Roman Flügel, auteur d’une discographie hors norme, a eu la gentillesse de nous en dire plus sur sa carrière et ses méthodes de travail. Une interview qui éclaircit tous les projets qu’il a mené et qu’il mène jusqu’ici du duo Alter Ego à ses derniers EPs sur DIAL Records en passant par la création des labels Klang et PlayHouse.
I do not even know how to start. So before we talk about your solo career, a few words about Alter Ego. Could you tell us more about Jorn Elling and this project?
I met Jörn about 20 years ago in our hometown Darmstadt close to Frankfurt at a place called „Goldene Krone“. It used to be a place where you would dance to „Indie Music“ and drink Beer and Tequila. We soon discovered that we even went to the same highschool. Soon after I gave him a demo tape with my music. He called me the same night telling me that he really liked what he heard and asked me to record some of my music in his studio that was located in the garage of his grandfather. That was the first „Klangfabrik“ studio where we recorded music for the following 10 years. Such as the first two Alter Ego Albums back in 1994 & 1996 both released on Sven Väth´s Harthouse Label.
We recorded numerous albums under different pseudonyms like „Acid Jesus“ (Klang Elektronik) , „The Primitive Painter“ (Klang / R&S) or „Sensorama“ (Ladomat) and relesed many 12“s. Around the same time we started to play as a „liveact“ in Clubs and Rave Partys but it wasn’t until 1998 and a release named „Betty Ford“ that we had our first bigger club hit with Alter Ego. Soon after the festivals got also bigger and we were able to play all around Europe. Another six years followed until the release of „Rocker“ back in 2004. The rest is known better I guess…
Yes it is. Just one thing I would like to know. The artworks of the alter ego albums are really great. Who did it?
It’s an Artist from Frankfurt named Andreas Dieffenbach who did the original collages. We visited him in his studio and went through all his works and choosed the one’s we thought that fit most with our music.
To conclude on Alter Ego, will there be others albums or projects ?
Not at the moment, time will tell.
Hope time will tell yes. In addition to Alter Ego, you are part of other bands. Which band and which songs do you want people to remember and why?
I normally do most of music by myself. Besides my collaboration with Jörn there’s one album I recorded with a brilliant Jazz Musician named Christopher Dell for the Japanese label Laboratory Instinct (Dell&Flügel) a few teamworks with David Moufang in the 90´s and finally my liason with Ivan Smagghe as RMVN on Kill the Dj.
Precisely concerning Ivan, Do you remember the party at the Rex club where you mixed with him? How do you feel in those moments?
I’m always happy to meet Ivan and I’m even more happy to get the chance to play with him from time to time. I met him some years ago when he played at the „Robert Johnson“ in Frankfurt. Around this time I was invited to Paris by Jennifer Cardini to play with her at the „Pulp“ where I had the chance to get involved with the people from Kill the Dj.
It’s always cool to meet the right people who are on a same level if it comes to music. I instantly felt connected. So playing with him at the Rex is another chance to carry on with our creative connection.
Do you have other special memories as a DJ ?
well, it’s hard to answer. For me I Dj ing is more than just mixing two records in the right tempo together. If I’m able to present interesting music, move people and tell a story for the next 2 or 4 hours while playing can end up in a very special situation that certanly will create a special memory wether it’s a place for 200 or for 2000 people. That means I try to create a special memory every weekend but sometimes I fail…
As a DJ, you mixed the 5th compilation for Live At Robert Johnson, it was your first compilation. How did the production take place?
I had to realize it’s not very easy to put in all the music I like into a 70min Mix. Some things you think will fit finally don’t make any sense when you try them out so you have to try and try again. Finally I decided to create an „Acid House“ feeling without any TB 303 sound and I didn’t mix a cd with only the latest hits but with tracks that show a certain attitude.
The Compilations are like the club. You have to be open minded to enjoy them. At the same time you should be prepared to be surprised by the music like it happens on the dancefloor at Robert Johnson.
