Hello Wolfgang. You’re known as the first electronic drummer in music history. No need to tell you are a very influential person. But I wonder, when you started doing this were you aware of the fact that you started a revolution?
How could we be aware? We were four playful guys and had the luck to meet up for music. Our talents were from different sorts and that fitted for a completely new art. We knew that we were different to other musicians. Diffent in the instruments we played and in devices we developed ourselves. We were different in the songs we presented to a more and more grewing audience. We were different in the clothes we wore.
Revolution? A revolution is an explotion, is power, is force. We did not explode with a new style of music. Our sound and themes started to blossom very slowly in the fields of the music world and builded a whole new genre. People didn’t like to listen to our offers all to much and we got awful bad reviews in the beginning.
You stood at the cradle of what was later labelled as Krautrock. Today it seems like everyone was in this genre, but was it like that? Was there a wide audience for what you did back then?
Kraftwerk was never Krautrock. We actually didn’t like this phrase. German bands who copied US rock could be called this way. The US troops who had occupied the Main- and Rhineland after their victory about the Nazis called Germans generally “Krauts“. Kraut means sauerkraut. A vegetable they learned to love in our brewery houses (if they found some in the destroyed cities) and loved it. So German musicians were simply called Krautrockers by them and the foreign media. Our audience was small and curious when we started in the early Seventies. We had a new music intsrument which produced complete new sounds – the synthesizer. It was not an easy thing to get our audience used to its sounds.
And then from 1973 to 1987 you were part of Kraftwerk. If you won’t mind I want to ask you some questions about them. What is in your opinion the most influential Kraftwerk-album ever?
The Man Machine and Computerworld.
Some say that there wouldn’t be any techno if Kraftwerk wasn’t around. Do you agree on that?
That’s bullshit! It was the invention of the sequencer and the sampler that made techno possible and big. Many of later artists national and international used Kraftwerk samples. Kraftwerk is the most sampled band in the world. But this fact is not the circumstance that has built techno and all other genres which came from it like rave, acid, house, hoppe di hopp, drum’n bas or else.
In the post-Kraftwerk days you were collaborating with acts like Mouse On Mars and Pizzicato Five. Was that like a rebirth? In fact to which artists you are listening to these days?
After ten years of absence from music it was in fact a kind of Wolfgang rebirth. I detected and invented the story teller and melody inventor in me. Together with the help of Andi Toma from Mouse on Mars I produced my first own album – Time Pie – and found me in the middle of new colleagues with collaborations. Since 2000 I worked with another partner Starfan Lindlahr on new songs which are on the current ELOQUENCE album. I was estonished that especially an English label – Cherry Red Records – offered me a publishing contract for songs we produced together. Rebirth? Absolutely! And I never would have released anything new with more joy than in England.
Seeking evolution seems to be a very important part of your musical self. So you think music can still be explored as some say current music is like recycling the past.
Nothing against recycling. I can only speak for myself and argue that developing something new is still my thing. I have meanwhile written music, song lyrics and books, I read literature and my own tales. I use my voice like an instrument and slip into roles like an actor – music is my scenery. While presenting my MusikSoldat program I perform my tracks, I’m different. As said, not a DJ, more a performer and show presenter.
From 2011 Wolfgang Flür became Musik Soldat. What was the meaning behind this idea? You also play lots of DJ-sets in the techno scene. Do you like night life?
Corrrrrrect, I like nightlife. And I still love going on stages. I do this since I was 17! MusikSoldat is a synonym and of a statement. As I’m a pacifist since I can think I bring music and scenes for instance from an anti-war-movie at the end of my show which are brutal and dramatic (German Zeppelin tries to throw bombs over London and being prevented by British air figters). At the end of my show I put on a Kaiser-Wilhelm Pickelhaube and march in front of my audience, staring at their faces, leave stage with the soldier greet. All this is meant ironically and cynically. I show an old photo from a soldier boy from the same era, an image that was given me from a good friend. This image had left me with frozen blood in my vains when watching it the first time…
You might ask me “why helmet?“ I recommend to read about this on my website www.musiksoldat.de under the button “HELMET“. On www.facebook.com/musiksoldat you can watch a short video about my ELOQUENCE album. Cherry Red Rec. produced this vid pretty nice…
Two years ago you released your debut on Cherry Red. A masterpiece as it covers so many ranges of electronic music, any possibility there will be a new album in the future?
Thanks for the compliment, I really love the ELOQUENCE album. I’m already working on a new one called “COLLABORATIONS“. This because I have no band and work with diverse artist all over the world via the internet. We send music files and themes there and back again and again and add them with ideas, sounds, melodies and lyrics. That’s a great fulfillment to me because I don’t need a big music studio and am nevertheless connected with friends and colleagues who I meet during my travels national and abroad.
You soon will play at Winterfest in Ghent, Belgium. What do you know of Belgium and why should people come to see you?
I remember I always liked it very much when driving on an Belgian Autobahn by night (in fact there aren’t too much). They were the only Autobahns which are completely enlighted with soft yellow lamps. I was in Brugges and Antwerp some years ago with my partner. I played MusikSoldat last year in the Ampere Club of Antwerpen which was furious! Belgium is a European state and has Fleming and Flanders culture. French is the main language. I like Brussel’s ATOMIUM as a geometrical sculpture. like Belgian beer, ah haaa ahhhhhh hmmmm!
My old Kraftwerk colleague Karl Bartos wrote a song on the ATOMIUM which developed great.
People should come to see and hear my musical offer at WINTERFEST because it’s simply the greates show for watching and dancing. It’s different!
Attention: I must inform you that I’m not a DJ in its common meaning. I see myself as a music presenter with attractive pictures on the screen behind me. They show Images from my private archiv and self produced videos, slides and film snippets and oddities. The music I present is pretty electro and extremely danceable – it is no techno nor rave!
What’s your favorite record of all time and tell us why.
It’s two albums: Rubber Soul by THE BEATLES. Trans Europe Express by THE KRAFTWERKS. Both albums are romantic, full of gorgeous melodies, pretty lyrics and sentiment.
With who wouldn’t you mind to be 8 hours in an elevator and what would you do then?
Ha ha ha – what a view – I like myself and Z
Interview by Didier Becu - Luminous Dash