Since the release of the Falls Beautiful single, ex-Atomzero band member Gord Clement has been climbing electronic music charts and gathering a solid fanbase. After being signed to WTII Records, putting out his debut EP Objective, and releasing his first music video 'Bastion', I thought it was high time to talk to Gord about his time with nTTx as well as all the recent news.
Hey there Gord! Nice to have you on the site for a little one-on-one time. How's everything been since the release of “Objective”?
Gord: Thanks so much for having me! So far things are going at a clipping pace. I am doing a showcase for Canada Music Week in Toronto, the video for 'Bastion' was released and I’ve finally found a pair of socks that fit!
Obviously we're going to be talking about “Objective” but I have some precursors before that. I want to take a moment to talk about when you first started writing for nTTx. That came after your split from Atomzero. What was the main difference between writing music on your own versus another person? And what are the good/bad bits and bobs about it?
Gord: Oh, I have been writing as NTT forever, since high-school. I just didn’t do much with it. Some of those songs became AtomZero songs. When I left AtomZero, I added the “x” to update the name. I set a few limits on making nTTx's sound. Limits on the number of instruments in a song and some more technical limits too, but no limits on genre or style...What comes out comes out. Might be robot pop or might be gothy or might be rivethead EBM...Whatever goes. In some ways it is easier, no compromising, no delays but in other ways it is harder. Like if I'm stuck for an idea of let's say a lead line or change or something, I don't have somebody else to grab the reins.
Your first release as nTTx was “Falls Beautiful” which had a huge resonance with the German EBM crowd. It spent four weeks in the top fifteen of the GEWC. Were you prepared for your music to be received so well? Or did it come across as shocking to see your single get so much attention in such a short amount of time?
Gord: Since it was released as a completely independent single, no label or otherwise backing it. I was very happy to see it got the traction it did. Undoubtedly it was partially due to some groundwork laid from the AtomZero work, but I would be completely lost without all the hard efforts of my wife, Anju. She runs my management and business side of things and she is like a ninja and Sharon Osbourne all in one.
On the Falls Beautiful single, a B-Side track was included. It was a cover of Depeche Mode's 'New Dress'. I would guess that Depeche Mode was a huge influence on your music. What other bands and musicians have influenced your style? Is there any one album that you look up to more than others?
Gord: Depeche Mode came along way after my roots were set in. My brother was a popular DJ in the late 70's to 80's and he got me into Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, YAZ, MiSex and also the deep theatrical content of Peter Gabriel and Genesis and Pink Floyd. I was also into skater punk stuff too which then the blending them all led me to EBM; DAF, Nitzer Ebb, Front242. I found the aggression and the technology pairing to a perfect storm. As far as influences from albums, I would have to break it down to Kraftwerk's Neon Lights/Das Model 12” single, Genesis Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and DAF's Alles Ist Gut.
For the release of Objective, you got signed to WTII Records. Being around for fifteen years, the label is a veteran industrial record label. What made you sign to them out of all the other record labels? What did they show you that you liked that other labels didn't?
Gord: I was approached by a few labels after Falls Beautiful was released. They all were promising and great in different ways. I went with WTII because I had already worked with them and some of their artists previously and since they gave me a chance, I gave them a chance. Plus, WaxTrax was a go-to label for me growing up. Just to be associated to that history is a blast. WTII has been excellent and personal with me so far, not treated like a product and being respected as a person goes a long way.
The release of Objective came shortly after your signing to the record label and just came out in April. While I have written a review for the album, I kind of want your own, personal opinion of the EP. What do you like about it? What don't you? And how do you think you'll improve in the future?
Gord: It is a bit nerve wracking to set out a project that is "all me"; every bit on that album was sweated over with no one to share the load, with no one else so intimately tied into every part. I can always listen and pick apart things in a song's mix or arrangement or performance, but then someone will say something praising the bit I think needs to be fixed and it all goes away. Of course the opposite is true when someone is critical about something and for the life of me, I can't figure out what they mean. I think once a bit of work is released out to the world, you have to cut some ties to it. It no longer becomes yours and it takes on a new life, bigger and broader than what I have with it. My part in it, becomes tiny and I'm fine with that. I play my cards close for my meanings in the songs; very rare I let them be known.
The fourth track on the album 'We Kissed' I described as a bit of a romance song. Would you agree with that? And what inspired that song?
Gord: I could see it being a romance song. A poisoned but yearning one I guess. Artists get asked “what inspired” questions a lot, for me I honestly have no idea where most of my songs come from. It is almost like I have a phantom radio tuned to a frequency in my head, and I walk along into some area of coverage and songs just stream in. I mean complete songs, I hear the drums and basslines and lyrical components. I never try to force lyrics to conform to some concept and I never pre-write lyrics then write music around them. They all need to evolve together.
Attached to the album were three remixes by Kiss Is Kill, Stars Crusaders, and Caustic. Did you personally seek out these musicians for the remixes, or was it a joint effort by both yourself and WTII Records? And which remix did you find yourself most enjoying?
Gord: WTII is great as they allow me to deal with my creativity how I see fit and don't try to push an agenda or "in house" artists on me. I love Caustic's energy and aggression balanced by his great sense of humour. Stars Crusader's have a fun sense of story and imagery that I adore. With Kiss Is Kill, I first heard them when I co-hosted a show on Coma Music Magazine's Oontzcast, and I loved it and James and I instantly hit it off. I knew I wanted him inside my music!
The music video for 'Bastion' just premiered recently in April. It seems to fit in so well with the current presidential election and all. How does the music video make the theme of the song come to life more than not?
Gord: It was kind of a coincidence that they came about at the same time and the election just spotlighted the ongoing problems of bigotry and ignorance I refer to in the song and video. The video has three distinct lines. The builder creating the nTTx device, the influence of media pumping fears and agitation, and my head being split and divided by all the ripping apart and segregation we seem to be moving towards instead of coming together as people.
I've seen nothing but positive comments so far for Objective, which is always good. But with the good comes the bad. Have you heard anything negative about the EP so far? And what are your thoughts on review from the media? Does it ever really get to you?
Gord: It would be nice if everyone loved it and such, but that is unrealistic. Even my favourite album by my favourite artist has a song or two I don't care for. I don't really care as much about reviews because of just that. Sometimes I get a kick out of comments when they are so totally off reality making assumptions and such but I don't usually respond. Sometimes the narrative is more fun than the reality.
I remember you saying that you plan on releasing EPs rather than full albums. What is your reasoning behind this? And why do you think it's better than full length albums?
Gord: My initial thought was that a string of EPs allows for a constant pressure of new things for people to gawk at and DJs a constant stream of new finds. Where on an album some songs might get overlooked. Plus, I really like remixes and an EP provides a balance of original and remixes.
But I dunno, next release looks like it might be a full album.
Finishing up, have you any live shows or tours planned? And what else does the future hold for nTTx?
Gord: I've just put together the live staging of nTTx, featuring myself (of course) and Norm Jolin on guitar, Lance Pilon on synth and bass, and Mike Kozak on E-drums. The annual Canadian Music Week is beginning in May in Toronto and I will be playing on the 6th and another Toronto show is being planned. No thoughts on an international nTTx mission yet, it would make more sense after the second release, but I would love to spread my blood and sweat around the world!
And, lastly, I would like to thank you for your time and wish to leave you the space below in case I forgot to mention anything. Cheers!
Gord: Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for supporting all the music! There is no Dana, only Zuul.
nTTx's debut EP is still available for order from WTII Records HERE. Grab it while you can!
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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