Interview – Side-line Magazine

Els DeCuellar”Synthetic music for synthetic people.” This is how Null Device describes their music. “I want our music to make an emotional connection with the listerner. I don't think music is very good at providing a complex description of something, but if it can encapsulate an emotion or two, it's doing its job,” says Eric Goedken about their new album “Sublimation.” Null Device are Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken. They met in college, starting a friendship that resulted in a long-distance musical collaboration.

EO – The basic process we have for song creation is collaborative – I send Eric G an idea or a melody that he writes lyrics for, or he sends me lyrics that I write music for. We then go back-and-forth, sending ideas to each otehr as the song progresses.

When did that collaboration start?
EO – I have been making electronic music in some fashion since 1990. At some point, I started writing music under the Null Device name. But I needed lyrics, and Eric G. Suggested a few things and sent me some of the lyrics he'd written. He also gave me some really good ideas for the music.

Where does your music find its source?
EG – My inspiration usually comes from things that move me or make me feel something unusual. The lyrics I write are often based on something I experience or am thinking about, but I rarely write about the feelings or thoughts that I often have. Only when something strikes me as odd or novel I start to write about it. I really like the ambiguity of poetry. It allows you to say something but leave it up to the listener what is being said, they way each person has a different interpreation of the words.
EO – My musical inspiration is taken form a lot of what I learned in baroque music – I write a lot of “lines” as opposed to “chords.” But as for the kind of music that gives me ideas, these days it's been a lot of glitch techno such as Atom Heart. There there is middle-eastern pop music, and of course the “classic” electronic bands are on constant rotation in my CD player.

You did some remixes with Stromkern. Where did you meet Ned Kirby?
EO – we met at a club we frequented. He was a punk little 16-year-old DJ who could beatmatch EBM like nobody else in town. He started Stromkern a few years later. Now I meet him often. We swap music and such a lot – it's how I ended up remixing Perfect Sunrise and playing on Strange Day Dawning, and how he ended up remixing Footfalls.

You remixed some other music too. What otehr bands would you like to work with or sample?
EO – Well, I try not to sample too many other people. I'd love to have the chance to work with Uwe Schmidt (Lassigue Bendthaus) just because of the wild stuff he does with sound, and I'd like to remix more people in general. Remixing any band is a lot of fun, especially if it's nothing like my normal output. I'd like to figure out how to get more organic instruments involved – get ethnic drummers etc.

Null Device or /dev/null?
EO – Null Device was a technological name, and I thought it sounded clever. It's taken from systems programming. In simple terms, it's a “fake” device where you dump unneeded output.