Monday, May 01, 2006


E-WAVE is a new music show on Dublin based radio station Liber 8FM and will be going out live every friday in May between 2.30p.m. - 3.30p.m. on 107,3FM!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Interview OneTwo (Part I)

Interview ONETWO

So you have this new project album coming up, the OneTwo album

Paul Humphreys:
That´s correct

When is this about to be released?

We´re just finishing off the album now. We just have to record the last two tracks, really. We started out working independently and releasing the songs independently. In fact, we just started by releasing on the Internet to begin with. We started all that as an experiment by selling on Ebay only and quite quickly we sold a few thousand units.

Yes, I had to order your CD there, at Ebay.

That’s right. It just started as an experiment. Claudi* (* Claudia Brücken) and I had a few songs kicking around and then we thought “well, why don’t we just try to sell them on Ebay and see what happens” and slowly it sort of formulated into a band and now we´ve got our label, we´ve got other distribution outlets now but with the OneTwo album we´re now expanding a bit more, speaking with labels about proper distribution because rather than just the Internet although it is a very powerful tool we would also like to get it into regular shops.

Yes, it is a bit difficult. I actually went to the extreme because I am 39 now and kind of grew up with all the music that was around in the early 1980s and OMD was one of my heroes and being from Germany I know Claudias work with Propaganda quite well, so I naturally pursuit other peoples carreers so it was a natural kind of thing to order the CD but maybe, and we have seen this in the case of Prince, he didn’t sell much after having no outlet really.

Yes, that’s right. I mean, I was actually quite surprised by how many we could actually sell by just selling on the Internet and I think there is more of a culture now just sort of in the last year or so people are getting used to buying online. I thnk the Apple ™ I-Tunes probably helped with that to change peoples´way of thining really about buying music. My generation, you know, we used to go looking for things in obscure record shops but obscure record shops are not really around anymore so you are forced to look for obscure things on the Internet. And I do think the I-Tunes thing has breed a new sort of culture of buying music online.

The 21st century has finally arrived. The Item Album is essentially a 6-track album

It is an EP really, really only a sample of OneTwo.

TJ: It is basically five tracks and then you have “Sister repeated in a different version. There is one song on the album, I think it is the third song, which is co-written by Martin Gore* (*of Depeche Mode).

It is actually the second one: “Cloud Nine”

Alright, so this is co-written by Martin.

That’s right. It was actually co-written by Martin and Claudia. It is a song that Claudia and Martin wrote in the mid 90s really because Claudi was doing a solo album that never saw the light of day and she was collabrating with lots of different people and Martin was one of them because she lived sort of around the corner from Martin and was sort of friends with Martin anyway. She got stuck writing a song and knocked on the door saying: “Martin, help!” …

(Laughs) … and then this song ended up on your CD a few years later.


Did you not tour with Depeche Mode at some point in time?

I toured with Depeche Mode in, gosh, 87 propbably it was.

Yes, because on the “101”* Film there is a poster which says OMD as well. (*”101” is a concert/tour movie released by Depeche Mode)

That’s right, yes, we did one of those big stadium tours of America with them and we toured for like four months. Great fun, actually. Another time we had a song called “If you leave” which was in a big movie* and was really successful in America (* the movie was called: “Pretty in pink”) and Depeche was huge there too so between the two bands we drew this enourmous crowds in big football stadiums and it was really quite strange.

With OMD reuniting soon … when I read about that I found that to be quite interesting but with regards to your OneTwo page, I really like the approach …

Do you?

Yes, because when people click on your page they read: “If you are interested in music and if you are interested in the year 2001,2013 ant the 1980s – that’s your place”

That’s right.

And you talk about Kraftwerk and all those bands that you found interesting and that is a very “musician kind of approach”.

Yeah, it is for like minded people to meet in a way, you know, that’s the sort of theme and it is more re-visiting OMD rather than a reunion to be honest. So far I have only just agreed doing some concerts with OMD.

