Alexander Hacke and Danielle De Picciotto “When we became nomads and got rid of a lot of stuff, our CDs were the first thing to go”

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The pictures you sent me are really unique! I know about your decision of living as gipsies now, without a stable house. I somehow then expected to see maybe CDs, but here are only LPs! They’re not known for being handy… and vinyls are so heavy!  And the status of most records suggests to me that you own them for a long time. Like a real ‘physical’ affection between you and them, right? I guess you also left behind a lot of things, including other records…

Danielle: When we became nomads and got rid of a lot of stuff, our CDs were the first thing to go. After we had been told that they have no collectors worth at all we decided to digitalise them all and then sell them for 1 €.
I also gave away most of my records. They are just too heavy to bring them around. As a nomad you cannot take anything like that with you so you have to go digital. When I was going out with Dr Motte in the 90ies he always gave me a lot of records he was tired of DJing so I had about 500 really good ones which I sold or gave to DJ friends in 2009. But a few are still in our storage room.
Most of the ones you see on the pictures are Alexander’s ones because he just opened one of the storage boxes not long ago. But the Jarboe/Father Murphy is mine and the Dorit Chrysler/Lary 7 is both of ours which we got from Lary 7. I used to have the Siouxsie and the Banshees, Dead Kennedy´s and Moondog one as well (love Moondog).

Alexander: Nowadays I purchase music pretty much exclusively online and in a digital format. I don’t use any streaming services and I certainly don’t download anything illegally. I was never very much of a Vinyl aficionado either though, because when I really got into music I preferred to record everything onto cassette tapes and I was lucky to have enough friends (and even a few record shop owners), who would lend the records to me and let me do that.
When the CD hit the market, starting in 1987 I went on a crazy shopping spree for a while and bought everything available of all the stuff I always wanted to own, but in 2010 I digitalized what I had and got rid of the actual discs.
So the albums you see in the pictures are some of those, which were somehow resilient enough to stay with me since way back then, or others which managed to re-materialize in my life.
The selection is not representative in any regard.

You propose yourselves as a sort of single entity, “Hackedepicciotto”, and I suppose that these records belong to both, right? You probably have similar tastes, but I’m pretty sure that there’s something that Alex likes a lot and Danielle doesn’t, and vice-versa. Or there’s a total overlap?

Alexander: I think I salvaged the “Electric Ladyland” from the pile Danielle got rid of and I don’t think she would put on the Germs“GI” for listening pleasure. I guess we agree on the quality of most of the choices, though perhaps out of different reasons sometimes. Many of the few things I still own have only a very personal, if you will, sentimental value to me. We liberated ourselves from so much weight and even though I thought I would, I hardly miss any of it. On the other hand, I think one should have a turntable around somewhere and a few records, dear or random, if just to play them at the wrong speed.

Danielle: We definitely have overlapping but also very different tastes! Some of my favourite albums are Arvo Pärt “Tabula Rasa”, everything by Ennio Morricone, a film track with Romy Schneider and Michel Piccoli both singing, “Tender Prey” by Nick Cave, “Songs of Love and Hate” by Leonard Cohen and Francoise Hardy “Ma jeuness four le come”. They have travelled with me for years and I have most of these digitally now as well.
The first present I every gave Alex was a long time before we became a couple and it was Portishead “Dummy” which we both really liked. “American III: Solitary Man” by Johnny Cash is another fav of both of us when it came out and everything by Scott Walker.

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Danielle, you mention Morricone and Father Murphy. Your surname sound really from south Italy. As far as I know, you’re born in the USA, then moved to Germany, then to the world as a nomad. But do you have Italian origins, or something that links you to this country?

Danielle: My ancestors have always travelled so I have family all over the world but originally they came from Sicily.

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So, as I expected, you both have very wide ranges of musical tastes. In the selection you showed me, my favourite is TG’s “Heathen Earth”…

Alexander: I like all kinds of stuff. I guess you could say my tastes are pretty eclectic, even though the things that I do not like are just as important in informing my style, but we do to need to discuss this here. I grew up with Throbbing Gristle, I was a hardcore fan from my early teenage years on and meeting them in 1997 in Berlin was an unforgettable experience for the little boy I was back then.

On the other hand, among the 7″, I see something I really don’t know, but I guess it’s maybe pop, such as “Wishful Thinking – Hiroshima” and “Schlager on Parade”… and also some stuff from 2Tone records! I’ve listened to your last album, and the thing that I really appreciated was the constant movement between different moods, different atmospheres and even musical styles…

Danielle: Schlager on Parade is with Doris Chrysler and Lary 7, we both have this one because we have both worked with Lary whom we love as a producer. Lary works with sound art and Dorit with the Theremin so you can imagine that it is very special.

Alexander: Wishful Thinking’s ballad “Hiroshima” was the kind of song us kids I the seventies would slow-dance to and make first attempts to get closer to each other. Incidentally my first song that gained some notoriety was also called “Hiroshima”. As I mentioned before, most of my music collection before the advent of digital was on cassettes, so these are just some excerpts of the stuff on vinyl that happen to be carried around even now that we got rid of almost everything.
I am very grateful for the eighties revival of Ska and Rocksteady, which made me discover that music in the first place and listening to it today will still never fail to make me instantly happy.

Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto are publishing music as hackedepicciotto. Danielle de Picciotto moved to Berlin in 1987, to become the lead singer of the band „Space Cowboys“, the co-initiator of the Love Parade. Alexander Hacke is founding member and bass player of Einstürzende Neubauten. The artist couple, married in 2006, has creatively interacted with countless international projects for almost two decades and besides regularly releasing their own compositions.  |

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Photo by Sylvia Steinhäuser.

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