Tag: Die Unbekannten

Missing In Action: DIE UNBEKANNTEN

DIE UNBEKANNTEN were the cult post-punk band formed by Berlin-based Englanders Mark Reeder and Alistair Gray for the legendary ‘Konzert zur Einheit der Nation‘ held in the SO36 club in Kreuzberg on 17 June 1981.

This ‘Concert for the Unity of Germany‘ was recorded for prosperity as the live compilation ‘Licht und Schatten‘ on Wild Youth Records which featured ‘Radio War‘ as Reeder and Gray’s contribution under the moniker of THE UNKNOWN (hence the subsequent German name DIE UNBEKANNTEN)

DIE UNBEKANNTEN’s back catalogue is small with their self-titled and ‘Dangerous Moonlight‘ 12“ EPs released on Elisabeth Recker’s influential Monogam label. Reflecting the times and their surroundings, their music was gloomy and themed around war. One notable track ‘The Game‘, which included an introductory poem by Abu Hamil, offered commentary on how journalists lived off suffering refugees in war torn cities like Beirut or Gaza and the psychological effects it had on them.

Using Reeder’s extensive Eastern European dissident contacts including human rights activist and later President of the post-Iron Curtain Czechoslovakia Václav Havel, DIE UNBEKANNTEN also performed at secret illegal gigs inside the communist bloc. With the advent of programmable drum machines and affordable synths, electronic elements began to creep into DIE UNBEKANNTEN’s sound which became more programmed and dance friendly, so much so that a name change was decided on prior to a European tour opening for NEW ORDER; thus SHARK VEGAS was born.

With the release of an expanded edition of ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’, an album first issued in 2005 collecting both DIE UNBEKANNTEN EPs while also featuring demos, live tracks and specially restored versions created for the documentary film ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West Berlin)‘, Mark Reeder chatted about die Berliner Elektronische und Club Szene and much more…

The name DIE UNBEKANNTEN came about by accident?

Yes, absolutely. When we played our first gig on 17 June 1981 in SO36, we had no intention of carrying the idea of performing any further than that one concert and therefore we had no band name. After seeing a one-off performance together with Monogam’s Elisabeth Recker and Kristoph Hahn (THE SWANS) as LE SANG FROID, I had been asked if I would also like to fill-in on the bill of an upcoming mini-festival, to commemorate the uprising in East-Berlin for the reunification of Germany, on the 17 June 1953. The poster already had a load of fictitious band names on it and being a bit tipsy, I committed myself.

Once home, I realised what I had done and called Al and asked him if he could sing. He came over to my place and I showed him how to play bass and we started to write some songs. After our performance, which we thought was a total shambles, Elisabeth came running up saying she loved it and wanted us to make a record for her label. Thomas Wydler also said he wanted to play drums with us. We were taken completely by surprise.

A favourable review of our concert in the local Zitty Magazine by Andre Schwerdt, praised “the two unknown Englishmen” for their avant-garde performance. In our little circle of friends, we were thereafter referred to amusingly as, DIE UNBEKANNTEN (“The Unknown”) and so I decided, THAT should be our band name.

How was it for you memories-wise to compile this expanded release?

Back in 2005, I was asked by Vinyl-on Demand if they could re-release a Limited-Edition vinyl album, featuring our two Monogam EPs. As bonus tracks, I gave them the Video version of ‘The Game’ and a live-to-mixing-desk recording of ‘Alone’ (which later became the blueprint for ‘Perfect Love’), from a gig that we had performed at in Belgium’s Salle Ex, together with MALARIA! I also gave VoD my original ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ album cover design idea too, and they produced a lovely record, that sold out almost immediately.

Then in 2011, I started work on the soundtrack for the ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West Berlin)’ documentary, together with my studio partner Micha Adam, and for that, I decided to restore and rework ‘Casualties’ and ‘Radio War’. Sadly, after a break-in of my old apartment in early 1990, all my master tapes and the two 16 tracks tapes were completely destroyed and so we basically only had the vinyl EPs to go on for the restoration.

I did however, find our backing cassette tape of Thomas Wydler’s drums, our drum machine and effects, that we had originally used for our first illegal and highly secret concert in Czechoslovakia, back in 1982, and that also helped a lot with the restoration. So, I had gone through the trauma of revisiting our music already for these projects.

I had originally planned this release on being part of a photo-book with CD special edition back in 2021, to commemorate our 40th anniversary, and so while compiling and writing ‘The Story of DIE UNBEKANNTEN’, I had already plenty of time to reflect and go through the music. Unfortunately, finding an affordable book printer and then the restrictions brought about by Covid took its toll, and the book part never happened. I did meanwhile, discover there were some live bootleg tapes knocking about, that I didn’t even know existed. After a recent trip to Japan and Detroit, I decided to revisit our restorations and release ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ as a digital album instead.

JOY DIVISION and SECTION 25 appear to loom heavy over the sound of DIE UNBEKANNTEN?

It is probably more like a resemblance to most people. Musically, we are nowhere near. I think it has something more to do with the place, time, era and our musical restrictions, rather than actual inspiration. We certainly didn’t ever intend our music to sound anything like JOY DIVISION or SECTION 25. Although people back in the 80s also made these comparisons, I personally can’t hear any. I feel it was probably more about the fact that we were two Englishmen in Berlin and I was Factory Records German Representative.

How was your relationship with Monogam Records who originally released the self-titled debut EP and ‘Dangerous Moonlight’?

Wonderful; Elisabeth Recker, who started the Monogam Label was without doubt THE most important person of the Berlin avant-garde underground music scene back in the late 70s and early 80s, as she provided the platform for bands like MANIA D, P1/E and EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN to release their music upon.

She is definitely an unsung hero. Monogam was Berlin’s first indie label. We were and still are great friends. Elisabeth was adventurous and she loved the arty and experimental.

I think DIE UNBEKANNTEN EPs were the closest thing to a pop record that Monogam ever released.

The ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ title song falls under the spell of ‘Other Voices’ by THE CURE and featured a prototype Roland TR606 Drumatix, how did you get hold of one of those?

We got the Roland 606 prototype from Adrian Wright of THE HUMAN LEAGUE. After their minor success with ‘The Sound Of The Crowd’ and ‘Love Action’, he had been given this new Roland Drum Computer to test, but he didn’t have the time, and so he asked me if I could test it for him and just let him know how it was. I rushed home and immediately wrote a simple drum pattern and a rough bassline. Al came over and we wrote the song.

We booked two days in Harris Johns Musiclab Studio, and by the end of the session we had recorded and mixed ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’. Alistair finished off the lyrics while I recorded all the music. Danny Briottet from RENEGADE SOUNDWAVE was visiting me in Berlin, and he proposed he play the drum solo, but we had no drums. He found an old cooking pot in my flat and luckily a set of timbales, which were lying about the studio and thus performed the cooking-pot and timbales solo in the middle of the song. Consequently, our ‘Dangerous Moonlight’ EP, became the first record ever to feature a Roland 606.

Drum machine was a characteristic feature of DIE UNBEKANNTEN, how did you find them to use?

For our first gig in SO36, we had no drummer, Thomas Wydler would join us later for the recording of our first EP. We had no intention of doing anymore gigs to be honest, so we just used an MFB drum machine. It was very basic, with a handful of settings (Cha Cha, Disco, Rock, Tango, Bossa Nova).

It was very easy to use, but I still managed to fuck it up for our first gig, by choosing the wrong setting. In reality, all you needed to do was turn the dial to the required style and speed and it played a repetitive pattern. As we only had a few days to write a set, we had cleverly written all our songs on the Disco setting, but in a drunken-stupor-panic, I accidentally turned the selector to Bossa Nova, and we just had to go along with that.

The MFB was an easy drum machine though, there was no programming involved. That came later when we had the 606, which you could programme to play fills and a series of patterns, but it was a total nightmare to programme. If you accidentally tapped in or missed something, you had to start all over again from scratch. Later, we had a Roland 808, then a 707 and a 727.

The “Country & Eastern” bootleg live version of ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ is hilarious…

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. That country version of ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ was performed just as a one-off surprise. We wanted to give our audience a laugh at the end of our gig. As SHARK VEGAS, we usually performed a Hi-NRG DEAD OR ALIVE-sque version of ‘I Was Made For Loving You’.

As DIE UNBEKANNTEN, we also always tried to leave the stage with the audience laughing. For example, the Salle Ex gig I remember we closed the show by performing the East German National Anthem on Kazoos, sadly the tape was stopped after three songs, so a recording of that performance doesn’t exist, as far as I know.

I thought of it as being a bit like The News, where you have serious reports, but close with a funny story about a puppy. Therefore, after our set of harrowing and miserable depridisco, we thought spirits should be lightened with something amusing. Al and I always thought the song itself sounded more like something you would hear in a Texan red-neck bar, and for that particular gig, we decided to perform it like that, with wrong notes and all. I had no idea that it had been recorded until someone gave me a cassette tape years later.

Photo by Marc Portier

‘Poseidon’ had lyrics in German?

It actually has bilingual lyrics. Half English-half German. We thought, as we have a German name, we might as well have at least one song in German. As it transpired, the song became a bit of both. It was quite fun rhyming English and German.

When did the electronic element start creeping in, like on ‘Perfect Love’?

It was actually always there. We had a Syndrum and a Transcendent 2000 which only made abstract noises. Like the sound of the sea on ‘Poseidon’ was made with the Transcendent. We just didn’t use it much as it didn’t make a smooth string sound.

What other synths were you using?

By the time we came to recording ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ and ‘Perfect Love’, we had the Transcendent 2000, a Korg MS20, and a Roland SH-9 and a Clap-Trap.

There’s a “dodgy demo” of ‘You Hurt Me’ included as a bonus, what was influencing you musically by this point?

Al and I were regulars at the Metropol disco every Friday and Saturday night. It was Europe’s biggest gay disco and it had an amazing soundsystem. We were listening to a lot of electronic disco music then and we wanted to be more Moroder than morose.

