Interview in Absolute Zero Media

by Clint Listing, April 24th, 2009

1. For those not in the know tell us a history of Phragments.

Phragments is a duo from Bratislava, Slovakia. I’m responsible for the music and my life partner Sonia is responsible for the live visuals. We started around 2002 and have released 5 CDs so far. The first one was an EP called ‘We are all beasts’. It was basically a collection of the first songs of Phragments. After that we have released a live CD entitled Switzerland Occupied, which contained two concerts from Zurich and Luzern in Switzerland. The first full-length album was released on my label Construct.Detroy.Collective, entitled ‘Homo homini lvpvs’. Then we have released the ‘Awaken the wolves’ CDR, which is a collection of live tracks from the first album plus a three other live tracks, which did not appear anywhere else. The second full-length ‘The Burning world’ was released on the Israeli label The Eastern Front and finally, my new album ‘Earth shall not cover their blood’ was released recently on the US label Malignant Records. At this point I am working on new songs for the next album and a few other nice surprises as well.

2. You seem to have worked with Thonar, Eastern Front and few other labels. How did you come to work with Malignant?

I was trading releases from my label with other labels. That’s how I got in touch with Malignant. After a year of communicating sporadically with Jason, I had the first half of songs on the new album finished, so I had to think of a label to release it on. And one day I just got the idea about asking Jason if he did not want to release my new album. And luckily, he did! I’ve sent him some songs and he liked them, and a few months later, the album was released. I’m very happy about that, I was a fan of Malignant since the late 90s.

3. Does Phragments like to perform live or are you happier recording?

Well, each has its pros and cons. Composing music is my favourite part, it’s fantastic when it suddenly all clicks together and works perfectly. Of course, it doesn’t happen that often, so I have to work hard to achieve that moment. For me personally, playing live is a little stressful, but I love the feeling when I sit at my CD distribution stand after the concert, talk with the fans and get feedback from them. It gives me the energy to continue with what I’m doing. And I love the traveling and meeting new people aspect of live playing. It’s always a nice vacation too.

4. Is there a running theme for all of Phragments works?

Well, not that I would prefer one specific theme all the time, it’s more about where I am at that time of my life, what interests me, what is happening around me. But it seems that the theme does not diverge from a certain path too much. Until now the themes of my albums were connected with humanity, psychology and historical themes. There is only very little clear codes in my music, it’s through the atmosphere and composition that I try to evoke certain states, emotions, thoughts. I would say the music of Phragments is thought provoking, but in a more implicit way.

5. Is there a strong and supportive Industrial music scene in Slovakia?

No. There are a couple of dozens of people in Bratislava (which is the capital of the country and the city where I live) who are totally supportive, but it’s a very underground scene. Though, there has been some very enthusiastic activity recently, a couple of dark ambient / industrial projects have emerged. The first one is Korinth, a great orchestral, abysmal dark ambient – I have released his debut CD ‘Sign of eternal return’ on Construct.Destroy.Collective last year. And then there is Metrom, a duo of two very talented friends of mine, who create quite spooky music on the verge of dark ambient, drone and orchestral. They also have a design studio called Toluen design where they create really beautiful CD covers and other visuals. I am impatiently waiting for the debut album from Metrom! And last but not least, we have an irregular festival of industrial music called World:Ending:Machinery in Bratislava. It’s organized by Martin / Apocalypse entertainment.

6. If you can tell us about website?? how did it come about?

Well, Construct.Destroy.Collective is my label, I release rather sporadically these days, because if I have time for music, I try to concentrate fully on Phragments. But I have put out 12 releases, which I think have a really good quality. The label is sort of on hold now, but I think I might be releasing something soon, probably some unreleased Phragments material in a limited edition with special packaging. Aside from CDs, I have also released two t-shirts, a label t-shirt and a Phragments t-shirt. The Construct.Destroy.Collective website hasn’t been update for a longer period, I’ll probably revamp the site and do a massive update.

7. Your Main site seems to be a myspace page now. DO you find that Myspace is the best way to expose bands in this day and age?

Yes, indeed, it’s my official page for now. I consider Myspace as a really good opportunity for bands to present themselves. Of course, the design as well as the interface could be better. It might not be the best way, but in the end, it’s not bad at all. A lot of people bitch about myspace deleting their profile for no reason. But there always is a reason and I don’t think censoring nazi or racist imagery is wrong. The concept of freedom of speech must not be misused by the ones who despise it.

8. Whats you thoughts on the digital age (Mp3's, Filesharing, Webzines, Internet Radio, Music Forums) do you like them or do you miss the days of old Radio, print zines and proper Cds being the major outlets?

Hmm, I have a more differentiated opinion about the things you have mentioned. To be honest, I never really liked radio, I was a bigger fan of radio tuning sounds. I love print zines, when I got a hold of a zine I have always read it over and over for years, I treasured it like gold. But I also love the internet. I love the freedom it provides, the fast communication, the chance for people to make their own zines that are being read around the world without additional costs. I don’t mind mp3s, file sharing – I don’t consider them to be theft. What I do consider as theft is when someone sells stolen music. That’s so wrong. I don’t really use internet radio, if it is specialized on a certain genre it might be a good thing, but I prefer listening to music that I choose. And music forums… well, I have one forum that I read and also write on regularly, but mostly I don’t really care about the rest. And CDs... of course I like CDs, I have a big collection myself. Not so keen on vinyl though.

9. Your sound is very Orchestral and Industrial but has an ethno element as well. Who were your major influences that brought you to this sound?

Yes, you’re right. Phragments was always about combining orchestral and industrial elements, rooted in dark ambient. But to be honest, I really did not plan to use that “ritual” or ‘ethno’ element, it just happened and I like it. I am inspired by a lot of music, because I listen to a lot of music. Dark ambient, industrial, some noisier stuff, of course classical and neoclassical stuff. I really like middle-eastern music, some old gothic rock, medieval stuff. And last but not least metal! I’ve always been a huge metal fan, mainly extreme doom metal like Evoken or My Dying Bride, now I’m into really old school death metal, the Swedish way.

10. What is a like show of Phragments like please explain it.

Well, there is me on the stage with a great video-projection, a laptop, some audio machines and a microphone. And then I play some music, scream a bit and enjoy all the darkness that comes out of it.

11. You seem to like a very visual side too. hows do the videos help show a side the music doesnt complete for Phragments?

Yes, the visual side of Phragments is very important for the live shows. Just recently, Sonia made a completely new video projection, very abstract and atmospheric. I love it and I think it pushes my show to a whole new level. Dark ambient and industrial concerts would sometimes be a little bit boring without the video-projection. The music is very intimate in its way and if you listen to it at home, you can get carried away in an instant, but when you’re in a club, you just have to have another of your perceptive channels occupied to enjoy it fully.

12. Will we see Phragments on US shores live anytime in the near future?

I really want this to happen, but I would need to get my travel expenses covered and that might be a problem I think. Nevertheless, I will definitely try to do a concert in the US. I’d like to return to New York, I’ve spent a few months of my life there and I really like that city. I’ll talk to Jason about his view of the situation and hopefully I’ll figure something out.

13. What is the ultimate goal for Phragments after all is said and done. What would you most like to be remembered for?

Good one. First of all I’d like to release a lot of albums until my projects comes to an end. And I’d like people to remember my music, be inspired by it and enjoy it.

14. Thank you for the interview any closing thoughts place here?

I just want to ask all fans of my project to spread my music further, so that it can find more people who appreciate it. Thank you for the interview Clint and I hope we’ll be able to make it to the US soon!