[KRAFTWERK] Portuguese newspaper interview with Ralf Hutter (in english)

circuit slave 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:
>Jorge Figueiredo
>Coimbra, Portugal
>Interview with Ralf Hutter, founding member of the group
>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 
>iconic themes.
>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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