Sanctuary.cz: Hey Daniel, how are you? How is the tour going so far?
Daniel: The tour has been amazing! The turnouts, vibe and cohesion of the band and crew have far exceeded my expectations. This is truly the best tour I have ever been on.
Sanctuary.cz: It is unbelievable, but you work with Aesthetic Perfection 19 years now... how does it feel? What moments do you think were crucial for the band during those years?
Daniel: I never really stopped to count the years, but Letz pointed out the other day that the band’s 20 year anniversary is coming up and it totally blew my mind. It has certainly be a long and painful road, but also immensely rewarding. From the success of A Violent Emotion, to the failure of All Beauty Destroyed, from being swindled by labels to forming my own… I feel like every step has been necessary in order to get to where we are now, which means I have zero regrets, and am nothing but grateful for the life I’ve been afforded to live.
Sanctuary.cz: You quickly captured attention not only of the North America but also of Europe. How different is the scene in Europe from the one in US? Was it necessary to do something “differently”, to catch attention here?
Daniel: Nothing about this band has happened quickly. It’s been a slow burn since the beginning, but I believe that’s how you create a longstanding and sustainable career. Bands that blow up in just a few months are gone as quickly as they came. Aesthetic Perfection just seems to keep chugging along, never seeming to stop no matter how much it has to plow through. I’ve never thought about the differences between scenes and crowds, that’s all nonsense. At the end of the day we’re all people who use music as a means of self expression. I love the US as much as I love Europe as much as I love Australia and Japan and and and…
Aesthetic Perfection – The Great Depression
Sanctuary.cz: After quite an intense aggrotech era you shifted your sound more towards pop-oriented music. What was behind this style change? How much did it affect your fanbase? You know how conservative fans of hard electronic can be….
Daniel: Artists exist to push people out of their comfort zones and into new territory. At the core, artists are rebels, that’s why people admire them. I’ve always tried to follow this philosophy and follow my artistic intuition, no matter what the cost. And there absolutely *has* been a cost. I lost a lot of my original fanbase, but I’ve gained a whole new community of people who are looking for something different, and are along for the ride. Up or down. Left or right.
Sanctuary.cz: It seems like a few different personalities lives inside of you. One of them loves Wumpscut and other one hard electro stuff and some adore NSYNC, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. How difficult is to find your own style in that maelstrom of ideas?
Daniel: I’ve always fancied myself the King of Contradictions. When I was in highschool, my two favorite bands were Marilyn Manson and Dave Matthew’s Band. I’ve always been happy to embrace both sides of myself. They’re what make me… me. To deny that would be to deny who I really am, which isn’t very useful when you’re trying to be an artist.
Sanctuary.cz: If we get it right, the song “LAX” is about your relationship to LA, right? How important for you is the fact that you are living and working in LA?
Daniel: LAX was the first part of a trilogy that was never completed. LAX to Love Like Lies to Angels & Kings. Angels & Kings was never released simply because I had to put out Rhythm + Control. LAX is a song that sounds very much like my past and is about my struggle to be myself in the face of overwhelming pressure to be who the world wants me to be. Love Like Lies is about my inability to live up to those expectations and the insecurity that comes with it. Angels & Kings is about accepting who you are and letting go of all the fear. Maybe one day you’ll get to hear it.
Sanctuary.cz: Chris Corner (IAMX) or Gary Numan moved here few years ago. What is so magical about this city for foreign musicians? Are you in touch with some of them?
Daniel: I don’t have direct contact with either Numan or Corner. I respect them immensely but our paths have never crossed.
Sanctuary.cz: And what abou Prague? We know about you that you used to live in Vienna...
Daniel: I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting Prague once. It was as a tourist. I spent 4 days there in the winter many years ago. It truly is a beautiful city.
Sanctuary.cz: You did tens of remixes and covers during your career. How important are those disciplines for you?
Daniel: Remixes are covers are fun artistic exercises. It’s more about trying new ideas than anything else. I know it sounds harsh saying other bands are guinea pigs for my ideas I’m too afraid to try on my own songs, but it’s true. And if you trace my evolution though my entire discography, remixes included, you will see how I came to be where I am today, even if my own tracks seem to jump around a lot in terms of style and sound.
Sanctuary.cz: Last year you announced that you were releasing a new mix of "Rhythm + Control" with the vocals by William Control removed. What happened?
Daniel: Just read my Facebook post from July last year. That’s all you ever need to know!
Sanctuary.cz: You worked with Tim Van Horn on drums for quite a long time but recently you have joined forces with the drumming dynamo Joe Letz of Combichrist. How did it happen, how do you feel this change and how much is Joe involved in writing new stuff?
