1 Question for: Move D, Ariel Pink, Albert Oehlen, Billy Childish, The Notwist ….
Weekend-Festival, the Cologne-based festival run by Jan Lankisch and Jörg Waschat, is already hitting its fifth birthday this 20/21 of November. The two chief honchos decided to asked each of this year’s artists a few exclusive questions for Kaput.
A six year long absence from the stage seems long – but you have on the other hand put out so much great music since then. How did it come to this two-way-policy: recording music, yes, playing live, no? And how does it feel to come back to the stage now?
The world of music is so different to what I listened to as a kid, and as a 17 year old punk. Playing live for us is a problem as we prefer not to mic the backline, have fold back or off stage mixing. Basically we go out with the same sound as the groups we think sounded exciting. It’s harder to do, and wide open – you can’t hide in a simple three piece with the raw sound.
We also don’t like large festivals so much – or modern clubs with the dead sound. We don’t want the audience watching us thru their mobile phones, so really fitting in with the modern idea of what being a group entails is pretty awkward. We treat the music as simple art – not a road to fame and fortune. We also don’t wish to promote ourselves, which most groups now do, often playing for free.
We don’t have a manager, agent or any label telling us what to do. I produce our records and we choose what and how we do our stuff. As well as making music I’ve been a painter – and its easier to paint how I want and I have less people to negotiate. But playing live shouldn’t be too hard – as long as the sound is okay.
What do you wish the Cologne choir will turn your songs into?
“Like a Prayer“ by Madonna“
Everybody talks about your long lost 1973 funk masterpiece record »Genclik il elele«. Did you expect that second wave of young people digging it to happen? And what was going through your mind when you first re-listened to the tracks after so many years?
After all these years it was a big surprise for me because I completely forgot about this LP. It was just in my archive as one of my „instrumental albums“ among some 15 others. So I couldn’t ever think there would be any interest among younger people. Secondly, when I first listen to the tracks after many years I was just shocked and wondered if it was really me who made this.
What importance has the moon’s spirit to your life?
That’s easy. I have to drink blood from the moon’s breast to stay alive.
The Pop Group
You’ve staged a comeback after a 35 year-hiatus? Did you suddenly feel the energy had come back?
The moment we picked up our instruments a tornado of sound happened, for us ‘la reunion’ is like a medieval alchemist’s golem, once conjured up but now OUT OF CONTROL. We decided that destiny must ride again for The Pop Group as its channel for change.
What are you working on right now?
Currently we’re finishing up a project very close to our hearts. The man behind the “Circuit Rider”-LP, recently deceased, entrusted us to archive his collection of personal recordings. Included are all the recordings from the original sessions plus material from the intended follow up, recorded just a few months later. Maintaining the same tenuous grasp on reality, obsession with the sordid underside of life, and outsider approach to rock music, this second long player takes the “Circuit Rider” mythos into bizarre new territory.
Which three records made recently the most impact on you?
Andy Bey “Experience and Judgement”
Dorothy Ashby “The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby”
African Scream Contest “Raw and Psychedelic Afro”
Will you play new songs?
We started working on new material for the upcoming record, but so far we do not have anything really performable, only samples and loops and electronic experiments. The concrete composition process and the recordings will happen next year.
A few years ago you run your own label imprint Leiterwagen Records. Do you still feel from time to time the stimulation to release music yourself?
No, there are already so many lovely labels…
Your album “Kunststoff” was first released 20 years ago in 1995. Even then it was beyond classification, as timeless as it was so cool and sounded so special, paying no mind to what else was going on. Alone that distortion effect at the beginning of “Sandmann”, so impressive at a time when techno and house were already super tight genres. Has your way of working changed since then?
First of, thank you for those flowery words. Well, I still have no interest in technique. But of course you could come to some conclusions by looking at the equipment list someone worked with. This could be charming or religious (like in Chicago House, 80s HipHop or even Indie Music), but has nothing to do or is even counterproductive when your goal is to come up with a classic. To achieve timelessness one should not look at the status quo out there, neither for equipment nor trends.
“Sandmann” was actually the first techno track I ever did. It was produced in 1990 in the home studio of my buddy Dirk Mantei aka Dman (who back then run now legendary Mannheim based club Milk!). These were the transition days between old recording advices and modern DAT recorders. We had neither of them and just used Compact cassettes. The distortion was as a matter of this fact not a style element, it was a side effect of our equipment.
Me personally sees the high times of audio-, studio- and synthesizer-history in the 70s, but still I am not a technique fan. Creativity will find its way. It does make no difference if you work on the personal computer of your mother with cracked software, a tablet, a 4 channel tape recorder… the result is what cares. The more authenticity and personality one manages to include in his music, the less the technical possibilities matter or something like “professionalism”.
You catalogue of releases is quite small. Is this a special tactic of yours, to keep your work rare?
Well, not really. We are no pizza delivery boys. We do not come up with so many tracks. We prefer to let things grow, but when no one expects a thing from us we suddenly deliver, like just now our first, really superb podcast fpr the english ID-Magazine: