+++ SPECIAL CHINA REVIEW - WITH A LOT OF CHINESE BAND AND MEDIENGRUPPE TELEKOMMANDER 05/2008 +++
+++ INTERVIEW WITH MEDIENGRUPPE TELEKOMMANDER - ON THEIR WAY TO CHINA 03/2008 +++
+++ THE POPKOMM - C/O POP HISTORY 08/2007 +++
+++ INTERVIEW WITH HANS NIESWANDT 07/2007 +++
+++ SPECIAL CHINA REVIEW - WITH A LOT OF CHINESE BAND AND MEDIENGRUPPE TELEKOMMANDER 05/2008 +++
...the handling of (underground) music events historically displayed some insights in the soul of a country (just think of Woodstock). Taken from this perspective the following passages might be helpful to get a feeling for what is going on in China during these historic times. So let´s try to figure out where China and it´s music scene are heading to:
If you ask players in the Chinese music circle where they see the future of the Chinese music scene, you will get a very mixed feeling about their answers. While one half is very pessimistic about the future, the other half will tell you about the improvement that happened during the last few years. While some point out, that they´ve been trying for a long time rather unsuccessfully to change the view most chinese people have on music beyond cheesy CANTOPOP, others maintain, that the scene for this kind of music (be it electro, rock, metal, punk or hip hop) is actually growing.
While Westerners first tend to overestimate the chinese music market (by looking on the sheer number of potential customers) they often times become decepted once they set a foot on chinese soil. Of course it is right, that, mainly due to the large illegal market of copied cds, there is hardly any money in selling records.
And if you look at the numbers of Chinese people attending the major music festival in China (namely MIDI with about 15.000 visitors per day) and count in the ticket prices (50 rmb - about 5 euro) you can make the calculation yourself. But it is also true, that one year after my first visit a lot of new venues opened. This mostly happened in Beijing but also in Shanghai or Shenzhen for example. And these venues are crucial in giving support to the scene. Even if the artist fees are not high in most cases, at least they seem to be on the rise and therefore give Chinese artists the possibility to survive (if you don´t take western standard of living for granted people can get by with around 300 rmb - around 30 euro - which is roughly what average chinese students live off ). Also chinese (indie-)labels are on the rise and try to add up to what seems to be a growing alternative - music - infrastructure. So, like the rest of China the alternative music scene seems to be developping quite quickly. There are a lot more bands in this scene than the few, that are constantly mentioned by western media. Often times music magazines send a reporter to China, who is there for a couple of days and does some research mainly by reading magazines which already wrote about certain artists. The writer comes back with a handful of names that are always given by the same sources. (Just google CUI JIAN, FM3, CARSICK CARS, JOYSIDE, SUBS, BRAINFAILURE, HANG ON THE BOX or NEW PANTS for example.)
But the real challenge is, to find a chinese artist who can live up to international standards. It would be unfair, however, to expect too much. While the Anglo-Saxon world has been ruling the realm of popculture since the post war years (after all they kind of invented it), important music markets from Germany over France to Mexico had to go a long way to find their own style which would make them an important part in the popculture-circuit. As a lot of artists from those countries first copied (often poorly) their idols before finding their own unique style. Interestingly this often came about when they experimented with electronic music (see e.g. KRAFTWERK for Germany, DAFT PUNK for France and NORTEC COLLECTIVE for Mexico). So at what point is the Chinese music scene at the moment?
