Skip to content

The MK ULTRA Interview: Tino Claus and Kai Neugebauer of Ner\Ogris

interview by John Wisniewski

The German duo known as Ner\ogris, recently debuted with their refreshing album “I Am The Shadow – I Am The Light” released by the German label Dependent Records. This new dark electro duo consists of Tino Claus (tinoC) and Kai Neugebauer (kaiN) and has invited comparisons to classic electronic acts such as X MARKS THE PEDWALK and NUMB. Apparently the curious name Ner\Ogris, derives from the merger of the Spanish words for “black” and “gray,” which points right at the musical direction of this amazing new band. We sat down with the promising duo to discuss what drives the machine known as Ner\Ogris.

John Wisniewski: Please tell us the story of how Ner\Ogris began.

tinoC: At the end of 2021, kaiN sent a bunch of tracks to his friends in the band Amnistia to have a listen to. The plan was the release an instrumental album. So I listened to the tracks and had an idea for one of them. I asked kaiN for a try – the rest is history.

kaiN: I didn’t plan it that way. The songs have developed over the years and were too good to just disappear in a drawer. I just wanted to ask the guys from Amnistia for an opinion and tinoC spontaneously had a vocal line for the song “Shadowlight,” which blew me away, so much so that we decided to add vocals to more tracks.

JW: Were you part of any bands or projects prior to Ner\Ogris
Ner\Ogris: Yes we were, kaiN is founding member and is still active in LES BERRTAS – tinoC is active and founding member in AMNISTIA, TC75 and MRDTC.

JW: Now that the Ner\Ogris debut album is out now, could you tell us what inspired you to record your music?

kaiN: The inspirations are manifold. Often it’s moods and often it’s just sounds and experiments in the studio. Over the years, a lot of equipment has accumulated there and that invites me to experiment. I love the good old analogue synths and the direct access to all parameters. But I still love to process these sounds “in the box” in my DAW. It’s the mix that makes it. Digital and analogue. Old and new. Noise and silence. Opposites.

tinoC: As said, kaiN is 100% in charge of the music. I write the lyrics and do the vocals. The reason, trigger or the itch to write lyrics are different. A negative impulse is almost always the trigger for the creative process.

JW: How has the reception been thus far for the new album?

tinoC: We have received mostly positive feedback so far. And it seems the label is happy too. So we are 😉
kaiN: The reactions so far are simply amazing. The people are enthusiastic and I am thrilled that there is not one favourite song for the listeners – but somehow everyone has their favorite song.

JW: Who are amongst your biggest influences from electronic and industrial bands from the past?

tinoC: I am a big fan of European electronic underground music and like the heroes from overseas. My listening habits have changed in the last 5-10 years. I always was a fan of Gothic Rock, Darkwave and New Wave music. And since the so called Coldwave and Post-Punk music had a huge huge revival a couple of years ago it seems there is an almost endless number of new and old bands in this genre for me.

kaiN: Of course, I have always found Skinny Puppy groundbreaking and have absorbed all their albums. I would also name Einstürzende Neubauten, Schnitt 8, Front242, The Tear Garden, Tommi Stumpff or Foetus as influences. I was lucky enough to experience all the hype around EBM and techno directly and live, because I grew up near Frankfurt – which was the melting pot of the different styles back then.

JW: Can you recommend any contemporary or new dark wave or dark electronic bands that our audience should be listening to?

tinoC: my discoveries of the last two years are: POTOCHKINE and ISLA OLA. There are a lot of other quiet good bands but these two were outstanding for me. When I look on the darkelectro genre (of course) I recommend my other projects (AMNISTIA, TC75 and MRDTC) and some projects of my friends like Statiqbloom, Fix8:sed8, g.o.l.e.m., Mildreda, PYRROLINE and 2nd face – same here… A LOT of great other bands. I am sorry, but it’s impossible to name all of them.
kaiN: In my rotation at the moment are 2nd Face, Model/Actriz, Liebknecht, Maxime Denuc and Isocult. Not all dark electronic – but absolutely worth a listen!

JW: What is next for Ner\Ogris?

tinoC: The album was released February 24th 2023, so there is of course no new release in the near future but we have some confirmed live dates. We will share them when they are ready for the public. So we want to see you all at one of the events and maybe have a chat there.
kaiN: I have some remixes on the table right now that will surely be released later this year. Otherwise, as tinoC puts it, there are some concerts coming up at home and abroad.