Following her acclaimed first EP ‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ in 2017, ANI GLASS releases her long-awaited debut album ‘Mirores’.
It is an observational electronic travelogue based around the idea of movement and progress in her hometown of Cardiff.
That might sound overly conceptual but this is a melodic pop record that also gathers ambience of the urban landscape, traffic, people and nature, all coming together to create the score of a city’s symphony.
Fluent in Welsh and Cornish, ANI GLASS uses a play on words for the album’s title which incorporates the name of one of her favourite artists Joan Miró – along with the Cornish word ‘miras’ which means “to look”. Therefore, ‘Mirores’ essentially translates as “Observer”.
An experienced hand who has previously worked with OMD’s Andy McCluskey and the late Martin Rushent, ANI GLASS opted to self-produce ‘Mirores’; she said to The Electricity Club: “I’m really excited about curating the presentation of this album; conceptually and visually. I have a lot of ideas about how I might involve and engage with people who may not be instinctively interested in Welsh electronic music.”
Beginning with ‘The Ballet Of A Good City’ and a folk choir, the subtle arpeggios paint an ambient air which recalls Vangelis, one of the album’s main sonic influences that also includes Martin Rushent, Giorgio Moroder, Jean-Michel Jarre and Arthur Russell.
With the dulcet tones of Welsh newsreader Huw Edwards within the voice collage, an eerie uplifting quality permeates on ‘Peirianwaith Perffaith’; translated as ‘Perfect Machinery’ and with the vibe of Autumnal discontent, the haunting detuned backdrop is perfect for her socially conscious Welsh expressionism and a celebration of devolution. With a wonderfully swirling leadline reminiscent of THE FALLOUT CLUB’s ‘Dream Soldiers’ and a suitably penetrating bass pulse, it is a search for identity in a moving city that is starkly industrial.
With a lovely higher vocal register, the Euro-disco of ‘Ynys Araul’ is rich in traditional melody, offering a pop sensibility and a wonderful triplet bassline. More mature and earnest in tone, ‘Y Cerrynt’ is unusual in having an almost minimal bass presence which gives it a unique quality. But ‘Cariad’ is a solemn set-piece, with sparse contemplative backing like one of OMD’s experiments in vertical take-off.
Following a short taped gospelly interlude ‘IBT’, the ‘Mirores’ title song itself is pure Cmyru synthpop brilliance with wonderful harmonies and a fabulously liberating vocal middle eight. It depicts the journey from dark desperation to motivation and inspiration, so despite the inherent melancholy, the newly married songstress gets to radiate an inspired mood of optimism..
Playing off a claustrophobic soundscape and a bouncy off-beat in the vein of GRIMES, some fabulous icy strings make their presence felt on ‘Goleuo’r Sêr’. Singing in English over a staccato bassline and bell-like rings, ‘Cathedral In The Desert’ is an affectionate reminder musically of what EURYTHMICS once sounded like before they went all rock ‘n’ roll. Continuing in English but in a spoken word fashion, ‘Agnes’ swiftly returns to Welsh with its deeper resonances rich within the sparse synthscape as a touching tribute to artist Agnes Martin .
Closing with ‘The Rising Of The Moon’, a collage of male speech and ANI GLASS’ own layered voices counterpoint as night time covers the city.
Taking a leaf out of her mentor Andy McCluskey and OMD albums such as ‘Dazzle Ships’ and ‘English Electric’, ‘Mirores’ has enticing synthpop songs sitting together with more conceptual found sound adventures.
It is one woman’s artistic vision celebrating her heritage and home, empowered by the freedom and democracy opened up via electronic music.
“With this noise, I can try to find if it is possible to make music out of it…”
‘The Potential Of Noise’ is a touching insight into the late Conny Plank, undoubtedly one of the most innovative and important studio exponents in popular music.
