ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Onetwo ist ein neues Projekt aus Claudia Brücken…

Onetwo ist ein neues Projekt aus Claudia Brücken [Ex-Propaganda] und Paul Humphreys [ex-OMD]. Wenn amn so etwas liest, sind die Erwartungen natürlich hoch. Wie hoch waren eure Erwartungen, als ihr angefangen habt, Musik zu machen?

PH: I think when you begin a collaboration you expect very little, and I think when a collaboration has gone on for a very long time you expect too much. I do think we sound quite like youd imagine us to sound on paper in the sense that I have brought quite an early OMD electronic approach to Onetwo and Claudia brings the voice of Propaganda which is so distinctive, along with lots of great ideas and influences that she has gained over the years

CB: We havent felt the need to disguise our instincts and personal signatures, as these are what make you the artists that you are, these things are real and should be celebrated. Not hidden.

We habt ihr euch kennen gelernt?

PH: Our writing collaboration started in the mid to late nineties. I was running an independent label in Liverpool [Telegraph Records] and went to MIDEM in Cannes to try to get some deals for my bands when I was approached by a label on behalf of Claudia who was looking for possible co-writers for a new Claudia solo project. So, we met up and started working on ideas together. The project was halted because Claudia decided to have an attempt at an original member Propaganda reunion and gave that project several years. Some of Claudias and my work was carried through into Propaganda and then withdrawn when that was abandoned in 2002. We decided to form Onetwo in 2004 with the release of the 5 track EP ‘Item initially released on eBay only.

Wie waren die gemeinsamen Arbeiten. Gab es Unterschiede mit der Zusammenarbeit mit Propaganda?

PH: Every working partnership is unique I think, although I have worked with quite a number of people of the years but working with Claudia is a similar dynamic to that of my old partnership with Andy in the sense that I work a lot with the chords, music, sounds, production etc. and Claudia is more the lyricist and vocal melody writer. Having said that though, Claudia is quite proficient on guitar and piano, at least enough to write some basic chord structures and I do help with lyrics sometimes too, so there is a cross over.

Euer neues Album heißt “Instead”. Auf was bezieht sich dieser Titel?

CB: We just liked the word ‘Instead We wanted people to ask themselves the question, hmm, what do they mean, Instead of what? We want people to just be left wondering!!

Wenn man mit so einer bewegten Vergangenheit an ein neues Projekt herangeht, gerät man da nicht automatisch in Gefahr, die „alten Schubladen” wieder aufzumachen?

CB: As we said earlier in terms of the sound we wanted to allow our personal signatures to roam free on the record. It is hard when youve come from bands who were successful and popular as its some heavy baggage that you carry and people will always measure and judge you against that earlier work done with other people in a completely different set of circumstances. It is important to keep moving forward if you are a true artist and we were very aware of the fact that we didnt want to sound retro, i.e. Make a record that sounded like it was made in the eighties, but, we wanted to use some sounds that reminded people of our past histories but bring this all into the now. Its not up to us to suggest that we sound totally modern, although we have used a lot of techniques and a mountain of modern technology to try to make it sound like it was made in this century at least!!

Worum geht es bei euren Stücken?

PH: A complicated question!! In a nutshell they are about a wide variety of subjects from scientific quests like the Theory of Everything, to the endless stream of sound and vision signals that has been spewing into space for many decades [Signals] There are also songs about suicide and about love. We also have a moment on our record where we have a bit of a poke at the corporate music industry and the effect it has on artists. Pink Floyds ‘Have a Cigar was them having a poke at the industry in the mid 70s and ironically the lyrics are even more relevant now as the corporate part of our industry is these days basically just run by accountants who wouldnt know talent or good songwriting if they fell into a bucket of it! Cat Powers ‘I dont blame you is about Kurt Cobain and is a metaphor for the strains and pressures the corporate industry puts on vunerable artists.

