Music & clubs

Six questions for… Schneider TM

INTERVIEW. Schneider TM has been busy curating Aufladetechnische Konferenz with Jochen Arbeit.

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Photo by Henryk Weiffenbach

Best known for brainy electropop, Dirk Dresselhaus aka Schneider TM hasn’t been performing much of it recently, preferring to range from acoustic Neil Young-esque laments to the musique concrete forged out of the sounds of Berlin building sites on his latest album “Construction Sounds” (Bureau B).

With Einstürzende Neubauten/Die Haut’s Jochen Arbeit, he’s been curating and performing at Aufladetechnische Konferenz (ATK), a monthly night at Berghain Kantine; the next, featuring Larsen’s Julia Kent and Nurse with Wound collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo Modonese among others, is on Wednesday, Dec 19.

You and Jochen keep extremely active. It seems inevitable that you’d eventually work together.

We first met in Dresden in summer 2010, when he played a duo set with Brian Mitchell and I joined Hypnodrome for a set. At the end we made a big noise together… it was great fun. We were hanging out afterwards on a metal swing laughing our asses off – I forget why.

That sounds rather industrial.

The shrieking metal swings sounded like [Sun Ra altoist] Marshall Allen’s saxophone. Jochen wanted to take it to Berlin for a sound installation. But it was huge, so he would’ve needed a truck. Or banana helicopter.

Berghain could have provided the banana, if not the helicopter. How did they get involved?

Mostly coincidence. Jochen and I have played together and with others in a lot of different small clubs during the last one-and-a-half years and, for once, we wanted to focus on one space with a good sound system. We both knew Andre [Jürgens] from Berghain and it somehow evolved… you know, you meet at the bar, have a drink, talk and suddenly there’s this idea…

How many drinks did it take?

One coffee and done. I don’t really believe in plans anymore; they never work out. Spontaneous ideas in certain situations are much stronger.

And this applies to your music, as well?

In a way, yes. Things that evolve naturally are supposed to happen somehow, in both positive and negative ways. Even the whole Schneider TM thing started by coincidence in 1997: I was just fooling around with a drum machine sent through guitar effects and – zoom – there was a 12” and then an album. At the time, I still wanted to become a rock star and, luckily, I didn’t. Wanting things too much is always a problem. Anyway, being a rock or pop star in Germany is quite a miserable thing – Germans don’t really like their stars, and after a while they want to destroy them.

What can we expect at ATK?

It’s partly improvised and partly pre-worked – music, dance and video, and other things if coming up. We want artists communicating that don’t know each other well. It’s nothing to do with wanking, but composing in the moment. I just try to dissolve into positive action, to not be in need of a plan. ‘Cause they never work out.

Schneider TM & Jochen Arbeit present Aufladetechnische Konferenz (AT K) Wed, Dec 19, 21:00 | Berghain Kantine, Rüdersdorferstr 70, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof