German artist Fehler Kuti recenlty released his debut album which features Markus Acher, Julian Warner, Tobias Siegert; there are also Matthias Götz (trombone on “Rindermarkt” and “IL”) and Franz Brunner (sax on “Rindermarkt“). Schland Is The Place For Me is out now via Alien Transistor.
Today we have the pleasure to premiere the official, self-directed video of the track “All My Friends“. It features an untitled video-collage by Nana Dix and excerpts from A Touch of Magic (1961) by Victor D. Solo, an untitled Nazi propaganda film, Daddy Cool (1976), by Boney M., James Baldwin; The Price of The Ticket (1989) by Karen Thorsen, Wolfenstein 2: The New Collossus (2017) by Jens Matthies and Arcade Berg, Orlac’s Hande (1924) by Robert Wiene and Die Sterilisierung Der Rheinlandbastarde (1979) by Reiner Pommerin.
He will play, on December 14th, at Alien Disko in Munich. Check our talk with him about the new album, making music, live shows and much more below.
You said that “Making Music is about coalitions. It is about an articulation of styles, sounds and people, that hasn’t materialized, yet, but may help us in the current crisis”. Can you explain better this idea of music?
I recently read about this resurgence of roots reggae in Naples and how this local sound culture is linked to the antiglobalisation movement and how it offers a social fabric in the context of austerity, youth poverty, racism, gentrification and the Camorra. As I understand it, roots reggae in Naples is part of an important articulation within the wider crisis in Italy and Europe. When I speak of “articulation”, I’m referencing Stuart Hall and his idea of crisis as a specific conjuncture of different powers, structures and apparatuses. And within this grand conjuncture there are articulations, i.e. smaller alliances between themes, subjects and objects, artists, sounds, etc.
And I believe music has a vital role to play regarding political movements. Making music is something else than going on a protest march for sure. But music, like language, can spread like a virus and before you know it, you’re standing on the dancefloor with total strangers. And the next day, back at the office, you’re singing that song, and that song is a code. And some people get that code and others don’t. And suddenly you’re in cahoots with strangers. And this is what I want my music to be about: to bring together this crude mixture of peoples and desires and problems. I really want to visit Naples…
Let’s talk about your debut album “Schland Is The Place For Me”. How was the creative process of this album? What is usually your starting point to make and create music?
I always wanted to record at Tobias Siegert’s studio in Munich. And I basically just booked it and turned up with a few fragments: melodies and rhythms and so on. And then Markus Acher of The Notwist, with whom I collaborated, would just get started. Play the drums or percussion. And then Tobias and myself would add or delete stuff to it. With my other group 1115, we strictly improvise. There is no such thing as a song structure or a long production phase. So, my doctrine here was: open a session, if you have an instant idea do it, if not on to the next session.
You defined yourself as a singing cultural anthropologist. Is it right? What can you say about this definition of your way to make and think art?
Oh! people everywhere are quoting that line of mine. J I just wanted to express, that I work in many different fields, but it’s all informed by the same urge to understand this historical situation we’re in and what my function as a member of a black bourgeoisie is in it. You know, Baldwin said: “There are days, this is one of them, when you wonder, what your role is in this country and what your future is in it.” That’s exactly my question. And parts of that question are about understanding history and reading theory and other parts are about giving expression to the suffering, the sadness and the joy that is being black in Europe.
You said about the album which is a pop album featuring songs of alienation, not only as a tragic experience, but as a pop-cultural promise. Which is the point of view of the “pop album” definition?
Although I do love Adriano Celentano’s “Prisencolinensinainciusol”, I don’t understand the local politics of that song or what the situation exactly was in post-war Italy. But in Germany popular culture originating in the black atlantic was a big part of cultural denazification. Getting those Germanic hips to swerve, listening to jazz music, giving in to rock’n’roll fever and then giving back to the world Krautrock. All that is pop in the sense of I don’t have to be, who I was brought up to be.
I can become something else. And hopefully that something else is never fully realised and it always stays an open process. So to me the promise of popular culture is that of a deconstruction of a self. A kind of self-imposed alienation.
You are from Germany. I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots, the different places we have the chance to know and the creative process. How do you feel these theme connected to your music, your way to think music?
One of the songs on the album “Sontagsfavorit” is about a music-bar I used to work at for close to ten years. This is where I learned so many different musical contexts. Every night they have a different DJ. And I was lucky enough to listen to a lot of them and especially to the late Karel van Bergen, once part of The Band of Holy Joy. He was an amazing DJ who had this obscure collection of world music. And he was a Punk and I think I appropriated a lot of his attitudes towards music. In the sense of, what is he interested in, when he listens to music from around the globe. I think this space, the Favorit in Munich, shaped my musical consciousness more than any other place, I guess.
On December 13th and 14th, you will play at Alien Disko in Munich. What is the best thing of live shows you like more compared to studio recordings? What kind of show we can expect from you?
Yes, we’re performing at the Alien Disko on the 14th. It’ll be a dadaistic alienation extravaganza. We’re playing in full force with a band of ten including a small choir. I’m planning it to be this weird ecstatic happening that let’s you crave for more.
Ritual question. What are the best releases you recently appreciated?
At the moment I have two records on heavy rotation at home. One is Mira Mann – Ich mag das (Problembär, 2019) and the other is Jon Hassel – Listening to Pictures (Ndeya 2018). I’m a slow listener.