HERE TO LAST
It's all about sound
In the 70s I lived with my Greek family in Schöneberg in West-Berlin. Only two streets away has David Bowie lived. Later I was able to experience his great music at three of his concerts. He is one of my heroes in music.
„Look up here, I’m in heaven, I’ve got scars that can’t be seen.“ (David Bowie in Lazarus)
I was 10 years old and got my first guitar from my mother, which my dad always locked away when I did something bad. Sometimes I couldn`t satisfy my rebellious nature. I was fascinated being able playing the guitar, so I learned playing it on my own, asking fellow friends and jamming along to the music of my parents record selection.
Everyday I`m thinking about music. Music is my project in life. There is something it`s telling me. Now I`m rich in experience and ready for everything. Prepared by years of producing.
I am humble as a person, compassionate in my heart, liberal in my head, I like to share my happiness and I work a lot, sometimes with a mystical lightness. If you want to look into my soul and ask yourself who I am, listen to my music.
In the 80s we lived in the province of Lower Saxony.
Our first band Clubcraft: Happiness was not our thing. Sad and fragile songs, autodidactic in DIY style. "Do it yourself" everything was possible, freely improvised and repetitive, lyrics and groove as a pose. We heard Die Goldenen Zitronen, Abwärts, Palais Schaumburg, Der Plan, DAF, Scherben and more and more New Wave.
We experimented with electronic sounds, often catchy and danceable without superficial. Our style was inspired by New Wave and Post-Punk. Quite dark, noisy and introverted, which the texts contribute theirs. Music with an unfinished apolitical charm tending to be more experimental, often incorporating influences from Dub, Funk and Krautrock.
No more heroes. Our bands were called Accessoires and Westdeutsche Christen.
I bought a "Roland TB 303" synth from my DJ-fee and used more electronic gear and especially Roland equipment to play with the machines as a side effect.
Our singer was a DJ and so I got a great introduction into club music and DJing as well and started to listen to lots of new music. It was clear to me that DJing is also a way of making music and expressing oneself.
We recorded our music on reel-to-reel which was an inspiring process for me to realize the difference about sound and performance, and that many times less sound makes more space to listen to the actual music rather than layering sounds - finding out how that works has been a motivating and inspiring process for me and fills me with excitement until today. It`s all about sound and music is pure emotions, it's faster than light and faster than thoughts.
1985 back in Berlin.
Studying the subject of 'media arts and communications' at the University of Arts, working creative and learned Typo and Layout. An inspiring time, meeting and getting in contact with musicians, painters, copywriters and more multimedia focussed art people. I started painting and getting involved into fine arts and graphic design including making professional trainings at advertising agencies, where I learned a different way of thinking conceptionally.
And the time was crazy, the 90s in Berlin. Everything stood on its head. The revolution in the East was just over. We danced to Acid House and we Hippies just came from Goa/India and the most important thing for us was the music. We just wanted to play music and go dancing. We danced at the Love Parade. It was colorful and like on a volcano, all so fully good mood. We danced to hard beats in a dark club. We wanted to get lost in the night.
I visited Goa in India for the first time in the season 1988/89 and the impact was profound. The music that had been played, was a mix of contemporary electronic dance music that served the mystical atmosphere of full moon parties in the jungle or by the shore. The music was ranging from TechnoTrance to Acid and also Electronic Body Music (EBM). The joy of discovering a new.
I kept visiting India and Goa and witnessed the electronic eclecticism morphing into a more specific style, an own sound: Goa-Trance/Psychedelic-Trance was born, with labels such as Dragonfly, TIP, Flying Rhino or BlueRoomReleased. They were featuring a platform for that new sound and delivered it worldwide to the headphones and dancefloors of musically likeminded people.
Our band was called Rain on Bamboo. It was the time when we felt free in the freest city on Earth, Berlin.