Directed by his son Stephan with Reto Caduff, the film sees him embarking on a journey to rediscover his father’s impact and his importance in music history. As the studio in the converted farmhouse in Wolperath, half an hour’s drive from Cologne, was also the family home, Stephan grew up around the artists who his father worked with.
John Foxx is one artist who considers Conny Plank to be the most important record producer since George Martin, having recorded ULTRAVOX’s ‘Systems Of Romance’ album with him in 1978. The Electricity Club also has spoken to a number of the musicians who Conny Plank worked with and all had nothing but affectionate memories of him.
Eberhard Kranemann, a one-time member of KRAFTWERK who later recorded an album ‘Fritz Müller Rock’ with Plank said: “He was a very important man, for me in the last century he was the most important producer, engineer and mixer in the whole world, THE BEST! He was so great that he even turned down David Bowie and U2. He was very honest, he didn’t want to work with them.”
DAF drummer and instrumentalist Robert Görl went further, saying “He was almost like a father to me, we lived at the studio so it was all very familiar. We had a room and slept there, we would go down in the morning and he would be making breakfast while his girlfriend Christa Fast would make cakes. It was a very homely feeling that we remember most. And this made it easier for us to feel good and create without having a heavy head.”
“To work with him was always a pleasure” said Bodo Staiger of RHEINGOLD to The Electricity Club, “he was relaxed, very competent and had the talent to listen what the artist wants. And he also brought some good ideas and inspiration. For example, the percussive synth sound on ‘Dreiklangsdimensionen’ was his idea.”
Michael Rother remembered “he was so valuable… we wouldn’t have been able to record NEU! or the second HARMONIA album or my solo albums without Conny, so he’s all over the place in my music… thank you Conny.”
With such compliments, any film featuring prominent figures such as Midge Ure, Daniel Miller and David A Stewart recounting their memories of working with Conny Plank was likely to be fascinating.
But for his son Stephan who was only 13 years old when Plank passed away in December 1987, this bittersweet film has been a journey to understand more about his father while confronting his demons of being neglected.
The key to Plank’s success was undoubtedly his personality rather than his actual technique and his ability to get the best out of the people, something he felt he wouldn’t be able to do working with David Bowie or U2. Today, Plank’s custom hand-built 56 channel mixing desk is owned by David M Allen, another producer known for his warm outlook and gift for providing an environment for artists to excel.
For those who perhaps only know Plank’s work through KRAFTWERK and ULTRAVOX, the soundtrack that accompanies ‘The Potential Of Noise’ is an education, with the instrumental music of NEU! and CLUSTER & ENO being particularly effective. Among the interviewees are the late Holger Czukay, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Michael Rother, Robert Görl, Karl Hyde, Jaz Coleman, Annette Humpe, Gianna Nannini and many more.
Daniel Miller describes Plank’s work as experimental but still musical, while Robert Görl and Annette Humpe recall how Plank was particularly good at capturing the right mood for recording with “no rules”. And while Plank only produced the debut EURYTHMICS album ‘In The Garden’, David A Stewart applied that hippy with technology philosophy to their breakthrough second album ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’, mixing electronics with brass in a converted church studio.
Although recorded at RAK Studios in London, Midge Ure remembers after playing the demo of ‘Vienna’, ULTRAVOX talked musically about the plans for recording while Plank thought in terms of sound; he imagined an old man at a piano in a desolate theatre who had been playing the same tune for forty years. And when Billy Currie came to record his ivory parts, that was exactly the feel which Plank had engineered for the now iconic track.
For Plank, money and tapes were things that passed through his life, but his generosity is apparent throughout this documentary, both financially and in spirit. Michael Rother talks of how Plank helped to fund the recording of the first NEU! album to ensure that the duo had as much independence as possible to create, while it is also known he had offered to finance the recording of the first Midge Ure fronted ULTRAVOX album before the band signed to Chrysalis Records.
The most emotional recollections of Conny Plank come from hip-hop duo WHODINI who consider Conny’s Studio to be the best facility that they have ever recorded in, while also glowing about the effort which Plank made towards providing a recording environment that was as comfortable as possible, something the pair never experienced again after that visit to Germany.