Daniel: Letz and I have been friends since 2009 when I opened for Combichrist during their “Demons on Tour” era. In some way, you could say we grew up alongside one another in different bands. When Tim was excused from Aesthetic Perfection and Joe departed Combichrist, we both realized that we were at similar points in our lives, both musically and personally. We decided to see what would happen if we joined forces. I have to say, it’s one of the best musical partnerships I’ve ever had. We’re both driven, focused, and motivated to be the best musicians we can be. It’s created a really positive environment where we can collaborate on all things about the band. From music, to performance to… well… everything.
Sanctuary.cz: You said that album format is dead in 2016. So how come “Into The Black” is about to be released?
Daniel: I’m always happy to admit when I’m wrong. The fans wanted an album. So I gave it to them. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the experience. I’m still convinced the world is moving away from long form art in favor of singles, but we’ll just take this whole thing one step at a time!
Sanctuary.cz: What kind of sound should listeners expect on the new records of yours? Would it be similarly uncompromising like the "No Boys Allowed" single?
Daniel: The album is out. People are free to judge for themselves. I think it’s a very diverse and forward-thinking record. However, I know we’re not the best judges of ourselves, so I’m happy to let the world decide.
Sanctuary.cz: For “No Boys Allowed” you have released a brand new video just a few days ago. I heard that songs/video is a message to your stepfather. What did you want to tell him with this song? Do you know if he has seen it and what is his reaction about it?
Daniel: I haven’t seen or heard from my old stepfather since I was around 18 or 19. As soon as I was old enough I moved away from home and didn’t look back. He and my mother eventually divorced and I heard he’d moved somewhere else and started a new family. I know I said the music video was for him, but really, it was for me. It was about finally coming to terms with growing up in the toxic environment he created, and learning to embrace who I really am. Fuck his opinion.
Sanctuary.cz: Is it surprise for me, that previous singles like “LAX”, “Love Like Lies” or “Rhythm + Control” are not part of “Into The Black” tracklist. Why?
Daniel: They’re different narratives. They’re different stories. Into the Black is its own thing, separate from all the singles. I don’t believe any of the singles work in the context of “Into the Black”.
Sanctuary.cz: What about those heavy rock guitar lines with strong 80ties feeling, which are part of few songs on new album? Was it your idea to include them into arranges?
Daniel: I let the music take me where it wants to go. The dual voiced solos were not planned but when Jinxx came in and played them I felt like they worked perfectly. It’s important not to feel like you’re boxed in when writing music. You just have to try things to see if they work.
Sanctuary.cz: This is your first record in 10 years that is not released on Metropolis records, and the very first one being released solely under your own brand Close to Human. Why is that?
Daniel: “‘Til Death” was released on Metro in 2014 and the “Blood Spills…” reboot was released in 2015 with them as well. Metropolis was easily the best and most professional label I’ve had the pleasure of working with. However, they were not in favor of the singles concept so I felt like it would make the most sense to do that on my own. After the success of many of the singles (and failure of others) I felt like I was ready to undertake a full blown album release on my own. Whether or not I was right remains to be seen.
Sanctuary.cz: Is Close to Human Music platform designed just for your own endeavors or would you like to expand it a little bit and invite also other bands to join your label?
Daniel: Close to Human Music exists as a vehicle for my own creations, and not the creations of others. As much as I’d love to develop new bands I simply don’t have the time or resources. I don’t want to be just another label out there doing the least amount of work for the most amount of money and taking advantage of young artists.
Sanctuary.cz: Tell us more about your idea of Tone Deaf episodes? When will you prepare a new one? We are waiting for it more than 7 months!
Daniel: Tone Deaf is certainly a passion project, but it takes a lot of time to produce. There are only so many hours in a day and I have to prioritize projects. But I really enjoy doing them. They allow me to speak directly to my community about the things I’m passionate about. There will be more.
Sanctuary.cz: And what about Worst of Prague? There is lot of bars, which should be good to attend (and film), indeed!
Daniel: As I said: There are only so many hours in a day. Each “Worst of…” episode took about a month to produce. I just don’t have the time to devote 4 weeks to something that really amounts to a hobby. The goal is definitely to do more but I’ll need some help...
Sanctuary.cz: You are also running your Patreon profile, speaking with fans via Facebook, doing crowdfunding…. do you think Aesthetic Perfection could still run without such close cooperation with fans today?
Daniel: The internet allows artists like myself to build their own community directly with their fans. Gone are the days of needing record label distribution and promotion. In a scene this small, all that matters is word of mouth. I feel like we’re starting a genuine movement here. A movement made up of people who are hungry for something different, and need more than a club scene to feel fulfilled. This is a true community and I’m eternally grateful for them and their support. I truly would not be able to exist without them.