Having defined themselves as “three precision-obsessed control freaks who have honed their craft to German industrial perfection,” Komfortrauschen are now releasing their debut album, K. A work which is the result of having had time to write and record music in the wake of the pandemic, which has led them to put aside the EP format they have opted for since they founded their musical project eight years ago and go one step further. We speak with them to get to know more about the process of how they are making electronic music and their new release.
“We would love to play in Detroit,” they reply when asked about the dreams they still have to fulfil. And it is that this city is where most of the music they love comes from. Among them, we find Jeff Mills, one of his greatest references and whom we interviewed on METAL just a few days ago. Because it’s clear that their passion for their profession and their unstoppable energy lead them to continue experimenting and creating.
Laurenz, Phillip, Tim, nice to meet you! How are you and where do you answer us from?
We’re currently in Berlin where we live. Last weekend we were on tour and we’re looking forward to being on the road again in a few days!
You have played everywhere from SXSW to Kantine am Berghain and many other places around Europe. But, in case there is someone who doesn't know you yet, could you introduce yourselves to our audience?
We are a live band and we play techno. We work as a regular band but we sound like a DJ or techno live act. Imagine a drum computer, a bass synth and a sequencer have become alive and now play concerts like a punk band.
The pandemic has affected us all to a greater or lesser extent. And I'm sure that for a live band like yours the obstacles have been enormous, not being able to perform due to health restrictions. How have these last two years been? How have you handled them emotionally?
It wasn’t easy! In 2020 we already had big plays and of course, it was a huge disappointment when almost all the gigs got cancelled. After a first shock, we started to adapt to the new situation. We played lots of live streams, we started to work on our debut album and we found a way to navigate through the crisis by creating loads of videos. For example, we launched the KOVER series in which we play covers of techno tracks that are important to us.
You formed Komfortrauschen in 2014. 8 years is a long time for a musical project, which may have gone through ups and downs. In which stage is the band currently?
It's on the rise! Of course it wasn’t always easy over all the years but we constantly grew and kept learning. We sure haven’t done everything we ever wanted to and there are constantly new ideas popping up in our heads. For example, we are currently working hard on putting our live show on a new level. This requires bigger stages and there are events confirmed suitable for our ideas. Long story short: stay put!
You are now releasing your debut album, K, on Springstoff. Why have you decided to reveal it now and what has this new work meant for you?
We decided to go for an album and not just another EP (which is still a lot of work) because we had the time to write and record enough music. We had way more tracks and ideas than the ones that finally made it to the vinyl. It takes time to record all that stuff. The process involves also listening back to the recorded ideas, then discussing, re-arranging and of course dismissing the tracks that don't fit. Before we decided to record an album we felt like EPs are best for the style of music we do. But we were desperate to say “here we are, this is K, this is our music and this time it's an album!”
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From Bock to ZeroTank or Da Hurt, eight tracks make up this new album, with which you invite us to forget everything we think we know about live techno having honed your craft to German industrial perfection. What makes you different from the rest of the techno artists and bands?
Let’s take Tank to run you through the process of how we’re making electronic music. The main riff is played on a guitar, that goes through an array of effects pedals. The pedals (mainly Empress Effects ZOIA in this case) take the pitch and change it to a synth sound. So only when Laurenz, the guitar player, plucks a string you will hear the synth. There is no sequencer triggering a certain synth, everything is coming from the guitar and the pedalboard. The same goes for the bass of course. The drums don't come from a drum computer either. Tim, the drummer, played all the patterns live. If you watch us playing live you will see how he hits the hi-hat, cymbals or his sample pad. If we don’t move, if we don’t pluck anything or hit on anything there won't be any sound. This is what sets us apart from a regular live techno act.
I know that this question is especially complicated and may not have an answer, but what is the most special track for each of you and why?
For us a really special track on the album is Kapital. It went through a lot of changes. Tim brought up very first the idea with a voice sample of a friend saying “Kapital,” and it didn’t even make it to the final version! Then we decided to ask Jamila Al-Yousef if she wanted to add some vocal lines to the track because we felt like something was missing. We also had her voice in mind and liked the idea of Arabic vocals. There are so many tracks with English vocals and we really like her lyrics and her sound. The track is also special because we recorded some parts (including the bass) remotely due to the pandemic.
Can you recommend any artist or musical group from the current scene that you particularly like?
Sure! We really like La Fraicheur from Barcelona. We also like Fjaak because of their old school attitude and we love Claude Young Jr. and Robert Hood because they actually are old school and we fucking like 90s techno!
And now that everything seems to be back to normal and the clubs reopen their doors, will we see you perform live soon?
Yes! You will see us at festivals and in clubs this summer. Mostly in Germany, but we also have tour dates planned around Europe later this year. We will even play a rave in an opera house in Berlin this summer!
Is there anything you can tell us about your next projects? Any dream to fulfil?
We would love to play in Detroit. Detroit is the city where most of the music we love comes from. We would love to meet some of the people and it would be such an honour to talk to the folks who came up with techno. Meeting and raving with people like Robert Hood or Jeff Mills... that's the dream.
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