But despite the generosity to his artists, the film tells of how Plank was not exactly the perfect father to Stephan, with Holger Czukay remembering that Plank treated Stephan as Christa Fast’s son, rather than his own. It’s a point also highlighted by Annette Humpe who tellingly, actually asks Stephan on camera whether his father ever took him out into the countryside; it turned out he did… but for just one afternoon.
Resigned to the fact that few photos exist of them together, Stephan reflects that the best memento of his father now is his vast catalogue of work. Plank’s own end is sad, with him becoming too ill to mix EURYTHMICS ‘Revenge’ album following returning from a concert tour in South America with Dieter Moebius.
Despite Christa nursing him back to near health with a new diet regime, Plank’s need to work ultimately consumed him and worsened his condition, eventually leading to the cancer to which he succumbed to.
The film concludes with Stephan taking his own young family to Wolperath to see his former home, reminiscing about the bathroom where the gold and platinum discs used to hang, as well as the dining area where the family and the visiting artists used to sit. With the final words of the documentary, Midge Ure summarises that the music Plank made was timeless and ultimately outlived him.
Described by KILLING JOKE’s Jaz Coleman as “a revolutionary”, when the end credits roll of ‘The Potential Of Noise’, it’s rather appropriately to the proto-punk of ‘Hero’ by NEU!
A graduate of the London College Of Printing, photographer Peter Ashworth created some of the most iconic images from New Romantic and beyond.
His photographs adorned albums covers such as the debut long player by VISAGE, SOFT CELL ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’, ASSOCIATES ‘Sulk’, EURYTHMICS ‘In The Garden’, DEAD OR ALIVE ‘Sophisticated Boom-Boom’, ADAM & THE ANTS ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’, TINA TURNER ‘Private Dancer’ and many more.
Meanwhile, his memorable portraits have included artists as varied as FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, ERASURE, ULTRAVOX, THE THE, THE CLASH, THE CULT, THE ART OF NOISE, SWING OUT SISTER, PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED, THE LIGHTNING SEEDS and SPACE while his photos of BLANCMANGE, DAVID SYLVIAN, EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL and THE CULT appeared in ‘Smash Hits’.
But it was his image of Annie Lennox in a mask and an ironic strong arm pose for ‘The Face’ that was to become his best remembered shot; the visually powerful statement was then used on the cover of ‘Touch’, the third album by EURYTHMICS.
At a time when image was critical to how an act and their music were perceived, record covers were the first port of call for any potential fan. Thus Ashworth’s eye was ideal as he worked mostly with large square format Hassalblad cameras, so there was never that dilemma of what might be cropped out in a landscape format shot.
Having already debuted the ‘Mavericks’ exhibition in Liverpool, the London variant was specifically adapted for the Lever Gallery in Islington. In Ashworth’s own words: “the prints have deep colours, strong graphics, and are beautifully printed”.
Ashworth loved to create extravagant sets for his backgrounds like The Jungle Of Desire for various formats of FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD’s ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’ or the kaleidoscopic horticultural menagerie for ASSOCIATES to inhabit on the cover image of ‘Sulk’. What Ashworth helped to reinforce was the element of artifice in music of this period, which ultimately allowed the listener to embark on a truly escapist adventure.
So it was a total honour and privilege to have Peter Ashworth personally guide The Electricity Club around his wonderful ‘Mavericks’ exhibition and to hear the stories behind his iconic photographs. Many are now time capsules of fashion and popular culture like his dressing room photo of TRANSVISION VAMP which adorned their ‘Velveteen’ long player, capturing a time before mobile photos when bands would pass the hours away before showtime reading books about THE VELVET UNDERGROUND and sex movies!
Interestingly, Ashworth confessed to rarely listening to the artists he was photographing so that he could focus on the best visual presentation possible. Meanwhile, he also admitted he wasn’t really a fan of anybody except perhaps the late German producer Conny Plank and that his favourite type of music was deep house.
