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  • Writer's pictureNailhead Magazine


Modecenter is an Austrian post-punk/crisis-rock band that doesn't value musical norms and structures. With a lot of noise they transport their listeners into an EARgasmic dilirium. "The noise is simply part of it," as they say themselves.

I had the exclusive privilege of asking David from Modecenter a few questions about the band and their music.

Nailhead Magazine: First of all, who are you and what is your role (which instrument) in the band?

Modecenter: Modecenter is David (guitar/vocals), Dieter (bass), Hannes (drums) and Michl (guitar).

Nailhead Magazine: How did you meet?

Modecenter: I (David) met Hannes and Michl in 2016 after I found a post on a punk group on Facebook. First we formed the band Loather. In the beginning we only had two guitars and no bass, later Tim joined us on bass, but he left for stylistic reasons. In 2018/2019 Dieter finally joined as bass player. Eventually we started Modecenter as a contrast to the darker and more serious music we played with Loather. Actually, it was a spontaneous formation.

Nailhead Magazine: How long have you been making music together?

Modecenter: Michl and Hannes are cousins ​​and have been playing together since childhood. We have been in our current line-up since 2019.

Nailhead Magazine: What is your songwriting process like?

Modecenter: It depends. A lot of songs come out of individual riffs that come up during jams and then stick. Sometimes we also bring more finished ideas and then work together on the structures. The most important thing is that it suits us and doesn't get too complicated. For our first album, the songwriting was relatively spontaneous and instinctive, but it's a bit different for our next EP, which will be out this year. I'm a big fan of simple but effective songs that convey a vibe or attitude that you can feel. Sometimes something like this comes about very easily, sometimes you have to tinker with it a bit. Above all, the writing of the lyrics and the way the singing interprets the lyrics also make up a certain part of the process.

Nailhead Magazine: Your music contains a lot of Noise and every song is a new experience. How would you describe your sound yourself?

Modecenter: Crisis rock but genre names for your own band are mostly meaningless; if you do it yourself then it's presumptuous, if other people name it then it often feels wrong. We hope that when people listen to our music and at the concerts, we can offer them something that kind of sticks with them. Noise is part of it for us but it's not a special focus at all. If you have loud guitars then you also have feedback. But we don't get bogged down in any terms either. We prefer to just be ourselves, and of course we like to play loud. We love loud music.

Nailhead Magazine: Recently you released a music video for a David Bowie cover, would you say he is one of your inspirations? Who or what other artists would you count among your musical influences?

Modecenter: He's definitely one of my favorites and the others in the band also appreciate his work and what he left behind. Some other influences are: Joy Division, Mobb Deep, Nina Simone, Viagra Boys, Charles Mingus, The Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, Earth, Jim Jarmusch, The Fall, Kraftwerk, Neu!, Blur, Darkthrone, Velvet Underground, Metallica, and many others.

Nailhead Magazine: In 2019 there were the first tapes for your album "Mode für Jung und Alt" and in summer 2021 the release of the "Modecenter" album. How is the new album different from the old one?

Modecenter: The tape is actually our first jam, recorded spontaneously with a small zoom device. There were no specifications or ideas back then, it was all improvised in one evening and therefore came straight from the heart - you can hear that in the spontaneous screams and shouts that echo through the room in ecstasy. I'm listening to it again right now and I'm surprised how good the sound turned out.

The album consists of songs that we wrote and rehearsed together, although there were still a lot of subtleties in the studio during the recording. But on the whole there was more planning and intention behind it, of course always with our typical chaos - last minute changes in the minutes before recording or even in the recording room between takes. When we first went into the studio with Werner Thenmayer we actually only had 5 songs that we recorded live. In a very short time there were 4 more, who then joined in a second session. A pure live recording was also planned here, but it was sometimes a bit difficult with the vocals, so most of this session was then sung again later. Mind Eraser was the last song - I wrote it at home and then showed it to the guys. Together we made the best song of the album out of it.

Nailhead Magazine: With the new album you tried a lot of different sounds - why do you think it's important and how did you find the sound for the album?

Modecenter: There was no one specific sound for us and there probably never will be. We like to let off steam and try different things. There are no really hard boundaries or musical rules in the band. That's probably the reason for the colorful sound. Why the production sounds the way it sounds also has a lot to do with Werner, who helped us all with the studio experience and also accomplished the raw, spacious sound we all envisioned.

Nailhead Magazine: Which songs from your previous releases are your favorites and why?

Modecenter: It's hard to name favorite songs because for me the appeal of a song suffers a lot from listening to it over and over again - like it was during the production and mixing of our album for example. That robs them of a certain magic. In contrast, when playing the songs live, it is possible to find a creative approach to them and to rediscover the respective character or build a new relationship with it. "Grease" is definitely one of my favorites, because it can unfold great energy live and is just a lot of fun.

Nailhead Magazine: You've been around the music scene for a while now, if you could change one thing about the music scene, what would it be?

Modecenter: In the music scene itself: nothing. It is how it is. There are good bands, there are bad bands, there is a lot in between. The good people somehow find each other, or at least that's how it is at its best. The pleasant thing is that there is relatively little hubris in the scene overall and most of those involved are open and friendly with each other. Of course there are exceptions, and in general the artistic field is a breeding ground for complex personalities - not excluding ourselves.

Regarding the music scene as a whole: it is unfortunately common in Vienna to hustle smaller and unknown bands and pay them poorly or not at all. That needs to change. Every scene is only as good as its bands and its musicians. If someone doesn't have a chance to try something out or quickly gives up hope because of greedy bookers and organizers, that's a shame for everyone involved. This is probably also a structural problem.

Nailhead Magazine: Where would you like to play live?

Modecenter: Anywhere people would like to see us. The other scenario can also be great. One of our best shows was in a sports hall in Bregenz in front of about 8 people, all of whom kept extra safety distance. The energy was surprisingly positive that night.

Nailhead Magazine: As a band, do you have a process or ritual before a gig, for example to get rid of nervousness or stage fright?

Modecenter: My general tendency is to put some physical distance between myself and the stage. I like to walk around and try to tune in on my own. But I think we all approach it in a relatively similar way. Just calm down and don't get too nervous. There are no ready-made rituals or games.

Nailhead Magazine: Do you plan to go on tour soon, should the current Corona situation stabilize?

Modecenter: Shows are currently being planned, but due to the current situation we cannot reveal any details yet. But you can definitely count on performances from us in spring/summer.

Nailhead Magazine: Where do you see yourselves musically in the next few months?

Modecenter: Our new EP has been recorded and will soon be on its way to the presses. The release will probably be this spring/summer. Otherwise we are currently on a short songwriting break, which should be over soon. Then we'll probably write the songs for the next album, and there are already some ideas. In any case, there will be a lot more to hear from us this year.

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