In how much, do you feel, are creative decisions shaped by cultural differences – and in how much, vice versa, is the perception of sound influenced by cultural differences?
The market for my work tends to be dictated by fashion. Sometimes my work is popular and sometimes is isn't. I have often wondered whether I could follow fashion in what I produce but I just can't work that way. I would perhaps be a lot better off if I could, but perhaps I wouldn't have enjoyed the longevity that I have.
The market is a fickle mistress and once you become too popular you tend to lose credibility. I am told, and I hope it's true, that I have managed to hang on to my credibility. I hope so because it is important to me.
The relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema most importantly - has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?
Wow. Ok. Close your eyes and listen to music and it can transport you anywhere. Plug your ears when looking at a masterpiece and you lose yourself. Combine and stimulate both senses, then logically it means that you can be transported somewhere and get lost there?
There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
Squarely in the middle. It is not viable to release music as a product. I love the feel, the touch and the look of an album. Artwork is massively important to Emperor Machine. I want my releases to be collector's items. I try to make sure that my albums are available as a physical product.
However, it's also important that people listen to my music and have the choice how they want to get it. I also love the ability to deliver instant free music. Anyone who doesn't accept and embrace the digital age is not going to last long.
The role of an artist is always subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
I want people to enjoy listening to my music. I'm afraid that's about as political as I get.
Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?
I think disposable music always has and always will be disposable. If I didn't believe that quality music could stand out and survive the test of time, then it would probably be time to pack up and go home.
How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?
This comes back to the digital question. Social media and the Internet enable me to deliver free music. People like free and I hope people will listen and like what I do.
Usually, it is considered that it is the job of the artist to win over an audience. But listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
I do like positive feedback and I do value critical feedback. Will it change what I do? It's more an issue of it can't change what I do because of the processes I adopt. There will be people who like what I do and there will be people who think that I have taken a wrong turn and headed up my own derriere with certain pieces.
I accepted long ago (after some chart success) that popularity was perhaps too restrictive and I find relative obscurity a comfortable place to be. When everyone stops buying and listening I will take the hint and stop releasing. Even then though, I doubt I will stop producing!! I do really care what people think and nothing gives me a bigger buzz than seeing people enjoy my music but I honestly don't try to predict.
Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?
The sheer volume of releases in some way has made the process a lot more honest than it used to be. Back in the day, I knew that chart positions could be engineered and that positive reviews could be bought. It's a buyer's market. People aren't stupid and they know what they like.
The media has a massive role to play in creating personalities but I still think that music speaks for itself. I may be naive but it's what I believe.
Listen to The Emperor Machine at soundcloud.com/theemperormachine