DIORAMA was set up in 1996 by Torben Wendt. The German dark-Wave project got rapidly signed to Accession Records. Felix Marx joined the band in 2000. All over the years there were a few changes in the line-up, but Torben Wendt and Felix Marc became inseparable. DIORAMA this year released the tenth full length album in the band’s discography. The new work fills a gap of four years, but still sounds as a new beginning. The band defines “Tiny Missing Fragments” as ‘glitch beats, complex loops and atmospheric density’. The work became one of their most accomplished- and maybe best works to date. I talked about it all with Torben Wendt.
(Picture credits by Thomas Wuhrer / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: “Tiny Missing Fragments” is your tenth full length album! This is more than an accomplishment, but does it have a special significance to you? And how do you perceive this new album in DIORAMA’s discography?
Torben: It doesn’t matter at all if it’s album number 10, 8 or 69. It took us 24 years to get to this point and if there is any reason at all to celebrate (well, ok, there is always one :-)) then it’s the fact that we’re still around, alive, energized, at ease with what we do.
We perceive the album as a turning point in our discography. It repositions our sound, it adds another dimension in terms of playing field to our core building blocks, which have been the same forever. Melancholy, poetry, lightness, obscure nihilistic romanticism.
Q: When did you start writing the new album and can you tell us the different stages you’d to go through to achieve “Tiny Missing Fragments”?
Torben: We started out a couple of months after the last album “Zero Soldier Army” was published. The stages we went through depend a bit from the particularity of the song. For some songs like “Avatars” or “Horizons”, we started out with programming beats, designing soundscapes and then afterwards we added melodies and vocal parts on top. Other tracks like “The Minimum” or “Sensation” were evolving as a whole, meaning the songwriting went hand in hand with the arrangement basically in one big step. Over 3-4 years the songs were slowly taking shape, we enhanced the productions by adding more love and details to them, including the acoustic drum and guitar parts, complemented the lyrics and at some point in Spring 2020 we made the final recordings, finished the productions and handed the stuff over to the Mastering studio.
Q: I experienced “Tiny Missing Fragments” as one of your most diversified works to date; an album filled with melancholia, bombast and yet refined, sometimes minimal and globally speaking more ‘electronic’. What are your thoughts about this opus and was there a kind of guiding line and/or specific criteria you handled?
Torben: The guideline was that we had to feel comfortable with what we were doing. I’m not saying that was a completely new goal, rather a newfound one maybe. But the older you get the smaller the amount of expectable album releases becomes, which makes every step you take increasingly important. So I really felt the urge to build a monument to ourselves that would depict us as authentically and uncompromisingly as possible.
Q: The lyrics have been always an essential element in DIORAMA’ work and it’s not that different about “Tiny Missing Fragments” featuring a deeply psychological exposure. What’s hiding behind the lyrics and in, which way are they a kind of mirror reflecting own experiences and thoughts?
Torben: They are very much a mirror. Ever since I was young I’ve been writing poems and short prosaic texts to get certain things worked up, to document certain ideas. The diorama lyrics come from the same source. They don’t need to objectively make sense or describe a particular topic coherently. I’m trying to convey feelings, broaden the thought horizon, capture the essence of things that are impossible to express by ‘normal’ means.
Q: Torben and Felix, you’re now working together for 20 years, right? What makes the chemistry between you both? And how do you perceive each other as musicians?
Torben: The most important chemical aspect is that we’re accepting each other just the way we are. Together we’ve learned this business of music production from scratch and we’ll always know where we come from. 1 Atari, 1 Keyboard, 10.000 nonsensical ideas. The biggest strength I would certify for Felix -apart from his capabilities as a producer -is his keen sense of earworms. The ability to write songs that are instantly catchy without being banal.
Q: Because of the pandemic I noticed artists are taking care to do ‘other’ and/or ‘different’ things like live streams, extra remixes, reworking old material, collaborative productions, cover versions, clips ao. What do you think about this situation and what are you actually busy with? How do you see things evolving?
Torben: The Corona circumstances clearly affected our planning. Without the pandemic, we would have released the album a couple of months earlier and we would have started touring this October/November. However, in the absence of concerts and concert preparations we could allow more time for finishing the album worthily and preparing our promotional activities. Also, we collected a number of remixes that will be released shortly.
What do we predict for the upcoming months? On the artist/event market, the dry spell will continue and gradually get better with the growing distribution of vaccination. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long. And winding.