The Fair Sex

Interview by Shaun Hamilton with Myk, TFS-vox

As you may remember, we interviewed you for Testify not long ago. How have you guys been in the meantime given the climate in Germany concerning the economic problems there and the war going on?

Myk: Indeed the mood in Germany for the time being is not the best. It will seem that the economic problems are not that easy to handle. Our government dares only very vague and careful steps of reformation which always find too many opponents who are willing to slow down the pace, fearing a loss of money for themselves. So we are running, as it will seem, in a circle where solutions and exits out off the current state are hard to find. Concerning the war: the German government has been against it due to the well-known reasons which many people and demonstrators in the whole world too had: War is always connected with overwhelming loss in any aspects of life. Such things are occupying our minds, yet do not keep us away from being creative. (They may even trigger ideas for lyrics or sound construction)

With the title "Dark Ages" I think of the medieval ages. Are you meaning thus by the title, or could it be any age in general, even today's day and age?

Myk: On "Dark Ages" there are gathered some older but also new tracks from The Fair Sex,there is a compilation of some titles that were released in Germany in the years 1987 - 1994. The time of creating some of them lies so far off, back the haze of vanished history, that it is proper to say they present the Dark Ages of our band.

For those who are not hip to the group or the new sound files, tell us a bit about the new direction of the CD versus "Fine We Are Alive" or even the last Testify release.

Myk: As you now see the new sound files are both new and old files, and so it is not amazing that they differ from what is gathered on "Fine. We Are Alive" which itself was a compilation of TFS-tracks of the years 1991 - 1994. The Dark Ages might be of less elaborate diligence, as one might say, for in those days we had to record anything in a much faster way than in the latter days.

The CD does sound a good deal more angry and more stripped down. Are the base industrial influences the same as in the beginning or are there influences from the newer electro and EBM scenes as well?

Myk: Some of these tracks were the very beginnings of The Fair Sex! And in those days our sound-constructions were quite rude, rough, and full of the wrath of youth, so to say. We wrote the songs in quite a fast way as if to getrid of an enormous pressure inside. We were of course inspired by the scene of those days, though the German scene itself was not that big. We were one of the bands helping establishing it!

Does that feel leave you kind of left out in Germany where the market leans towards techno and mandates of club hits? Or is there a pretty solid audience for it?

Myk: The Fair Sex always celebrated a mixture of electronics and guitars, and it is very strange but this blend has to fight hard struggles against pure electronic which has a high time here in Germany. For several years now this kind of music has been dominating the scene.Slowly I grow a bit angry about that, for the addition of guitars makes it all more interesting in my eyes. I have proved to be patient; but now I feel I might will be running out off patience.

Would you say there is any humor as there is in Testify, or is this more of the place to put your anger?

Myk: Hmmm. You bring me to think about that (which obviously I had not been doing for years). Originally Testify was founded by us to put all our anger into: That's the reason why Testify exist. But - you're right: for some reason quite a big amount of humor slipped into the Testify-ideology. I fear that amount might be a bit higher than the humoresque resources of The Fair Sex - but I don't know the reason. As I said: you have brought me to think about that. Maybe some day I will find out why the Testifylers are somehow more the sort of merry fellows than the TFSlers.

What are some of your inspirations, both band wise and organically (as in trees, cars, people, etc.)?

Myk: Dreams in the darkest of nights, anger about what I learn of this world watching the news, the yearning to tear as under the construction of time (which knows only this one course: forward), the wish to be a bit destructive, and The Big Gnawing Dissatisfaction mingled with nerving restlessness: these are some of our sources of inspiration. Especially mine.

I read in your bio you?re influenced by something called The Black Anger. What is that exactly and how does it fit into the group?

Myk: Most of the phenomenon's mentioned in the answer above, mingled with aimless wrath, jealousy of all and everything, hatred against the ugliness of people's minds: all this together, with perhaps even more ingredients, lead to The Black Anger. Ruling all, eating away your mind, body, soul, spirit. Beware!

How does it feel to be playing at the Wave Gothik festival this year, given its prestige?

Myk: We have played on the Wave Gothik Festival in 1995, and in 2001. So it is not an all-new experience for us. But we are quite curious about it, and happy to be there.