O.K., but you´d reckon, I mean, OMD is a big influence or has a big part to play when it comes to the 1980s and there is nowhere where you don’t find your name rather than what you siad when you did the Interviw in Germany last week and you said that you´ve never had a number one and people like the BBC or so are only playing number one songs and you said that you´re kind of forgotten, I read that somewhere.

I think that’s a quote from me, actually. It is kind of true. In the UK particularly OMD seems to have been forgotten. But not in America. I have a daughter who lives in Los Angeles and I obviously go and visit her regularly and every time I am there I hear OMD on the radio but in the UK you could scan the channel everyday for a month and never here an OMD track (laughs)

Is that something that bothers you?

No, not really. What is annoying is when they do this historical shows and they do this historical context of electronic music and they pick a lot of electronic bands that were influential, who were influential, but will kind of leave us out because we had our little place there and we definitley influenced some bands.

Certainly, yes. Is that the strategy behing it? I mean, I also read on the interview that you would reckon that a new OMD album would not do as well as the older ones did although you never know. I mean in the case of Duran Duran for instance, their reunion tour was … they really made it big again.

They did

TJ:While Tears for fears played rather smaller venues in and around the UK and Ireland so it is very hard to predict,isn´t it?

It is really, really hard to predict. That’s why I am just sort of dipping my toe in the water and see what happens with that one because you don’t really quite know how you´re gonne be perceived.

Yes, but you must have some kind of feeling. Is it easier, I am only guessing now but I would reckon it is a bit easier when you mention OMD as apposed to OneTwo.

Yes, yes, I mean it can open doors for you definitely (laughs)

Let´s assume you would do an album with OMD and maybe your are going to do an album with Andy* again (* Andy McCluskey) and Claudia is keeping herself busy doing other things with this guy,ehm, Poppy?!

Andrew Poppy

She keeps herself busy

She does, she is here actually …

Yeah, I know and I will be talking to her in a few minutes. What I am trying to say is: Does that create tension every now and then? Is there an underlined fear that OneTwo does not come into being after the, whatever you call it the OMD thingy?

Well, I hope that’s not the case. OneTwo is my main band, you know, it is an ongoing band and it is not just a project with Claudia. It is something that we are developing and we´ve got, what we think is a really great album that we´re just finishing off. We are so happy with our record, we´re so proud of it that we want to get it out there and we want to give it as much exposure as we can.

Will this one be available in regular shops, you´d reckon?

That’s what we´re hoping to. We are speaking with various industry people at the moment. Like I said, we just started small with it just on the Internet and I mean we will be using the modern outlets like I-Tunes and downloads but yes we really would like to see it in conventional shops as well.

For a regular listener, music listener, who doesn’t work in the music business, I find it very difficult sometimes to understand, I mean, when you have new musicians that aren´t aware of the business and don’t know what to do and where to go and nobody knows them, and then you have Paul Humphreys and you are still saying that you´re struggling to get a deal for your album.

The industry has really undergone an enormous change over the last few years but definitely over the last ten years, it is unrecognisable that’s how much the industry has changed. There is really not very much money in our business anymore. The record companies have tightened their belts so much that’s why we´ve gone through a phase of a lot of manufactured music. Manufactured artists are in some ways disposable to record companies, they can easily sign a once off and manufacture their songs, market them and if it doesn’t work then they can easily discard them. A signed artist to a record label over a long period of time like a big album deal is a whole different prospect for a label and a far more expensive prospect.

They´re happen to take the cheap routes. All the routes unfortunately go down to, you know, if you trace them all back to illegal downloads really. It has really taken billions out of our business and that has to have an effect after a while.

Record companies are not going to be brave and sign unusual artists. They can´t risk half a million on an artist anymore because they don’t have that kind of disposable income so they have to do more, what they consider “sure-fire” things. But that unfortunately is usually very mainstream.

It is really a downward spiral, isn´t it, because then we only get to hear what we get to hear. I had a recent conversation with my son who turns 14 this year and I told him that I sometimes had to wait two years for my favourite artist to bring out a new album because that’s sometimes how long it took them to make a great record.

