Being active with their personal projects and with their labels Bpitch Control and Shit Catapult, Ellen Allien and Apparat are two people who are always willing to find new solutions and sounds. Being friends they teamed up and produced an excellent album titled “Orchestra of bubbles”. It was the perfect starting point for an interview just to ask them something about it and about their future.
Chain D.L.K.: You both run your own label. What made you start such an adventure?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: Probably the wish for self-fulfillment.. When I started Bpitch Control I wanted to open up a channelfor artists that weren’t represented at that time. And I also aimed to create a base – for myself and all the inspiring people around me. But it became an adventure at that point when we became more known, got more public interest. From then on we had to fill the gap between people’s expectations and our own interest and artistical development.
Sascha:I think both of us just wanted to be independent. It was also the idea of having a home base.Its nice to have an office to go to, With people you know and like.
Chain D.L.K.: You already collaborated before because Bpitch Control printed severalApparat releases. What made you step up your collaboration further bycreating music together?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: We share the same ideals and understanding of art and music. And with Apparat it is possible to create a musically different language for me. But our production process is not merely an “adding” of Ellen Allien and Apparat. It’s more about opening up our horizons and breaking down personal barriers. We became a different point of view for each other, which is necessary for establishing acreative relation that allows us to go further.
Sascha:We just like each other. I have known Ellen for quite a while. Making a record together alsomeant having a nice time in the studio. This winter was quite shitty but I think we had a nice time -this record was our escape. That’s why it’s good to live in Berlin – even if the winters suck.You are productive.
Chain D.L.K.: Why have you titled the album “Orchestra of bubbles”? Is it related toyour concept of music?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: No, it is a reflection to people’s behavior of babbling. A lot of people think they always have to talk and talk and talk, because they are afraid of getting unnoticed instead of listening and then reacting. But they miss the most important point in doing so: they aren’t aware anymore of what they are talking. That’s a problem: we miss the sense! We thought it would be a great idea of reflecting that – somehow babbling is a kind of human anthropology. We create holes, bubbles or clouds that surround us, but in the end it’s all abound finding a sense for living.
Sascha:It comes from the track “Bubbles”. It’s about small talk which is kinda part of our job. In German we have a saying “to talk bubbles”. Sometimes the whole night live seems like a big bubble-factory. Like an orchestra of bubbles. But bubbles are not necessarily a bad thing. I mean small talk can be relaxing as well. Or the way to meet good people…
Chain D.L.K.: Listening to the tracks we can hear the style of both of you but it isalso true that “Orchestra of bubbles” sounds different to your previousreleases. Can you tell us something more about its creation?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: We spent the winter time together. It was snowing a lot outside and we sat in the warmth.. Winter in Berlin is a good moment of being creative because you easily get depressed with all the grey and the cold outside. It’s like a hole in time, you have to fill it. But actually we have wanted to make music together for a long time. Sascha always wanted to getmore into techno, for me on the other hand it was important to emphasize the more traditional element of dance music. So we created something in between. And it worked! The working process itself was characterized by a lot of negotiation between us. We discussed nearly every part of the tracks. But that was helpful because it sharpened my awareness of creating something that became more than the sum of the single pieces.
Sascha:I didn’t really know how it would sound before. We didn’t just want to mix our styles. There was the idea to create something new. I think we succeeded cause OOB is different from what any of us did on his own even though you can still hear each of us at certain moments. Even if some people are completely wrong sometimes guessing who made what! There are “Sascha tracks” which were started by Ellen and the opposite. I think both of us just tried to get closer to the other, in a musical way.
Chain D.L.K.: Since both of you have a defined style, how did you decide who wasgoing to be the producer or who had the final word by saying “ok, this isthe final version of this track”?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: There weren’t any positions like that. We both decided, but not in the sense of a compromise. It was more like starting a new step.
Sascha:It was always different. It was very cool to have a second opinion in the studio. It prevents destroying a track by “working it dead”. But you have to be able to compromise and to accept different opinions. Both of us were pretty easy when it came to this. No ego shit involved…
Chain D.L.K.: “Way out” is a beautiful track and as far as I know, this was the firsttime that you, Ellen, sung a proper song. Is that something you wanted toexperiment by creating a track structured as a song?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: Sure! It was important for me to get louder or more direct. And it also implied the possibility of playing live – which is what we are doing at the moment. With Sascha at my side it gave me self-assurance, it is exactly what I mean when I speak of shifting barriers or horizons.. But did you mention that Sascha sung for the first time on a track too??
Sascha:Since I am not that “electronic” anymore the “song” has become an important thing to me. Tracks are for djs. We wanted to do an album people like to listen to. An album is not really a club-thing. It just happened that a lot of songs became more structured cause we were bored of repetitions.
Chain D.L.K.: You added two songs to the final version of the CD because someoneshared the album on the Web before its release. What do you think of file sharing?Is it a negative thing only or it could also be a way of spreading theword and raise the sales?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: It depends. But it’s true that it kills music somehow. But nevertheless we have to deal with the phenomenon. So we put those two tracks on the final version to create an appetizer for going to the record store.. On the other hand it also shows that people are curious about us, they are interested in what we do..
Sascha:I talked about this already too often – but I can explain it fast. Sharing itself is not such a problem for us. The very annoying thing is how the record got there. Some journalist, a professional, just uploaded our workin the first week. If some kid does it its ok. But this guy knows that this is our baby and we trusted him by sending it out. It just hurts if you works so long on something and then somebody else comes and takes control of your work.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re going on tour together. Will it be a shared dj set or a normalgig? What are you preparing for these shows?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: No, no dj-set. We are playing live. We prepared the singing – I got singing lessons for that, the single tracks and lines, the playing together.. And it works great! We did some shows now and I really love it!
Sascha:We just finished rehearsals and our first gig is today, yeah! We will play live, like real live with improvisation. And we did a lot of different versions of the tracks. The crowd will definitely recognize the songs but they will hear something new as well. I’m excited!
Chain D.L.K.: Can you tell us what you are preparing for the future with your musicalprojects as well as label owners?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: It will go on and on.. I hope I can broaden my musical language through breaking down more barriers and expectations.. The label works fine, we started a sublabel called Memo in winter and we try to sharpen our output. It’s all about the quality..
Sascha:I’m working on an electronic/orchestral/rock album. It’s not gonna be an Apparat record – it’s too acoustic. But I’m sure Apparat fans will like it too! It’s gonna be out next spring I guess.
Chain D.L.K.: What will be the next big thing in your opinion and what shoulddeserve more attention instead?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: That’s difficult to answer, because there’s so much happening at the moment. I suppose there will be more crossover and coupling between all genres and styles. And that deserves attention!
Sascha:I kinda hope the minimal hype will be over soon. This stuff is so boring. It has been there for years already and musically it’s just not very valuable. But there’s so much good music out there. I don’t care. I can listen to the trail of dead, like right now or anything else. I don’t care about the next big thing. This never has been important for me, not as a consumer of music and not as a producer of music. I’m looking forward to the Thom Yorkes solo record coming in July!
Chain D.L.K.: Something else you’d like to tell our readers?
Ellen Allien And Apparat: Ellen: Thanks for your support all over the years!! We hope to see you this summer somewhere at one of the festivals!
Sascha:I didn’t know what to expect when we did that album but now I see all the great reactions and reviews – thanks for this! That makes me happy and pushes me on – and on – and on – and on…
Visit Ellen Allien And Apparat on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marco Pustianaz]