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"Slow motion movement..." The first three words characterize the setting and the basic emotional
tone of the song: Movements are delayed, sluggish and heavy. Still the scene is imbued with "clarity".
It is sunny and clear, but cold. The picture that springs into my mind when I think of this track is a rugged
coast, plain ground, and brightness. Day and night merge, and the stars- which I would always prefer to the sun
with regard to beauty - are covered by thick layers of ice. This is the first omen that this story will not have
a happy ending...
The title "Avalost" reflects a combination of the word "lost" and the name of the peninsula "Avalon" in
Newfoundland. Initially, the track was even titled "New Found Land"; which I considered to be a nice album title
for a while until we decided to go for "No Sleep Demon" instead.
The narrator has arrived at the coast after a long nightly journey, and he is watching the icebergs moving by.
The scene is determined by the sublimity of those gigantic ice formations and by quietness. At the same time the
claritiy of the ice evokes painful memories.
What is the narrator doing in this place?
Here's where "Avalost" becomes a modern version of Edgar A. Poe's "The Raven". In this poem Poe describes,
how a melancholic young man, who has lost the woman of his dreams, is visited one evening by a raven who alights
in his chamber uttering just one sound that gives the impression as if the raven said "Nevermore". The young man
is tempted to consider the raven to be some kind of prophet and begins to ask questions which the raven always
answers in the same way. A fatal inclination forces the narrator in Poe's poem deeper and deeper into a spiral
of self-destructive questions, until he finally asks the raven "Will I see my beloved ever again?" The raven
answers "Nevermore", and the narrator breaks down.
I have always been moved by movie scenes in which two main characters who have been separated for a long and
painful time, independently decide to visit a meaningful place, hoping that they might find their "lost love" there.
Movies like "Indecent Proposal" or "Great Expectations" include scenes of this kind. However, it is my opinion
that this would never work in reality. This disillusioning understanding became another central motive in "Avalost".
That's why I have the narrator travel to New Found Land, to search for the love of his life and not find her.
The agonizing part of it - and this is the real parallel to Poe's Raven - is that the narrator knows what is going
to happen... He knows, that she will not be there, because he isn't naive enough to hope that she will leave for
New Found Land at the same time. Thus, he remains alone in this place, where the memory of the time when they were
together returns so painfully.
The second verse is a flashback and informs the listener of the special relation between the lovers that once existed: The magic bond, the desire at their first encounters which were so full of erotic tension that the two of them could hardly stand it. All these memories return in slow motion sealing his wish to die. She won't come, this is not a movie. Reality is ice. Clarity is physical pain, but naivity is defeated. This man will be gone, and the icebergs will sing before they fade away themselves.
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We have been asked about the meaning of this song and whether it has
any religious undertones. In particular the question has been raised due
to the "Jesus Christ died with a hard-on" sample.
Actually, Exorcize is not intended to have straight religious undertones
even though I'm using the metaphor of exorcism and the "Jesus Christ"
sample intentionally to reflect very intense and upsetting thoughts and
The song is about a relationship that is on the brink of falling apart.
As in most of these cases, one suffers more than the other, because
usually one is more dependent on the other than vice versa. That's why the narrator
describes the "you" in such an almost omnipotent way ("you eat the
time", "you're planting life") reflecting the fact that the other one is in charge,
pushing the decision. For the narrator it takes radical steps to let go,
maybe radically re-interpreting things in order to retain his self-respect,
and find a way to carry on with his life without too much suffering.
The sample was one of the most radical statements I had come across for
years, and I used it to reflect the intensity of the separation (which
is also shocking and disturbing) and the necessity of approaching things in a
completely new (and maybe hurting) way.
In addition, there is a subtle message involved that in a way altruism
often serves very selfish purposes, and that much behavior in line with
religious beliefs and charity is also in line with hedonism.
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The lyrics are a blend of many personal things and they mean a lot to me. Part of them
is inspired by virtual trips into my past. This can be a very emotional experience as I allow myself to re-live
all the details I remember. At the time when I wrote Floating, I felt that I had changed for the worse and I
had the strong wish to go back.