Though his cool portrait of BRYAN FERRY dragging on a Marlboro has been popular with many casual observers, Ashworth’s own favourites are actually of two lesser known New Romantic personalities RONNY and PETER GODWIN. The former was a French protégée of Rusty Egan who cut a striking figure androgynously suited in Anthony Price, while the latter released two singles ‘Torch Song For The Heroine’ and ‘Images of Heaven’ which featured members of ULTRAVOX.
Although never having a hit in his own right, Godwin hit paydirt when DAVID BOWIE covered ‘Criminal World’ by his previous band METRO on the ten million selling ‘Let’s Dance’ album.
A regular visitor to The Blitz Club, Ashworth was a natural choice for the eponymous debut VISAGE album cover image in 1980. Shot in the actual club itself, he had titled the photo ‘The Swing’ thanks to the dancing pose captured of Steve Strange and model Vivienne Tribbeck in front of three silhouetted jazz musicians, one of whom was the soon-to-be famous milliner Stephen Jones. The eventual artwork was actually hand tinted by Iain Gilles, so it was fabulous to see the original photo which to be honest looks better!
One of the acts most closely associated with Peter Ashworth has been SOFT CELL and he took many photographs of Marc Almond and Dave Ball during their career, as well as being an occasional drummer in Almond’s MARC & THE MAMBAS venture. The ‘Bedsitter’ image highlighted Ashworth’s use of props which in this case were a number of kitchen utensils. But the duo’s tense facial expressions can be explained by the fact that the props kept falling off the wall behind them!
‘Mavericks’ is a must see exhibition for anyone remotely interested in pop music and its visual presentation. There is also the opportunity to purchase a quality greeting card set of six iconic Peter Ashworth images which because they measure 6″ x 6″, four can fit perfectly into one of those album artwork frames available in HMV or Fopp… so guess what The Electricity Club did? ??
The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thank to Peter Ashworth
‘Mavericks’, a photographic show by Peter Ashworth runs at the Lever Gallery, 153 -157 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7HD until 20th December 2018 – entry is free and open Tuesday to Sunday or by appointment
Between April and October this year, sees the vinyl reissues of eight EURYTHMICS albums ‘In The Garden’, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’, ‘Touch’, ‘Be Yourself Tonight’, ‘Revenge’, ‘We Too Are One’, ‘Savage’ and ‘Peace’ and gives The Electricity Club a welcome chance to look back retrospectively over the duo’s musical output.
Although it didn’t trouble the charts, the debut 1981 album ‘In The Garden’ provided a necessary bridging point between Annie Lennox and David A Stewart’s output as New Wave act THE TOURISTS and their newly convened status as a duo.
Co-produced by the legendary Conny Plank in his Cologne studio and featuring BLONDIE drummer Clem Burke, Robert Görl from DAF, and CAN’s Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit, the album swings between the guitar-driven post-punk sound of ‘English Summer’ and the more rocky ‘Belinda’ which would foreshadow some the band’s more rockist leanings latterly in their career.
Due to Plank’s top notch production and Lennox’s effortlessly beautiful vocals throughout, the album hasn’t dated too badly and if never listened to before certainly doesn’t hint at the stellar jump with their subsequent offering ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’.
Recorded in their newly fitted out 8 track home studio in Chalk Farm London purchased using a £5,000 bank loan, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ would have come as a complete curveball if as a fan you’d latched onto the more pastoral guitar-based sound of ‘In The Garden’; almost purely electronic in conception and with the backbeat of Stewart’s Movement Drum Computer (which puts in a cameo appearance in the iconic ‘Sweet Dreams’ promo video).
Also significant for the album was the use of Dave Stewart’s EDP Wasp synth which (according to Synth Guru Paul Wiffen) was often recorded using a microphone placed over the in-built speaker in order to capture the sound of the resonating body of the synth’s case alongside its source sound.
