Interview with

Hans-Joachim Roedelius

The experimental, ambient and electronic musician Hans-Joachim Roedelius was born in 1934 in Berlin. He is best known as a co-founder of the krautrock groups Cluster and Harmonia and for his work in the ambient jazz trio Aquarello. As a child he acted in UFA films such as “…reitet für Deutschland ” (Riding for Germany, 1941) and “Verklungene Melodie” (Dead Melody, 1938). In 1968 Roedelius co-founded the music commune known as “Human Being” and co-formed Zodiak Free Arts Lab, the center of Berlin’s Underground Culture at the time, with conceptual artist Conrad Schnitzler. He met Dieter Moebius at the Zodiak. In 1970 Roedelius, Schnitzler and Moebius formed Kluster.

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
life itself, what happened and happens to me on my way through reality reflecting what I like and dislike , what I get from it to feed my imagination of a better world, meeting people that share the same values with me, that know what to do to become aware of what’s really necessary to be done for the best of our planet.

How and when did you get into making music?
as streetmusician, music-actionist in 1967

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
I’m rarely listening to albums, I prefer to listen to the voice of nature, to people and animals, the whispering of the wind, the noise of creeks and rivers and such.

What do you associate with Berlin?
It’s my birthplace, I love it, even so I’m rarely there.

What’s your favourite place in your town?
the yard behind our flat, the forests and rivers nearby

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
but there is music ?

What was the last record you bought?
as I’m saying above, I rarely listen to albums, I have to work to develope my own tonelanguage, I’m part of a big family, a big circle of friends all over the globe with whom I’m in contact. I’m glad if I hear nice music from the radio accidentally whilst driving my car, but there’s no radio no CD-/ LP-player in our flat, just my studio-gear.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
with all those friends / collegues I’m working with or just start to work with in the very moment such as Christopher Chaplin, Stefan Schneider, Christoph H. Mueller, Tim Story,   Onnen Bock, Armin Metz, Clementine Gasser, Leon Muraglia, Matthias Mainz, Alex Gunia, Bernadette Reiter, Noel Akchote and some others.

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
playing to the nature in the sixties / seventies at the beach of the eastcoast of Corsica among the reeds beside the end of a small river under fullmoon with the noises of froks, birds, horses etc. in my ears playing with those together.

How important is technology to your creative process?
very, but not really for the creative process, just to be able to perform as easily as I want to.

Do you have siblings and are they proud or jealous of you?
I have three children, they like what I’m doing artistically, whether they are proud about it or jealous I don’t know.

Facts

1. personal resüme: to practicse Catholizen might be the best way to change the world to the better
2. personal resüme:

es stellt sich, was man Zeit nennt, jedem Menschen and ers dar
der eine fühlt sich von ihr her und hingerissen,
den and ern hält sie fest, so, dass er sie nicht spürt
muss man sie unbedingt an abgelauf’ner Ware messen
an welkem Fleisch, am Rest eines Gebisses
an Wackelknie’n, am Stinken eines Schisses
auf diese Weise machen wir sie unvergessen
beziehungsweise rufen sie herbei
mit diesem selbstgelegten Kuckucksei
sind wir verzweifelnd sicher, eines Tages geh’n zu  muessen
wie alt bist du, warst du und wirst du sein
da du es Zeit nennst, wirst du auch davon geführt
das Herbstlaub flammt, es blüht die Azalee
das Glück
ein Widerschein im Schnee
ein Aufatmen im Schatten grosser Hitze
dein Auge ist, du bist geschaffene Natur
die wachsen lässt,
dass man auf seinem eigenen Mist
jeglichen Morgen froh bekrähe
und allem Abend freudig Lebewohl zurufe
auf deinem Stück des Wegs wohin ?
wo es doch erst zu fragen gilt, woher
des Rätsels Lösung ist nicht schwer
du bist, der auf dem Schlitten sitze
bist aber auch des Schlittens Kufe
schaffst dir dein eig’nes Wohl und Wehe

3. citation from the net: metempsychosis.com/sonicnoodlesoup/issues/003/
I’m awestruck by the beauty and passion that people like Schaeffer,
Pierre Henry, Can ( to name a few ) can evoke, but I
have no desire to emulate them slavishly. I’m just an
explorer assembling little pathways towards creativity from
whatever fragments present themselves. Technique wise, I  study
whatever I can lay my hand s on, just to understand various
processes…the ‘why’, rather than the ‘how’, but inspiration and
creativity…muse, I suppose, just *happen*, based on the sum of
my experiences, and the context I place them in.
There’s always a story, and usually, a minds-eye visual.
There’s plots, a cast of characters, a beginning, and an end.
Once you have that, it’s actually pretty simple; be mindful of
the relative pitches of non-traditional sound sources, keep a
spectrum analyzer open as much as possible so you know how your
over-all frequency balance is accumulating, and try to
audition each new voice in context of every other voice 1 on 1,
as well as capo de tutti. If you’re paying attention you’ll
find where each voice and section is most effective, and why.
Think about your cast, and don’t be afraid to audition a thousand hopefuls for even a
bit part. If all your voices are *effective* and technically
sound by themselves, you’re half way there. Don’t toss in a
compromise sound source and tell yourself ‘I’ll fix it in the
mix’; there’s a *real* old studio term for that…’polishing
turds’. Having spent far too much time during my callow youth
trying to do just that I can state with absolute authority that
polishing turds only results in glossy shit.
Mastering is an art, and a true artist in the
field can work wonders.

Our Favourites: Regenmacher / Audio (1978) | Selbstportrait: Seite A | Cluster & Eno with Anna Pavlova
Links:
roedelius.com | roedelius interview @ zeit.de | Facebook | Interview with Hans-Joachim Roedelius by Digital in Berlin

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