Interviste SkorbutBy Promofabrik • Ott 27th, 2009 • Category: Interviste
AREA: TEXT INTERVIEW
Leo performed an interview with Daniel and Armin of Skorbut at the 2009 Elekktroshokk-Festival in a rather shady backstage area after their first German show ever. He go to know something about canned food and a weird french man as well as how the band is about to start into a different future. Feel free to copy and paste it on your websites or edit it to meet your requirements!
Leo: Hi Daniel, hi Armin, hi Jörg. Nice to meet you up here at the Elekktroshokk-Festival where you just have played live and we now sit together in a rather shady backstage chamber with kind of industrial-flair. How did you like the gig?
Daniel: It has been our first gig in Germany and it was good. People were into it and I was said that we have been doing quite well, which makes me look positive into the future.
Leo: Armin, you have joined Skorbut only recently. How did it come that you became an active member?
Armin: Due to my work as a journalist in the music business I have met Jörg Hüttner years ago when I was writing test reports for various magazines. At some point I had to test a synthesizer and I was about to pick up the gear at the company, which has been the company where Jörg has been working back then. I think this was in 2004. After ten minutes we realised that we have much in common. The contact has been maintained and some day Jörg asked me for a remix for the album „Firewall“. I made one and he loved it very much. Time by time I have participated more in songwriting. The arrangement came due to the fact that Jörg has a high work load in his new job.
Leo: So it did not happen from one day to another?
Armin: It has been a slow process over the past years. We have done many things together also in our private lifes. We have realised that we have same interests, attittudes and point of view. I think he just trusted me a lot in the musical respect and he anticipated that it would work out fine. And also with Daniel cooperation is very good and harmonic. Everything is working out fine.
Leo: And Jörg, what has changed in your life that you needed to share the songwriting you have formerly kept in your very own hands?
Jörg:My life became rather busy since I moved to Los Angeles in March 2007. The first 1 1/2 years after my relocation I wasn’t able to write a single piece on my own. I got pulled into one film music project after another. This also is fun, but obviously it doesn’t offer you any form of your own creativity, which is a bummer. Of course Daniel wanted to continue with new material, especially after our really successful gig in Minsk in December 2007 (thank god I was able to do this, since I was in Germany anyway around Christmas that year). Since I still couldn’t tell when I would have again time to write new stuff, Armin was “forced” to work… )
Leo: Speaking about history, Daniel, how did you and Jörg met and what can you tell us about the way to the first album?
Daniel: It started in the mid-90s when Jörg and me have been working with Bruno Kramm at the legendary Danse-Macabre-Studios. I have been a hardcore EBM-freak with the typical hairstyle and Jörg came in with the typical syntpop-hairstyle. He has looked at me very critical as he was not so familiar with the EBM-scene and he thought: „What the fuck is that Nazi doing here?“ (laughing) We have checked us out and became friends over time. And of course I haven’t been a Nazi. During nights we just met to make some sounds together. The first songs of the „Log_In“-album came to birth back then in 1994/1995. We have worked in a tiny room then and we kept going. 2001 we have released the debut album, 2005 the second one and so on. Armin came to Skorbut during the sessions for „Firewall“ in 2006 or 2007 and contributed to it with several remixes and one album song. 2009 is became officially the trio Küster, Hüttner, Galda aka as Skorbut.
Leo: And why did the first release took you so long from 1994 to 2001? It is quite a long time to work on a debut album, isn’t it?
Daniel: Jörg and me have been integrated in other bands. I have been working with Das Ich and Kalte Farben, Jörg was doing Relatives Menschsein and Dorsetshire. We have just played around a bit and never though about a release. End of the 90s there had been several sampler contributions and the amount of unused songs was increasing. At some point we had collected enough songs and have not involved in other projects that we started to look for a label with the material. It had been around 2000. Scanner produced the first album „Log_In“ which basically was a retrospective of our material of the 90s. The quality of the songs had been very different. I think that you can hear the difference between the old and the newer songs on „Log_In“ clearly. Maybe we should have waited with the release a bit longer.
Leo: Retrospectively you think that you should have waited even longer to release the debut, though it had been such a long time between your „foundation“ and the first rellease?
