By Lorraine Kay
November 2008 – North Hollywood, CA – Tangerine Dream has been an icon for of electronic music for over 40 years. Founded by Edgar Froese the band has survived and excelled over the years. Recently writer Lorraine Kay and EM band Inquisitor Betrayer founder Dale Kay had an exclusive interview with Froese to discuss the success of the band and recent history.
Q. Everyone in the U.S. was very excited about Tangerine Dream’s return to California. The cancellation of the concert tour in 2001 was a disappointment, so this last visit here was highly anticipated.
A. Apart from what it really was, locally. It was such a bad experience on all levels because we had incredibly good ticket sales, some places were sold out. As well we had to prepare everything. There are a lot of costs involved whether it is in the neighborhood or across the world, to prepare everything there is always the same costs.
And then 9-11 happened and the band had a kind of split reaction. Myself and my family, and the musicians, we wanted to go. We said, “What if they would blow the plane, they blow the plane, so what. One day you got to go anyway, so why not now. (Laughs)
So, the thing was, there was three members and the crew. Their families, responsibilities, and obligations and whatever -and they were full of fear. So we had to respect their attitude and without them for that short period of time we couldn’t’ put together another crew, so I had to cancel it. Which was a drama, because even if everybody who got involved knew the story knew it was excusable because a lot of bands didn’t go. I would say 99% didn’t come or the other way around. No one wanted to leave America on a plane and go over to Europe. So that has been understood as a proper excuse.
You see there is that sort of atmospheric thing. One promoter from Chicago said “Look I respect it, But if you would have come while all the rest wouldn’t that would have given you a credit beyond every publicity campaign. I said okay, I knew that. I thought about it. But that is the story about 9-11.
A. From our view it is quite simple. There is not a specific group we are playing for. Not another range of people within a society, we say okay they will (or will not) understand what we are doing. Like performing at UCLA where you could imagine that there are a lot of people more open minded, more politically trained you know so they are open to what ever you come up with. And while playing like in a small town in the mid-west maybe we would have a problem.
But we don’t think that much about our audiences. Not that we don’t care. But you see how you can do it. How to play to an EM audience. It is impossible. Cause then you have to take one step back and ask yourself, what is EM? What is EM for us as musicians or composers is definitely not the same what it means to an audience.
To give you an example if a person walks into a concert and wants to listen to the music as a sound hack he wants to get it as loud as possible. And he wouldn’t care who is pressing what on the keyboard or what strings on the guitar. One problem we have had through 40 years of existence is – “is it live or is it tape or today was it the artist?” They don’t care. They just get the music as it is and they like it or they don’t or they walk out or whatever. And then there is a smaller part, which will say – “He’s pressing a Bm”. I can’t listen to that -It’s crazy.
So in other words it is not just the acceptance of what you do, but the way music will be analyzed or just taken as what it is. That is the difference. You can’t satisfy someone or you can’t even think about how to make it right for everybody. It’s no way.
Q. Outside of trying to please the audience what do you think their perception – for people that have only heard your CDs for 20 years, what is different for these people in the live performance as opposed to the recorded CD?
A. In my experience, not my belief, in my experience it doesn’t make any sense to please the audience. Second, even if you would like to please them – going back to what I said before., where do you start? So you release the record and produce the sound in the studio about a thousands of possibilities you can play a guitar and a few thousand steps in each single note and then I put it together to brilliance. You can do what ever you want. But on stage you cannot do it. Now are people getting in? I don’t know what they are waiting for. But you have to try to transform what happens in that very moment.
There is no connection to the CD. Maybe it sounds like the CD but it isn’t the CD. It is a different from am atmospheric aspect.
Q. It would appear that your live performance has a whole lot more energy than I ever heard on your CDs
A. That’s true.
Q. The video that was playing in the background – who created it?
A. That was a guy we have been working with for about 6 or 7 years now. We have done 7 or 8 shows now. We give him input on what it should look like and then he created effects and so on. What we can do in Europe – we played a couple of gigs in Britain and we had lasers there. A new form of lasers. So we didn’t need those images behind us, but we couldn’t do it here because of the regulations here. So we worked with the images.
We tried different options to entertain people visually. Some people say you don’t need that – just play the music. “I’ll just close my eyes and whatever.”
