Well, it seems that 90% of your collection is Miles Davis on one side and John Cage on the other… do you like the good balance between improvisation and composition? I thought you where more a guy of extremes…
John Cage and Miles Davis, as you can see, are two of my great heroes and really really triggered the collector in me. It all happened when I had very little money and CDs were’t as easy to come by as today. I remember how happy I was when a friend of mine visited London and brought me Miles Davis CDs that I couldn’t get here.
Talking about extremes… well, I don’t know. I am definitely not TRYING to be extreme. But I also have quite a big collection of Japanese Noise and J-Pop. In a way it is pretty extreme to collect both of these genres, isn’t it?
Again with Japan! I keep on getting pictures of records from that country, but yours are over any imagination. Have you also been there, like Paolo Bandera? He’s the master of japanoise, but what’s this stuff you have? I’m excited about the manga cover of the box and the plastc-wrapped LP with the blue-haired girl…
One is Rumi, a female Japanese Rap artist, and this album is quite a rarity – there are only 250 copies. If you take a closer look you will also see that there are many many female artists in my collection. I have always looked out for female musicians, especially singers and collected the works of musicians like Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk and so on.
Lately I started collecting J-Pop which is the complete opposite of my usually pretty experimental taste. The album with the blue-haired girl is by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who I absolutely adore. Her work definitely is much bigger than “just J-Pop” and I absolutely consider it art. I also love Perfume by the same producer who are technologically cutting-edge and besides great music have incredible videos and live shows. I wish I could finally see one of their concerts. Which somehow answers your first question… no, I haven’t been to Japan. I never had the money to travel there but definitely plan to do so within the next years.
Last questions: please also tell me about you got into J-pop! Are you an expert? Can you recognise the records in japanese, from the collection of Andrea Marutti of AFE Records?
No, unfortunately I can’t read the kanji on Andrea’s CDs… For how I got into J-Pop: well, I have always been interested in all “Asian” things. And through noise music and manga I really learned to love Japan. Then, I think it happened about 6 or 7 years ago, there was this thing with my concert series where the organization I worked for turned out to be run by frauds who stole lots of money from the artists. So I had no way but leaving them and starting all over with my own organization. (As far as I remember it was actually you who suffered from all this because they cancelled your concert which was supposed to take place one week later and for which you took a day or two off, right?). They gave me hard times and when I realized that most of the local music scene didn’t support me but helped the guy who stole their money, I got really depressed and life was a big pain in the behind (fortunately only the local artists were so stupid, there was great support from everywhere else!)
So one day I read an article about something in Japan in an online newspaper and in the comment section somebody posted a link to a video to prove how crazy Japanese people are. It was a TV show with the all-girls casting band Morning Musume and it was absolutely hilarious. I was hooked immediately and spend the next few days searching the internet for more of it. If you want to check it out, the program was called “Utaban” and it’s very funny. It helped me so much to forget about the sad situation here and life looked so much brighter to me. I loved the program… but I really hated the music. But I watched it again and again and all of a sudden I started to like the music. So I looked for more music like that online. Then I decided to buy one CD. Which at first I thought was stupid and unnecessary. Well… you just have to look at my CD collection to understand how this all ended ;-))
Yes, now I understand also a bit more about the disappearance of the excellent “Sontag Abstract” and “Mittwoch Exact” concert series that you organised in Graz. Thank God Japanese teenagers have saved your life! I have just a latest question on those gigs: you’ve seen many artists, in most of the cases pretty extreme or very special, and the best live experience that I had in my life is when I played in Graz with Harshcore and Der Einzige. What is the live show, among these, that surprised you most, that you loved over all the other ones?
Hmm… “Thank god Japanese teenagers saved your life” sounds a little wrong ;-))
Utaban is a Japanese music program hosted by a comedian with a sort of “boy-group-beauty”. And those two together are really funny. The style in Japan can be very different from here and very surprising if you know how society works over there. In Utaban the hosts always made fun of the girls of Morning Musume. And since some of them are so young, sometimes even dirty fun that they weren’t even able to understand. The girls really were adorable but it was the hosts or their way of dealing with those young girls that “saved my life”.
For the concert series… you do know that I continued doing it with my own organization, don’t you? It is now called Interpenetration (like the festival that I started during my work for Sonntags Abstrakt) and an extensive video documentary can be found on the website interpenetration.net.
I am very very happy to hear that you enjoyed playing here! These are the things that REALLY save my life.
And actually this is what makes me keep going. The great feedback from all the musicians all over the world. I told you how hard it is to get fundings and that the political situation is getting worse and worse here like in the rest of the world and that it’s almost impossible to survive these days. What kept me going has always been that I saw that you musicians needed my work and that I could do good things for you AND that there was hope to change the world a little bit.
And I think this must also be the answer to your question. It wouldn’t be fair to mention one outstanding concert when there were so so many great ones. I meet so many people from all over the world and in most cases the concerts are absolutely fantastic, sometimes surprising, sometimes breathtaking, sometimes just beautiful, always a great pleasure but the really outstanding thing is that out of all these people that I met in these past 15 or so years that I organize concerts is that (more or less) everybody was a great person. Interesting personalities. Interaction always was respectful and loving. And as much as I enjoyed the concerts and as much as I think that music is important, the main thing for me will always be how people treat each other. The positivity and love in such dangerous times were the highlight for me. And much more than Utaban this saved my life!