> KAPOTTE MUZIEK Interview by Dmitry “Dim” Kolesnik (1998)
This interview was obtained somewhen at the beginning of September, 1998. Frans de Waard was so kind to answer my questions via e-mail. I wish to thank him as well as Geert-Jan for support and assistance.
1.Who are KAPOTTE MUZIEK now? Can you indicate yourself as a leader?
At the moment KM is myself in all the studio work, and for live concerts also Peter Duimelinks (since 1993) and Roel Meelkop (since 1995). Jokingely they refer to me as the leader, but it’s not like that. When we play live, each has an equal saying in what we do. We know eachother for more then 10 years now, so it’s not natural that anyone is the leader.
2. How would you define other members of KM, what are their attitude towards the band, how do you think?
We all three have an open mind toward sound – and just sound, anything else is not important. Everybody is very critical to what the other does, but everybody appreciates the opinion of the other.
3. Birthplace of the band, present location.
KM started in 1984 in Nijmegen, together with a guy named Christian Nijs, who left 4 years later. In the meantime I lived in Den Haag, Roel and Peter in Rotterdam, but now I am back in Nijmegen (since july 1998).
4. Short story of your musical career. Why did you started creating music and KM as well?
From a very early age on I was interested in doing music myself, so tried various things, like writing notes on score paper, which looked good, but having a clue how it would sound. Punk music in 1977 was for me trigger to do some of my own, but quickly I realised that the three chord guitar music involved training too. In 1980 I got a copy of Steve Reich’s Drumming and I was fascinated by the minimal, rhythmical approach. I learned more how Reich worked, and thought “wow if it’s that simple, I can do it myself”, so I started making tapeloops of anything I could lay my hands upon. In 1984 I was asked to compile a tape with Dutch industrial music, so I invited everybody I knew, and of course I needed to make a track myself. Then KM was born…
5. What was your education and had it any influence on you musical drive?
My father wanted me to learn and play the piano, so I had lessons for a few months. But I didn’t like to practice. Then he gave me a guitar (acoustic), but again I was more interested in doing just noise with it (recording on a reel-to-reel tapedeck and then slowing it down). So I had no formal training and thus it had no influence.
6. What is the history of your relations with Staalplaat?
Before I started working for Staalplaat I had my own label, Korm Plastics, and I released cassettes and vinyl. In 1992 I finished university where I studied History, and I thought, maybe I can make Korm Plastics into a real business. So I asked around and then Geert-Jan of Staalplaat (they were always selling my products) called and said: if you’re looking for job, I have one. So since then I worked with Staalplaat.
7. What function do you play in Staalplaat?
I do a bit of everything: buying new products, selling, writing texts, a bit of accounting and generally speak to everybody who calls.
8. Does Korm Plastics still exists and what is going on with it now?
It still exists, as part of Staalplaat. I release mostly vinyl, just music I like myself and mainly from people I like. Also we’re doing the Korm Plastics Introductionairy Paperback series, where we introduce new artists (because that’s what interested me most, working with young and unknown artists).
9. What way will you introduce KM to those who never listened to its music but have desire?
To explain what I do people who are not really open minded is useless… usually I just tell a lot of the way things work for us when making music, making references to things they might know. Nowadays it seems easier, because popmusic is more radical, in terms of production, so it’s possible to refer to that.
10. What kind of music (groups, singers) had the most influence on your development? Other words o where can we find your musical roots?
Most definitely not in singers, as I don’t like vocal music at all. My main inspiration goes back to the early eighties, bands like Throbbing Gristle, Hafler Trio, Asmus Tietchens, and from there back to the history of electro-acoustic music, Pierre Schaeffer. John Cage has been a great influence on my thinking of music, rather then his own music.
11. What music do you listen most often now? Can you name any band or artist which you keep your eyes on all the time?
I have a wide taste, from music with guitars (post-rock), to techno and industrial music. There is however very few people I want to hear everything of, or even collect. Asmus Tietchens is one.
12. Do you try too pay much attention for the modern music? Does it inspire you?
What do you call ‘modern music’? I like techno, but don’t like drum & bass, which is digital jazz rock. Techno music is a great inspiration for some of work, as I like the minimal changes in there.
13. If you had to stay on an desert island for ever, what one CD will you take with you?
No CD at all. I hope to enjoy the sound of the island itself.
14. Do you feel yourselves apart from your listeners, or your way of thinking is the same as people who stand on another side of stage? You denied existence of any messages in your works, so do you feel any connection with your invisible listeners? Did you have any response ever?
No, I think the musician and listener have the same kind of thinking (nor do I think this is favourable). People often tell us afterwards what they think or feel, which is a nice thing, since one likes to get some response. But it’s not a necessity for us.
15. Do you think you are popular? What is popularity for you?
Humm… I don’t think I am very popular… in the sense that I sell a lot of CD’s (most of my work doesn’t sell very well). But many people know me, either from my music, or my work. And I know a lot of people have an opinion on what I do or so. It’s because I do a lot of work, music, Staalplaat, Vital Weekly. So many people talk like: ‘oh but Frans de Waard likes this, hates that etc.’.
16. Does it help or confuse you? Where do you think you are popular mostly?
There is no country where I am particular popular…
17. What stuff do you use for recording and mixing? If it is possible, please describe on the example of you track ‘Tweede Russelsheim’ on Sonderangebot compilation (CD – July 1996), Staalplaat, ( with all that vinyl scratching – do you remember?) how did you make it o every sound from the very beginning, whole technology, all used equipment, whole process etc.
