Interview Acid Dragon August 2008>
Interview by Phil Jackson from prog-magazine Acid Dragon, july 2008:
Acid Dragon (AD): First of all Christian, Tommy and Tom, congratulations on another stunning recording and for sustaining interest throughout a double CD that in the old days would have been a quadruple LP!
Tom Kunkel (TK): We offer also the triple-LP, because Vinyl is our prefered format, because the cover is bigger (you get more details), the quality of the graphics is better - on cd you sometimes need a magnifier - and you can hold a work in your hands. And of course vinyl is the format of the 70s and fits best to our kind of music. But we had a lot of material, so we were sometimes limited by the audio length of an vinyl side. Another aspect are the costs for vinyl and a 4-color cover. That is the reason, why it can happen, that the CD is a little bit different from the vinyl publication. Another thought was, not to overcharge the fan with the price for a quadruple LP.
Christian Jäger (CJ): …and the most people like our music on CD! For example for longtracks and if you use really the possibility of the higher dynamic of CDs, like we did on the “Into The Sun”-CD, CD has his right and advantage, too. So we must not demonize CDs.
Tommy Gorny (TG): ...no we mustn´t. Of course there a lot of people, who are as proud of their cd-collection like I am on my record-collection. It´s a matter of taste...
AD: Speaking of LPs, I believe some of your recordings are available on vinyl- still my preferred format. Do you think vinyl is beginning to make a return?
TK: I think vinyl is still the preferred format for listeners of that kind of music (and of course music of the 60s and 70s), but the masses listen to radio or CD, I think. Vinyl you can still put on in 50 years, I am not sure you can do that with a CD...
CJ: The most published CDs are over-limited and therefore very loud but with no dynamics, that’s the reason, why most CDs are sounding so bad today. But if you work with the different advantages of both CD and Vinyl you will have pleased customers, whatever you use. Mastering for CD or Vinyl is a totally different thing, and that’s the fault of even new Vinyl-productions who are balanced for CD and simply pressed onto vinyl. (For example listen to the BBC-Sessions Led Zep or the new Purple on vinyl).
TG: I think this depends on the age at the moment, most of the LP-listeners and -customers are in their forties or fifties, also sixties. They grew up in the seventies, when a young man needed to have big hifi-equipment and records to be a man. I don´t believe, that there´s a bright future for the vinyl anymore, when our generation lives in old people´s homes, deaf at all. But who knows?
AD: How did the band get together? You have obviously been musicians for a while and assimilated many classic rock influences.
TK: I started about 1974 experimenting with keyboards and record machines. I started playing without lessons or notes. Just by ear. When I joined a band in school in 1976 (there I played my first hammond organ) I began taking classical lessons. The first kind of music I listened to was classical instrumental music. Later I was influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach, by the Hammond play of Jon Lord and Jimmy Smith, the psychedelic kind of music by Pink Floyd in the late 60s and early 70s, the music of the german band "Kraftwerk" and the "live improvising" by Keith Jarrett (The Köln Concert 1975 - the whole concert is spontaneus improvised on a grand piano). I met Christian Jäger in 1994 and Tommy Gorny in 1998 and we were together in a Band called "Mandrake Root" playing covers of deep purple and the 70s. Sometime the improvisations were getting more and more and became independent songs. Christian recorded a lot in that time and about 2000 he had the idea to make a LP so that our recorded improvised ideas won't get lost in nirvana. First it was just meant for the musicians concerned and friends.
TG: ...yes, this was one of the most important decisions, christian ever made: to publish "Krautrock-Sessions" and all the other stuff that followed.
CJ: In my developement of drumming i was very much influenced by Ian Paice, Billy Cobham and John Bonham. They were my virtual drum-teachers, I never had lessons. I learnt a lot with my old friends Uwe Moldrcyk and Thomas Schütz, (who both were playing also as guests on the first SD-LP) with our then Trio “Brian Ortwins”. We made a lot of own, very much structured music (cross-over). In that Band we played sometimes very difficult rhythms and arrangements, sometimes too much, sometimes good. You can here that music on our website, I learnt a lot while playing and composing with these two musicans. In other projects i played a lot of Rythm- and Blues and Soul until it came out of my ears...:-) , but this were my personal "early 60ies" with a lot of live-experience and partys. But Space Debris is the first band in my live, who hits my personal taste of music 110%. I´m very happy about that.
AD: Do you find much interest in your music? You did remark that there have not been many reviews in English which puzzles me.
CJ: Yes the interest in our music is much and grows. The success of the DVD and the new "Elephant Moon" for example is very good and was surprising, even though we were satisfied about the success of the first three productions. We are happy, that there is a possibility to reach the not-mainstream-listeners and have found many (mostly) German facilitators (Magazines, Festivals, Mail-Order, Forums, Fans...). We believe now, that quality will bring a slow but constant growing for Space Debris, also in other countries, too.
TG: ..sometimes I still can´t believe it today...this was our dream when we were 14,15 years old and then it came to happen. To have found real FANS, who tell us, that they feel really good while listening to our complet back-catalogue in one night, is still a privilege.
TK: I ever had the hope that there were others feeling the same music, but I couldn't believe that space debris would be such a success. It is nice that there still is life outside...
AD: Do you play many live gigs- are these within Germany or further?
CJ: We are not a touring band, we play only a hand full of gigs per year in Germany. In November first time in Belgium. We try to get contacts in other countries, that’s not easy and we need help from the scene, and fans to bring us to festivals, although we are selling already in most of the western - European - countries and even a little bit in Japan, USA …
TK: The atmosphere and feeling is very important that the gig can get a whole work of art. Just repeating the same notes on every gig is not what I want. The best gig is when you can create something new that night.
AD: How would you describe the present classic/ progressive rock scene? (Are you aware of other bands, sites like progressive ears and magazines like Acid Dragon?)
CJ: Yes we are, go to our website-links! :-) There are more and more very good bands who manage to reach the listeners....thats great!
AD: What does the future hold for Space Debris and what advice would you give to young bands wishing to play retro rock, if I can call it that?
CJ: We will do like we did in the past: Making our music with our taste and pleasure and see who likes to listen to it. We are musicians, no managers. Do what you really like and feel, because then you got a reason to reach the hearts of the listeners and then you´ll have success. Believe me, that’s no phrase !! And try useing the old instruments, because they are sounding warmer…
TK: Listen to the old stuff and look at the roots of the bands you like. Then make your own picture. Don't try to sound like someone else, maybe only in the beginning to learn and understand.
TG: I met the blues-guitarist Luther Allison in the early nineties in a guitarshop in gemany, and all he said was: Just continue. What´s an important point to me, is to be open-minded to a large range of styles, and if it´s bavarian "Volksmusik". Closed or dogmatic minds don´t grow.
CJ: Looking to the future, we will and must play like as hitherto with different musicans (like we did and will with the fantastic keyboarder Winnie Rimbach-Sator), because we don´t want to call off gigs and delay CD-Vinyl-Releases by reason of individual interests for what understandable reasons ever. Its not easy to balance a band when you want to have characters and no slowpokes as musicans in it. And our music is open for different styles and different musicans and thats very exciting.
AD: Thanks for your time, Christian and Tom and I hope some of our readers will be encouraged to check out your music.
CJ: Thank you , Phil, for your support and understanding!