With eleven studio albums under their belt and countless
singles, Red Flag can certainly be called one of the
hardest working bands in electronic music. With their
twelfth album release “Code Breaker T133” set for a
November 5th release there certainly is no sign of a Red
Flag slow down. Having heard a few bits and pieces of
“Code Breaker T133” I can tell you that fans will not be
disappointed. It is a combination of the early “Naďve Art”
dance sound combined with the later era dark sounds of Red
Flag. The entire album is in the groove of 133 beats per
minute and is “definitely up tempo, upbeat and fun. The
opposite of The Bitter End. It is very joyous and
positive.” according to Mark Reynolds (lead singer of Red
Flag). “The album is very club friendly and we are
returning to our roots.”
Red Flag is the brother tandem of Mark Reynolds (lead
singer) and Chris Reynolds (keyboards). Sometimes
controversial and always open to speaking his mind, the
Electrogarden spent some time with Mark Reynolds to get
his views on a wide array of subjects.
In the late 80s Red Flag was an up and coming band with
attention from both the billboard charts and from MTV.
What is your most vivid memory of this time of your life
and this era in Red Flag music? What did you learn from
Those were the days ;) Some of my favorite memories in
terms of the music side of my life were the concerts.
There is something very rewarding when a show goes just
right. I'd also have to say that meeting many people was
also a good experience. The pace was hectic and frantic.
Much of it went by a in blur. Chris and I reminisce now
and then but usually we remember the funny moments. Once
in San Francisco, a car drove by and the guy was blasting
'Russian Radio'. I yelled out 'Hey, that's us!' The guy
looked over and said 'Yeah, right' As for what we learned.
Well, it may sound cliche but you must listen to yourself.
If you accept bad advice you have only yourself to blame.
Respect and even solicit opinions but at the end on the
day, take responsibility.
You had stated in an interview back in 1989 that you and
Chris have never fought over the music that you create. Is
that still true 13 years later? What are the defined roles
inside the band and how has this changed over the years?
WOW! There's a massive fib. We had rows and brawls that
would eclipse the Oasis boys. Brothers are naturally
competitive. Couple that with too much time spent together
and trying to reach a common goal and you have a recipe
for disaster. We had some terrific fights. I don't think
either of us ever apologized. Things are very different
now. We still have disagreements, but we've learned to
communicate. It's easy to make a statement. The hard part
is to listen.
From certain comments you have made in the past it is
apparent that you had a less than ideal relationship with
IRS records. How were “A&R reps meddling” in your music
with the Machines release?
Chris and I had 2 meetings with the president and vice
president of IRS Records on the same day. I recall this
vividly. Both times the topic of fame came up and they
would say "You guys are going to be really famous". Both
times we responded with "We also want to be rich". Two
days after making our statements we were dropped from IRS.
This is the way the business in the US seems to be. A lot
of famous people are paupers. It's the label officials
that make the real money.
Was it more a creative or more a business decision to
start Plan B records? If you were offered a Major Label
deal today would you consider it?
Starting our label seemed to be the only way we could
continue to stay active in the music business. Labels
operate like families. Unfortunately, most US labels are
dysfunctional. Historically, the bands with the most
success also have a solid relationship with their
partners. (Their label, management and agent) Would we
consider a deal from major label? Only if it were a major
Red Flag seems to either have fiercely loyal fans or
vehement detractors. There does not seem to be a lot of
middle ground. What do you attribute this to?
Most of the people I have met have been respectful and
courteous, but some people think they know you before they
meet you. How can you know someone if you have never met
them? As for our detractors, all I can say is "whatever...
Red Flag has maintained and gained a large following over
the internet. You maintain quite a large catalog of mp3
and streams at MP3 dot com. Where does Red Flag sit in the
whole MP3 debate? Do you consider the mp3 technology a
blessing or a curse?
MP3 files are not evil. What individual's do with MP3
files however can be. If you take something that does not
belong to you, it's called theft. It's really quite that
simple. Napster (R.I.P) was simply a conduit for the
illegal transfer of audio files. For some bizarre reason
some people feel that intellectual property of a musical
nature doesn't carry the same rights as say, a software
program. You wouldn't dare think of uploading all your
Microsoft applications to share with the world. But it's
quite all right to upload an entire album. I just don't
Do you see any solutions to the piracy issue and peer to
It is going to come down to people doing the right thing.
When you understand what it does and it’s effect that is
the only way things can change. I would like to believe 9
out of 10 people who buy CD’s realize copying the CD hurts
the band. All you can do is make the information available
and then people can choose to listen to it and digest it
Your music has taken on more of a darker sound over the
past couple of years and you have gained a following
inside the gothic community. What sparked the move to a
I think it was a combination of our trips to Germany and
also the acquisition of some new equipment. We are
influenced by many factors, such as other music, people,
places, life experiences and events of the world.
Do you see Electronic music ever regaining the same
popularity it enjoyed in the 80s? What is your opinion of
the state of the genre in 2002 and how do you see Red
Genres wax and wane. Let me check my crystal ball. Hmmm,
Nope...still fuzzy. I would like to see electronic songs
gain popularity again. It would certainly make it easier
to tour when you're not the only ones out there. It seems
European bands can tour successfully in the states but
American electronic bands are not always as warmly
received. Go figure? As for the impact of RF. I know for
certain that we have created music that is truly
appreciated and enjoyed by some. There is satisfaction for
us knowing that people like our music based on its merit
and not on the faultiness of public opinion. There are
also quite a few newer bands that credit RF as one of
their influences. That's pretty cool. I'm certain history
will reflect kindly on Red Flag.
