New music from ex-Kraftwerk and ex-Telex pairing – more info!
Words: MARK ROLAND
A few days ago Kraftwerk watchers (is there such a thing?) were stunned by the sudden announcement of a brand new track, ‘Stop Plastic Pollution’, by Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider, a collaboration with Dan Lacksman of Telex. We spoke to Dan Lacksman to find out more about the making of ‘Stop Plastic Pollution’ and the involvement of Señor Coconut
How long have you known Florian?
We met a long time ago, with Kraftwerk, after a concert in Ghent. The first meeting was with Telex. Then some years later, he called me, “I’m in Brussels, would you like to meet up?”. Every time Kraftwerk came to play in Brussels I went to the concert, and we would go for a drink afterwards in some restaurant. We were speaking of everything but the music, I didn’t want to interfere in Kraftwerk, asking questions. It was really a friendship that grew slowly. Then every time he came to Brussels, two or three times a year he would call me and we’d go and eat something. Et voila.
This track that has suddenly appeared, when did you record it?
Well, one year and three months ago. Florian called me because he’d been asked by Parley For The Ocean – they are educating for stopping plastic pollution in the ocean – if he would like to make a track for an event. And so Florian called me, and asked if I would like to do this with him. I said, “Of course Florian!”
What was the recording process like?
Florian came and he had this brilliant idea of making a real track from water drops. So we started from scratch from there. We sampled some drops in the bathroom in my studio, we took a microphone in there, then we made the loop, and then we sampled guitar chords and reversed them. Uwe Schmidt, who recorded an album of Kraftwerk covers in the latin style in 2000 [‘El Baile Alemán’] under the name Señor Coconut, and is also known as Atom™, contributed ideas, too. It was his idea to made the droplets speed up into ping pong sound. We really experimented for two days and ended up with this track, with Florian saying ‘stop plastic pollution, save the fish…”. We made a rough mix and listened back and we thought, ‘Hey, it’s great, it’s not so bad, so why don’t we do something else?’ And the idea was in the air.
So, are you going to work on some more tracks?
“We have three more tracks on the go. It’s a very slow process, because Florian is in Dusseldorf, but we thought we could continue. In fact, he called yesterday and said, “It’s incredible, all the hype on this track, so we definitely have to carry on!” and I said “OK Florian!” with mucho gusto! With much pleasure! It was really great, we had a lot of fun together, and voila, we did this track and now we see what happens.”
I don’t think anyone expected to hear Florian making new music
“He has his own studio, he let me listen to his experiments. The fact is he wants to do something other than Kraftwerk, not Kraftwerk-like, which I understand. That’s why we started from another basis. Of course, it sounds a little like Kraftwerk, a little bit Telex-like, I don’t know, that’s impossible to avoid, but I think he wants to do stuff from a different point of view. The idea is to experiment and to make something new, not take the routine track. With the internet we can send tracks to each other, that’s especially useful as Uwe Schmidt lives in Chile, but when we get together it’s so much more creative, because we are reacting to each other. One is trying things, and the others says, ‘Hey! That’s great!’ If you are alone in the studio you don’t get that. I know I sometimes try things alone, but I know maybe I find interesting things, but I say “no it’s not good.” But if you work with someone else, they say, ‘Hey! That’s great!’ when you think say your bass line is mistake, but they like it, and this way you are more creative than when you’re working alone.
Do you think there might be an album in the offing?
We played it to some close friends and they really liked it. And on Facebook and Twitter, everyone reacting to the track has been great. That makes us more willing to continue, but we have no plans, we don’t know how many tracks we could do, we don’t even know if we could succeed to make a whole album. We’re going to make more we’ll see what happens.