*Interview with Edgar Froese*

On 29 October 1997 Ashley Franklin and Nick Willder joined Edgar Froese
backstage after his band Tangerine Dream?s Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
performance in the UK. The following interview was recorded and then
transmitted on Soundscapes on 16 November 1997. This is a transcription
of the radio broadcast.

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      Introduction

The electronic music scene can be traced back to *Stockhausen* and
*Berlioz*, but they?ve been only small influences. It was really
*Tangerine Dream*, along with *Klaus Schulze* who paved the way for the
possibilities of electronic sound in rock music; and Klaus Schulze
himself was an original member of Tangerine Dream - increasing the
influence that Tangerine Dream have had.

One of the other founding members was *Edgar Froese*, and 30 years on,
he?s still there. If you?ve ever been into rock music in the ?70s and
?80s it?s likely that you?ll have at least one Tangerine Dream album;
(such as) /Phaedra/, /Stratosfear/, /Force Majeure/, /Exit/, /Tangram/,
/Tyger/; and more recently the more commercial and rhythmic sounding
albums like /Goblin?s Club/ and /Tyranny of Beauty/. They?ve also
produced numerous soundtrack albums for films like /Thief/, /Sorcerer/,
/Risky Business/ and /Firestarter/.

*Mark Prendergast*, the sleeve note writer for the retrospective
/Tangents Box Set/ says of Tangerine Dream ?This celebrates what for
many is one of the most revolutionary sound adventures in rock.?

The adventure continues. Edgar Froese, with his son Jerome, recently
toured Britain for the first time since 1991, and after the band?s
Nottingham Royal Concert Hall concert I spoke with Edgar Froese. I?ve
spoken with him before, when I?ve been in this studio and he?s been in
another, so it was great to actually meet him in the flesh for the first
time. It has produced a more intimate and satisfactory interview, with
much to talk about: the latest live album /Tournado/; the band?s new
lease of life which has put them in control of their own recordings;
that /Tangents Box Set/ where Edgar remixed the best of the band?s back
catalogue; the reissue of his old solo album /Ages/ recently; the
influence of his son Jerome; and Edgar?s personal influence on
electronic music which has at last produced a couple of tribute albums -
there?ll be music from /Tangerine Ambiance II/ coming up.

So above all, sit back and enjoy the music. Many moments are to come
from the new live album, which comprises the second half of their
concert tour set. That includes this track /220 Volt Live/. Tangerine
Dream here on Soundscapes, BBC Radio Derby.