Ok, but that’s 50% of the audience. There are a lot of people who are not so much used to what we are doing. They are new, maybe or youngsters or whatever. We give them a little something to watch with their eyes while they listen to the music. They are rolling into what they didn’t know before.
Q. For the UCLA concert were you using your own sound and lighting person or the house crew from UCLA?
A. Our general light operator was supposed to be there but couldn’t get his VISA in time.
Q. Generally when you tour do you use your own people?
A. Yes, yes. We had to use the house. The lady there was quite professional, but what she couldn’t do is to go beyond her technical abilities. There were half a dozen or three dozen whatever lamps but they were not movable so no moving lights, no response. She wasn’t able to hear the music before to cue things to the music. Working with UCLA, they put on a show every night, so she is doing lights all the time.
The difference was like in London and Edinbourough we had a great show. We had moving lights. There was really a lot going on, on stage. Usually we work with a SMPTE code running from a hard disk which is in synch with a sequencer. So that SMPTE code is what shows the mixing board. So the lighting engineer can set up everything in advance timing out all the cue points. It’s normal, nothing unusual, nothing dramatic, everyone works that way. But if you don’t have it you have to set the cue points to the music by hand. So if you don’t know the music – how to react properly to what comes next.
Q. Before the UCLA show we met with a lot of people that traveled all the way from the east coast. One gentleman works for the airlines so travel is free for him, so he flew over to the UK to see your concert there and went back home to California the same night. Then he was at the UCLA concert a few days later as well. How does it make you feel, after 40 years to know that your fans will travel from anywhere just to come and hear you.
A. Well of course, when I first learned about it, a long while ago, I was amazed. Because to be very honest, working as a musician in a studio and I do it for almost 16 hours a day, I wouldn’t buy a ticket – I am living about 50 miles from Vienna, so if there is something on in Vienna, should we go (wooooo – shakes head) So if someone like this man flew over from L.A. to London and all the way back to see about 80 percent of a show he had already seen – here again – okay – “You need professional help, I don’t know.” On the other hand I appreciate it. For them it is kind of a religious experience.
Q. – Dale says going to your concerts – “For me it is a learning experience. I am learning. I‘m watching, I observe.”
A. Being musicians yourself, you know it. The better a piece of music is objectively and as you fight through it, you have to fight with every single note if you want to do it right. You are so exhausted you hate that piece.
And therefore I hardly listen to my music later on again. It is not that I don’t like it. Okay, I love it. I have to say okay, that’s the point it is over, out, finished, that’s it. Beat it or leave it. I myself don’t move into it again to experience the pain I had while producing and composing it again – I don’t like that obviously. And so therefore there are just a few people I would go to after thinking twice. But I rarely go to a gig and I never would fly from one country to the other.
Q. Compared to the previous incarnations of TD, how much do the current members contribute to creativity and composition?
A. That is a good question, because as a composer, writer and producer it is THE question. Everybody knows it depends. I mean I founded the band about 40 years ago. And because I love to work with a group of people. I love to work on a level of exchanging and pushing things back and forward. So even if I say okay do what ever you want, but don’t forget I have 51%. Sometimes it works great even if the characters are very borderline people, but sometimes it doesn’t work at all. So I have to change people.
Composing things together, first of all, if they are on the same level of knowledge about what you are doing and musical knowledge, theoretical experience and so on and so on, that is the first breaking point. You rarely find someone electronically who understands to sequence a program properly, works with the same program, understands how to use it even blind with the guitar you have. In that form we are working in an artificial form and to combine things.
How do you combine? The horse or the dog? How do you do that? So that it doesn’t sound like a horse or a dog. It sounds like an elephant or whatever. That merging and mounting of sounds – that comes from a very long experience. You can’t learn that in a couple of weeks. That’s one problem why it is hard to work with a lot of people.
I had a dream of working with my son, which was very good and very bad. The good thing is I could leave him with his creative surroundings because he knew – it is my blood, or his blood, my blood or whatever. And so on the other hand he knew me, which is the worst case. He knew me. And you have to make a point from time to time and then your partner says, “Okay I’ve heard that time to time and its time to forget about it.”
So it depends very much on the consciousness level that people have when working with you. So right now with the present situation it is very good and so far I am the main writer and then I try to talk about things, you know, what you would add here and what you would add there. Is there something that is objectively better than what I did.
