I didn’t expect this to happen – a shot in the dark that hit the bull’s eye. I recently read the 4AD book Facing the Other Way, which details the rise of the Indie label mainstay in the early 80s with bands like the Birthday Party, Rema-Rema, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and eventually Clan of Xymox in the mid 80s. Clan of Xymox put out Clan of Xymox and Medusa on 4AD before continuing to put out albums on Wing Records, Tess, and Metropoolis. Unlike many bands from the 80s, though, Clan of Xymox, in changing iterations, still puts out albums, including their recent Matters of Mind, Body & Soul on Metropolis, a mainstay postpunk label out of Philadelphia.
After finishing Facing the Other Way, I did a bunch of research on bands, but the band that stuck out most to me at the time was Clan of Xymox. So, I found a contact for the band and asked to do an e-mail interview, since Ronny Moorings and the band moves around Europe a lot promoting their latest album. As a band that has been around for over thirty years, there seemed to be a lot of ground to cover so I went with some fairly basic questions detailing the beginning of Ronny Moorings' career in writing and recording music.
For those unfamiliar or who just want to connect with the band, you can check out their Facebook Page and honestly, you can read up on their history through Wikipedia. I also recommend checking out the book Facing the Other Way if you have not already done so.
Jordan: When and how did you start the band Clan of Xymox? Had you guys played in bands before?
Ronny Moorings: Well, I was interested in music when I was 3 years old and that feeling never left. I played in local bands (and performed ) when I was 11 years old. I DJ'd at my school parties and later in my local club and later where I used to study. I never stopped making music, but my first attempt to do all instruments and record them accordingly I started that process when I was 22 and lived in Nijmegen, NL. I bought a 4-Track recorder and started my first EP recordings "Subsequent Pleasures".
J: How did you become involved with 4AD?
RM: I was befriended with one of the bands on the label, Dead Can Dance, and Brendan of DCD suggested to me to send a demo to the label, which I did.
J: What was the culture at 4AD like in the 80s when you first released your self-titled album?
RM: It was a mixed bunch of bands, indie oriented, and all wanted the same thing: releasing quality records. It was a real honor to be signed to a prestigious label like this.
J: You guys seem to have moved a bit from the Netherlands to England to eventually Germany. Why did you do that?
RM: It seemed the right thing to do. At the moment I still live in Germany and don't think I would go anywhere else anymore.
J: You have released a lot of music. Do you ever think about how it has changed over time? What would you say has changed in your music?
RM: The blueprint of combining guitars and keyboards/synths always remained. I guess attitude and stylistic changes go hand in hand with the sign of the times. One cannot stand still in life.
J: Are there any releases you have made that you are more proud of than others?
RM: I can say I have certain releases I am less proud of but still I think they were essential for me and the development of the band and its direction.
J: You seem to make as much music now as you ever did. What is the process like behind making new releases for you guys? Has that process changed?
RM: I still write and release roughly every 2 years an album, which is consistent within the time line of the band. I start off with a set of ideas, sounds etc. and get inspired by these to further songs. I do write in blocks so I get a bit of consistency in the writing process.
J: Do you ever think about your legacy? Does legacy mean anything in particular to you?
RM: Not really. For me the latest album is for me the most important one because it is the closest to the heart at that given moment. That is logical of course because you work on this constantly so it can only be the most important thing you are doing at that moment. Most of the time you are only judged on your latest work and not what you did before that.
J: Are there any current bands that you particularly like?
RM: Yes plenty. I always like to hear new talent and a great place to hear bands id at the festivals we are playing. There are always new unsigned or newly signed bands that can really knock your socks off. A good place to discover bands is WGT here in Leipzig, Germany.
RM: Who knows? At the moment I am slowly thinking about recording new works and in the meantime we are still touring the new album "Matters of Mind, Body and Soul".
J: Anything else you'd like to say?
RM: Thanks for asking me for an interview