The Music Is Just THERE :: Herrmann & Kleine Profile

Igloo had the opportunity to conduct an email interview over several weeks of correspondence between Thaddi Herrmann (City-Centre-Offices Label-Head & 1/2 of Herrmann & Kleine) and Christian Kleine on separate occasions. With Our Noise being the heavily anticipated release out now on Morr Music, Pietro digs into the depths of the Herrmann & Kleine outfit to unleash how these two creative individuals create their musical landscape.

With beautiful beats floating in a sea of acoustical electronics, warm percussive rhythms and magnetic childhood melodies, Igloo Mag manages to receive an abundance of replies from both Christian Kleine & Thaddi Herrmann (aka Herrmann & Kleine)..

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Igloo: (Christian Kleine) Can you tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to realize your musical creations?

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Christian Kleine: Well, I grew up in a small town in the south of Germany at the Lake of Constance –Really nice nature and very quiet (especially in the winter). When I was very young, I learned to play classical trumpet, which was sometimes fun. Later the years, I taught myself guitar, drums and bass and had long noisy sessions either with my friends or often, alone. In 1996 I moved to Berlin, where I started to teach myself all about computers (or more precise: how to make music with them) because there was no drum-kit or amplifier around. I think I’ve always been deeply connected to music, and to make music for
yourself is definitely a good way for me of “being close” to the heart of music itself.

Igloo: (Christian Kleine) What would be some of your influences? And how might you describe the “Kleine landscape”?

CK: Influences. There are really a lot of different ones. Each year brings new, fascinating music and I love to update myself from time to time to hear the developments of it. Namedropping?: Slint, Bastro, My Bloody Valentine, Drexciya, Juan Atkins, A tribe called Quest, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Dinosaur jr., Brian Eno, Prince FarI, & tons of wonderful music that fills my heart with warmth.

Igloo: (Christian Kleine) How did you get involved with Herrmann & Kleine? Was there a logical process to meeting up and combining musical tastes?

CK: It was an accident (more or less). He did a radio show and I brought some dats. Unfortunately the show was over before i dropped into the radio-station, but we met later in a bar and compared our philosophies. There were many similarities, so the logical procession was started.

Igloo: (Christian Kleine) You’ve just released 2 EP’s with Morr Music (Valis) and CCO (Beyond Repair), and the recent album as Herrmann & Kleine (Our Noise); what are your thoughts on these titles?

CK: It’s difficult for me to say my thoughts from a distance (of course) but I’m quite happy with them. I really work on music that i can listen to myself even years later without being bored. Sometimes I feel strong and full of creative energy and sometimes unbelievable weak and then it’s good to hear that the music is just THERE.

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Igloo: (Christian Kleine) I whole-heartedly agree with this statement.. would you put your H & K material in a similar position? Does your collaboration with Herrmann bring you the same feelings?

CK: Yes, this is the same for Herrmann & Kleine. I wouldn’t say that the Herrmann and Kleine music is congruent to my solo works but, of course, it’s not that far away from my personal and intimate sound ideas and it’s realization.

Igloo: (Christian Kleine) How would describe the difference between your solo work and that of Herrmann & Kleine? Can you tell us a little bit about the ideas between Valis and Beyond Repair?

CK: The main difference is maybe how the music is made completely differently. Herrmann & Kleine don’t spend so much time with sound-design as I do as a solo artist. They (we), have more or less little stories, wrapped into a musical blanket to tell.

Igloo: (Christian Kleine) Your work contains many elements of organic electronics, crisp percussion, delicate melodies and the odd vocal extracts. Music that truly makes a mark in your mind and hear — when do you feel a track is totally complete?

CK: I think it’s with most creative works that you have to have a feeling when to stop working on it. Sometimes this process takes weeks, sometimes just a day or two. Sometimes you’ll never finish things or you just throw them into the trash.

Igloo: (Christian Kleine) How did your association with Morr Music come about?

CK: I must say, I can’t really remember. I just remember that he (Thaddi Herrmann) moved to Berlin some years ago and we met somewhere (possibly at a concert)… I can’t keep some things in my mind, it seems.

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Igloo: (Christian Kleine) Would you say that you’re influenced at all by the Berlin sound-scapes surrounding you? Or do you somehow isolate yourself to create each musical piece?

CK: I guess even if you don’t want to be influenced – you are. I often wish to have the complete opposite to Berlin to produce music – which means space, silence etc. I really dislike the “bedroom” producing situation, which is the quite normal if you live in a big city.

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) Can you tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to realize your musical creations?