Daniel: That’s a critical question. On the one hand it had been musically to early for us. On the other hand we are now on a different level and have progressed a lot. However, if we had not released „Log_In“, we would most likely not exist today. We would have ceased our work. The record deal served the purpose to keep us together and working on that project. One can not think of „Log_In“ as if we have been working on it for seven years als day and night long. The album contains 10 songs and basically they emerged out of 10 sessions. We have left the songs from 1995 untouched without editing them again. This is something I don’t like now from my current point of view. Maybe it would have been better to rework those old songs to make them sound like 2001. „Log_In“ as it has been released in 2001 has been a very authentic work which on the contrary was not really modern but sounded quite oldschool. But back then the oldschool-EBM-trend did not exist like nowadays.
Leo: That’s true. If you compare the first with the second album, the sound became more homogenous. But with the second album „Access all areas“ you left the straight EBM towards diverse electronic influences. Why?
Daniel: There had been no real plan or concept behind it. In the studio we are very spontanous and do not set any goals to ourselves. „Access all Areas“ covers all dark electronic genres of its time. We just wanted to experiment. And the name fits the music quite well. And regarding the second questions: The second CD sounds more homogenous because it had been written within one year and not like „Log_In“ over a period of 6 to 7 years.
Leo: And why did you change the style from a pure EBM album to a very diverse electronica album covering the entire range? Is it owed to the fact that you get influenced from so many different styles of music during your work, Jörg?
Jörg: Definitely that was one point. Apart from that I just hate being stuck to something very specific. I enjoy hearing different influences and songs at different tempos on albums I purchase from other artists. So I feel the same about creating an album: it should be versatile and show different perspectives of an artists’ work. Of course all the influences from my professional work play a role here as well, no question. However with Skorbut I always felt I just want to do what I want musically, so I just created whatever came up into my mind. I never checked what’s currently “in” or so. Not a smart way in terms of commercial success, but hey, we’re not talking about main stream music anyway.
Daniel: I found EBM songs very important to be on the album, Jörg really liked the slower and dark tracks and the more pop-orientated stuff, as we have been DM-fans, too. So everybody had ist favourites. With that diverse style we gained a small community of fans who does appreciate our broad range.
Leo: I think this must be really demanding. If you make music and cover different styles of music, I assume you need to make compromises. According to the principle that you offer music to a target group. Alternatively you can create music on the basis of not taking care about how many Cds you sell and only doing stuff you really love to. What is your attitude?
Armin: We created Skorbut not for making money. The primary thing is that we can identify ourselves with our music. It doesn’t make sense to sell your soul. Maybe except if you have an external remix where you are asked to work in a definite style. Skorbut is a project of our hearts and will be in the future.
Daniel: Yes, definitely. That’s the way it is. And now Armin will bring more influences into it as well.
Leo: I think I can hear that in your music. And I really like to put in a CD and you are not hearing the same structure and sound from the beginning to the end.
Daniel: Though it is already on the edge with the voice of Skorbut becoming a uniform and definite element of style. The voice and the lyrics became by themselves a kind of trademark. Especially abroad. We receive a lot if mails from other countries and there they want us to meet standards. Oh my God, now people come up with expectations about Skorbut (laughing). Suddenly we have to sound like this or that and people except a certain range of style variety. We are proud of that on one hand, but we have to pay attention to following our own philosophy: Just doing the stuff we like to do. We have to balance on that edge. Till today, many fans have been supporting us and I expect them to become more, esp. due to the fact that we will play more live. 80 percent of the scene has never heard about Skorbut despite of the three albums. We have to be more active!
Leo: I think this is the kind of presence musicians need nowadays to attract attention and fans. I reckon it to be very hard with cd-releases alone at the moment.
Armin: Yes, it works out in only very exceptional cases, indeed.
Leo: Talking about releases, you have a new product now. This is not an entire album but an EP that bears the name „Phantom Pain“. It took some time after the last release until you came back to light. Was that owed to the fact that Jörg did relocate to the USA?
