Interview by Ruud Dreessen aka ebm-industrial.nl 26-04-2010 from The Netherlands
01- For the first question will be – Thanks Ant Dakini that you have found time to give answers to these questions,How are you doing?
Ant: Hello! I am doing pretty good thanks!
02-Hello Ant Dakini what noise do you make in AntiQuark?
Ant: Good question! Let’s say the root of our music is electronic, because we use a lot of digital instruments. You could say it’s an electronic/techno core of sound mixed with experimental musings and avant-garde twists.
03-How’s the start of 2010 been for you thus far?
Ant: It’s been a good year so far. We’ve had some good local shows in San Diego and Los Angeles. Also, we are working on a new album and that has been going pretty well – hopefully we’ll be done soon.
04-do you know the netherland?
Ant: We’ve read about it and we have friends that live there who tell us about it. We have never been there and would love to come. We’ve haven’t had the right opportunity yet. We did contact a few promoters but they were not interested at the time. Hopefully things are different now and we’ll be able to play some shows there. The country is wonderful and everyone we’ve met from there are really cool.
Sergio: Every time we tour through Italy & Germany we’ve tried to make it as far as Holland but, because we haven’t been able to book a show there yet, we end up not having enough time to even visit the country
05-For a lot of people, this is probably going to be their first full introduction to AntiQuark so how about you tell us a little bit about how you guys know each other and how the band came together?
Ant: I started this band in 2001 in San Diego, California. I am originally from Italy and moved to the USA to look for new music, science experiences. I played for many years with a couple of singers and, in February 2007, Sergio joined this project. He is the best singer I’ve ever met so I feel very fortunate. We’ve toured Europe 3 times since he joined and recorded an album, SkyDancer, that came out in 2009.
Sergio: AntiQuark is actually the first live-electronic band I’ve ever sung for. I come from a plethora of rock & metal bands. When I first auditioned for Ant, I thought she wouldn’t be interested since all my previous experience wasn’t very ‘electronic’. But she seemed to like the parts I was singing over the music.
06- Do you follow the electronic music Electronica / Experimental / Pop do you have any other favourite bands?
Ant: Yes, we listen to a lot of music. There are so many good bands! Some favorite bands in this genre that come to mind are: Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, VNV Nation, Bettina Koster, Einsturzende Neubaten, Dead Can Dance, New Order, Apoptygma Berzerk, Wumpscut…so many many more!!!
07-How is your relationship with other electronic bands?
Ant: There are bands that we are friends with here locally in California and we often play shows with them: Mono Mono, Vagabundo Inn, Vv Morgue, Eternal Unborn, and Squirrelly Arts. A close friend whom we’ve toured with is Bettina Koster. She is one of the best people I’ve ever met.
08- Can you give us a brief run-through of AntiQuark story so far?
Sergio: AntiQuark has had 2 singers prior to me. So when I joined they were already well known in Europe, especially Italy. And the parts I was putting down for the songs were quite different vocally than what AntiQuark was before – certainly not very ‘goth’ or ‘industrial’ or ‘dance’ or ‘trance’ or ‘club’ or ‘house’ or any of the things that this group had been associated with – simply because I had never been in this kind of scene. Anyway, I thought we would alienate everybody but our first show, in Leipzig, Germany, went terrific and I didn’t feel nervous about that anymore.
09- How did you start to make music and what is Gothic for you?
Ant: I have been playing music since I was 4 years old. I studied piano until age 16, and I attended the first four years at Conservatorio di Torino. That experience made me understand that my dream was not to become a classical pianist, so I started to experiment with music on my own terms.As a teenager, I was in a The Cure/Depeche Mode all-girl cover-band. In 1992, I embraced the electric guitar and started Hex, an all-girl punk/hardcore band. The band was political in the anarchist-feminist movement of the time. We toured a lot in Europe and played with groups like Bikini Kill and Team Dresch. After all this came a few more music experiences and finally AntiQuark.Gothic, hmm let’s see…it’s a subculture that has been very influential in my life.Definitely in the 80s many of the bands that came out in this genre were a big inspiration for me. I never really literally “joined” the movement because I always like to be inspired by things and not follow completely. I like to absorb some things and then elaborate them in my own way.
10-What did you guys do for a living before AntiQuark?
Ant: I am a shark biologist and I still do that jointly with AntiQuark, Music and marine science are the 2 big passions I have dedicated my life to.
Sergio: I was a radio & club DJ during and after college. Then I worked as an engineer in some recording studios. That was all in Texas. Since moving to California, I sang for a couple of bands and then joined AntiQuark.
11- When did you form AntiQuark? What inspired you to make music together?
