Glass sounds out the musical collective putting Krautclub on the map
Perfect. That’s a word that’s regularly repeated by the seven-piece organic meets electronic team of misfits Feindrehstar. Equal parts hip hop humour, jazz leanings and techno influences, they’ve arguably made the one of the finest musical crossover albums of the year with their debut Vulgarian Knights. Think Fela Kuti jamming in the studio with Matthew Jonson and all becomes illuminated. Kind of. Like hearing Fela for the first time, it’s something that needs to be heard to be understood. Indeed, the sound is so distinctive it’s even been given it’s own name: Krautclub.
Originally starting out as a hip hop collective a decade ago, the team consisting of Lars Mäurer on keys, Boris Nielsen on bass, Kalle Mille on trumpet, Johannes Haschke playing sax, DJ Legeres and dual beatsmiths Krishan Zeigner and Friedemann Ziepert on percussion and drums respectively, have slowly been carving their sound as the definitive organic ‘dance-music’ collective – whilst sounding remarkably removed from it. “We started in the end of the ‘90s with drum, bass, keys, trumpet a DJ and a rapper. Yeah, we were really into hip hop in the old days” says the band, preferring to answer questions as a solo entity. They continue “But you know, some parts started with rock and everyone loved jazz. Back in the old hip hop days Metaboman (owner of Jena based techno label Musik Krause and Freude am Tanzen which are releasing Vulgarian Knights) used to be in the band so we were infected with techno too.”
Somewhat unsurprisingly for a band that’s traversed genres as they have, it took them a while to secure a label release, finally finding themselves a suitable home with openminded broken beat chaps Jazzanova’s label Sonar Kollectiv in ’06. Their release ‘Dancetrack’ was lapped up by dancefloors and critics alike. Taking a shuffling lower end complete with “right-on” vocals and twinning them with a remarkably subtle house and funk drive, it became the de facto track of choice for all eclectic DJs from all walks of music with it resounding from the stages of Bestival to Big Chill, pirate radio to the BBC. Then, there was nothing. “[the four years between ‘Dancetrack’ and Vulgarian Knights] was a productive time full of privacy and privation” say the multiheaded behemoth continuing “we simply locked ourselves in to rehearse whilst saving up for the album.” Another member of the band pipes in. “But, you know, it was worth it. If we did anything earlier we wouldn’t of had the perfect couple of Jackmate and Axel Reinemer from Jazzanova work on it and produce the sound we found after all the time in the rehearsal room. The Jazzanova Studios had just the perfect equipment for us; incredible sounding old vintage microphones and a classic Neumann mixing console and Jackmate’s very own deep house producer skills flavouring the mix. We couldn’t ask for more. Perfect stuff.”
And so it is. Before departing, the band seem keen to clear the air and differentiate themselves from the spate of artists from labels whose recent output includes that of live performed house and techno. “Right now there are many techno/house live bands just pop out everywhere. But you know people like the real deal. Weirdly it seems to be a new trend but this has been going on in Jena for quite a while now, so it’s not at all new to us so it’s not enough for us to copy techno tracks. We think in song structures and speak techno. The perfect environment for us to develop Krautclub. ”
And with that, they’re gone. Expect to be hearing about Krautclub very soon. It’s rested a while, but is all the tastier for it.