Interviews

Interview by Simone Valcauda, November 2011 for Filth Forge

1.      Gerechtigkeits Liga was one of the very first industrial bands in Germany. What were (and possibly still are) your motivations at the time? Was Western Germany in 1981 swept by a creative wind just like most of Europe?

 Till Bruggemann: GL evolved from having played in several punk bands and then continued with a different style of sound & music, which I would call electro-acoustic music due to the equipment we were working with when we launched Gerechtigkeits Liga. It was basically first and foremost a noise band and less of an “industrial” or post-industrial group, at least for the first year or one and a half years of GL’s existence.

I had very little contact with other musicians in the noise and industrial field at the beginning of the 80s—even though by 1983 I had started working with a second colleague of mine, and we had gotten to know Uli Rehberg who lived in Hamburg and owned a record shop as well as running a label called Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien.

Uli organized a concert in 1983 with Whitehouse and GL in Hamburg…

In fact before I got to know him in Hamburg, we were offered to play live with Nocturnal Emissions, that was also in ’83.

During this time I had also founded our own label ‘Zyklus’ records, in order to release our own audio, as well as video material. We received a lot of correspondence and mail art from West & some Eastern European countries, as well as the USA.

The inspiration behind having founded the group for me was the fact that I had been growing up during the Cold War period, which made me feel quite paranoid at the time, I wasn’t very pleased about the lack of cultural independence, the cultural trashy overflow from the US that had been taking place for a rather long time by then of course. And also the fact that I had a strong feeling that the Germans at the time were almost consciously trying to reject remembering Germany’s history in the 30s, the Third Reich and what happened in the concentration camps, the deportation of Jews and gay people and so-called political enemies, etc.

I also felt the urgent need to break with conventional methods of  writing and performing music and to explore new ways to work with sound and film, as well as video.

We became a group towards the end of ’81, when i started working with a third friend. We started the first recording period as an electro-acoustic set, more or less due to the more conventional equipment we had still left over from our punk bands, including guitar, bass, violine (as I had been partly a bad singer and rather bad guitarist in two or three punk bands, and my colleague a bassist) and everything else was based on recordings that we did record in junkyards and in a WW2 bunker, until 1982, when we started working with our first drum machine and an analogue synthesizers. We did collect bits and pieces of metal and plastic, anything you could imagine, little children’s toys. We worked a lot with tape loops and manipulated sounds on tapes. Out of all these sounds we created our first album, which sounded more like a noisy soundtrack. It was partly dark ambient but mostly aggressive noise, pure noise only. This first album was released on tape in 1982.

2.      The name you chose means “Justice League” in German. Has it a specific background or does it reflect a sarcastic and cynical approach to the abused word “justice” in modern Western society? It is not very likely to have anything to do with the American comics series.

The truth is that as I was only 17, a friend of mine had the German translation of the American comic lying around, and we were looking for a name for the project. It looked really amusing and at the same time it seemed to be a truly fitting idea to use such an ambiguous name. But I had no idea how popular this comic was—it was so bizarre as it played no role, just a so called pure coincidence that we were sitting there going through hell knows how many names. But it seemed to be so fitting at the same time. The artwork for the first cassette was a literal piss take: in the booklet we used the actual logo from the Gerechtigkeits Liga comic, other elements from the comic and from adverts, with concentration camp photos and we used this layout as a cover page for a booklet, as well as a ‘promo’ poster for a new tape release with the title: ‘Scenes we’d like to see’.

We plastered them around the old city center of Bremen in Germany and part of a local shopping zone at the time. They couldn’t have been up for longer than a few days maximum, at the time concert posters would go up on a nightly basis and a lot of graffiti as well in certain areas. But it was completely misunderstood, which makes me feel sad, but also amuses me in retrospect. It was meant to be thought provoking, but it’s always up to the interpretation of the viewer. In this case we were mistaken for neo-nazis and a manhunt was started by a bunch of angry and punch happy anarchist punks, which was an irony in itself as we drank in the same bars, shared some of the same ideas but always remained anonymous with all GL activities in the earlier days.