We were sharing a practice room with Dimitri Hegemann’s band LENNINGRAD SANDWICH at the time, and he had a Korg Poly Six which he didn’t use, so he let us use it. That synth could do everything we had ever dreamed of, and we wrote ‘You Hurt Me’ and all our other songs on that. This “dodgy demo” recording was made on my Sony TCS300 and was just our first test. It always was my preferred version, as it featured the synth and arpeggiator in a more prominent role. A few weeks before we went on European tour with NEW ORDER as SHARK VEGAS, we recorded a proper studio demo, which was eventually released on Factory Records as FAC111.

So how DIE UNBEKANNTEN finally morph into SHARK VEGAS?

I decided to change our band name just before going on a European tour with NEW ORDER in 1984, because I thought no-one would be able to say DIE UNBEKANNTEN. We already noticed that many English speakers would pronounce the “Die” part like “die” as in death, as oppose to “Dee”. So, I thought as we now had two new members joining us on this tour (Leo Walter and Helmut Wittler from SOIF DE LA VIE) we should also change our name and it would also give us the opportunity to present our new Hi-NRG disco style too.

Do you ever regret not getting ‘Love Habit’ and a full SHARK VEGAS album released back in the day or were you just too busy with other things by then?

We definitely had aspirations to make a SHARK VEGAS album and we even made some demos, but I was always unhappy with the way the SHARK VEGAS demos turned out, as I felt our sound had started to become too conventional. It was really a conflict of musical interests. Leo and I wanted to be clubbier, Al wanted to be more soulful, and Helmut wanted us to sound more like SPANDAU BALLET!

We tried a few things out, but to me, they always sounded like something was missing and that was the synth element. I wanted to feature more synths, sequencers and more arpeggiator. After we won the Berlin Senat’s Rock Competition, Helmut and Leo left SHARK VEGAS to concentrate on SOIF DE LA VIE, and Al and I with our winnings, we recorded ‘Love Habit’ and ‘Pretenders of Love’, but only ‘Pretenders’ got released on a Factory US compilation. We recorded a few more song ideas in our practice room for a potential album, but we didn’t have a label, nor the funds to properly record them, and by then Alistair had decided to leave Berlin.

How close was a SHARK VEGAS album to being completed, is there enough for a retrospective?

We had a few demos, but most of the recordings sound like the “dodgy demo” of ‘You Hurt Me’ rather than professional studio demo recordings. Of course, we have about six versions of ‘You Hurt Me’ and the original demo and studio recording of ‘Love Habit’, which was featured on the ‘B-Movie’ soundtrack, and also ‘Pretenders of Love’, which was released on the K7 Fac Dance (Factory) compilation and promoted last Christmas on Noel Gallagher’s Xmas playlist.

I also have a few cassettes of live recordings, mostly made during our tour with NEW ORDER. These all might be restorable for a retrospective at some stage in the future.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Mark Reeder

‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ released by MFS as an expanded 19 track digital album available via
https://markreedermfs1.bandcamp.com/

https://mfsberlin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mfsberlin

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic/

https://twitter.com/markreedermfs

https://www.instagram.com/markreeder.mfs/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/2vhk3P8Pswy2GOgHR2iHbj


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
27 June 2023

Vintage Synth Trumps with MARK REEDER

Photo by Crystal Reeder

His portfolio has included NEW ORDER, DEPECHE MODE, PET SHOP BOYS, JOHN FOXX, BLANK & JONES, WESTBAM, MARSHEAUX, THE KVB, NOBLESSE OBLIGE, KOISHII & HUSH, QUEEN OF HEARTS and many more.

Mark Reeder is the jovial Mancunian who ventured over to Germany in 1978 in search of electronic music records and never returned home, eventually settling in West Berlin.

Immersing himself in the local art and punk scene, he arranged JOY DIVISION’s now legendary gig at Kant-Kino, managed MALARIA! and was Factory Records representative in Der Bundesrepublik.

On Mayday 1982, he paid a visit to the DDR and while taking photos of the grand parade in East Berlin, he was arrested by the STASI and taken in for interrogation, under suspicion of working for M16. Unable to draw any conclusions, other than he was trying to corrupt the youth of East Germany with pop music, the East German Secret Police marked his file ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’.

The experience inspired Reeder’s most recent double album named after his STASI classification. Comprising of productions and remixes made by himself and his engineer Micha Adam, it celebrated his cross-border artistic ethos and also included collaborations with the likes of Fifi Rong and Alanas Chosnau, as well as solo work on which he lent his own spoken voice.

The two high profile centrepieces of ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ focus on Reeder’s reworkings of NEW ORDER’s first new single since 2015 ‘Be A Rebel’ and YELLO’s evergreen ‘Vicious Games’. But room is also given to newer acts such as the Dutch-based American BIRMINGHAM ELECTRIC, Manchester’s MFU, DEER Mx from Mexico and hailing from the Chinese city of Chengdu, STOLEN who opened for NEW ORDER on their 2019 European tour.

Another NEW ORDER support act Zachery Allan Starkey makes appearance via a remix of ‘Coked Up Biker Anthem’ which saw Reeder realise some of his mad axeman fantasies having grown up as a fan of Jimi Hendrix. But accepting ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s invitation to play a round of Vintage Synth Trumps, Mark Reeder kindly chatted about his love of classic synthesizers and how they have been used throughout his career.

Ok, our first card is the Roland SH7…

I’ve seen one but never had one, I had an SH9 which I used at the end of DIE UNBEKANNTEN and the start of SHARK VEGAS. In fact, the bassline of ‘You Hurt Me’ which we released on Factory in 1984 was made with an SH9. They were very similar kinds of synthesizers but the SH7 had a few extra features. I actually played the bassline of ‘You Hurt Me’ by hand all the way through for six minutes non-stop, it wasn’t a sequencer! If you made a mistake, there was no way of going back and you had to start again! *laughs*

What was the drum machine you were using at the time?

We had an 808 and a 606…

And the next card is an Oberheim 2 Voice…

I never knew anyone who could afford Oberheim stuff until it became more affordable in the late 80s, no-one I knew had the 2 Voice. But the OBXs was really good, you could do some great things with them but the earlier ones weren’t readily available, so you didn’t really see anything you could buy… no-one had any money in Berlin in the 80s! A Prophet 10 would be like 10 years wages! *laughs*

So, when you were conceiving ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ which was a reference to that time in 80s Berlin, and your cover photo of the May Day parade and your STASI file, did you select a palette of specific vintage synth sounds to work with?

I’ve always worked like this, when I started to get back into actually making music again, as more of a remixer and producer than before, I had this idea that I only wanted to have a small selection of things that I could draw from to maintain a particular sound. I made my own drum kits, three different kinds and I would interchange within each one.

So, I might have three different claps but I’d put two together and manipulate them to create another type of clap sound. So, the sounds are all drawn from the same three basic kits and say with a snare, I might add another instrument into that snare mix, but it’s all the same block if you like.

It’s the same in a way with synthesizers as well, I don’t have loads, and I keep it reasonably contained. If you have too many, you end up spending too time trawling through thousands and thousands of sounds, but if you have a limited amount of possibilities, then you have to be creative within those few things. I’ll take pads off one synthesizer and put the dirt in from an MS20 underneath, and it will change the sound of the pad. And if you put that through a chorus, it will automatically give that a different sound.

I’ve not got loads of synthesizers in the studio, but we’ve got quite a few. We’ve got quite a few plug-ins too, initially I was a bit dubious about them, but meanwhile a few of them are really quite good and very useful…

Do you have a favourite of the plug-ins?

Well, we’ve got Omnisphere which we use regularly, as I find it’s got a few sounds which I’ll always use and they’re easy to manipulate, but they’re always the same basics. I think I always choose the same couple of sounds *laughs*

We’ve got an ARP plug-in and that is quite good and an EMS one because I could never afford a real one. I’ve got a plug-in version of the Roland SH101 but having the original thing is different, it has a totally different feeling to it. It depends what you want to do with it. The plug-in doesn’t come near, but it has its own sounds that are useful. I have a Juno 106 and my studio partner Micha Adam has a plug-in 106 and a boutique version, although it’s similar in certain sounds, neither sound like a real 106. But each has features that the real 106 doesn’t have, like the arpeggiator or the delay, so you kind of mix them all together, that’s how I work.

Photo by Crystal Reeder

What was your approach to reworking ‘Vicious Games’ by YELLO from 1985 for ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’?

The original track was like “I’ve got a sound sampler and I’m gonna show you how to use it” so it’s like all these ideas together and a vocal connecting everything.

When YELLO sent me the parts, I realised there were more vocals recorded than used on the track and I thought it was a shame that this track of idea wasn’t actually a song. So, I reworked Rush Winter’s wonderful vocals into a song, to give it a definitive verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, like a 21st Century version of an 80s song.

I used the Oberheim OBX and Juno to make the pad at the beginning and made it more song structured. I looped the guitar part so that it became a groove. People have come up to me and said they love the Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ bit that I added, but it’s in the original track, it’s just that you can’t hear it because it’s mixed down so much within the track. You don’t really get to experience that part, so I thought it would be nice to feature that as the break, so I cannibalised the original.

What did Boris and Dieter think of it?

They love it, Boris said I was very daring for changing their song so much and not make it sound like their original, but it does! You can hear I’ve used as many of the original parts as possible but I’ve rearranged it completely.

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

So, we go from you remixing ‘Vicious Games’, an old YELLO track to remixing a brand new NEW ORDER song ‘Be A Rebel’…

As with all my remixes, I like people to be able to recognise the song, I don’t want to take some unused backing track and just drop in some vocals, to me that’s not a remix. I take all the parts I require from the original song and rework them so that they will fit my groove. The idea was make the Elektron bassline more pulsating, give a driving feeling to it.

The first mix I made was the Cheeky Devil one, which appears on ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ that I made more for the elderly semester of NEW ORDER fans that don’t like the techno side. I know people who will get a remixes CD or vinyl and they’ve got techno versions of the track that they love, but they can’t get their heads around it. I thought I’d do one which had a “ploddy” kind of feel that’s not so fast even though it’s exactly the same tempo, one that chugged along and put more emphasis on the vocals.

For the Dirty Devil remix for the NEW ORDER release on Mute, I wanted to make it so that Bernard could listen to it in his car while he was on the motorway, more driving and I must confess I prefer this remix to the one I did for ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ but that chuggy version had to work within the framework of my album. I just changed the volume of a few things within the mix like the loudness of the hi-hats in the Elektron driving version.