For instance I am a guitar player. I started out as a guitar player. I am okay, but I am not as good as Bernard. So it would be stupid to have him play what I played if it is not better. I use him because he is much batter than I am. And so intelligently you have to figure out who is doing what best and use it for the best of the group.
Bianca says, “Bernard immensely contributes to the color of the music. And that’s only a contribution of a certain color, be it Iris or Benard or be it Linda.”
All of us have a certain mastery and no one knows it. It doesn’t matter. Forget about it. So we can talk about cadence and then a certain set chords or whatever and we know what we are doing. Or working out of structures which are completely unknown. Not that way, but that way. You can because to understand music it’s one thing, the process of universities, or music in high school or whatever. They teach people to a certain extent. They pull them up and that’s it and then they say, “Okay go out and make your own thing.”
With what? There is no space left within them. It’s filled up. So they re-create what they’ve learned.
But the process is to forget about what you have learned. So to put your knowledge about music in the background that is like a screen behind you. There is knowledge but the knowledge should not over shadow you, it has to stay in the background.
The program is what the original creation is about – what do you want to do? Why contribute? And why do you want to compose at all. And that’s somebody that is composing.
I’ll never forget a very interesting guy named Ivo Pogorelich. He is a Polish Chopin player, one of the best ones. And he was asked in a talk show, he played a few pieces of Chopin’s piano and he was asked, so brilliant, why you are not composing, we want to hear something with your knowledge, we want to hear from you. He said, totally, WHY? It would be great. But there is so much good music around, why should I start composing. So you see a different perspective.
Q. What is your main passion? Composing, performing, recording? What part really satisfies you the most.
A. I try to explain that I am not a musician at all. But because that is just my tool to express myself. I started out as a painter and a sculptor. Sculpture was my thing with a hammer. Michelangelo was my hero. But I was horrible. The point was everything looked very stupid.
I had a teacher in my art school – you always have that moment in your life, I formed something which I liked very much for the first time in my life. I really thought it slowly will become a piece of art. Now that is the starting line and that professor came along and said, “What is this here?”
That guy punched his big fist right into the face of my sculpture which I had formed out of very soft material. I had worked on it for more than a week. ‘You’re here to learn not to do what you´ve done here’. And I say, “I kill you, you idiot, that’s my first work I can identify myself with, you know what it means to me ?!”
And so I left the school. I said, okay, forget about it. I couldn’t get schooled in that kind of art, forming material – it still was too concrete. It did take a while to understand my deep desire for a much more abstract artform which you can store somehow – and I ended up doing my sculpturing work with the sound which fills a room.
It’s flying around and filling space and time, but if you stop the sound source it’s gone. The memory of the mood is still there – emotionally and intellectually, what ever you pick up from music is still there, but the thing itself is gone. I love that. That’s still one of the great principle in arts, generally. Things come and disappear, you can’t bend music or hold it in your hands forever or put it into a bank vault.
Even on CD or hard disk it’s kind of ‘jailed’ – the thing I´m talking about is really something you have to explore and approach always from a different angle with big risks and of course passion. Like de Chamfort said in the second half of the 18th century: ‘Men of reason have endured, men of passion have lived.’
In Germany it is very hard. Either you are a classical musician or you are a musical idiot. You do whatever you can. You throw things against the wall, pick it up with mics, you that avant-garde type. I wasn’t good enough to play Beethoven sonatas all the time. I knew a lot of people who could. And they could do great things. But I couldn’t so I started being the opposite. Playing the guitar – okay, wow all the notes are there. That’s it. It sounds silly, but that’s how I started in rock music.
Before finding out about that even in rock music Germany is absolutely bad. It’s the worse kind you want to play with. Simply because the musicians over there are always on beat, never off beat. What I love about the black people, I am very much into the Motown stuff and blues stuff and Louisiana music and no one knows it but I am very much into it. And there is always laid back or they are up front but its not on 1,2,3 or 4, or whatever. And they couldn’t do it. So I said, ok, should you learn that? So okay I did. At that period of time as a guitarist, there were so many people around the world who even that 10 times better than I ever could, because of my heritage.
So then I found out about the serious field of avant-garde music and got into Stockhausen, Xenakis, Music concrete, Ligety, Varese and many more great composers who started music from a different perspective. Even if you can’t hear it that much in TD’s music today – they were my teachers for many years – I wasn’t earning any money of course.
