listen to certain music. I think it's an extension of that but when I sit around and construct something like an idea or a look, I take an image or I make some visuals or some music, there is an element of playful construction that I think motivates me and gives me feedback so they feed off each other.
R13: What inspires the very varied characters depicted on the albums?
Chris: Abstract emotion, family, friends. It's not really musical... in terms of lyrical content there's nothing particularly musical that floats my boat. I would say that it's usually down to personal relationships, anxiety or obsession and death, it's all kind of mixed up into a tense, or intense mess.
R13: Do you write to get rid of your tensions then?
Chris: That's exactly what I'm doing and the more I do it the more realise that I need it and it's a huge therapeutic process, it's not really the only therapy that I need but it's one which allows me to express myself in a creative release. I think it's very human; some need it more than others; I think I'm a very hypersensitive person, not necessarily in a good way but I'm very overly sensitive to things and that can really drag you down. A way of dealing with that or packing it is putting it into understandable form is to make a record and put your thoughts, however abstract or stupid you might think they are, if you look a record like The Alternative, it's a combination of personal stuff, abstract stuff and nonsense but in the end there's a kind of general feeling in it and it sort of makes sense. To me it's a way of making my life work.
R13: What is your writing process like then, do you write a massive amount and it doesn't all get put on the albums?
Chris: Yeah, usually when I start thinking about an album I'm pretty prolific and I get to a point where I think, “ok I've got 12 songs”. Then I come to producing it and putting it together and making sounds and playing instruments and I realise how little I've actually written and I have to go back and write another 12 songs so I end up having about 20 songs per album and you only really hear like 10 or 11 of those because the other stuff is kind of half-formed and I know that I'll use it somewhere down the line in the future or something.
R13: You've avoided major labels for IAMX releases, do you feel that you maintain more liberty this way?
Chris: It is, it's a very important part of the philosophy of IAMX. I mean IAMX is my baby, my creation but it's become like a little community in Berlin and there are about 9 people involved with the core running of everything and throwing in ideas constantly, there's the management and there's the band. We all have our own little world and it's really important for us to stay independent because we don't want to be consulting anybody and I think that's what makes it a bit special because you don't answer to anybody. You do what you want and for making records, for me personally, I need that freedom because if I have someone telling me what's good for me I doubt myself and when I doubt myself, I don't get anything done. So the best way to do it is not to answer to anybody and just to do what I need to do.
R13: Are you affected by fans' opinions?
Chris: No, once the record's finished and once I've done everything in my power to finish it for what it is and what I was as a person and what needed to be done, then I can't blame anybody or myself because it's kind of there. It's a real therapeutic process to put it out because when you put it out and it's like a huge release no matter what happens, if you get criticism or people love it or whatever. In the end it was good for you and I decided along time ago that I wouldn't really care about what people think and read reviews or any of that stuff because being an overly sensitive person I think it would have dragged me down so that's how I deal with it.
R13: Do you have a regular touring band that you'll be bringing to the UK for the March tour?
Chris: Yeah, it became a regular band about a year ago. I'd had different band members for a while before that but it was pretty chaotic and everybody had a lot of other things that they were doing and it wasn't a real band and about a year ago I decided to have a real solid band that I could count on and would feed off this and that's how it's been every since and since then we've grown together on stage and everyone has a lot of energy and input.
R13: You have a very distinct onstage persona, do you find performing like that a cathartic experience or is it more like acting?
Chris: It's a bit of both; acting can be cathartic, just transcending the person you are and becoming something else. Everybody acts in life anyway; when you're working; when you're in a relationship; when you're having sex it's all acting but if there's an element of it being really you, then it doesn't really matter. For me it's very cathartic, I get a chance to become an extension of myself, I don't feel it's a different me, it's an extreme version of me that I don't get the chance to be when I'm walking down the street everyday because I don't really want it then.
R13: Do you have any formal musical or theatrical training?
Chris: No I learnt everything myself, I got on stage and did it the hard way but I think that was the way I needed to do it really, I don't know why. I got on stage and worked out how to play and move around and feel comfortable and fortunately it worked.
R13: Do you feel completely relaxed on stage then, you don't have any nerves?
Chris: Not really, I'm more nervous when my family come to shows and something like that. Maybe because they've known me since I was a tiny thing and they might see me putting up a pretence because they don't really know me anymore, when you disconnect from your family and go away and become somebody else, they think they know you and you're still their child, which you are, but they don't see your other life and when they see you on stage in an abstract environment I think they can be a bit shocked or think that you're pretending and I'm not.
R13: Do you still do all the visuals for the shows yourself as well?
Chris: Yes I do, I think that's kind of important. It's a certain amount of being a control freak; it's necessary for the world that's created in IAMX, everything has to come from one source to be focused and strong and whether it's right or wrong or whatever, it has one focus and I think that's very important.
R13: Do you see your music as having a very visual element as well then, would consider be releasing a live DVD or film to represent that?
Chris: We're working on a DVD now, it's going to be like a combination of imagery, abstract visuals that I make, interviews and extracts from live shows to make it a special product not like a traditional live video but it will have live elements to it.
R13: Are you still working on your third album?
Chris: I am still working on it, it's sort of part of the same thing, there will be material on the DVD on how I make the album and stuff but I'm not going to say how far through the album I am but it's being made.
R13: You've described, The Negative Sex as a feminist song, do you think that injustice can and should be addressed through music?
Chris: I don't know, usually in social situations and conversations I'm not particularly political... that's not true, I probably would be particularly vicious about being a feminist and being against the way that men rule the world, but I'd rather say it in a song somehow and not be too dictatorial because I think that's the wrong way to do it. I'd rather give an impression of something, or have an open debate within a song rather than say "this is how I feel, and you should do this". I just say, "I kind of feel like this and what do you think?" That's probably one of the songs with the strongest statement because of the aggressive nature of the music as well.
R13: Would you ever align your music with a cause like Live 8 and so on?
Chris: That would be interesting because it would be such a bizarre combination. I never say no so if it was an interesting artistic opportunity I would do it but if it was, I mean like Live 8, I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of charity, not that I'm against it, but I don't know how relevant my art would be in conjunction with charity. I would rather approach it in a different way, once you start connecting music with certain political things I think it takes away the openness of that music and for me I want my music to be apolitical and not stamped by anything.