You actually added some guitars into your remixes of ‘Be A Rebel’ which aren’t on the NEW ORDER original?

There was initially no bass guitar on the original version. There was a guitar, but it was all quite jangly… that style kind of slowed my track down, so I played what I needed… in fact my guitar mirrors Bernard’s vocal quite a lot. I thought I’d play a melody on the guitar like a sequence… some people thought it sounded like the ghost of Hooky’s bass, but it’s my Les Paul playing that and some power chords to embellish the end.

So what’s your guitar playing like compared with your keyboard prowess?

That’s equally as cr*p! *laughs*

Time for another card and it’s a Prophet 10…

I don’t know anybody who owned a Prophet 10. Susanne Kuhnke from MALARIA! owned a Prophet 5 but I only ever saw a Prophet 10 in a music shop and you weren’t allowed to touch it!

By the time when you supported NEW ORDER as SHARK VEGAS in 1984, they would have swapped their Prophet 5s for Octave Plateau Voyetras?

Yes, they’d just got it. A few years before, Bernard had got an ARP so he gave me his Transcendent 2000…

Did you ever do anything useful with the Transcendent 2000?

It just makes a noise! It doesn’t make any kind of like sounds that your granny is going to like! It goes “KKKKHHRRRKK” or “TSCHHHHHH”, it’s a noise synthesizer, white noise, pink noise! A Wasp you can kind of play but the Transcendent didn’t make any keyboard notes. All the crazy “TSCH-TSCH-TSCH-TSCH” noises you hear on the JOY DIVISION records were made by the Transcendent *laughs*

Photo by Kai von Kröcher

On your albums, you like to do new collaborations and on ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’, you worked with Fifi Rong who has a connection with YELLO…

I met Fifi Rong at a YELLO gig in Berlin. She told me she was playing a gig in a small bar the next evening and invited me. She was absolutely mind-blowingly good and she explained what each song was about, it was very endearing. I thought she was so talented, she’s very hands on and so determined.

I thought it would be nice to work with her to give her another platform other than YELLO. You could hear that she has an interesting voice with that high Asian tone. So, I remixed ‘Future Never Comes’, that was such a nice track and as I was doing that, I had another track that I asked her to do a vocal on. I didn’t hear anything from her for about 3 weeks and then she sent me this track that became ‘Figure Of 8’. I decided to start and close ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ with Fifi because I felt she deserved to have those important positions within the framework of the record. She’s been working on her own new album for 2 years and it’s finally getting there, it is an interesting record, a really nice album, I think she’s done really well and got the right ambience.

And the next card is a Yamaha CS30…

I must confess I always found Yamaha gear to be interesting but very cold. I have a TX module which is like a DX7 and has all the sounds, which I’ve had for decades… it’s a limited thing. I don’t use it much, only for specific things like if I want a hard tone filtered in with something else to give it a colder edge. I never bought an actual DX7 because it was too complicated to programme. It had bits like marimba sounds that sounded good, but everyone had one, as it was the first big affordable synthesizer back in the 80s. Everyone dumped their analogue synths for a DX7 and I’m thinking WHY!?!

The DX7 sounded super modern and dead professional at the time, but I didn’t get my module until very late when nu-beat and acid house started, it made a slappy kind of hard bass sound that fitted.

Photo by Martyn Goodacre

Did you get into Akai samplers at all?

I had an Akai S900, I was talking to Micha Adam about them just the other day and how they were the best thing on the market at the time with the longest sampling time. I had a Roland sampler which had an expanded sampling time of 2 seconds! And then there was the Ensoniq Mirage which had its own 30 second samples but when you tried to sample something yourself, you only had a small amount of time. And then came the Akai S800 and that had 20 seconds!! *laughs*

The Akai S900 cost a fortune and was so complicated, there was a lot of fiddling around, twiddling knobs and pressing things! It had a manual the size of the Holy Bible and they knew no-one was going to read this thing, so it came with a VHS video cassette so that you could watch how to programme the thing! It was a really good tool to use once you got used to it and sounded good compared to the others. But then the Akai S1000 came and that had 90 seconds of sampling time which was amazing! I did a couple of remixes in the 90s with the Akai, one for Nina Hagen of ‘Du Hast Den Farbfilm Vergessen’… she hated it! It never came out! *laughs*

How did you put together your 13 minute epic ‘You Can Touch Me’?

That was an idea that’s really three tracks in one and it kind of went on and I thought I’d better stop it at some point! *laughs*

It was originally born from an idea for an album, that had a great underlying groove and I took a snippet from an Eiven Major track to use as a loop in the techno part of the track. I like taking a track that will morph from one thing and end up as another. ‘With You Can Touch Me’, it became that. It starts off very sexual, dark and mysterious… it’s like when you meet someone for the first time, you go through the actions of foreplay and it gets to the climax, the song is a bit like that, very Wet & Hard! It goes into the lyric where “you can’t touch me” and at the end, it goes into this mad techno thing. I’m not a singer, but for that track, it fitted and it sounds alright. I couldn’t find anyone else who wanted to do it to be honest.

I made it just so I could play it in clubs, mostly the DJ who plays after me is usually a techno DJ so I wanted to give them something at the end of my set that they can mix into. It’s my closing track and it’s so long, I can pack all my stuff away while it’s playing and the DJ after me can either let it play out or mix into it. *laughs*

The final card, it’s an EDP Wasp!

I never actually owned one, I borrowed a Wasp, Mijk van Dijk had a Wasp. It’s a bit like the Transcendent, but it has more tone and easier to use. I never recorded anything with it, I just messed around with it, it was quite good. You could mix it with other sounds to add some grit.

You’re working on the debut album of BIRMINGHAM ELECTRIC who are on ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ with your remix of ‘How Do We End Up Here?’?

We’ve been working on quite a lot of songs together and they’ve become an album. It’s a synthpop album in its own way, Andy Evans has got a very distinctive voice that colours the music and gives it his own edge. It’s not dissimilar to how I work with Alanas Chosnau, but I try to keep Alanas’ song ideas directed towards his kind of sound, if you know what I mean. I’m also working on a second album with him. I keep them separate, but as I use the same kind of sounds, there is always this “me” thread running through the music.

When you’re writing songs with people, you have gaps while they’re figuring out their part, especially when having to do it online, so you can use the time to work with somebody else. So for example, I’m doing something with Andy and when there’s a break, I’ll do something with Alanas in between. I’m quite happy the way the BIRMINGHAM ELECTRIC album has turned out, it’s been quite a nice project.

Photo by Crystal Reeder

What’s happening with STOLEN at the moment?

STOLEN have gone from being “a band to watch” to playing headline gigs in China now. Since the pandemic, their career has had a meteoric rise, as no Western artists are allowed to play in China at the moment, so promoters have been forced to look at their home-grown talent and have realised they actually have some really good and interesting bands there.

With STOLEN having opened for NEW ORDER on their 2019 European tour, it boosted their credibility enormously back home and has added to their attraction, so now they’re performing at festivals to 25,000 people. They’re playing a gig virtually every week and in between, they’re trying to write and record another album. So, they’re sending their parts to me too, that means I’m doing three albums parallel!

I guess whoever’s gets finished first will get released first! But it’s a lot more difficult not having them in the studio, because if they were there in person, you can bounce ideas off immediately. And the time difference with someone in China and being in Europe isn’t easy, usually when they’re in the studio, you’re going to bed! It’s a bit complicated! *laughs*

I want to make everyone happy, but I also like a challenge. When it all fits, it can be very rewarding.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Mark Reeder

‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ is released as a download double album, available from https://markreedermfs1.bandcamp.com/album/subversiv-dekadent

Mark Reeder’s Dirty Devil Remix of ‘Be A Rebel’ features on the NEW ORDER double 12” clear vinyl EP and expanded CD collection released by Mute Artists also featuring mixes by Arthur Baker, Stephen Morris, Bernard Sumner, Maceo Plex and Paul Woolford

A one hour long Operating//Generating special on Mark Reeder is broadcast for 4 weekends from Saturday 4th September 2021 at 1800 CET on laut.fm at https://laut.fm/operating-generating

https://mfsberlin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mfsberlin

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic/

https://twitter.com/markreedermfs

https://www.instagram.com/markreeder.mfs/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1n7yJzVVfUO2MiQskjmzqW

Vintage Synth Trumps is a card game by GForce that features 52 classic synthesizers available from
https://www.juno.co.uk/products/gforce-software-vintage-synth-trumps-2-playing/637937-01/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
1st September 2021

A Beginner’s Guide To MARK REEDER

Mark Reeder has carved out an impressive reputation for his catalogue of fine remixes.

When Mark Reeder spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in 2011 about his remixing style, he said: “I’m old school. I like to still be able to hear the song, but give it my own signature and atmosphere, while at the same time use as many of the original elements as possible”.

He had moved to West-Berlin from Manchester in 1978, having become fascinated by the artistic diversity of the city and was Factory Records representative in Germany between 1978 to 1982. He is credited with introducing Bernard Sumner to the world of electronically propelled dance music, thus being instrumental in the development of NEW ORDER’s influential hybrid sound.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Reeder had great success with his electronic dance music record label Masterminded For Success (MFS). For the last few years, Reeder has been heavily involved in a documentary film about his adopted home city:

“’B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’ is about the forgotten city of West-Berlin during the 80s. When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, not only did communist East Germany cease to exist, but the walled-in island of West-Berlin did too. Most people have forgotten, or have no idea how the city was back then. In ‘B-Movie’, I guide the viewer through this decade, but as the film is also about my life in this city too, I show you some of the things I saw and experienced during the 1980s, while participating in what has now become, the legendary subkultur of West Berlin.”

In a break from his hectic worldwide schedule promoting ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’, Mark Reeder kindly gave an insightful commentary into the tracks that shaped his own musical career.


DIE UNBEKANNTEN Radio War (1981)

Reeder formed DIE UNBEKANNTEN with Alistair Gray when he settled in West-Berlin.

We were actually given the name DIE UNBEKANNTEN by a journalist, who saw our feeble first gig at the SO36. That gig was supposed to have been just a one-off, but he was surprisingly impressed and thought we were very avant-garde and apparently enjoyed our miserable performance.

