Blixa Bargeld: “I don’t ever have intentions to write something ABOUT something. That’s my intention – not to write about something”
35 years of Einstürzende Neubauten is just a part of Blixa Bargeld's creative biography. Having performed in Riga last year, he is now back in Baltics with his solo Rede/Speech performance. This time it will be held in Kaunas as a closing event of Centras, the media art and music festival. A rather short Q&A session before that - still, oh what an honour it was.
Solidų muzikinį palikimą per kelis dešimtmečius sukrovęs Blixa Bargeld yra dirbęs ir su Nick Cave, o praėjusiais metais nuotykingame latvių festivalyje „Skaņu mežs“ pristatė solinę savo programą, kurios nei pats, nei liudininkai nepavadintų įprastu koncertu ar pasirinkimu – nei festivaliui Rygoje, nei jo kaimynui Kaune, vykstančiam šiuo metu. „Centras“ šiemet jau pristatė Kangding Ray, jau tuoj pat – Gábor Lázár, o rankiniu bagažu atgabentas Blixa Bargeld minčių srautas taps finaliniu festivalio akordu.
„Romuvos“ kino teatre – spalio 30-ąją. Tarp Berlyno ir Vilniaus – dabar. Beje, pašnekovas primygtinai liepė įsijungti „Skype“ kamerą, nes jam būtina matyti žurnalisto akis. Ar jaudinausi? Siaubingai.
Ali Kepenek nuotr.
Where are you right now?
In Berlin. This is where I live and my daughter goes to school – I can’t really move around that much.
Does Berlin provide as much inspiration for artists today as it did before, when Einstürzende Neubauten started making music?
I can’t really say – there is no possible measure for that. You can’t really say where inspiration comes from or how much a city is important for that or not. For me right now it doesn’t make any difference if I am in Berlin or somewhere else. Writing texts and music is something that you do on a desk or in a notebook, it’s not so much dependant on where I am. I write something every day, wherever I am.
Do you think you had to work with other people for a certain amount of time in order to be able to start a solo career?
I don’t look at this as a career move. When I work with Einstürzende Neubauten I usually have a stage full of equipment and four other musicians that play with me. I just wanted to do something radically opposite to that material battle. I wanted to do something in a stage that is completely empty. When things are very limited, you have to invent new strategies and solutions for problems. That’s exactly what I do.
During my solo vocal performances I have nothing on stage except my microphone. I have four foot pedals that are able to loop whatever goes into that microphone. I have to develop thought processes and strategies to make something happen.
I am getting surprised every time with what comes out. It’s not plannable in very strict fashion so a lot of time unforseeable things happen, but they trigger associations and they trigger me to say or think particular things. If you are able to follow that, it can be very entertaining. At some point it’s not so unlike what a stand-up comedian would do. An avantgarde stand-up comedian show, if you like.
Some people that will come to see you in Kaunas have seen you in Riga a year ago. Should they expect something at least vaguely similar or will it be a completely new show for them?
I believe I will be coming to Kaunas due to the fact that the organizers of the festival saw me last year in Riga! In the same matter as stand-up comedians call routines, I have certain routines. They are compositions in a sense that there is an understanding between me and the sound engineer. He knows that if I do this, he should do that, and if I come to that point, he should do this and that. We have a sign language and he can show me if I am on pause or if I am on record, which I can’t see on stage. Then I know which button to press. I have about a dozen of these routines and the rest of the things happens suddenly.
Do you ever listen to your shows later on, in order to learn from yourself?
I believe I learn something every time just by doing that. It’s not a kind of performance that I would be able to go on tour with and do every day. After three times having done this, I am empty. There are no new thoughts coming to my head. It becomes too much the same and isn’t inspiring me. The inspiration in true sense of the word is absolutely necessary. I have to get something going through my head, otherwise it doesn’t work. Usually it builds up in the daytime, when I arrive to a new city. Things I see and senses I feel later come out during the performance. If I wouldn’t have this space in between I would just be repeating myself over and over again and it would be very schematic. I have not released anything of this; it’s not on a CD and I don’t really listen to it very often, either. Sometimes my engineer and I go to the studio to work out some new routines.
Einstürzende Neubauten presented a project called ‘Lament’ that was about the First World War. Could we expect something from you related to today’s events in Syria, Ukraine and other countries?
What we did in ‘Lament’ was commissioned work. We were commissioned to write it. I never felt the need for me to do something like that. It is no fun to spend your thoughts on war. It’s not what I would want to do.
I certainly do not want to become a commissioned work musician. ‘Now write something about Syria, now do this, now do that’. I don’t even do soundtracks very often. I don’t even like to write for theatre. All these things I do, but I don’t want them to consume most of my time.
I think ‘Lament’ is a wonderful peace of work. It’s great and it can stand by itself. If somebody would come now and ask me to write something about Syria, I probably would not do it.
And you have no personal intentions to do anything similar at the moment?
No, I have no intentions. I don’t ever have intentions to write something ABOUT something. That’s my intention – not to write about something.
In Kaunas, your show will be held in a very old cinema. What sort of spaces do you usually perform in? Does your art somehow adapt to locations?
As long as it has a stage and necessary equipment, I don’t really care what it is. A place I have just performed in Sweden was a proper chamber music hall with wonderful acoustics. It’s also important that people could sit down. My performance could be a bit too long and too far from a normal sequence of songs to watch and listen to standing.
Do you plan ahead your time with other artists and your solo creative process, or is this division of tasks rather accidental?
My solo vocal performances do not need a lot of preparation. Whenever I get an offer to do this and it fits into my time schedule, I do it. Last week I was producing a record for a French artist and before that I was in Sweden, and now I’m going to Italy to record with Theo Teardo, and then I’m gonna be in Kaunas. In the end of the year we’ll play 5 more ‘Lament’ shows with Einstürzende Neubauten, and that will be it for that project. It was written for 2014, so by the end of 2015 I think it is time to stop. So, as you see, I do plan in advance but the solo thing can definitely be accidental. It’s hand luggage, haha.
Ali Kepenek nuotr.
D.D. 2004 - 2016
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