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      Interview


    /Edgar interviewed by Ashley taken by Nick/

*MUSIC:*	*/220 Volt/*/ - Tournado/
*ASHLEY:*	The music of Tangerine Dream. And with me, Edgar Froese.
	This is the third time we?ve spoken, but this is the first time we?ve
actually met. We?ve spoken down the wire before now. So it?s a great
privilege for me to meet you because I grew up with your music. I was
someone who used to tune into John Peel?s programme, and I remember the
first time I ever heard /Phaedra/. How do you view those times now, when
you look back at the breakthrough you made?
*EDGAR:*	It?s more like a long story which could be cut in different
episodes. That was what Tangerine Dream was all about. Apart from the
development in technology there is a kind of subjective personal diary.
Whatever we went through as a band or as individuals can be seen in
whatever we do on stage or on record. So it?s a real open book for those
who want to read or are able to read.
*ASHLEY:*	Let?s get bang up to date: you?ve got this new tour; you?ve
got this new live album as well. Why have you released yet another live
album, because it?s only a few years ago we had /220 Volt Live/?
*EDGAR:*	That?s true. The reason is that, like many other bands, we went
through very bizarre experiences with the record companies, publishing
companies, and so on. Like many of my colleagues, one day you have to
make a decision: do you want to get raped and prostituted all the time,
or do you want to do your own business. If you want to do what you like
to do: try to be honest with your fans, your audiences. That?s why we
set up our own label; our own publishing company. Now we can be more
creative in terms of releasing material, which we couldn?t have before
because everything had to be agreed by the companies.
*ASHLEY:*	Are you saying this is a fresh lease of life for the band?
*EDGAR:*	It?s definitely a completely fresh situation for all of us. On
the one hand it?s a huge advantage; on the other we have to learn a lot
of things about the business. We knew it before, but from a distance of
criticism. Now we have to go through it all for ourselves, which is a
bit different.
*ASHLEY:*	It?s taken you six years to come back here for a proper tour.
Why have you neglected us?
*EDGAR:*	To be honest, there were no real, serious offers, believe it or
not. But we weren?t calling every day ?The world has to see us, now!? So
we were happy to do a lot of things: soundtrack work, studio work,
composing. Not everything has to be in front of the world straight away.
*MUSIC:*	/*Touchwood* - Tournado/
*ASHLEY:*	I know that you?ve spent a lot of time in recent years going
back to old material and remixing it, what with /Tangents/ and /The
Dream Mixes/. Why have you gone back and remixed? Is this because you?ve
been dissatisfied with the earlier music, or is it just a desire to
refresh it?
*EDGAR:*	No, it was a terrible thing. I never ever had any desire to do
it. It is something I?m really not interested in going through again.
The reason is simply that if a band grows and becomes more and more
popular, record companies have a commercial interest in releasing the
back catalogue. So those companies said ?okay we want to release it.? I
said ?great, but what and how?? And the answers I got were totally like
scrambled eggs. They didn?t know what to do, they didn?t know how to do
it. So I said ?look, let?s make an agreement: you have to support me in
such and such a way, and I?ll do it myself.? And that?s the only reason
I did it, otherwise the music would have been released in an absolutely
crap direction.
*ASHLEY:*	So you decided to take charge of the remixes. I have to say I
was a bit sceptical, and I did think there were commercial interests at
work, and I did think it was the record companies forcing you to do it.
But I did think a lot of the tracks did sound fresher for being remixed.
*EDGAR:*	A lot of people said directly to me that they didn?t like it; a
lot of things I did to the music, you know, cosmetic things, some
remixes, some additions to existing tracks, a lot of people didn?t like.
So I was a bit confused because all I wanted to do was to give people
something they did not already pay for. I said ?look, what sense does it
make if you get the same music you already own in your collection, once
again, just in different compilation.? So let?s do something different
so that you get a different perspective of what Tangerine Dream could
have been like in the past if we?d had the technical chances! Somehow
people didn?t get the clue.
*MUSIC:*	/*Rubycon* - Tangents/
*ASHLEY:*	I must mention my all-time favourite Tangerine Dream track
because I was very disappointed not to see it on /Tangents/ or /The
Dream Mixes/. For me, this track, from /Force Majeure/, /Thru
Metamorphic Rocks/ showed Tangerine Dream way ahead of their time. It
has the kind of effect you created many years ago which a lot of bands
think would sound very modern today.
*EDGAR:*	A little secret about that: there?s no way of remixing it;
there?s no way of re-recording it; and there?s no way of performing it.
The reason is simply that /Metamorphic Rocks/ had an accident in the
mixing desk. So while we did the recording the tape ran, and all the
instruments were locked in, and we played, and we improvised quite a lot
all the time. Then all of a sudden something went wrong with the desk.
So there were a lot of strange noises all of a sudden which appear
within the track and are totally wrong, but which actually made sense in
the music. We listened to it again and again and said ?should we?
shouldn?t we?? Finally we said ?okay, leave it the way it is.? That?s
why it?s original and always will be original - we can?t re-record or do
anything to it.
*ASHLEY:*	In fact, now you say it, I don?t think I?d like to hear it
remixed: it?s perfect as it stands, in it?s original form, I think.
*MUSIC:*	/*Thru Metamorphic Rocks* - Force Majeure/
*ASHLEY:*	You talked about the fact that you were improvising then. What
do you say to those Tangerine Dream fans who often say to me ?We don?t
hear those epic tracks any more; they don?t improvise anymore; Tangerine
Dream are not the same band I loved in the past.??
*EDGAR:*	I agree absolutely with those people, because they are right;
it?s not the same band any more. But I reply to those people ?what about
having 300 days of tomato soup?? Anybody can try that! People should
imagine what if they were the creator of something in art or whatever it
is: you know, a painter, one who paints the same picture everyday for
years; any art form ? a poet writing the same lyrics for years and
years. It?s the same with music. And specifically the style of music is
somehow related strongly to your consciousness. If consciousness
changes, what you do will change, because your daily working, thinking,
