Tag: Wolfsheim (Page 1 of 2)

RENARD Interview

Every self-respecting lover of darker, moodier electronica will know of WOLFSHEIM.

The duo’s best known song is still their 1991 debut single ‘The Sparrows & The Nightingales’ while their fourth album ‘Spectators’ released in 1999 went straight to No2 in the German charts. They were massive in Germany back in the day, winning the ECHO Music Prize in 2004 for ‘Best German Alternative Band’, although they remain largely unknown in the UK.

But after five full length albums, the duo split up in a monumental row seeing Peter Heppner moving his second-to-none voice elsewhere, leaving Markus Reinhardt standing. While Heppner went on to create solo projects and work with various collaborators including CAMOUFLAGE, Reinhardt is only resurfacing with his post-WOLFSHEIM material now.

As RENARD, he really is ‘Waking Up In A Different World’, bringing this multi-faceted, emotion laden production into life in the current climate of uncertainty, fear and new reality. Guest vocalists include Pascal Finkenauer, Sarah Blackwood, Marietta Fafouti, Eliza Hiscox, Joseh and Marian Gold while one of the producers is Oliver Blair, last spotted as RADIO WOLF in collaboration with PARALLELS.

With the release of ‘Waking Up In A Different World’, the man himself chatted about his past, present and future.

It’s been a while since you were musically active. Why now?

I was working on my album all these years. It was a process to find the best singers, producers and a record company. But you can’t force things to happen. They take patience to build. So the simple answer is, the album wasn’t ready before.

Are you worried about the fact that this record took years to get out while Heppner has been successfully releasing his material for years?

What should I be worried about? For me it’s not a fight of two big fish in a small pond.

You chose various artists for this project, what was the criteria?

I was looking for charismatic voices and the perfect match for each song. But it took time to find them. On the album you hear only the tip of the iceberg. I guess I contacted around 40 singers in total.

Some of the songs were written a good while ago…

Most of them where written a good while ago. I think it’s worthless to write a song you can’t publish a couple of years later just because a certain trend has passed.

During WOLFSHEIM, you were involved in side projects, what have you done in the in-between years?

Even when WOLFSHEIM was kind of successful I felt a void. First I was a bit angry with myself because I thought I wasn’t grateful enough. But I turned the end of WOLFSHEIM into an opportunity and I started to look for meaning in all this stuff.

Would you agree that Heppner’s single ‘Die Flut’ with Joachim Witt, boosted the band’s popularity and paved the way for ‘Spectators’?

Maybe, maybe not. What I know for sure though is that there would have been no ‘Die Flut’ without WOLFSHEIM at all.

On the side note, CARE COMPANY did incredibly well too…

I still love to listen to the album. But it wasn’t a commercial success though, if that’s what you meant.

However I’d love to hear Carsten Klatte (the CARE COMPANY singer) to sing on the next RENARD album.

Receiving the ECHO award was quite spectacular…

On one hand I enjoyed it because WOLFSHEIM got there with a small independent label, but on the other hand, I consider such events as the dark side of the music business.

And then WOLFSHEIM was no more… what happened?

A couple of days before Heppner was going to sign his major-label deal, he demanded an eighty / twenty split in his favor. Otherwise he wouldn’t go on with WOLFSHEIM. I found this a bit too much for someone who did barely twenty percent of the work. On top of that, he hired a so-called music expert who was supposed to confirm that my compositions for the next WOLFSHEIM album weren’t good enough for Heppner.

On a side note: one of the compositions turned out to be ‘Hotel’ [a song on the album featuring Marian Gold of ALPHAVILLE]. I still have this disconcerting ‘music-expert’ document at home, maybe I’m going to frame it.

You say with this project you are “more with yourself”, would you care to elaborate?

There are plenty of reasons, let me mention some of them: It was a production with no strings attached. No deadline I’d to take care of. I didn’t need the skills of a psychologist since I worked only with easy-going artists this time.

What decided on the choice for the first single?