In his magazine review of the event, he just called us two unknown Englishmen and from then on, people just called us DIE UNBEKANNTEN (“The Unknown”). A few weeks later, we played at the Genial Dilletanten Festival and were inadvertently presented as ‘Necropolis’, which was actually the title of our intro track. A while later, after Elisabeth Recker of Monogam Records witnessed what was probably our most chaotic performance – we were on acid – she believed we would fit perfectly with the abstract style of the rest of the artists on her record label.

Our Swiss friend Thomas Wydler became our drummer and we recorded a three track EP featuring ‘Radio War’, ‘Poseidon’ and ‘Casualties’.

The record not only sounded nothing like any of Monogam’s previous releases, but it also caused a lot of controversy because of my design for its front cover image (a photo depicting three East German border guards) and the striking Germanic style of type face which I had chosen.

Our second, and final DIE UNBEKANNTEN record, was much more electronic. By this time, Thomas had left us and joined DIE HAUT and we had gone back to using a drum machine and had also acquired some more electronic instruments. Our friend, Adrian Wright from THE HUMAN LEAGUE gave us a brand new drum computer to test for him.

He had actually been asked to try out a very early prototype Roland TR606, but couldn’t be bothered and so he gave it to us to trial for him, so along with the Transcendent 2000 (the very same one which Bernard Sumner had played in JOY DIVISION with) and a Moog that Klaus Schulze had also given us, we immediately went into the studio and recorded ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ for our ‘Dangerous Moonlight’ EP. This became the first record to feature a Roland TR606.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

https://www.facebook.com/lustandsoundinwestberlin/


MALARIA! Geld (1982)

One of the bands who grabbed Reeder’s attention in West-Berlin were the uncompromising all-female combo MALARIA!

I already knew Bettina Koester and Gudrun Gut from their first band MANIA-D. Musically, their approach was so different from anything I had ever heard before, as the conventional rules of male dominated rock and roll didn’t apply to the way these girls made music at all and that was what made them so exciting.

They were no virtuosos, but that didn’t matter one bit, because it was exactly that ingredient which made their music so interesting. After Beate Bartel left MANIA-D to form LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, Gudrun and Bettina formed MALARIA! a five piece all-girl band and quite an international one too, being a mixture of German, American and Dutch.

B-MOVIE MalariaTheir striking, on-stage image, all dressed in black with bright red lips, is considered a Goth image nowadays; but back in the 80s, MALARIA! did it first, and after their debut appearance in London with THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, this image was obviously hi-jacked from them for the Robert Palmer video ‘Addicted To Love’, even to the point of making the emphasis that the girls in his video also couldn’t play their instruments.

At some point very early on, I became their manager. At that time, I was the only man allowed into their sphere, and because I knew what the band wanted to sound like live, I also became their sound engineer too and naturally, as I also had my own band, DIE UNBEKANNTEN, we became their support band.

The girls trusted me, they knew I understood their ideology and I liked their music and most importantly, I didn’t interfere.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

http://www.m-enterprise.de/malaria.html


SHARK VEGAS Love Habit (1986)

Reeder’s own musical journey has to an extent, mirrored that of Bernard Sumner’s. DIE UNBEKANNTEN morphed into SHARK VEGAS to become a more electronic and disco friendly proposition.

After performing for nearly four years as DIE UNBEKANNTEN, we were asked by NEW ORDER if we would like to accompany them on their European tour after the success of ‘Blue Monday’.

We decided this would be a good moment to change our name and musical style, especially after adding two new members to our band. Besides, after our first disastrous London performance in the Barracuda Club, I thought DIE UNBEKANNTEN was much too difficult to pronounce outside of Germany, as people thought we were called DIE UNBEKANNTEN as in “Death Unbekannten” and so we urgently needed a new name and image.

Me and my partner-in-crime, Alistair Gray just threw a few ideas together one night and SHARK VEGAS became our name. I wanted something obscure sounding that didn’t actually mean anything apart from it being our band name.

Al and I were huge fans of pulsating electronic dance music – most probably since ‘I Feel Love’ – and the small Berlin underground gay-disco scene, which ran parallel to the abstract avant-garde scene, was the place to go and always a great way to spend a late Friday and Saturday night, before finally crashing and burning in the Risiko club.

Besides, musically, DIE UNBEKANNTEN had already been moving away from being depressive and miserable and had become much more electronic high energy disco too, so this tour proposal presented itself as a welcome opportunity to literally, regroup.

During a short break in the NEW ORDER tour, we went into Conny Plank’s studio with Bernard Sumner and recorded our first single ‘You Hurt Me’, but the session was a bit of a disaster, as the studio engineer had a slipped disc and was in terrible pain. He had to lie on a camp bed in front of the mixing desk and shout instructions up to us, while Conny Plank spent all his time playing table tennis in the yard outside. That single became FAC111.

‘Love Habit’ was one of the tracks we initially recorded during the session for the FacUS ‘Young, Popular & Sexy’ compilation. We were asked to perform ‘Love Habit’ for a video, for a special Berlin edition of ‘Music Box’, Britain’s first cable TV music show and using my US Army AFN contacts, I managed to get permission to make our video on the divided Glienickebrücke (the so-called ‘Bridge of Spies’). In the video, we appear as beaten up and tortured spies in raincoats, as if we had just been let out of an East German prison.

Unfortunately, the US army forgot to inform the Soviet Army that we were making a video on the bridge and so, on the East side there was a right flap on. They sent out East German patrol boats to find out what we were doing on the bridge. I guess they thought we were trying to provoke World War III. ‘Love Habit’ was intended to be an album track, but it became one of the last songs we recorded as SHARK VEGAS and it was never released, at least not until we included it on the recent ‘B-Movie’ soundtrack.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic/


DIE VISION Love By Wire (1990)

Released on East German state label AMIGA, DIE VISION’s ‘Torture’ was the last album to be recorded in communist East Berlin in 1989 and featured Reeder as producer.

I was invited by the band to be the producer for their debut album. At first it seemed incredible that they had actually managed to get the AMIGA to agree, as no-one from the West had ever been allowed in their state-run recording studio, let alone produce an album there.

It transpired that because the band were allowed officially to sing in English(ese), they agreed to let them have an English-speaking producer too. In reality, I later discovered, the STASI wanted to know what kind of subversive activity I was involved in, especially after helping to arrange two illegal and meanwhile legendary secret gigs with West German punk band DIE TOTEN HOSEN in East Berlin. So I guess this was their brilliant plan to keep a close watch on me.

DIE VISION’s singer Uwe, was studying English at the Humbolt University – to be able to do that, you had to speak fluent Russian too – and he was so very insistent that I come over and produce their album. So I did. What an opportunity. Now, forming a band in communist East Germany was very, very difficult. It was nothing like forming a band in the West.

You couldn’t just go into a shop and buy a guitar, bass and drums and bash away. Everything was controlled by the Communist state, especially music. Before you could play to the public, your ability was first considered, then your song lyrics scrutinised to see if there were any subversive hidden anti-state messages and even getting electric instruments was difficult, you needed permits to first buy and then one to play, an electric guitar in public.

Then as a band, you performed before a group of people, who would assess your proficiency. This determined if, when, or where you might be able to play, eg youth clubs and how much you would get paid. DIE VISION had quite a sudden rise in popularity in the East and rather than ban them, the Authorities decided to sign them, that way everything would be under control. That is, until I came along…

As we were making this album, the GDR was literally falling apart. It was very difficult making this album with a feeling of imminent doom hanging over the studio and with constant power fluctuations, people fleeing to the West and general grumbling unrest. I called the album ‘Torture’ because it was exactly that to make!

Available on the DIE VISION album ‘Torture’ via AMIGA / Zong & Vulture Records

https://www.discogs.com/artist/114367-Die-Vision


PAUL VAN DYK Words – Original Version radio edit by Paul van Dyk, Wolfgang Ragwitz + Mark Reeder (1996)

In 1990, Reeder established MFS and discovered Trance DJ Paul van Dyk…

One of my first artists on MFS, COSMIC BABY made some great records, but DJs kept complaining that they couldn’t play them because he always had DJ-unfriendly intros. I suggested he find a DJ who could help him to construct DJ friendly intros to his tracks.

One night, Cosmic was performing live in the Turbine club. One of the warm up DJs was a young lad called Paul van Dyk. The two hit it off almost immediately and I suggested that Paul come to the office the following Monday to discuss working with Cosmic. Paul told me he was from Hamburg, but it later turned out he was originally from Eisenhuettenstadt in deepest East Germany, but had moved to East Berlin before applying to leave East Germany for Hamburg shortly before the wall came down.

I was actually very happy to hear he was from East Germany, because that was my initial intention with MFS to create a platform for young Eastie kids; he was my first.

One night, he came to me while I was working in my bar and begged me to help him to become a professional DJ.

He was working as an apprentice carpenter at that time and absolutely hated it. I told him, if he would promise me that he would work hard to be the best DJ in the world, then I would help him to achieve his goal. I told him there were no prizes for second best.

I put him in the studio with Cosmic and they recorded two amazing singles together as THE VISIONS OF SHIVA. Then I let him remix HUMATES’s track ‘Love Stimulation’ and that remix attracted a lot of attention. I knew from the start that he could do it simply because he was ambitious enough. He didn’t know it at that time of course, because his talent had to be coaxed out of him. By giving him a platform and motivation and the help of Johnny Klimek’s studio, he was able to discover his own music making talent.

Of course, I believed absolutely in Paul and invested everything, love, creativity, all my time and effort and all I had in propelling him onto an international stage.

I guided and advised him, compiled and mastered his records, designed his covers and basically created the legend of Paul Van Dyk. I used my contacts and credibility to get him high profile remixes, such as ‘Spooky’ by NEW ORDER and even answered his interviews, anything which would enhance his credibility, profile and status.

Sadly, once he had reached the brink of DJ superstardom, he decided he no longer needed me and ditched me without a word of thanks.

