Apparat Talks Moderat
Shitkatapult co-owner, Sascha Ring aka Apparat, return to MUTEK on May 28th as part of the mighty Moderat.
Dimitri Nasrallah - April 08, 2009
Today MUTEKMAG interviews one of intelligent techno's best, Shitkatapult co-owner Sascha Ring aka Apparat, as we ramp up for his return to MUTEK on May 28th as part of the mighty Moderat.
This interview was conducted this past March, as Sascha Ring was in the thick of a big promotional push for the new Moderat album, which features Apparat and the guys from Modeselektor reprising a collaboration they dabbled in early in their careers. The band will have its Canadian premiere at MUTEK_10, where they promise to pull out all the audio-visual stops. Until then, Sascha explains how the project came together, how it slides into his varied trajectory, and what MUTEK attendees can expect come May.
How long have all three of you known each other, and when did you first meet?
We met at some kind of label showcase party in Berlin. Modeselektor played for Bpitch Control and I played for Shitkatapult. Gernot and Szary had a lot of analogue stuff and told me they´ll play "noise". I played with an early Powerbook, a futuristic Motormix controller and custom software. Gernot called it "girl-electro".
We really liked what the others did. Plus Modeselektor was really into the technological side of my set. At this time people were like "wow, so much sound with just one laptop?" when they saw a laptop set! Well, we started working on our live set-up. I integrated some analog stuff again and they switched to my software, which they still use 8 years later. Of course it grew over the years. One of the Modeslektors always called me after a set to talk about what we can change and how to improve the software.
Can you describe what it was like growing up? Where did you first discover music, what kind of music did you listen to, and when did you begin going to clubs, shows?
We are from different parts in Germany, but the way we got in touch with electronic music was pretty much the same. In the early 90s techno came over to the "east" and we started organizing parties in warehouses and old Russian military bases.
If I listen to a techno track today I almost see imaginary midi notes. I hear music from a very technical point of view. When I first heard a techno track back in the days, it was just something really different and totally new from what I´d heard before. Raving all night on techno music was something physical. I felt the music. Unfortunately I lost this feeling after sitting in the studio for years and years. Might be the price you pay if music is your life.
When did you first decide to start playing together, and what were those first shows like?
It was around 2000. We used to play live shows together. Three people on stage, no plan, just synchronized computer jams. We never really managed to capture this improvised sound on a record. Then, at some point we really forced ourselves and it was really tough. We all went sick the last night before the EP got mastered. It took us 7 years to recover and make the album.
Early on, in 2003, you released the "Auf Kosten Der Gesundheit" EP on Bpitch Control, and then nothing followed that. What led to this first record being made and why did it contained locked grooves? Why was nothing recorded together after that, until now?
I guess we had to focus on our solo careers. Even though the making of the EP was really exhausting we always wanted to do this album. But our solo albums went well and we started playing a lot. And when I had time Modeselektor didn’t, so I did the record with Ellen [Allien], which was great and important for me as well. After Walls and Happy Birthday, we felt like taking a break would be good. We wanted to do something different and Moderat was just perfect for that!
Both Modeselektor and Apparat are projects that take a very individual approach to the live experience. How do you perform together, and do you have any tricks to make sure that everyone gets what they want out of a live set?
It doesn’t make much sense to have 3 laptops on stage. It’s kinda boring and you simply don’t need it. Instead we gonna look at every song and think about an individual approach to its live version. We send this idea to the Pfadfinderei guys and they shoot video for it, produce images, program lights and whatever. We´ll do a special stage setup with 3 screens. It’s gonna be an audio/visual thing.
How long did the album take to make? What was the process for working together in the studio?
We started to collect song ideas in 2007. That was right after we decided to do the album. Each of us had unfinished songs which he couldn’t finish on its own so we hoped another one would re-animate those dead-ideas. We made some new things as well, and in end of 2007 we met and picked the best ideas to have something to start with.
We spent most of 2008 together in the studio to work on these ideas. It wasn’t like in a band where the drummer would be in charge for his thing, we are 3 producers and each of us had different ideas about every little thing. We had endless discussions. Sometimes we talked more than we made music.
Both Apparat and Modeselektor have played MUTEK in the past. Can you say a few words on what playing this festival meant to you, and if it had any effect or influence on your careers?
MUTEK is a pretty cool mixture of all kinds of electronic stuff. I spent 3 days in Montreal and checked out a lot of other shows. It’s also one of these festivals where you meet every promoter from every festival, so if you do a good job at MUTEK, you’re most likely gonna be booked to some other cool events. I think that’s what happened to us, and I guess MUTEK is definitely an important thing to do as an electronic musician. And of course it has a great open-minded crowd.
What can we look forward to in Montreal in a Moderat live show?
It’s gonna be something new for all of us. Video is a really important part of the show, and we will develop the whole thing hand in hand with the Pfadfinderei. None of us has ever done something like a "show". Our live PA’s always have been pretty improvised. The Moderat show will definitely give us room to improvise too, but we will rehearse the whole thing until everyone exactly knows when to do what. Ive never rehearsed for an electronic show, so it’s weird.