For me, it seemed only logical to pick ‘Travel in Time’ since it was the first song I had with a new singer after the end of WOLFSHEIM.

‘Travel In Time’ with Pascal Finkenauer is a tad confusing, he sounds like Heppner!

Maybe you got a bit fooled here. It’s the song that sounds absolutely like WOLFSHEIM and therefore Pascal Finkenauer reminds someone of Heppner in this particular case.

Britain is represented by Sarah Blackwood… how did that union take place?

I met Sarah through a label guy. I knew her work and I was surprised that she knew mine as well. I’m thankful to her because she was the third to join RENARD, at a time not many people believed in the project.

But there is some Greece there too…

I live partly in Athens and my girlfriend heard Marietta on the radio. I liked the song and contacted Marietta.

Marian Gold of ALPHAVILLE is probably the best known voice on the album, what was he like to work with?

Marian is a great and humble guy. And he’s still enthusiastic about music. It was great working with him and I hope we’ll do it again.

What are your hopes and expectations with this record?

Basically all my expectations are already fulfilled. I had the pleasure to work with all these artists, the graphic and video artists included and the album will be published soon. I’ll see what happens next.

Are you going to promote it live, given the pandemic etc?

No live plans at the moment. I had some ideas that include AR and VR, not because of the pandemic though, but rather due to the big number of singers. But there’s nothing certain yet.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Markus Reinhardt

Special thanks to Gary Levermore at Red Sand PR

‘Waking Up In A Different World’ is released by Metropolis Records in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats on 9th October 2020, available from https://renard.bandcamp.com/album/waking-up-in-a-different-world




Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Trigwell
8th October 2020

RENARD Waking Up In A Different World

The tale of WOLFSHEIM will be known to any self-respecting lover of darker electronica, although relatively alien to English listeners, unless one had European connections or sought after more unusual sounds outside Britain in the last two decades of the 20th Century.

The Hamburg based duo with the superb voice of Peter Heppner and hit producing magician Markus Reinhardt released numerous gems such as ‘Once In A Lifetime’ or ‘The Sparrows & The Nightingales’, turning out superb albums, with ‘Spectators’ or ‘Casting Shadows’ to name just a couple.

But the good streak wasn’t to last, with the group disbanding into a monumental hiatus, seeing Heppner going solo or helping on other artist’s releases, with that ever haunting voice of his; Reinhardt stayed somewhat behind, only to return for what he calls “his reinvention”.

“The end of WOLFSHEIM motivated me to reinvent myself. A process that was urgently needed. With RENARD, I’m more with myself. My album combines the sound and mood of the 80s with the stylistic devices of today.”

Any sound manipulator needs a vocalist to showcase the uniqueness of their work and RENARD doesn’t settle on one. Why stick to the same voice when you are in a position to pick who you’d like to really bring variety and much needed diversity to your output?

‘Waking Up In A Different World’ is a debut, but it’s unlike any other debut, as in this case the debutant is not an inexperienced musician, promoting unknown vocalists.

So for the first single, Reinhardt chooses ‘Travel In Time’ with Pascal Finkenauer to take the reins of the vocals. A fellow German songwriter, guitarist and vocalist, Finkenauer’s melancholic voice sounds mistakenly like Heppner’s, bringing somewhat confusing connotations. In previous outings, Finkenauer can sound more or less like the original WOLFSHEIM boy, but one has to question the sense in this particular choice, especially with Reinhardt’s pledge to be more like himself on this record.

Nevertheless, this is a magnificent song, with a great dose of sorrow and longing. One cannot reject the obvious WOLFSHEIM connotations in the arrangement; it’s like the band have been resurrected for one tune. Well, if he can’t use the WOLFSHEIM name, then…

Joseh features on ‘Junkyards’, where guitar leads the SUEDE-esque intro, blossoming into an easy listening piece where the voice doesn’t sound like Heppner’s, but more natural and free flowing.