Daniel: After Jörg has moved we had to regroup and get together again. Shortly after the release of „Firewall“ in 2007, he has been suddenly off the country. Everthing had to be organised in a new way. And then it became clear to get Armin into the band.
Armin: And you feel if the chemistry is okay in the band or not. We are on the same „wave-length“ as we say in Germany. I know what Daniel wants when we work together and vice versa. It is a fluent, productive and fast cooperation. It works out perfectly. 2009 has been a very successful year for Skorbut in that respect. We have made a lot of stuff in the studios and I am convince that we keep it going the way it is now.
Daniel: I think we have finished seven songs, haven’t we?
Armin: Yes, it is not much left to finish it and it will become a very distinguished and different CD.
Daniel: Yes, and most likely the most danceable stuff from Skorbut. „Phantom Pain“ is quite straight forward already, I think.
Leo: And what role is for Jörg now? How can get keep being involved actively? You say you want to play live a lot more – I assume this to become practically demanding to organise across the continents?
Armin: You’re right. But the world became smaller thanks to the modern media. One can get in touch quickly via E-Mail or Skype to coordinate things. Direct cooperation is more difficult due to the distance, of course. Live-shows will be performed in the duo Galda/Küster, except Jörg is in Germany at the time of a gig anyway. But I reckon to be that a rare exception.
Daniel: I have met Jörg last week on the Frankfurt Musikmesse music fair. He was doing the support for a company developing software-instruments. Under all circumstances he wants to contribute two songs to the album. The will is there on his side, for sure. The only questions is how he can integrate that into his schedule. He has to work in Hollywood under enormous pressure. If he gets a call, he has to be there and do his work. I hope it will work out for the new CD anyway…?
Jörg: Well, you know, my spirits will be there, that’s the most important thing. *laughing* Seriously: whenever the current project I’m working on is finished, I try to create some stuff in time so it can make it onto the album. Will be quite interesting to see how this will end up, since this time it’s not me who’s writing, producing and mixing the entire album. This will be a completely new perspective also for me. I haven’t done something like that in – hm – 13 years or so? With that I mean “just” adding a certain part to an album of a band of mine and not doing everything from the very first note to the last mix.
Leo: The new CD is planned for 2009. What can we expect, can you disclose any specials or features?
Daniel: Paolo Percoco is or partner in terms of visualisation. He is our video-guy. It is much fun to create cool videos with him. E.g. the new video of „Phantom Pain“ was made by him. He is a very idealistic person and that matches perfectly with the Skorbut requirements profile. The today’s gig has been filmed, too, and maybe there will be a small clip about it, but we will see. A clip like „9 lives later“, however, you have to pay for, even if this is a low-budget-project. About the new album I can only reveal that it will contain most likely 12 songs and it will be called „Medium“.
Leo: How do you work together, can you tell us a bit about your working process? How about the fun factor?
Armin: Our collaboration becomes more effective with every single meeting. We normally meet up for 4-5 days. I have prepared some stuff in advance, but normally things develop spontanuously a lot. We record vocals etc… Those are always very creative days in which much happens to the sound. Sometimes you do not achieve as much in half a years as during those five days.
Daniel: It always have been the fact with Skorbut that the pure production process only took something like six weeks. I am there for 20 days and the rest of the time Jörg, or now Armin, continue to do the fine tuning. Of course we have a lot of fun to answer your question.
Leo: Concentrated creativity in that respect, or better, creatvity in portions?
Armin: Exactly. It is a mixture of concentration, fun and creativity. It need a bit from all of them. If you just fuck around, you will not create something as well as you do not get steps forward if you just sit there without communication in a serious mood like at work.
Daniel: And if you become eager to finish something, then at the end of the day you will not come up with something worthwile, won’t you? Armin: You will listen to it a few days later and think, you can immediately dump it in the trash.
Leo: If you are asked to characterize Skorbut with three or four adjectives, which will you name?
Daniel: Individual, electronic …
Armin: Even if the term appears to be quite worn out: innovative. Because we try to combine various styles. You will hear it on the new album, for sure! And there is still the adjective „driving“
Daniel: Basically SKORBUT is given the adjective „skorbut“ in ist own. We have our own style and our fans that really appreciate what we are doing. Especially abroad. Even if CD-sales are not advocating it, we are alsways surprised about the feedback.