Yes, that’s right.

He kind of smiled about it, you know, (laughing) I don’t actually think that he can understand the anticipation. And that’s what it is about, I mean, I am a musician as well on amuch smaller scale. I did nine CDs over the last 15 years and haven´t achieved anything significant really. For me it is always about melody. I am 39 now so it is not really realistic to think that tomorrow someone is going to knock on my door and saying: “You´re just what we needed” but on a whole it is all about melody and I think somewhere down the line that has been lost.

I think celebriteesm has taken over. People just want to be celebrities and they don’t care how they do it. And a lot of singers in the charts they´re not that interested in being singers and writing great songs, they just want to be on the TV and be celebrities. The celbrity lifestyle, you know. Which is why a lot of singers as well as being stabbed by the industry are only doing cover versions so that they don’t have to go to the process of writing.

Yes, and most of the time they´re just horrible. Once you know the original most of the time it is not it because the orignal very likely was produced by someone who is a musician.

Yes, I mean, we´re talking about the mainstream and the major labels and that’s the corporate music industry. There is an independent side to our industry where people basically, artists like you and ourselves, and even younger artists they´re doing it themselves. They do some great music …

Yes and then you have places like myspace and you swap.

Exactly, I mean, the Internet has become … everybody is becoming their own sort of independent label and all the rules are sort of changing. Because the corprate music world is so zipped up and not open anymore for whatever the reason usually monitary reasons that the internet is now thriving with independent artists making interesting music. It is just kind of hard to find sometimes but the one advantage that Claudia and I do have is that we have names from our previous bands and people will be looking for OMD and Propaganda.

Yes, and I am not only saying this because I am on air here, last year when I got your “Item”EP we played the “latest and the greatest” and we played “Talking loud and clear” because it si just one of my favourites …

I always liked “Talking loud and clear”

… the guys in the studio said: “Oh no, you have to play their biggest hit like “Joan of Arc” “ but we played “Talking loud and clear” and then “Sister” and the other presenter said to me:
“Wow, that’s great music, why is it not out there??” It was difficult to answer the question so I guessed that the industry just wants to play safe and doesn’t release it because it is perhaps a bit too 80s.

Well, it is not necessarily that we are too 80s it is just, you know, the corporate industry now are just focusing on the younger market and they´re not taking any risks at all.

Do you think it is getting better somewhen?

No, it is definitely getting worse

Aaah, I thought you´d gonna say that (both laugh)

But the thing is, you know, things like myspace and all these kind of internet places to go to look for music are all springing up now. I just think all the rules are changing. And I think that the problem with the major labels is that they are just sort of slow moving dinosaurs they really should have seen this filesharing thing coming but they just chose not to.

They are too protective of their own things


How difficult would it be for you to ring all your old mates and do a major… maybe a mini-tour with all the so called big names because, I mean, you must have made friends over the years with megastars. Is that not something that crossed your mind to say: “Let´s try to give OneTwo a bigger platform”?

Well, yeah, there is that option. We´ve been speaking to our agent, we do have an agent now and we will be doing a few gigs later in the year with OneTwo.

I read about the gig in Leicester Cathedral in August

Yes, the only date that he have confiremd up is the Leicester Cathedral one, we´re playing Leicester Cathedral on the 28th of August but we´re putting a tour together and we´d love to come to Ireland.

That’s my hope. Over the last number of years all bands that reunited or whatever you want to call it, ehm, they all played Dublin and I think the reason is that we were really deprived of Music down here, you know, and people love them. Just a few weeks ago The Human League played at Vicar Street, a smaller venue in Dublin, and they were very, very cautious when they announced it and within a week they had to add a second date and it’s the same thing with Tears for Fears. I really think there would be a market.

Yes, there is a good demand for the live circuit.

The music is timeless because it is handmade, you know. You have your own style.

That’s right, I think there is some truth in that.