With YAZOO’s debut ‘Upstairs at Eric’s’ opening the public’s perception to cold electronics with an accompaniment of soulful vocals, the timing of ‘Sweet Dreams’ couldn’t have been better. There are obvious echoes of Clarke and Moyet in tracks such as ‘Wrap it Up’, but the addition of Stewart’s guitar and the bigger multi-layered vocal production meant that they don’t come across as mere pastiches.
Musically one of the things that becomes apparent on ‘Sweet Dreams’ is Stewart’s knack at creating some truly wonderful synth basslines, often using a Roland SH09. From ‘I Could Give You (A Mirror)’ to the ‘The Walk’, these perfectly counterpointed Lennox’s glacial vocals and set a template for what was to follow with album number three ‘Touch’.
‘Touch’ is often overlooked when it comes to people’s go-to classic electronic albums; this could possibly be down to the huge success of the Calypso-themed ‘Right By Your Side’ which at the end of the day really wasn’t representative of the album as a whole. This is a shame, because ‘Touch’ is arguably the band’s finest hour, tracks such as the singles ‘Who’s That Girl?’ and ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ are matched by album cuts ‘Regrets’ and ‘No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts).
‘The First Cut’ echoes YAZOO’s ‘Sweet Thing’ but brings in some live guitar and fretless/slapped bass to the party; whilst the epic 7 and a half minute closing ‘Paint A Rumour’ takes the listener on a spellbinding musical journey incorporating blippy Kraftwerkian electro pop, dub brass and BLANCMANGE-like Middle Eastern synth elements along the way. Unfortunately the band were never truly this electronic again, with the remix/mini-LP ‘Touch Dance’ eventually giving way to 1985’s ‘Be Yourself Tonight’…….
The next two albums ‘Be Yourself Tonight’ and ‘Revenge’ continued to give the band some huge chart hits; ‘There Must Be An Angel’ was the band’s only UK No1 single from the former, but tracks which had the potential to echo EURYTHMICS earlier electronic work (including the Linn Drum-driven ‘I Love You Like A Ball & Chain’) seemed to become an excuse for Stewart to wig-out with a show-off guitar solo.
Songs such as ‘Thorn in My Side’ started to showcase EURYTHMICS steady mutation (and some would say decline) into a US radio-friendly guitar act with most of their electronic elements gradually being exorcised from the bands’ production. In some ways EURYTHMICS followed a similar career trajectory to SIMPLE MINDS with stadium rock leanings starting to filter into their recorded output and before you knew it, songs appeared to be written specifically for large arenas.
With the next couple of albums there were still a few glimmers of experimentation, THE ART OF NOISE-aping, Fairlight-driven ‘Beethoven (I Love To Listen)’ from ‘Savage’ was an unexpected single choice, but stalled at number 25 in the UK charts.
The highlight of 1989’s ‘We Too Are One’ (with its striking cover photo by Jean Baptiste Mondino) was the melancholic break-up single ‘Don’t Ask Me Why’ which in many ways echoed ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’, especially with its use of pizzicato strings.
After a ten year hiatus, ‘Peace’ saw Lennox and Stewart reconvene with the understated ‘I Saved the World Today’ giving them some chart success, only narrowly missing the UK top 10. With its almost PORTISHEAD retro-style textures, it went some way in distancing the band from its more bombastic productions.
By overviewing the band’s output, the listener could cynically surmise that EURYTHMICS jumped on the Synth Britannia bandwagon; riding on YAZOO’s coat tails by adopting an electronic aesthetic and then slowly revealing themselves as the rock band that they actually were all along (underneath all of the production surface). That would however do a huge disservice to their early work, which includes some of the VERY best electronic pop tracks from that era.
Interestingly, Dave Stewart confirmed the spiritual link with YAZOO by eventually going on to work with Alison Moyet, co-writing / co-producing ‘Is This Love?’ under the pseudonym Jean Guiot (used to avoid problems with his music publishers).