While the 80s saw the emergence of the first Chinese Rock Star CUI JIAN, who is irreversible connected to the political movement crashed down at the Tiananmen incident of 1989, the 90s can be seen as a post-Tiananmen popculture desert, and the 00s sees a new generation of Chinese artists (while visual artists from the 80s cashed in, favoured by the environment of an ever-rising global demand for art). They generally rather focus on an alternative lifestyle and/or the artistical side of music. They protest against the mainstream by being bohemian but don´t insist on bringing a political message across - after all hasn´t it always been about the good ol´ story of sex, drugs and rocknroll? Especially the emerging Beijing punk scene - strongly connected to venues like D22 and MAO LIVEHOUSE lives up to these "ideals" - for the western audience famously (albeit amateurly) portrait in the documentary BEIJING BUBBLES However, as in the west, there is more than just one scene - although this is just a relatively recent development. This might also explain why, following the principles of guanxi (chinese way of building relationships), these scenes are somehows strangely interconnected yet separate. There is a very solid metal scene for example (one of it´s most prominent groups being YAKSA) and the fact, that Midi Festival in 2007 featured a hip hop stage for the first time, points towards a thriving scene. (Artists such as DOPEKID, THE DRAGON SQUAD or C.O.U. are a good example for that)
Internationally very well connected (counting e.g. BLIXA BARGELD of Germany´s pioneering sound experimentalists EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN among its strongest supporters) and very vivid is the experimental music crowd, its stronghold being the Mini Midi festival (this year held at 2KOLEGAS) and arguably spearheaded by YAN JUN and SULUMI. Also the guys around FM3 deserve special mentioning. With their BUDDHA MACHINE, which is basically nothing else than copy of the prayer transistor found at Buddhist temples around the country, they not only managed to get a foot into the international festival circuit but also made quite a fortune by mixing cheap Chinese manufacturing with a clever marketing strategy, catering to westerners falling for either hip popculture accessoires or the Buddha Machine´s meditational appeal. (Reportedly one of their members looked into buying a house in Hong Kong recently. With the Buddha Machine expanding its scope - into different colour lines that is - the next step might be a villa in Miami;)
For those more into a danceable indie sounds there are good news as well: While ZIYO started out as a commercial sounding chinese indiepop outfit (after all they released their debut on a major) frontwoman, radio djane and underground-celebrity HELEN FENG pushed the band hard into becoming nearly as groovy as LCD SOUNDSYSTEM. From all the bands I´ve seen in China this was definitely the one closest in being good enough to be exported. Also Helen´s side project shouldn´t be forgotten to get some mention: THE PET CONSPIRACY are somewhat of a supegroup of china´s electro-rock scene. Very fashionable!!
Albeit slowly progressing, there is also a DJ scene beyond bad house and even worse music out there (don´t search for it in China´s provincial backwaters though). Speaking with a few DJs from the S.O.S. and ACCUPUNCTURE crews in Beijing, minimal techno is growing stronger the last two years. If or if not this development is linked to an increasing use of highly unrecommended substances can be left open for speculation.
One is for sure: While going through a lot of positive change in recent years, the chinese music scene experienced a severe backlash in 2008. Why is that? Well, as you can guess the highly sensitive issue of Tibet (worsened by the outbreak of violence in March) combined with a general pre-Olympics nervousness featuring a propaganda war between China and the West, is not a very favourable environment for staging big events. But the final blow came with the Shanghai performance of Icelandic singer BJÖRK in March. During her song "Declare Independence" she chanted "Tibet, Tibet", thus giving the Chinese side enough reason for cancelling most if not all big events throughout China. Subsequently it became a lot harder for international artists to perform in China - and touring China, even without restrictions, is a very special experience.
An experience I shared with german band MEDIENGRUPPE TELEKOMMANDER. While playing a broad arrange of different concerts (featuring an audience of chinese university girls in Hanghzhou, who resembled the naïve/unspoiled smiling female teenagers in the 50s and demanded an hourlong autograph session, a performance in front of headbanging metal kids and a culturally loaded concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai), the most anticipated should have taken place on the main stage, 5:30 pm at Midi Festival. Well, should have… Three days before the scheduled gig Midi got cancelled… According to virtually everybody (although not to the official version), the reason why that happened was: The Björk concert. But a cancellation in China not necessarily seems not to be a cancellation in the original sense. One day later, the Midi reemerged - unless this time on a much smaller scale, planned for the premises of Midi school and not the much bigger venue at Haidian Park. Needless to say, that one day after this event got cancelled as well. You have to be flexible in China - so I booked another show in Shanghai instead… Later I heard, that there still has been SOMETHING going on at the Midi School. Whatever it was - the band already was in Shanghai playing at some kind of heavy-metal-festival @ LIVE BAR. Should I have been surprised seeing metal kids headbanging to MTK´s electro-techno-punk? Or should I just be happy, that in this historic time in China, scenes still do not clearly exist? Might this be a new struggle between the old communist, collective spirit and the new capitalist, indivudalist one? Time will tell...
+++ INTERVIEW WITH MEDIENGRUPPE TELEKOMMANDER - ON THEIR WAY TO CHINA 03/2008 +++
First encounter with Mediengruppe Telekommander Köln, Gebäude 9. The two guys just brought out their second album "Näher am Menschen" and look a bit tired.
Philipp: Every band has its founding myth ("Gründungsmythos"). Which one is yours?
Mediengruppe Telekommander: Our founding myth is, that we both met on a train ride from Salzburg to Berlin. Which is not true (laughing). It´s a myth.
P: You just made it up?
