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Interview: I Do Not Release "Another" TD Record

(Dream Collector #11, July 1995)

Paul Haslinger About His Way And Music Beyond The Band

It was a short trip to his home town: When Paul Haslinger stayed in Vienna for a few days at the end of April, Dream Collector talked to him on the phone about his music and his work of today -- beyond his time with Tangerine Dream.

Dream Collector: After years in the USA, you are back in Vienna -- for what reason?

Paul Haslinger: I take part in the "Viennale" film festival to report about film and music and to moderate an expert talk with Leonhard Rosenman who is a rather legendary guy in film music business. And for me. Vienna is the place to contact some people in Europe after a long time...

Dream Collector: Tangerine Dream do also have a studio in Vienna...

Paul Haslinger: (laughs), no, no, they are not in Austria these days. But indeed, we are still in contact, we are on friendly terms with each other, and there was no dissonance after I left the band.

Dream Collector: What is your relation to Leonhard Rosenman?

Paul Haslinger: For me, he was a great help when I came to Hollywood, a great personage, and we had a very deep exchange of ideas. It was just a chance to moderate a talk with him; I do not have any plans to become a moderator at all.

Dream Collector: Rosenman represents a more "classical" style in film music, and you present yourself as a high-techmusician. What will the future face in this business?

Paul Haslinger: It will be a new kind of symbiosis. The future of music in general and of film music especially will be an integration of elements in a kind we have not experienced so far. Up to now, it is more like an exposition: sometimes world music, sornetimes classic, sometimes electronic, but all this is tedious overproduced and nothing original. We do need these elements as building blocks and we have to construct something new basing on them. Only if we do so, then it will be the future. These days, we face an evolution that makes everything getting more and more tedious. But the stronger it gets, the higher will be the chance that a counter-effect will result. One day, the last fool will learn that the projects pushed by the record industry bring up the same again and again and that they are a deadlock.

Dream Collector: And what about your soundtrack ptojects?

Paul Haslinger: I did them by the way, just to survive, and there were some ghostwriting projects arnong them. There were no public projects among them worth mentioning...

Dream Collector: The Universe Within and Pointman?

Paul Haslinger: I rather don't know the first one, and the other one is a very bad TV-movie. They prescribed what kind of music I had to compose, this is something I cannot stand to.

Dream Collector: So you did this just in order to earn money?

Paul Haslinger: That's the price you have to pay, that's your ticket. Los Angeles is a melting pot like Vienna 200 years ago. You make use of the town and it makes use of you. This is a means to an end, one day you will move further, and for me, this will be my way to the desert which is the area that really fascinates me.

Dream Collector: Will work for money push away work for personal development, like studio productions?

Paul Haslinger: No, at the same time I did Pointman I also did things of full value which I regard as "output". Some people do jobs which are not fascinating too, so why should someone who does a job in music be condemned? Of course, you have to draw the line for all this. In Hollywood, there is a lot of struggle, and unfortunately some people do no longer draw the line at all, they just do any job they can get.

Dream Collector: There is another former TD member living in L.A. ...


Paul Haslinger: He takes part in the same "contrast bath" like I do, but in some way he got even more into slavery. On the other hand, he seems to handle production stress a lot better than I do. To sum up, I guess we're all doing it for a reason.

Dream Collector: How did you start the Blue Room Project and how did you put an end to it?

Paul Haslinger: After Tangerine Dream, one of my first contacts in L.A. was Private Music, and one day Peter Baumann came up to me with his idea of something like a band project. Our first demos, however, were the best ones, and later on, it got overproduced and more and more frustrating. Then, after mastering the records, we decided not to release them. Our paths crossed: Peter Baumann was on his way out of the music business, and meanwhile, he does no longer have anything to do with it, and I was on my way into business, at least in Los Angeles. I bought the studio and the instruments from Peter and this gave me a good basis after I had lost two years with Blue Room.

Dream Collector: Is there any chance for the Blue Room material to be released?

Paul Haslinger: I have been asked often. -- I do not exclude this, but if it ever will be the case, then it will be in very far future. We did not release this material because of certain reasons, and these reasons are still effective. Perhaps I will use some fragments out of it, there are very interesting things among them, for exampie, the Nona Hendrix samples on Future Primitive are taken from the Blue Room Project.

Dream Collector: Besides your own career, you are still working with the French band Lightwave?

Paul Haslinger: Our cooperation started with the Tycho Brahe album in 1991. I was involved in four tracks, and now we are just producing an album which will be out this summer: Mundus Subterraneus. I took part in all of the tracks and I produced the album in Los Angeles. It will contain a lot of "musique concrete" influences and generally is the next step in Lightwave's own development of style and sounddesign.

Dream Collector: These are your studio plans, but you did not look very satisfied with the results of your concert with Lightwave in London in 1991...

Paul Haslinger: You can't compare that to our studio work. For such a single concert, one can never spend enough time on preparations and rehearsals, the venue is usually chaotic -- which was the case in London -- and the outcome of the show is a matter of luck and coincidence, especially if much of the set is improvised, like in Lightwave's style. To do it right, one would have to play a real tour, where after three or four shows everything runs smooth. I am never satisfied, usually, when I finished work on a record, I hate it at once. It takes one year until I feel able to hear that again.