Ant: As I said before, AntiQuark started in 2001 but Sergio joined in 2007. I was looking for a singer and put an ad online. Among all the people that answered the ad, Sergio technically was the best and also very open-minded. He has brilliant ideas so we clicked immediately; we think a lot in the same way about the world.
Sergio: It was cool that Ant didn’t just think of me as another ‘metal-head’ and gave me a chance to try some parts over her music.
12- What are your top ten favorite Electronica / Experimental / Pop Club Songs of all time? Who are you influenced by? What would you consider your favorite cd’s?
Sergio & Ant: Trip Like I Do – Crystal Method/Filter, Master & Servant – Depeche Mode, Army of Me – Bjork, Rapture – Blondie, Owner of a Lonely Heart remix by Max Graham, Diesel Power & Smack My Bitch Up – The Prodigy, Hey Boy Hey Girl by Chemical Brothers, Lovestoned – Tiesto remix of J.Timberlake, Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order Influenced by: Ronan & VNV Nation, Soundgarden, Dead Can Dance, Led Zeppelin, The Cruxshadows, Pantera, Kurt Elling, Sevendust, Dave Gahan/Martin Gore, Rob Halford, Electric Light Orchestra, Rob/White Zombie. U2, Porcupine Tree.Favorite CDs: Violator (Depeche Mode), all albums Journey recorded, Vulgar Display of Power (Pantera), every album by Rush, Aenima (Tool), NightDreamer (Wayne Shorter), Facelift (Alice in Chains), Rid of Me (PJ Harvey)
13- What are the future plans for AntiQuark?
Ant: Write new songs, record new albums and tour. That is always on our minds. We would really like to reach out with our music to bigger audiences. There is nothing more beautiful in life for us to be able to connect with people thru our music.
Sergio: Yeah, all that she said.
14- Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Ant: We have been self-releasing a lot of material in the past. Right now we have been cooperating with Hungry Eye Records, an indie label from NYC.
15-What are you currently listening to on your MP3 player?
Ant: While answering the questions to this interview, I am listening to Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses album. I love Depeche Mode.
Sergio: ‘No Exit’ by Fates Warning
16- By the way do you like my questions? tell me what you think about it!
Ant: Yes! Your questions are great! I also work for an online music mag www.chaindlk.com and it’s not easy to come up with questions that are new and interesting. You are doing a great job.
17- What is the main idea, the message you want to leave to people who listen to you? What is your motto?
Ant: Inspiration. Maybe that sounds a bit ambitious and egotistic, but what makes this all worth it to us is if we can inspire people and vice-versa. It’s energy, it’s beauty, it’s growth. And music is the best language to accomplish all this.
18- What’s the name of your band? where did the name come from? or what’s the story behind the band name?
Ant: I have always been interested in different aspects of science, therefore quantum physics.”A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei.For every quark flavor there is a corresponding type of antiparticle, known as antiquark, that differs from the quark only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign.”So, with this definition in mind, I thought that AntiQuark could be a perfect name for a band. It’s like something that is ‘against’ what the status quo is. It’s there but invisible, like a subliminal energy. Also it started with an ‘A’ and was very similar to my name – so that was it.
19-If people don’t know what you and your music are about, how would you describe AntiQuark?
AntiQuark is an electronic duo.Ant Dakini plays keyboards and makes noise and Sergio sings.The music that we produce is a mix of all the things that we like, difficult to describe in a few words, we don’t have limits in what we do, we are not worried about sticking to any particular genre. Whatever sounds good to our ears in that particular moment we go for it. SkyDancer has new wave, techno, EBM, noise, and experimental influences. Next album may be different – who knows?
20- SkyDancer where did the concept come from? and whats planned now that your album is finished? or anything else you’re working on? Tell me why this title,SkyDancer Tell us a few words about the concept of this?
Ant: SkyDancer’s first concept was about a mysterious “goddess” that would dance in the sky and we would go around the universe looking for her because ‘she’ had a gift for us. In fact, the cover of the CD shows me pointing to the sky wearing a puzzled face; thinking that I saw ‘her’ or a UFO or something. ‘She’ is very fleeting – not easy to catch. After developing the album, this original concept started to fall away and we developed the songs in a more free way, but the idea is still subliminal in the back. The gift we are talking about is up to the listener to interpret.This album came out in 2009 but we are still performing and promoting these songs since we haven’t reached all the places we would like. We are composing a new album that hopefully will be out soon.
21- Some quick fire questions: gitar or synthesizer?
Sergio: Drums are actually the most important for me.
22-band or solo?
Ant: Band with the right people
23-How is the current promotional tour going for supporting this album?
Ant: We are playing many shows in California and plan to book a tour in Europe for the fall. Our management is working on that.
