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Formed in 1982, Nitzer Ebb set out to terrorize the UK dance scene with industrial power rhythms and disturbing lyrical themes. Their unique blend of energetic anger and militaristic imagery soon saw them appearing in dance clubs and concert halls around the UK.
By November 1986, after Nitzer Ebb had signed to Mute Records, a further series of singles preceded their debut album, 'That Total Age'.
Their second L.P. 'Belief', released in January 1989, saw Flood, veteran producer of Depeche Mode, U2 and Nine Inch Nails, brought in to assist the now slimmed-down duo (Douglas McCarthy and Bon Harris) create a more refined sound. 199O's 'Showtime' and 1991's 'Ebbhead' (produced by Alan Wilder) achieved considerable success in Europe and the States.
After their last album, 'Big Hit', released in 1995, Nitzer Ebb split-up and McCarthy and Harris went their separate ways. However, their influence on today’s dance / rock acts, such as Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, is there for all to see.
Q. Tell us all about your background, both personal and musical.
A. I was born in London and grew up in Essex. While still at school, aged 15, I started the band Nitzer Ebb with Bon Harris and David Gooday. Our first gig was at the Chelmsford YMCA. In 1984 we released our first record, a 4 track EP called 'Isn't it funny how your body works?' on our own label ‘Power of Voice Communications’. In 1986 we were signed to Mute Records in England and Geffen Records in the USA. Nitzer Ebb then released 5 albums from 1987 to, er 1995, I think. I have no musical training, which is pretty evident when you hear the songs I write but I learnt how to create music, initially, with synthesizers and sequencers, then later with guitars.
Q. How did you come to meet Alan Wilder?
A. I first met Alan when Nitzer Ebb opened for Depeche Mode's 'Music for the Masses' European Tour.
Q. What did you think of the tracks he asked you to put lyrics to?
A. I was very impressed with the tracks Alan sent me to work with. They were easy to write lyrics and melodies for. We also discussed Alan's ideas about lyrical content for each track, which I grudgingly accepted.
Q. How did you actually work together on the Recoil project?
A. Alan sent me rough mixes and I composed the majority of my ideas with them. Then I went and stayed with Al and Hep and in between vast quantities of alcohol I sang what I had written. At a later date I went back, and between recording my vocals in Alan's studio, we drank vast quantities of alcohol.
Q. What was he like to work with?
A. Working in a recording studio can be a very intense and emotionally charged experience - when you’re trying to be subjective and analytical with people’s ideas it is easy for problems to arise. Alan and I seem to compliment each other well in those circumstances and I always respect his opinion on the technicalities of my performance. What I'm basically saying is that Alan's a complete and utter Nazi-muso-bastard who doesn't allow any one to have their own musical opinions. Just kidding.
Q. Do you have a favourite Recoil track?
A. 'Faith Healer'
Q. Who else have you worked with?
A. Die Krupps, Impirion, Pigface, and Caballero.
Q. What music do you listen to?
A. This week I 'ave been mostly listening to:
Tom Waits 'Nighthawks at the Diner';
Lou Reed 'Berlin';
Funkadelic 'Cosmic Slop';
The Rolling Stones 'Beggar's Banquet';
The Jimi Hendrix Experience 'Electric Ladyland';
Q. What are your present and future plans?
A. I am currently at University in Cambridge, England taking a degree in Graphic Design. Once I have my degree I plan to go to The Cranbrook Institute of Arts in Michigan, USA to take my Masters Degree and then probably move back to California to work as a designer. Musically I've been working on some tracks with ‘Impirion’ for their forthcoming album and I have my own project based in Detroit called Caballero. Other than that, just as much sex, drug's and rock 'n' roll as is humanly possible.
Q. What will be your overriding memory of working with Alan?
A. Having another opportunity to ridicule Steve Lyon.
Q. Can you tell us an interesting anecdote or story about Alan, professional or not?
Q. Anything else you'd like to add?
A. Alan Wilder is a control freak.