Sunday, August 01, 2010

Wareika Interview

Well, not by me unfortunately. I've never really collaborated with any other source on this blog, but I had an email the other week from Florian Schirmacher asking me if I'd like to print an English translation of a Wareika interview that went up on Higher Frequency, a Japanese site. Florian's input into the discerning side of what passes today for electronic dance music is exhaustive; I won't list everything here, just check on his Myspace site. Anyway, here's a link to the original interview, only in Japanese . . . I've made no changes to the transcript I was sent as I'm very much a fan of those embarrassing, but endearing, glitches that can surface during the translation process. Everything is aspically preserved in its original form. Talking of form, Wareika have that in spades at the moment. They've just released their second long-player of the year, 'Harmonie Park' on Perlon. Preceding that we had 'Formation' on Tartelet and, as if that wasn't enough, their remix of Aufgang's 'Barock' on Infine was the rack that closed my penultimate radio show back in February, the final show being a collection of classics all of which had been released before the twenty-first century, (except for 'Cosmos' by Omar S which, if I'm honest, was squeezed in to fill the schedule).

HigherFrequency Interview for Wareika
Interview by Keita Takahashi

I'm appreciate to have your interview this time. Your New Album "Harmonie Park" is highly acclaimed here in Japan as well - so I 'd like to ask much things in this interview. Thank you in advance.

Q1. At First, Could you tell about your first gig in Japan in April? Did you find any differences between audience in Japan and in EU, or in US? And, what did you do in your spare time in Japan?

The Japanese are real Music Fans. We love doing music and really stick to our productions. We would like to create intensive moments, weather in the studio or live. And the audience in Japan is referring to that. Thank you Japan for your love and respect!

It has been a great adventure for Wareika to play at the Unit Club. The technicians there are sooo good: We do remember the Fender guitar amp on stage, which could fit in a Fender museum as well. Those are rarely to find on stage and at the Unit Club it was easily there. This kind of support is just a glimpse, which could fit to our distributor Ultra Vybe and the Unit Crew as well.

To go back to the concert: It wasn't just a party, where people go to find some amusement. It felt more like a concert, the people where so seriously checking out what we do there on stage.
But still, it was GREAT fun for everyone. We like this combination of a Party/Concert thing.
After the show we had a really good sushi breakfast, with lots of tempura, soup and all that stuff, and the next day we went out for delicious shabu-shabu with the promoters and everyone. In the end we have to say: "We love Japan!" and we are seriously looking forward to our next gig in Tokyo in December.

02. I really enjoy your new Album "Harmonie Park" itself and there's one more thing attracting me is it's from Perlon. Could you tell how did you involved with Perlon and their owner Zip? (I also remembered Florian joined Pantytec's Single 'Elastobabe' in 2002 as a vocalist.)

Besides the collaboration of the Elastobabe Single and the Pony Slay Station Album on Perlon ( both 2002) where Florian could contribute his Vocals ( especially “Supratahiti” is a kind of track to remember! ), Zip was a friend of Wareika from the early beginning. He was interested in some tracks from us. But we already had promised/ or released it. He could give us some very interesting advertises and in general we thank to the support as well to the whole Perlon Crew like Sammy Dee and Thomas Melchior.

And by listening to Thomas Melchior`s Album “No disco Future” you might find a “spirit”, which is not that far from our Album as well.

Due to this comradeship we exchanged tracks, though they are not “suitable” to Perlon. For us Perlon is a label, which is going far beyond “techno” boundaries. This is what we would like to tell with the “Harmonie Park Epos” as well: A deep confession to techno and something far beyond.

What kind of feedback have you got from the label so far? Did they show some directions to you about your production? Then, from your point of view, what's is the good point / most characteristic point of Perlon?

No, the artist itself should work on his art alone. We feel like an art community- not a label. So there has been just ideas from Ricardo which influenced, of course. And if you look to the result, you see, perlon has given the most efforts to speak with the artists tongue: A CD for free to get into the Album as a whole and the vinyl splitted to two records( the Harmonie Park Album is splitted to two 12” with mixed sides), that the dj can play the whole “Song/ Album” in one flow as well. There was no ambition by the label to get involved into our creative decisions. There is a huge respect and appreciation for our work, and that is what it's all about!

Is a characterization useful for a label? It can be only personal and it should be unuseful for those who discover Perlon first time. Due to a critic behaviour we show our work through this family.
To bring most efforts into the detail- Purity and so much love given in a glimpse- A joke, a very short moment of time and on the other hand a total spreadingthetimetoforever.
Due to the current negotiation to the mp3 industry Perlon gives a political statement to the music business to develop better quality. Besides all ironic and joky fun, perlon is doing a political statement. That a new aspect as well. That is perlon to me (florian).

