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15 Questions to Aalfang mit Pferdekopf

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hello, Tobias...I’m fine – sitting at home with a bottle of malt beer.

What’s on your schedule right now?
A lot of projects have been finished this month. Two new Aalfang-albums and a few split recordings. Maybe they will see the light of day in 2006. These are the levitating ones... Early 2006 will also see the first vinyl-release on Drone Records (an EP called „Fragment 36“) and the 3-inch „Die Kosmische Zygote“ with Sascha Stadlmeier (Emerge). Recently... there’s tea on the table and fruits on the bed. And a bottle of malt beer. A great dinner’s approaching!

“Genmaicha: At the opal seashore” has just been released on Mystery Sea. What I find remarkable about the album is that it has a much softer flow to it than some of your previous pieces, with less sudden transitions. Where you looking for a bit more harmony this time around?

Exactly. I had a special image in mind when I first heard about Mystery Sea but the idea of setting the beach and the ocean to music was and is always prominent. This was one of the biggest influences and greates expierences in my childhood: lying in the camper and listening to the surf at night. But I wouldn’t deny the predecessors harmony – they only had a different kind of it – especially „Panta Rhei“ from the debut.

You have always had a special link to “Drones”. What excites you about them?

Nothing. And that’s the point. I like those vacant, light drones. They have so much power to clean your head from thoughts. My first expierence in „Drones“ must have been the beginning of „Beware The African Mosquito“ by Nurse With Wound – or their wonderful stunning piece „Funeral Music For Perez Prado“... though neither NWW nor Aalfang do pure „Drone Music“ predominantly. I like to add „Drone“-elements to the music to get a certain balance in the compositions.

The music has a strong “visual” aspect and invites listeners to drift away – a feat Klaus Schulze once named “Picture Music”. Is that somethig you generally appreciate in compositions?
I don’t like to brand music in such ways. It’s your interpretation to say my music’s „visual“. Some think it’s pure noisy crap without any sensual worth. So what!? The only thing I appreciate consciously while making this music is the hot sentiment in my stomach when the sounds make me happy. And that‘s not hunger!

How would you describe or characterise your composing process?
Searching and surgery. Well, I’m not someone who executes his eight hours of music every day. In the past there has been a time where I didn’t touch any of the equipment for months. When I have no idea, no inspiration, I don’t record music. At the moment it’s a very prolific period, so many things happened the last four months – it’s amazing. When the time has come I often record a special idea or just play with new stuff and tools not heading for a special aim. In the first phase I’m a sound collector – a very clement one and in the second I’m the borstal putting all these little children in different places and let them play.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
Sound is omnipresent – composition is its domestication or the sum. Depends on your point of view.

Even though you have a clear and strong own handwriting, the influence of artists such as Christoph Heemann and Nurse With Wound is noticeable. What, if anything, did you learn from them?
I really love some of Heemann’s and Stapleton’s later works and the dramaturgy you can hear in it.
Their kind of arranging things left a big influence on me, that’s right and also their linking of music and painting.

Instead, some journalists have dubbed your music “Ambient”. Isn’t that the typical mistake of degrading a music that is merely “quiet” and “unobtrusive” as “background” sounds or “musical wallpaper”?
It’s not a mistake and I wouldn’t also say that it’s a disability to describe my work exactly. The term „ambient“ just cannot cover the whole thing. I’m not angry about that because there are a lot of „ambient“-parts in Aalfang music. As long as I don’t give the baby a name I cannot complain about this  – and I won’t do it in the future!

Some feel there is no need to record albums any more, that there is no such thing as genuinely “new” music. What do you tell them? Is “new” an important aspect of what you want your pieces to be?
“New”... what’s “new” ? I don’t create music with the purpose of  making something “never heard before”. That would be too restricting, too ambitious – filling the music with excrescent ugliness. A lot of people mistake  ambition as a gift and something that should be cultivated and propagandised. I don’t think so. You lose the ability to see the essential – or in our case: to hear the essential. Creating music that takes you out of the ambition-stream for a while – that makes you feel cozy and groovy – that’s what I try to do. And the “some” you mentioned in your question who feel “there is no need to record albums any more” – that’s okay. I accept this point of view, why not - I hope these people don’t stop listening to music. But in my eyes it’s a very egoistic attitude. I’m sure that there are many (young) people out there who still search for new acts.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I haven’t done any „good live performance“ yet – so I’m the wrong person to ask it seems. In general when you have a good easy feeling – everything’s right. That’s the base for everything – even a „good live performance“ – on and infront of the stage.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
I even don’t have a vision what the next one will sound like. A „magnum opus“ can be something truly calamitious. All stupid questions: what happened to Genesis after „Foxtrot“, to Phillip Boa after „Boaphenia“, to Bob Dylan after „Desire“ and to Pink Floyd after „The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn“ and what will happen to the Editors after „The Back Room“. The term „magnum opus“ is the weapon of the journalists to slay an artist.

I know you have a dislike for overanalysing art. So how did it feel talking about your own music all this time?
Ah, that’s no problem because we cannot reach the core of the music just by talking about it. It’s nice to share some ideas but you have to know when it’s enough and avert a NME-prattle.

Cuba Dezember (aal) 2005
Genmaicha: At the opal seashore (mystery sea) 2005
Die Heuschrecke im Bauch der Vogelscheuche (aal) 2005
Kulturbunker Tokyo (aal) 2005
Ich habe nur noch 12 Seepferdchen in meinem Tempel (einzeleinheit) 2005
Mezethakia Mukabalatt (aal) 2004
Figuren in der Nacht, geführt von der Leuchtspur der Schnecken (Duaal/Grootenvolk) 2004
Im Schlachthaus blühen die Blumen (aal) 2004

Aalfang mit Pferdekopf

Picture by Andreas Schmidt

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