Available on the PAUL VAN DYK single ‘Words – Part 2’ via MFS

http://www.paulvandyk.com/


SAM TAYLOR-WOOD & PET SHOP BOYS I’m In Love With A German Filmstar – Stuck In The 80s remix (2008)

The ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ film director recorded a number of covers with her favourite pop duo like ‘J T’aime… Moi Non Plus’, ‘Love To Love You Baby’ and this new wave classic…

Neil and Chris asked me to do this remix after hearing the mix I had made of ‘Miracle Cure’ featuring Bernard Sumner for BLANK & JONES. It was quite thrilling being asked to do this song, as I’ve always loved the original.

The PET SHOP BOYS / SAM TAYLOR-WOOD version was more minimalistic and techno sounding though, so I thought I would make mine more retro-modern-disco sounding.

fbn111cdstwI thought, as its going to be released on Kompakt, they are probably going to have banging techno remixes done anyway. I know they were completely surprized at the label to hear it, because they really expected me to make some sort of cheesy trance mix. It is such an iconic and mystical song though, and I was worried I would be able to do it justice as a dance track. I made three different versions, a long mix and two shorter mixes and all in 5.1 surround sound, which I put on ‘Five Point One’.

I was very pleased when Sam said she thought it was “wicked” and totally relieved that the Boys also liked it too. But when THE PASSIONS contacted me themselves, to tell me that they really loved it, well, that was like a stone being lifted from my heart.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://petshopboys.co.uk/


BLANK & JONES, MARK REEDER Manifesto – Save Yourself Mix (2009)

Reeder collaborated with popular German dance duo BLANK & JONES on a restyling project entitled ‘ReOrdered’ which featured Bernard Sumner, Robert Smith and Claudia Brücken. But one of the album’s highlights was ‘Manifesto’ featuring Vanessa Daou.

‘Manifesto’ was actually the third track of Vanessa’s that I reworked for ‘ReOrdered’. The first was ‘Consequences’.

I really liked her voice and her lyrics though and I asked BLANK & JONES if I could rework another track, that was ‘Heart Of Wax’. After that, the idea for ‘ReOrdered’ was born and I would go on to rework all BLANK & JONES’ vocal-dance tracks into songs, it was a bit like back engineering a remix. The first two tracks were quite soft, so I wanted ‘Manifesto’ to be a little tougher and sound more like a nu-beat track with trippy elements.

Available on the BLANK & JONES, MARK REEDER album ‘ReOrdered’ via Soundcolours

http://www.blankandjones.com/


BAD LIEUTENANT Sink Or Swim – Rettungstring Radio remix (2010)

Prior to the recent return of NEW ORDER sans Hooky, Bernard Sumner had an interim, guitar led project BAD LIEUTENANT. However, many followers of NEW ORDER missed the sound Sumner had become synonymous for.

After Hooky decided to leave NEW ORDER, I think Bernard needed some distance and formed BAD LIEUTENANT, together with Jake Evans and the remaining members of NEW ORDER.

Jake is such a talented person and a brilliant guitarist – he’s definitely one to watch in the future. I really liked the parent album ‘Never Cry Another Tear’, it’s a wonderful summer album and I think it is very underrated.

I was given the opportunity to do some remixes for them and decided to rework their guitar tracks into electronic dance versions. ‘Sink Or Swim’ was the first and I think I made about six different versions of this track, Bernard took the piss out of me for the amount of mixes we made. The song had been performed live and so the tempo varied within the song from the start to finish, which made it a bloody nightmare to mix into a 4/4 dance track.

To make it sound organic, we had to take all the instruments and slice them up and then carefully put them back together again by hand. It was a mammoth task and at the time, I thought “I never want to have to do that again”.

After ‘Sink Or Swim’, we mixed ‘Twist Of Fate’, which I also made about four or so mixes. The same time consuming slice and move ritual applied as with ‘Sink Or Swim’. As the remixes were only released digitally, I decided to include some of them on my ‘Five Point One’ album, and later, ‘Collaborator’.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

https://www.facebook.com/badlieutenantmusic/


JOHN FOXX Underpass – Sinister Subway remix (2010)

Reeder’s reworking of John Foxx’s calling card was mighty and he relished the challenge.

John Foxx was putting together the ‘Metatronic’ compilation album and I was in contact with his manager about something different entirely. During our conversation, he told me about the compilation and I said jokingly that I could do a remix perhaps, as a bonus track.

Well, after they had listened to a few of my remixes, he called and asked me if I would like to remix ‘Underpass’. My studio partner Micha Adam and I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true. No-one had ever been allowed to remix this legendary song before and so it was such an honour. Then the reality set in. If I balls this up, the fans will lynch me.

Being a huge fan of the song myself, I decided I could only do it as I would want it to sound myself. Yet I didn’t want to drive too far away from the original though either and wanted to keep as many elements in there as possible.

I was sent the parts, eight tracks in all… but that iconic massive synth riff was missing. All I had been given was the riff, played by a small tinny sounding synth. Well, that was it. I realised, the huge reverb sound was added live, during the mix-down and so we had to reconstruct it.

I recalled what kind of instrumentation and effects they might have used back then and dug out my old Space Echo. Once we had reconstructed the original version, we made a 5.1 mix of it (it is a hidden Easter Egg on ‘Five Point One’). Then, I remixed it. I made three versions, a short radio mix in stereo and 5.1 plus a longer Sinister Subway mix for the ‘Metatronic’ compilation album.

Available on the JOHN FOXX album ‘Metatronic’ via Metamatic Records

http://www.metamatic.com/


ANNE CLARK If – Seemingly forever remix (2011)

Cult goth icon ANNE CLARK is an English poet, who sets her poems to music and is probably more well-known outside of the UK.

Anne is truly a great artist. I first met her when she played in Berlin after recording ‘Sleeper In Metropolis’ with David Harrow, who lived in Berlin at that time. This timeless track is one of my all-time favourite 80s songs and it became almost like an anthem to the divided city, especially so to the kids in the East.

She was (and still is) absolutely adored in the East, mainly because her dark and descriptive poetry set to music, clearly struck a chord with them and it was something they all could identify with. Side two of her first album was recorded with Vini Reilly of THE DURUTTI COLUMN. She kept with the electronic side and made her second album with JOHN FOXX. Over the years, she has cultivated her poetry with a wide variety of musical sounds from Synthetic to Rock to Classical.

After a chance meeting a few years ago, when she performed in the Russian embassy in Berlin, I reworked the track ‘The Hardest Heart’ she had made for BLANK & JONES for our ‘ReOrdered’ album and then I remixed two of her tracks ‘Full Moon’ and ‘If’ in 5.1 surround sound for my ‘Five Point One’ album,

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://anneclarkofficial.com/


DEPECHE MODE Sweetest Perfection – Sweetest Conception remix (2011)

Reeder was given the opportunity to rework a track from the iconic ‘Violator’ album by Daniel Miller.

Like ‘Underpass’, this was almost reverential territory. Depeche were putting together the ‘Remixes 2 81-11’ compilation and Daniel asked me if I would like to do a remix for it. By the time I had received the list of possible tracks to remix, all the most popular songs had been taken and so I was left with songs no-one dared to touch.

‘Sweetest Perfection’ was always one of my favourite tracks though and I thought it would be a real challenge to remix. Not only in terms of actually attempting to remix it, but with the thought that as a fan, how would I want it to sound and if I f*cked up, I would probably have to leave the planet.

We already had a really short deadline to finish the remix on and only three days into the mix, I got a call from my mother telling me that my dad had been rushed to hospital with a broken hip after being pushed over. The situation looked very serious, he was a very old man and the doctors didn’t give him much chance of survival. I had to down tools and fly over and consequently, I missed the deadline for submitting my remix for the DM album.

Fortunately, I was in the process of putting ‘Five Point One’ together and decided to finish the remix anyway and asked Daniel if I could license it for my album. He spoke with the band and they said I could (I was told it was the first time a previously unreleased DM song had ever appeared on another album) and as we were looking for images to accompany the 5.1 mixes, Anton Corbijn kindly gave me one of his old, unseen photos of the band for me to use.

I wanted my remix to retain as many of the original elements as possible, but I added extra strings, more swirling synths and a real bass guitar, as well as my own little riff with a broken piano which I hoped would make it sound a bit more Eastern European.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://www.depechemode.com/


ELECTROBELLE Falling – In Your Heart remix (2011)

Reeder took a liking to stop / start Midlands duo ELECTROBELLE and delivered an edgier reimagining of ‘Falling’ before they belatedly got round to releasing it themselves officially in 2012!

I heard ‘Mirrorball’ by ELECTROBELLE on the 2009 ‘Electronically Yours’ compilation released by Undo Records. I really liked Charlotte’s vocal style and so I asked them if they would like to contribute a track to my ‘Five Point One’ album.

They sent me the parts of a demo track they had made and this became ‘Falling’. The idea for the ‘Five Point One’ album was to include remixes I had made for famous artists, coupled with lesser known ones and mix them all in 5.1 Dolby surround sound.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

https://www.facebook.com/electrobelle/


MARSHEAUX So Close – So Close remix (2011)

While busy remixing legends in synthesized pop, Reeder also kept an eye on newer acts that were emerging from Europe…

I had been a fan of Undo records, FOTONOVELA and MARSHEAUX for a while and after ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK posted a link to one of their tracks, I asked Chi if he could hook us up, as I thought that ‘So Close’ would fit in well on my ‘Five Point One’ album and asked them if I could remix it.

‘So Close’ had a melancholic element, but I wanted to give the song a more filmic feeling and make it even more melancholic, with sweeping strings and added bass guitar. Filmmaker Paul Morgens heard the track and immediately loved it. He made a great video for it made up of old footage he had found in his aunties archive.

Available on the MARSHEAUX deluxe album ‘Inhale’ via Undo Records

http://www.marsheaux.com/


DIE TOTEN HOSEN Disco – Lange Hosen remix (2011)

Düsseldorf punk veterans DIE TOTEN HOSEN have maintained a long standing kinship with Mark Reeder.

I have a long, close connection with Die Hosen. I first met Campino in Bochum. MALARIA! were playing a gig there and he was allocated as my driver. He told me about his new band DIE TOTEN HOSEN and about their hideous, but hilarious high-waisted flared trousers, which they bought by the kilo.

