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An exclusive interview with Jürgen Engler (Die Krupps)

11 May

Jürgen Engler of German industrial metal/EBM band DIE KRUPPS is this week’s special guest of The Blackout Radio Show with Mike Pougounas.

Die Krupps formed in 1980 by Jürgen Engler and Bernward Malaka in Düsseldorf, Germany.

We discussed about the band’s latest album “Vision 2020 Vision”, the history of the band and the way he sees international politics now as well as many other issues.

AN INTRODUCTION

The following is taken from the band’s official website :

Critics worldwide hail them alongside KRAFTWERK and EINSTUERZENDE NEUBAUTEN as pioneers of Electronic and Industrial music, bands like FRONT 242 and NITZER EBB called them their inspiration, and their musical ideas found their way into the sound of a wide spectrum of music, from DEPECHE MODE to the innovative pioneers of Detroit Techno. Over 30 years and many internationally successful albums, DIE KRUPPS have developed an unmistakable signature sound that is meant to stay!

After monumental and industrial beginnings with the album ‘Stahlwerksinfonie‘, the foundation for Electronic Body Music was laid by the single ‘Wahre Arbeit Wahrer Lohn‘ (both Album and Single Of The Week in the British NME), and the following albums ‘Volle Kraft Voraus‘ and ‘Entering The Arena‘, which created international interest in the band’s characteristic synthesis of hard electronics and highly danceable beats. European wide releases secured the band a large following, that was only meant to increase in the ’90s.

After a 3-year break, international chart positions of a remake of their classic track ‘Wahre Arbeit’, now called ‘The Machineries Of Joy‘, which was a collaboration with NITZER EBB (U.S. Billboard Dance Charts Top 10), marked the next chapter in the history of the band. The following widening of their musical spectrum, which saw the addition of a more metal inspired aggressive vocal style and guitar riffs on the album ‘I’, and the essential single track ‘Metal Machine Music‘, was like a slap in the face of conservative critics and listeners alike. The mini album ‘A Tribute To Metallica‘ underlined this daring step, gaining the attention of Lars Ulrich and Co., who helped to secure the band a deal in the U.S.

The highly successful albums (european-wide chart positions, Germany Top-20) ‘II – The Final Option‘, ‘The Final Remixes‘, which consisted of remix interpretations of DIE KRUPPS tracks by fellow bands such as NINE INCH NAILS, THE SISTERS OF MERCY, FAITH NO MORE, CLAWFINGER and many others, and the album ‘..III – Odyssey Of The Mind‘, were again inspiration to many upcoming new bands, such as RAMMSTEIN, whose song ‘Tier’ was a direct adaptation and tribute to DIE KRUPPS’ ‘The Dawning Of Doom‘ from the album ‘I’.

After several worldwide tours, and another chart-topping album, ‘Paradise Now‘ (Germany No.17), on which the band collaborated with Arthur Brown (‘Fire‘), it was decided to bring a temporary stop to the bands extraordinary career.

2005 marked the 25th anniversary of DIE KRUPPS, which was reason enough for the 2 original members Engler and Doerper to prove to the rest of the world that DIE KRUPPS are far from being dead. The reunited group played festivals across Europe and proved that their live shows are as energetic as ever. The audience response was overwhelming and proved that the band had not lost any ground during its absence.

In November 2007, DIE KRUPPS’ new album ‘Too Much History‘ was released. The album included re-recordings of the greatest hits from almost every album the band had released in the past, plus several unreleased new tracks, including ‘The Great Divide‘, ‘5 Millionen‘ and several collaborations, with Client B from the band CLIENT, and again Douglas McCarthy from NITZER EBB.

The end of 2008 saw the release of a remix album of the 1982 album ‘Volle Kraft Voraus‘, entitled ‘Volle Kraft Null Acht’. KMFDM, FUNKER VOGT, PROJECT PITCHFORK, LEAETHER STRIP, SPETSNAZ and MODULATE are only a few acts who besides many others contributed to the project. The 2 singles ‘Volle Kraft Voraus’ and ‘Ende Der Träume’ topped the German Alternative Charts for weeks.

In 2010 the mini-album ‘Als Wären Wir Für Immer‘, consisting of all new material, hit the stores. It also stayed in top positions of the Deutsche Alternative Charts for many weeks, and re-entered during the NITZER EBB/DIE KRUPPS European tour in April of 2011. The tour, which was launched under the motto ‘Join In The Rhythm Of Machines‘, was a huge success. A joint NITZER EBB/DIE KRUPPS EP, consisting of re-worked versions of each band’s favorite songs, was sold exclusively at the shows. Those songs were also played live, followed by the definite highlight for many fans, the anthemic ‘Machineries Of Joy’, which saw both bands perform the song together for the first time.

