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Interview: There Will Be A Little Revolution...

(Dream Collector #17, June 1997)

Edgar Froese About TD's Switch To New Technology And Style

Tangerine Dream will reach an age of three decades this summer, but the band is still moving ahead to new directions. Band founder Edgar Froese talked to Dream Collector about his future plans - and why he has been in business much longer than he had expected.

Dream Collector: Tangerine Dream toured with a new line-up. Does this also mean that the band has new members?

Edgar Froese: We have dismissed from the idea of working with "constant" members. Looking at our plans ahead, we have said good-bye to the conventional way of composing music and of integrating different kinds of styles.

Dream Collector: Do these plans go along with the long-announced change in technology and musical style?

Edgar Froese: There were technical reasons and also certain personal resons so that we were not already able to work with new devices when producing Goblins Club. Thus, this had to be one more album in a "classical" way. After the tour, we will proceed full steam ahead to do the musical switch which we have already announced and which is, in our opinion, already overdue. Then, all the "classicistic" elements and "normal" instrumental things will no longer be present. Some people may be very excited about this, because they perhaps will re-discover some things which they have missed for long. Others may not be in the mood of enthusiasm, but this is something that always happens when little revolutions take place.

Dream Collector: So you will soon produce music with the help of new devices like the "E-Ball"?

Edgar Froese: The "E-Ball" is something which may still take some more three years to get into shape to be useful for music production. It will allow to create sounds by moving it in your hands. What we have already achieved is a new ultimative kind of access to new sounds and sound alteration, and, what is also important, a new velocity of such an access. Especially this was always a big problem for us: We have had ideas, made the computer settings, and then it took so long so that we could leave the studio and have some coffee in the meantime.

Dream Collector: After a certain kind of constant musical development from Rockoon over Turn Of The Tides and Tyranny Of Beauty to Goblins Club, will the break also mark the beginning of a new style in TD's music?

Edgar Froese: Exactly. But do not expect that we will present elephants instead of camels, but maybe a camel with an elephant's head...

Dream Collector: What about the technical side of such a change?

Edgar Froese: We do have our own company called Tadream Technology where we develop new instruments and studio equipment. The "Codotronics" used on our tour for example are such a new instrument; it is a form of percussion according to the Japanese codo drums, but it also allows to play piano or regular drums and to trigger all kinds of sounds. But it does not work like a drum computer with pre-set lines; all sounds are played real and real-time.

Dream Collector: How did you find Emil Hachfeld, the percussionist on the tour?

Edgar Froese: The drummer comes from a high school in Dresden. We had a test and asked percussionists to drum some 20 minutes very exactly to a certain seuqence. Most candidates failed after some four or five minutes, but Emil was the only one who did it in an excellent way.

Dream Collector: What made you to tour Germany again - after such a long pause of almost 15 years?

Edgar Froese: We had a very interesting offer of the "Moderne Welt" agency, we have struggled against the temptation, but in the end, we could not resist (laughs).


Dream Collector: Once in the mid-eighties, you have announced Tangerine Dream to be some kind of 20 year project which will end in 1990. The time has passed and you're still moving on. What made you change your opinion and where to will TD's journey lead?

Edgar Froese: Then, my initial idea was that not Jerome and me will be going to continue the band one day, but Jerome and somebody else we did know very well. Both were prepared to take it over, but for such a kind of collaboration, they were too different in their musical aims and also in their character. Such a thing probably would not have worked. So I decided to continue with Tangerine Dream, it simply turned out to be still too early to retire (laughs).

Dream Collector: Thus, you will soon have your thirtiest birthday as a band, if you not include the years of "The Ones" but the TD-line-ups of the late sixties.

Edgar Froese: It was exactly on September 29th, 1967; this was the birth of TD. One thing is already for sure: We will not celebrate this day like an old married couple.

Dream Collector: 30 years is said to be one generation; so when you look back, what has changed?

Edgar Froese: We felt and saw it during our concerts; the grandfather arrives with his grandson and the father with his son. In a certain way, this is like in the song hit business, they also offer something for everyone from six to sixty. But in our music, the approach of the listeners is very much different, it has to be very unprejudiced. For example, a short time ago, I received a post card of a 74-year-old woman from Denver/Colorado; she described how she was sitting on a mountain and had her headphones on...

Dream Collector: Besides the constant development in style on your recent albums, there is a second trend: the remixing and reworking of old material. You did so on Tangents, on Book Of Dreams and on The Dream Roots Collection. And it was mostly Jerome who experimented with well known material on The Dream Mixes; both of you continued with the tracks on the Shepherds Bush CD and even with the remix of Das Mädchen auf der Treppe presented during the European tour this spring. Will you move on in this direction?

Edgar Froese: This is one variation, but it is definitely not the general direction of our work. It is a kind of fair offer to Jerome who really had much fun in working with this material. I think he should get this kind of credit without saying this is "too much techno" or "too simple". It is one branch of the tree called TD, but it is not the root.

Dream Collector: In the mid-eighties, when re-releases of new mixes from old material were quite popular, you have explained in an interview that this is not your thing to do...

Edgar Froese: Indeed, this is still true. I must admit that reworking this old material was the most exhausting and cruel thing I have ever done. Just keep in mind that this is not a kind of work like cleaning shoes, because when working with this old music, you have - consciously or not - to return to that time in your thoughts. It was a kind of time trip. But there was a good reason for doing so: The record companies would have done some kind of re-release one day anyway, and by doing it myself, I kept the influence on the result. Of course there was not only applause when people heard the reworked material, but I can live with that quite comfortably. In my opinion, just taking music which already exists on records, making a new compilation out of it, and then expecting fans to pay for it once again would have been quite unsuitable.


Dream Collector: With Jerome having a lot of fun with it, will there be a Dream Mixes 2 one day?

Edgar Froese: Some people expect us to do so, because this was quite a success. After being no longer under contract to the record company which released The Dream Mixes, we could perhaps issue it on our own label TDI. If so, it will sureley be different from in style from The Dream Mixes. And what is more important for our work, TDI will allow us in general to experiment in a quite new way. Thus, we can create and design everything on our own without asking for budgets or support from record companies.

Dream Collector: What has happened to the "Hieronymus Bosch" release?

Edgar Froese: This is still on the run, but the idea had to stand behind other current projects.


© 1997 by Christian Horn, Siegfried Lindhorst and Peter Stöferle
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