A couple of months later, I became their live sound engineer, and together with my rebelliously minded Eastie friends, I managed to help organise a very secret gig with them in an East-Berlin Church. It was disguised as a religious church service, a so-called Blues Mass. Although heavily monitored, the East German clergy was seen as a passive resistance movement against the communist government and although not officially acknowledged, they were tolerated and thus had a certain amount of flexibility within the system. That way we could arrange our secret gig there using this loophole.

DIE UNBEKANNTEN went on tour with DIE TOTEN HOSEN and one of the highlights was performing in the Kogasz club, in the Karl-Marx-University in Budapest. It was supposed to have been a top secret gig in the Young Artists club to a few music lovers, organised by photographer Janos Veto, but so many people eventually wanted to see the gig, that it was moved to the University.

During this tour we had many problems with our car. DIE TOTEN HOSEN were so sceptical our car would even survive the trip, they bet us a crate of beer, that we wouldn’t make it to Budapest.

We did, but had such a horror trip trying to get there, as our car kept breaking down. Upon our arrival in the University, Janos told us we couldn’t play!

The authorities had decided the gig was illegal and it had officially been pulled, but we thought we have come all this way so f*ck them and we did the gig anyway. After we had performed, someone stole our drum computer. We were paid in beer vouchers (Hungarian Forints) and had so much of it, we invited everyone in the YAC for drinks, as we couldn’t take the cash out of the country… I don’t remember much about that night after that.

‘Disco’ was a track off the DIE TOTEN HOSEN album ‘In Alle Stille’ and I thought it would be fun to make an Italo disco sounding mix of this track. The original is a fast paced, rock song and when we received the parts, we discovered there were about 40 guitar tracks. We had to apply the same procedure as with BAD LIEUTENANT in slicing and moving all the elements so that they would fit into the new tempo and yet still sound organic.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://www.dietotenhosen.de/


KOISHII & HUSH featuring JOHN TAYLOR C’est Tout Est Noir – Black Night Remix (2013)

‘C’est Tout Est Noir’ was the DURAN DURAN bassist’s best lead vocal since his solo single ‘I Do What I Do’ in 1986.

KOISHII & HUSH had made a remix for BAD LIEUTENANT’s ‘Twist of Fate’ and after telling me how much they liked my version, they asked me if I would like to remix their track ‘C’est Tout Est Noir’ which they had made together with DURAN DURAN bassist John Taylor.

At first, I thought he would be playing bass guitar on the track, but then to my surprise he was the vocalist. He has a great voice and I really liked the track. The original is quite trancey, so I wanted to make it more cinematic and add some guitar and extra bass. John loved it and immediately used my rough demo as his soundtrack to a vlog he’d made flying from Austria to LA.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

http://www.koishiiandhush.com/


QUEEN OF HEARTS United (2013)

QUEEN OF HEARTS Cocoon2CDA stomping electro disco number produced by Reeder, Elizabeth Morphew’s cooing Bush-like howls and breathy euphoria were a total delight to the ears while the mighty cavernous sound provided the heat!

I saw a piece posted on ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about QUEEN OF HEARTS and I was curious. I really liked Elizabeth’s voice from the moment I heard the first couple of tracks.

Chi thought we might make a nice collaboration and so I got in touch with her to compliment her and she asked me to remix ‘Neon’ which eventually ended up on ‘Collaborator’. We then made a cover version together of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. I then wrote two songs ‘Suicide’ and ‘United’ for her debut album ‘Cocoon’.

Available on the QUEEN OF HEARTS deluxe album ‘Cocoon’ via Night Moves

http://iamqueenofhearts.com/


WESTBAM featuring BERNARD SUMNER She Wants – Old School remix (2013)

Techno legend WESTBAM made his return with the impressive ‘Götterstrasse’ which featured Iggy Pop, Hugh Cornwell, Brian Molko and Lil Wayne. Naturally, Reeder reworked an excellent track featuring the vocals of Bernard Sumner.

My relationship with WESTBAM goes back to the early days when he was trying to establish himself as a DJ in Berlin. He played in the Metropol disco and towards the end of the 80s in the UFO club.

His involvement in the evolution of the Berlin Techno scene is reluctantly accepted, but arguably without his engagement, many things probably wouldn’t have happened. He was a vital participant in parties and events and was the first Berlin DJ to play in the Soviet Union.

While we were putting ideas for songs for ‘B-Movie’ together, he gave us a demo of ‘You Need The Drugs’ featuring Richard Butler of THE PSYCHEDLIC FURS. It was a great track and we all immediately loved it. He said he was making a songs album and would love to make a track with Bernard Sumner on vocals. He sent Bernard the demo and he really liked the track and agreed to do it. As thanks, I was given the opportunity to remix it which was perfect timing, as I was in the process of putting together my ‘Collaborator’ compilation for Factory Benelux and we could therefore give it a physical release on CD.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

http://westbam.com/


MODERN FAMILY UNIT Mmh Mmh Aahh – Eyy & Aarrgghh remix (2015)

Reeder went back to Manchester to rework the local electro wave duo MFU and added some Berlin Burlesque groove.

Dave Haslam told me about MFU and that they would like a remix. They sent me ‘Mmh Mmh Aahh’ and I loved it. I don’t know why, but it reminded me somehow of early ROXY MUSIC. I wanted to make it a bit dancier, but retain its overall atmosphere and add a little bit of Berlin mystique with the zither.

Available on the single ‘Mmh Mmh Aahh’ via GaS Records

http://www.modernfamilyunit.co.uk/


MARK REEDER Mauerstadt (2015)

From the soundtrack to Reeder’s film ‘B-Movie’, it enabled him to soundtrack his memories of the divided city with a 21st century outlook. Modern technology helped the process…

During the ‘B-Movie’ editing process, we wanted to use the DAF track ‘Kebab Träume’ for the burning of the Berlin Wall birthday sequence, but after long and rather unproductive negotiations, they wouldn’t let us have it.

So I decided I would write a track myself, using only a couple of analogue sequencers and synths to accompany this great piece of footage by the incredible Knut Hoffmeister.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

http://www.b-movie-der-film.de/


NEW ORDER Singularity – Duality Remix (2016)

When NEW ORDER made their recorded return with ‘Music Complete’, Reeder was given the opportunity to rework some tracks and indirectly became part of their new live show.

I was asked if I would like to remix a track from the latest NEW ORDER album so I chose one of my favourite songs ‘Academic’, as it seemed like it was up for the challenge, being mainly a traditional style guitar track.

But while I was in Bucharest with ‘B-Movie’ and hanging out with CROWD CONTROL, I got an urgent call asking if I would be able to make a quick remix of ‘Singularity’. I raced back home and immediately started work on it.

B-MOVIE Mark+BernardIt’s a great track and I really enjoyed remixing it. Which is fitting, Bernard was also so impressed with my ‘B-Movie’, that he asked me if NEW ORDER could use some footage for their backdrop video in their live shows.

This was so well received, that it then became the promo video clip for the ‘Singularity’ single. The even faster-cut images and theme of the song work really well together with the music.

When NEW ORDER performed recently in Berlin, I was very pleased to have the honour of introducing the band.

Available on the single ‘Singularity’ via Mute Artists

http://www.neworder.com/


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Mark Reeder

The film ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’ is available now on DVD, Bluray and download

http://www.5point1.org/info.html

https://twitter.com/markreedermfs


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
26th March 2016, updated 5th July 2020

MARK REEDER Collaborator

MARK REEDER has carved out an impressive reputation for his catalogue of fine remixes since the success of his electronic dance music record label MFS which launched the careers of internationally renowned DJs such as PAUL VAN DYK and COSMIC BABY.

He had moved to Berlin in 1978 having become fascinated by the artistic diversity of the city and was Factory Records’ representative in Germany between 1978 to 1982. He also worked with bands such MALARIA! and DIE TOTEN HOSEN while simultaneously being part of cult duo DIE UNBEKANNTEN who later morphed into SHARK VEGAS and toured Europe with NEW ORDER.

His passionate attention to detail gained many notable admirers within the music industry. So when Reeder focused on remixing at the start of the new century with his studio partner Micha Adam, he was given the opportunity to work with major artists such as JOHN FOXX, PET SHOP BOYS, DEPECHE MODE and BLANK & JONES.

As the man credited for introducing NEW ORDER to electronically propelled dance music, when MARK REEDER spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in 2011, he said: “I’m old school. I like to still be able to hear the song, but give it my own signature and atmosphere, while at the same time use as many of the original elements as possible”.

Reeder’s visceral approach provided a developmental enhancement to the music while retaining an all important degree of familiarity and accessibility. A number of these results ended up on his lush surround sound compilation package ‘Five Point One’ in 2011.To follow-up ‘Five Point One’, the revived Factory Benelux label have issued ‘Collaborator’, a new compendium of remixes and collaborations by the still Berlin-based Reeder.

A significant number of tracks feature his long-time friend Bernard Sumner who appears vocally in four guises with the songs reworked in a classic electronic style not really heard since NEW ORDER’s ‘Here To Stay’ in 2002 and ELECTRONIC with Johnny Marr. First, there are Reeder’s versions of BAD LIEUTENANT singles ‘Sink Or Swim’ and ‘Twist of Fate’ which are without doubt, more enjoyable that the guitar driven originals.

Meanwhile, the wonderful ‘Miracle Cure’ helmed by dance merchants BLANK & JONES could easily be mistaken for a NEW ORDER dance track in its Reeder interpretation. Best of all though is ‘She Wants’, Sumner’s most recent collaboration with WESTBAM – given an Old School Remix by Reeder, it does what its says on the tin.

However, the previously unreleased demo of ‘Crystal’ which Sumner first recorded with Reeder and Corvin Dalek is perhaps less essential but welcome, giving as it does, a very different Deep House view of the song from its ‘Get Ready’ rock out. But how marvellous it is to hear Sumner being given a synth driven backbone again? Now while his guitar has always been an essential ingredient to NEW ORDER, his tracks on ‘Collaborator’ are evidence if any that should the Manchester brand ever record new material again, not only should the direction be electronic but also, MARK REEDER should be behind the mixing desk as well.

