Edgar Froese, founder and head of the influential electronic band Tangerine Dream, who died in 2015, spoke about his band’s rediscovery in the autumn of 1997 in preparation for a UK tour.
You are worshiped as a godfather by the techno kids. Flattering?
No, rather funny. Blümchen dances on the coffin. And one day they’ll open the coffin lid and there’s nothing inside.
Then maybe you prefer the label “precursor to trance”?
Neither. First, precursors and laggards are just two sides of the same coin. And then dance rather than trance.
And what exactly is that: dance?
Prevents arteriosclerotic cartilage hardening.
Sounds pretty vague.
Is correct. So feel free to keep your drawers closed.
Might suit you like that. The next drawer says “New Age”. How does one feel when one is elevated to guru status by esoteric disciples?
That’s even further away, completely beyond my horizon.
But Tangerine Dream has become an integral part of the New Age charts. Don’t you follow that at all?
I’m not interested.
Do you listen to New Age?
Never. After two thick slices of cream cake I’d have to throw up – and I’d like to keep my carpet clean.
What charts would you feel at home in if not the New Age charts?
The top ten on the Billboard Sales Charts wouldn’t be bad.
In 1997 Krautrock, which was so embarrassing at the time, was celebrated everywhere. What’s behind it?
I don’t know who came up with the droll idea of unwrapping those mummies, but I don’t like the smell.
Your name is written on one of these mummies.
I can’t and don’t want to forbid others to chew on old bones. It’s just like this: When business stagnates, you don’t take the rocky road forward, you tip out the garbage can and recycle something.
Don’t you have to be damn desperate to bet on Krautrock of all things?
Basically, the music business is like a blind cow in a large pasture, staring into space and dutifully chewing the cud.
Do you agree with a definition of the word “Krautrock” that leads you as the father of the movement?
Of course not. I honestly consider myself fortunate that the abysmal meaning of this term has so far remained completely closed to me. By the way: who cares?
For a while, Kraftwerk were considered your most potent competition…
Power plant? I can only really like them when I have seen them in the leotards of prima ballerinas from the Bolshoi Ballet. They simply lack the decisive sound-sound pirouette, the musical momentum of the everyday. I love more the Ruhrpott morbidity, the true German underground.
What about rock made in Germany anyway?
I’ve been wondering for years whether there’s really only Lindwurm and Rummmstein, Kunzel and Pur between Flensburg and Garmisch, or whether a few cosmopolitan upright music are still making music out there in our country, to whom a badly played Em7 chord from Rollstein Richards still sends a shiver down his spine. And then imagine what would happen if the Kunzel quota were grafted onto the whole musical-mental misery. The Bundestag decreed: German music for the German bloke, help, what century are we actually living in?
Does working on soundtracks give you an opportunity to be creative outside of the despised music biz?
Even there, mass production now prevails. The most interesting thing would be a radical conversion of images into music, if possible without dialogue, for example for documentaries. Otherwise, soundtracks can easily become routine.
What do you say to the critics who call your music unimportant today?
It’s totally fine. We were just as unimportant when we started in 1970 as we were in 1997, just for a different group of people. The fact that we no longer have anything to offer the trendy writers could also be due to the fact that we don’t make our music for these people.
Who exactly is your clientele?
Well, as a label we will, for example, enter a virtual record shop from where you can download music onto your home computer. With 8 bits you can listen to mono for 20 seconds and if you like it you can simply download what you want.
And how do you pay?
By credit card, I assume.
Could you also imagine being a customer yourself in such a virtual shop?
No. I’m both a musician and a businessman, but I can only do it well if I strictly separate them from the start.
Beautiful new world?
It’s definitely not pretty, because aesthetically it’s absolutely horrible.
An article from the RS archive