Armin: The feedback sometimes is fascinating.
Daniel: Yes, the feedback is surprising and depressing at the same time. Depressing because the sales are just far behind the feedback. Sometimes we receive emails like „Cool lyrics, am I allowed to do a cover version?“. This is a great honour for us and brings you back to earth because it shows you, what this is all about: Spirit and passion. And not sales. And it is not about who is playing at which position on which festival or who has more friends on MySpace. It’s all about having fun and a good time, and that you can reach people to give something to them. That’s the most important and satisfying thing – the feedback from the people out there.
Leo: „Trademark Skorbut“ – how did you find the name?
Daniel: Jörg and me have live together. I have decided to move from Bayreuth to Ulm, because of Skorbut and the friendship to Jörg. I have moved into Jörg’s flat and he did not get rid of me for four months then – until I had found my own flat. Jörg has lived in a flatshare back then. We were constantly sitting in his studio, his room and have lived on ravioli, canned soups and that kind of stuff. At one point, his French flatmate came in and said with a very bad German accent: „You will all get Skorbut one day!“. We have been very amused about it. Vitamine withdrawal with all it’s side-effects. „We are evil and dark, vitamine withdrawal, pale – perfect match!“ The name was born, especially since we were looking for a name as we were asked to contribute the song „Fuel“ for the Flatline-Compilation. Everything happened within two weeks: The flatmate said „Skorbut“, we asked ourselves „Why didn’t we think about that earlier?“ and a few weeks later Skorbut appeared on the legendary Flatline-Compilation.
Leo: Cool Story.
Daniel: I just don’t know if we would name us Skorbut again today… (laughing)
Leo: Yes, but meanwhile this became a trademark! (laughing)
Daniel: But there are different „Skorbuts“. Sometimes we receive emails via our MySpace-Account from south america, if we are Skorbuto. We have been told that this is a punkband somewhere from Mexico or Brasil, which is quite famous down there. We have to be careful to select people in our friend’s list.
Jörg: And I think there’s a punk band from Bremen or Hamburg (Germany) or so. However we were the first with an official release and we also are the most active anyway, if you look for “Skorbut” on Google.
Leo: Do you plan to do more live-shows in Germany? You have not really played besides one show in Belarus, if I remember correctly? Any special reason for that?
Daniel: We have released our first two albums in 2001 “Log_In” and in 2005 “Access all Areas”. At the time of release of the respective album, we were well behind our own sound. Because we had all these mentioned long periods of production, like many years, time gap between production and release became too long. We had the opinion that out sound could not meet up with the pulse of time. We have been aware of that. We have been very proud about our releases, but we did not feel the need to go out on stage to present it. Then we did the 2007’s “Firewall”-album, our best album so far. And there was a request for gigs all of the sudden. But then Jörg just relocated in the very right moment to LA. Jörg’s schedule did not allow us to play life at all. Only that one gig in Minsk did take place. Because we could only do something when Jörg has been here around in Germany for a short period of time. You can imagine, everything was very complicated. But now,with the combination Küster/Galda, we are able to do more things live, and can enter the stage more spontanuously than ever. And we can reduce the monetary risk for promoters and venues by that. That had been the main reason why we have never played live yet. We always wanted to go out on stage, but we could not realise it. Jörg had to be in Germany at the same time of the gig…
Armin: But this was nearly impossible to arrange.
Daniel: Today at the Elekktroshokk-Festival 2009 was our first show in Germany. I think we ended up doing a good show and people enjoyed us. We set a clear signal. The wish to play more gigs is there in us, definitely. There will be one on June 10th in Zweibrücken, Germany. We will see how it goes. And we will look for a booking agent. If anyone like to organise shows with Skorbut, we are always open for it, too.
Leo: Many thanks for taking your time to do that interview with us.
Armin and Daniel: Our pleasure, we thank you!
Leo: Do you have something like a wise saying or a credo of your life you like to share with us?
Armin: Be open for everything!
Daniel: Yepp, especially for Skorbut! (laughing)
by PromoFabrik www.promofabrik.de April 2009