I was asking Russell from The Sparks if it bothers him that people think because they play electronic music they´re just knob-twisters.
Paul: (Laughs)

Does it bother you?

I mean, we were always up against that. Because it was electronic music it wasn’t considered real music and we didn’t have any guitars.

Maybe that’s why Martin Gore plays guitar any chance he gets (laughs)

(laughs), How do I keep those questions from coming?

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. So, basically, I wish you all the best with the OneTwo album and just, off the record, I am a huge fan. Is there any chance that I can get an autograph?

Of course

As a matter of fact OneTwo not only sent me an autograph they also visited my page and left a message on the guestbook and I feel very proud and I am very happy.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Coming up: Interview with Robert Goerl (Ex-DAF) und Extrabreit

I had a nice chat with Robert Goerl, former member of DAF, who is about to release a new single in June 06 and I only have to find the time to do the transcript in order to post it here.

German New Wave heroes EXTRABREIT, who are currently touring Germany, also agreed to do an interview with me which should be up here soon as well.

So please click back often

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Just in:

Robert Görl , the man behind the music of DAF, who releases a solo single this June, just agreed to do a telephone interview with me. I will keep you posted when this is about to happen.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


An Interview with Paul Humphreys (Ex-OMD) and Claudia Brücken (Ex - Propganda) who formed a band called OneTwo will be up soon.

Re-discovered: DAF - Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft

On a recent trip to the UK I flicked through a bunch of CDs when I finally locked eyes with a CD - cover that showed two familiar faces: DAF – Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft.

They must be virtually unknown to people outside of Germany but still managed to land a deal with MUTE records which re-released all their stuff in 1998.

Robert Görl and Gabi Delgado are behind DAF and their staccato, military sound was huge in Germany when the New Wave of German Music swept over Germany in the early 1980s.

DAF is reknown for songs like “Kebabträume” (Kebab dreams), “Die Lippe” (The Lip), “Der Räuber und der Prinz” (The thief and the prince) and of course “Der Mussolini” (The Mussolini).

Their biggest hits during their brief years of working together (1981/82) were produced by Germanies best known producer Conny Plank who helped Kraftwerk in the early 70s and worked with people like NENA in the 1980s.

Surprisingly enough some of their stuff still stands the test of time and could be played anywhere nowadays.

After a re-union tour in 2001 the band finally split in 2005 and Robert Görl is about to release a new single this June if I am not mistaken.


DAF – Alles ist gut (Mute Records)
DAF – Für immer (Mute Records)

Friday, March 24, 2006

"Hello young lovers" an interview with THE SPARKS

On Thursday, the 23rd March I talked to Ron and Russell Mael better known as The Sparks. I was in Dublin and they were in L.A. – but separated somehow, therefore they set up a conference call and rang NEAR FM at 6p.m. on the dot.

TJ: “Hello young lovers” is the title of your new album?


TJ: Isn´t it??

Ron and Russell: “Yes, it is (laughter)

Ron: What a sharp question

TJ: You thought I address you as “hello young lovers”, weren´t you? (laughs). Your new album sounded quite different to your big hit, well, I am from Germany, just to say that, so the biggest hit I ever heard from you is: “When do I get to sing ´my way´” which was a few years ago and now I have your latest single “Perfume” in front of me and that sounds very different. In fact, you always have been quite different. How come?

Ron: I suppose if you are coming from the perspective of knowing “When do I get to sing my way” so well then probably “Hello young lovers” is even more of a shift in direction than someone who is been coming from , kind of following every little nuance what Sparks has been up to and with a song like “When do I …” it was a really precisely crafted song with a really great chorus that kicks in and in a certain way really traditiona,l even though I think it is a really great song and the lyrics are also really special to that song, but where “Hello young lovers” really differs from that is that it is the 20th album and we wanted to try to come up with a way of not working in the traditional ways in which he have worked in the past and not kind of rehashing a certain convention that are being around in pop music for so long and we try to kind of challenge ourselfs with something really different structurally, lyrically and instrumentation wise as well to just see how far we can kind of push things but then still be accessible as well.