I got in contact with Ingo Ito and his the art project Bamboo Industry mixing industrial sounds with influences of traditional asian music. We founded the alternative ambient band Rain On Bamboo and shifted to an avantgardish style of music influenced by artists like Brian Eno, King Crimson, David Sylvian or Ryuichi Sakamoto. There was much space for improvisational performances within the loose framework of the vocal songs.
Ingo Ito, Susa Lie, Lorenz Allacher, Hans Schumann, Lisa Wicklund and Heiko Maile - we improvised on one side of music and with the musical material we worked on and try to keep things flowing, where nothing is static, and scratch out our emotions to get it finally recorded.
During the day I wrote my diploma thesis and at night we worked on "Sleep And Poetry". In a strange way, a vulnerable album with love-needy love songs was created.
Berlin 1991 Live concert at the Quasimodo with the band
Lorenz Allacher: sax, keyboards, vocals
Ingo Ito: guitar, lead vocals
Gabriel Le Mar: guitar, bass
Susa Lie: bass, keyboards, vocals
Hans Schumann: drums
Bamboo Industry - These two Hands
Tell me something about politics
Turn my eyes on national interest
Explain to me defense of freedom
I don't have a word to say
Show me landscapes of a strange land
Miracles all civilized
Call it law, I call it violence
I don’t have a word to say
This used to be my earth
This used to be my air
This used to be my land
You might as well chop off these two hands
Get your victims off my ground
They should have used their hearts and brains
Lock me in until I moulder -
I don't have a word to say
Get your birds up in the air
One by one they'll be coming down
There’s a curse on every screw -
I don't have a word to say
You who make the hard wind blow
It will be blowing over you
You who make the engines go...
10 years later in Frankfurt
What keeps me going and learn to see with my own eyes?
And why I am always interested in the music that I have not done yet.
At that time Techno and the joy of celebrating did not let me go. The nocturnal Berlin and our liberation was still effecting. We were in parties. One floor under one groove.
Techno was also celebrated excessively in Frankfurt. But the underground was much smaller and it was easier to slip into the other scenes. RaggaMuffin, Reggae, Dub and Ambient.
I liked deejays and producers who combine everything that is possible in today`s Dub Kosmos in their galaxy from roots to jungle, from ambient to house and from trip hop to dancehall and thus creates its own approach.
Searching for the connection between Dub and current club music, we started with our dub-club concept Serious Dropout with the producers Jammin' Unit, Tricky Cris, The Reverend, The Rootsman and the singers and MCs Yah Meek and Markie J.
Deep basses send their vibrations through the club. Echoes and space sound circle above the heads of the crowd. DJs and live PA alternate on an obscure setup of electronic instruments, effect devices, keyboards, tape machines and turntable. The voice on the MC opens up. Ragga Muffin Soundsystem, what a blast.
It was always coloured in with Dub aspects - Dub music fascinated me ever since - when I heard "Ruts TC meets the Mad Professor" on John Peel´s music in the radio I was kinda shocked from the sounds and mixing - it seemed to me like music from another planet and keeps being a big time inspiration for me until now.
Later we founded the formation Dub Mix Convention, NuSchool Dub in Germany and Banned-X, which included different guest artists and combined the whole spectrum of electronic music with dub and reggae elements. The releases were mixed inna dub-style, using the mixing board and it`s effects as musical instruments, produced with overdub- and cut up-techniques. Dub universe forever.
India still a longing place.Travelled deep in the heart of India. What enchanted trips, so many places with spiritual power and all the early morning moments. See, experience and understand. This experience called life with its unique creative power within.
1997 I worked with Michael Kohlbecker and Groovetitan as Saafi Brothers on Mystic Cigarettes.
The Days and the Nights were long. We got all this music in our minds echoing from all these sessions we did and see the ideas developing in realtime. We felt that was an album for eternity.
Mystic Cigarettes came out on the British label BlueRoom Released and the people liked our electronic project and our collective act of creation.
