What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Lowell: We’ve been making music on and off for years, but our latest spurt is probably a result of just trying to fight the drudgery of working for a living.
K’ko: When I was an intern at the Atatak studio in Düsseldorf in the mid 90s, I met people like Kurt Dahlke, who was a central figure in the Düsseldorf music scene. Working with him really inspired me to do my own stuff.
TDK: As Lowell said, we’ve been making music on and off for years, together and separately. Fortunately or perhaps by design, I’ve never looked at making music as being a way to make a living, so my inspiration has always been to satisfy my own wants in terms of the music I produce.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
K’ko: The album (on Happy Robots Records) is on lovely blue vinyl and the cover art is from one of my paintings. The ‘Versions’ CD (also on Happy Robots Records) has a Shanghai cover, designed by Lowell, and a Düsseldorf cover, designed by our good friend and collaborator Faible, who also does all of the band’s promotional photographs.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Lowell: Figures in the Dundee scene such as Gerry Mitchell and the Gerills really helped me embrace a little chaos in my music. Also, anyone who has heard our stuff knows early German bands like Kraftwerk and Harmonia are a major part of our sound. Unlike TDK, apart from Kraftwerk and maybe Can, I missed most German rock and until recently came from an electro background that viewed Computerworld and T.E.E as king. However, Kraftwerk 1 and 2, Ralf and Florian, Harmonia, Cluster and Stereolab really opened up a new thing for me, such as playing slide guitar from previously being a bit of a synth-only snob.
K’ko: The biggest musical influence for me was Ernst Von Marschall – the conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra in Düsseldorf. He really helped me to listen to music in a way which brings out the smallest of details and to see how they contribute to the whole piece. This was especially relevant to me because as a classically trained viola player I am not the main contributor but still the piece would be missing something if the viola wasn’t there.This approach has extended into my non-classical work.
TDK: I have fairly catholic tastes, so my musical influences include artists like Gene Clark, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Can, Cluster, Manuel Göttsching, Throbbing Gristle, Gang of Four, Wire, Azymuth, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Level 42, Atmosfear, Sebadoh, Stereolab, Tunng. Funnily, I guess that bar Can, Cluster and maybe Stereolab, none of these might be mentioned in reference to Mood Taeg but they’ve all played a part. My non-music influences are people like Ken Loach, Tony Benn, John Pilger and Dennis Skinner.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Lowell: There is obviously a big German influence, but I would however like to think we have mix of other stuff in there such as Electro, Hip-Hop, and Ambient. The Streetsounds electro series was a big thing for me, which I think has influenced the way our tracks often sound like sections mixed together a-la Mastermind Herbie. Also as a synth guy, I play and approach the guitar from more of a sound perspective and as such process it in what I would say are less-standard ways.
TDK: I’ve always found it difficult to describe our sound because, for any musician or artist, trying to place the music you create within a specific genre seems to be such a reductionist approach. Yes, you could file it under Krautrock but even that term doesn’t do justice to the wide range of musical styles that Krautrock encapsulates. Also, as Lowell says, we would hope our music wasn’t that one dimensional.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Record: The League Unlimited Orchestra – Love and Dancing
Book: Three body problem – Liu Cixin
TDK: I’ve always been into singles more than albums so I’ve chosen three singles.
Records: Imani – Just another love song; Neno Exporta Som – Deixa Atristeza; Willie Wright – Right on for the darkness
Movies: Once Upon a Time in the West; Once Upon a Time in America; Once Upon a Time…The Revolution (all Sergio Leone)
Book: Christopher Grayling – Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death
Books: Oliver Sacks – Musicophelia. Tales of Music and the Brain; Haruki Murakami – 1Q84; Francois Lelord – Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du bonheur
Albums: Ed Motta – Perpetual Gateways; Ryo Fukui – Scenery; Alfa Mist – Antiphon
Movies: Hayao Miyazaki – Nausicaä; It Must Schwing – The Blue Note Story
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Lowell: Studio 100%. Not being massively technically proficient I’ve always found playing live a strain, always felt it was pretty fake and usually terrible sounding. I prefer the magical silly accidents that happen in a studio when people work together.
TDK & K’ko: Studio, for exactly the same reasons as Lowell.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
There is a story involving Mark Almond’s Moog synthesizer but to go any further would be incriminating.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
TDK: A new track we’ve been working on called 20 Line Concordance because the vocal samples in this one add a further dimension to what people know about the band so far.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
K’ko: Future plans are a second album, maybe some live gigs when things return to normality (if ever).
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
We’d like to say thanks to all the people who bought the album. It’s been quite refreshing to see that there is still an audience (albeit a relatively small one) for something that’s a little bit different and requires a bit more time and investment from the listener. Also, a big shout out to Adam at Happy Robots who’s been very cool to work with. Cheers Adam!
Photo Credits: Faible
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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