TJ: You have just completed a little tour in the UK. How was the new album perceived over there?

Ron: It was really fantastic. The reception was just really amazing everywhere we went. We are doing the first half of the show just the new album in its entirety from the first song to the last and we´re doing it with a really stylised projection presentation which is really visual and theatrical but it is also demanding in a certain way on an audience especially that isn´t familiar yet with the new album as the album has just come out. It was a challenge in a certain way but audiences just everywhere were so enthusiastic and receptive to something that was this special and we´re really encouraged because it keeps our faith in the public that they really do exactly want to hear something that’s kind of …

TJ: … different. You have been around since the mid 70s really, isn´t it? “This town is not big enough for the two of us” – when was that?

Ron and Russell: Ehm, that was 1974.

TJ: 1974 – my god, I was seven back then

Russell: So were we

TJ: (laughs) alright. You are around for quite a while. I was talking to Karl Bartos a few weeks ago, you know him from Kraftwerk, and he was telling me that in Germany the whole musc has changed and I was talking to him about him living in the UK and he said that this really is his country and that people are more aware of his music than anywhere else. Now you, according to your biography, basically also tried your luck in England and that´s where your first success was. Is that true or is that just something that somebody wrote about you?

Russell: That´s true. We had had two albums done in the States and nothing had happened and then we got an offer to come to England from our English record company “Island” and it had always been our dream because we always idolised English bands and not American bands at all. The reception to what we were doing was incredible. There is just something about the English except of kind of having a real strong identity with pop music, it is kind of their number one industry, and there is kinda not a whole lot of other things to do so England is kind of been strong to us through the years even though others country have gone for one song or another but our consistency has been strong there. The English were kind of accepting what we were doing.

TJ: But your are also touring in the States nowadays. So you are well known in your own, huge country. Is the audience different?

Ron: No, we are finding that everywhere we go the audiences now have become really consistent. We just got back from playing two nights in Moscow in Russia and we had that same question on our own minds “would the audience be different?” They are even towards Sparks and the audience was absolutely amazing and so we´re finding that everywhere we go pop audiences, at least for Sparks, from our experience are really consistent everywhere. And really well versed in most of the albums that we have and the reaction everywhere you go is pretty similar. We´re told the same thing in Japan, “well, don´t expect them to be, well, they´ll like you but don´t expect them to be overly responsive and vocal in there reception to you” and when we got there it was just as wild as any other country we played at.

TJ: I´ve heard that actually quite often. I´ve been checking one of those old videos from KISS, you know the hard rock band KISS with the make up on and all that …

Ron: Yeah

TJ: They have been told the same thing and then when they played Tokyo, Tokyo decided that now is the time to celebrate Rock and Roll. Apart from the asian looking population you couldn´t see them differ from any other country.

Russell: There is so many different national differences but when it comes to popular music it seems that there is a pretty consistent reaction to what´s being done. We just played in Russia and we had the same thing. We were warned that maybe the Russian people, not having a strong familiarity with what we´re doing or whatever it was, that the raction wouldn´t be great but it was exactly the same as anywhere else that we played.

TJ: Let´s just imagine: If this would all end today and nobody would be interested in the Sparks anymore and all that. I mean, you have achieved so much but at the end of the day you are artists and it doesn’t really wear off. You always will do something artistically. If you couldn’t do your music is there anything you would like to do?

Ron: Well, I don’t know so much about not doing music but maybe it would be channeling the music in other kind of ways. We are really interested in doing a movie musical, so, we are just interested in what you said being creative and artistic in some kind of form, so if it wasn’t doing Sparks then I am sure we would be channeling it in some other way, wether it would be in film or making our own film or writing for theatrical performances that sort of thing. I don’t think you lose that kind of ambition and start becoming a shoe salesmen all of a sudden.