You have distribution under Van Richter Records (whom I used to work for. Very good company!) in America, but what do you do about distribution in Europe?

Myk: Our European releases are handled by distributor EFA.

Vocally on the CD there seems to be almost none of the stereotypical distorted vocals that are in a lot of groups. You feel more comfortable letting the emotions out with distorted vocals or all natural vocals?

Myk: Even on the last Testify album we have rarely used distortion - in contrast to the early Testify records. But I like distortion! The problem is: the other guys don't like them too much. So they remove the distortion-gadget before I enter the studio. Then during the mixing process I use to say: "OK. Great number. Almost finished. Now distortion onto the vocals!" - then they use to shrug and smile and tell me of the sudden unexpected loss of studio-equipment. Then its my turn to shrug and sigh, and we complete the title.

Is there any kind of vocals exercises or pre show rituals you guys do before each show?

Myk: No. No vocal exercises. (which possibly might be better -considering my miserable noisy voice). But 24 press-ups - that's the minimum I simply have to do before entering the stage. And gazing into some very dark corner, bent in thoughts of nothing. Why? Hmm. I think it is a kind of ritual I am addicted to.

In the beginning, you used to be strictly organic music, no synths, no drum machines, just stripped down playing. But over time the electronic aspect has come into play, though in tune with the organic aspect. What brought this about?

Myk: Yeah that was in the very very early beginnings, in the glorious years 1984 until 1987, when there was not a sequencer or a computer a member of the band. What brought about the change? In 1986 electronic music sounded much more fascinating than rock music of those days - in our eyes. We wanted to be one of the electronic bands. And thus slowly we grew into that direction.

Do you feel more energy hammering out on a keyboard or riffing out on a guitar?

Myk: As you see: I am the vocalist, and one of the programming guys (the Atari-guy). None of the others would allow me to touch their instruments... I feel the energy strangling the microphone cable. But in very early days I used to the rhythm-guitar player. And I think the guitar is the better instrument considering the hammering-out-of-energy.

Are there any solos or riffs on the CD, or acoustics?

Myk: Hmm. can't remember. tell me - are there any? I don't think so. We used stuff like solos, acoustics very rarely - which will change I think through-out the near future. But riffs: yes. There are riffs. Lots of synth-riffs, and some guitar-riffs.

You've also played with some very established bands in Germany as of late, such as Psyche and Project Pitchfork. Could we be seeing The Fair Sex hitting it big in Germany?

Myk: The Fair Sex used to be bigger than they all, but that was back in 1874. OK - as some of my answers, this is not thoroughly the truth, it is mingled somewhat with my imagination: We were somehow a bit big in those days - but not bigger than they all. And we will rise again.

I'm also curious what that is on the front of the CD. Is that a face coming out of a rock?

Myk: I am not the art designer, but... yes I think it is a face coming out off a rock. The Unknown Stranger From The Far Side I fear he is.

Ok time for the more laid back off the wall questions! Is it possible that we could someday see Paul (Abramson from Van Richter) play with you guys live? That I'd pay to see! Paul seems like the type who could put on a good show, or even be a good stage dancer (haha).

Myk: We have not made plans yet concerning such activities, but you have given me quite new conception-ideas for stage performances. I will give them deep consideration!

Ok pretend we put you in a pit and to free yourselves, you have to out drink both Pantera and Lemmy from Motorhead. Think you could pull it off, or how else would you escape? If you choose escape you have only a plastic spoon, a raisin and an olive fork to fight with, though.

Myk: The out drink-activity I will leave up to Kullf whose weapon will be Stauder Pils (German beer). The raisin will be put up some adversary's rectum who will be terrified about the outward appearance of his excrements and so give up the fight. The spoon will be used for our heroin lending us new strength (mingled with plastic the effect is much more overwhelming, as you should know). With the olive fork we will pick up snails and worms for our provisions.

Anything thing else groovy, spooky, or just funny for us out there from TFS?

Myk: Spooky? Funny? Ask the Testifylers who are much more in that tiny bit of humor. We the severe knights of The Black Anger. Thank you very much, Shaun! Sorry for the long delay - I was working with the new "Schuldt"-project through-out the recent weeks