24- What do you think of a modern Gothic and about Electronica / Experimental / Pop scene?
Ant: It’s very complex nowadays. There are so many bands doing so many things.The difference from the past is that it’s much easier nowadays to compose and record music. Everybody can do that at home with a simple laptop and a soundcard. This brings a huge variety of stuff coming out and makes it very difficult to follow all the different trends.
25- What’s your favourite track of yours?
Ant: Hmm…good question. I think I have two favorites. The Man from Mars is a classic and Shameless is a pretty cool “ballad” in my opinion, Sergio wrote great lyrics for this song.
Sergio: Yeah…Shameless turned out quite well. Drawer 4 became something much cooler than what I expected.
26-What and who gets you excited about music today?
Ant: I have been thinking really hard on this and don’t want to sound pretentious but I really can’t think of anything. I am out of the loop. I don’t know of any new big band, except Lady Gaga ah ah. I don’t like.
Sergio: The progressive/heavy rock bands – Porcupine Tree, Coheed & Cambria. And VNV Nation – since I’m still a new fan of theirs.
27-Our usual question – what is music for you?
Ant: To me music is an expression that comes from our inner mind. Music is life and the best form of art.
Sergio: Music seems to be what saves us all.
28- What was your best live experience so far?
Ant: Forte Prenestino in Rome.
Sergio: San Diego Pride.
29- Please list the name, age, school, and respective instrument of each band member
There’s me: Ant Dakini, 28 years old, Master of Science in Marine Biology, Degree in Recording Arts & Music Technology. I play all the synths & keyboards and do most of the programming.And me: Sergio O., 29 years old, Bachelor of Arts in Radio-TV-Film from University of Texas. I do vocals & some.programming.
30-What are your views on the current state of this Electronica / Experimental / Pop scene in Los Angeles,California Verenigde Staten.in terms of creativity and audiences? And the scene in other countries?
Sergio: well, it does seem to be more appreciated in Europe which is why we tour/perform there more than in the US. Also, the shows we’ve played in Mexico have been way better than even our home state of California. I’m talking about electronica/experimental with Pop. Because Pop by itself is pretty much big everywhere. But for local/amateur groups that play this kind of stuff (strictly electronica/experimental especially), people in the US don’t seem very interested unless you’re Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails or maybe VNV Nation. At the same time, people here in the US do appreciate DJs as much as anywhere else on the planet – and I say ‘bravo!” to that.
31- you have very nice numbers` tell me about lyrical compositions what you can tell about the done work? How does your music creation process work? How do you create a song?
Sergio: I’m pretty fickle about lyrics…meaning that they come from things I’m thinking about at that particular time (which is really not anything unique – it’s what makes most lyrics you here seem pretty current) – books I’m reading, concepts I’m learning about, movies I’m watching. For the SkyDancer album, the music is all Ant’s so I put melodies/lyrics over her finished music – which I think is why it really works well. I can do much better when I’m presented with music-parts or even entire songs and then writing over them. Ant is really the one who can come up with music from nothing.
Ant: When I write music, it’s like scoring a movie to the idea I have – to the film playing in my head.
32-What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Sergio: I’ve heard of that latest label, “futurepop”, that VNV Nation & Apoptygma Berzerk are described as – and I think that is a good label for AntiQuark. I also like to maintain a ‘rock/heavy/metal’ element in the music which is where I come from anyway. My major influences are probably in the thousands, but off the top of my head I would name mostly rock & metal bands like: Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Judas Priest, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Pantera, Journey, Nine Inch Nails, Rush, Dokken, Deep Purple, Alice in Chains.
33-Since the music industry is more open now to purely electronic music has this made things easier for you?
Sergio: I’m not sure that I even know. The music ‘industry’ seems like it’s always been open to any kind of band – once they start selling. 30 years ago, ‘purely electronic’ bands like Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, & Aha were barely doing anything – until they started selling and got on MTV (especially those latter two) – and then the ‘music-industry’ has forever been ‘more open’ to this kind of music. Sorry, I haven’t even answered your question – lol! One fact that has made it easier for us is that rock/metal/industrial & electronic is not so separated now. “Pretty Hate Machine” may not have done so well in 1989 if it had been laced with heavy guitars (like all the hair-metal that was ruling EVERYTHING at the time), but now heavy-guitars seem like a major element in almost everything Reznor records – and this is something that may have been spit upon in the 1980s.
34-So what are their main influences as a band at the moment?
Ant: I would say we do mostly what we feel.
Sergio: I think what she means is that anything is possible artistically and you just go with anything, try anything. When I auditioned for AntiQuark, I had no intention of joining an electronic band. I had just left DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS (a Led Zeppelin/Dream Theater-type metal-band) and was looking to join a more Soundgarden-type or maybe a more-classic-rock-Deep Purple-type band. And here I end up with AntiQuark which was nothing close to those.
