Germany’s Neon Insect is the product of Nils Sinatsch; a composer and audio engineer whose history includes video game soundtrack composition and sound design. His latest release is Glitches; a cassette and digital-only album. Neon Insect blends styles of ebm, industrial and a severe dose of originality designed to re-energize a musical style.
We are pleased that Nils was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions for us. Be sure to hit up the links at the bottom of the interview to check out Neon Insect’s work.
The latest release “Glitches” features a track with Claus Larsen of Leaether Strip on it. Can you talk about that track and how you hooked up with Claus?
A few years back I made a remix for Claus, and I just asked, if he would return the favor and add some vocals to an instrumental I have made last year. “L.L.t.Q.” is actually a defacto remix of “Long Live The Queen”, which was released last year on the soundtrack for Abatron. But his vocals inspired me so much, that I decided to rewrite the track using samples from the original track. I consider it as a whole new song, rather than a remix.
The name, Neon Insect strikes a bit of a particular image. But what does the name mean to you?
The name is already more than 10 years old. Older than the current revival of synthwave music/retrowave, which very often plays with a neon colored themes and arstyles – if that is what you mean by ‘striking a bit of a particular image’.
When I came up with that name, I wanted to draw a picture of myself – how and what is nothing I communicate much – but also have something that is related to science fiction. It is mainly inspired by the space flies from a spaceship game called “X”, which I imagine as neon glowing insects in space.
The lead single from “Glitches” is “Thoughtcrimes.” Talk about that track and the thoughts behind that track.
“Thoughtcrimes” is heavily inspired by George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The title itself is ‘newspeak’ – a language invented to limit freedom of thought in this book. Right now it is actually a very political track. We have some form of ‘newspeak’ going on. “Fake News” is a prime example used to attack press and media.
There is a lot of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” going on these days and that’s what this song is about. Freedom of Speech is not a matter of course.
You had some other collaborators on the album, right?
Yes, I worked with Twill.Distilled, from Ohio and with Enlia, a super talented french producer, who is about to release her newest EP (I’ll keep you posted on that).
Have you ever had any “glitches” in a live show and if so, how did you handle them?
Well, of course. So many, it is hard to name one that stood out. There was always something that didn’t go according to plan. Sometimes stuff just breaks and has to be fixed within a short amount of time. But nothing really happened, that stopped a show or lead to a cancellation. Just more stress. Most annoying ‘glitches’ are, when monitors decide to not work anymore and you have to sing/perform deaf.
As we noted on noisebeneaththesnow.com, the diversity in “Glitches” is amazing. What kind of influences, musical and non-musical went into this?
Nonmusical influences besides Nineteen Eighty-Four….hm..I would say cyberpunk and science fiction themes are some that I always find inspiring. Musical influences probably the whole lot of stuff I have heard throughout the years, such as soundtracks, ambient and electronica. Thoughtcrimes has probably some Skinny Puppy and L.L.t.Q clearly shows some NIN influences. But it is not that I planned it.
Can you talk about any range of emotions that went into the album and how that changed from other releases? How else is “Glitches” different than earlier albums?
Well there is no happiness in there. Hope, yes, but no happiness. Anger, frustration is a part of it and also the will to change. But these are not necessarily my personal emotions. There is still the soundtrack component going on. I wrote a huge backstory to “Glitches” which has yet to be discovered.
The difference to previous releases is simply, it is 100% mine. It is not part of any video game, movie or whatever. Therefor it is much closer to my heart. I’m very proud of it.
You also have a bit of a history with composing for video game sound tracks. Talk a little bit about that and if you have future plans to do more of this?
This comes a long road. I started to write for radio plays in 2008, then I started to work on trailer stuff for indie games and currently I’m working on my third game as a soundtrack composer. I do this, sound design and audio engineering for a living as a freelancer. Part of it is because it is a huge field to explore. The perfect thing for a curious guy like myself.
“Glitches” was just released on cassette and digital download. Why is this? Any plans for a re-release or CD?
There are no plans to re-release it on CD. It’s simply not worth it. Soundwise it is nothing else than a wave download from bandcamp and getting a professional run of CDs is just too expensive for such a small artist like myself, who doesn’t tour.
The cassette however is something that is done easily. It doesn’t cost much, it has a certain charm that I really love and cassettes are popular again these days.
You have a VIP option on your bandcamp page. People might be interested to know about this. What is it?
There are a bunch of backlog things available for VIP people, that I’m shy to officially release. So for those who want, can unlock those to subscribe for a month. There is not much more to it 🙂 Right now I don’t have any VIP people, who bothered about it. So I haven’t bothered yet to think about what it could possibly be. But once there are some supporters I’m open to use this tool to give back. But like I said…I haven’t bothered too much about it. It is just there.
What upcoming plans do you have for 2018? Another release, collaboration, or tour?
Yes, I have a couple of plans. I want to carry the momentum “Glitches” generated for me. To lose a few words about this: I didn’t expect my album becoming so popular and it is a wonderful feeling to experience the whole amount of support I received. If I think about that I almost didn’t release “Glitches”, I’m totally happy that I did. Thank you all 🙂
Back to the question: I try to release a follow up to “Glitches” later this year. In fact I’m currently working on the first tracks. Collaborations…I can not say much about it. I have some ideas, but that is just that. Ideas.
Many Many years from now in the future… a very distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old home. In the box they find a Neon Insect album and something to play it on. What do you hope this person knows of your legacy just from listening to the music?
I think the person will know what everyone else knows. There is a lot of passion and dedication in it. But I hope this person is as curious as I am and willing to find out everything “Glitches” has to offer and I hope it will inspire my distant relative in the future to create something with the same passion.
Glitches is available as a limited edition cassette and digital download release now.