Anka Wolbert: "In a mad devotional style"

ANKAGeschlagene 14 Jahre ist es her, dass zuletzt Songs von Anka Wolbert auf Platte erschienen. Zu dieser Zeit war Anka noch Mitglied von Xymox. Die niederländische Wave-Band war 1991 längst im Pop angekommen mit einem Majordeal und über 300.000 verkauften Platten im Rücken. Aber wie so oft macht Erfolg nicht zwangsläufig glücklich... Die Originalbesetzung der Band zerbrach und während Ronny Moorings weiter Musik unter dem Namen Xymox veröffentlichte, kursierten um die anderen Gründungsmitglieder Anka Wolbert und Pieter Nooten nur jede Menge Gerüchte ohne aber, dass eine neue Platte erschien. Zeit für Aufklärung. Anka Wolbert berichtet über die Gründe für ihren Ausstieg bei Xymox, über ihre Projekte Vaselyn und Ambush sowie über ihre neue musikalische Zusammenarbeit mit Sophie Zeyl. Da die Xymox-Story aus Sicht von Ronny Moorings ja auch hinlänglich bekannt ist, wurde es schließlich auch mal Zeit die andere Seite zu hören...

Viel muss man ja zu Clan of Xymox nicht mehr sagen: Wer die sphärisch-dichte Musik des 4AD Labels mag oder ein Schwäche für ambienten New Wave hat, der kommt an Alben wie „Clan of Xymox“, „Medusa“ oder der leichteren Popvariante in Form von „Twist of Shadows“ nicht vorbei. Vergleicht man diese Musik mit dem, was Ronny Mooring seit dem Ende der 90ern wieder unter dem Namen Clan of Xymox veröffentlicht, merkt man schnell, dass bei den neuen Songs viel von dem Zauber alter Tage verloren gegangen ist: Das Xymox einmal Maßstäbe in Sachen Eleganz und mollverliebter Melancholie gesetzt haben, lässt sich nur noch erahnen.

ImageFrüher war Xymox eben keine One-Man-Show, sondern lebten von der kreativen Zusammenarbeit von Ronny Moorings, Anka Wolbert und Pieter Nooten, die alle Songs schrieben und auch sangen. Gerade Anka Wolbert begeisterte mit ihrem sehnsüchtig-fragilen Gesang in Songs wie „Twisted“, „7th Time“ und einem der größten Erfolge der Band "Imagination". Die Unterschiede im Songwriting wurde dann auch spätestens beim letzten Xymox-Album in der Originalbesetzung "Phoenix“ (1991) deutlich, bei dem die bestens Songs von Anka Wolbert und nicht von Ronny Moorings stammten.

Wenig später erfolgte jedoch der Ausstieg von Anka bei Xymox und sie verschwand für Jahre von der Bildfläche. Immer wieder kursierten Gerüchte, dass sie ein neues Label gefunden hat und mit Toni Halliday (Curve) bzw. Pieter Nooten an neuer Musik arbeitet. Aber es blieb bei diesen Gerüchten. Erst durch die Plattform, der von Anka Wolbert gründeten Multimediaagentur „Ambush“, gab es Ende der 90er Jahre wieder die Möglichkeit neue Musik von ihr als MP3-Files runterzuladen. Informationen zu diesen Songs gab es jedoch nicht. Die Musik war reduzierter als zu Xymox-Zeiten, aber Ankas Stimme erzeugte gleich wieder diese Intensität.

Seit 2004 kann man aber wieder auf neue Musik und Live-Auftritte von Anka Wolbert hoffen. Seit dieser Zeit arbeitet sie zusammen mit der holländischen Songwriterin Sophie Zeyl an derem neuen Album. Bei dieser Zusammenarbeit ist auch wieder Pieter Nooten als Produzent beteiligt und laut Pressetext von Sophie Zeyl kann man folgendes erwarten:

"combining her more organic, acoustic sound with sophisticated electronics. Pretty, but also rootsy popsongs are layered with eclectic soundscapes, ranging from vintage keyboards, analoque effects and silky samples, to laidback beats."