The mid-period and latter albums (although in many places giving the band deserved huge commercial success) do however chart EURYTHMICS slow transformation into an entirely different musical beast altogether. For those that bemoan the way DEPECHE MODE now deliver their songs live, should take some solace in that Lennox and Stewart committed far worse musical crimes to some of their iconic synth pop hits than Gahan and co are doing now…
So in terms of influence, what is there left to say about EURYTHMICS legacy? Their nearest contemporaries now would be GOLDFRAPP and PURITY RING; acts that use that male synth / female vocal dynamic.
Completists could possibly complain that the soundtrack to the motion picture ‘1984 (For The Love Of Big Brother)’ and ‘Touch Dance’ albums should have made the set up to a round 10, but for most, ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Touch’ still remain the essential albums to own, with ‘In The Garden’ being seen as more of an interesting curio in the band’s back catalogue.
EURYTHMICS’ back catalogue is reissued by Sony Music in three stages through 2018
DEUTSCH AMERIKANISCHE FREUNDSCHAFT or DAF are the influential pioneers of electronic body music.
Forming at Die Ratinger Hof in Düsseldorf, DAF’s punky ethos became fully realised thanks to the availability of newly affordable synthesizer technology from Japan. Attaching the powerful sound to heavy rhythms and Teutonic expression, the energetic aggression of the music reflected their militaristic aesthetic, as exemplified by songs like ‘Der Mussolini’ and’ Kebabträume’.
Between 1981-1982, the nucleus of Gabi Delgado on vocals and Robert Görl on drums and electronics released an acclaimed trilogy comprising of ‘Alles Ist Gut’, ‘Gold Und Liebe’ and ‘Für Immer’ which were produced by the legendary Conny Plank and originally came out on Virgin Records.
That trilogy along with what was the first album ever released on Mute Records ‘Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen’ (which Plank also worked on) form the bulk of ‘Das Ist DAF’; a celebratory boxed set released by Grönland Records, the set also features a bonus disc of respectful remixes while the lavish vinyl edition exclusively contains the treat of a brand new DAF single entitled ‘Die Sprache Der Liebe’.
While DAF fell under a haze of “sex, drugs and sequencer” after 1982, Görl began a solo career with the cult favourite ‘Mit Dir’ in 1983. This was followed by ‘Night Full Of Tension’, an album which saw Görl embracing synthpop and the English language. It featured vocal contributions from Annie Lennox of EURYTHMICS.
Fast forward to the present day, Görl and Delgado-Lopez have more than occasionally reunited for DAF shows, while the DAF drummer has been showcasing his ‘Glücksritter’ live only project to audiences around Europe, most recently at the 2017 ELECTRI_CITY CONFERENCE in Düsseldorf.
With the success of the ‘Das Is DAF’ boxed set and the accompanying authorised biography of the same title due to break cover, Robert Görl kindly chatted to The Electricity Club about DAF’s past, present and future while also reminiscing about the beginnings of his solo career and working with Conny Plank.
Are you pleased with the ‘Das Ist DAF’ boxed set and what it has achieved?
Yes, I’m happy, we put in just the core albums and I thought the different remixes were a great idea plus of course, there is a very special new DAF single in the box.
It’s taken a long time to get new DAF material together, what was the idea behind ‘Die Sprache Der Liebe’?
The working process how we did it was completely old school, like in our old days. I have to say when me and Gabi come together, we don’t do so many new records, we have lots of different projects and sometimes we do DAF. The last DAF album was already 15 years ago! But sometimes we meet and talk about maybe doing something new and this time, it worked because we had Grönland and they said they would be very happy if we did at least a single.
For me and Gabi, the two songs we did was kind of a test, I did the sequences, made all of the music and then the drumming before Gabi did the lyrics and singing. It’s in the same style like in the old days.