At the end of 2012, the first single from the upcoming album ‘The Machinists Of Joy‘ was released. ‘Risikofaktor‘ made it No.1 in the German DAC Charts again, and stayed in the pole position for a full month.

2013 was to become the year when DIE KRUPPS machinery went back into full swing. The machines were greased, the dust shaken off, the factory gates opened again. After shift operation was restored, the long-awaited new prototype ‘The Machinists Of Joy’ rolled off the assembly line on 25.10.2013. With this most recent effort DIE KRUPPS seamlessly picked up the streak of their genre-defining releases in the ’80s and ’90s. DIE KRUPPS still deliver ‘Metal MACHINE Music’ – heavy, danceable, sometimes epic machine-music, adorned with well-placed guitar attacks and the ever-onward hammering of the ‘steel-o-phone’, paired with critical contemporary lyrics, setting themselves off from what has become the norm today.

Referring to their top-10 Billboard-hit from 1989 ‘Machineries Of Joy’, the album title already hinted at a stronger focus on electronic sounds, rather than guitars, which dominated the current outfit of DIE KRUPPS. Nevertheless, hard guitar riffs were interwoven with the pumping signature sequencers. The album also made it to No.1 in the German DAC Charts, where it was holding the pole position again for several consecutive weeks. The second single of the album ‘Schmutzfabrik‘ peaked at No.2, staying there for 7 weeks.

In mid-February 2014, the factory bell rang in the night shift on European stages, to be known as ‘THE MACHINISTS OF JOY’-TOUR 2014. 12 dates on which DIE KRUPPS were going to present their first studio album of the new millennium in sweat-inducing manner!

On August 28th 2015, DIE KRUPPS returned with their new release ‘V – Metal Machine Music‘. Back to the distinctly guitar-based sound from the late ’90s, the new songs showed a much increased level of aggressiveness! DIE KRUPPS had never before combined such heavy guitars and powerful sequencers. The upcoming shows proved that this direction was well reserved by the audience Europe wide. Alongside mastermind Juergen Engler (vocals, steel-o-phone), the line-up was machinist Ralf Doerper on Korg MS-20 synthesizer, Marcel Zuercher on guitar, with Volker Borchert from former metal band Accuser on drums, and Nils Finkeisen on second guitar. The album ‘V‘ made the official sales chart in Germany and cracked the Top 40! The singles ‘Battle Extreme‘ and ‘Kaltes Herz‘ both made it to No.1 in the German DAC Charts, the latter stayed in the pole position for 6 consecutive weeks!

Steel, hard work, muscle strength, sweat, machines … but also structural change, unemployment, dislocation, xenophobia and anxiety about the future: powerful words that DIE KRUPPS have always used and filled with content, that they attach visions to, that they transform into a solid base for their music – their very own, unique sound that has consistently evolved over the past four decades and that continues to be unmistakable.

“Vision 2020 Vision” is their latest masterpiece, a concept album: music, artwork and lyrics are inextricably linked, they fuel and cross-fertilize each other. The world of Engler and Dörper is monochromatic and grim, but the imminent world they see through their lens, ought to, and indeed must, frighten you.

In all this, DIE KRUPPS’s themes are as topical and relevant as ever: “Extinction Time” and “Vision 2020 Vision” describe our world on the edge of the abyss. Chaos and violence rule the streets, governments are powerless. The great flood will come, wash everything away and leave nothing but darkness. “Alllies” and “Fuck You” are directed overseas; where egoism, borders and ruthlessness are dictated from the very top while Europe looks on passively, turning into a compliant minion. “Human” is a reckoning with the whole human race which has been regressing for several decades. Civilizations increasingly turn into hordes of wild, murderous barbarians.

The title song puts in a nutshell where this development is bound to take us: “Violence will soon explode, frustration reaches overload, revolution is imminent, we’re in the year of discontent” (quote: “Vision 2020 Vision”). What remains is the hope that Jürgen Engler will be proved wrong in this instance.

Side-projects: Die Robo Sapiens – Male

Apart from the songs of the new DIE KRUPPS album as well as a couple of old ones, I am spining tracks taken from the new releases of Rotersand, Adoration Destroyed, Cubanate and many more.

The show goes on air as follows:

Mad Wasp Radio [UK] – Saturday 19:00 – Wednesday 00:00
Wicked Spins Radio [UK]-Thursdays 19:00 – 21:00
KOWS 92,5FM [CA-USA]- Tuesday 22:00-00:00
Fasching Web Radio [CANADA]- Wednesdays from 17:00 – 19:00
Mercury Radio [Greece] Wednesdays – 22:00-00:00 (EET / UTC+3)

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Electronic, Interviews, Radio

 

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