Ich bin sehr gespannt. Aber nun zum Rück- und Ausblick von Anka Wolbert...


How did you experience in 1991 the end of Xymox? Why did you leave them?

Anka Wolbert:
Things were getting more and more strenuous, especially the working relationship I was in with Ronny. The whole thing ended on a classic rock&roll note (no pun intented): there was a big argument on the last tour we did between Ronny and me which went way beyond healthy human relations, and I felt I could not cope any longer under those circumstances. Mind you, it took me months to realize that retracting myself from Xymox would be the sanest thing to do for myself. After all, I had started the band with Ronny about 10 years before and Xymox was and had become my life.

{qtube vid:=uQvBJVEvdnc}
XYMOX - Imagination (Twist of Shadows/Polygram, 1989) 

What do think afterwards about this time being a member of Xymox? Is there still a relevance for you? Are you interested in the songs Ronny Mooring now publishes under Clan of Xymox?

Anka Wolbert:
The songs I have written while in Xymox, and the songs I have co-written with Ronny and/or Pieter are all still intense and relevant to me. The time spent in Xymox has also been a very intense and let’s say educational period in my life. I’ve learnt a lot about life, people, and what succes can do to people and their personalities.

I have not been interested whatsoever in the songs Ronny has produced after I left Xymox. To be honest, I never had great faith in his songwriting. (Anm. Unruhr: Das würde erklären, warum auf neuen Clan of Xymox-Album nie mehr als 3 herausragende Stücke sind...) The ‘old’ Xymox was always a combination and working together of 3 individuals: Ronny, Pieter Nooten, and me. To me, Xymox was never one of them by themselves, and I consistently believed in the strength of the artistic combination of us three. Sometimes things were kind of rough (and there certainly were good reasons for Pieter to leave a few times before he left for good, and before I did), but there was also a magical energy between us which resulted in some great music.


Please tell about the time after Xymox. In the mid-nineties it was rumored that you produce a new record in co-operation with Toni Halliday (Curve), later with Pieter Nooten. Wasn’t it true or why didn’t you publish anything?

Anka Wolbert:
Yes, I did work together with Toni for about 8 months on a new project. Curve had just split up then, and I had a lot of songs I wanted to shape into a ‘band’-situation. We had great fun working together, and we actually got a publishing deal on that. We had started to look for ‘the rest of the band’ when it probably struck me I was getting myself into a similar situation to the Xymox setup. This is kind of hard to explain because I don’t want to sound traumatized or anything (but I probably was:) ) It is hard to recall the exact order of things but what I do remember next is continuing by myself (re-shaping the songs, finding new melodies singing them myself as well) and getting a development deal by 4-AD! I was very happy with that, being given the chance to work everything out at my own pace. I then got Pieter involved on it as well and a year and a half later we got signed under the name ‘Vaselyn’ by EMI N.Y.

Now this is a long story why nothing got published after all of this… Basically EMI decided to re-organize the company (about a year after signing us) and to move everything to the west coast (to the Virgin head offices in L.A.) Lots of people got fired (big companies tend to do these kind of things every so often?), and we subsequently lost our A&R person in that process. If we had put out the album without A&R, it wouldn’t have gotten any support from within the label. Our manager advised us not to release with them and actually sueing them for not living up to the contract. Which we ended up doing, and which we did win but took another year to settle. The good news was to get the rights of the songs back, the bad news was nothing got released. If I would do it again I think I would have preferred to get the album out instead.

Some of your songs under Ambush / Vaselyn can be loaded from the Ambush homepage. When did you write these songs and tell me about the project Vaselyn.

