Davide Bregola  

Enzo Fileno Carabba  
Giancarlo De Cataldo  
Tommaso De Lorenzis  
Girolamo De Michele  
Pablo Echaurren  
Valerio Evangelisti  
Cecilia Finotti  
Giuseppe Genna  

James Lavelle (english)  
James Lavelle (italiano)  
Andrea Manni  
Andrew Masterson  
Aldo Nove  

Pierpaolo Pasolini  

Tommaso Pincio  
Andrea Piva  

Serge Quadruppani  

Simone Sarasso  
Filippo Scozzari  

Roberta Torre  

 Alan Wilder (english)  
Alan Wilder (italiano)  
Wu Ming  
Wu Ming 1  
Wu Ming2  

by Nino G. D'Attis                                         

Alan Wilder

Hi, Mr. Wilder, my name's Nino. Thanks for taking time out to talk to me. Here are my questions

Hi Nino, nice to meet you...


Over 25 years in the music industry and a comeback which sounds like an amazing debut: Is Recoil fully reloaded?

Well I should be refreshed after a 5 year break, shouldn't I? 

subHuman sleeve has a strong visual impact. The whole album is much edgier and less ethereal than your earlier recordings. What were you aiming for?

To be honest, there was no real aim.  The only rule I set at the outset was 'no spoken-word'.  Apart from the obvious by-product of that producing a bit more melody, the album came together quite naturally and I just went with the flow.  A more obvious blues direction started to emerge after I'd been working on some atmospheres for the first couple of months and so I thought I would search for an authentic blues singer to enhance that approach - hence Joe Richardson.  From there, one thing led to another.  It was only near the end, when mixing and compiling, that I was able to think about presentation and meaning.  That's when the idea of 'subHuman' came along.  The mannequins within the art are set into everyday situations and are designed to represent worthless recyclable life forms - the subhumans.

A blues approach mixed-up with your electronic trademark and (in my opinion) a bit of Miles Davis directions in music: are you agree?

If you want !  I'd like to think the trademark sound comes as a result of following my instincts and trusting in my working methods so that, even with a diverse collection of collaborators, there still remains a recognizable style that we can say is Recoil.  I really don't want to contrive that though, so I remain very non genre-specific and very open-minded about different musical styles.  What you hear is just a reflection of my entire record collection, which is wide and varied. 

The sound of the album is also propelled by a lot of guitars, and the blues focus on the importance of the emotional voice in a dark cold era: back to the humans?

Never really been away from humans.  I've been mutating pieces of performance for a long time now, using modern techniques to re-structure the performances but still retaining the human quality.  I have always found that the raw emotional content of the blues counterbalances against what can be cold electronics to provide that much-needed warmth.  As for guitars, when I met up with Joe, I luckily acquired the added bonus of his guitar and harmonica playing skills - not to mention the rest of his band !   

What aspect of the future do you find most disturbing? Are you obsessed with the dark side of human nature?

Obsessed? No, but it is much more interesting to write about than the familiar face of humanity that the world would like us to see.  Let's face it, it doesn't take much change in any individual's circumstances to create a very different  animal, capable of all kinds of distorted behavior.   

99 to life is a desperate song about a man sent to prison and reminds me something of the Edward Bunker's novels. Is it a true story?

Apparently so.  Says Joe...  "Unfortunately the story is true. It's about one of my closest friends, sent to prison here in Texas after killing 3 men in a gunfight.  It was actually self-defence, but they were white and he was Hispanic, and it was a long time ago when we were young and dumb!"  AW:  I wasn't aware of that when we recorded the track.  I hadn't wanted to probe too deeply at the time of the recording because I'd only just met Joe and I got the impression that he wasn't necessarily too keen to chat  about his past.

Any more words about your collaboration with Joe Richardson and Carla Trevaskis?

Both were great to work with, open-minded and enthusiastic.  The Texas sessions only lasted a week but were quite intense and we recorded lots of material - some of which wasn't used but may surface later on.  It was only after that week that I knew I would be able to complete the project.  Carla was also very willing to adapt her ideas to suit my slightly odd musical structures.  My thinking was to intersperse her voice around Joe to sonically balance what he had provided.  

I have read that soon you want to go back in the studio, work on a new album. Do you feel with your creative flow in writing terms is fairly constant?

I find that something just comes if you sit down in front of the equipment and start trying things.  If I lounge around in front of the TV waiting for some kind of divine inspiration, there's no chance.  The things that hold me back are my own perfectionist tendencies and the knowledge of how long it is bound to take me to get to the end of an album.  That can be daunting when you're just starting out.  I also wonder whether the 'album concept' will still be around in two years time.  The way things are in the current climate, every musician seriously has to think about new ways to present their music.