2.      Was the concept of “industrial music” important for you at the time? Is it still now? Thinking of early German industrial, one usually thinks of Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Krupps, early D.A.F., Cranioclast. Do you feel Gerechtigkeits Liga has anything to do with them?

I felt that most of the things of significance were mainly happening in West Berlin. Compared to Berlin, I felt I was living in the provinces even though I lived in a city of maybe 600,000 inhabitants. Nevertheless, to West Berliners that would have been a provincial place. Especially Einstürzende Neubauten, who were from West Berlin and seemed to be overshadowing the majority of the Industrial and experimental music scene at the time. Throbbing Gristle in the UK were already by then a major cult project. And SPK, who by then were also living in London although they were from Australia.

I was proven wrong though—there was actually a lot happening in Northern Germany, Asmus Tietchen had already been active for a long time. We got to know him in 1983 through Uli Rehberg.

The concept of industrial music was important to a certain degree, of course. Nevertheless I never associated groups like Einstürzende Neubauten with the term at all, which may seem odd. I always found it strange that they were  associated with industrial music, especially in the earlier days. Neither did I at the time associate D.A.F. or Cranioclast with industrial music, even though I did like Einstürzende Neubauten a lot in the 80s. Die Krupps I wasn’t too greatly impressed by, I thought they were trying to mix pop tunes with sort of industrial elements, such as steel samples and percussion.

In the early days, throughout the first one and half years of GL’s existence, we probably ironically had quite a bit in common with Einsturzende Neubaten, as we went out onto junkyards and started recording metal and acoustic instruments in a Second World War bunker which we were using as a rehearsal space. The way we processed and used the sound was in many ways fairly similar to the way Einsturzende Neubaten were working at the time.

We were approached by Cranioclast and they sent us one of their tape releases, that was how I first listened to them. As far as I can remember it was more like minimalist electronic music. I never met the main person behind it as far as I remember, but we exchanged correspondence. Between 1981 and the beginning of 1984 we released all records, tapes and videos on our own label, which was called Zyklus Records.

3.      You eventually moved to London. Why did you choose to go there? Was the interest for experimental and noisy music higher in the UK than in Western Germany?

I definitely thought that interest in the experimental and noise scene was far bigger over there, and that the scene was obviously much larger, as I had been there on numerous visits before and had also gotten to know the members of SPK and many other musicians who were active in the so-called industrial or what Graeme Revell later called the post-industrial scene.

4.      Many tapes were published by your own label Zyklus Records, as well as your debut vinyl “The Games Must Go On.” Is any of that tape material meant for a future reissue? Did you have contact with many other tape labels/networks across Europe at the time?

A lot of the stuff that was released on our own label Zyklus Records—which by the way I relaunched recently with my new colleague Ragnar in March 2011 in order to release a new GL album called Dystopia—has been re-released. An old friend of mine by the name of John Murphy helped us with some of the percussion and drum recordings on the new album, for which I’m very greatful. The debut vinyl “The Games Must Go On” and the LP Hypnotisches Existenzialismus, which was originally released in 1985 by Side Effects in London and re-released in 1986 by Thermidor in San Francisco, was re-released in 2005 as a digipack by Isegrimm Records in Germany. Another seven tracks which were recorded in 1984 at the Limbo Lounge in New York City were also released as bonus tracks on the same digipack. Three years later I released a retrospective on the German label Vinyl-on-Demand called Per Ignem ad Lucem, and included two 12-inch vinyl LPs plus a 7-inch vinyl single as well as a video DVD. The tracks that were released on this compilation covered an array of unreleased live material from the 80s as well as studio outtakes and a few rare studio recordings from the 80s. The DVD includes early video clips from the 80s as well as some bonus live material which was shot at Columbia University in New York City in 1984 or 1985.