We did a remix for the German number one hit "Sie ist weg" by the hip hop group "Die Fantastischen Vier" and worked with the South-African band Amampondo. BlueRoom became our family and we met artists we heard in Goa at our parties.
I love going through waves concerning energy and flow - flowing grooves, sometimes pushing and forcing, and deep soundscapes that make you dance and feel. Finding a golden cut in rhythm, structure, composition and volume to create music in a poetic context.
No particular triggers, just going into a mood, fly towards my ideas, find something, something happened in these deep moments.
Make a balance between positions of clarity and complexity. Putting the things together, which reacts with you, like a painter of fine sounds.
In that time we worked in several collectives and we launched our Aural Float album Introspectives and played our electronic-leftfield music on the "chill out sessions" at Frankfurt's XS Club. There were big cushions on the dance floor, we played ambient music and the SpaceNight ran on a screen. Original NASA/ESA film- and video- and documentary footage from outer space with music made on earth.
The electronic SpaceNight was born. We went to the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich and presented our concept of the chilling sounds with the special overdubs.
Under the direction of Aural Float the 'Space Night' TV-series evolved into an audiovisual format with space field recordings and ambient electronic music that was captured by a young generation. The electronic SpaceNight of cosmic and spherical sounds was on air.
With Pascal Feos and Alex Azary we produced 3 albums as Aural Float and played to the moon. It was a spacey mixture between the music and the visual thing. We created our own audiovisual world by using and synchronising images with our music gear.
In the 2000s my approach to compose and write music was more of kinda playful and I realized analogies between creating music and working on graphic design. The questions are similar: finding elements that fit together or make contrast, creating counterparts in atmosphere, melody, sound and arrangement, keeping balance in these elements and bringing all material together in the mix or on the sheet...
As an artist you can’t stop yourself. Talking about style or handwrite in my sound I think I'm having it but on the other hand I do not have enough distance to my productions when I work on them - only after quite some time when I feel like having moved away from that point, I can listen to them again and I ask myself what does it do to me.
Saafi Brothers returned to the studio for their second album Midnight´s Children. Again to experiment the feeling for the combination of influences between West and East.
And the Saafi-style was born.
We rehearsed always and everywhere. We toured with Saafi Brothers and BlueRoom in Europe and US. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it on the BlueRoom bus at Burning Man to cruise on the playa.
Working with chords, harmonies and sound is more a sensual process than a theoretical one, getting there is more exciting than thinking about how to get there - it is a work in progress thing where we also try to surprise ourselves by using different means or personally uncommon ways and forget about skills to reach exciting peaks and always dub-wise grooves. Setups and methods became invisible, pure emotions.
We founded our small family and I became a father. An intense experience that reminds you to have been a kid yourself, holding a mirror in front of your face.
The 2010s Saafi Brothers found a new family at Youth's imprint LSD - Liquid Sound Design in London.
Chill and ambient orientated releases are about capturing blissed out dub beats.
Rediscovering the emotional depth of 'real-time created music' after a couple of live shows, we fueled the idea of creating an entirely live recorded album. Recording live to have the energy and to fly in the right moment.
Two albums were created 'The Quality Of Being One' and 'Life On The Roadblog' from these live recording sessions. To the dub shores...
Saafi Brothers was formed in the spirit of chill out & dub and we love the mystical connection when placing with our audience into higher spheres to the moments one can experience. We call it the secret of danceable speed in ambient tracks to experience feelings through deeply emotive music and psychedelic bluez.
And we still travelled in India. Wild moments spaced out. Not in need of inspiration.
From Electro-Ambient to deep and minimal TechHouse to energetic soulful AcidTechno characterizes my solo productions. Tempo, experimental deepness, syncopic chords and dub sequences are concerned.
Each track tells something about its time… give it a listen. Everyone can experience something different.
