[KRAFTWERK] Portuguese newspaper interview with Ralf Hutter (in english)
circuitslave at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 4 23:22:38 CEST 2004
Good read, Jorge. Muchos gracias ! : )
>From: Jorge Figueiredo <jorgefig at esoterica.pt>
>Reply-To: kraftwerk at activerecord.com
>To: kraftwerk at activerecord.com
>Subject: [KRAFTWERK] Portuguese newspaper interview with Ralf Hutter (in
>Date: Sat, 03 Apr 2004 23:38:26 +0100
>Just finished the translation. Remember it was an interview probably
>conducted in english, written in portuguese, and now translated back to
>english. Hope it's OK!
>It was published in the big-selling portuguese daily newspaper "Público" on
>the day of the concert. The original (in portuguese only) is available at:
>Interview with Ralf Hutter, founding member of the group
>KRAFTWERK: THE ROBOTS PEDAL TO LISBON
>For the rock prone, Rolling Stones rules. For the pop oriented, no one
>beats the Beatles. For the electronic generations, the founding myth goes
>by the name Kraftwerk. But they're not alone. Bono, from U2, says that
>"they had a decisive influence on me", David Bowie refers to them as
>"unique", Karl Hyde, from Underworld, remembers having thought, when he
>heard them for the first time, "there's nothing like this in the planet
>where I live". Plastic artists Gilbert & George are fans.
>In October last year they came back with the album "Tour de France
>Soundtracks" - their first record of originals for over a decade - but in
>their first concert in Portugal they're going to play some of their most
>Through the years they have changed their line-up several times -
>Portuguese producer Fernando Abrantes joined the group in 1991 - but
>Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter have been the leaders. The latter, leader
>and spokesman, rarely gives interviews and when he does he reveals the
>least possible, as PUBLICO confirmed. After all, the myth must go on.
>PUBLICO - In one of your last shows, in 1998 at the Sonar Festival in
>Barcelona, you used video projections, infography animations and robots
>mingled with musicians. What has changed since then?
>RALF HUTTER - In 2004, we have Kraftwerk in laptop version. All our
>analogical material was converted to digital format and that's the big
>difference. Until recently it was almost impossible to carry all our
>material from the Kling Klang studios. It was difficult to travel with such
>heavy technology. Today with laptops and the digital era, its easier to do
>a world tour like the one we are doing now.
>P - In this tour shows you have played the most known tracks. Is that what
>will happen in Portugal?
>RH - It will be a mixture of those tracks with the new ones from "Tour de
>France Soundtracks". It's going to have a very audio-visual atmosphere,
>with synchronized projections with the music. We were recently in
>Scandinavia and it was wonderful! People understand electronic music, but
>it was great to break the ice a little bit...[laughter]. We've been to
>Japan, returned to Europe and Portugal is next. In the digital era we can
>travel and everything works perfectly.
>P - You have changed to digital, but the soundscape of the last record,
>"Tour de France Soundtracks", is the same. More than a group, you are a
>perfectly defined image-sound concept, which can create resistance to the
>ones expecting you to change.
>RH - The Kraftwerk concept, such as it was defined by me and Florian
>[Schneider] in the 70s, hasn't been through much change. This is our
>identity and we don't want to lose it, but this doesn't mean we're not
>paying attention to what's around us, and that we are not trying to evolve
>in our particular way. Our electronic music has been gradually changing.
>It's more energetic and "Tour de France Soundtracks" reflects that.
>P - Through the years, in spite of the changing line-up, you and Florian
>Schneider kept leading the group since 1968. What's the secret for the
>longevity of the relation?
>RH - It has been 40 years. We are like Kling and Klang...[laughter]. It's a
>perfect electronic marriage.
>P - In the last record you've come back to the concept of cycling. It's not
>exactly the first image that comes to our mind when picturing the future.
>Where does this fascination come from?
>RH - I love cycling. Bikes represent energy, human values attentive and
>sustainable progress, moving forward, the perfect understanding between man
>and machine. We can't reverse with a bike. With music the same happens -
>what matters is
>moving forward, pay attention to time and space, keeping the right balance
>and finding our rhythm. Last year when we were finishing the record we were
>invited by the Tour de France director to follow some stages in a
>helicopter and in the Director's Car. It was magnificent and allowed us to
>develop our latest ideas with total confidence in the concept we were
>creating. When the Tour ended in Paris we had our record ready.
>P - You talk about rhythm and energy, but in your shows you are famous for
>the impassive faces and bare essential movements. Is it up to the music
>alone to be dynamic?
>RH - Ah! But we are super active, emotionally and physically. We are
>totally aware, but the computers and keyboards handling is very sensitive
>and doesn't allow us enough ease for wide movements. We have to be focused
>not to make mistakes.
>P - You are one of the big influences of pop music and one of the most
>quoted by the new generation. How do you deal with being labelled, for
>example, the "Electronic Beatles"?
>RH - It's a very positive energy passed on by younger people. It's good to
>reach 50 and, wherever we go, be it Jamaica or Japan, we are welcomed,
>which proves electronic music, in spite of the different languages, goes
>beyond those cultural differences. It's a way of communication which has
>imposed itself, and that for us is a great compliment. When we started, in
>the late 60s, we were limited to art galleries or to universities and it's
>gratifying to see how things have changed.
>P - Last year we interviewed Fernando Abrantes, who was part of Kraftwerk
>in 1991. He told us that, after the concerts, the group frequently went to
>dance-music clubs to get in contact with what was being played. Do you
>still do it?
>RH - Yes, after the shows usually there's someone to take us to a music
>club. It's great to practice a bit of our robotic dance and listen to
>what's being done. We hope that in Portugal someone will invite us. I
>remember Fernando [Abrantes] well. He did a tour with us, he is an
>excellent musician and he is a good friend of one of our electronic
>engineers, Fritz Hilpert.
>P - We are told that this will be the last chance to see Kraftwerk live,
>but there are those who say a live record will be released at the end of
>the tour. Is this true or are you going to be another 10 years without
>RH - The live record is a possibility, and we are going definitely to
>release more records. In June, after our last concert in this tour, in
>Moscow, we are stopping to decide what we're going to do. We have been so
>long without releasing any record due to the mastering and cataloguing of
>old material, that we are looking forward to going back to studio and
>creating new material.
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