Q. What is it about Dali that you liked.
A. My relationship, if that is what you want to call it, we were not friends in that case. In the 60s, he had parties in the summertime, July and August, on each Sat. evenings or afternoon he would send out his servants to the little town Cadaques near where he lived to find some interesting people to “come to my party.”
He was speaking his Dalinian language that was Spanish, English and French. It was hard to understand what he really wanted to say. So he grabbed a bunch of people who were there who seemed to be interesting and then at the same time he had about two or three people specifically invited who are famous. So he had the topic and then some flowers. And then he himself dancing in the wind and pulling me. It was a bit like that royal thing in the middle age “I am presenting everything, but don’t forget I am in the middle of everything.”
He was much more intelligent than people thought. A lot of people thought he was just an eye-rolling idiot to sign stuff and at the same time he was completely stupid, you know. I myself got his signature on an empty piece of paper. I mean who would do that? I wouldn’t do that. And he was signing books. So he had thrown a lot of these, out of respect as an artist and businessman, he had given them away for nothing.
And Gala his wife, was always with him, like a little dog. One afternoon I presented him a drawing of a ‘ dalinesque’ head and a concrete bronze sculpture of his head. I said “Okay, that is for you.” He said “Oh, Great, great”. Then he took it in the house and put it in the garden somewhere. Then he asked, “Okay what can I give you,”?
I thought, “very nice, a painting?” He went to his living room and came back with about six or seven drawings. And at that very moment Gala came into the room and said, “Hey what are you doing?” She took them away. So he signed me a couple of books.
What I didn’t like – what I had a hard time with – I met him a few times in the summer and what I didn’t like was the way he gave strange answers. It was his Fascist attitude during the Franco era in Spain. “Well that’s okay, how are you so open-minded?” He knew all the European philosophers, he knew them all. And somehow a guy like him could follow a leader like Franco. Franco together with Hitler and Mussolini. The Trilogy it was complete madness – how could he do that? And he was also so editing on a public level. It is all a part of entertainment. He thought okay that’s someone I could use for my commercial values. But that guy killed people for nothing. I just couldn’t understand it.
One shouldn’t forget, What I learned of Dali was concretely how to sell out. He was the best at it.
Q. Your show at UCLA was three hours long. It was pretty intense. How do you keep the energy going for so long?
A. I will give you an example. There are three people in the room. There are two ways to come into the room. You knock at the door and you don’t get any answer. Second, you open the door and you see someone is in. In both cases, the three people won’t realize or recognize you as the one who knocked. And the third and that is my way. “I’m here. Are you ready? Yes or no? We will see what happens.” And that’s the way to transform energy. If you’ve got something to say, say it loud. When loud stands as a symbol for anarchy, for creativity, for self-confidence for what you are doing. And so why not say it loud. So I do not knock at any door. I just go in and I respect at the same time if someone wants to show me out. “Hey, you don’t knock, I don’t want to talk to you, please go. No problem, Thank you, I’m out. I don’t want to miss a chance to be as real as possible.
I hate that sort of politeness just for whatever reason, for business reasons or for creative reasons, or I can’t say that because maybe they don’t like me anymore. Or I don’t get the job, I don’t care. One of the key words in my life is to be as authentic as possible.
Q. You are the most authentic musician. You are the frontrunner of electronic music.
A. I don’t care about what position someone has. I have spoken to all the people in Hollywood. I have done scores for 16 years, I’ve met them all. People that had more money than they could count. I didn’t care. One day, we say okay, what is – life it’s over – you just decide: Worms or ashes? What’s your choice? And the rest of it finally is not interesting at all. So what are you going to tell me. That is the first point. The second point is – If you tell me about open-minded places, you can talk about everything, we make a deal, you talk about money, everything, but don’t tell me you are about human value, about me and I walk out on them. I don’t see any point. People make a lot of trouble about that. I don’t’ know why.
Q. When you are composing do you have a certain instrument that you key in on or do you experiment with various instruments. When you start a song do you jump on a certain instrument?
A. The biggest problem with composing, because if you just turn a knob in trying to find out if it’s here or is it there, should I combine it, or just forget about it or it’s not my day, not my hour, I would say great, for those pieces, but for whatever reason, I work on a different perspective to what I want to do, because I have to. You see I hear it. And the problem is not to have all the music in your head. The problem is not to store it. And you think you have an entire symphony in your head or a little song a couple of 8 or 10 bars – three chords – a lovely melody.
