Stereoklang talks to Welle:Erdball on gear, radio stations and the release of their new album “Der Kalte Krieg”
“Der Kalte Krieg” is the name of Welle:Erdball new album featuring covers of songs during the Cold War era. We wanted to know more of what has happened with the band since the DVD Zeitsturm was released and really understand what this Homo Futura project is all about. Honey and Freuline Plastique took some time to chat with us and transmit the latest buzz from the Funkhausstudio.
Why did you start Homo Futura and what is it that you can do there that you cannot do in Welle:Erdball?
In the begining it was “Das Präparat” that started as an official Welle:Erdball side project. However, when we split up there were still some shows to do, so we did them anyway with a different set up (F.Nstein & Plastique). This worked out really fine and was a lot of fun. So we decided to keep going and it was really fun to create a new band, new image, new stage show etc.
Official video of “homo~futura – Links-Rechts”
The Zeitmaschine played an important role in the DVD you released last year. Do you see yourself as time travellers when it comes to your music and the band image?
We’re traveling through time constantly – just take a look at your watch! Apart from that, music is definately a good way to travel through time with your mind.
You once said (some 10 years ago) that Welle:Erdball had a long way to go before reaching the goal of Welle:Erdball – The goal was to sound like Welle:Erdball. Have you reached that goal now and how is it shown in your music and visuals?
I think we are really close with the new album “Der Kalte Krieg”. But we haven’t really reached our goal yet. It might sound hard to believe, but since the start of Welle: Erdball, all the concepts and partly the names of the broadcasts and songs were already set. And we still have to accomplish a couple of things on this list.
So it won’t be over for a long time.
Could we expect a radio show by Welle:Erdball including only Gainsbourg song? We feel that the work of Serge matches the Welle concept very well. We’re sure he would approve of you bringing his work to a younger generation.
Probably not. We’re not a “cover band” although we appreciate Gainsbourg’s work a lot.
But actually the upcoming release “Der Kalte Krieg” will contain only cover versions of favorite songs from different artists about the cold war and others.
Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer-songwriter, actor and director. Gainsbourg’s extremely varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize. His legacy has been firmly established, and he is often regarded as one of the world’s most influential popular musicians.
You have a lot of political and social ambitions with your songs, ranging from the criticism of gaming consoles to the man-machine integration. What areas are your main concerns today and why, and would you agree on the theories of a technological Singularity that has been put forward by e.g Kurzweil?
It is hard to comment on this. Since the opinion of Welle: Erdball not always is the personal opinion. I find it important that you first have an opinion at all and that there is a message in the music and in the lyrics. Not: “Come on, let’s have a party tonight!” :). And we see it as our duty to have a social commitment but we are no judges, who tell the audience what to think.It is only important that you form your own opinion or that there is a chance to do so.”
What is it that you like about the 50’s sound?
Well we’re using 50s asthetics since the beginning and we’re all big fans of this aera. The sound of the 50s and the subculture behind it was one of the first “punk” movements in music history.
Probably the most charming way of going against the mainstream.
You describe yourself as hard working, keeping you self busy 28 hours a day. Is that just the German spirit and work morale showing or do you have an artistic fire burning inside?
I don’t know if it is the German mentality, maybe a little…But under any circumstances is it the Welle: Erdball-mentality. We are working on a vision! We don’t see ourselves as a normal mortal Sex, Drugs & Rock’n’Roll music band, but raher as empolyees of a radiostation, which broadcasts information, synthezied tones, music, plays, news… through the air to the listener.
We appreciate that the German culture is important part of the Welle identity – Do you ever feel that singing in German is limiting your possibilities to reach your audience fully as you have many fans all over the world?
We can’t really do anything about the fact that we ARE german. We speak german everyday, we think in german, dream in german, hate in german and love in german, doing it differently it would be / feel rather strange. Then we prefer to produce art and music in a proper way. German is the language we speak perfectly and that is better than writing songs in pseudo English, isn’t it?
We know that you love vintage gear like the C64 and MS-20. Why are these vintage machines so important to you, and have you also embraced any modern electronic music production tools and gear?