Joseh also guests on ‘The Meissen Figurine’, which combines a coalescence of modern elements with vintage components over a moderately unobtrusive tune, while Marietta Fafouti finds herself ‘Restless’. A prolific Greek composer, songwriter, and a well-known figure in her native land, Fafouti sings her soul away over a simplistic melody.

DUBSTAR’s Sarah Blackwood wrote the melody and lyrics to ‘Heresy’, which is commensurate with her own band’s output, both currently and back in the day. The song was written ten years ago and by Blackwood’s own admission containing words very personal to her. As always, it is superbly simplistic, cleverly put together and sung with the heart; the heart which “will have a speaking part, the first time in ages”.

Marian Gold of ALPHAVILLE joins the party on ‘Hotel’. With its NEW ORDER-like guitar presence, the song actually brings back the good old days when the German collective ruled with ‘Big In Japan’. Gold returns on ‘Damn Happy’ where he’s clearly “happy to be unhappy”, sadly in a quite forgettable manner.

Interestingly enough, the production nods towards SUEDE again it its execution, although the song itself is missing the vital ingredient to make it worth replaying.

Thankfully, Eliza Hiscox of ROYALCHORD leads with the magnificent ‘My Heart’s Still Shaking’ which is not just magic in its vocal delivery but also in the symbiosis of the instrumentation and her voice. The closing ‘Intelligent Design’ ushers in a heavy plucked bass synth, progressing gently over eight bars of pure joy with yodelled voices, sculpting the ending beautifully.

Although altogether the album is a rather mixed bag, RENARD really is ‘Waking Up In A Different World’, bringing this multi-faceted, emotion laden production into life in the current climate of uncertainty, fear and new reality. May he achieve similar success to Peter Heppner with his solo ventures.

‘Waking Up In A Different World’ is released by Metropolis Records in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats on 9th October 2020, pre-order from https://renard.bandcamp.com/album/waking-up-in-a-different-world




Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
28th September 2020

PETER HEPPNER Confessions & Doubts

PETER HEPPNER requires no introduction; his voice is recognisable worldwide, even to those who didn’t know or remember WOLFSHEIM.

It all started in Hamburg, a city known for many an accomplished act, but it was and still is WOLFSHEIM that brings the notion of melancholic nostalgia to minds. After a few successful albums and having established die-hard fans, Heppner left the coop and went solo. And expectedly so, his own provisions continued to feed the lovers of his deep, unusual and classy vocal over ‘Solo’, ‘My Heart Of Stone’ and various collaborations with CAMOUFLAGE as well as many others like NENA, PAUL VAN DYK and SCHILLER.

‘Confessions & Doubts’ and its ‘TanzZwang’ companion collection eases the burden of the long wait since his last offering, providing enough material for four albums. The original material gets the first airing in album versions, then instrumentals, followed by the ‘TanzZwang’ portion with further tracks plus remixes of those by some notable German bods. If that’s not enough, Heppner will be touring the offering throughout Germany this winter.

‘Confessions & Doubts’ opens with demurely ‘Unlovable’, where the listener is transported into the Heppner parallel universe, full of minimal instrumentation, familiar abandonment notions in the lyrical content and that haunting voice, which could be recognised anywhere in the universe.

Joachim Witt, an artist celebrated in Germany something chronic, joins Heppner on ‘Was bleibt?’ Performed in his mother tongue, it’s a modern semi-electronic ballad, coming into its own thanks to WOLFSHEIM-like connotations.

Heppner returns to English on ‘Nothing Ends’, where the tempo speeds up like ‘Once In A Lifetime’ with a modern twist. Thanks to this album, the listeners are truly enjoying ‘Viele Schöne Stunden’, yet another beautiful easy listening ballad, while the reminder that ‘Good Things Break’, as they “tend to change… always end”, brings Heppner into a monologue, where he translates his childhood toys into the pain of adulthood.

German domiciled American Kim Sanders joins the Königsstimme on ‘You Don’t Love Me’, while the most synth content can be found on ‘Chance’, which is stompingly bubbly and super electronic.