Before you have a chance to store that, 50% is gone already. I mean, maybe the hook line is there. Maybe the rhythm is there but that is what makes music extraordinary. You have that too, but how to score that. And that’s the problem. I guess, that all serious composers have. And I think about how to make it more and more and more direct.
The old composers, they had a sheet of paper and were writing down all the chords and meter. If they would hear what some orchestras made out of that stuff, today two or three hundred years later, maybe they would say, That’s me? Wonderful or what is this? That is not what I composed at all.
So there is a problem in interpretation. But if you compose it you are always sad once it is ready and you sit down and say okay. if you remembered to word it, originally as it was in your head, 20%, 30%, you’ve got it – what I call the genius stage. Not being a genius myself, just the genius stage, so that everything is creatively and technology right, you have maybe 50%, and that’s your day for the rest of it is gone. You can’t capture it and that’s a problem.
I’ve spoken to physicians and electronic guys for details on how to do that. I was sitting in a lab for days and nights with all those electrodes so that they can measure out all your brain waves and stuff. The problem is there is no way to what hits the surface of your head. It’s just one hertz, you need at least about 10% brainwave power to work with that signal or you go directly. I love that idea, so think about it, when whether you have a sound or if you’ve got a melody, I could store it somehow quicker. It is the only way to do it.
Sometimes when I hear it, I say, what is that sound, where does that come from? It’s incredible. What he can do. You can’t see it. It was just the melody, no problem. You just write it down. But there is a sound. There is the melting of a multi layer sound. You can’t store that. When you can sit in front of an audience – If you would hear what I heard yesterday during my coffee break you would be so amazed to have that to play it.
You see there are different forms of creativeness. For instance, I will give you one example of what I fear or what I have to do. The way it works, if you start a piece of music there are three steps. After the third steps I will do from the bass clef, my teacher is Bach. And for a long period of time – nothing And then the rest of it. So I put down the bass. You can throw the bass away, put in another line, then from the bass you structure the harmonies, it there are any. After you structure the harmony it becomes more and more serious. But once you add whatever kind of melody it is over. The piece takes you over and you are not the one who creates it.
A serious and a good piece of music comes to its own life. I could tell you stories and you would say that I am completely mad. But I’ve tried to compose counter lines in the classical way, and sometimes I was in a rush to finish the score. I would listen to it and the keys would talk to me “ You idiot you want to leave it that way? Never. No, come on.” And I had to re-do it again. And I had to re-do it sometimes at the cost of an hour or two where I just had 10 minutes. But I had to go through it again, and I had to do it right and even worse …it’s so hard. It’s grabbing. You once heard it composing me, now I am there and I am helping you do it right but you’ve got to do it. And that makes it so painful sometimes because you have to find out what the composition wants you to do. Very scary.
Q. Has the advancement of technology changed the way that you compose?
A. Yes and no. Because you see the idea to compose something, to be creative has nothing to do with technology. A lot of people have misunderstood. They thought okay, “There is a new technology. The worst statement I have ever heard is okay switch on the knob and just leave it – get back from breakfast and it’s ready. It’s doesn’t work that way, it never did. So you have certain auto sequences. So you can run a sequencer, but you can run that sequence on a loop, but it doesn’t make any sense. You run it through. It is not a composition. You have to write music. You have to do it. Even if you use an electronic synth. But it has changed and so far for instance many years back you had to record on a 24 track recorder. You had tape and you spliced it. And now we do it, we delete it, we do it again, you delete it or you can program. Very attractive — It’s easier. But to be more complex, the more it forces you to follow the newer technology you are into it. And it’s the same problem again. Before then you did less because circumstances were not perfect. Now they are more and more perfect but the chances where you could use technology are so much bigger, that you enter into it more painful. You need to balance out what you want to do. How do you want to use technology. What do you have to say?
Q. Do you listen to any other EM artists?
A. No. I just listen to music in my car. I listen to country music. I listen to the Dixie chicks, Gordon Lightfoot. I don’t want to hear any EM. At home I just listen to classical music. While I am in the studio, okay, sometimes from time to time people will come by and say have you heard that?
