Metroland is an electronic duo that consists of Passenger A and S, they combine the best elements of Kraftwerk, Komputer and Nitzer Ebb – but in a more brutal manner. Their main concept circles around riding the Metro and enjoying the view you are presented there. But for some reason, they do not ride the Metro very often themselves! They prefer to take the car. Anyway, they have released some fascinating songs up until now all about the Metro. These songs represent different destinations on your journey. Currently signed to the gracious belgian Alfa-Matrix label, home to Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, Plastic Noise Experience and many more. I got the opportunity to interview them about the Metro, when they will be releasing new material, why they are so secretive and much more!
Have you been active in any other band before you became passengers?
– We both have been fiddling around with other stuff indeed. Although it was electronic music, the style was totally different, a more brutal edge. Still, electronic music is one thing we will never give up.
It seems like Passenger A and S are very fond of riding the metro. Could you explain why?
– When we started creating tracks for Metroland we had no idea which direction to take, we didn’t even have a proper name for the band at the very beginning, we just ‘created’ music. We started from a complete white page, no limits, except it had to be music without any acoustic input, pure electronics, no boundaries, with only one goal: making something nice. Suddenly one year after we were surprised we had enough songs to work out to complete an album. And the ideas flowing out of these tracks made us work around a concept, which was beginning to have more and more shape, Metroland was a fact without thinking it over way before…. it was a flow of events.
Realizing that you’ve chosen those names because you’re passengers in a system of tubes, roads and infrastructure – a question comes to mind: why so secretive, is that a part of the image?
– It is indeed part of the image, as we don’t particularly focus on keeping our identity secret. On our facebooksite you can see pictures from ourselves taken in the subway. The A and the S are simply the letters of our first name. But when you take a closer look, do you know everyone that is travelling the subway? All those millions of daily commuters are unknown to each other, they are all passengers, and in most cases you won’t even know their first name!
Would you think of your music as enriching the lives of those commuting, making them appreciate the trip a little bit more and notice what passes them by?
– Well, it should. We actually wonder how many people do look around and enjoy the view. It’s a funny theme when you consider it, such a common thing like the underground gets glorified in music, a kind of ode to these millions that don’t think about that every day habit of travelling the underground. We hope to be the first band ever to focus on that theme!? We even have written an anthem for the underground, a song called ‘Theme For Metroland’. Should be played by every commuter, every underground should support this track, as this is especially for them! For a change we don’t deal with love in our songs, or write about broken hearts or the misery in the world. That has been done in millions of songs before, we tried something original (although ‘Trans Europe Express’ was our predecessor).
What does Passenger A and S like to do when they aren’t commuting?
– Oh, so many things, we are normal people, daily job, children. We enjoy a good pint of beer, a good movie now and then, and above all, we are true music addicts, listening, collecting, creating… Nothing else so extraordinary worthwhile mentioning here.
When you’re commuting, where do you preferably begin and end your destination in the Metro?
– The funny part is, we hardly travel the underground, as our jobs don’t allow us to do. But we do enjoy a ride by car when playing your favourite tune.
Are you the modern day Kraftwerk? Packaged and placed in a time-machine – for everyone’s enjoyment in 2012?
– We take this as a compliment, but we leave that to the crowd’s opinion. No one can replace a legend like Kraftwerk and we don’t tend to either. Kraftwerk is indeed a main influence, but our music is more complex than Kraftwerk. The strength of Kraftwerk is to keep it simple and attractive, less is more, and they can do that in such a massive way. Metroland consitst of multi-layered sequences, often more up-tempo and our bass-sequences tend to be little more aggressive than Kraftwerk. We aim more for the best of Kraftwerk, Komputer and Nitzer Ebb.
Could you recommend any other enjoyable music to listen to?
– Oh goodness, where do we need to start, for sure, our main influences Komputer and Kraftwerk. We both adore Marsheaux, the best synth pop band from the past decade, no doubt. We also adore Nitzer Ebb or even an OMD. So much music we love, but mostly it is either fully electronic or mostly electronic (New Order to name one).
When listening to Driving through mind the gap, there seems to be somewhat of a hidden lyric from Iggy Pops song The Passenger? Is that also where your name comes from, or am I totally wrong?
– It is true we used that particular part of the lyrics as it fits the concept in total, it felt witty to do (not many noticed until now), though Iggy Pop is of absolutely no inspiration to us. The source for our band name comes directly from the Looking Down On London (Metroland) remix by Komputer.
Is your music representing different destinations both musically and lyrically throughout your songs?
– Yes, as stated, we don’t create limitations to ourselves, so if we care to put a kind of more aggro type bass sequence, we will. Lyrics are not really our main focus, the concept doesn’t fit in-depth lyrics. But this is no statement saying we will never write them one day.
There seems to be very scarce information about your releases. Have you only released the songs available on soundcloud and your website?
– Logic, Metroland is a brand new band in the scene, without any history. We did not even send demo’s, we just put up a very efficient and conceptual website (www.metrolandmusic.com), did send the link to few labels whom we were interested in, got a lot of positive reactions and few offerings. And thus we did sign with the Belgian based label Alfa-Matrix, home to sounding names like Front 242, Pouppée Fabrikk, Plastic Noise Experience and the most recent Nitzer Ebb album! We will release a first cd in September 2012, immediately in a regular version and a LTD edition box holding an additional cd full of marvelous remixes, well picked out, so we are sure our tracks don’t get screwed up. A digital 12-inch will be released little before. By the end of 2012 we hope the world gets to know us.
Will you be releasing any album or EP in the near future? And will we be seeing you live anywhere soon?
– At this stage we don’t have any live performances on our mind, too soon, we are fully focusing on getting the album ready. Once we have the album finished we will start thinking about a live concept, especially the how to appear on stage.
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
– We hope to get the underground into the highlight, until then, greetings from the underground.