Part of the lyrics are inspired by the Chinese Yue Lann Festival. For one long lunar month during the
Hungry Ghost Festival, ghosts are said to roam the earth. I was fascinated by the idea that there might be a time
when all members of the underworld are fully active in the world of the living. Chinese tradition categorizes
these spirits: ancestors, who are usually benevolent, and ghosts, who are quite the opposite.
A third source for the lyrics to "Floating" was Stephen King's "IT" in which a malevolent clown lures children
into the underworld. The line "We are (all) floating here" is from that book.
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Three intertwined themes form the core of the HOOKED lyrics. Moments of
love, moments of unconditional trust and moments of feeling completely
overwhelmed when the impossible comes true.
In the first verse, the pounding heart that shakes the narrator like an
earthquake is the heart of a beloved person who he holds tight. What the
two feel for each other is so strong and clear that there can be only one resolution
to release the tension they have been building up together: melt
into one another, like sweet rain literally "fall down".
An unfathomable and inconceivable situation for the narrator who bears
some resemblance to the main character in Max Frisch's novel "Homo
Faber". Faber, constantly observing and interpreting the world in the
most rational of fashions, is a person who would certainly frown at the
invitation to "think the inconceivable" or to "desire the untouchable".
And yet Faber is confronted with the ultimate power of emotion when
travelling through Europe he meets his own daughter who he doesn't know
under quite surreal circumstances, falls in love and has an affair with
her. In the course of the story, Faber's view of the world starts to
crumble - in a similar fashion as the narrator's view on life in
HOOKED's starts to change due to his experiences.
This is most evident in the chorus. The two parts of the chorus work
like a 'before-and-after' observation. In the first part, the narrator
wants to start from scratch and demands a new life because he feels that
there is no chance for bliss in the life he is living. The wish in the
second part is the total opposite; he wants to stop time so that he
never has to let go of the beloved person again.
The pounding heart in the second verse belongs to the narrator himself.
Thinking of this verse, I have a scene from the motion picture GATTACA
in mind. This movie is about Vincent who fights a seemingly
predetermined destiny. In this particular scene, both Vincent and his
brother swim out into the open sea. Who ever returns first, loses the
game. Because his brother is physically stronger, Vincent has always
been defeated... until now. He believes that he can do the impossible.
Vincent's absolute believe touches me most in this situation: there is
not the slightest doubt that he can make it this time.
That's what ties the two verses of HOOKED together: Knowing that you act
beyond all borders and behaving beyond doubt. An unconditional
declaration of love. The right moment to halt the turn of time.
INSIDE POISONOUS FRIEND
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The lyrics are based on a dream I had a while ago. I was dreaming that a poisonous snake
was living in my house. We had a weird "relationship" as the snake would preferably move on my naked skin
(that is, under my clothes), moving fast and without restraint. It was a frightening sensation but at the same
time it felt special. I felt special. The fear outweighed the positive emotions though, and I started phantasizing
about life-threatening situations involving close company...
More and more, the scene blended into another situation: A relationship or an affair with dangerous layers
underneath the surface. A "snake" is the perfect metaphor for an untrustworthy individual and I remembered a
scene from "Natural Born Killers" when an Native American tells the story of a woman who finds a frozen snake
in the winter woods and nurses it back to life, only to be bitten by the snake when summer comes. Dying, the woman
asks the snake: "Why did you do this? – After all, I saved your life". But the snake replies "You knew that I was
a snake, when you picked me up, bitch". I thought it was a nice fable. It's easy to be mistaken about the nature
of things. Can this happen in relationships? I do think so, and I am pretty sure that many people have their own
"Poisonous Friend". Torn between approach and withdrawal. Lyrically, the contrast between the good and the bad
in the "Poisonous Friend" is expressed through a link between the words "care" and "scare". These terms are so
similar in the English language that they almost provoked this play on words.
Back to the initial (fearful) situation: Somebody is in your house and has access to your most private environment.
Like in old suspense movies, where there are secret doors through which traitors or seedy people enter your refuge.