As you say, you are very open minded. For exemple, as a DJ, you mix instead of Deep or house or acid house like you said while you produced solo tracks of idm and ambient. How do you explain that?
I guess I’m still a musician with who’s interested in different aspects of electronic music and not „only“ a Dj who´s trying to make some club music. Also, I started to play piano when I was child and later played drums in several Bands before I experienced the Acid House explosion back in 1987 which was quite strong in Frankfurt. My interest in music has always been of a big bandwith and that is reflected in my own productions.
Concerning your productions, geth’s noch and rocker became hits. What represent those songs for you now ?
Both track are still very important to me. To experience a hit is a unique feeling especially when it’s not planned. Suddenly you start to realize something has changed but then it’s almost over at the same time. I always said to myself there were good and bad times before and there will be good and bad times after „Rocker“ and „Geht´s noch“. Time marches on and you better learn how to enjoy the moment. „Rocker“ even created a certain musical wave that still pays some people a lot of money but it seems to me that in terms of creativity there’s not much happening in this genre anymore. „Geht´s noch“ contained a Synth Hook that was repeated in a thousend cheap and stupid Euro Dance tracks after it´s release and some people started to hate me for that and blamed me for a sell out. Today I would feel trapped trying to surf on the same wave over and over. What lasts is the memory of some of the most exciting moments you can have when you hear your own music in a club and you realize it’s going to be big because you see people enjoying it.
Is anything which inspires you?
Inspiration is such a big word. I rather go in the studio and start to work and hope for some ideas.
Nothing to do with but one thing puzzles me. Whether in a band or solo, why so many aliases?
I don’t know really. Sometimes it’s easier to slip into a certain atmosphere when you give yourself another name. Also, I remember when I started to release music it wasn’t very unusual to do so. Every new label you started to release on asked for a new „alias“.
„Real“ names were simply not as important as today I guess as we had a different self image. It was a bit like a fake name in your favorite social network.
You don’t have produced any solo albums under the name of Roman Flügel ? Is this one of your projects ?
There might be an album in the future. I just released my firts 12“ as Roman Flügel on Dial (How To Spread Lies chroniqué ici
) and there will be another one during spring 2011. It might be a good opportunity to work on a whole album…
To finish on your musical background, can you tell us more about the labels that you created ?
The labels Playhouse and Klang Elektronik were created with Ata and Heiko MSO who used to run the Delirium record shop in Frankfurt during the 90’s. Jörn and I played them some of our first studio recordings and they were thrilled by what they heard. They already had a label named Ongaku but it was clear that we wanted to have our own platform for the deeper shades of Techno (Klang) and later another one for our definition of House Music (Playhouse). Finally we ended up as one of the more important platforms for independent electronic music in Germany for more than 15 years releasing albums by artists like Ricardo Villalobos, Farben or Isolée, etc.
Did you imagine this life when you were young ?
I always wanted to become a musician and I’m very happy that I was able to experience a groundbreaking change at the beginning of the 90’s that has influenced the music industry so much. When we started to do the labels we totally believed we could make it. We just did it and there were so many others who tried the same and that ctrated a certain „Do it yourself“ feeling. It was the downfall of the Berlin wall in Germany and Techno and House Music was the soundtrack to this fortunate event for us. Nobody would have thought about the next revolution at that time that would be called the „digital“ revolution. I’m still very thankful that I can be part of what I always wanted to this day.
How do you imagine the future of your career ?
Nobody really can say that. Let’s hope for the best.
Besides techno, what do you listen to when you are at home?
Jazz, Classical Music, Soul, Funk, Alternative there’s just so much to discover. While answering these questions I prefered the first album by Galaxie 500.
Outside of music, how would you describe yourself?
Hm. You better ask people who know me.
Maybe with 2 questions I will know more. What are your passions ?
And what are you going to do after this interview ?
I’m going to my favorite Japanese Restaurant.
Haha. So Have a good time. Thanks for this interview.