Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand (aka BeinE) are an electronic trio from the south of England, with founding members Tiffanie Wells and Simon John Bowers recently being joined by musician and Beat:Cancer maestro Mark Haigh. With a creative output that operates on the margins of experimental Industrial, their complex and at times challenging sound can be intense on occasions, but also a stimulating recorded and live experience. We caught up with them to ask more about the people behind the music.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What’s the story behind BeinE and how would you describe your sound?
TIFF: We’d been making music together as partners in a relationship but broke up (the cover of Psychic TV’s In The Nursery that we sometimes play live dates from this period). About six months later we were having a phone chat and we said how much we missed making music together. We decided to try and give it a go as friends.
The name comes from the Farhampton episode of How I Met Your Mother as I had just watched it before our conversation. In the TV series it means “The Thing That Is The Thing You Wanted but Not Quite” which reflected the situation really well. A better German translation is ‘Broken Passion Object’ which is also relevant. We try to honour the roots of industrial music by using electronic equipment such as pedals and keeping everything live, and I mean everything! So, I would say we are experimental.
SIMON: Our sound has always been pretty experimental – even with tracks which have a lot of individual layers, a lot of them will have been recorded from a single take; and live performances are always semi-improvised with as much as possible being performed live (before Mark joined I’d sometimes play an additional Kaossilator line with my foot…)
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
TIFF: For me Bein-E is a place to put the bad stuff and make sense of a world that is often very alien to me, it’s helped with all sorts of things such as self-confidence and preventing self-harming and destructive mental health behaviours, there are also a lot of Sci Fi and horror influences in there, Dead Cities for instance is about zombies but there’s a sample from The Lathe of Heaven which is an Ursula Le Guin book. Artifice is about a robot that falls in love with and ultimately kills its owner. We really like to creep people out, it’s a thing!
We are massively influenced by early 70s experimental bands, COUM Transmissions and later Throbbing Gristle, Coil, Patti Smith, Blondie, Punk, Pink Floyd, Philip Glass. Newer influences are Thee Majesty, Front Line Assembly (for their amazing sample work) Front 242, Stephan (Apop) Groth’s side project Acid Queen, Monolith, Haloblack, NIN, Cop Shoot Cop. And we are lucky to know some amazing and incredible musicians who inspire and influence us every day
SIMON: Whilst I’m really flattered when people compare us to other bands, for me a lot of what influences how I make music is really specific things – Listening to a lot of Velvet Acid Christ and FLA really got me thinking about how to cut and prepare samples for example; other than music, as Tiff says, there’s a shared love of sci-fi and horror which influences our material. We’ve also tried to keep a dark aesthetic to our artwork (and projections – many thanks to Ady for building the backing loops) – not straight forward horror imagery, but slightly disconcerting images of landscapes and urban decay (I was heavily influenced by Onibaba’s scenes of endless reedbeds moving in the wind when trying to assemble images).
What’s your usual song writing and production process? Your sound comes across as being heavily reliant on technology as well as lyrically intense and demanding.
Tiff wants to say she is intense and demanding! (joke btw) Yes it is heavy stuff, we are a mirror reflecting things back at the audience and it’s not meant to be pretty, happy or poppy, it’s meant to make people stop and think, it’s ugly and brutal and thoughtful. For Tiff it’s quite deeply personal but with the writing has come a peace she didn’t have before.
SIMON: Wholeheartedly agree with Tiff’s first statement. Our recording style is, I suspect, a little unusual. Quite often Tiff writes lyrics, we meet up and record them, usually without any backing to refer to, I take them away and clean them up, record music which seems to fit (usually improvisation) and layer it up – often I don’t know until I start what instruments I will be using. The vocals, together with any samples or punctuation style noises are then cut up and relayed over the top. Everything is done with hardware rather than VSTs, and I use a lot of guitar pedals whilst recording. Actual recording software we use is Reaper and Audacity.
Do you think the best music comes from co-operation or conflict?
TIFF: Both, Simon is my best friend and worst critic; you have to get on in order to make the music, but he is always very straight with me, to others that can look quite brutal but for me, that’s the best form of communication, no pussyfooting.
SIMON: The early material was very much shaped by conflict – Tiff would write lyrics which were often hard for me to deal with, or which I really disagreed with; and that would shape the music I set them to. The end result was a lot of pain and anger went into our material in a way which was cathartic for us.
You recently added a third member to the band – how has that affected your live performances?
TIFF: Mark is amazing as we are lucky to have him. He’s really helped deepen our sound and bring new and exciting ideas to our band. Simon was going to have to grow another set of arms if we continued the way we were going! Mark’s input has been invaluable.
SIMON: Mark really adds an extra dimension to the live sound – his playing style is very different from mine, but we can work off what each other is doing. Looking forward we’ll be widening the range of instruments we use live – bass guitar, glockenspiel, more bits of scrap metal…
What’s up next for BeinE? Any upcoming gigs, new releases on the horizon, other projects?
SIMON: We played Electro Brain Disaster II in London on 7th March; hopefully we should be playing some more gigs later on the year, and there should be at least one, hopefully two, studio releases this year. We’ve got a fair amount of material intended for album in various stages of recorded/written, together with some ideas for another ‘soundtrack’ EP along the lines of Dead Cities.