I use very simple analogue techniques: 4 track, 14 track mixing board, 2 different etc, DAT machine, guitar and Korg synth. The track you refer to, uses a lot of found sound material, as with KM, for each concert we go out and search of waste, junk to produce sound.
18. Have you ever tried to make totally conceptual album, with counterpoints and any common idea? Name if it exists. Tell about recycling principle you mentioned once.
In some way, I would regard KM as a total concept, entirely bout recycling. In the studio re-using sound material, and on stage re-using trash and junk. Together with Roel Meelkop I will release a 10″ of music entirely made with the sound of glass. However I wouldn’t refer to this as a ‘conceptual’ album (which is more like an outdated term for mid seventies symphonic rock albums!)
19. What is you attitude to computer, as an unlimited source for developing and creating sounds? Don’t you deny computer at all as MUSLIMGAUZE does for example?
I don’t deny any technique, as its not the technique that makes the difference, it’s the result. Results should matter, not how the were generated. I use no computer in my own studio, but I sometimes work with that, for instance with Roel Meelkop. It’s just a different technique, not better or worse. What I don’t like are people buying a lot of computer hardiest stuff and then think the work is done. The result is the work.
20. Who is the author of the covers’ concepts of your CDs? Can you say it is important for you to create cover relative to the content of music?
It’s different. Sometimes I deliver the idea for the design, sometimes the label. Ultimately I would prefer an album with no cover, just bandname and nothing else (this makes me jealous of Francisco Lopez who does this). As just the music counts, nothing else is important.
21. Can you say you have visionable image? If yes , how can you define it?
Not really. My image is to have none.
22. Are you interested in policy? Have you ever got any influence or pressure by policy on you?
I am not so much interested in politics as I used to be, and even then it was of real importance on what I did. Over the years I started to believe that music can’t hold anything political message – album covers can, lyrics can, but music itself: no.
23. What tastes do you have behind music o what literature, cinema etc. are of your interest?
I am very boring person here, but I never read literature, never go the cinema. I have one interest in life, and that’s music. Music for me is the only free arts, the total abstractness. Other forms of art are usually filled with meaning, metaphors, and I am usually not very much interested in those.
24. Please, name all your side-projects, and give a short definition to every of them, if possible. What is your favourite one and why?
Beequeen, which I am doing with Freek Kinkelaar. This is a sort of mixture between ambient, industrial and electro-acoustic music. Shifts, my solo project of ambient guitar music. Goem, techno minimalista, with Peter Duimelinks and Roel Meelkop Quest, another solo project of synthesizer based music. Captain Black, who just does remixes. And sometimes I work under my own name. There is no particular reason for doing work under my own name…
At the moment I like doing Shifts and Goem a lot, Quest is laid to rest. And now that I am in Nijmegen again, I may work more with Beequeen (since Freek lives here too).
25. What’s the ideal place for concert for you, ideal public?
The place is not really important. But the people should be able to sit on chair, and there should be a good sound system. The audience should be listening and not talking.
26. What collaboration work is most memorable for you?
So many are important. I liked having a CD with Asmus Tietchens and Achim Wollscheid, I liked playing with zoviet*france a few months back, and I liked doing music with Merzbow, and these are just three of the many I did.
27. Whom would you like to work with in the future?
Not with anybody in particular. I take things as they come.
28. What artists from STAALPLAAT label can you recommend to your listeners?
My favourite Staalplaat CD”s include: Jim O’Rourke, Gregory Whitehead, Henri Chopin, Illusion Of Safety, Roel Meelkop, Tape-beatles…
29. What is the best achievement of KM and your solo work? What was the disappointment and what would you prefer to forget forever?
I do very much like ‘Verder by KM, ‘Add’ by KM, the shifts work (all), the Goem work (all) and the last works by Beequeen. I don’t think I have particular dissatisfaction with any work. They had a meaning when they were made. Luckily I did so much, that I can’t play it all. Appreciation changes also over the years.
30. What could be the reason for your split or stopping musical career for you?
I don’t know, and maybe I don’t want to know.
31. What is the best group in the world , by your opinion?
The Beatles, no doubt. Good songs, good in their studio, very creative people.
32. How do you see your future? Your nearest plans and directions.
Make more music. Release more music. CD R will be the medium of the future, a return of the small editions, like cassettes used to be, but sounding much better.
33. How do you finally explain the name of KM?
It means ‘defective music’, and it was given by my father, who one day came and said: “I don’t know how you call this, punk, disco, funk, for me it’s all defective music”, and when I wanted to release some music, I thought it would be a good name.
34. Can you say that you finally turned to CD format releases and forgot cassettes? Are cassettes still available for retailing now? I suppose you can mention all KM CD- releases.
KM still releases cassettes, because it’s a nice medium. I use to present very rough stages of ongoing cassettes. And people still buy them. I can mention all KM releases, but not here and not now. It is a book of 25 pages with releases from everything I have done. I am thinking of getting a webpage at Staalplaat and publicise this there.
(Frans De Waard & Geert-Jan)
by Dmitry “Dim” Kolesnik (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Republic of Belarus (Specially for Achtung Baby!) (November 1998)