(CCM) Let’s start by where were you born and raised? Where do you hang your hat now?
We’re both longtime residents of London, Ontario – Mike’s lived other places in the past, but we’re both in London now.
(CCM) How did you come up with the band name?
Mike was an industrial DJ for many years under the moniker DJ Cyphier, so we decided to call the band Cyphier as there was already some recognition there.
(CCM) How many full time members are in your group?
Currently there are two of us – Mike, who performs as Louis Cyphier, and myself, Jason Norwood.
(CCM) How did your band get its start?
Mike and I have known each other for a long time. He had some poetry that he wanted me to create some industrial music for, and we worked so well together that we just continued.
(CCM) What instruments do you all play? Which ones do you wish you could play or incorporate?
I play mostly synthesizers on stage, but in the studio I’ve added guitar and bass guitar before. Mike plays theremin and electronics as well.
(CCM) How do you approach song writing?
We normally record at my studio, so writing/recording/mixing is kind of blurred together in a way. We normally trade a few ideas back and forth initially, but most of the writing gets done by Mike and I in the studio.
(CCM) Tell us about a time that was really embarrassing on stage if you have any. If you did, also tell us how you overcame it.
Electronic music creates its own hassles! At a local show, I had to use an older backup computer which worked perfectly fine leading up to the show, but had a complete meltdown after one song on stage. We were forced to end the set. We started to rely on more hardware synthesizers and my studio computer, so the complete self-destruction hasn’t happened since!
(CCM) What was the coolest thing that has ever happened to between a fan and yourselves?
I’d personally say that any fan interaction is a cool thing. We played our first show in Ottawa not too long ago, and as a political band it was amazing to see how engaged the crowd was—it was almost like an interview where our audience wanted to talk to us after about the meaning behind our lyrics. Our tour of Eastern Canada this year was also great for audience participation, which is awesome to watch people get into the songs and connect with us.
(CCM) How do you describe success, particularly in aspirations with music?
We feel most successful when someone “gets” the message and engages with us. With “Overthought”, our first album, we had fans tell us that the album helped them with dealing with suicidal thoughts (the album’s concept was anti-suicide). At that point, we knew what we were doing was valid. With “Realpolitik” being pointedly political, now that success has turned to creating a dialogue about the subjects we feel strongly about. Financial success is nice but not the reason why we make the music we do!
(CCM) If you weren’t playing music what else would you be doing?
Very likely being bored out of our minds! If I wasn’t playing music, I’d probably be focusing more on my label. I can’t distance myself from music for too long.
(CCM) What concert did you see that was the most memorable and why?
Mike would have to answer this one separately. For me, it would have to be seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor live in Toronto—the crowd was made up of all ages and walks of life, which was a very powerful thing to be in the middle of, the fact that they could bring everybody together for a show.
(CCM) What do you do first thing when you get up in the morning?
Mike generally gets up and goes to work. My first task, before I even have coffee, is get my two boys off and ready for school.
(CCM) Where is the most interesting place you have ever traveled to and where would you like to visit someday that you have not been to yet?
I lived in Germany for a short time, and Mike’s been all over the place. As Cyphier, we’d love to eventually make it to the UK and Europe.
(CCM) Who are your major influences?
Mike and I have different musical influences. We both listen to a lot of different kinds of music. In terms of industrial music, Mike is more influenced by the 90’s and 2000’s, whereas a lot of my initial influences came from bands in the late 70’s early 80’s such as Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA. We can always agree on Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Front Line Assembly.
(CCM) Tell us why you chose to move into the area of music professionally?
Music is best served live! I think we’d be selling ourselves short by sticking to being a studio band—we get so much energy out of performing, and with us being message-oriented, the more we connect with our audience, the better.
(CCM) What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
On long road trips, we listen to a lot of stand-up comedy. Mike used to be a professional wrestler. I love old technology like shortwave radio.
(CCM) What is the biggest life lesson that you have learned in music, and in life, that you believe would be valuable wisdom to share with other artists?
Never listen to the industry pundits that tell you you can’t do this past a certain age! Seriously, I think the best lesson is that working with, and helping out, other artists is the best thing you can do, and not just on a business level. If you’re playing a live show with a band that’s been around longer, take notes. Listen. If you’re the seasoned veteran(s) on the bill, help that new band and make some friends. It’s not just networking, but it gives everyone a leg up, and can make a show or a tour so much more enjoyable for everyone.
(CCM) Do you have any tours coming up?
We’re definitely on the RiseUp TV tour next May, and we’re working on pushing out to Western Canada, which we haven’t yet been able to do.
(CCM) How do people discover your music?
Our Bandcamp page is at http://cyphier-ebr.bandcamp.com/ ! We’re working on streaming sites again very soon.
(CCM) How did you find out about HGB? Would you recommend this radio station to others? If so why?
We originally heard about it through our manager Rosner Entertainment and by getting to know Carla as well. *grin* We’d recommend HGB because it’s a great way to hear new music—something that I’m on a constant quest for!
Submitted by Jason Norwood
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