Q3. About "Harmonie Park", All tracks connected seamlessly, and It's long, conceptial album which has 4 different parts. I personally feel this format is quite suitable for Wareika's true value, and musically digging more deeper than formar album "Formation".

Could you tell the concept / background story about "Harmonie Park" and the meaning of the title? What kind of things ware in your mind when you worked on this? When and where did you actually make
this album?

By the end of 2008 we enjoyed that our beloved "King's Child" was remixed by Ricardo Villalobos.
He shared his feelings about Wareika's music with us and that he feels the possibility to stretch our music out even longer. Ricardo's advice was a spark that emblazed tons of fuel in our minds, and we immediately started to work on an one hour layout.
It was not about making an album with different tracks, but to present us with the freedom to thing big, and to allow many things to happen musically, which would never fit into a usual 12 minute Wareika song. The song has a really huge architecture, for example tracks fading in for about 20 minutes, and also polymetric structures that loop after 56 bars and stuff like that. Harmonie Park is based on 76 BPM!!!. This is maybe the slowest Perlon song ever.

We listened a lot to music that just takes it's time, like an indian raga or a western classical peace.
You could never tell a story like that in 10 minutes, so we just questioned ourselves why should house music be limited to a mere DJ tool? We are just working on to spread this perspective a bit.

In the end, the concept of Harmony Park is freedom and peaceful coexistence.

Q4. There're some technical question - Did you install any new instruments or updating some after making the formar album? Also, Could you tell who played the piano on first half of this album, and the brass in latter half?

The technical stuff we used for HP is exactly the same as for Formation. A well equipped studio need 't to be constantly updated.
We work with analogue gear, like a 60's Premier jazz drumset, or a Roland Super Jupiter, or a Sherman filter unit, which you cannot update, because it sounds perfect like it is. But we updated our skills to use all this stuff!

The first half of HP was constructed of a drum and piano session that we recorded over a polyrhythmic layout of 808 beats. Florian was playing our 1920's "Feuerbach" piano (which sounds a bit detuned always), and Henrik played drums. Jakob did lots of the editing stuff that followed afterwards.
Than we programmed the huge arrangement of polymetric synth lines, modulations and stuff, and we recorded some guitar. Later a very weird but groovy 7 to 8 polyrhythm appeared, which formed the foundation for the latter part.
The brass was first programmed, and than overdubbed by Florian on trumpet and Henrik on saxophone. Again most of the great editing and mixing stuff was done by Jakob.
In the very end, the three of us celebrated a free meditation with Saz, Saxophone, Flutes and stuff, which appears completely like it was recorded on the record.

Q5. Next, I'd like to hear about the early days of Wareika.
Did you form your band around 2008? (because I remember your first release was at that time...)
And, I found you have much things in common with the artists that named "Influences" on your MySpace - keep trying new things musically and deeply rooted musically on their local. Are there any influence from Hamburg on Wareika's music, if yes, What is it? Could you neme some artist friends from Hamburg?

Wareika was formed in the late 2007, initiated by a very long drum and percussion session that we held. This session formed also the basic idea for our first release, "Men Village".
Musical influence comes from various artists of various countries and ages, but also a lot from our teachers. I would like to name Wofram Simon, founder of the Hamburg World Music Institute (, who introduced us to most of the polyrhythmic playing that we use.

Q6. About the live performance, What is the most important point for your live? Could you tell how to feedback your live experience to the studio production? and tell some interesting story from your live shows?

An interesting story is, that after we finished our first studio productions, and had the released, we started to think about how to play this live, and where absolutely clueless.
We thought we'd need at least six or eight musicians and tons of equipment to bring this on stage.
But then we focused on the possibilities you have on small club stages, and we concentrated everything into a Fender Rhodes, electric guitar, MPC and some filters and EFX. Later we changed the Rhodes for a Prophet 8, to get more tonal possibilities. We also tried Saxophone on stage, but it has to be improved furthermore.
Playing our complex productions in such a concentrated ensemble, led us to think about variating with notes and grooves more than with sounds.
If you only have only one instrument on stage, e.g. the guitar or piano, you really make up your mind how much groove you can squeeze out of it. That means in the end to practice for ours every day! Also arranging "on the fly" became an issue, due to Jakob's great work on the MPC.
But we still dream of playing HP with a grand piano, jazz drums and brass on stage.

Q7. Could you tell some future plans, like new materials, new shows etc? And, I found on MySpace that you're planning next Japan gig in December, What can we expect for it? (Definitely I'll be there!)

Recently, we are working on some remixes and a few new tracks. Also some ideas for the next album are already there. It is a matter of time. We will continue to play a lot live in the next month, and of course, the next Japan gig is one of the highlights for the second half of the year!!
Thank you Japan to be invited again. We did not decide yet, what our show will be like… feel free to come.


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