Thaddi Herrmann: I was born in Berlin 30 years ago and lived here ever since. I started making electronic music in the late 80’s when i put my recorder aside and bought a synthesizer which I later swapped for a sampler. Back then, my love for electronic music had pushed me from a Depeche Mode addiction to breakbeats and early techno. Everything from Manchester was quite important, too. A general love for creation records and 4ad rounded up that image. I met Alec Empire and he encouraged me to record more. He eventually put out 2 EP’s of mine on his DHR label (’94+’95). By that time I was mainly listening to stuff on Warp etc and it took me a long time to find out in what direction I wanted to go when it came to writing music. I was not too confident about what I was doing. Only when I met Christian it suddenly felt easier to express what I wanted. In parts, he had a very different musical background in parts, other things we both adored.

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) What would be some of your influences?

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TH: Slowdive, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Soft Cell, Housemartins, The Felt, Men Without Hats, 4ad, Fad Gadget, Nitzer Ebb, Frontline Assembly, New Order, Teenage Fanclub, Adorable –Detroit Techno, Happy Hardcore from the UK, German Breakcore, Acid etc.

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) And how might you describe the Herrmann & Kleine collaboration?

TH: H & K is what happens when two friends come together and make music. I think it is as easy as that there is a certain magic in our tracks. Maybe only we can hear it, but this is already enough.

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) Can you describe the Kickboard Girl and its significance (besides)
being the title of one of your EP’s with Christian Kleine on Morr Music?

TH: It’s weird, people keep on asking about her. Of course she does not exist. Down my end, it is a metaphor for a very special person. It was her who made me start writing this kind of music. and every tone I play or program is a kind of love letter. It is the general motivation.

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) How do you view the abundance of independent electronic artists producing such a variety of music on such an array of record labels?

TH: It might sound strange, but I do not like the fact very much that there are so many labels at the moment. It feels especially strange to say that because City-Centre-Offices is only 3 years old as well. What I do not like is the fact that some labels do some kind of artist-swapping all
the time. This is what people say about CCO & Morr as well, but it is different because we are all very close friends and work together on many levels. Maybe it is the same with the other labels out there as well, I don’t know. Running a label is a very hard job these days, because people are buying less and less music, because they have less and less money or just download what they want. Many labels will realize this sooner or later. Maybe because the distributors will stop working with them because they are not professional enough or because they simply do not sell enough copies, maybe because of lacking quality control when it comes to picking of music. I don’t know…

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) How does City-Centre-Offices differ from the rest?

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TH: I do not know if we’re any different. We’ve always concentrated on the more poppy, accessible side of music. Others can handle the more experimental stuff better I guess. And there is always a demand for good pop music, of course..

Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) How long have you been producing music, and when was the
City-Centre-Offices label established? What can we expect in the future for CCO?

TH: Re: Myself….see above. CCO was founded in late 1998. We wanted to keep it strictly to the 7″ format, but soon realized that we would miss out on a big pile of great music, so we decided to do albums and 12″s as well…we’ve been releasing many full lengths since then, i’m sure you know this. Coming up is the following…

  • Remote Viewer :: Here I Go Again on my Own (June 3rd)
  • Morgan Caney & Kamal Joory :: Magic Radios (August)
  • Denzel & Huhn :: Time is a Good Thing (September)

    Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) What was the inspiration behind Our Noise?

    TH: It is the title of a great novel I read some years ago by Jeff Gomez. Since then I always came back to the book and many friends received it as birthday presents. Besides the fact that it is a great title for a record, I think it suits the music too! We wrote Our Noise over such a long period of time and went through so many phases during that now the record is there and you look at it and think to yourself…”yeah, this is our noise.”

    Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) How can you describe the new lyrical approach
    on Our Noise?

    TH: It just happens, you know!? We wanted to do “Blue Flower” for a long time, so there is a proper song. For the vocal bits on the other tracks we just working on new ideas, trying out different things.

    Igloo: (Thaddi Herrmann) Please tell us more about De-Bug in a few sentences.

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    TH: Debug is the biggest magazine for electronic music on the shelves with a monthly circulation of 42.000 copies in Germany. We started five years ago. It is quite different from other mags I’d say, because we also have a big section on other aspects of electronic culture. People say they like the layout (which nothing like what you see on the website) and especially the kind of special writing. Content wise, we rather write about new artists before everybody else is discovering them.

    Igloo: What are your upcoming plans for releases, mixes, shows etc?

    TH: As for H & K, we’ve just finished a new track for the upcoming Morr Music compilation called Leaving You Behind. Also on this compilation will be our cover-version of Slowdive’s “Dagger”. Besides, we’re playing a show here and there and will embark on a proper tour in the fall.

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    Our Noise is out now on Morr Music.

  • City-Centre-Offices
  • Kickboard Girl
  • Morr Music
  • De-Bug
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