MTK: No - the press made it up. We were confronted with it one day. Somebody said:"Ah you met in a train." And than it was written everywhere - but, in fact, it never happened that way. You know, I think it was something like: Ah - this dream couple that meets somewhere in space and time (chuckling) - but actually we met each other through a friend.
P: So could you tell us the true story?
MTK: The true story is, that in 1989 we both moved to Berlin not knowing each other yet. And a friend of mine, who I lived with, was working with Gerald. And he told me, that we should get in touch and maybe share a flat. And that´s what we did.
P: Isn´t it funny, that nearly every journalist wrote the wrong story?
MTK: Well, you know, people just like things like that. They want to hear stories, which don´t happen everyday.
P: The same kind of thing happened when the press wrote about your new album: Everywhere was written, that you don't want to be called the german Beastie Boys because you said this in one of your songs..
MTK: Yeah - that is another misunderstanding. People now think, that we used this phrase to point out, that we ourselves think, that we are the german Beastie Boys. But what we tell in this song is just what people were saying about us. Things that weren´t true. And it´s about all the gossip that was around us: We heard all these things: That we take drugs all the time. That we sound like the german Beastie Boys. That one of us is so arrogant, that he doesn´t even talk to people - all those things. And we were just making fun of this gossip in that song.
P: If one looks as your two albums it seems as if everything is being made very conceptual….
MTK: Yes, that´s right: When we write music or when we plan an album we work very conceptual. We mostly have one topic, one headline for which we write songs. For the first album this headline was "Die Ganze Kraft einer Kultur" (The whole power of one culture) and for the second one it was "Näher am Menschen" (Closer to the human being). These are also the titles of our two albums.
P: How would you describe your lyrics?
MTK: We write our lyrics in a cut up technique. We write down headlinesm we look at advertisement in the streets and than we bring all this inspiration together. It might appear political but in fact it isn´t. We just don´t disconnect ourselves from what we see or what we experience. We always see ourselves as part of the lyrics and what we talk about - we use a lot of irony, too.
P: Could you tell us a bit about your Las Vegas video? (you can find that one on this page)
MTK: I think, that was one of our best experiences with being with MUTE, because this record company had a package deal with the production firm of the video. So, all the money, that they would give them, was already send to their account. This production company already did two videos and a lot of live shooting with us and we became close friends with them. So when it came to the point of doing another video and the main line of the song was "Let´s scream pop until you puke" (Pop - Bis zum Erbrechen schreien) we were thinking about what to do with that money.There were many concepts and a lot of them were pretty shitty but one evening - we were out drinking - one guy of the production company said: "Well, why don´t we just go to Las Vegas, spend all the money and film you doing that?" (laughs) So we just booked the flights and the record company only knew that we were in Las Vegas when we already arrived. But when we were there we realized, that spending money and filming people spending money is really boring when you look at it. Another problem was, that we didn´t had so much money left because the flights were so expensive. So we just bought these funny costumes and had a good time, although Las Vegas is really boring after three days because there is really nothing to do except gambling. And so we were just fooling around and shooting a lot of footage. In the end we still had a lot of fun and I think you can see that in the video.
P: So what´s up next?
MTK: We´ll tour a lot and than start to write new songs. And then we really want to take a break. The last two winters have been really horrible - especially in Berlin. So this time we want to go somewhere where it is warm.
P: And where to you plan to go?
Gerald: Australia and Asia
Florian: I get myself an around the world ticket..
Clever guys these are: They seem to live on the sunny side of globalization which is the reason why the second meeting takes place on a date when supposedly the german spring should be on its way. In fact today was the first day in a LONG period of time where snow was to be seen on the streets of Cologne. And this on March 24th 2008!!! Anyhow, on thisstrange day in March, Florian and Gerald seemed refreshed and in good spirit to play one of their first concerts of the new season in Essen (Zeche Carl). It is the beginning of a one week tour with the so called Jägermeister Rock Liga, one of these strange band contests organized by a corporate sponsor. But one has to admit: While the former rock leagues where kind of ridicilous, old fashioned rock events, the line up of this one is actually pretty nice (good job Marko!). And the two competitors of MTK, namely ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE and ZOOT WOMAN are really cool blokes. I guess, this tour will be a lot of fun - too bad, that I can´t be there. But to say goodbye this time is not too hard, because the next hello will be in SHANGHAI (April 14th)!!!