What is in your CD tray these days aside from Red Flag
Right now. Debussy.
Who do you see as up and coming in the American Electronic
Anyone that wants to wear the crown. Or the wings ;) It's
all about tenacity. To succeed you must ignore the
naysayers and skeptics. Forget about the tricks of the
trade and learn the trade. Will this guarantee success?
No, but success is abstract and obtuse. For me now,
success is knowing that I can do it all. Is this vanity
speaking? I hope so.
Speaking of the wings that you wear on stage, Red Flag has
a certain stage image. Where did that come from?
I don’t know. It makes me comfortable on stage to wear
something. I get nervous and I don’t like public speaking.
When I put on my wings I know what to do. I am able to
relax and it’s fun. Chris always puts the wings on me
before a show. It’s a way for us to prepare. I have been
criticized for the wings and I don’t care. It makes me
comfortable and I have fun with it. If someone doesn’t
like them, I don’t get it. What you wear on stage is
Recently Red Flag has toured North and South America, as
well as Europe. What countries and shows stand out in your
Peru, without a doubt. It seems that they don't get to see
many bands down there. So when someone shows up, the place
Retirement rumors have been running around over the past
couple of months - any truth to them?
I don’t see why anyone would make an official announcement
that they would be retiring. How many times do you see a
band do that then come back three years later? It doesn’t
make sense. At Synthpop Goes the World we were kidding a
few people and played along. We have lulls and we get
stuff out. Maybe we should (announce a retirement) so we
could put out a career retrospective and do a retirement
tour (tongue in cheek). The band is not breaking up.
I also heard a rumor that Red Flag was considering not
playing live any longer? Any truth to this?
Maybe a little bit of truth ;) I don't think that Synth
Pop Goes the World was our last gig.
Red Flag has maintained an aggressive release schedule
since 2000. What keeps the creative juices flowing?
I've pondered this myself. I think part of it lies in the
fact that our music kicks a** over almost everything else
out there, yet we are largely ignored. So instead of
acquiescing, we go in the other direction and try even
The Bitter end is the most recent release of new Red Flag
material. How do you feel the new CD has been received?
How has your sound changed from Fear of a Red Planet? What
were your major influence while creating this material?
'The Bitter End' was post 9/11 and unfortunately it showed
up in our song writing. It may be the most cryptic and
well-produced dirge ever composed. The nation was in a
funk and I guess we were too. I'm glad to say that the
clouds have parted and a lot of what I hear is in key of
F-sharp at 133 BPMs.
“Remnants” is set to be released towards the end of 2002.
According to the Plan B website it will contain songs that
were never released from 1988-1991. What brought about
this release in 2002? What should Red Flag fans expect?
Are you re-mastering current recordings or are you
updating and re-recording this material?
At SynthCon2002, SPGtW and even in Peru, more than a few
people wanted to know if there were any recordings
immediately after Naive Art that were never released. The
answer was yes. Some of the songs only need EQ'd while
others need the vocals re-recorded. All the music though
was recorded over 10 years ago. Remnants is probably best
described as, 'Naive Art' meets 'Machines'.
What is on the horizon for Plan B records. Why Scribe
Machine for you first non-Red Flag release?
We'll try and maintain our hectic schedule. At the same
time we want to expand PBR. If the Scribe Machine goes
well then we'll release other non Red Flag product. We
selected SM for couple of reasons. They had already
released an album, so they had realistic expectations.
Plus they are different from RF. SM's music is more based
in trance. In addition, all their production is done on
G4s. Gotta love it.
I read a statement attributed to you that once you read
_Atlas Shrugged_ by Ayn Rand that you were “Alive“. What
triggered your interest in Ayn Rand and when? Can you
describe how Ayn Rands philosophies have changed Mark
Reynolds and how this has impacted Red Flag and your
A complicated friend of mine turned me onto the concept of
'objectivism and individualism' many years ago. The more
you realize that the world benefits by the 'individual'
and suffers at the hands of 'organizations' the more you
enjoy your own accomplishments. Why should we despise
success? Example; an individual recently keyed my car.
Though I don't know who did it, I know the type of person
who did it. The realization of individual rights paramount
to the rights of a group is amazing. Once you see it with
clarity, you are shocked that you never saw it before.
This philosophy has subtly affected our music. While there
are many subjects worthy to pay tribute to, none seems
more deserving than the things that make life good.
What makes life good for Mark Reynolds?
I like to make Sandy happy (Marks wife). But, good is
truth. When I can find an element of truth in a lyric or
a verse, that is good.
What is the most common misconception about Mark Reynolds
and Red Flag?
RF are capitalists not communists or fascists. MR and CR
are just a couple of guys trying to do their best.
I seem to recall you having a degree in Electrical
Engineering. If you were not a full time songwriter and
musician, what would you see yourself doing to earn your
My father was an electrical engineer and so I suppose that
it's not too surprising that I would follow in his
footsteps. I have subsidized my musical aspirations from
time to time in this line of work. While the work is
challenging and at times creative it is not nearly as
satisfying as being an active musician. Most of us will
have a couple of career changes over the course of our
lifetime. If I were not a songwriter I would like to try
being a pilot, a racecar driver or an international man of
mystery. Yeah baby!
Anything you would like to add in closing?
Thank you Craig.
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