35-What is currently inspiring your material as an artist? tell me all about the Electronica / Experimental / Pop scene of Los Angeles,California Verenigde Staten?
Ant: I think we answered that question already.
Sergio: Currently inspiring for me is VNV Nation and that new Alice in Chains.
36-Do you think that people from the music press didn’t expect you to grow up musically?
Sergio: I know that I’ve still got a lot of growing to do personally and as a performer. And maybe when you are at the end of a long, accomplished, artistic career there will still always be critics who try to put you down.
37-what is the key to making music from AntiQuark and what inspires you to keep growing as a musician?
Ant: Music is fun for us to do, but it’s also like a valve-release of tension and stress. And that makes it a reason to live. The key for me is developing a clearer communication of energy & passion from oneself to an audience…and an equal flow of energy back to you from that audience.
Sergio: What inspires me to keep on as a musician is for that simple reward you get when you listen to something you recorded/performed in the past and say,”wow, did I do that? did I really sing that? That’s really good…” And, believe me, I couldn’t that about something I had for quite a few years.
38-How do you see the future of download / Copyright in area of goth-Electronica / Experimental / Pop music ? What are the best ways to develop it in your mind ?
Ant: People will always download – there’s no escape from that. It’s just a matter of getting them to come out to your shows and support the artists in that way.
Sergio: Doesn’t anyone & everyone see how wonderful it is to be able to spread music of any kind so immediately to anywhere on the planet? Was music (or art of ANY kind for that matter) conceptualized/first thought of/created thousands of years ago for the monetary profit it could bring? Or was it simply for passion, expression, story-telling? Leave it to MAN to fuck that up, of course. And now here we are in the 21st century and what better way to get everybody to listen to your creation at least once. And then let them decide whether they care for it or not. That’s certainly up to them not me. And then if they really like it, if it inspires them enough, if it nourishes their passions in any way, they’ll come out to see/hear your performance and you, your music, and they will all become closer from then on. Isn’t downloading the most incredible tool invented so far that helps artists, music, & fans become one? Maybe this is easy for me to say since I’ve never made hundreds/thousands/millions of dollars from album-sales. And so, consequently, I’ve never experienced losing this kind of potential revenue to ‘illegal-downloading’. But I also know that if it wasn’t for this particular concept: I would’ve never learned so much about a band like VNV Nation, for example – I never would’ve listened to more than 1 or 2 of their songs, never would’ve even known that they had so much wonderful music, never would’ve become such a fan, never would’ve learned their entire albums almost by heart, and probably NEVER would’ve paid for my ticket to go see them live here in San Diego – this is what it all comes down to.So, hey, download AntiQuark for yourself and your friends as much as you can – and hopefully you’ll enjoy the music – and then we’ll see you at a show.
39-what was your childhood like?
Ant: I was a very happy kid. I grew up with music & sports and my parents were very supportive.
Sergio: I was the classic-case-nerd – unathletic & unpopular – until I started singing for bands and then suddenly, I actually existed for people whom I’d been invisible to before.
40-If there was one thing you want people to know about your band what would that be?
Ant: The music!!!
41-Please let us know about your upcoming plans, some new releases you like to confirm here
Ant: We’re finishing an album and our agent is booking a tour of Europe for the fall of 2010.
42-It has been a pleasure to interview you on your musical activity,Well,any last words to your ebm-industrial fans?
Sergio: I hope to meet everyone one of you at the show.
43-and what is next on Los Angeles,California Verenigde Staten agenda?
Sergio: The California agenda actually consists of going down to perform in Mexico as often as possible.
44-How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Ant: CDs are for physical sale & download at iTunes, CDBaby.com, Amazon.com.
Sergio: The entire SkyDancer album can be streamed-online at: www.reverbnation.com/antiquark …and also at www.myspace.com/antiquark
45-How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Sergio: I’ve been inspired to sing a lot more in the baritone voice I didn’t think I had.
Ant: I don’t have to think about how to program the drums anymore because Sergio, since he is a very good drummer, is better at that than me.
46-How is the new line-up working out??
Ant: Very well. Sergio is the best singer I have ever found.
47-And, finally, what does the next twelve months hold for the band?
Ant: We hope to be able to get this new album out, get it promoted, a lot of touring and reaching the most people we can.
Sergio: And creating more new music of course.
48-Any last words?
Ant: See above. :
Sergio: Can’t wait to tour through Holland – yes!
49-Thank you for your time Ant Dakini Good luck
Ant+Sergio: Thank you very much!!!
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