+++ THE POPKOMM - C/O POP HISTORY 08/2007 +++
---- WUPPERTAL mid 80s - COLOGNE 2003 ----
Ok, let´s begin at the beginning: During the mid-80s some dudes organized the first music-fairs in Wuppertal, the hometown of Friedrich Engels and the Schwebebahn. But the first fair which actually was named Popkomm took place in 1989 in Düsseldorf. Reportedly 18 exhibitors and their few guests turned the venue called Zakk into some sort of a house party. Then, in 1990 the golden Cologne years began. The fair got bigger and bigger, something it had in common with Dieter Gorny former Representative for Rockmusic of Northtrhine-Westfalia. Not only was he one of the driving forces behind the Popkomm, the big man of Germany´s music industry also gave Germany its answer to MTV: VIVA. So, in 1993, four years after MTV Europe had been sending its english-language programme from East-Berlin, German teenagers could witness how gorgeous German VJ Heike Makatsch spoke her first TV sentences on VIVA. In German - at that time quite revolutionary. During the 90s Popkomm was growing to become the world´s biggest music fair, VIVA started the glorious albeit financially unstustainable VIVA2, MTV launched its German language programme and everybody seemed to be quite happy. But with the turn of the century and the invention of CD burners, not to mention the impact of MP3 and the internet on music sales, everything got slightly out of control. Major CEOs suddenly faced problems justifying their lavish stands at Popkomm and so, with the music industry in crisis, the Popkomm, peaking in 2000 with about 17.000 business visitors, declined, too. Something had to happen. And since it was happening in Berlin everybody moved there, especially from Cologne: record companies, VIVA, musicians and of course the Popkomm itself. (The latest "Berlin-victim" so far is SPEX, one of Germany´s longest existing music magazines, which moved its headquarters to Berlin in the beginning of 2007). The situation for the self-proclaimed "media center" Cologne was so devastating, at least seen from the music (-media) side, that local trio "Angelika Express" sung: "Why don´t you just move to Berlin / to where all your friends have gone" (Geh doch nach Berlin / wohin deine Freunde ziehn). Anyway, a lot of people, that stayed in Cologne saw their chance in focussing on what Cologne was well known for: From Karlz-Heinz Stockhausen to minimal-techno. Cologne had long been a center for all sorts of electronic music and with Kompakt still has one of the worldwide leading labels in this area. Consequently, in December 2003, just four months after Popkomm declared to move to Berlin, a new festival was announced to take popkomm´s date in 2004. The c/o pop was born!!! As co-founder and programme director of Cologne´s Club 672 Ralph Christoph assured in various interviews, c/o pop would have come into existence with or without the relocation of popkomm. This was due to the fact, that popkomm was more or less dictating which artists the clubs had to host. And there was not a lot of electronic music on popkomm´s agenda at that time. So, what started as c/o pop could be seen as kind of a rescue plan for Cologne as a center for electronic music. This was what the c/o pop wanted to display. Look here: This is Cologne. This is what is happening here. Unfortunately, since minimal-techno not much has happened in Cologne. And while Kompakt & co. were busy with exporting Cologne´s minimal techno to the world, the world somehow forgot to come to Cologne. Trends still arrive somewhat late here. Just one example: While the world from New York to Paris to Sao Paolo to London to Berlin electroclashed and later nu-raved its way through hedonism LCD Soundsystem already lost its edge when it made the cover on Cologne´s music magazine empire Intro. (Somewhat more up to date is Intro´s great Melt-Festival - but guess where the booker of the festival is located..). But let´s look at the bright side: Thanks to c/o pop at least SOMETHING is happening in Cologne. Other than that there is only Europe´s biggest reggae festival Summerjam, and some fine club concerts that attract people from outside to come to Cologne because of music. (Only this year -2007- the long running S.O.M.A. festival shrunk into insignificance, too). And hey, into its fourth year, the internationalization of c/o pop makes quite some progress. 13 european festivals, albeit rather the underdogs than the big players, send some artists over and even DJs from Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand make it to Cologne. And at least two of the planets hottest acts right now will play: Ed Banger´s two song wonder Uffie and UK-Sri-Lankese activist gal M.I.A. By the way - the former will be supported from Cologne´s hippest youngsters: Mit. For this event, two of the band members even are coming back to their hometown. They recently have moved to: Berlin!!