‘Collaborator’ also highlights Reeder’s love of female fronted synthpop. Reeder’s So Close Remix of MARSHEAUX’s ‘So Far’ and a smooth Euro styled Sweet & Sticky rework of MARNIE’s ‘Sugarland’ display an affinity with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s own tastes.

But things are then taken to the next level with his remix of QUEEN OF HEARTS’ ‘Neon’;ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK is pleased to say it assisted in bringing the two parties together and the resultant Electrically Excited Remix is a rich slice of euphoric electro schaffel that has been well worth the creative intervention.

The remaining collaborations are an interestingly eclectic bunch it has to be said. How many compilations can claim to bring together post-punk veteran Anne Clark, DURAN DURAN bassist John Taylor AND artist Sam Taylor-Wood?

Clark cuts her stern poetry on ‘The Hardest Heart’, a track originally reconfigured for Reeder’s ‘Reordered’ project with BLANK & JONES while Sam Taylor-Wood teams up with old pals PET SHOP BOYS for an extended retro restyling of THE PASSIONS’ I’m In Love With A German Film Star’.

John Taylor’s ‘C’est Tout Est Noir’ however is more intriguing being a recent offering with KOISHII & HUSH and the first lead vocal from the David Beckham of New Romantic since his solo single ‘I Do What I Do’ from the ‘9 ½ Weeks’ soundtrack in 1986.

Reeder’s Black Night Remix improves on the original, bringing with it a body of stark musicality as well as bringing out the moodier aspects of the song.

The conclusion of the album completes the circle of Reeder’s musical journey and goes back to DIE UNBEKANNTEN’s ‘Radio War’ from 1982 and SHARK VEGAS’ 1986 Factory Records release ‘You Hurt Me’. This pair of archive recordings actually shows how Reeder’s own musical journey has to an extent, mirrored that of Sumner’s.

‘Radio War’ is more like JOY DIVISION, all doom laden, bass heavy and claustrophobic while ‘You Hurt Me’ produced by Bernard Sumner is characterised by the sort of New York disco sequence programming that made NEW ORDER famous. Both are interesting curios in the story of how Reeder has arrived here today.

In the excellent interview by John Cooper featured within the booklet liner notes, Reeder says: “I always want my remixes to be as recognisable as their original song. This is always my concern when making a remix”.

This CD only package (please take note record labels – vinyl is NOT everything!) is a fine catalogue of MARK REEDER’s career to date covering key aspects of classic and contemporary electronic pop. ‘Collaborator’ proves that the modern day club remix doesn’t have to be death by four-to-the-floor and can be a song oriented art form in itself.


With thanks to James Nice at Factory Benelux

‘Collaborator’ is available now on CD only via Factory Benelux from Amazon and other retail outlets

http://factorybenelux.com/mark_reeder_collaborator_fbn111cd.html

http://www.5point1.org/

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Album Cover Photo by Katja Ruge
19th May 2014

MARK REEDER Interview

Renowned remixer Mark Reeder’s first flirtation with near fame was when he was in punk band THE FRANTIC ELEVATORS with SIMPLY RED’s Mick Hucknall.

In 1978, he moved to Berlin and became Factory Records German representative in Germany while also working in the studio with bands such as all-girl avant noise terrorists MALARIA! who he co-managed and DIE TOTEN HOSEN.

In 1981, Reeder formed post-punk duo DIE UNBEKANNTEN while in 1983, he helped put together the Berlin Special of ‘The Tube’ TV music show which featured acts such as DIE ÄRTZE. Later on, DIE UNBEKANNTEN changed their name to SHARK VEGAS and toured Europe with NEW ORDER.

In 1990, Reeder established his own electronic dance music record label Masterminded For Success (MFS) and discovered Paul Van Dyk who he guided into becoming an internationally famed DJ and recording artist. His passionate approach and highly respected reputation for care and attention in all areas including concept, artwork, PR and sound gained many notable admirers within the music industry. So when Reeder focused on remixing in the late noughties, he was given the opportunity to work for a number of major artists including John Foxx and PET SHOP BOYS.

He also collaborated with popular German dance duo BLANK & JONES on a musical restyling project entitled ‘Reordered’ which featured among its vocalists NEW ORDER’s Bernard Sumner, Robert Smith from THE CURE, Steve Kilbey of THE CHURCH and Claudia Brücken. Its highlights however were probably the ‘This Time Of Night’ aping Alone In The Dark Mix of ‘Loneliness’ sung by Bobo and the Save Yourself Mix of ‘Manifesto’ featuring Vanessa Daou.

Reeder is about to release his brand new labour of love entitled ‘Five Point One’. It is a dream compilation album of new, rare and unreleased remixes by his own hand of established heavyweights such as DEPECHE MODE, PET SHOP BOYS, BLANK & JONES and BAD LIEUTENANT alongside cult favourites DIE TOTEN HOSEN and Anne Clark plus comparative newbies like MARSHEAUX, MAY 68, NOBLESSE OBLIGE and ELECTROBELLE.

Comprising of a deluxe DVD and 2CD package, the DVD is remastered in Dolby 5.1 surround sound to create a listening experience to enhance the depth and radiance of the original stereo mixes. What shines through particularly is Reeder’s intuitive approach which adds a developmental enhancement to proceedings while retaining the all important compositional essence of the originals.

Mark Reeder kindly spoke about ‘Five Point One’ and added a few thoughts about the welcome return of the song in modern electronic pop plus some stories about his days with Factory Records… “anything can happen in the next half hour…”

What was your inspiration particularly for this compilation?

I’ve always been a fan of surround technology and love the idea of multi-dimensional cinematic wrap-around sound. Although I’ve never owned a Quad system I have Quad versions from the 60s and 70s of ‘Switched-On Bach’ by Wendy Carlos (she was called Walter back then) and ‘Quadrophenia’ by THE WHO and I released a couple of B.A.S.E super spacial stereo and surround albums on my MFS label too.

So making my own 5.1 album was, I suppose, a natural process. I confess, I was definitely inspired by the 5.1 releases of PINK FLOYD, DAVID BOWIE and DEPECHE MODE, which I immediately snapped up.

However, making a 5.1 mix is a complex and expensive undertaking. I first made a 5.1 mix for my remix of ‘German Film Star’ for The PET SHOP BOYS and Sam Taylor-Wood and one for ‘Sink or Swim’ for BAD LIEUTENANT and then ‘Underpass’ for John FOxx, then followed MARSHEAUX and we just went from there. The idea that the album was to have some of my all-time fave bands and all my remixes for them together on one 5.1 surround album just started to happen. It was initially intended to be an audio only album, but when John Foxx said I could use his original 80s video, then we also had a visual element to the album too.

You’ve remixed the songs in DVD 5.1 Surround sound for one disc, how did you the motivate yourself for this endeavour?

The motivation was the challenge. Micha Adam, my studio partner and I wanted to see if we could do it. We wanted to push our own boundaries and test our abilities. Our aim was to re-remix our remixes in 5.1 surround and hopefully release them on one album. Most people, especially in the music industry, currently can’t see the reason behind making a 5.1 album, but that is because there is not that much 5.1 music about and nothing to really compare it with and therefore no visible market for it. That’s most probably because of the cost involved, not only in making a 5.1 mix, but for the consumer too.

It is early days still and just a matter of time. Once the technology gets cheaper and 5.1 becomes easier to make then more music will emerge. It took stereo over 30 years to reach the household in the late 60s and when 5.1 systems eventually become cheap and affordable, then people will also want something to play on them.

Also new and futuristic technological developments aim to make 5.1 available on every mobile phone too. That was another inspiration. Once we all have the 5.1 DolbyMobile chip in our smartphones then we will want to hear music in 5.1 too, which was a further driving force for us. This special chip means that you can listen to music in 5.1 on your phone, on normal stereo headphones, albeit in simulated 5.1, but if you connect your phone to a real 5.1 sound system, it will play back in true 5.1 surround. Fascinating!

Making the actual 5.1 remixes was the real challenge though, as it is all about getting the balance right so that the mix sounds like the original remix, but the music comes from all around you, just like in the cinema. That was the thrill. Yet, mixing an album in surround is not as easy as you might think and the end result will probably sound a bit different to everyone, especially considering that each home system is set up individually to taste. By the way, mixing a track in stereo is much easier too, as you can layer and hide things within the mix, whereas surround is much more revealing.

You are featuring several new acts on ‘Five Point One’ such as MARSHEAUX and NOBLESSE OBLIGE alongside established luminaries such as PET SHOP BOYS, DEPECHE MODE and John Foxx. I can see the newer artists being very co-operative but how straightforward was it to persuade the established acts to allow you to rework their material with your instrumentation and methods?

Yes, I’ve tried to create a balance between the more established acts and a crop of newer artists. Some of which have their debut on ‘Five Point One’. I thought this way I could bring them to a wider audience.

Generally, I think I’ve been very very lucky, as it wasn’t really all that difficult for me to obtain the clearances, as it might have been for other people. The artists that I have initially done the remixes for know who I am and obviously respect me and my work and my idea. They appreciate the amount of time, dedication and creativity that has gone into preparing this project. I guess they know I would also try and do my best and that I would take great care remixing their song. They also know the kind of music that I make.

Mind you, remixing a well-known and legendary song like ‘Underpass’ was still very nerve wracking. I’ve always loved this song and getting the chance to remix it for the first time after 30 years was such an honour. At first I was elated, then came the feeling of fear! Naturally, I wanted to do it justice without destroying it too much, as these days it seems so simple to take a great track, whack it into Ableton and strip it of all its atmosphere and identity, then add a techno beat and scatter a sprinkling of the original vocal over it, so it becomes totally unrecognisable and in most cases, disappointing.

I really don’t make my remixes like that. I’m old school. I like to still be able to hear the song, but give it my own signature and atmosphere, while at the same time use as many of the original elements as possible.

Luckily, John really liked my ‘Underpass’ remixes and he was very cooperative. In fact all the artists and labels were. Making a remix for a well-known song though is definitely much more daunting than making a remix for a new song. The obvious comparison aspect is overwhelming and the expectation is so great.

