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Tankt

date: 2006-07
photos by Paul Sulovski, Paul Ellister, Maiki, Angus Young
interview by Mofoman


We love collectives and cooperation, EBM and Australia - which adds for quite a worthy selection of bands to interview. Here you go, guys, in comes Tankt. Check their MySpace profile for their new song Surveillance. It's gonna make you come roaring.


THE DOSE: When and how did you meet? When did you decide to work together?

TanktDAVE: Roby moved from Italy to Japan in the early 1990s and then to Melbourne in the late 1990s. We met in early 2000... We had some mutual friends and we used to frequent two local nightclubs here in Melbourne: 'Blue Velvet' and 'Paroxysm'. I decided finally after many years of indecision to start a band. I remember Roby mainly from the dancefloor- emerging out of the smoke dancing like a maniac...

He is a big boy and makes an impression when he dances! Downstairs at 'Blue Velvet' one night they were playing a 'Funker Vogt' live show on the big screen I thought- 'Roby could do that' and so later that night over a few vodkas I invited him to listen to some of my music. The first two tracks he heard he wrote lyrics for- 'Despair Ltd' and 'Gloaming' and I thought they were brilliant! from that moment we knew we were going to be a songwiting team...

THE DOSE: Let's talk about your latest release. Can you tell us more about Club Life? What's really behind the music, what's the root of the concept?

DAVE: We had difficulty getting a European release for 'Strip Off The Gilt'- our 3rd album, because the labels and promo companies told us our music wasn't 'club' enough and without DJ play the album would not sell... Roby and I disagreed totally and violently with this mentality... So we decided to create a 'club' album on TankT terms!

TanktThe strategy was to beat-mix our songs together, plus to add faster tracks- around 130-140 bpm- rather than the usual TankT pace of 100-126 bpm. The political direction is nothing new for us, but we wanted to make some social comments, too. The opening track 'Club Life' aims itself as a critique of the whole club culture that the European labels are exploiting - you know - clichés, generic beats, doof tracks with no character... and under the framework of our cynical lyrics 'Club Life' became an anti-club track! The concept continues in the front cover artwork where the people who appear to be dancing are actually protesters rioting!

We like our sense of fun and play in what we do, even if it is not easily detected by others. And finally, once you get passed the stupidity/intelligence of our 'club' music, you are greeted by the two most personal songs on the album- 'Life Is Short' and 'Nite Ride' which are dedicated to our families and friends who have helped Roby and I survive and thrive in this world... We created these songs as a beautiful reminder to all of us that we only get one chance in this life.

THE DOSE: A new song - Surveillance - is already available on your MySpace page. How much does it forecast your new direction? What are your plans regarding the new album, when can we expect it?

DAVE: 'Surveillance' will appear on the 'Crash Frequency 2' sampler in June. It was written for the sampler and may or may not dictate the next direction for us. Once again we worked with John Von Ahlen for the vocal recordings and he pushes us to try vocal harmonies and techniques more 'pop' than we would normally try. So the final chorus involves a lot of singing...
This is the main characteristic of the 'Club Life' album which will continue on the next TankT album.

THE DOSE: Please promise us that the new album will hold at least one track like the stunning 'Tribe Tribe Act 1'!

TanktDAVE: We'll try... We're happy you like it! It's interesting because some people love 'Tribe' and others don't 'get it'...'Tribe act 1' will be surfacing on a new USA compilation soon in its unedited form- that means with an extended outro. Go to the 'sounds of mass production' homepage for further details: www.smphq.com

THE DOSE: What was your most memorable stage appearance?

DAVE: Hard to answer... Maybe the first ever gig in November 2000 in front of 30 friends! We played six songs, which sounded very rough, but the nerves and adrenaline rush were incredible! I felt very excited to be playing in an electronic band and my hands were shaking very much!

THE DOSE: What motivates you in your work? Where do you get inspirations from?

DAVE: Who knows? Inspiration usually 'comes'... It doesn't seem part of a logical process. The motivation is triggered by a need to be expressive of emotions and observations, of course modern pop culture and history affects the way we view our world as do our family and friends... Also, the massive satisfaction of meeting all the creative and technical challenges helps to keep us charged!

THE DOSE: Australia really pleases us with bands like Angelspit, Ikon, The Crystalline Effect, Angel Theory, New Project, TankT - and I did not even mention the really big ones... People may believe the scene out there is huge and dynamic. Please tell us your experience (clubs, community, scene members, etc.)!

TanktDAVE: The scene is not huge but it is dynamic and full of quality! There are many inspirational and unique bands here, who are dedicated to their music and fully professional. To your list above add names like Shinjuku Thief, Snog, Severed Heads, SPK, Nick Cave, Dead Can Dance, and you see that Australia has had a strong history of world-famous talent! The names you mentioned are a small part of the bands in the current scene.

For a start you can check out www.crashfrequency.com for information on a new Australian underground collective which has united to bring a smalll selection of new Australian bands to world attention. There is a strong on-line scene in Australia, too, plus a healthy club scene: in recent years KMFDM, Covenant, Nine Inch Nails, HIM, Psyche, Architect/Haujobb, Scorn, Converter, and VNV Nation have toured Australia and played to healthy crowds...