TJ: When you do electronic music it is all about melody. Being a musician myself I see it as being a craft but some people tend to think that you´re just a knob-twister and that everybody who does something electronically can´t play at all. Does that bother you that people put people into a niche and has it happened that people genuinely think that you are just knob twisters and that you are just one of those bands that does noise?

Ron: I think if someone just bothers to listen to the new album they can see what the real story is. There is a lot of musical ability and capability in that album …

Russell: The reason why we did this new album is really as a reaction against all those people that were kind of making electronic sound like one long song and, you know, we loved those kind of thing with all the dance music and that kind of thing but when an area becomes so clicheted then it is time to move on. We wanted to get a 180 degrees away from electronic music because there are so many people that aren´t very good at it but doing in that it kind of gave the whole thing a bad name and we wanted to do something that nobody else could do and try to do something that is musically more adventurious. When we were doing electronic music, even though we were able to do a lot of different styles, and because we really loved that kind of sound but there are limitations as far as uniformity of sound goes and so it was time for us to move on.

TJ: You are a very established act so I guess you have way more freedom than a new band would have but have you ever been put under pressure from the record company? Did they expect you to sound like you sounded when you sold a lot of records? You know, when I was talking to Karl Bartos he told me that after the smash hit with “The model”, they wanted them to always sound like that …

Ron: We never had anyone really tell us what to do and in addition to the comment that you made prior to that: New bands have a 100% freedom to do whatever they wanna do, too. The sad thing is that they choose not to in most cases or they´re incapable of trying stuff that is really bold so I don’t really agree that a younger band has restrictions placed on them because when you´re first starting out that is the time when you should be doing your most adventurous stuff. I think that everybody in pop music in a certain way is given that freedom. And Karl Bartos to whom you obviously talked to, well, they didn’t follow anyones advice anyway.

TJ: Yeah, I have to say, you know, I´ve been living here in Ireland for 5 ½ years but I grew up with Kraftwerk music and when I talked to Karl I found him to be a very nice guy and what he said made perfect sense. It is just that nowadays when you talk to younger people it seems that they have never listened to “real” music. When Techno started in the late 80s, early 90s it all became just one beat …

Ron: Yes, I totally agree with you that everything now is based on just what sort of came before and not even like 10 years before or 20 years before but it is being based on what has come six months before and now everyone says “We´re the new Arcade Fire, we´re the new Strokes …” and you kind of think: “Oh my god”. New people are just kind of wanting to emulate …

TJ: … this years trend …

Ron: … there isn´t a real basis musically for peoples work and having a real background in music because in the end, I think the people that do have that do pop out from the crowd if they use it wisely.

TJ: You started at a time where there wasn’t much around in opposition to nowadays. There are just so many musicians, no, hang on, I doubt it: artists maybe but not musicians … music is a craft. Do you think that this perhaps is the reason why you kept going for so long?

Ron: Well, I think that is the reason why our stuff, or maybe why he had 20 albums because the stuff is, well, there is something special on it and that people do recognise that and even though we havent had the massive successes like U2 but then I think that Sparks is doing music that is maybe more prococative in a certain way than those types of bands that have had huger success because they tend to get lazy and they use their real fire to continually challenge themselfes in what they are doing because there is no need to. They are so secure in a certain way. I think that is probably part of the reason why we´ve continued to last but not only last but do music on our 20th album that is probably more provocative and more special than anything we´ve done.

TJ: So, you reckon, you will keep going for another 10, 15 years?

Ron: (laughs) hopefully not.

TJ: Are you planning on retirering?

Ron: You know, being in pop music, you don´t think in terms of retireing. The whole thing about being in pop music is that you kind of don’t play by the normal rules that are out there and things like retirement and all of that don´t really register on our wavelength because those terms don’t mean anything.

TJ: When you said that you have never really had that massive successes, I sometmes think it depends how people measure it. I mean, your records are available in 20 odd countries. I would call that “moderately” successful.

Ron: yeah

TJ: It seems if you never had a number one it then you are not successful nowadays.
Ron: Yes, it is all relative and I think I was speaking more about commercial success but, yes, it is all relative and can all be dfined in different ways.