Some remarks added: Although the article might contain some air of despair regarding Cologne´s music scene - it has to be relativized. Especially, if one was spending a beautiful afternoon at a wonderful little open air called Come Together (big up!!) in Cologne´s Friedenpark. As the name suggests it was a sunny event with a somewhat hippiesh feeling. Neon clad scenesters met rasta-wearing anti-hipsters and Cologne´s young designers met Cologne´s old 68ers. Music was in the air and people danced, even if they risked to look stupid. A great event for a great sunday afternoon - and in deed bringing together a lot of people from different fields. But all was topped at my way home. Just stopping at a kiosk to buy another beer, I bumped into somebody. It was Götz Widmann, one half of Joint Venture, the first band I ever interviewed (in 1999). I once cleaned his flat with some friends and as a reward he played at a demonstration against student fees right in front of Cologne´s cathedral!! Joint Venture got famous for singing songs about smoking pot ("Smoking pot makes you harmless"), politicians that fuck (instead of fucking politicians) and chronicles of alcoholism - just the sort of things you could get through your rebellion years with - but nothing, which ever would touch the music press´ criteria of In or Out. But while the first Joint Venture gig I saw was attended by 50 people (ca. 1998), at the latest concert of Götz Widmann (Rheinkultur 07/2008), who continued solo after his partner died, there were about 3000 people singing a-long.
So let´s put it like this: Continuity is a nice word and living the life you feel like living might be a good idea. Do your thing, do it good - and the people will like it. Yeah- maybe this is the message dear c/o pop. Open your heart, let some more people in and - enjoy. Achtung Radio will anyway. Be it at popkomm, c/o pop, come together, coming with you or staying here. See you there, SOMEWHERE!!
+++ HANS NIESWANDT +++
Kölner Kunstverein, 07/2007
You can call Hans Nieswandt an intellectual DJ traveller. In 1994, when he still was an editor at SPEX, one of Germany´s most influential music magazines at that time, he was asked by the Goethe Institute (GI) to tell them about what is going on in Germany´s electronic music scene. Apparently they were so impressed, that they send him to Brazil to repeat his lecture over there. From then on the Cologne based DJ and producer travelled around the world in the name of German Club Culture. His journeys brought him to various parts of the world. About the experiences he made while giving DJ workshops in the middle-east he wrote a book called "Disco Ramallah". Most recently, in May 2007, he visited the SAN region (the abbreviation, commonly used by the GI, stands for Southeast-Asia, Australia, New Zealand)
PHilipp: Please tell a bit about the background of your journey.
Hans: A few years ago the Goethe Institute began to think about diverting financial resources away from Europe because it was believed, that in Europe everything would work more or less on its own. Other than some cultural institutions which were complaining about these plans, I thought that it was the right decision. I mean, you don´t need to bring a german DJ to France - he can do that by himself - but to bring him to Asia- that is another story because Clubs there often neither can afford to bring him over nor have the contacts to do so. In this context, the GI decided to focus more on Asia, South America and the Arab World. While I´ve been sent to the arabic region before, this year I was sent as a scout to see what is going on in the SAN region. Of course this is a huge area with gigantic cultural differences - on one side of the extremes I would name Vietnam as the most exotic and strange one, and on the other New Zealand as the one which is closest to our mentality.
P: How would you describe the music scene in those countries?
H: What was quite remarkable for me was to find out, how big the influence of anglo-musicjournalism in the former colonies is. What is club culture or who is famous is essentially defined by english music magazines. For me, this resulted in the following, rather strange situation: In Kuala Lumpur I was sitting with some local DJs in a café when they told me: "Hey, last week some other famous DJ from Germany visited us- his name was Ronsky Speed." And I was like: "I´ve never heard of this guy" which made me feel a bit stupid because I was invited as an expert and full connaisseur of german DJ culture. So they showed me the new edition of the MixMag which was running the cover story "The worlds 100 most famous DJs" and, of course, there he was: Rank 35. Guys like MICHAEL MAYER or DJ KOZE who we in Germany probably would consider great DJs weren´t even mentioned. PAUL VAN DYK, ok, was ranked third…. So, I got myself informed and found out that Ronsky Speed is kind of a hard-trance god from Erfurt, who nobody I asked ever has heard about. But apparently in England and in the hard trance scene he is quite big - and this seems to be also the dominating understanding of club culture in the countries that I´ve visited - very Ibiza like and not very, hm, interesting.
P:But other countries have been colonized by France or the US. Was it like this there as well?
H: Well, the Philipines for example were a Spanish colony for 200 years and an american one for 50 years. So it is kind of different but also very similar. It is a region where a lot of tourists go and the tourist-disco-style is quite universal. Where it was really different was Vietnam. There you can feel a big Chinese influence. Consequently the techno that is played there is called Chinese techno - a sound that makes fun out of every description. This is the copy of the copy and is like Crazy Frog meets SCOOTER but in stupid (laughs). Additionally it is a lot faster (we speak of 139 bpm here), louder, and has some tribal influence to it. To sum it up: It makes your ears go flying. Also, there exist no clubs at all that have their roots in a countercultural movement like it is the case in Germany, where a lot of House and Techno clubs come from this background.