The vocal numbers are followed by their stunning instrumental renditions before ‘TanzZwang’ rolls out its red club carpets with delicious dance tracks.

‘Und Ich Tanz’ is wonderfully fast and pointed, leading into superb ‘All Is Shadow’ with its magically executed dance sparkles.

‘Herman Hesse: Im Nebel’ musically nods towards modern day DEPECHE MODE and could be easily performed by Martin Gore and the listener is yet again reminded of the classic WOLFSHEIM on ‘Just One Word’ with its classic hooks and perfect vocal transitions.

‘Once Again’ Heppner waves his magical vocal wand, where the sound blossoms into a mini Love Parade. No chance to ‘Sedate Yourself’ here, the best thing is to continue dancing till the end with ‘Standing Tall’ and he is! But that’s not everything; to top it all, there are further remixes to enjoy…

Heppner can do no wrong, because the moment he opens his mouth, the magic starts to flow, only to cease with the quiet. Nevertheless, with the vast offering of forty tracks, it is easy to lose sight and interest very quickly. The first part is a beautiful standalone piece and the original dance part should have been provided as a separate offering.

A worthy body of work, but only if you allow yourself four independent listenings, pretending those parts don’t form a whole. “Never too much of a good thing” could have been proven very wrong here.

Still, it’s Heppner, and it’s more than good…

‘Confessions & Doubts’ is released by RCA Deutschland as a single CD and vinyl LP while a 4CD boxed set and digital formats are also available, along with a separate edition of the ‘TanzZwang’ remixes

Hamburg Markthalle (15th November), Rostock MAU Club (16th November), Berlin Huxleys Neue Welt (17th November), Hannover Musikzentrum (29th November), Haus Leipzig (30th November), Glauchau Alte Spinnerei (1st December), Magdeburg Factory (8th December), Nuremberg Hirsch (9th December), Stuttgart Im Wizemann (11th December), Zürich X-TRA (12th December), Oberhausen Kulttempel (14th December), Langen Neue Stadt Halle (15th December), Cologne Live Music Hall (16th December)



Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
3rd November 2018

Lost Albums: WOLFSHEIM Spectators

The German city of Hamburg has been the home of many a great band, but WOLFSHEIM is, by far, the one always mentioned with a dose of nostalgia and melancholy.

Even though the group ceased to exist around 2008, the ominous voice of Peter Heppner still haunts the listener of dark wave electronica, it being WOLFSHEIM material itself, Heppner’s solo projects or his vast collaborations with various artists.

The synth duo’s most known song is still 1991’s ‘The Sparrows And The Nightingales’.

Yet, since then, they have compiled a wealth of material widely adored by, even the more discerning fan of electronica. The fourth album from WOLFSHEIM, ‘Spectators’ released in 1999 went straight to number two in the German charts and had been issued in America on Metropolis Records in 2001, before reaching the Gold status in Germany in 2004. Ten songs, one of them in their mother tongue, plus a closing instrumental, left the receiver with a great dose of sombre feeling and pensive nostalgia-like sentiment. How did they achieve that?

Well, Markus Reinhardt’s use of melodies deepens the mood of sorrow for sure; the backdrop to Heppner’s vocals is astounding and meaningful, the uncomplicated musicality of his creations second to none. Without the tone of the voice of the master songster however, WOLFSHEIM would, quite possibly have gone unnoticed.

It is, after all, his distinguished voice, sounding lugubrious, moody, gloomy and very cinematic that made WOLFSHEIM what they became.

All this said, Heppner’s solo projects, although received warmly, never somehow managed to penetrate the listener to the same extent that the work which the duo’s had turned out.

Perhaps it was a case of DEPECHE MODE syndrome, similar to neither Gahan, nor Gore ever meeting full potential outside of the project they share. Either way, it is worth re-visiting ‘Spectators’ and re-introducing this intense, yet un-laboured creation that put WOLFSHEIM on the world map as a band worthy of the repeated listen.

