by Andrea Benedetti, Ear, Issue 5, May 1998
He comes from the Sewer, but he doesn't smell bad (obviously after a shower...). He's I-f from Den Haag - the Sewer as he names it - and makes really good Electro-Nix music.What's Electro-Nix? Not so easy to say. A mixture of classical electro and pure electronic music seasoned with dark melodies, sometimes with a retro taste, sometimes really deep and mental: the perfect soundtracks for a spy story of the third millennium.
His music represents what he likes (films about urban stories with cars and guns), what he hates (the oppression of everyday freedom from the Power with cover-ups and lies) and where he lives (the Sewer or if you want, the Murdercapital...). He runs a distribution/production center called Hotmix (the Dutch Submerge) and together with the Bunker guys (Unit Moebius, Rude 66, Sulphur Surfer and other music killers), he represents the new wave of Dutch electronic dance scene, the definitive answer to the gabber-techno-house-clubby labels from Holland.
All this "new scene" (they are active from 1990!!!) has deep roots in the American techno-house cities, Chicago and Detroit, but in I-f especially you can find a big influence of the first Italian electro-disco music like Klein and MBO or N.O.I.A. (listen to "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass" from the EP "From Beyond vol.1" on Interdimensional Transmissions if you don't believe it...). Ferenc (I-f's real name) is a pure person, one the few I ever met in the underground. He's what he says and he believes very much in his musical ideas, but without any star attitude. And today in this techno-house-chaos it is a rare attitude.
So don't waste your time, read this brief, deep interview and then put an I-f record on the turntable and make your personal ideas on the Electro-Nix attack. Beware of the Supermen and remember that even Space Invaders Smoke Grass...
When and how the Hotmix experience has started? And what's the philosophy behind it?
Hotmix was the first thing I did in the Nineties: it exists as of 04-01-1990. It became active in 1991 with starting up a mail order service for hard to get Chicago & Detroit. The philosophy behind it is to let people hear there's other music than the shit released by the majors and played on the radio stations; by all means necessary.
What is the relationship between you Hotmix and the Bunker guys? Could you tell us a brief history about them and the Dutch techno Electro-Nix scene?
In 1993, I met the Bunker people in the Hotmix shop. I heard their records and that's how things got out of hand. In that period a lot of things happened in The Hague. Bunker was the first established underground techno label in Den Haag. And after the 7th Unit Moebius release on Bunker records, Sulphur Surfer started Acid Planet records which was in first instance a label for only 7" records, but everybody made so much tracks in that period that new labels appeared. In 1994, I recorded my first tracks with 707 and 303 (Acid Planet 4). After that I did a project with Sulphur Surfer on a sampler which resulted Bunker 015. Then "The American Lie" was born and so was Reference analogue audio. There were squat parties on a regular base in The Hague and a lot of them were too cool. January 1995, I closed the shop and went on with the labels.
When did you understand electronic dance music became your life?
I guess I realized that electronic dance music became my life the day I bought my first record.
Who are the artists or the persons you respect in the music scene and why?
Musicians who are able to penetrate my soul with their music can expect my respect. I listen to a lot of different music, not only electronic music. I want a statue for Lalo Schifrin and medals for several pioneers in Disko music from the late 70's and early 80's. About 85% of the records I own were made with the 808; I sleep with that machine and I talk to it when nobody is looking.
Do you think the word "Techno" has a meaning today ?
Techno is dead as it can be. It has no meaning for me what-so-ever.
What do you think of techno scene today?
The techno scene is plastic. It has nothing to do with music anymore, just consuming. Empty, insecure people following whoever has the biggest mouth or biggest tits. Nobody has an opinion anymore, and nobody has the balls to speak the truth; just talking to your mouth. I rather don't wanna talk about techno anymore.
The attention of the "big" crowd on you like I-f came lately with "Portrait of a Dead Girl Vol. 1" on Disko B and especially with "Superman" that have good reaction from a lot of people. Who is "Superman"?
Superman is the average (techno) consumer minding other people's business. Not producing anything, just consuming and complaining about others.
How could you describe your music?
I call my music Electro-Nix.
What are your music influences?
I'm very much influenced by Italian and American "disko" from the early 80's. Also Electro had a great impact on me when it started. Very important are 60's and 70's film soundtracks for me. In that period a lot of great music was produced for great movies (Lalo Schifrin for instance).
What are your interests except music?
Movies and American automobiles from the late 60's and early 70's. It's almost a crime nowadays, but I love to drive cars: the sound of the fuel being transported in high tempo thru big carburetors and burned in big 6 or 8 cylinder engines gives me goosebumps.
What are your future projects about I-f and Hotmix?
Future projects for I-f: compilation CD for Disko B ("Fucking Consumer"), LP on Interdimensional Transmissions ("The Man From Pack") and a LP for Murdercapital records ("Lenny & Melvin"). And I expect new tracks soon from Electronome for Viewlexx. After all this has been released I buy the MIR space station and leave with a big bag full of drugs to live in it. When I have enough of it I'll pull out the power plug and hope to crash on Earth (if possible on a nuclear reactor in France!!!).
'Speak the truth or shut the fuck up' I-f 1997
Copyright © 1998 Ear Magazine / Andrea Benedetti. Reprinted with a permission.