P: Talking about clubs that reminds me of the eamail I received from you when I was in China. You were telling me, that you got involved with some club that belonged to the mafia ("hatte vorhin sogar voellig seltsame Hinterzimmer-Debatten in einem Club, der der Mafia untersteht...schudder!")…
H: Exactly, I had to dj there in order to promote an open air event in Hanoi (this open air was part of the German Cultural Week there). Besides: After twenty minutes somebody threw a beer bottle at me that was this Club Apparently the club owners were a bit sceptic and thought it would be better that I introduce myself. So the evening before I djed, I met the management in a backroom of the club. And this management consisted of the club manager, the dj manager, the sound manager and, ah, some manager for special tasks (laughs). And I had my local manager also with me. So I sat there with five Vietnamese people, all of them deadly serious and talking in Vietnamese - then some sort of clerk entered the room, he looked like a liftboy, you know, wearing this funny hat and this ridicolous liftboy uniform, and he brought us a bottle of Remy Martin. (laughs) So,we were sitting there with this bottle of Remy Martin and from time to time my local manager translated something like: "He says ……they often had problems with western DJs" And then: "He says ….. they threw cigarette boxes at Danny Teneglia" For me all that sounded as if they were negotiating on how many fingers I would get cut off in case I would suck. But then they said: "Ok let´s try it". Then the next day I had a soundcheck, but this soundcheck was more like a rehearsal or let´s say: casting. Well, and while I was "rehearsing" I could see about 100…slaves who were preparing decoration for the Vietnamese national holiday. This is not without irony considering that Vietnam still calls itself a communist country and that these working slaves in that club had numbers instead of names. To give the story the end it deserves: The night after I played at the Club the police came, closed it down and arrested a thousand people, of which 700 carried drugs with them. But at this point I was already far away … lucky me (laughs)
P: That you tell me all this has a reason...
H: Yeah, I didn´t do the travelling not just to promote german music abroad but also to bring together potential partners from Germany and these countries. And this will happen at the co/pop in Cologne. TRI MINH (Hanoi), NANNUE TITIPIER (Bangkok), HENRY FOUNDATION (Jakarta), RUBBER INC. (Manila), XHIN (Singapore), RAY SOO ( Kuala Lumpur), JAMIE LLOYD (Sydney) SIMON FLOWER (Auckland) will come and most of them will play on thursday night at Gewölbe/Wespolat the co/pop. It will be quite an eclectic programme of Laptop electro and DJs. Also these guys will meet their future partners at this evening. For example Die Gebrüder Teichman will go to Manila, Console to Bangkok, Turner to Jakarta, Matthias Tanzmann to New Zeeland, Matthias Schaffhäuser to Singapore, Superpitcher to Kuala Lumpur, Adam Butler to Hanoi, and Trickski to Sidney.
P: But after all what you told, do you think that the acts you mentioned can compete with the standard we have here in Germany?
H: Well, I think if you have a closer look on what is going on you definitely find people, that do very interesting and modern stuff and are also very informed what is happening elsewhere. At this point I have to mention the generally good preparatory work of the GI. Especially the work of the interns regarding those activities should not be underestimated. You also have to see, that the electronic musicians are very well informed about what is happening elsewhere. But what is a big difference is the structure: In Germany, and this is a thing you usually only realize when you´re abroad, we have an excellent music press. I mean you can criticize De:Bug, Spex or Groove of course, but for our music scene it has a very positive effect. It really pushes the productivity and quality of the artistic output because everything is reviewed in those magazines, and consequently the musicians as well as the general public are very well informed. Also we have a huge amount of labels. Nearly every DJ has its own label - and there is also a huge purchasing power. And all that doesn´t exist in Asia. There is NO musicpress. I mean, ok- for example in Singapore you have a magazine with party fotos where Paul van Dyk and Tiesto are celebrated - so let´s say there is no musicpress that is very critical. And: There are no labels. And I hope through this exchange the Asian DJs will have a chance to publish on a German label as the Mexican DJ-collective Nortec did, when we had the exchange with Mexico a few years ago. This is also the reason why German artists are going to Asia this autumn - to produce there with their counterparts in the hope that some records and compilations will follow.