It’s not like what many bands do… Gabi lives in Spain and me in Berlin, but I don’t send audio files for him to progress further before sending it back to me or for a third person to mix it… I don’t like this style of working when people don’t even see each other to do a record. This for me is very boring.
So me and Gabi had to meet and come together, I played him my sequences. He sees everything like my drumming and I see Gabi while he puts down his first lines and makes them better while I’m in the studio.
Gabi says you still love your vintage synthesizers?
Yes, I still love them. For example, this single is a Korg MS20 and the Korg sequencer as is the B-side ‘Ich Bin Nicht Da’
Did you and Gabi choose the remixers?
Grönland suggested these guys like WESTBAM and BOYZ NOISE, we were happy with them and agreed. Apparently when they approached Giorgio Moroder, he said “Greetings to the DAF guys, tell them I really want to do it” – this was fantastic.
There is this new authorised book ‘Das Ist DAF’? Is it a tale of “sex, drugs and sequencer”?
The most interesting part of the book is it tells the hard truth. We were interviewed many times for the book and it is not about a band where everything worked fine, where it’s a nice and successful polished career. No, in this book, the reader will see how at many points, Gabi and me had discomfort and there were times when it was not so nice. We never had fist fights but we did split and said “you go your way and I go mine”. We talk very honestly about what happened and when it was sh*t *laughs*
So was your first solo album ‘Night Full Of Tension’ a result of one of these splits?
Yes, we’d worked for 5 years together as DAF and we were burned out. This was the first split and very heavy, we could not even see each other anymore because we were together day and night for those 5 years. I wanted to do something else.
How did it feel on that album to not be drumming as well as writing and singing in English?
Around this time, I was getting more into pop. When we split DAF at this highpoint, when you look at our style and how we behaved with these three successful DAF albums, we were like pop stars, more or less. We had lots of money and good clothes, I could just book a flight to New York and go… we had everything that we wanted. I wanted to make a pop album and at this time, I was invited to London and New York a lot.
People suggested to me if I wanted to really make it worldwide, I should do an English album. In the 80s, the kingdom of pop music was still London so for me, it was normal and not a big compromise.
What was it like working with Annie Lennox?
She was involved in helping me with lyrics, I went to Montpellier for 2 weeks to write the basic ideas and then I showed her them in London.
She would make suggestions so we worked together on the lyrics, that’s why she was also on the album.
You released a great standalone single ‘Mit Dir’ before ‘Night Full Of Tension’. Have you heard DJ HELL and STEREO MCs cover version of it as ‘With You’?
I think they did a good well-produced version; ‘Mit Dir’ is my favourite solo song…
…DJ HELL also did a remix with you of ‘Liebe Auf Den Ersten Blick’ for ‘Das Ist DAF’?
Yes, I liked it… I had a few arguments about how he did it, but in the end it was a good product.
There was also the Prada commercial using the ‘Headed For The Sun’ version by MURK.FM?
That was a good one…
The ‘Das Ist DAF’ boxed set highlights your productive relationship with Conny Plank on those classic albums? What sort of person was he?
Conny was like home, he made it comfortable for all the bands he produced. What I really liked about him was he gave you comfort. Even at lunchtime, we met many times in the kitchen and he would just give Gabi and me his studio. He said “Take my studio, it’s yours”. He gave us time and wouldn’t look at the watch saying “we must do this and this and that now”, he was not like this.
Was he like your favourite uncle?
He was almost like a father to me, we lived at the studio so it was all very familiar. We had a room and slept there, we would go down in the morning and he would be making breakfast, while his girlfriend Christa Fast would make cakes. It was the very homely feeling that we remember most. And this made it easier for us to feel good and create without having a heavy head.
Other studios can give you headaches because of the deadlines, it was the opposite at Conny’s Studio. He would come down in the afternoon, listen and say “hey, this sounds good, let’s record it”… it was warm and comfortable with no pressure. He was a fan of our music and he was a gentleman. He always found the moment when we were hot… this was very good.
The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to Robert Görl