What's' the most positive change that has occurred in your song-writing processes  in recent years?

I think that's for others to say.  I don't really know.  I always think everything I do involves plagiarism and that I've heard it all before.  I'm not sure I have an original thought in my head really.  To have some self doubt is of course important in that it keeps you honest and ambitious but sometimes, I do need a bit of positive encouragement. 
Can you remember your early influences in music?

Growing up in the late sixties and seventies, I first starting taking an interest in contemporary music during the 'Glam' period.  Ziggy Stardust's image has a big effect on a 13 year old lad !  I also liked 'Prog Rock' (King Crimson, E.L.P., Traffic) as well as Free, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and many others.  I was raised in a classically-driven musical household and I wanted to explore the roots of all these bands I was suddenly being exposed to - which of course sparked my interest in Blues, Gospel, early R&B, Soul, Jazz and so on.  I would spend hours trying to work out 12 bar blues on the piano instead of playing my grade 5 Beethoven pieces. 

What was the first record that made an impression on you and who taught you the most about music?

There is no one record but I would cite The Beatles 'White' album, Bowie records from the early '70s, Lou Reed's 'Berlin','Are You Experienced' and 'Axis:Bold as Love' by Jimi Hendrix.  And then, much later, Kraftwerk, Eno etc.

What can you say about the ambient version available on the limited edition of the album?

Borne out of listening to the rear speakers only of the 5.1 version (which is much more based around the stereo mix), it struck me that we could produce an entire album version which was much more minimal.  I am aware that my music can get very dense and so this seemed a good opportunity to create more breathing space.  We began by stripping away the rockier elements like live drums and heavy guitars to see what was left.  From there, I adjusted the remaining more ambient parts to make sense and then, if it was needed, added a few new loops and sounds.  It is mainly about exposing the effects, voices and more atmospheric moments.  For example, vocal reverbs, backwards parts, guitar delays and so on come to the fore.  There is probably less emphasis on dynamics and, structurally, there are some minor changes.

Once more, Recoil's music sounds like a soundtrack for an imaginary movie. Have you ever thought of writing film music?

Yes, of course I have thought about it.  No-one has really asked me to do it properly yet but it would be interesting to work to existing pictures rather than creating them in my head. 

What are your opinions about the digital revolution in general and digital downloading issues?

Well... I have mixed feelings.  Are you ready?....   I have no problem in principle with legal multimedia distribution (as long as audio quality continues to improve) and I think that it is often helpful to a project like Recoil that cannot rely on more traditional outlets such as radio, TV and record store awareness.   It is still of course disappointing that radio producers provide such a limited window for any music outside of the mainstream and so the struggle to make people aware of the Recoil project remains.  I'm realistic though - my only goal is firstly, to try to make people aware and, secondly, to ensure that the music is readily available so that the listener can make their own minds up about it.


Having said that, I worry that the idea of an 'album' will soon become a thing of the past because people seem to prefer cherry-picking track by track rather than devoting the time to sit down and listen from start to finish, in it's intended running order.   I'm from the generation that holds a soft spot for the physical product with artwork and so on.  However, CD is going the way of vinyl and so everyone has to embrace new music-buying trends, and I do like the fact that everything is available on-line (I've wasted many hours scouting record shops in the past and come away frustrated that I wasn't able to find what I was looking for). 


The future? I can see that it won't be long before we are all giving our music away free (since illegal copying is already rife anyway).  In many ways, free music is good promotion.  From the musician's point of view however, it is hard to reconcile working for 12-18 months trying to produce something really special when, in the end, you have to give it away in shitty compressed MP3 format because the market dictates it.  I could imagine that, alongside the free download, perhaps a new version of vinyl might take off - you know, like a very high quality disc (not actual vinyl but maybe super-audio DVD) with large vinyl-size artwork which could satisfy the connoisseur.   Maybe I'll start this new format for the next album !


Does music go through fertile and fallow periods?  

Probably.  Usually adverse social conditions spark off artist's  imaginations.  

Where do you see Recoil going in the future and who would you like to collaborate with in the next future?

Not too sure yet.  Given what I've said about being instinctive and my above speech about the state of the business, anything could happen !  From a musical point of view, I would still like to work with new people and explore different avenues.  Film work is always a possibility.  I'll just start fiddling and see what happens...


Thank you.



RECOIL SUBHUMAN Special thanks to Keeley Currie (Mute) and Simon Pensing (Shunt Staff)


read subHuman review