Kraftwerk is about music. Kraftwerk: music starts with silence
Many years ago they made a musical revolution, and since then all modern musicians have been praying for them: from DURAN DURAN and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, to Madonna and PRODIGY. They created their own universe, a mechanical electronic universe, and they are the gods of this music, and maybe, by the way, non-living gods. During a Russian tour of the band, Ralph Hutter, one of the founders of the KRAFTWERK band, came to the Silver Rain radio station. After distributing several autographs and agreeing to a couple of photos, Ralph went to the studio to give an interview to the leading radio station Vladimir Orlov and answer questions from the audience.
VLADIMIR ORLOV: In KRAFTWERK music, you pay special attention, first of all, to the timbre of the synthesizer, to the coloring of your music. You know, when I listen to you, I feel something so warm in my stomach. And from here the first question: is this some kind of musical trick of graduates of the conservatory; maybe – pressure on the subconscious or the result of some kind of musical research?
RALPH HUTTER: This is a very interesting, but, in fact, strange observation, because we used to be called the “cold wave” (as they said in the 70s). When you listen to it again, you can feel that this music is, in general, warm; to feel inspiration, energy. Since music was created using computer and electronic technologies, it was likely that it would sound somehow distant, cold. But we never thought that it was cold, so I am very pleased to hear this compliment from you; it is very nice to know that from the very first listening you felt warmth and energy in this music.
VO: Yes, it hurts. But as I understand it, Mr. Hutter will not reveal to us, as in The Queen of Spades, a terrible secret – what is the trick?
RH: Everything just comes from our spirit.
VO: Let’s move on to an interesting question, in my opinion. Mr. Hutter, you have re-released now all your albums. Until that time, you could buy almost the same albums in stores, published in 81, 82, 83 years …
RH: By the way, our albums were never processed using modern digital technologies, they were released from old analogue tapes. But now we have done “remastering”, and with this “remastering” the albums came out in a new sound.
VO: Many of your old fans are still used to the “plate” sound. Was there any fear that something would be killed during the “remastering” – maybe that very soul and warmth?
RH: When we reissued the CD, we did not “remaster” at all in order to change the sound. On the contrary, we tried to maintain the signature sound of the Kling Klang studio. We did everything in order to identify and preserve the main thing that was in this sound. And another very important point: we made a different design. Prior to this, disks were issued with photographs that were simply re-taken from album covers. Now we used other photos, redid them, redid the design of the albums. It seems to me that a much more perfect work has turned out, both in the musical and in the visual sense. In my opinion, the publication turned out to be solid: there were separate records, a special box, a catalog in German and English, a book.
VO: By the way, before the release of your last album “Tour De France” there were no new works, not counting remix albums. Why did such a big break happen?
RH: Yes, in the 91st year we released The Mix. This is a live album. After all, our main musical instrument is the Kling Klang studio itself. Usually we record live in real time. The studio also wrote mixes that were included in the album of ’91, so it can be considered a live album. Then, as I already said, we were engaged in “remastering” of our past records, trying to preserve the sound of those old synthesizers. The transformation of these old sounds, which were slowly getting worse and degraded, took a very long time. We had to take information from old analog tapes and make a good, new digital sound out of it. Then remixes of some of our friends from Detroit were made, and in the year 2000 we released an album with these remixes. And in 2003, as you know, we released the album “Tour De France”. We are completely autonomous people – a very small group of independent people. We work only ourselves, work in our studio. Apparently, it took us so long to produce something new.
In addition to working in the studio, we also do everything else: various multimedia things; We do the design ourselves for our shows; shoot a video. This also takes a lot of time. By the way, in November, after the end of the world tour, we plan to collect all the material shot not only at concerts, but also around them – and release a DVD.
VO: Everyone plays the violin differently, and the guitar too – this applies to any musical instrument. A computer gives equal opportunity to everyone. Aren’t you afraid of competition and fakes?