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15 Questions to Jerome Froese

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi, I´m pretty fine at the moment... I´m sitting by the window and am yet undecided whether I should go get myself a coffee or watch the thunderstorm outside.

What’s on your schedule right now?
Well... a lot! In the first half of this year, everything was rather relaxed, but now all things are starting to pick up speed at the same time. There are gigs with Tangerine Dream in London in June and in Berlin in July. Following that, I´ll have my first solo gig at the Big Chill Festival in England in August and there will be more activities in the months of September and October. Of course, there will be lots of things on my agenda in between these events as well.

Your first solo album “Neptunes” is coming up – what can listeners expect?
Guitars! It was my main goal to record an album that consists of 80% guitar sounds ... regularly played, but also treated and sampled. This gives the record a rather special basic mood... like a  thin red line that continues through all the tracks. The remaining 20% are sequencers, drums, percussion and a few vocals, which are used more for a atmospheric purposes and not in the form of conventional singing. Those who followed TD in the past decade will surely recognize my handwriting.

Your biography stresses that through your membership with Tangerine Dream, you were able to learn quite a lot – does this solo effort feel like “school’s over” and you can finally use your creative potential to the full and without restrictions?
Not entirely, TD have been a train that has been running parallel  to my own life for the first twenty years and that I have jumped when offered the chance for a nice and comfy compartment. On this musical journey that is now ongoing for more than 15 years, I have experienced many of the highs and lows of the music business. It is, thus, a very high privilege to be able to develop in a secure environment and having almost all forms of musical freedom one could imagine. I open another chapter with my solo project, one that you will have to be able to read correctly in order to understand it – therefore, learning is never over, you just get promoted up a grade.

You also recently founded the Moonpop label – what can you tell us about its musical direction? When can we expect the first releases?
First and foremost, Moonpop is a vehicle for projects that I am enthusiastic about – there is no need for a “sceny” image or anything of the sort. We are also not planning to throw a maximum amount of product on the market in a very short time, but only those releases that we can identify with and that we can handle effectively. We will start out with a three track Maxi-CD containing two tracks from “Neptunes” and one unreleased cut. We haven´t yet made a final decision whether the album will come out on Moonpop as well.

Was your decision to take the business aspect of your career into your own hands also a taken because of negative experiences? How do you see the relationship between music and business?
One of the main reasons surely was the possibilty to put things into a different time persepctive and, thusly, to cut short the immensely long cycles from the completion of an album until the release is finally available to end customers. Also, the big record companies use the income from a product to finance everything from the night porter to big VIP  party events that the artists very often do not even receive an invitation for. With a small label, a lot of the irrelevant costs are cut short and the available capital is often used more carefully and efficiently. The disadvantage to working with an independent company is that your product will not be distributed as widely, as the majors have their own extensive distribution network and a small label will have to rely on various smaller companies to get their product stocked. Thus, the ideal thing for a small label is to have one or two established artists that will help open doors for the entire roster.

Has your work as a DJ somehow influenced your musical output and taste? How does Djing compare to performing live, when it comes to your personal preferences, ambitions and concepts?

To me, DJ gigs are a very nice addendum to my other musical activities, but they have actually never influenced these directly. I usually do not get to know the music I play from my Djing but have already been listening to it before. The difference to a regular live gig is massive. As a DJ, you have a mixed audience that comes to your gig to dance and that is, thus, easy to manipulate. You can react fast  to certain mood swings and get the fitting piece record form your box. A live gig is much more strictly planned and you do not have as many possibilities to directly react to your audience.

On a more general level: What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
A good live show is when the paying members of the audience are feeling that they have made a good investment and the people on the guest list feel embarassed for having come in for free.

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

Not for me, but maybe for most major music companies. Everybody, who is not afraid to search will always find new music and sounds in the shelves. And most people are also willing to pay for that. The general quality of popular music and what kind of price would be justified for that is something we could discuss...

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?

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

They totally interrelate – one single sound can serve as an inspiration for an entire composition.

True or false: People need to be educated about music, before they can really appreciate it.
You are not seriously asking this question... don’t you?

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?

10 hours of great music plus an erotic moment to trigger the media.

What’s your favourite CD at the moment?

Dead Meadow – Feathers

Does the success of stars like Britney Spears sometimes make you wish you had chosen for a career in Pop?
Not really... she only gets a few hundred dollars for singing ... the millions are for the loss of her privacy.

With Tangerine Dream (excerpt):  
Melrose (Private Music) 1990
Rockoon (Virgin/TDI) 1992
Quinoa (Virgin/TDI) 1992
220 volt live (Virgin/TDI) 1993
Turn of the Tides (Virgin/TDI) 1994
Tyranny of Beauty (Virgin/TDI) 1995
Dream Mixes 1 (TDI) 1995
Goblins‘ Club (Castle/TDI) 1996
Dream Mixes 2 – Timesquare (TDI) 1997
Ambient Monkeys (TDI) 1998
Transsiberia (TDI) 1998
Valentine Wheels (Live in London 1997) (TDI) 1999
What a Blast! (Miramar) 1999
Mars Polaris (TDI) 1999
Great Wall of China (TDI) 1999
Soundmill Navigator (TDI) 2000
The Seven Letters from Tibet (TDI) 2000
Dream Mixes 3 – The Past Hundred Moons (TDI) 2001
"Inferno" (Dante Alighieri – La Divina Commedia) (TDI) 2002
Mota Atma (TDI) 2003
Dream Mixes 4 - DM4 (TDI) 2004
"Purgatorio" (Dante Alighieri – La Divina Commedia) (TDI) 2004

Radio Pluto EP (Moonpop) 2005

Jerome Froese
Jerome Froese at Tangerine Dream

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