80% of our radio station equipment is form the 80’s or 70’s, Arcarde-Automats, Super 8-Projectors ect. and of course also analog synthesizers. I believe these things have their own soul and you can sense this soul, when you work with these instruments. And maybe the Welle: Erdball-listener can hear and experience a little of this soul.
Of course, we also have some new digital instruments, such as the Access Virus B, Korg EX8000…), but that is the minority. Welle: Erdball must sound like Welle: Erdball and PC-Sounds do NOT sound like Welle: Erdball!
When the DW-8000 succeeded the DW-6000, it expanded it to 8 notes polyphony, 16 sampled waveforms, a velocity sensitive keyboard with programmable aftertouch, auto-bend, a simple arpeggiator and a digital delay unit. The Digital Delay was an astonishing goody for the time, offering up to 512ms delay, phasing, flanging, chorusing and other time effects. Both the Arpeggiator, Auto-Bend and Digital Delay make this synth an inspiring and great sounding machine to use for great 303 basslines, techno and house bass and synth sounds and more! The EX-8000 (pictured above) is a rackmount version of the DW-8000.
We know that you are quite secretive on your work in the studio, but do you think you could share some light on the creative process – where does it start and where does it end?
That is hard to describe, then you really have to come to the radio station. It is really a small time machine… and it really works!
We have a lot of readers in the electronic music production space, apart from the obvious machines and software, do you have any favorites past and present that has shaped your sound?
I believe I am really a little KORG-fan (KORG MS-10,20, Poly61, DVP-1, VC-10, Poly800) but also instruments from Roland like Jupiter 6, JX-3 or CR-78 are often used here. It might sound funny, but as a sequencer we are still using ATARI Mega4STE with Midex und Cubase 3.0 :)… And when it comes to Commodore64, we almost only use “Soundmonitor” by CHris H¸lsbeck (1986) or program the tones manually in Basic or Assembler. I believe one of the main reasons why, why new music always sounds the same is that everybody uses the same tools… But music must not sound the same! So you have to use equipment which is NOT “mainstream”. And good old analog high quality equipment is better than platisc garbage Plastik-M¸ll and digital PC-Hard/Software…”
The Atari Mega STE was Atari Corporation’s last ST series personal computer, released in 1991. The MEGA STE was essentially a late-model 680×0-based STE mounted in the case of the otherwise unrelated Atari TT computer, although a number of TT features were also blended in. The resulting machine was a more business-like version of the ST line.
We know that C64 is very close to your heart but have you used Chipsounds by Plogue? We feel that they real took emulation to the next level.
We have not really dealt with that. The C=64 is for us not only a musical instrument, but also a good friend, who you can play with and rely on… And maybe the only machine in the world, which says: “I can’t do much…, but together we can to everything above my technical limits!”You are rally caught by the capacity, but at any time you can surpass it and do things with this home computer, which should not be possible.”
What do you think of the new Commodore 64? http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx Do you have one? What are your thoughts on this, will the new C64 be a clear member of the band? What do you think we can expect from the new C64, will it be similar to the recently released new Fairlight?
I don’t believe there is a second time”! All part 2 are the worst ones (“Indiana Jones 2” :)). You can improve what is good, but that which is PERFECT can’t get any better. This “new” C=64 maybe is a really nice “Retro-idea” but it is only a PC. I hate “retro”! Welle: Erdball is NOT a Retro-Band!!! We are the last ones from the original!”
Do you see your “children” use the iPhone as a retro tool in the future? Why do you think retro is important?
The day before yesterday we had C64 retro, yesterday Amiga500, today Nintendo Gameboy and tomorrow the iPhone… Always what you connect to at the best time of your life and that time you want to keep permanently.
What can we expect from Welle:Erdball in 2011/12?
In October 2011 the new Welle: Erdball-Broadcats (LP) “Der Kalte Krieg” will be released, paired with a live-bonus-DVD, and a new Video-Clip. Then we will have our little European tour and then we will start working on the next broadcast “Dance music for robots”. I think now we have more creativity than ever before and that must be taken advantage of.
Best wishes from the radio station!