TJ: If somebody starts out today – is there any advise you could give to a young musician?

Russell: It seems like if somebody really has to ask then I think it is gonna be a problem for them. The thing is that it has got to be so much a part of their psyche and their drive has got ta be from themselves so if they need any kind of advise than they are already in trouble because there is so many kind of problems that come along the way and if the outside world is at all something you are considering in a strong way then I think it is a bad idea to be doing it at all. It just has to come from within you and if the drive is so strong then no matter what anybody says or recommends or what the reaction to your music is that you kind of persist. If you have to ask maybe you should persue something else.

TJ: Thank you very much, bye bye

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Human League, Tears for fears, A-ha ...

Some of the electropop bands of the 1980s are re-united, some always stayed together. A-ha played Dublins Point Theatre in 2002, Tears for Fears played Dublins Vicar Street in 2005 and the Human League played just a year later.

They all looked healthy, mature and knew how to communicate with an audience. I guess they all know now that those who attend the concerts are the real fans, those who made them want to do what they do – play and perform for the fans.

Admiration has come full circle

(Pic: Philip Oakey, The Human League)

* read about them at


When Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode in 1981, DM struggled for a while only to overtake Clarke´s projects saleswise. But that doesn’t mean that Vince wasn’t succesful at all. On the contrary, teaming up with Alison Moyet, the very unlike pair created a lasting legacy as YAZOO (YAZ in the US) and “Don’t go” is perhaps the most played 80´s dance song ever. Yazoo released two albums before they parted. After a brief encounter with Irish singer Fergal Sharkey, with whom Vince formed THE ASSEMBLY in order to release a once-off single “Never, Never”, Vince Clarke asked vocalists to come forward for auditions for another venture.

Andy Bell came forward and got the gig – Erasure was born. That was back in 1986 and ever since the duo released smash hits and great, timeless tunes and there is no end in sight.

Read about their 2005 show on and listen to:

Erasure – Hits
Erasure – Nightbird

Duran Duran

The Book of British Hit singles and albums has unveiled their annual list of the “Top 100 most successful acts of all time” in December 2005 and Double Duran rank at # 55 (Erasure at # 67 respectively).

Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and the three Taylors (and they aren´t relatives at all) John, Andy and Roger became known as the “Fab 5” and are a household name all over the world.

Their career was somewhat shortlived when one considers that they first hit it big in 1981 with their “Girls on Film” video and single release and followed it up with a string of hits and arena shows and tours, producing classic material like “Hungry like the wolf”, “Wild Boys”, “Is there something I should know?”, “Save a prayer” and the 1985 James Bond movie hit “A view to a kill”.

Then it was all over – Duran Duran were no more.

The 1985 album “Arcadia – So Red The Rose” which consisted of LeBon, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes and a number of big industry names as special contributors like Sting or Roger Waters, is an exceptionally great album and produced the hit: “Election day”. To this day it remains one of my favourite albums and on a whole I´d say that Nick Rhodes was a real inspiration on me as a keyboarder. Around the same time John and Andy hooked up with the Ex – “Chic” Drummer Tony Thompson and vocalist Robert Palmer to produce the even more successful “Power Station”.

It all eventually died down and Duran Duran carried on without Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor and although “Big thing” produced another two hit singles they never reached their original strength.

1993s “Ordinary World” became a surprise hit and their biggest hit to date but the follow up album “Thank you” didn’t sell well.

More albums followed without much impact and then the word got out that the Fab 5 meet up again and re-unite.

2004 release “Astronaut” who saw the original line up in well over 20 years is a smasher simply because this line up is able to create magic.

Their reunion tour was a never ending one and we can expect more from them in the future.

Depeche Mode

It is the year 2006 and Depeche Mode are currently on a massive world tour promoting their latest hit album: „Playing the angel“ – and it is not a comeback tour, they are there since 81 and they never died or fell victim to other shortlived trends. In a very real way the are the true survivors and winners when it comes to all that’s left from the mighty 80s.

