I first heard the prototype of March when I did my “famous” interview with the band in early 1984. It sounded quite different then. It was slower and had bass guitar on it but no keyboards. The sequencer was less defined. But all Rodney’s words and the beat were there and they have never changed. I was very intrigued.
When I joined the band we changed the music quite significantly. Paul played keyboard rather than bass. My guitar was upfront and aggressive. It was faster and harder.
The single version was the sound of us learning to make a record and the video we made shows how we were then. It was filmed in the cellar where we recorded the single. More rock and roll than the original version but looking at the future.
When we got to record it again for Grenade we set the live band up in the studio and blasted it out as we would onstage. You can hear the chaos that could be witnessed at our gigs. The sequencer now angrily and remorselessly hammering away and John’s sax adding wild spice to the recipe. Finally attaining a kind of freedom.
Since we have just released the newly remastered version of our first album Grenade, we thought it might be interesting for people to hear the background of how the record came about.
So let’s start with the first song: March.
Rodney: “This was the first song I ever wrote for The Cassandra Complex. I had just moved to Leeds, and had built a little studio in a spare room at my house at 4 Ashville Avenue in Leeds 6. One day while I was in there messing around with my EDP Wasp synthesiser and Spider sequencer I came up with the basic sequence that forms the backbone of the song. As it was playing I heard lots of men start shouting and chanting outside in the street. I looked out of the window and saw a huge crowd marching past with banners. It was a Right to Work march, where unemployed people were marching to London to protest about not having jobs.
As someone interested in technology and science fiction I found it very odd, and very short-sighted, to be protesting about needing to “work” and get paid by menial wages by some capitalist industry. Surely they should be protesting about not needing to work? And that became the inspiration for the lyrics of the song.
I wanted to write something really simplistic and direct that expressed the shortsightedness of this working class mentality that couldn’t see or reach for anything more than going to work at a grinding job every day and then coming home and watching TV every evening. And that considered that to be “freedom”.
In the end, the song became something like an extended meditation on the nature of freedom itself, and what it meant to be “free” – and freedom from what?
I started singing the lyrics and playing guitar along with them. I knew instantly that I had hit upon the formula for what I wanted The Cassandra Complex to be: an intense, robotic rhythm track, powerful lyrics, and distorted guitar over the top. And that was the start…”
Many months later we recorded the first, very minimal version of the song and released it as our first 12″ EP on Complex Records. It got great reviews and sold quite well, but it still wasn’t as powerful as we wanted it to be. So when it came time to record Grenade we decided to take the opportunity to re-record it and throw everything we had into it. And that’s how it became the first song on the first album.
The full 70 minute show from Wave Gothic Treff is now on YouTube, complete with sound recorded directly from the mixing desk, so it sounds pretty damn good. Only one static camera positioned on the balcony, but at least you get to see the whole show from there 🙂
So for you guys who couldn’t make it to any of the shows this summer, at least now you get the next best thing!
Thanks to François Zappa for this excellent interview
Great interview with Rodney in Electrospank magazine this month – go check it out!
The newly remastered version of our classic first album Grenade is out now on all of the usual streaming services. Go have a listen – we think Rodney did a great job producing this, it sounds amazing!
Lots of people have been asking for CX merchandise… and now we have it!
Our brand new merchandise store is now open, with lots of things to choose from – not just shirts, but mugs, mouse pads, phone cases, and everything else your little black heart craves…
Note that all of the shirts in our online store are organic cotton – this makes them a little bit more expensive than normal, but is much better for our environment. We think it’s worth it.
If you want to support our work, this is a great way to do it. Feel free to stream our music for free, but please buy our merch! 😎
We will be headlining the first day of the Bimfest Festival in St. Niklaas, Belgium on December 13. Early bird tickets are on sale now!
The Cassandra Complex – Boots & Braces Theater Stage (LAy)
No doubt, one of Amphi’s gems was offered inside the theatre when legendary CASSANDRA COMPLEX from the UK hit the stage. The band around singer Rodney Orpheus produced their first album ‘Grenade’ in 1986. Since the 2000 album ‘Wetware’ there has been no new material, nevertheless, there are blissful smiles on people’s faces whenever they get the chance to see such iconic and influential artist. No wonder that Mr. Orpheus, Andy Booth (guitar) and Volker Zacharias (bass) and “button pusher” Axel Ermes played to a full house starting with the darkly war song ‘Nightfall.’ The sound was stellar all through the gig.
Funnily enough, there was a “technical problem” during the song ‘Datakill.’ Rodney seemed to have accidentally unplugged his bandmates’ instruments. CC and their fans were very well-spirited and of course no one minded having them perform the piece once again from the start. When ‘The War Against Sleep’ and one of their very first singles, ‘Moscow Idaho,’ resounded, the audience lost it dancing and jumping wildly to the fast-pasted song. ‘One Millionth Happy Customer’ marked the end of an entertaining “Post-Punk Industrial Electronic Rock” show.
// Setlist: 01. Nightfall / 02. Too Stupid To Sin / 03. Valis / 04. Second Shot / 05. Motherad / 06. What Can I Do For You? / 07. The War Against Sleep / 08. Datakill / 09. Moscow Idaho / 10. One Millionth Happy Customer