Anka Wolbert:
Well, from the above you can imagine I don’t have a particularly high regard of the record industry, I think it’s a pretty fucked up industry. Strangely enough it can be very diffucult to stay away from the majors. I find great pleasure in putting these songs online, just because they’re mine (and partly Pieter’s), and I don’t want anybody to pay for them, or for the songs to end up in other structures. I basically had my luck with them and I’ve set them free :)

If one listen to these songs one can realize that it’s a different type of music style and no wave pop anymore. I think the music has become more acoustic (and minimally). What do you think about this development?

Anka Wolbert:
No idea. I hope I never get stuck in a certain style or period, that would be dreadful.


When was Ambush founded and who is also involved?

Anka Wolbert:
Hmm, I’m really bad with years. I think I used Ambush as a DJ name when I was living in N.Y., then I used it as a producer’s name on music I recorded while I was living in London. I don’t know it feels like something that doesn’t belong to me and at the same time is totally mine, so that creates a sense of freedom I guess.

What’s your concept of Ambush. It’s amazing that on one hand you offer internet design and on the other hand you also have an own recording studio. How important is the music for Ambush?

Anka Wolbert:
Good question. If only I knew myself. On the one hand I think I should solely make music and do nothing else, but experience has taught me about the processes involved. I’m not sure I want to be in it in that way. I’m still looking for other ways, also away from pop music, I would love to make purely devotional music at some stage, weird minimilistic or outrageous music about love.

For the moment I’m not giving in to that yet. Internet design gives a sense of order, it’s creative in a logical way (well, music is too), and funny enough it can also create a ‘flow ‘ feeling, but then much more distant than music does but maybe that’s a comfort rather than a flaw.


Sophie Zeyl & ANKAAt the moment you work for Sophie Zeyl’s new record. Are you producer or also songwriter? How did you get to known each other? Do you plan to continue the co-operation in the future?

Anka Wolbert:
Things are starting to overlap with Sophie. I started out just being producer but the music is changing while time goes on and I think it’s becoming more of a musical collaboration. Yes, we will continue to work on it untill there is something that can be released. We’re talking to labels in the UK, so hopefully something fruitful will happen with that in the near future.

Pieter Nooten also worked for this record as producer. Unfortunately we haven’t heard of him a long time. Do you know what he did after his Cyberia/First Contact-Projects (Hypercycle Records)?

Anka Wolbert:
Pieter and I are close friends, and we love working together musically, so it was very natural to both get involved on Sophie’s music. As I have said before, he was involved with me on the Vaselyn music for a good few years while we were both living in London in the end nine-ties.  After that, well, you have to ask him yourself, he’s always doing things but he can be a bit reclusive as well I guess.


Finally are you planning to publish music still as mp3 or can you imagine to issue one day a record of Anka Wolbert/Ambush?

Anka Wolbert:
I think I have bordered on that one before. Time will tell. I have long considered putting out the Vaselyn stuff as an album, but somehow it belongs to the past now, and I’m not interested to so for the money, so those songs will remain to live online as mp3’s, I think. But there is a lot more songs I haven’t touched yet, I don’t know yet what to do with those. If I were to re-record (read: in a mad devotional style :)), I would definitely want to put it out as a record.

Your personal music top 5 at the moment?

Anka Wolbert:
Something in the vain of Radiohead, Mum, Antony and the Johnson’s, PJ Harvey and Arvo Part.

Seit Mai haben Anka Wolbert, Sophie Zeyl und Pieter Nooten ihr eigenes Label mit dem Namen i-rain records gegründet und dort ist auch das erste Soloalbum von ANKA "Cocoon Time" erschienen. (hier gehts zur Plattenkritik).

(Clan of) XYMOX Biographie:
Teil 1: Subsequent Pleasures (1983 - 1985)
Teil 2: Medusa (1986 - 1987)
Teil 3: Imagination (1988 - 1991)
Teil 4: Metamorphosis (1992 - 2001)
Teil 5: Vaselyn, Hypercycle, Born for Bliss (Post-XYMOX)

Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!