‘It’s Hurting For The First Time’ opens the record with an operatic female vocal, before Heppner comes in with his immaculate, deep and atmospheric rendition over eclectically selected musical elements, coming together skilfully to round up the starting track. The only German language song on the album enters next. ‘Künstliche Welten’, being in Heppner’s native tongue, sounds softer somehow, despite the natural harshness of Deutsch.

The dreamy intro of ‘Touch’ is simply stunning; carefree melody, gentle synth lines, all swaying around the architectural sound of Heppner’s genius. ‘Blind’ has very similar qualities, deeper, softer still and sentimental in feel. Exquisite use of drum patterns and delicate key strokes give the necessary back drop to the desperate melancholy of the vocals.

‘Once In A Lifetime’ drives a change in landscape; heavier synths and harsher beats introduce this magnificent tune, to which WOLFSHEIM released a rather enchanting video. An easy-listening, singalong hymn, despite of its lyrical content has all the danceability elements too.

‘Sleep Somehow’ opens with a drum and bass sequence, the fetching drumming responds extraordinarily well to Heppner’s portrayal of the saddening verse. ‘For You’ is more guitar based and the songster’s craft shapes the tune over a simplistic manifesto of sounds.

‘Read The Lines’ has a dance feel, to which the singing style lends itself surprisingly well, given the nature of Peter’s innate melancholy. ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ is a quintessential gloomy song. Depicting a failed relationship with no feelings left in it, yet being artificially life-supported. “I don’t love you anymore… yet we’re dancing” Heppner laments, ”you’re not the one I’m falling for, but we are dancing”. With distinguished synth combinations, surprisingly it bears a light feel and has a definite dance factor to it.

‘Heroin, She Said’ is lyrically strong on the addictions of the subject and has harsh guitar elements to it, more so than the rest of the album. It certainly provides an alternative end to the album before ‘E’ finishes it completely with its nearly all-instrumental content.

The feelings of yearning and sentimentality on this record are truly astounding. Heppner’s melancholic deep voice, so evocative of emotions, yet warm and inviting, draws one in with a great sweep of nostalgia and leaves the listener wanting more. Why not re-visit the other, oh-so-superb albums of WOLFSHEIM’s like ‘Casting Shadows’, which followed ‘Spectators’, with the intense likes of ‘Kein Zurück’ or ‘Find You’re Gone’, or the earliest creations such as ‘Popkiller’or ‘Dreaming Apes’?

is still considered THE VOICE of Germany, with multiple artists, more recently none other than CAMOUFLAGE, collaborating with him on their recent album ‘Greyscale’, with Heppner lending his voice on ‘Count On Me’ so skilfully. German electronica rules once more…

‘Spectators’ is still available on CD and download via Indigo





Text by Monika Izabela Goss
19th April 2015


Dreaming of a perfect electronic album this year?

Dream no more, brace yourself, build that excitement, then rush out and get yourself a copy of this masterpiece by the German veterans of electronica, CAMOUFLAGE. ‘Greyscale’ is the eighth studio album by the trio of Heiko Maile, Marcus Meyn and Oliver Kreyssig from Bietigheim-Bissingen. Yet again, it is well appointed, loaded with architectural sounds and skillfully hitting the spot, even for the more discerning listeners of the genre.

No two CAMOUFLAGE songs have been same sounding, repetitive or laboured; this being true since ‘Voices & Images’, through to ‘Methods Of Silence’, ‘Meanwhile’, ‘Bodega Bohemia’, ‘Spice Crackers’ and the newer ‘Sensor’, ‘Relocated’ and now 2015’s ‘Greyscale’. The album will have you ‘Spellbound’ for days on end, with its full bodied, yet easy listening tones, exquisitely selected to complete this one of a kind jewel.

‘Shine’, the first single from ‘Greyscale’, opens the record with its uptempo sounds and invigorating lyrics. A refreshingly stimulating track, it has all the elements of a good introduction tune. It is gripping and dynamic enough to make the listener compelled into wanting more, and more certainly comes with ‘Laughing’.