CB: Yes, our pretty ruthless business regularly prioritises exploitation above protecting and nurturing artists. We thought that to join the two songs together makes the statement more powerful. Kein Anschluss is a song about someone trying to reach someone by making a telephone call but theres no connection made. The person keeps on trying unsuccessfully and these are the thoughts that go through the persons mind. As he /she keeps trying, his/her desire to speak to that person grows more and more. Its a song about obsession.

Wie sind die Lieder entstanden. War zuerst der Text oder die Musik da, oder variiert das nach Song?

PH: Usually the music comes first with us. Ill put a basic backing track or chord structure together and then put on Claudias ipod. She will then live with it for a period of time until she comes up with an idea, usually when shes walking around London or walking the dog! Anyway, her initial idea will be in the form of a melody before lyric. We will work on that melody together then she will go away and write a proper lyric that works for the melody and I will then modify the music to fit Claudias idea etc. We go on and on like this, until were both happy with the track really…. It can be a long process but also a short one, as it varies from song to song.

Inwieweit sind die Stücke persönlich gefärbt oder beziehen sich auf ein persönliches Erlebnis?

CB: The songs that are not about Science, or history or commenting on our industry etc. do come from a more personal place. You do draw on events that have happened to you or people close to you because as a lyricist, you always want your songs to mean something, even if it only means something to you as the writer. In my view it is always good to be a little ambiguous so that people can read into or impose there own thoughts and experiences onto your song so as to make people relate it to themselves and their lives. Thereby they feel that the song is theirs too, if you know what I mean!

Gab es schon Reaktionen auf eurer Album? Wie wurde das Werk generell aufgenommen?

PH: The response to the release has been exciting, some of the best reviews Ive personally had in a long long time [at least here in the UK] which has been very nice. The album has been selling well and we were No.2 last week on UK iTunes for our genre, which was also exciting. The general response from the public has been really positive also, you can visit our myspace if you want evidence!

Habt ihr auch schon Livegigs absolviert? Wenn ja, wie haben die Zuschauer die Musik aufgenommen?

CB: We have done a number of shows as Onetwo in the UK, Germany and South America and the crowds have been fantastic. We have had to include songs from our pasts in the set though because these shows were before our album was out, so no one would know the songs yet! We havent started touring with this album yet as we want it to be a bit more known before we hit the road! Apart from a few showcase shows hopefully in the UK in April, we will start playing Instead on tour properly for the first time in Germany. We will be playing on 27th April in Krefeld,[Nr. Dusseldorf], 28th in Giessen [Nr. Frankfurt]on 29th in Berlin and 30th in Rostock Nr. Hamburg.

Ihr seit ja nun schon über 20 Jahren im Musikgeschäft. Welche Veränderungen — ob gut oder schlecht — sind euch aufgefallen?

PH: As you know from some songs that appear on our album, we are quite critical and cynical about our business but there are still some positive things too. The development of modern technologies has had the most significant impact on the business over the last 20 years. The Internet has fundamentally changed everything to do with our business. For band like us, it is a pretty good thing as we both have searchable names and histories so people have a new way of finding and discovering us and our music, which is great. The obvious downside is that it has promoted a culture of ‘music for free. Its basically because downloading music illegally doesnt feel the same as running out of a shop with a pile of CDs under your arm with alarms going off and a security guard chasing after you!! But it really is the same thing. People tend not to realise that it is only a very small percentage of musicians are really wealthy pop stars, everyone else, most musicians really, are just trying to make a living. Unfortunately musicians have mortgages too, and have kids who need new shoes and the latest playstation games etc. The impact is not just on musicians either though as labels dont have anywhere near the same resources as they used to, to risk investing money in new and perhaps more left field and interesting artists, they take a much safer and a far more boring route to balance the books!

Wie sieht das Jahr 2007 aus? Wird es weitere Veröffentlichungen geben bzw. Liveauftritte?

CB: Yes as listed above we will be playing some German dates really soon. We will be promoting our album in various ways for the rest of the year with also another single or 2 released from the album.

Danke für das Interview und weiterhin alles Gute für die Zukunft.

PH & CB: It was a pleasure! Thanks a lot for the very interesting questions! All the best to you and your readers from Onetwo!!