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Interview with Marc Heal of C-Tec - Fenix, Seattle, WA - 2/13/98

Photos by Jester Copyright © 1998



Jester: Tonight is the last date of the tour, how has the tour gone for you?

Marc: It has been really good. I have really enjoyed it and I think everyone else in the rest of the band has as well. This is the first time that C-Tec has really ever toured and none of us knew what to expect both from the band and from the audiences.

Jester: How much different is it from when you toured with Cubanate last year?

Marc: The key difference for me personally is that Jean-Luc is fronting the band this time around. Although I do backing vocals, most of the time I am just twisting knobs on a keyboard which is quite different from my role in Cubanate. It is very nice not to have the responsibility of fronting the band. It has allowed me to be a bit more lazier on the tour. I have actually had time to sit back and enjoy the tour.

Jester: What are your feelings now that the tour is complete?

Marc: I think that I could handle a few more weeks on the road. Back when we first started the tour, I really wasn't sure how the live dates would proceed with two new live members of the band. The five of us as a live unit had never played together before so it could have gone catastrophically bad or in the case of this tour, phenomenally good. The tour has gone so well that we want to come back to the US before the end of 1998 to tour again.

Jester: Why did you decide to shorten the name of the band from The Cyber-Tec Project to C-tec? Was it to avoid confusion with your old record label?

Marc: The main reason was that when the band was called The Cyber-Tec Project, it was simply meant to be a one off project that was released on the Cyber-Tec label in England. When I was brought into the project, and we started to work on the album, we realized how much we all enjoyed working together. We decided to make it into a more permanent band and do away with the Project at the end because it was no longer a one off collaboration. Since we were no longer involved with the Cyber-Tec label, we dropped the Cyber in favor of just a 'C' to avoid any connection of confusion. To be honest I never really liked the word Cyber anyway.

Jester: Were you an original member of C-Tec?

Marc: In the very beginning I was, however I was so busy with Cubanate at the time that I didn't have time to work on the "Let Your Body Die" EP. So for that EP, the line-up was Jean-Luc DeMeyer, Ged Denton, and Jonathan Sharp. Jonathan left after the EP was recorded and because the EP release coincided with a pause in Cubanate, I joined up again.

Jester: There is a drastic musical difference between the EP and the new full length album "Darker". Is some of this change due to your evolvement in the music writing process?

Marc: Yes. I don't want to dismiss the quality of the EP, but I personally felt that it had a very generic sound to it. I wanted to write something a little more challenging. Jean-Luc also wanted to work with different styles and textures rather than churning out the same old regurgitated music. Now that we have found a bit of confidence in our musical experimentation, I expect the next album will be even more varied and different. We will definitely continue exploring new areas of music because we are all bored with current trend of electronic music.

Jester: How does the writing process work when you compose new C-Tec material?

Marc: The general rule was that Ged and I would piece together a rough idea of a song and take it to Jean-Luc. He would offer suggestions and we would take it back into the studio and tweak it a little. Then Jean-Luc would arrive in the studio work on the lyrical ideas. Once we heard the vocals, we would often need to re-arrange some of the music so they would better compliment each other. As a result, most of the album was written in a very organic process in the studio, often taking three to four days for each track before it reached its final version. In the end everyone offered their suggestions for both music and lyrics rather than strictly dividing the work between members as in other projects.

Jester: Why did you decide to write music to accompany the Dorothy Parker poem 'Epitaph'?

Marc: It was all Jean-Luc's idea. He had been reading a lot of Dorothy Parker's poetry and he felt that 'Epitaph' spoke to him personally. He felt that he wanted to use that poem as lyrics for a song on the album. So we went and received clearance from Dorothy Parker's estate to use the poem.

Jester: Will there be a single released to accompany the new album?

Marc: Yes. The will be a remix single released for 'Foetal'. There will also be a second single, but to be honest I cannot recall which track it is. It might be for 'Nothing', but I cannot be sure.

Jester: How did C-Tec end up being signed to WaxTrax Records?

Marc: It all happened via my WaxTrax deal with Cubanate. For years Cubanate was signed to Noise Records in Germany. WaxTrax has wanted to sign Cubanate for quite some time, but they wanted to wait for the end of our record deal with Noise. As soon as the deal was complete, Cubanate signed to WaxTrax at the end of 1997.

