Short talk with Alexander Hacke (Einsturzente Neubauten)

Enjoy next part of “short talks” series with with Alexander Hacke – well known musician, producer, member of alternative band Einsturzente Neubauten…and 1/2 of acclaimed duo hackedepicciotto.

How do you feel during this crucial world times – when it comes to virus breakdown for example?

Besides the fact that all our shows have been cancelled, which results in a severe drop of income, our life hasn’t changed all that much: we try to stay healthy and try to work as efficiently and well as we can. Of course it is painful not to be able see and hug friends and family, but the situation is also an opportunity to really immerse oneself into matters, which otherwise were not a priority.

Basic question: Creating music – what does it mean for you?

Music and sound are my basic means of communication with God and the World. I may be quite good at writing, drawing and whatnot, but working directly with vibrations suits me just fine. 

Is it a long-term process with inspiration coming gradually or it can be spontaneously done – due to modern technology – in a few days?

I believe that the actual creation, that transmission of inspiration, which triggers doing, happens in a tiny instant, a flash. From then on it is distillation, refinement, fermentation and all other kinds of Alchemical processes, which take their time.

Looking at it from a distance, how do you perceive the changing nature of recording technology?

I am grateful for all the developments, which enable us to just record and mix and edit and all the other things, which meant in the past, that you had to first gather the funds in order to find a studio with free time to schedule you in. There’s so much more freedom now, mainly because we don’t have to ask for anyones permission anymore.

What would you keep/restore from music hardware history, if you could – what type of recording?

I liked magnetic tape and tape echo and I like tubes and transistors, but then again “You can’t take it with you”. It’s best not to get too attached to anything, it’s the content and its authenticity that matters.

It seems that an album could be actually recorded on just one notebook with a smart software.

It’s done all the time! In fact, to be in a band nowadays is not a smart businessplan anymore, when you could do it all by yourself and promoters everywhere prefer to have to pay for just the one guy.

Still I feel that it somehow sounds pretty much the same (take s works with all types of I-gadgets).

Technology is just a tool. If you are telling the truth, it doesn’t matter how it is communicated. 

Do you see any connection between recording in the 70s and today, technology left aside?

Honestly, I wouldn’t know, as I also was too young at the time. The first timeI set foot into a professional studio was in the early 80s, but I suppose people were actually playing together more back then. Now it is all click-tracks and overdubs, or no traditional instruments or musicians at all.

How do you approach marketing/promotion of your music ?

We hire a promo-agency, if we can afford it. Aside from that it is all relentless self-promotion on social media.

It´s possible promote and sell albums without major labels? Any frustration for Digital download?

Yes it is! At Neubauten we are our own record company and with hackedepicciotto we fare very well with Bandcamp:

Vinyl, CD or MP3?:)

Vinyl is pretty heavy if you are travelling, but very popular with the fans these days. The CD is effectively on its way out, but still useful as a glorified business card, if you will. For my personal consumption of music I am fine with 320bit MP3, if I can get it and in the studio none of these formats would do. 

Do you still believe in a concept of album? My young friends or kids continously select only individual songs.

I do! If I like an artist I will buy an entire album, even if I happen to know or like just the one song. There is a term for this demographic: AAA, which stands for Adult Album Alternative.

What about Einsturzente Neubauten band in a next 10 years?:). Can we expect your new record or live performance? 

Well, if we ever actually get to see each other again, like really being in one room together, we might do some rehearsals in order to present the new album in concert, but nobody knows if that is ever going to happen any time soon, so we are researching ways to play and record music without having to leave the house. Soon enough we’ll find out how that’s going to work and we’ll keep you posted.

Thanks a lot for your time!

Mojo Lieskovský, DOUBLE LOUD

Alexander Hacke – was born in the proletarian district of Berlin Neukölln. A musician from the start, he joined Einstürzende Neubauten in 1980 at the tender age of 14, besides playing in numerous influential underground-groups and writing, recording, releasing and performing music under the pseudonym Alexander von Borsig. Throughout the eighties and up until today he not only collaborates with countless artists of various genres but also continues to produce records and score music for theater, feature and documentary movies.

In 1986 he teamed up with the Australian band Crime And The City Solution. Throughout the 1990s he then recorded and toured with Italian pop-icon Gianna Naninni, formed the alternative country-music outfit Jever Mountain Boys, improvised with Can-drummer Jaki Liebezeit for Japanese avantgarde-star Phew and produced records for the likes of Miranda Sex Garden, French anarchist songwriter Fred Alpi or Berlin post-punk characters Mutter.
In 2005 he starred as the main protagonist in Fatih Akin’s movie “Crossing the Bridge –the sound of Istanbul” and contributed music for the directors award-winning feature “Head On”.

Some of the many movie-productions which bear Hacke’s unmistakable hand-writing are “8 Miles High” a bio-picture about Germany’s premier femme fatale of the sixties and seventies Uschi Obermaier, the Finnish coming-of-age drama “Last Cowboy Standing” by Zaida Bergroth and “Fuori Dalle Corde / Out Of Bounds” the bare-knuckle fist-fighting drama by Italian director Fulvio Bernasconi, for which he received the award for best music at the 26th Festival International Du Premier Film in Annonay, France.

He wrote a spectacular score for Fatih Akins latest movie “The Cut”, an epic tale of a mans search for his daughters during the time of the Armenian genocide in 1915, which opened at 71. Venice Filmfestival in 2014. Subsequently Hacke was nominated in the category Best Music at the German Movie Awards 2015.

Since 2001 Alexander has been collaborating with the American artist Danielle de Picciotto who was singer in the band “Space Cowboys”, conceived the “Ocean Club” together with Gudrun Gut and was co-founder of the “Love Parade”. Together they initiated performances such as “Mountains of Madness” based on HP Lovecraft stories (inviting the English trio “Tiger Lillies” to participate), “Bada Bing” a performance series presenting an eclectic selection of new Berlin bands, “The History of Electricity” an electronic performance, “The Ship Of Fools”, based on the medieval text by Sebastian Brant, “Hitman’s Heel” a collection of songs inspired by the event of the couples embarking on a nomadic excursion, which begann in 2010 and continues on today and numerous international workshops and lectures on the innovative culture in Berlin. Further collaborations of Hacke & de Picciotto, who got married in 2006 include: “Not Junk Yet – The Art Of Lary 7”, a documentary movie about the enigmatic artist from New York City, “Needle At Sea Bottom”, an EP they recorded with him in his legendary Lower East Side studio and “The Glasshouse”, a silent movie with a score they performed live, inviting numerous acclaimed musicians to join them on stages around the world.

Alexander Hacke has released three solo-albums: “Filmarbeiten” a compilation of his early film-works, “Sanctuary”, a so-called Road-Record, which he produced during a journey around the world and “Doomed”, originally conceived for an inter-disciplinary exhibition.

In 2015 he put out his autobiography “KRACH – Verzerrte Erinnerungen”, published by Metrolit a division of the highly regarded German publishing house Aufbau-Verlag.

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