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Interview with Acretongue, the dark electro project of Nico J.

One of the surprises, concerning the dark electronic scene comes from a place that none of us would expect, South Africa. Acretongue is the project of Nico Janse van Rensburg (aka Nico J.) and ElektroSpank | FMA had the pleasure to talk to him and had a really interesting conversation.

Acretongue has just released their new full length release "Ghost Nocturne", seven years after "Strange Cargo". To some may look like a really long time, but the result would satisfy even the most demanding ones. As I wrote in "Ghost Nocturne" review, this is probably one of the best dark electronic albums since a very long time. And this is an accomplishment of one man, with the name Nico J. 

A really talented man, dedicated to his art, whether it is the music or his graphic designs and artwork. Great music, dark, hypnotic as it has already been characterized combined with some really beautiful lyrics, taken out from Nico's heart.

Nico accepted with great pleasure our invitation to talk for himself, his project Acretongue and his way of creating music....

ES: Hi Nico. How do you feel these days? There is a new release for you, "Ghost Nocturne", which, in my opinion, is perfect. However, before the details for "Ghost Nocturne", would you like to tell us something about you and Acretongue? Would you like to introduce yourself to ElektroSpank readers?

Acretongue: Hi, thank you for your interest. Acretongue is a solo electronic project from Johannesburg, South Africa. I released my first demo around 2004 and first self-released album around 2007. I signed to Dependent Records in 2011 for the first official release "Strange Cargo".

ES: As we knew and as you told us, you are from South Africa. I can't remember any other South African industrial bands. Tell us about the electro, industrial and dark music in your country. How is the scene there? Do people listen to these dark music genres? Are there any difficulties for you and bands like yours to present their work?

Acretongue: The electro/industrial/dark music is quite small here. It used to be a lot bigger around 10-15 years ago, but most clubs and local radio stations that used to cater for it, have closed down since. There's some small clubs and the occasional big event, but unfortunately, there's not a lot of interest for it anymore.

ES: "Ghost Nocturne" is the third full-length release, after "Nihil" and "Strange Cargo". My feeling is that "Ghost Nocturne", while in the first hearing seems like the sequel of "Strange Cargo", is much more emotional and dark but still with hypnotic synths, compared to the previous releases. Would you like to tell us something about the new album?

Acretongue: Much of the album was made at night, as I suffer from insomnia at times. I guess that had a big influence on the atmosphere of the album as a whole. That's also where the concept of the album was born.

I think "Ghost Nocturne" is less dense and more clearer than my previous work. I tried to bring the concept and atmosphere to the foreground without the clutter of too much sounds. This made it easier to mix in the end as well.

ES:. To me, "Ghost Nocturne" will be one of the top releases in 2019. We know that it took a long time to be released since "Strange Cargo". Can you tell us something about the process and production phase, until it was released? Have you changed anything in comparison with the previous releases?I'm a creature of habit, so my setup hasn't changed much, apart from some hardware/software upgrades.

Acretongue: I finished all the music before I did any vocals for the album. I find that if I do it this way, I can concentrate on one specific task at a time, which in turn, prevents me from going back and forth with changes.

ES: There is already some really good feedback from many magazines for "Ghost Nocturne". How do you feel about that? Which are your plans concerning "Ghost Nocturne" promotion"?

Acretongue: I wasn't sure how "Ghost Nocturne" would be received. I was a bit apprehensive to be honest. Wondering if people would even remember Acretongue. The reception and reviews have been great and the support from fans allover the world, is fantastic! I was quite surprised!

ES: Which are the next moves of Acretongue? What is coming next in the near or not so near future?

Acretongue: I have some things in the pipeline, but it's too early to reveal anything just yet. Some news soon, hopefully. ;)

ES: Where did you get the name Acretongue from? What does it stand for?

Acretongue: The name comes from a character in the Terry Pratchett novel, "The Carpet People". The character doesn't say one word through-out the book, and as a quiet guy myself, I related to him. I thought it could be quite a cool name for a band.

ES: Someone would recognise several influences of dark electro and industrial artists. I believe that your music is something that we haven't heard since a long time now. It is strictly dark emotional, melancholic electro, similar to bands that we find in the past, like ClockDVA. Can you tell us about your music influences? Inspirations?

Acretongue: I discovered Depeche Mode with their "101" live album. I listened to it (and their albums, previous before it) obsessively, until I heard Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like A Hole", Skinny Puppy's "Too Dark Park" and to a certain extent Front Line Assembly's "Caustic Grip". It opened my eyes (and ears) to what else could be done in electronic music. It changed my life.

ES: There are also some great lyrics along with your music. Where do you get inspired from? Are there personal experiences or other stories?

Acretongue: Most lyrics might start from a personal experience, but they tend to evovle into their own narratives. Some songs are sometimes inspired by just one word, and it will grow from there.

ES: Both "Strange Cargo" and "Ghost Nocturne" are coming with beautiful artwork. Can you tell us more about this? Have you design for other bands as well?

Acretongue: I'm a graphic designer by trade. So I'm well-versed in design and it related tools. Doing the graphics myself, also gives me the oppurtunity to represent the music in the visual way that I see it in.

Yes, Iv'e done some design work for Seabound ("Speak In Storms", "Everything" vinyl boxset), Iris ("Radiant"), This Morn' Omina ("Kundalini Rising"), to name a few.

ES: What is Nico J. doing apart from writing music? In your free time? Hobbies?

Acretongue: As mentioned above, I tend to jump between music and graphic design. I like to keep things creative all the time! ;)

ES: Would you like to say something else, something special to our readers and Greek audience?

Acretongue: Thank you for having me. Keep electronic music alive!

ES: Thank you very much for this interview. I wish you all the best and keep writing such great music.

Acretongue: Thank YOU! And thanks for the interest! :)







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About ElektroSpank - FMA - Online Music Magazine

ElektroSpank FMA is an online music magazine about the darkest side of our lives.

We write about Gothic, industrial, dark wave and all of their sub genres. ElektroSpank FMA is not only about music, but for the dark, Gothic lifestyle as well. We try to support the music and scenes we love. For those who have never heard about ElektroSpank before please visit our about page for more info and history.

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