THE DOSE: You mentioned www.crashfrequency.com, the online community of scene-related artists in Australia. Can you tell us more of its activities: what has it achieved so far, how much did it help the bands' progression?

DAVE: Crash Frequency is supposed to act like an extended family, offering support, encouragement, resources, inspiration and networking amongst its members. It's not simply an on-line community - we often get together, especially when members travel interstate. We have bands in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

TanktWe try to organize gigs together, give advice on who can and who cannot be trusted in the worldwide scene. We try to act as an innovative kind of record label and we are in the process of setting up an online store... we hope to raise our profile internationally and the first Crash Frequency sampler did this very well! The second is coming in June 2006 and we have had an overwhelming response from DJs wanting copies!

We don't have a leader but we try to act as a group, although there are certainly individuals amongst us, who have both experience and leadership qualities which help give us guidance and confidence... We are about helping ourselves by helping each other, we try to act with a sharing attitude. There is no place amongst us for selfish bands or bands who are not prepared to work for the common good!

THE DOSE: I'm curious about your opinion regarding the scene's evolution in the aggregate, especially the renaissance of old-school EBM electronica and the return of EBM heroes and (electro) industrial legends.

DAVE: I'm interested in the French-lead renaissance of old-school EBM: Terence Fixmer, Christopher Kah, Johnathan Cast, David Caretta and new guys like Karl K from Paris or Nuwerk from Strasbourg. To me, this style has some new life in it. I lived in France in the early 1990s and there was just about no electronic music scene there and now you have acts like Moshpit coming from Montpellier near where i lived, now signed to Industrial Strength records, or Punish Yourself, who are from the same area I think... The rise of modern French alternative electronic music to me is fascinating! I'm not into futurepop or bands like Spetsnaz, Mind-in-a-box, Suicide Commando or Hocico.

I find them really boring... These days I'm impressed by the evolution of ex-Nitzer Ebb member Bon Harris doing Maven and Chris Corner's Iamx project and the latest CD from Killing Joke. I think the old 'heroes' have to work much harder to prove themselves... I won't buy a CD on reputation alone any more. I'm older and my tastes have shifted. I'm not saying that older is better - no, no no, but most modern industrial music shits me to tears!

THE DOSE: File sharing is the most controversial phenomenon these days and it may be the hardest challenge for the music industry according to the loud voices of the – surprisingly bigger – labels. What do you think?

TanktDAVE: Filesharing has the capacity to kill small bands off for good... and small labels. I really don't think you should be able to 'keep' somebody's music/art without paying for it unless they give it to you.

I resent the 'pirates' who make money from my hard work while I don't see a cent. It cost me money to make music- to own my equipment- to upgrade my equipment- to create better quality sound- to pay for studio time and mastering engineers and so on... This costs me money and if I don't receive anything back then this limits my ability to carry on as an electronic musician. I buy legitmate software otherwise the software developers are in the same position and my ability to choose quality software is diminished if companies go out of business. I can't understand why so many 'so-called' music fans are shortsighted and don't see the longterm damage that not supporting the labels and artists does. I feel that mp3s are necessary to 'advertise' bands but it still comes back to the listener's decision to buy or not to buy. It's a moral judgement.

THE DOSE: What do you do when you're not a musician? What music do you listen in your free time?

DAVE: In civil I sell hi-fi and pro-audio gear, Roby is a graphic designer. At the moment I am listening to lots of different styles and artists like 'Silke Bischoff', 'Serge Gainsbourg', 'Simple Minds', 'ABC', 'The Saints', 'The Stranglers', 'Shiny Toy Guns', the soon to be released 'Crash Frequency 2' Sampler, 'Zombie Ghost Train', 'The Neon Judgement, 'Beta Evers', 'Ikon', my 'razormaid' collection, my belgian 'new beat' collection, 'Frankenstein Radio Control' on PBS FM in Melbourne, other people talking, our cats, the rain/cars outside!

THE DOSE: Thank you for being available for this interview, Dave! Is there something more you'd like to share with our readers?

DAVE: Well, thank you very much for your interest! Keep looking to Australia for new interesting music, not just in the Crash Frequency collective, but also in other underground collectives like 'Clan Analogue', 'Graylands' and 'Demus'... There are many talented artists 'down under'!
THE CHAIRLEG OF TRUTH with DAVE of TANKT!

MP3
I hate them... The concept is great but the quality is terrible! give me CDs and vinyl!

PARTY DRUGS
I can understand why people get in to them but they are not for me... give me alcohol and coffee plus friends and mashed pototoes and it's a party!

GROUPIES
Um... not with a cabbage head like mine... ;-)

POLITICS
We owe it to ourselves as reponsible humans to be politically aware and to not become too cynical...

RELIGION
..is often confused with spirituality... religion is a curse, spirituality is a blessing...

HAPPINESS
Happiness is not a state of mind but a statement of attitude and purpose... read Aristotle's 'Nichomachean Ethics'...

WHAT REALLY COUNTS
Emotional connections with people are what count... and I think music is a great way to get connected...

HUNGARY
Lovely food and beautiful summers! Bad national football team!

MELBOURNE
A great city to live in... feels a little European... very creative... everyone wears black! ;-)