Michael Rother, best known for being a founding member of the band Neu!, and short-lived member of Düsseldorf’s Kraftwerk, needs no further introduction. On February 22nd 2019 Grönland Records will release Rother’s ‘Solo’, a collection comprising his entire solo work with innovative producer Conny Plank and Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, his most guitar-heavy records under his own name, and the music that most beautifully captures the idyllic surroundings of Forst. Some of the most pastoral electric records ever made, these albums remain timeless, beautiful and in constant motion.
1: We need more love between people and cultures.
2: We need more understanding.
3: We need less extremism in religious and political views.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
If I only knew… Inspiration comes from many sources and it’s always a mystery. You never know.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
When I was 13 and came back from Pakistan I heard British Pop explosion music. Beatles, Kinks etc. and I immediately wanted to play music like these bands. In 1965 I joined a school band called ‘Spirits Of Sound’ and we played on school events around Düsseldorf and were a popular cover band in the beginning.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Its hard for me to pin down albums, because I look at individual tracks most of all. But there`s a selection of Beatles, Kinks, Stones, Cream, Hendrix, Bach, which contain wonderful pieces of music that is inside my heart.
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
This has changed since the wall came down. In earlier years it was a terrible pain to go on the transit to Berlin, because you were exposed to nasty soldiers of the GDR and always felt observed by the secret service on the way to West Berlin. So back then it was an island and it was not fun to go to Berlin, but since the wall came down and I made more friends in Berlin (this changes everything) so it’s not only a city in which cultural events take place, but also one where good friends live, which is a good reason to travel to Berlin from time to time.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
My town is no town. It’s a lonely, lovely place next wo the river Weser, very remote. With beautiful forests and meadows. This is a place where Harmonia worked and where I still stay. This is the place where I find peace.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I wouldn’t miss it if I didn’t know music existed. This is an impossible question of course. Serious answer: if I was prohibited for me to make music I would probably go crazy and maybe I would make art with my eyes, which probably comes second after the ears. “A life without music is possible, but meaningless”.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I’m not a regular buyer of music and this has to do with the fact that I enjoy silence a lot. The first album I bought was The Pretty Things – Get the Picture? in 1965/1966.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Little Richard in 1964 or Jimi Hendrix in 1968. And with some of my friends that I miss, like Dieter Moebius or Benjamin Curtis.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
There are so many great memories of concerts, it’s difficult to choose from the many memories. Maybe the OFF festival in Poland and the Green Man festival in Wales in 2014 and 2016 respectively, were especially great evenings with huge audiences going wild, great technology on stage and everyone smiling. And of course my next concert. Maybe I should also mention the Volksbühne concert in Berlin in 2016.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Although I enjoy using all kinds of electronic gear and new inventions in sound creation, and I’m doing this for the last 40 years, I always hope that the soul of the music independent of the technology that is used.
Michael Rother’s ‘Solo’ will be out on 22nd February 2019 via Grönland. Pre-Order here!
Photo © Michael Rother