"Poisonous Friend" has a strong sexual undertone. A snake on bare skin is something some of you might find
stimulating or at least interesting. Like an anxious (sexual) expectation of what might happen with a partner
you can't predict. Danger and lust. Almost biblical, I guess. If Eve had only listened...
The lyrics provide yet another twist: "And I wonder how it feels to annihilate a friend" can be interpreted in
two different ways. Of course, the main character wonders what the snake might feel if she eventually killed him.
But he also considers becoming a murderer himself. Maybe he should kill her. Or maybe he dreams of teaming up with
her to become the "lethal couple" in a "Bonny and Clyde" fashion – even if it only was to save himself and direct
the action towards the outer world.
INSIDE ROME ON FIRE
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"Rome On Fire" was written in a hospital. I needed surgery after I tore a
ligament, and it was a quite distressing time: 10 days and NOTHING to do. I
had just returned from a trip around the world, so the contrast was
pronounced: White walls, the clock wouldn't move, time stood still. This is
reflected in the beginning of the first verse. Gradually, I started to think
about the past. Not as if this was an unusual thought for me: I used to cling
to the past, glorifying what had been (lost), at least treasuring the good
things and covering most of the bad. But this time the process went deeper...
I started to feel that I had actually changed so drastically over time that I
had become someone else. At that very moment I had an image in my mind of a
curious child, happy, and without the burden of responsibility. A child with
so much trust, curiousity, and a self-centered view that his world would NEVER
stop turning that it hurt intensely to witness the contrast to my present
situation. Who had I become? How was I supposed to feel about myself? I
started to grow a very deep suspicion that something had gone wrong... That's
what the rest of the first verse is about.
In a way, the chorus is a dialog between the two persons who are reflecting my
past and present self. We tried to strengthen this sensation though the use of
different vocal effects for the different parts. It is definitely about
self-reflection. It's kind of strange to imagine parts of you arguing with
each other inside your mind but I didn't think it was too weird. You don't
necessarily have to be diagnosed as a multiple personality to
Writing these words, I can sense the disturbance I felt when I wrote the
lyrics once again. Can you become a totally different person? Completely lose
faith? Or gain a certain quality you never had? Can these persons, in extreme,
hate one another? I think it is possible. Check out old photographs and
remember how pure you were and who you wanted to become...
I love the image of footsteps in the sand which signal that something went
wrong. First of all, there is the close proximity to the sea which is a
perfect stage for the "play of your life". However, the "footprints" image was
inspired by a religious story I read a while ago: A religious man who has gone
through very bad times in his life is arguing with God. In this conversation
the man is referring to his life which is reflected in footsteps in the sand.
Along the way the footprints of two persons are visible: the man's very own
and the footprints God left accompanying him. Suddenly, the man notices that
when times got really rough in his life there's only one pair of footprints in
the sand, and he becomes angry with God saying: "See, you promised me to be
with me all my life - but in times of trouble you abandoned me", and he points
at the single pair of footprints he sees. God gives him the following answer:
"You know that I love you and that I have promised to be with you all your
life. You see - in those times when things got rough and really you needed my
company, I carried you."
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TORN is all about suicide, through and through, every word - every single letter. Like a microscopic scene, a tiny stone in a huge mosaic, still reflecting the overall pattern, self-similar. We are bound to witness the final moments of our narrator. Together we are taking a bath, we observe. Lots of foam, he is toying around, forming shapes with his limbs, we smile. Warmth, at last. Further props? Candles, wine, downers, a blade, a phone.
He is alone and we know that there is no happy-end to this scene today...
We imagine the moment when his life fades away, when colours fade, sounds fade. A final image on his retina, a carbon copy lacking colour, a sad silhouette.
WHY ARE YOU SO FUCKING SAD?
You won't see the cut - he does it underwater. But...
Prepare to see the water turn red.
Prepare to see his face go pale.
Prepare to see him wait.
Desperate - until he passes out.
IF YOU LOVE ME YOU WILL FIND ME...
Oh, he left a loophole...
Are you waiting?
Are you growing dazed?
Are you losing hope?
SHE will not burst through the door.
SHE will not call.
SHE is not thinking of you right now.
SHE won't even move.
SHE NEVER DID.