The second song on the album uncannily resembles Dave Gahan’s ‘Dirty Sticky Floors’ from his acclaimed solo project ‘Paper Monsters’. This intense and resonant anthem empowers and lifts the spirits with swirling synth motif and intriguing tonality, giving background to the earthy sound of Marcus’ voice. The mood changes swiftly on ‘In The Cloud’. From the quirky, bright and vibrant, we descend into melancholic, reflective and nostalgic. What a superb song it is, with its inspired, ominous and

This leads us perfectly into the next number, which is ‘Count On Me’. To say that the listener is onto a rare treat is an understatement in itself. Marcus opens with his mellow and warm rendition of the first verse, just to be replaced momentarily by the vocal genius himself, Peter Heppner of WOLFSHEIM, the God of atmospheric and lush voices, whose tone can be easily recognised from far and wide.

Heppner gives the song the uniqueness of his own material, especially reminiscent of his own project outside of WOLFSHEIM, ‘Solo’. The serenity of each sound on this track is simply superior, and the element of interest grows with such diversity only into the song number four of this genius-like formation.

The title track ‘Greyscale’ lacks vocals, but it is by no means inferior or disjointed. Sophisticated synth sounds interspersed with quirky rhythms are reminiscent of the magnificent instrumentals DEPECHE MODE used to produce at their best. The track paints a picture of mysterious, hushed situations, with uncertain, eerie and supernatural elements, very much like ‘The Great Outdoors’ or ‘Oberkorn’, the classic DM “no voice” gems. What comes next, is ‘Still’; another delicate and tranquil tune, gracefully embellishing this amazing album, with its rich, almost AND ONE’s ‘Virgin Superstar’ quality. Beautiful strings and French horns soothe the recipient, gently caring for the listener in a carefree manner.

A different sound is introduced with ‘Misery’, a fast, up-tempo track; again, evocative of those brilliant tunes of AND ONE. Danceable and full of melody, this exceptional song leads one nicely onto the more mellow, yet wonderfully rich ‘Leave Your Room Behind’. THE BELOVED ‘Sweet Harmony’ reincarnated in one modern, uplifting form. Bright, rounded vocals by Marcus sit perfectly on the backdrop of the reborn melody.

The second instrumental track from ‘Greyscale’ is cleverly named ‘Light Grey’. A short, yet wholesome tune, rich with suspense and apprehension introduces the listener into ‘End Of Words’. Sublime vocals on this song, resembling tracks of ‘Six Feet Underground’ from DE/VISION, fall against sensational melodies, leading to the third and last instrumental tune ‘Dark Grey’. A bit longer lasting than its light predecessor, yet similarly full of tension and uncertainty.

‘I’ll Find’ closes the album, with clear Leonard Cohen and Peter Heppner influences. Wholesome, yet with a large dose of insecurity and need of reassurance, just like the old WOLFSHEIM tracks we all learnt to love. Superb production, but as this is CAMOUFLAGE; one wouldn’t expect anything less.

Although the immediacy of ‘The Great Commandment’ or ‘Suspicious Love’ is missing, the album does not disappoint; it grips the listener with amazing dose of perfect electronica and leaves one with wanting more. That is why with over thirty years of experience within the music machine, CAMOUFLAGE’s varied concepts have proven popular on both sides of the Atlantic, with audiences in Asia, South America, Stateside and Europe alike. It is, after all, German electronic music at its best.

‘Greyscale’ is released by Bureau B on 27th March 2015 in CD, vinyl and download formats

CAMOUFLAGE’s 2015 European Tour includes:

Erfurt Stadtgarden (26th March), Dresden Reithalle Strasse E (27th March), Berlin Kesselhaus & Maschinenhaus (28th March), Hamburg Docks (29th March), Factory Magdeburg (31st March), Warsaw Progesja Music Zone (17th April), Bratislava Ateliér Babylon (18th April), Roxy Prague (19th April)



Text by Monika Izabela Goss
Photos by Klaus Mellenthin
25th March 2015

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