Alice Gift Embraces New Sound with Debut Album “Alles Ist Gift”

Alice Gift, former member of Berlin-based Velvet Condom and Liste Noir, just released his debut solo album Alles Ist Gift and we have the premiere of his new music video “Blue is Not Your Color”. We recently interviewed Alice Gift for our Emerging feature for our Spring 2021 Issue. Read on to check out the new video and get a taste for what’s in our upcoming issue.

Auxiliary Magazine interview Djamila Paris and Alice Gift
Djamila Paris and Alice Gift. Photo by Philipp Bögle.

Anyone who was aware of music around the mid-2000s remembers electroclash, a popular music genre that took elements of 80s new wave and 90s techno mixed with electronic dance music that featured sleazy synth sounds and equal parts outlandish and nostalgic glam visual elements. One of the notable acts that emerged during this time was Velvet Condom, a duo that began in France with their debut release VC in 2005 and subsequently released two full length albums and relocated to Berlin.

Their final full length release Stadtgeil in 2011 contained “Samt Und Stein” (“Velvet and Stone”) which has been a perennial favorite for DJ sets along with Velvet Condom’s first single “Kalter Lippenstift” (“Cold Lipstick”). Eventually, Velvet Condom members Oberst Panizza and Alice Gift took on a new project, the “disco noir” Liste Noire with additional member Kalle Fagerberg.

As Alice Gift shared, the transition to embarking on a solo project came in 2018, saying “The idea of stopping doing music was never an option for me, but I was also exhausted with being creative as part of a band, so I decided to move on with a project which I would be the only person in charge of. I then slowly started collecting all my song demos, as well as writing new compositions. The fact of composing on my own, without the need to compromise, was extremely refreshing and liberating.”

Auxiliary Magazine interview Alice Gift
Alice Gift. Photo by Alex Grunwald.
Auxiliary Magazine interview Alice Gift
Alice Gift. Photo by Stéphane Hervé

Today we have the premiere of Alice Gift’s latest music video for the debut LP Alles Ist Gift on Cymbeline Records, “Blue is Not Your Color”. The artist had this to share with Auxiliary on the premiere of his video: “The song and video are about saturation and information and resistance against resignation. The chorus and the title refer to the French and German populist parties having deliberately chosen the color blue for their party. A deliberate manipulative act, in my opinion, to further abuse the European project by borrowing its color and pretending to adhere to the democratic values associated with it. In my video I show myself confined, disgusted, and saturated by media propaganda, and desperate for political resignation.”

Alice Gift, the pseudonym of Nicolas Isner, explained the symbolism of his chosen name and the title of the debut release, saying, “‘Alice Gift’ as well as the title of the album refer to the quote by the alchemist Paracelsus: ‘Alles ist Gift und nichts ist Gift’ (‘All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not poison’).”

Given the lyrical content of Alles Ist Gift as well as Gift’s previous works, the connection to the 16th century physician Paracelsus is interesting when viewed through the lens of this statement attributed to Paracelsus, “The universities do not teach all things, so a doctor must seek out old wives, ‘gipsies’, sorcerers, wandering tribes, old robbers, and such outlaws and take lessons from them. A doctor must be a traveller… Knowledge is experience.” Paracelsus is also noted as the formulator of the opiate laudanum. One imagines what Paracelsus would have to say about the world and the state of science overall, especially given the current climate crisis and pandemic.

These questions and observations of the stark reality of the world are explored on Alles Ist Gift with a new sound, a departure from Gift’s previous work. The yearning and isolation in the vocals and instrumentation of this album seem to mirror the starkness of an artist surveying the modern landscape and wondering how we arrived here and how to make sense of it all.

Auxiliary Magazine interview Djamila Paris and Alice Gift
Djamila Paris and Alice Gift. Photo by Philipp Bögle.
Auxiliary Magazine interview Djamila Paris and Alice Gift
Djamila Paris and Alice Gift. Photo by Philipp Bögle.

Check out Alice Gift on their Bandcamp page to listen to Alles Ist Gift as well as Velvet Condom and Liste Noire. Velvet Condom’s first EP will be re-released on vinyl this year and is available for pre-order at Fleuret Records.

For more, check out our full interview with Alice Gift and our music review for Alles Ist Gift in our upcoming Spring 2021 Issue. To read more about bands we cover for this feature, check out all of our Emerging interviews.

Elizabeth Rhodes is the Associate Editor of Auxiliary. Based in Los Angeles, she is a writer, DJ, modern mystic, and astrology junkie.
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