Around the same year that disco was literally demolished in Chicago's Comiskey Park, electronic music was taking new form in Belgium with the formation of Absolute Body Control. There was a significant difference between the automated beats and synthetic bass lines used in Donna Summer dance clubs hits and ABC's unpolished slightly detuned melodies. Influenced by the early New York and British art punk movement, Dirk Ivens created this project years before he eventually joined The Klinik and formed Dive making him an EBM household name. On Saturday October 22nd he returns to Los Angeles with Eric Van Wonterghem to play SUBSTANCE as Absolute Body Control.
How different was the Belgian electronic music scene in the early 80’s compared to Germany or the UK?
Dirk Ivens: In Belgium you had very nice electronic bands and most of them like ourselves, A Grumh, Parade Ground, Snowy Red, Front 242 and The Neon Judgement all had in common that we were influenced by SUICIDE and WIRE. Big influences! We all had different electronic gear(analogue) therefore we had to invent our own sounds but that's also the reason why we all sounded different. Later on the electronic field moved more to the dance scene and Belgium has a very good name for this and even came up
with the New Beat.
Was there ever a time when you felt that you could push Absolute Body Control to a big indie label like Mute or even a major label?
Dirk Ivens: We contacted only once an indie label and that was Antler Records who started to sign and release bands. We got a letter back that it didn't fit in their release schedule. So we released everything on tape by ourselves. Some years ago we put out the ABC cd boxset including all those tapes and we included the Antler record just for fun. Maybe we weren't just good enough for that time, who knows?
With other projects so different from each other (Klinik, Sonar, Dive) Do you or Eric ever share common ideas or elements in each of your other projects?
Dirk Ivens: When we are together we don't need many words to communicate, we know each other already for decades and it's always very clear when we start with an idea for which project it will be because they all sounds different, very different. ABC more poppy, minimal, SONAR industrial beats, no voice and so on...
What was the specific inspiration for your first single “Is There An Exit?” I feel a lot of darkness there opposite the Martin Rev-esq synthline. It gives a perspective of being buried alive literally and figuratively.
Dirk Ivens: Recorded with almost no gear, very simple. I remember that the people in the studio didn't know very well what to think of it. We played with a moog prodigy and a Wasp plus a rhythm machine. Very minimal but i loved that sound. The lyrics, oh my God, it's been so long ago. I always thought that the song from Peter Frampton had that line " i want you ...show me the way ...." , maybe it came from there haha.