HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Frank Muller

When we think of the German electronic music scene, many of us might have trouble wrenching it from images of half naked torsos, daft face paint, and gallons of sweat all converging into the giddy hedonism of Love Parade. Just as the corporate tentacles were tightening their grip, the event was (mercifully for some) cancelled in Berlin, so it's reassuring that we still have artists like Frank Muller, a.k.a beroshima, to remind us how underground techno should be done. Emerging from the experimental haze of his first label Acid Orange in the early nineties, Frank was discovered by his first album release The Lost Freakquencies, then on his second label Tanjobi Records. By 1996 he was an established underground DJ and producer, and Muller Records was born, drawing an ever increasing number of talented artists into its orbit, Takkyu Ishino among them. The label continued to push into diverse territory, offering searing techno hits like 2000's www.world-wide-whore and 2003's Fuck Your Body. We had a chat with Frank before his live set at Womb, where we talked about his latest projects, German dance music, and just what was wrong with Love Parade anyway...

If you would like to view the video interview...Click Here !

Interview : Matt Cotterill _ Photo : Mark Oxley


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : It's been said that you've had this love affair with Japan. Is it true?

Frank Muller : I really love Japan, especially I love the food. There's many nice things, but it's the only country in Asia with a legal record market. People sometimes forget that you can play in China, you can play in Malaysia, they also have good food, but it's completely illegal somehow, there isn't a grown-up record market with its musicians, industry and so on. There's only Japan in Asia. Maybe they should take the whole island and put it between Europe and America (laughs).

HRFQ : Then you'd get a good balance! Can we talk a little bit about Takkyu Ishino and how you came to meet?

Frank : Well, Takkyu I met for the first time I think in Prague on a May Day, or.. I don't remember anymore! Maybe I was also drunk, I can't remember! (laughter) I think he was also busy with his Loopa parties, and it was a time when Sony started to get into the market a bit, there was no Wire at that time, I think Liquid Room was the biggest club in the nineties. Then we started to work something out, and now we are good friends.

HRFQ : Because 'The Catastrophe Ballet' you released on [Takkyu Ishino's] Platik label in Japan, didn't you? How has the response been?

Frank : They sold quite good. Takkyu asked me if he could release it on his label, and of course I said yes, it's a good opportunity also for me. And Soundscape and Cisco, what they did, I can't do it by myself. It starts with advertising and promotion, if you want to do it by yourself, you're broke before you start! (laughter)

HRFQ : Would you plan to release anything else through that label then?

Frank : I have some plans for releases in Europe and in Malaysia, but as soon as the next album is ready, I will offer it to Platik of course.

HRFQ : How about Muller Records? Are you promoting any artists at the moment?

Frank : We have some new artists from Brazil, some from Japan, but we had a long break because we changed the distributer two times; one time too much maybe! But the old distributer was a complete disaster, I couldn't work with them anymore, so I said, Ok, let's take a short break and maybe less artists, because the record market is quite difficult at the moment. We can't pay the big advance anymore like we did before, so we have to think carefully about who we release on Muller, and what we're going to do. Sometimes I'm also tired, I spend so much energy for other artists, sometimes I want to think about myself.

Frank Muller Interview

HRFQ : About your own projects; is there anything you're working on now?

Frank : Beroshima started from the last.. is it Orange, the label? Like crazy electronic experimental Punk? Completely drug-influenced music! (laughs) And it has been re-released because there were so many requests on that. And it was released on Thomas Schumacher's label, and this year we make two or three more for Beroshima, and some other projects like not techno, but more into dub, electronica, hard stuff and so on. Serious music! (laughter)

HRFQ : Can we move on to Love Parade? It was cancelled last year.

Frank : I think the last parade I've been to was in 1996, because after that it was completely light years away from my music. Always when I come somewhere people ask me "What about Love Parade?" because obviously it's the biggest thing from Germany in the music scene, and it was quite astonishing that 1.5 million people come together, but who are those 1.5 million people? They're not music lovers, they're hooligans, football supporters, pimps on ecstasy. I think that's quite a big problem; before it was a demonstration, so the state pays for the cleanup later and so on. Now it becomes an event. So the demonstration has gone. When you are at a party or event you have to take care of all the toilets, cleaning and so on, so it's difficult.

HRFQ : It seems that when something gets hijacked by a lot of money, a lot floods into it, then it's going to move on very quickly.

Frank : It was crystal clear when it was so big, 1.5 million people, there were TV stations involved, there were big companies like Coca Cola, blah blah blah. It's good to make money, everybody likes money, but I think they went a little bit in the direction that's not connected to the scene anymore. But they were successful with exporting Love Parade to other countries, and I think they are going to do it in Japan this year, maybe right? I heard that MTV Japan has asked for making Love Parade in Tokyo. But I think it's 'chotto muzukashi ne!' (laughter) I mean it's a big chance, because the government can't say completely 'No,' and, well maybe this is the year when they can do it. I had some people from China, they wanted to do Love Parade in China, but China's government is more crazy you know! So the only chance to make it in China was to call it "German Aerobic Party"! (laughter) Street aerobic party because they're into this Olympic thing, sport is good!

HRFQ : There's a bit of an irony there, some kind of health project!

Frank : It's just funny somehow! But Love Parade was very important for a long time to gather many people. You had Love Parade and you had like fifty parties around it on the whole weekend, it was quite good, many many good parties.

Frank Muller Interview

HRFQ : Beyond that, the German Techno scene, we hear so many good things about it. Where do you see it going?

Frank : I think the German Techno scene is criminally underrated. The biggest problem we have is that we don't have even one English-speaking magazine. Who the hell reads a German dance magazine in Hong Kong? Nobody. They all read Mixmag, DJ Slut, blah blah blah. So they're all focussed on the UK market. If you even have one record in the UK you might be bigger than a major artist in Germany, worldwide. The German music scene is going down rapidly, and generally for all the major stuff, and I have no idea where it goes to. I make my money in foreign countries, obviously, I play more in France, more in Italy, more in Brazil for example than Germany.

HRFQ : Can we move on to technology you might be using? Traktor? Final Scratch?

Frank : Traktor's nice. Obviously I'm a little too stupid to use it! (laughter) I'm used to working with old analog equipment, and of course there was like, Logic and all this stuff, but somehow Traktor is... of course very nice, but I just can't use it, it takes too much time to get a good sound out of it. My favourite is Logic, it's made for idiots, so I can use it! (laughter) And [Ableton] Live, that's quite a nice program, it's a completely different kind of working. But I miss working with Logic, it's more like this arrangement for songs. But I think the best Techno that I made was with this old machine, this stupid sequencing, no arrangement, no complicated things, you know, filters and all that, just a different kind of working. Just playing something live.

HRFQ : Do you ever incorporate any live instruments into your work?

Frank : Many! When I used to play live I had a lot of analog equipment, but it's a disaster, you can't travel that way, your promoter might go "Oh, you have five tons of equipment, we can't pay the flight costs". So to work on a laptop is very helpful, but sometimes live sets with just a laptop is so boring. You can do a lot of good things but it doesn't make me very happy to play with a laptop. I need a chair to fall asleep in, you know, click click click...

HRFQ : Finally, if you have a message for your Japanese fans, if you could say it in Japanese?

Frank : I would love to see many people eating more Japanese food, There's no special message; just buy more records and don't download so much!

HRFQ : Well, on that note, Thank you very much for your time, and we wish you all the best for the future.

Frank : Me too! (laughter)

End of the interview

Related Article

Related Link