behaving processes are absolutely linked 100% to your consciousness.
That?s why there is a development, We are not the same people any more.
*MUSIC:*	/*Touchwood* - Tournado/
*MUSIC:*	/*Tangram by ?Joseph?* - Tangerine Ambience (tribute album)/
*ASHLEY:*	Have you heard the Tangerine ambience albums, volumes 1 & 2?
*EDGAR:*	I never listen to that stuff.
*ASHLEY:*	No?
*EDGAR:*	No
*ASHLEY:*	They?re tributes to you.
*EDGAR:*	Yes, that?s nice. They may even make a few bucks out of it, so,
my best wishes.
*ASHLEY:*	I?ve been very impressed by them.
*EDGAR:*	So, fine. Great.
*ASHLEY:*	You?re not particularly concerned about hearing them?
*EDGAR:*	To be honest, very rarely. Even the other guys you?ve
mentioned. /[Ashley had mentioned ?The Orb? whilst changing tapes during
the interview.]/ Even stuff like ?Techno?, ?Drum & Bass?, and the entire
?New Music?. I get it from other people, and they say ?Hey, listen to
this?, so I sit in a studio and listen to it, but I cannot relax and
refresh myself by listening to other people?s music ? and even to my
music. You see, most serious... /[laughter]/ I try to be a serious
composer at the same time ? what all these people will tell you is that
the more you reach a certain... er... centrepoint of what it is you want
to say, the more pain you have about it: its not enjoyment, it?s not
enjoyment at all. You see, if you?ve got an aim you want to reach, if
you try to describe something, whatever it is, it may be abstract,
something out of your desires, fantasies, consciousness, whatever; if
you try to focus on something which is very hard to explain, and the way
you express yourself through sounds, it?s not an easy walk. If you just
do it for the money, or for some fun in the morning or at night, that?s
no problem at all, you know ? a little pop song; funny; great; I love it
too. But that?s not my way of composing. If you do it very seriously
it?s a battlefield, because you have to go through so many layers of
expressions.
*MUSIC:*	/*Firetongues* - Tournado/
*ASHLEY:*	You said earlier you didn?t like going back to the old
material, reissuing and remixing it, but interestingly on this tour,
unlike on the last tour 6 years ago when I think we got all new
material, on this concert tour we got a first half of old material. We
had music from /Stratosfear/, /Poland/, /Underwater Sunlight/,
/Tangram/. So you are going back to this old material, and you did
refresh it ? I thought very successfully.
*EDGAR:*	It?s like a reflection. It?s not moving back into that time;
it?s just like if you visit for a short time a house you?ve been born in
and say ?hello then move out and go the way you want to go. So it?s just
like a little visit to those days where we started, or where another
part of your life was happening.
*MUSIC:*	/*Stratosfear 1994* - Tyranny of Beauty/
*ASHLEY:*	I don?t know how much input you?ve had in the reissue of your
solo album /Ages/ ? it?s taken ages to come out on CD. How do you view
that album now?
*EDGAR:*	Mixed emotions. Mixed emotions because the record company
Virgin Records had forgotten to involve me in that process of a new
release. So they cut off one track, which I did not enjoy very much
because it?s one of the most important tracks on the entire record, and
at the same time they didn?t give me the chance to remaster it the way I
would have done. So once again there are little events in life you can?t
do anything about. I don?t fight it, but I?m not very happy about it.
*MUSIC:*	/*Metropolis* - Ages/
*ASHLEY:*	Let me mention Jerome briefly, because he?s obviously very
important, and has been for the past few years: what effect has Jerome
had on the sound since he joined the band full-time?
*EDGAR:*	He moved in a different direction before he moved into TD. He
was listening to completely different styles of music and dance,
specifically other than the ones I listened to. He was very much into
Heavy Metal and Pure Rock?n?Roll, and then he went through Classical
stuff. So he made an entire tour of whatever music could be. After a
year or two he became quite an interesting influence because through his
eyes TD was not TD as I saw it. He was totally fresh and he was very...
er... he didn?t have that respect for technology as we had in our early
days. A computer to him was like a hair-dryer, you know? Nothing
important. So he took it and fooled around a bit, and all of a sudden
there were some very interesting results. Then he became more and more
serious about what TD really is; a fact he could not really understand
before. At that time we got closer and closer together.
*ASHLEY:*	Let?s play a track from /Tournado/ where you think that Jerome
might have had a particular influence. Is there any one track which
stands out as very much a Jerome piece of music?
*EDGAR:*	Oh yes, for instance he is a very good drummer because he
started out as a drummer not as a synthesizer player or a keyboard
player; and the drumming work is, I guess, is one of his best
influential aspects. He is a little master of simplicity. When his
father tries to make an opera he just wants to make a little song. And
so very often we meet in the middle. So my view of doing things ? very
orchestrated, very bright, the way I learned it, meets his simplicity.
That?s very good for me, and I guess it?s good for him to learn a bit
about the entire background of what music could be today.
*ASHLEY:*	So what track would you pick from /Tournado/ that reflects
what you?ve been saying?
*EDGAR:*	For instance, the first one. 80% of the first track is a
composition by himself. I helped a bit with the sounds, I helped a bit
with arranging the thing, but the major idea he came up with. I think it
is a pretty good picture of what he is about.
*MUSIC:*	/*Flashflood* - Tournado/
*ASHLEY:*	Is there any track that you would choose from /Tournado/ that
you?re particularly proud of ? one that?s working particularly well live
at the moment on the tour?
*EDGAR:*	Erm... the term ?proud? is very difficult for me; then it
always was: because, you see, I would call myself just a servant for
music. I?m not a master, I?m not a genius, I?m just a servant. I put
everything, my entire power and energy as a human being, I put it
towards whatever the music needs. Okay I fail very often because I never
reach 100%. Even if I could give 50%, then I?m very proud of that; but
not about myself as an ego. The music is, or can be, as strong as you
step back with your ego. It?s as strong as the music gets.
*ASHLEY:*	So finally, once this is all over, how would you like to be
remembered; simply as a servant to music?
*EDGAR:*	To be very honest, I hope that no-one will remember me.
*ASHLEY:*	Really?
*EDGAR:*	But maybe everyone will remember the music. That would make me
very happy.
*MUSIC:*	/*Towards the Evening Star* - Tournado/