Paradox Obscur is Toxic Razor and Kriistal Ann. Over the last 3 years, the minimal synth duo has released 2 albums and a few EPs as well as releasing music from the other projects they are involved with. Over the last 8 months, the band released their acclaimed Anacrusis LP and are set to release the highly anticipated collector’s 7” box set, Ατραπός. Both Toxic Razor and Kriistal Ann have a great chemistry together and it is revealed in their art. Take a few minutes to explore the Paradox Obscur!
At the end of 2015 you released your second album, 'Anacrusis'. The album delivers a powerful electro minimal synth sound forged with real hardware and Kriistal Ann's distinctive vocals. This seems to be a nice mix with the two of you. How did Paradox Obscur come to be? What's the secret to your creative chemistry?
Toxic Razor: Thank you for your kind words. In fact there are no secrets, values find their meaning when there is a common idealism, understanding, admiration, trust, respect for the specificity of the other. The greatest power in all relationships is to know how to share. It had already preceded our first musical project R.O.I.M and we continued the creative road together in other projects such as Paradox Obscur, always contributing the motivating personal creativity of each other.
Why 'Anacrusis' as a title?
Toxic Razor: In ancient Greek: ἀνάκρουσις means "pushing up". In music, an anacrusis (also known as a pickup) is a note or sequence of notes, which precedes the first downbeat in a bar respectively in a musical phrase. We felt that this title can represent ideally the songs of the album because it’s a very powerful and up-tempo work, which pushes up the inner world of the listener. We can describe it as a dark monument full of analog tendencies ready to conquer the dancefloor.
How did you end up working with Peripheral Minimal? Paradox Obscur seems fit nicely with all the talent on the label's roster like Attrition, Spatial Relation, Kubo, Hidden Place and Replicanti to name a few.
Toxic Razor: Indeed PM has a very promising roster with many talented artists onboard. We we’re looking for a label that promotes exactly the minimal synth sound and PM was a perfect option at that time.
Have you thought about any future collaboration with any of your Peripheral Minimal label mates or other artists?
Toxic Razor: Well that is something that depends on our free time, but generally we are open to any kind of collaboration.
Tell us about splitting your time with your projects (Paradox Obscur and Beatbox Machinery) as well as running your own label Werkstatt Recordings that seems to release something every week. Also, Werkstatt covers a wide range of genres from Italo Disco to post punk to retrowave and beyond. You have released music from Gost, Protector 101 and Dan Terminus, which are some well-known acts in the synthwave/retrowave scene. How do you find all of this talent or do they find you?
Toxic Razor: It's a hard task but I always manage to find time for my projects and the label, the driving force behind is the music, no matter the fatigue from the daily routine, music is always a refreshing gust of wind above this angst-ridden earth. Well I must say that Gost was the first artist ever which I contacted for joining Werkstatt, but most of the time it's the other artists that send me their work under consideration for a possible release. The label receives many demos from various genres ,but I always enjoy most the synthwave/Italo disco scene.
Kriistal, what's the best part of working as a solo artist? Are the mindsets different for each project? Are Paradox Obscur themes different than the themes in your solo work? For those of us not familiar with your solo work, please tell us about that and how you decide where your ideas for song writing end up?
Kriistal Ann: A solo project is a natural progression for an artist who has worked as a whole in a band. It is the need to create something completely personal, based on a full-year experience and qualities that bring his soul. For me it has never worked as a need to promote myself individually. I never thought whether the public would recognize this project. Was and is an internal need for more contact with my inner sphere, a reflection of my existence.
Every track on 'Anacrusis' offers some intense beats paired with gripping vocals. As for the song titles "Flesh", "Burn", "Blackened Rite", "Shadows" and "Spectral Isis", do they reveal any esoteric connections or occult influences? Who writes the lyrics or is it a joint approach?
Toxic Razor: Usually we both contribute on the lyrics section, but for tracks like the aforementioned, I had the chance to write down the lyrics and express my thoughts/feelings on matters such as free will, desires, rebellion and religious madness...
How often do you play live? You've played the Death Disco event in Athens recently. What were some of the highlights at that event? What's next of the live show horizon?
Toxic Razor: We have played live three times with Paradox Obscur project so far and there is another event that’s planned for the coming autumn, we would love and we are open to do more live shows, because the sharing and interaction with the audience is always positive impact on the development of the band and artistic work.
The highlight from the negative side was that we were asked by the club owner to remove songs from the programmed set list, nevertheless the audience seemed excited and harmonized with us and our emotions were evident for the reason that we played the first time in front of the Athenian public.
Why only 3 times? Is it because of how busy both of you are?
Toxic Razor: Generally the season is difficult for artistic ventures. On one hand is the time that pushes each of us; on the other the need for expression of any kind goes against stiff competition. There is no answer to this question in a sense, however, we are open to serious suggestions and willing to make the world have fun and feel exquisite (because there is also of us an imperative). But there is another live show that has been scheduled for September, this time on Vienna (Austria) so people will have the chance to watch us performing.
As a final question, what lurks in the future for Paradox Obscur?
Toxic Razor: We are in the process of recording our new album, as well as finding a label that would be interested in launching this project, which we plan to release somewhere in 2017. We are excited and more mature than ever to offer a delicate work, full of passion and melody, with songs that hit straight to the heart's center.
Kriistal Ann: For now, I decided to devote myself entirely to my main project Paradox Obscur, and to stay away from my solo project, since I already have three albums (want to pick up some new experiences, time for endoscoping inspirations and ideas, which will be implemented from the new year onwards). I am in the process of integration of the debut album by the project Sine Silex, which I have with French artist Chroma Carbon (Francois Ducarn), the brain behind Factice Factory. Also there is collaboration with the great synthwave artist GOST on a track, which will be included on his new album coming out this fall from Blood Music and another great collaboration coming in autumn with the one and only Martin Bowes of Attrition, which will be released, from Wave Records.
Toxic Razor: The 3rd album for Paradox Obscur is of most importance for my musical adventures, since I’ve put much time and effort on this project the last 2.5 years. It will be the logical sequence of our previous albums but more atmospheric and melodic this time I think. Considering the other projects, I have many releases waiting in line with my retrowave/synthwave alias Beatbox Machinery and some very cool collaborations with other artists from the newretrowave/80s scene. he new EP from my ebm/dark electro project Geometry Combat is ready and scheduled for release this fall. Many other projects are in the works and will see the light of day later this year and during 2017, ranging from techno/electro/synthwave/minimal synth/ebm/Italo disco and more.
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