Das Ich - Interview 2004
Das Ich - interview
Bruno Kramm & Stefan Ackermann
- Das Ich... The very name of the band is related to the theories of Freud and Nietzsche. Could Das Ich be the actual das ich ( = the I, the ego) of its members... having the music, the art as a way to harmonize the unconscious and subconscious self with every inner and outer stimulus and reality?
B.K. : Yes actually you got it. We both try to put segments of our own beings into this and make it a new being. So Stefan and I, we can both find ourselves in the Das Ich world.
- Going through the bios one is under the impression that the two members of Das Ich, Bruno and Stefan, come from quite different backgrounds, considering upbringing in general but also musical education. How did the two of you get together and eventually form a band? Was there actually a girl involved (..isn’t it always..)?
S.A. : Yes there was girl... We visited in the late 80s the same club and Bruno an me, we met there at the dancefloor. Bruno already did some musical projects. We had a great conversation later and found out that we dated with the same girl. We dismissed her and formed Das Ich a few days later.
- So, classical met punk and created something very unique and quite difficult... Industrial symphonics is one of the terms used to describe your music. In your own words?
S.A. : We do not like terms too much but you can call it gothic-industrial or synphonic punk. We consider it our private aural world painting.
- In all albums Bruno is credited with composing, programming and everything that has to do with the music while on the other hand Stefan does all the lyric-writing and singing. Could you tell us some things about the process that leads up to the creation of a song and on the long term of an album?
B.K. : Basically we talk first about possible issues and contents of the album, then I start to write the music with my piano. After I've got tons of these basics done, I wait for a while and listen weeks later to these basics. If some track still inspires me personally and regarding our subject, I start working with my keys and synth. Then after a night I mostly have a rough demo of what the song finally will be. I give it to Stefan who starts to write some lyrics concerning the subject we have decided and gets inspired by the music.
Meanwhile I have brushed up the demo and converted it to the final song. Then we start putting the vocals into the right spots and record them with different feelings. Finally I start editing and mixing the track down. We like the way of our work, it is efficient and still inspiring.
- I understand that the choice of the german language in the lyrics is a conscious and deliberate one. On the one hand this adds up to the rather evocative effect and binds perfectly with the dark music and the eerie voice. But on the other hand it is kind of a hindrance for a wider audience. Do you consider using english lyrics in the future? Not just for being more popular but for really getting through to more people.
S.A. : It is our mothers language and so we decided to stay with this. On our US tours we found out, that people still love our stuff without knowing what we talk about in our lyrics. Music itself is a universal language. About popularity. We can live from our music since quite 15 years, why should we change it.
- About the lyrics again.. for it's a shame to be left unnoticed. They are always very dark and figurative with religious context and futuristic and psychoalalytic references. On “egodram” and “antichrist” caustic comments on the human personality and society are more obvious.. From where does Stefan draw his inspiration? Are his lyrics representative of his notions and beliefs?
S.A. : I get the inspiration from the music and life. And like we montioned before, we first talk about the subjects and write down our inspiration about that. So most of the ideas come up in our first briefings.
B.K. : The religious context has always been really important to us. In our western world this is one of the main issues. Many wounds in our souls came from the religion.
- Let's go on stage now. Just by a look in the photo section of your site one can understand that the live-shows are quite special. Stefan is a big fan of expressionism I gather, combining his singing with an outstanding and often extreme appearance as well as a unique dancing style and even theatrical elements. Do you consider your lives more of performance art in that sense?
S.A. : It is part of the concept. We do not like boring bands that perform their music like a CD player. Because of that, we've constructed these movable keystands, that everybody of the band can perform and make the liveshow something outstanding.
- Stefan is actually quite into the theatre. I've read that he took part in a production of “Elektra”. I would love to see that! Any particular interest in ancient greek drama? I, myself, consider a Das Ich album to be the perfect background for such a play.
S.A. : Actually I only performed in a 30 second videotape, which is part of the theatrical performance. I have no time to rehearse for theatre and it is pretty hard to learn this big books from the scratch.
B.K. : I would like to do the instrumentals to Homers Ilias. It is really full of adventure and philosophy.
- Talking about literature. In every album you use an extract from a poem. It was Baudleur in the last one. And then there is “morgue” directly connecting to Benn. Other influences seem to be Rimbaud, Schuler and Nietzsche. Does this depict your personal choices in literature, poetry and philosophy?
B.K. : We love these writers, so we decided to pick each album one of their poems, that inspired us for our own work the most.
- How does Bruno's personal project “coeur” differ from Das Ich? What is it that pushes a band member to do something of his own?