When I was visiting the US to work out the details, I played the rough mix of the C-Tec album for the A&R guy and the label decided they wanted to sign C-Tec as well. As a result, I have sold my soul to WaxTrax for the next few years.

Jester: Will you be touring and promoting a new Cubanate album soon?

Marc: Yes. The album will be released in early April. It is tentatively titled "Interference". We hope to tour in support of the album sometime after the release.

Jester: What kind of music can we expect from the new Cubanate material?

Marc: The new Cubanate is a very radically different album than our previous material. We have completely de-constructed ourselves and changed the whole rhythm end. It is a very hard and experimental album. Right now we have absolutely no idea how our fans will take to the album.

Personally speaking, I am really pleased with it, however I think there are going to be people who hate it. We really try to change styles a little on each album, but the new album is the most radical change we have ever undergone. It is really difficult to describe the changes.

The music isn't so different that you would not be able to recognize it as a Cubanate record, but we have totally changed the vocal and rhythm arrangements in the music. We have taken out a lot of the guitars, but the few guitars that remain are much heavier. The whole album is very sparse. There is a great deal more empty space between all of the musical elements.

Jester: What does a live C-Tec show look like?

Marc: I play keyboards and sing backing vocals on a few tracks, Jean-Luc DeMeyer performs all of the lead vocals, Ged Denton from Crisis NTI is on keyboards, Dave Bianchi from Cubanate is playing guitar, and Julian Beeston formally of Nitzer Ebb is on drums. We have a rather extensive light show that we worked really hard on, but next time around I expect us to get even more extravagant.

Jester: I heard rumors that C-Tec might perform several new tracks that have not appeared on any albums yet. Is that true?

Marc: Yes. When we were writing the album, there were a few songs which didn't make it onto the album, and we play a couple of those on tour. A number of the tracks that you hear at the show later tonight will sound quite different than what you hear on the album. However, we found when we rehearsed some of the album tracks in the studio, they were not conducive to being played live. We decided to substitute some of them for tracks that we left off the album.

Jester: Will you be performing some of the slower tracks?

Marc: It really depends on how the crowd is responding to the set. Most of the time we have played the slower tracks, but we won't play them if the crowd doesn't seem like they will enjoy it. Personally, I don't like performing a set full of fast energy songs. I actually like to intersperse the set with slower material.

One of the deliberate things we have done with C-Tec, is to make the music slightly more accessible. We have all become bored with the strutting and the attitude that have become the staple of this kind of music. As a result we have really tried to write some material that has a much more personal and often emotional bent to it.

Jester: Will you be performing any material from side projects tonight, or will it be a straight C-Tec set.

Marc: All of the material performed will be from C- Tec. I understand that people might want us to play popular tracks from our other projects, but we really want to try and disassociate C-Tec from the rest of our other bands. I know that the tour was booked with the bylines of Front 242, Cubanate, and Nitzer Ebb, but we are really trying hard to create a sound and identity for C-Tec apart from the other projects.

Jester: Will the "Let Your Body Die" EP be re-issued now that Fifth Column Records has folded?

Marc: I doubt it. Fifth Column Records are currently in the middle of a huge financial mess. I certainly don't want to get involved with all of the legal entanglements that would occur, should we try to re-obtain out rights to that EP. I would rather just try an forget the whole mess and move on with life.

Jester: What would you consider your favorite song(s) from "Darker"? Why those song(s)

Marc: I really like 'Nothing' and 'Silent Voices'. 'Nothing' really sounds better in a live situation and I really regret not having added extra guitar to the album version. As for the other track, I really like the fragile nature of the lyrics for that song alongside the more violent nature of the musical background. I want to really give people a bit more honesty in the music without compromising on toughness and I think that song does it very well.

Jester: What does the future hold for C-Tec?

Marc: We have a European tour, which is currently being booked at the moment. Front 242 and Cubanate will be touring the US this summer. Then we want to record the second album in the Fall for release at the beginning of 1999. Hopefully we can come back and tour here again around that time.

Hopefully for the next tour, the album will have been released before we begin the tour. The key problem with this tour was that it began the day after "Darker" was released. As the tour went on, more and more people heard the album and the shows began to fill-up, but during the first week of the tour people hadn't even heard the album and the crowds were small. It is so much nicer to play to an audience who had a chance to listen and digest the music.


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Last Modified: Monday, 24-Sep-2012 16:43:18 MST