And even this statement doesn’t do them justice because there music isn´t stuck in the 80s, they evolved and moved on and they deserve to be called true heroes.

It wasn’t always easy for Depeche Mode – when songwriter and Depeche Mode founder Vince Clarke left the band, literally the minute success came, in the next Depeche album without Vince didn’t chart as high as they had hoped for and Depeche was on the edge of becoming a pale memory of musicians. Fortunately DM found there strength and Martin Gore turned out to be an equally talented songwriter and they did well in bringing a trained musician, Alan Wilder, to the group before taking over the world.

Wilder left the band in the early/mid 90s but “Ultra”, the album that came after Wilders departure, became an instant hit album and remains one of the strongest albums they´ve ever made.

DM brought us so many great tunes that I would love to see them around forever. Read more under

Sampling and looping

The first electronic revolution didn´t happen when Kraftwerk emerged, it happened earlier when every guitarist around the globe was able to switch from acoustic to electric guitar. The sound became rougher, distortion was born and soon “Wah Wah” and other effects were added and the guitar became the leading instrument in rock. It took a good few years before electronic instruments became affordable and “the cheap option” always was CASIO™. There quality surely wasn’t as good as Roland™s or Korg™s but it did the job. I remember purchasing the Casio SK-I sampling keyboard in 1987 and all you could record was half a sentence in a dreadful quality BUT you could the take this partial sentence or sound or whatever and you could play in in different keys and octaves and sometimes the sounds became so weird that in the end it became an art form to sample effects and squeeze them into a song. After all bands like Depeche Mode were basically making a truckload od money from using sample sounds in their music. Later I bought a Casio DG – 20 a guitar without strings and via MIDI, which revolutionised the whole musicworld in 1982 by enabling instruments to communicate with each other and to start and stop in a synchronised manner, there didn’t seem to be any boundaries to creativity. The problem was always to record it properly and get rid of the sometimes horrible hiss that came along with the cheap in-build microphones. The fact remains that only a song that had a great melody to it became timeless and a classic and Depeche Mode often perform an acoustic version of an otherwise electronic song during their shows and it works because the songs have a memorable melody to it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kraftwerk 2004 Worldtour Images


(check the full Karl Bartos Interview on: or

They say you have to start somewhere - and although, historically, Kraftwerk weren´t the only musicians committed to electronic music before the world took notice, they are the most influential band of all time and it is a fair assessment to say that without them there would be no Techno, no House or any of these styles and certainly there wouldn´t be all that came after them: Depeche Mode, Erasure, Human League and so on.

Despite the reputation that electropop suffers from e.g. "they are all bloody knob-twisters..." - all Kraftwerk members (or Ex-Members for that matter) are well trained musicians.

Their catalogue/legacy includes tunes like: „The Model“, „The Robots“, „Autobahn“, „Boing Boom Tchak“ or „Radioactivity“ and „Tour de France“.

Albums you might want to listen to are:

Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express
Kraftwerk – Autobahn
Kraftwerk – Computerworld
Kraftwerk – Electric Cafe
Electric Music – Esperanto
Karl Bartos – Communication

DVD: “Minimum – Maximum” – funnily enough you will notice to hear their influence on a lot of productions. Trust me on this one

Music non stop

"Jeder kann Musik machen" (Everybody can make music) was a statement made by no other than KRAFTWERK founder Ralf Hütter during their 1991 "The Mix" tour - and he probably has said this somewhen before.

Electronic instruments are indeed easier to "play" than conventional instruments - having said that, in my experience, being a musician for 26 years myself, you won´t get away with it unless you have a thorough knowledge and understanding of how to create music.

Of course there are examples of crappy "electro-poppers" out there but there is also a lot of quality in the works of Moby, Lamb or Faithless for instance. It is the idea of this blog to "examine" the evolution of electronic music while investigating bands and trends of the past, present and the future ...