Dream Collector: Tell us about another film festival. You took part in the "Milvalley" festival in 1987...

Paul Haslinger: Yes, it was with Tangerine Dream. It was one of the most famous film festivals in the USA. They did a special program with Stewart Copeland, Ry Cooder and with us. We finished that evening with a 20-minute set from Miracle Mile and Legend and film projections. It was fun, they had a huge screen with Edgar and Christoph in a tower on the left side and with me on the right side of the stage. When it was over, Edgar took the microphone and said, well, that's all okay with film music, but we want to contribute to the most eminent film composer of all times, and this was somebody who lived 200 years ago and who never heard of anything like films. Then they showed a picture of Amadeus and I played a piece of Mozart.

Dream Collector: Talking about your new projects, you cannot avoid the term "multimedia"...


Paul Haslinger: ...I hope in a good way, because most of the things you see is nothing else than just crab or trash. I just believe in the meaningless of technology and that everyone just should try to do something interesting with the help of the tools he has. People always want to name everything, and for this reason they call it multi-media. But you should not miss that even with the help of high tech tools they produce tediousness. What people have not understood is the nonlinearity, that hard disk editing allows data manipulation which cannot be done by linear medias like film or tape. Peter Gabriel is much better than the others, but even he is not very far frorn the educational productions, it is just a whole lot of information and nice pictures bundled up, and I think, there must be a more intuitive way into this technology. For me, up to now, all these things are just referencial, lexical replacement or games, but I have not seen anything standing on its own legs, even not the Gabriel projects. For me, this is a deadlock.

Dream Collector: In between your classical education and the "future music" you play: Do you regard yourself like a musical trendsetter?

Paul Haslinger: No, of course not, this would be arrogant. I hope to be able to make some original contributions and to strengthen a counter-movement against the pushed top-40-scene. But what I did with Tangerine Dream, the little Octahedron step and now Future Primitive -- this features my personal development, and I hope to hold out.

Dream Collector: On Future Primitive, there are influences from Ethno to Rave. Is this an intentional break with your time with Tangerine Dream?

Paul Haslinger: I often hear arguments like these, but this was exactly what I had aimed at. If I had wanted to release just "another" Tangerine Dream record, then I would have stayed with the band. Like Fdgar and Jerome have continued to develop themseives, I also did. I have learned from fans, especially in the United States, that these people are interested to dispose of their theories about Tangerine Dream and their former members: They are in fact only interested to integrate this guy called Paul Haslinger into their idea of how Tangerine Dream operates. Most time, the result is a sentence like: That has really nothing to do with Tangerine Dream...

Dream Collector: A lot of fans ask such questions because they cannot hear such differences with the music of other former band members...

Paul Haslinger: (laughs) Need I say more?

Dream Collector: Let's have a look back to your time with TD. What influence did you have onto the band and what influence did the band have onto you?

Paul Haslinger: I do not want to comment certain records because at the time we released them, we always backed these records. I do not want to guess about my influence onto TD, because first of all, they are a project initiated and conceived by Edgar Froese: If there is a mastermind behind the whole thing, it's him. Second, I never had a special purpose or goal for what to achieve with TD, but rather tried to integrate as well as I could into what seemed to be the way at the time. It's hard to explain, because so much of what we did was based on intuition, rather than on analysis. TD was a lucky chance for me to grow, both musically and personally, they brought me out of the Austrian scene into international business at the age of 22 years.

Dream Collector: What are your plans for the next future? Will you play live?


Paul Haslinger: I will play at a very short gig on the "Siggraph" convention in L.A in August 8th to 10th where I already played for a few times. And I am invited to the KLEM festival in the Netherlands on October, 7th, but this is not confirmed so far. One day there will be live concerts surely. But I also want to do some really unknown visual things on stage. The new Lightwave album is first priority at the moment. Work on my next solo album has begun (scheduied for 1996), several multimedia projects (Siggraph, L3 Interactive) and a number of collaborations. My dream is to establish a "global scene" at the West Coast like Bill Laswell did in New York: musicians, artists and lunatics united to play with the future in the reality lab.

Dream Collector: Fans especially in Europe are frustrated because they never have the opportunity to see electronic music concerts...

Paul Haslinger: Let's face reality: Electronic music and the music I play do not have any big audience in these days. This means, it is very difficult and risky to organize tours in a time when all the people go to Raves only. Indeed, Raves are more interesting in some way because concerts in the well known way are something old-fashioned. This is tedious. If nobody comes up with something radical new, then we better do not give concerts any longer. I think all people, also Edgar, are looking for a new performance concept, and as soon as somebody finds it, there will be concerts again. So don't give up hope, people...

Dream Collector: Maybe you look at the American market very much. This is probably more important to you than Europe and fans in Europe, isn't it?

Paul Haslinger: It is true. Distribution is much easier in this big country, and in Europe, it is much more difficult to come into business with something contrary to main stream style. You always have to belong to a certain scene and this scene has to be "hip", otherwise they will not take any notice of you. The radio stations play Future Primitive in their night programs only because they think it is too much "Ethno" style. Well, no comment...


© 1995 by Christian Horn and Peter Stöferle
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