Obviously, I know I could never ever better the original and I don’t try to, I just make my interpretation. I also understand that my remixes won’t appeal to everyone, but I really only make a remix in the hope the artist themselves will like it and I suppose in the end, it’s for all those people who do actually like it. If you don’t like it then that’s fine too, just don’t listen to it. I always strive as much as I can to at least give the song I’m going to remix, the respect it deserves, regardless of its status.

Remixing ‘Sweetest Perfection’ was also very precarious. Daniel Miller gave me the chance to remix ‘Sweetest Perfection’ for the last DEPECHE MODE remixes album, but due to family problems I was unable to complete it on time. So I asked if I could use it on my own remixes album. My DEPECHE MODE remix actually took the longest to clear, simply because EMI / Mute were in the process of releasing their own DEPECHE MODE remixes album.

You also feature cult singer/songwriter Anne Clark who worked with John Foxx in 1985. For those who have not heard of her, how would describe her music and why do you like it?

It is quite interesting the threads between the artists on the album, in some obscure way they are all connected. I think Anne is very unique. She is a poet, who sets her poems to music. Although she is from England, she is probably more well-known outside of the UK. Her legendary status was formed in the early 80s and her brilliant song ‘Sleeper in Metropolis’ was huge in the new wave clubs across Europe at that time. It eventually became a Goth anthem and inspiration for many to follow. Its analogue synth sequencer sounds have never been bettered. Of course, her music today is very delicate but still powerful and anyone who has seen her perform live, knows exactly how beautiful her music is. I remixed two of her songs off ‘The Smallest Acts of Kindness’album which I really liked. I was inspired. They were intended for a remixes album, but that album hasn’t yet materialised and so they are now on mine. I really like this spoken word matched with music idea.

You’re credited with introducing Bernard Sumner to Giorgio Moroder and Italo disco through the cassettes you used to send him from Berlin. How do you feel about his more rocky material with BAD LIEUTENANT? And is featuring remixes of them a way of you putting Bernard back into that electronic dance thing that he does so well but rarely touches now?

Well, I know Bernard is still very much into electronics and club music and he promised there will be more to be heard on the next BL album, but he wanted to show a different side with BAD LIEUTENANT and distance his band from NEW ORDER, which is understandable. I thought their album was really excellent.

I’m not just saying that because Bernard is a friend, but because I really think it is. It is a bit of an unpolished jewel. Anyway, I played it to death. I think it was a very optimistic album and if you give it the chance, it gets better every time you play it.

Anyway, Bernard asked me to film some sequences for their ‘Sink Or Swim’ video and then I was asked if I wanted to do a remix for it too. I thought there are probably a few fans out there, like myself and Micha, who would also like to hear a more electronic, dancier type version of the song. So I made one. The same goes for my remix for the PET SHOP BOYS. They also wanted a more traditional PSB sounding remix without having to return to that style themselves.

Then Bernard asked me if I could do a quick remix for ‘Twist of Fate’, which was a track I also really liked and wanted to remix. I made two variations, one is a heavy-ish sounding half tempo mix with a pulsating bass and the other is a more uptempo dance mix variation. Both mixes are featured on ‘Five Point One’. I thought Steve Young made a truly brilliant sci-fi puppet video for that track too, with very scary looking puppets. You can see the love, care and dedication he has put into making this Gerry Anderson inspired video and I wanted to applaud his work and so we feature the video on the DVD too. He was kind enough to recut his video and add newly created footage just so that it would fit to my 5.1 remix.

Making these BAD LIEUTENANT remixes was much more difficult than we had imagined, as all the songs were played-in live by the band and there was lots of natural speeding up and slowing down within the track, which you don’t usually get with a precise timed 4/4 techno record. I had a great time with Micha making these two remixes, as we had to slice every single word and every note of every instrument and move them into position by hand to make them still sound organic, which took forever. It was good practise, as it turned out, because the BAD LIEUTENANT remixes were still easier than making the DEPECHE MODE or TOTEN HOSEN remixes.

Your Lange Hosen remix of DIE TOTEN HOSEN’s ‘Disco’ was very interesting. You go back a long way with them. They are known as being a punk band, but when did it occur to you that their material could be tailored for the dancefloor?

Actually, I realised that their music could be tailored for the dancefloor back in the 80s with ‘Hip Hop Bommi Bop’, which they made with legendary New York rapper Fab Five Freddy.

We used to listen to a lot of disco music on tour mixed in with AC/DC and plenty of punk classics. It just seemed natural to me that their track ‘Disco’ should have a real Italo-rock-disco-esque sounding remix.

As usual, I wanted to retain as much of their original song as possible though, so that it is still recognisable as a TOTEN HOSEN song. So the guitars and vocals are all in there. I’ve just changed the tempo and groove and added a straight driving bass guitar and pulsating synth so it can be played in a proper disco type of disco.

You’ve worked with MALARIA! in the past and there was a collaboration with CHICKS ON SPEED a few years back of 1981’s ‘Kaltes Klares Wasser’. Could their material work on the contemporary dancefloor and have you ever considered remixing them?

Yes, I did briefly consider it, but then again I didn’t just want to have a kind of oldies only album. I wanted a mixture of established artists and new ones. I wanted to give the unknown artists the opportunity to be on an album with some very well-known ones.

Was there any track that you really wanted on ‘Five Point One’ but were unable to use due to the usual contractual stuff?

Yes, there was. I really wanted to include my remix of ‘A Forest’ on ‘Five Point One’ that I made for the ‘Reordered’ album. In fact, I already made a 5.1 mix of it in the hope that I could use it, but unfortunately, BLANK & JONES said they couldn’t license it to me due to their strict contractual obligations with Robert Smith. So that particular remix remains exclusively available on ‘Reordered’ in normal stereo.

Are there any particular favourites for you on this compilation?

Yes, tracks 1-25.

Who do you hope ‘Five Point One’ will appeal to?

I guess it’s for all those people who like the artists featured on the album and wish they were all on one album. Now they are. Then it is also for those who enjoy this kind of retro sounding synthpop style of music and it’s especially for all those with a thirst for 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. For the moment, it seems only major label artists like DEPECHE MODE, KING CRIMSON, DAVID BOWIE, PINK FLOYD or THE MOODY BLUES have been able to release surround albums.

I thought why can’t my favourite artists also have a 5.1 release too? I wanted to put all my own remixes for some of my favourite bands together on one 5.1 album. After all, who wouldn’t like an album that featured new mixes for legends like DEPECHE MODE and PET SHOP BOYS as well as John Foxx and Anne Clark all together on one album and all in 5.1? I certainly would.

How do you think electronic pop music has been developing over the years and where do you see it heading in the future?

After 20 years of electronically driven techno, trance and the many derivatives spawned from it, I feel that the current style of electronic pop music is quite refreshing. Of course, club music will always be there in one form or another and DJs and dancing will never go out of fashion. But for myself, I’m really enjoying hearing artists making songs again. Maybe in the future the synthpop sound will finally have its renaissance, one that it so rightly deserves. It seems more and more people are yearning for it. After all, the 80s appear to represent a time not only of political balance and security but of experimentation in fashion and music.

Back in the 80s, synth music was mainly European and futuristic sounding, but the overwhelming influence of major label funded American rock music was able to stamp synthpop into the ground. Also the synth technology sadly had its limitations too, I remember back then our Moog and Korg synths were terribly temperamental when it came to temperature or humidity change.

Today synth music is much easier to produce. We are living in that future, now. So why not make 80s sounding futuristic music? What I find interesting today is the current mixture of retro sounds of old synths being played in a contemporary way. I suppose the availability of new software for long forgotten analogue synths and the amazing technical plug-ins which have been getting better and better, all help to form the current sound of the music. All I know and care about really, is that there have been some great songs and cool new artists emerging recently and that is very inspiring.

Is there a favourite story you can tell from your days as Factory’s German representative?

Many. I remember Rob Gretton sent me a huge roll of posters to promote the first NEW ORDER album in Germany. To save on postage because the roll was so bloody big and heavy, he sent them by land and not airmail… well, they eventually arrived, three months later!

There are many funny stories and this interview would be longer than my Myspace page if I told them all. What many people don’t realise is that it was very difficult trying to promote Factory’s records in Germany back in the late 70s and early 80s. No one really wanted to know. This was due to the fact that Germany was rediscovering its own musical ability and creating its own new wave scene.

Early German punkbands like TEMPO, PVC or DAF had been fuelled by the UK punk movement, they in turn paved the way for the alternative avant-garde like MANIA-D, P1/E, DER PLAN or EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN and later, the more commercial new wave pap like NINA HAGEN, SPLIFF or IDEAL. No one was particularly interested in a small indie label from Manchester and certainly not in a miserable sounding band called JOY DIVISION.

Sure, there was some interest from the dedicated anglophiles but it was very small and it appealed to a few. Of course, this attitude changed somewhat when Ian died.

Have you heard SECTION 25’s new single ‘Colour, Movement, Sex And Violence’ which is released on Peter Hook’s Fac51 The Haçienda label? What do you think of the spirit of Factory Records being kept alive and kicking?

Yes, I have heard it and I think it’s a great tune. Love it. Very Manchester. I’ve always enjoyed SECTION 25 and this song is one of their best in ages. The spirit of Factory will be kept alive by the numerous fans of the sound the label had and by the new fans who are discovering it for the first time. Without Factory, the Manchester music scene wouldn’t be what it became and is today and most boys would probably still not know how to dance. In Germany, Strut have just released a new ‘Factory Dance’ 12″ double CD compilation, which introduces some of the lesser known Factory dance artists together with a few better known ones. It has very striking looking artwork and is a must-have for any Factory fan.

What are your own upcoming plans after Five Point One?

I plan to release a remastered version of DIE UNBEKANNTEN’s ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ album finally on CD, this might include some SHARK VEGAS tracks too and also in 2012, I hope to release a deluxe version of DIE VISION’s ‘Torture’, the last album to be recorded in communist East Berlin that I produced there in 1989. As for my own projects, now that would be telling wouldn’t it?


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Mark Reeder

‘Five Point One’ is released on 25th November 2011 by Kennan Limited and distributed in Germany by Rough Trade Deutschland.

For more information on Five Point One including the full tracklisting and how to order this deluxe 2CD/DVD set, please visit http://www.five-point-one.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic/

https://twitter.com/markreedermfs


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
21st November 2011