Vienna based producer and musician B. Fleischmann will be one of the headliners of Italian festival Time Zones. It will play a show with his band on October 16th at Teatro Kismet in Bari. Back in 2018, he has released his latest album called Stop Making Fans which is out via legendary label Morr Music. We had a talk with the artist about the current situation, the streaming platform issues, his roots and much more. Check it below.
Let’s start from the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
At the moment i am fine – i am in the privileged lucky situation, that i have work to do (For Movies and Theater). During the first days of the lock down in March i was somehow „frozen“. I went to the studio, but working on new music felt totally senseless . . . So i founded a neighborhood choir, and after a few days, we were about 20-30 people singing out of our windows. I arranged the songs and wrote new lyrics to encourage all of us. And actually it worked out very very nice. We sang 50 times – every day at the same hour – and that gave all of us some kind of stability during this strange days. AND it showed again, how much music can give to people. Most of the Choir members did´t know each other, even if we all live in the very same street. So somehow it helped all of us, getting closer together and evolve solidarity via making music together.
At the same time, i recognize the discussion (here in Autria, i don´t know, how it is in other countries) what and wich kind of work is social relevant. I notice, that people need places and rooms to unload energy – for some this is sports, but for others this is culture, music and nightlife. So i really really hope, that all the venues and clubs are being helped to stay alive, to be able to open again and to be this irreplaceable space for people.
During and after the lockdown time, Bandcamp was the only online platform which tried to help musicians, waiving their fees on the site on the very first Friday of the month. What do you think of this kind of initiative and how what is your idea about the rights of artist connected to streaming platforms?
Actually, this was the very first obvious sign to me, that the work of so many artists is important and has to be supported, as well in a financial way. When i listen to other runners of streaming platforms, that artists should just release more stuff, to make more money i think: either this person has no clue, what producing an album means, or this person is just an cynical, ignorant exploiter . . . Most of the people don´t know, how much artists get for a single click on streaming platforms. i think for earning 1€ you need around 350 clicks – and thats before taxes . . .
I know, that i am a little conservative concerning the reception of music – but somehow the album as an art form gets less and less important.
You will play with the band at Time Zones Festival in Bari (Italy). What kind of shows we can expect from you and what do you like the most when you play live shows compared to the studio sessions?
Creating and sharing the positive energy is one of the most beautiful things on stage – this very moment, when you just feel perfect in the bath of music – That´s it!
You can expect an portion of positive energy and love for details . . .
Let’s go back in 1999. “Pop Loops For Breakfast” was your first release. What are the most vivid memories of those years? What was your main focus?
Actually the main focus was, that i did not focus on anything but making some tracks. I felt totally free and just worked on my own and had a lot of great moments in the studio. Coming from underground – punk – hardcore bands, where i played the drums, i didn´t expect a lot of feedback – but all of a sudden people seemed interested in my music. That was pure joy. But musically, i never focused on anything but creating (hopefully) interesting music.
“Stop Making Fans” is your latest album. You said about it: “It represents my approach – I’m not worried about playing by the rules on this one.” What does it mean for you “Not Playing by the rules in music?
It´s somehow the wishful thinking, that my approach to music is still as „naive“ (in the meaning of freedom). when i work on music for b.fleischmann, and not for movies or theatre i don´t have anyone who tells me how the music should sound and how it could or should be received – that´s somehow total freedom, but on the other hand it brings more uncertainty . . . when i work for other projects, i know quite fast, how to reach the point, but this doesn’t become easier for b. fleischmann the longer i do music. But finally I usually trust my feelings – and not statements or expectations or trends . . . thats what i mean. In general the Album Title is meant politically – because i see so many political and economical decisions of such stupid short-termism and i have the impression, thats because of trying to evoke „fans“ in the meaning of voters . . . i once was asked in an interview: „You seem to write good pop songs, but why don´t you write a real hit now ….“ and i just could answer : „for me, i only write hits . . . ”
You are from Vienna. I’m really interested in the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots and the art. How do you feel these themes connect to your music and your way of thinking music? What are your favourite places which have inspired you the most?
Hard to answer this one, as i never lived for a longer period in other cities . . . but i never never saw or heard music as a regional thing – for me music is an universal language. probably the time, in wich i grew up and the place gave and give me the possibility to work on music min a way, that would´t have been possible if i would have been born into another time, place or family. Maybe i would have done music with other Instruments . . . i just don´t know. But i know, that vienna has got (and i really really hope will have) places and venues, were new and interesting music can take place. The longer i do that kind of music, the more i see the importance for such rooms. i prefer the small venues with maybe 100-300 pax – those are the places, where i feel and enjoy music the most. i mean, of course i had goosebumps during bigger concerts as well – but the bigger the stage and crowd, the less i can focus on music – (where do i see most, where is the sound loud enough, in front of the stage it´s too crowded etc etc). I remember my first concerts in a tent in vienna for around 500 people where i saw the pixies and the pogues and the ramones etc – that was the perfect place and the perfect setting for me. in the beginning of www.rhiz.org – i really heard the most interesting live music there. and those concerts trained my ears as well. But musically I was influenced by so many things – al lot of new music i got recommend from friends or thomas morr or christof kurzmann or other people i talked to.
I know you like a lot Tony Allen who recently passed away. How much important he was for your music?
the way of his drumming and his openness to collaborate with other musicians and to be open for new things . . . that´s it. and it shows me again, that the most interesting music comes often from people who aren´t stuck in one single genre.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
Due to …. not many shows in the past months. i watched some concerts via streaming – but honestly – for me this does not work. it´s somehow sad to miss the real energy and the real live sound . . .
But the last years i regularly visited the Alien Disko Festival – and there i discovered so much great music – every year. i love Makaya McCraven Reimagined Gil Scott-Heron’s Final Album. I am a fan of the International Anthem Label and can´t stop buying and listening music from Africa – such labels as sahel sounds and awesome tapes from africa are releasing really great music i think. but there is… so much to be found and to be discovered…