Q. Why does so much EM come out of Germany?
A. Simply because they can’t play real music. My colleagues would kill me. I’ll tell you what, what symbolizes what I am saying is, I do not have time to listen to other music. None. It’s not my arrogance, but you see, if I hear a Clapton riff or I hear a U-2 song or if I hear an old Dolly Parton record, I don’t know why it is, but that’s my preference. Or I step out and say okay, 18th century, 1791, the last year of Mozart the last few bars of “Requiem” when I die I want to listen to that. That’s the big plus. So I’m a more programmatic kind of guy. I want to see what’s my sound track now. Not what music I generally listen to. I’m in a car I am isolated. I have a different choice of music.
Q. Are you wanting to do sound tracks in the future.
A. I stopped doing sound tracks in the late 90s. I did so many. If I cannot convince the producer or the director that I can do my very best to help him to make the movie a step forward, if he does not believe in that, or he could have gone somewhere else I don’t need the money. So when I’m on for a score, I want to know about the writer or what he wants to say. I want to read the script, I want to get the roughs. When the time cut is there and the SMPTI is there, and everything is very tight, I don’t want to learn about the re cut. I work my ass off doing the same thing again and again, so I lose control, I lose energy. So that’s why I don’t want to do it. And just because they‘ve got the check and I’ve got the work. It’s very irreverence of balance to me.
So I said at one period to a pal of mine in a moment after Catcher processing up in Merro Square, I said okay you make or break. I got the offers coming in again and again. I don’t think the time is right. And it has to be the right movie. I wouldn’t go for TV Series anymore. Scorsese, one of my heroes, I would work with him, or a few guys, like Tarrantino, Aldomovar or those people that are different. It doesn’t matter if they are genius or if they are good or if they are accepted or if they are commercial.
Last night I met a director that I worked with and he was one of the few who really were artists and directors. It wasn’t so much how to make money out of it, it’s their business, but they were artists. And I loved that. That is what I would love to do, because I did love the work. And when you get into a picture and you make a picture, even if it’s Cinemascope, you make it even brighter and you make it audible. It’s more interesting than it ever could be if you do it right. I just love to work with intelligent people. I can’t say – “I’ve got all the money. I’ll pay you – so dance on a table.” Why? I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to prostitute myself.
Q. You have sound and have effects. Do you treat the effects equally important as the sound? Do you consider them as part of the process?
A. There is no way in my opinion that you can be objective. Sound and effects, like the body and the clothes, you can’t separate them, because through experience, you’ve got a sound which has all the ingredients you need or you want to work with. It’s not in a room. It’s somewhere in a little box in a basement. Now you have to bring that sound into the room so you need an effect. you need a reverb or delays or whatever. So I would say that you can’t say I put it there and the other one I put it there, and it’s a combination.
Maybe you remember the Wave Station, like in the 80s. They were little reverbs. They were silly. We opened up the case one day wanting to see what is this. And it was so silly, not really worth even talking about it, but if you switched it on, the sound was lovely. So they did it right. They came in a cheap effect, but the effect was very, very much glued together with the sound. It was a real great sound.
Q. What does the future hold for TD?
A. I don’t know what to tell you. What we are working on now is completely different from what we did here. What you heard at UCLA is the mind child of the mid 80s, all except for me. If I would walk on stage with instruments or the kind of music I am working on right now, they would throw me off. So I leave it to another band and another generation after. Because you see, people say, if you start playing an instrument, people will tell you, “Oh, you are learning piano, or you’re learning guitar.”
I’ve got so many guitars, so many pianos around, what can you do? When the people in the middle ages, or the romantic period or classic period started doing their compositions they all played piano. So what. The hammer piano, or spinet or whatever they had, the organ, keyboards, they didn’t have anything else that was a polyphonic instrument. In principle, also what it has to move to and will move, and that’s what I’m really working on. That’s my heritage being a sculptor. What I did is conquering material. I want to form.
I invented about 10 years ago a thing called an e-Ball? That is still conquering material, now you can capture. That doesn’t make any sense I had it on stage once. I wanted to try it, it didn’t work just 30%. But the thing is to control – here you have a magnetic field. Your hand is one of the strongest magnetic fields of the body. Now you have a second magnetic field. You transform two magnetic fields and getting into formal sounds.
What I did I produced like BBC. What it means is to get into the original sound pool. So what we do with instruments is just imitating what’s already there. So all music exists on a full range – call it a noise harmonic level or whatever. And you as the composer would experience one time what’s behind it, that makes me, as a composer and a musician so respectful to what arts really are.