B.K. : It is kind a vacation from Das Ich. It is more about my heart and positive feelings while Das Ich is negative and intellectual. Das Ich is like Nietzsche and my solo is like Schiller, to put it this way. But before that, I have done many other projects, for example "fahrenheit 451" - perhaps you know it from the German mystic sound sampler 2 - and also Alva Novalis and of course a lot of productions and remixes for other people. So my solos are a natural addition since a long time. It also inspires me for new Das Ich tracks.
- Could you describe your studio for us? Danse macabre.. a gothic castle filled with hi-tech equipment? Why did you eventually stop managing it? I’ve noticed Bruno’s name in a weisser herbst production also. What is your connection with that studio??
B.K. : It is my playground with 3 recording boots, more than 96 real channels. Tons of old and new synths and great outboard equipment. With my grand piano and everything what I collected since 85. And of course everybody can rent it. I have special rates for bands from greece ;-)
- Some more personal questions maybe? Apart from Das Ich, Stefan’s acting and Bruno’s work as a producer, do you have any ot her professions? How would you describe your everyday lives? Do you spend time together outside the studio? Any girls in your lives? Is creating a family important for you? Could you please tell me which hairdye Bruno uses lately?
S.A. : We are both married and live in a beautiful forest in the upper franconian woods. We take a lot of time for our families and enjoy live. And we meet all days, we are best friends. Bruno and his mom bought the castle quite 8 years ago and it is a wonderful creative place.
B.K. : It was a long dreamt dream and now it is true. It is our private art factory. And my hair color is pilabox red from directions.
- Das Ich have performed live in so many different places. Which one has left you with the fondest memories? You have toured the US quite a lot as well. How do you find the American audience different from the European one?
B.K. : Strange country, which reminds me of a totalitary regime. But we met many wonderful people. Looks like they are all locked up in this jail of commerce. The best experience so far was Moscow. Wonderful warm hearted people. They made me drink too much ;-)
- Bruno takes special interest in the design and maintenance of the official site. Also you often give away mixes and different versions of your songs. What is your opinion on the internet? Is it another form of communication between the artist and the fans? And in the long term is it music’s very own devil or angel??
S.A. : Of course the CD burning and P2P is dangerous.
B.K. : On the other hand the net is still a great opportunity for unknown bands to carry out their ideas. And it is wonderful to get with one click into an unknown world.
- The last Das Ich release was “Relikt”, a best of compilation. How soon can we expect a new album from Das Ich? Have you been working on anything lately?
B.K. : The new album comes out in June and is called Lava. Actually it is two albums - Lava : Glut and Lava : Asche. Most of the tracks are recorded and I am doing right now the final mixes and the cover artwork.
S.A. : Like the name LAVA, the new stuff is hot.
- In ‘95 Atrocity and Das Ich made a collaboration album. Some years back “Re_Laborat/Re_Animat” was released featuring mixes from major names of the dark-electro schene. In addition to this Bruno has worked with a number of other bands as producer. After all this is there any artist/band you would like to or will work with in the future?
B.K. : We enjoy it right now to work only alone.
S.A. : Sometimes too much collaboration can mix up your own ideas. So thank for the next 4 years.
- Elfentanz festival has shown a particular interest in german artists. I would love to know your opinion on the this year’s headliner, Wolfsheim, as well Deine Lakaien, who headlined the first one, and And One, who took part in the second.. (xxmm a collaboration with Horn and Veljanov sounds nice now that I think of it…)
S.A. : The singer of Wolfsheim is boring and never moves. Actually it is no underground music, it is mainstream music for people who do not like to think alot. But of course, this is needed two in our strange society.
B.K. : We are great friends of Alex and Ernst from Deine Lakaien for many years. And of course Steve is also a good friend of us.
- Finally, Bruno did a dj set in Athens on New Year’s Eve. What are your memories from that visit? Looking forward to coming back for a live this time? This is a list of my favorite songs: “garten eden”,”reflex”, ”aura” and “engel” (the tops) “der schrei”, “erde ruft” and of course “gottes tod” and “destillat”. All of them on your playlist maybe?
B.K : It was a wonderful experience to spin on happy new years eve for such a enthousiastic crowd. Me and my wife enjoyed it so much. I am really excited to spin for this wonderful people again. And of course I'll spin some Das Ich tracks to you. I have some brandnew mixes with me.
Last but not least a big thank you to Leo Skiadas, who invited me for the first time. You should be all real proud of him. He is doing an extraordinary and great job.
S.A. : See you in Athens