You know what I'm like for hanging around
the Rough Trade shop, right? Well I was down there one Saturday
(on my own, natch), eager to see one of the first live recitals
from Schneider TM, whom I'd considered to be pretty much your standard
Bavarian techno boffin with a tasty line in electro/distorto-muzak,
with a debut album Moist out now on City Slang. What happened
was without a doubt the most hilarious "live" electronic performance
I've witnessed. with original Schneider man Dirk Dresselhaus banging
away on a 303 and a range of effects pedals nailed to a plank joined
by his accomplice Dirq cocking up a storm on the decks. If you know
me I've probably told you about it already. Christ that was funny.
Let's have a word then, shall we...
Do you consider what you're doing to
be dance music?
Er... (looks baffled for ages
not a good start) Excuse me? Why do I do this? Last year
I had the chance to do a Payola maxi (12") Payola is a German
label from Bavaria and so I thought about it and I'd done
one track, an instrumental track for a compilation called The
Day My Favourite Insect Died for a friend of Toby from Payola.
Some people liked it and I thought maybe I can continue with that
kind of stuff and I made this Payola maxi and many people liked
it and so I thought of maybe doing some more of that. I talked to
City Slang, who liked it as well and offered me a contract. Then
I had to think about what I would be doing.
Answer the question! Is it music
for listening or dancing as there's a definite electro/techno feel
to much of it
I think it's both. It was very important
to me to do arecord you can listen to in very different situations,
or dance to it. I thought it's a bit boring to do just a record
for dancing, I thought it would be boring to do a record for just
listening, so I wanted to have a mixture.
Have you deliberately sabotaged some
tracks as at times you obliterate the rhythm/groove with
mad distortion are you just being contrary?
Yeah, that's maybe in my mind.
What sort of stuff were you listening
to before you started making records?
Electronic stuff, or just anything?
Since '86 I am listening to the Velvet Underground, and I still
do because I think there are even very many electronic aspects in
their music, and depending on the sound and the rhythm Mo Tucker
got I like that very much; so this is a very important point
and I listen to things like My Bloody Valentine and the late '80s
Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, that kind of stuff. Sonic Youth.
So how come you didn't pick up a guitar
I play guitar, I played for about
ten years in several bands. I played guitar and wrote songs with
lyrics, so that's where I come from and the electronic stuff I just
started last year so I did it the best I could. I had no real idea
before I started recording, I just did what I would like to do.
German electronic music is considered
very cool at the moment. What do you make of all this attention?
I think it's good, there's much
more interesting music in Germany than just electronic, so it depends
maybe on the history of German electronic music bands like
Kraftwerk and some krautrock bands. I've never been into it so I
just know Kraftwerk for The Model in my childhood days. So
maybe it's because of the history, I don't know, but it's good.
Maybe it will open a way for other music too, that would be nice.
I would play in a band in the future, it's not my way to say electronic
is the real stuff and fuck guitars: I think it's stupid to think
like that. You can do rock records out of a chair or whatever
you can make music with everything you see, and guitars are great,
but for me a bit boring because I did it a very long time. I did
it ten years and I thought "I call really do it now, so I have
to find something new". My main band split last year, so that's
the way it happened.
Would we have heard of these previous
Er... Hip Young Things, Locust Fudge.
With Hip Young Things we did two LPs and one EP; Locust Fudge two
LPs. No three LPs for Hip Young Things, we were on Glitterhouse.
I think it was at a time when German music was not very popular,
especially in England. That kind of music was just noise-pop with
English lyrics. (There is a possibility of a Hip Young Things
reissue on Chemikal Underground, but don't hold your breath. You
didn't hear it from me, okay?)
Some of the album (and definitely
the live rendition) is absolutely hilarious do you try
to show your humour in your work?
I think the music is one to one
with me. I used to have depression in the last ten years so I think
I'm over the top, you know? I don't take life that serious but it's
very important to me. The music, it's not ridiculous, but you're
right you can be more free if you take yourself not that
serious, I think, and you have the chance to change yourself for
the better; to develop yourself. That's why I'm putting maybe a
bit of humour in it.
The funniest thing for me is the
bass on Moonboots
That's just two bass guitars and
one snare drum, no electronics, a three-track recording. We've got
a show on Bavarian TV it's called Space Night, it's
about pictures from outer space, pictures of the earth photographed
from satellites or whatever I've watched it many times in the past
and sometimes there's really good music in it, and I thought about
sending them Moonboots. It would fit I think.
How are you adapting to playing live?
It was the first time two days ago.
I will play with a full band this is not the regular Schneider
TM live Dirq was DJing and me just playing what I've got
on my box. I think in future it will be different, there will be
more instruments involved and stuff. I got a lot of electronic cheap
trash like cheap E drums with bad sounds, but if you put it into
a combo amp and put the distortion in it sounds very good
that kind of stuff. Maybe a bass guitar sometimes and so on. Open
Would you remix someone else's record?
I'm going to do it. I'm working
on a High Llamas remix and I will do a Peter Thomas remix for Bungalow.
It's not very easy for me because I got no sampler and no computer,
I just do it with the trash I have and four-track cassette, so I
always have to ask friends who have a computer and sample to help
me, maybe I will have them future.
Would you hand your music over to be
Sure, but I don't really like the
word remix, because remix means you have the track and you do a
new mix, so I like if people get stuff from songs and make their
own songs out of it, that's very interesting. It should sound like
a new song. I don't know the right word for that sort of work, but
remix is not really exact I think.
What's the most creative thing you've
heard this year?
This year? It's difficult to say.
I'm not very much into music at the moment because I'm building
a house with friends of mine, and we will build a studio and stuff.
I think I like Cornelius, especially New Music Machine, it
sounds like a mixture between bands like Swervedriver and Aphex
Twin, that kind of style. I love Beck. Hip Young Things played once
with him in Hamburg. He's a nice guy, he's got everything under
control. I'm looking forward to hearing some new My Bloody Valentine
stuff I heard about Kevin Shields throwing three whole LPs
into the trash or whatever, so I would give a lot of money to listen
to some of that stuff.
You only have a couple of German song
I don't think it's a very German
record. I got very different inspirations from everywhere and I
think it's an international record. And I like English, it's very
simple to explain just with one word a whole idea. Okay you can
do it in German, but Moonboots everybody says moonboots
in Germany, and Moist is from a Velvet Underground song,
so I had it in the car all day and I think moist is a good word
it looks good, it sounds good and that's very important
for the titles I think.
It's not as good a word as 'Ocelot',
though, is it?
Ocelot?? That's good as well.
That's an animal isn't it? What is it?
Why aren't the records released under
your own name?
Schneider is my nickname, since
years ago, and everybody calls me Schneider. I went to a party in
the late 80s and I'd just moved and I knew nobody; I just said hello
to everybody and said my name was Schneider, just for fun. These
people became my friends, and they call me Schneider.
What's with the 'TM' then?
It's just a trade name. I thought
about putting it above the name and then I thought it would not
be possible to do that. Maybe it means 'techno music' or
'totally messed up', I don't know. You can make what you
want from it, it's interactive.