It’s the whole field of creativity, it allows us to do and in some ways a shame that we don’t do it. Why don’t you? Well it’s the ability, the knowledge, what do you want to do? If you are in it for the money you’ve got a different approach than if you are in it for art. I asked all the big people. I know a lot of painters, even in Germany you’ve got Richter ? One of the most exclusive painters right now in the world. And those people never talk about money, They just have it and the money is the product beside of what they are doing. And they say, ok, how much did you sell it? $62M? I don’t believe it. They don’t sit there thinking, “I need to do a great thing because I am going to become famous. I want to earn a lot.”
Q. A lot of people don’t understand that TD music has evolved over the last 40 years. They expect it to be the same year after year. It evolves, you bring new stuff, you learn how to use the technology, you reach in behind, you are grabbing things?
A. Yeah, the most disadvantage thing that a human being could be faced with is that sort of crystallization what runs through different periods in life. I have met too many people, open-minded people – lovely people, who I like a lot, but then if you say, why aren’t you progressing? Forget about the rest. Throw it away, start new with the knowledge and experience you have. And reach new goals and find out what’s in yourself. There’s much more than you think. And what? Why? What is life all about? M-m-mm I don’t know too much, it seems too expensive and all that. And that is wrong. People don’t want to move. They are like little kids, once a thing was successful for them, you know – treating the mother in a certain way and treating the father in a certain way. What are people doing? Because one time successful, next time successful, you keep on going. And instead of saying okay, now I want to learn something different, I want to get efficiency Into my life experience. No I am safe, I am safe.
Change – in the final sense of the word. It means get rid of the old – do something new. Take the risk. Even if it is very risky you don’t know what will come out of it, but if you stay with the old way it is even worst.
Q. You have been doing this for 40 years,. How much longer do you want to do this. Is there enough passion there to keep writing and performing?
A. Put it the other way. I don‘t know what it is to stop doing. I don’t know what it is and why. I am dying one day and then I am stopping. That is all. That’s all I can say about it. Because it is nothing that you want to do.
At the age of 35 I gave up smoking, I gave up drinking any alcohol. I gave up drugs and I gave up eating meat and fish. Can you imagine? I mean I was dying for a couple of months, that’s all. My body was screaming for that stuff. But then it kept me going with such an energy, because what I learned is that there are certain ingredients in the oxygen and protein
If you understand the intricate exchange of the protein within your body to transform it into high energy, that is nothing magic, nothing new age. Just do it. Understand whatever, and find what ever you want to do, and do it. And then try to find out if it helps you or not. If it doesn’t help get rid of it, take the next one. And understand, you see, you wouldn’t run through Death Valley without a map or a navigator or a car. But that is what most people do, running into Death Valley, getting killed by the circumstances.
Q. What do you do for recreation?
A. Whenever I have met someone important, my wife, my friend, just socializing with people, I always say, please excuse me if I am just leaving. It has nothing to do with you. I respect you, I like you, but I have to leave and I go into my room. I know the times. The point is, life runs like that, that is a time line. Then you’ve got the correlating point of an event line, which is vertical. Like it hits on a cross point on your time line. And you’ve got to be there. If you are not there nothing, emotionless, no problem, but the possibility of you getting hit by an enormous creative event, it’s just gone. It’s nothing wrong for the universe, it’s just an event. So you have to find out what you have to do to be at the right time and the right place. For most of the people it is just a word or a sentence. No, it is correcting your meaning. You’ve got to be there.
So I myself, when we are on a travel, for instance, I have a little keyboard and a laptop. Always, it’s right on my hotel bed. And so even if it is not, as I said before, 100% of what I want stored, it is a bit of an idea and if you’ve got hundreds of those ideas maybe something will click. What else can you do? You have to do it. It is to be available. And I tell you, in the world we are talking about that the materialized world that you and you and us and the others and probably – that’s all one. We are just individualized by what’s been called the personality. We’ve got our personalities, the ego, the me, it’s me. But above that we are all one. So if you apparently combine those things, for instance, if I hurt a lot of people, why is that, that I was in a conversation and I got bored. I don’t want a lot of bullshit and small talk. I hate small talk. And so I said, please excuse me, there is nothing I can do for you. Bye, bye. I mean that is not the best way to be honored, but it is a way to save a lot of life time.