Published by Alessandro Violante on February 12, 2016
An interview made by Alessandro “Flux” Violante and Davide Pappalardo
25 years have passed since Welle: Erdball have created their peculiar mixture of minimal electronics, continually evolving their music, from the heavier and direct sound of their early days to the “song form” of today, but there are several elements used throughout their whole career. We have waited for the release of the new EP 1000 Engel to talk with them and to offer to the readers the chance to discover a project that in Italy isn’t very well known yet.
1) Hi guys! This time your signal has arrived in Italy too! Could you tell us who Welle: Erdball are?
In 1993 the fictive radio station „Welle: Erdball“, named for the first recorded radio play (1928 from Walter Bischoff), was broadcasted by Honey and A.L.F. for the first time. The current cast counts four “radio hosts”, namely Honey, A.L.F., Frl. Venus and Lady Lila. You could also describe Welle: Erdball as a kind of an electronic music group who broadcasts information, entertainment, voice and music to its auditor. “Welle: Erdball” has musical similarities with N.D.W. (New German Wave), New Wave, the 80’s and the minimal sound of the C=64 which are part of the whole concept.
2) Your new EP, 1000 Engel, has just been released. Do you want to talk us a bit about it?
As well as Ich rette Dich!, the maxi-single 1000 Engel is a pre-taste to the upcoming album Film, Funk und Fernsehen (release date tbd). 1000 Engel was yet released as a limited version (collecting box, CD, 7” Vinyl-single, bonus…) and there will be a “normal” version available 18th February 2016. The main focus here was polarization because this CD includes one of the softest ballads as well as one of the roughest songs from Welle: Erdball. Like in almost every “broadcast” the auditor can discover more than officially announced. Also 1000 Engel is full of so called “eastern eggs”.
3) Each new album approximately starts with the following words: “The terrestrial globe (Welle: Erdball) transmits the symphony of the world – accept all as a report – there isn’t relation – everything should be easy – without Art – listenable existence – hunting for money – glory and possession – sounds false – darts as a lightning” and then “Hello: here talks the wave: the world is already the time – from the sky oscillates and amplifies in eternity”. It seems in some way inspired by the Futurism. We’re very curious to know what does it mean!
The lyrics of the radio play from 1928 which was eponym for Welle: Erdball also starts with the following words: “Hello, this is Welle: Erdball! Symphony of time, out of the sky oscillating and amplifying to eternity!” So this became our “Radio-Jingle” and therefore every album gets introduced like that.
4) I have to admit i’ve casually discovered your work when one “friend” wrote on a forum that your new album Tanzmusik Für Roboter was going to be released and, curious about that, i’ve listened to it. I’ve never heard anything similar before. Sounds, very spotted-on melodies, the variety of styles. Do you want to talk us about this record?
The name speaks for itself: Tanzmusik für Roboter. For this album we used not only the C=64 but a lot of – maybe unusual – tone generators like f.e. a Nintendo DS lite, one for each song. Besides the 80’s and minimal sounds, we love the 50’s for its aesthetics and the music. So the auditor gets the whole spectrum of Welle: Erdball hearing and feeling us in all our facets.
5) From “frontal assaults” (Frontalaufprall, 1994) to “danceable music for robots”. 25 years are a lot and it seems to understand that also what you want to transmit by means of your signal has changed in time. What were in the past and what are now your musical, literary and cinematographic influences?
In 1993 the concept of Welle: Erdball was created explicitly and we never abandoned doing our thing. A change in time only results from an increasing knowledge, the technical expansion and experience as well as routine. Of course we are influenced by living and technology. Furthermore we get inspired by classics in every way, f. e. movies like Metropolis or music like Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, etc.
6) Within your discography there are titles such as “Everything is possible” (Alles Ist Möglich, 1995), that contains songs such as “The new world” (Die neue welt) or, even more specifically, “The wonderful world of technology” (Die Wunderwelt Der Technik, 2002). How do you live technology (conceived as a medium) and the topics related to the privacy it dosen’t always respect and to the alienation that sometimes it entails? In sociologic terms, do you feel closer to the thoughts of the Frankfurt School or to the ideas of Marshall McLuhan?
In our view, technology is always connected to our spirit, even if it’s only reflected by an inventive mind. It is alive! Or at least should be alive! Unfortunately this facet is currently ignored most of the time. Furthermore art should accompany technology and both should be authentic! Put more simply, if you make minimal music, you should use a C=64. If you go on stage presenting the 50’s style, you should wear an original dress and a petticoat. Technology should help and inspire people and these things are closely related to mind and matter. You should bring this to your mind every time you visit such “tech-plastic-trash”-shops!
7) I think that the main reason why you’re not so well-known in Italy is because your lyrics are in German. Do you like Italy? Have you ever thought to play here sometimes?
Italy is a beautiful country and we are especially impressed of your warmth and familiar contact. Of course we also love the italian food. All in all these are very well conditions and we totally would like to visit you to show some of our “broadcast” to Italy, too.
8) From what I can see, initially you started your journey in 1990 as Honigmond, a year later the fall of the Wall. Has this such important event influenced your music in some way? More in general, has it produced (if so, what) something different if we think about what was the situation before this event?
Absolutely! This unique and peaceful revolution is an explicit and important part of history. Although it was not a main influence, but it also casted a positive shadow on Welle: Erdball. The first years our broadcasting area was indeed the new eastern states of Germany and if you think of the Welle: Erdball-logo, we got inspired by the logo of the typical East German car Trabbi.
9) We know that you actively participate to the demo scene and that, in general, you’re passionate fans of Commodore 64: how has this passion started?
It was a christmas gift in 1984. It was the real spirit of a perfect technology at the right time. In the 80’s, also Italy had a determining influence to awesome releases of the C=64 and games for it. Maybe it is the one and only possibility to start a lunar flight from your own living room, but not only simulated.
10) What do you think about the current minimalist electronic music scene?
The basis for that is the current technological progress. In theory everyone could make music with his/her mobile phone or a Nintendo DS from his/her bedroom. Therefore we have a quantity of electronic music. Maybe another technical device should be invented so that fantasy and quality is guaranteed for the future.
11) Have you guys any plans for the future? We hope that we don’t have to wait two more years to hear a new album!
Yes, of course! At the moment we work on our upcoming album Film, Funk und Fernsehen. But on the one hand we have no time pressure and on the other hand it is a concept which is rather timeless. So we take the time which is required. But this doesn’t mean that you won’t hear anything from Welle: Erdball for the next two years! For that reason we release our Maxi-Singles as a “pre-publish”.
12) Thanks for your time! Greet our readers and invite them to buy your new EP!
We’d like to say a big thank you for this interview and send you and your readers many greetings from our broadcast studio in Germany to Italy! Have a successful, peaceful and happy future!