Harald Grosskopf and Eberhard Kranemann may well be the golden children of what the world calls ‘Kosmische Musik’ or, more simply, ‘Krautrock’. But one thing’s not up for debate: that they were one of the highlights of the recent Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia. So much so, that they’ve decided to stay on and mach schau for Liverpool one more time. By Alan O’Hare.
There was something in the air when Kraftwerk played at the Phil earlier this year. Desperation, obviously, as tickets sold-out so far in advance that even those with a beard and a Bold Street Coffee voucher couldn’t get on the guest list. But there was something else, too.
Anticipation. It’s harder to come by than you think – especially when it comes to ‘just another gig’ these days. Sure, we all get excited for a classic album show or a reunion concert, but musicians just doing their thing? It doesn’t cut the mustard for the mainstream anymore. Fortunately, Krautwerk – stars of the recent sold-out Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia – don’t swim the mainstream and have decided to stay on in our fair city for one more show.
“I grew up with Merseyside beat music in the Sixties,” reveals co-founder, Harald Grosskopf. “In those times, every German band copied Anglo music.” Harald, who you might recognise as a member of Ash Ra Tempel, is talking ahead of Krautwerk’s gig at Sound on Duke Street this week. The duo, also including ex-Kraftwerk and Neu composer, Eberhard Kranemann, create psychedelic soundscapes that will trip your wires. “In the early Seventies, I met Tangerine Dream,” says Harald. “This encounter changed my taste radically.”
Grosskopf and Kranemann met for the first time in 2016 at a festival where they both performed their solo projects. Deciding there and then to merge the electronic sounds of Düsseldorf and Berlin, their energetic and contemporary new style continues to wow audiences wherever they play.
You two met at a festival…
Yes, it was at a castle near my hometown! Eberhard seemed to like my performance, including 3D mapping video projections, and a few weeks later he called me… finally, that led to the Krautwerk album.
You played PSYK Fest last week; how was it?
To tell the truth, I didn’t listen to much at PSYK Fest because I was very much involved in the technical details of our set-up!
The perils of the electronic musician, hey?
I like that some of the young musicians who played PSYK Fest have been influenced by Krautrock and German electronic music in general, though.
Absolutely. What kind of music are you listening to these days?
Underworld is a great act. I saw them twice live and really liked it. But I’m very much involved in producing my own music and don’t listen very often to other music. You might call it ignorant, but that always was the way… I’m very open to new music and get very easily bored by the eternal repetitive stuff.
What do you think of Liverpool; do you see any musical parallels with German cities?
Like I said, your beat music was very much around when I was growing up. I was in a ‘classic rock’ band until I joined Klaus Schulze and then Ash Ra Tempel for quite a few albums. I concentrated on myself from the eighties until now, though.
What’s next for Krautwerk
We’re full of ideas for the future!
… and what can we expect to hear at Sound this Friday?
Well, Eberhard and I come from different musical backgrounds – he’s a classically-trained bass player, Kraftwerk founder and free jazz musician… whereas I’m a musical anarchist! We’ll pull out some interesting and emotionally thrilling stuff I’m sure.
Krautwerk with special guests Melodien and Lo Five
Friday, October 6th 2017, 8pm
Sound, Duke Street, Liverpool
Pic courtesy Emotion Wave