It`s about combining these styles, the physical energy of 'digital club and dancefloor sounds' with hypnotic rhythms and infra basses. It`s about to push the musical styles and to find ways to intensifying the tracks both emotionally and meaningwise. And of course I let my dub mind wander.
Lives filled with music Dr. Motte and me following the path that led us together. We are searching for the soul in the machines. On different sessions we recorded three technoid albums and our favorite track „The Breeze“.
Playing with the various settings inside our electronic devices to get the sound and atmosphere we are for to put the listener in a trance-like state and released them on Motte`s imprint Praxxiz.
With RCO 'Radical Chill Out' we released an ambient album and see RCO as an open project of an artist collective.
Live I like using little mixers and other 'sound control tools' in order to do real-time sound changes paying respect to the fact that every live situation has it´s own dynamics, concerning the emotional states of the people, the acoustic situation in the room and the special atmosphere of the moment to share and bring the sound of my studio on the floor. On a mission…
The pandemic 2020's
What to do with your free time during the pandemic period. Tidy up and straight into pleasure. I found my old Berlin guitar, which I played up and down in my Berlin time. As a kid in the 70s. As a young artist in the 80s, and when we moved into the studios in the crazy 90s. I met different bands and artists and got together to start something. We just wanted to play music, absorbing music, making art, go dancing and start traveling. We wanted to discover the new Berlin and new music.
The revolution in the East just ended. We danced to Acid House and digged into the Neo-Hippie vibes just came back from Goa/India and the most important thing for us had been the music and experiencing this together with inspired people. The music took us to very special places and we risked our ears in dark cellars.
When I started to play my Berlin guitar again, there was a feeling of returning to those emotional states and the desire to produce an album with my Berlin guitar to capture and feel this special energy. I realized that I had taken a huge mountain of memories with me to rediscover Berlin in a new process. Music from memory, experimenting with different methods to let things out in a different way compared to what and how I did that before, fusing the past with the here and now. I flew towards my ideas, influenced by Post Punk, New Wave, Art- and Kraut Rock, Psychedelia, Post Disco and Techno.
In this pandemic time, we are all waiting to meet and dance together again. Of course, a streamed concert can’t replace a live gig. I played live stream shows from my studio and got completely involved in the moment. Streaming live music gets back a bit of the feeling of a concert on the sofa.
I started my first streaming gig with a AcidTechno set for Summer of Love 2020 free online festival hosted by South London Arts Lab (SLAB), presenting Yoga session, ceremony, salon talks, DJ & live sets. I was happy having been part of this extraordinary cosmic arts lab experience. Thanks to everyone at South London Arts Lab & Martin "Youth" Glover for invitation and support, special thanks to all attendees that imo were actually also active artists setting up the vibes for all of us that joined throughout the whole day - what a great happening that was.
Here are my Acid/Psychedelic Techno DJ/live streaming sets.
Hope you enjoy.
Stay save and healthy everyone!
And I need a positive message about a positive change. Let us find a mode of being in this world to win the future generation for this society. Communicating values, positive thinking, critical questioning and a we-feeling. How to negotiate similarities for a diverse community. We only have the responsibility for the future. The responsibility to experiment more, how we can proceed. An invitation to a more beautiful world and to an inner change of feeling and thinking.
When we were young, we had high hopes for a better world. What has happened to our belief in peace and our desire to live it? The longed-for social change, that has not taken place, has disillusioned us.
We should rediscover our faith in possibilities and start living our dreams of visions. The young generation needs our shoulders which they can stand on and to walk forward to a more beautiful world. Today, the younger generation are seeing even more what we have seen clearly. They are thinking about who we can be in this world and who do we want to be as a society. A society that is oriented towards the common good and no longer allows existential worries.
We are facing enormous challenges, such as inequality and environmental degradation. There must be a transformation, that promotes togetherness and connectedness with nature. A new Ecological and Social Transformation. Thinking something together.
It needs another meaningful and positive message, how we link the what and the how.