We had a lot of contact with labels, mainly in Western Europe but we were also in touch with many tape and record labels in the States, in Canada and the rest of the world. We didn’t trade many tapes due to the limited editions we released.

5.      Your debut LP Hypnotisches Existenzialismus shows a deep attraction for tribal percussions and ritual atmospheres. Could you tell us about your interest into trance-inducing and hypnotic rhythms?

When we recorded the album between ‘83 and ‘84 we had been experimenting with trance-inducing rhythms and tribal chants. On a theoretical level I had become interested in and started studying the techniques of hypnotism as well as animal magnetism. I had also started reading literature by Mircea Eliade about shamanism, he had written a fascinating book about shamanism, shamans and their rituals, the rough English translation of the title would be Shamanism and Archaic Ecstatic Techniques.

6.      Could you comment on the title “Hypnotisches Existenzialismus” itself?

It was a chance title because of my old colleague Thomas. I was very interested in the things I just talked about and in existentialism, but he was even more interested in existentialism and obsessed with the writer and philosopher E.M. Cioran. We couldn’t make up our minds about the title, and considered our interests and the ideals that had flowed into the record. We were living together and spending a lot of time together, and while he was out one day I thought, “we have to come up with a title because we have a deadline coming up”—so I just mixed both subject matters and turned it into “hypnotic existentialism.” In a way it was anything but a conceptual record, even though it should have been one and ironically enough may sound like one, which I don’t consider to be a coincidence…

7.      In my review I suggested that the music of the LP calls to my mind the idea of a futuristic dystopia, in which cold technology blends with primitive and savage instincts. What do you think of this interpretation?

I totally agree with you that the record represents a futuristic dystopia… Your question is stating almost the exact point we were trying to make at the time.  It’s ironic, as our new album released in March 2011 actually has the title of Dystopia.

8.      Do you have any interest for the dystopia genre in literature, such as Orwell’s “1984” or Huxley’s “Brave New World”? The quote of Emil Cioran on the innersleeve of the CD reissue seems to suggest that utopias are not for Gerechtigkeits Liga.

Yes, I certainly used to have a great interest in the just-mentioned literature, especially in my younger years I was a great fan of Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 and also Huxley’s Brave New World. Amongst other authors, I was a huge fan of some of the novels of J.G. Ballard, who seemed to reflect a future vision with such an accurate view that I’m still extremely impressed. Obviously I should also mention William Burroughs, who played a great part in my cultural development.

While we were on tour in the States in the mid-80s I had a chance to meet the man himself in the Midwestern town of Lawrence, Kansas. It seemed like a pure coincidence and irony at the time, as we were visiting an American guy whose name was also Bill, and who was running a punk record and video label on which he had previously released the American version of SPK’s Despair video, and who later released the Final Academy video on his label, Fresh Sounds. He was a good friend of Burroughs at the time and introduced us to him during our short stay in Lawrence. The reason we made a stopover there was to sign a video deal for a video that hadn’t yet been made, and was meant to be filmed on our return to New York at Columbia University at a cable TV station.

9.      The song “Media Distortion” has, to my ears, the same rhythm as Laibach’s “Dekret”. Both songs were released the same year, I think. Is it a coincidence or is there a story behind this?

I’m sure as soon as I hear that song again I will remember it, but I can’t at the moment. There’s certainly no relationship between the two songs and no significant story behind “Media Distortion”, except for the fact, that it deals

With mass media, muzak, escapism and depression.

10. Judging from the list of your tape releases, looks like you did perform live quite often back in the days. What was a Gerechtigkeits Liga live concert like?

All our shows used to be multimedia events, as back in the 80s I had problems writing words and vocals for the tracks we recorded and performed live. Therefore I expressed my ideas via films and slide projections, which we used as background material. I’ve always had a strong interest in experimental film, especially at that time, and I thought it was a good and unconventional idea to express one’s ideas through background projections. Then it was more unusual, people were not doing it a lot. The rest of the performance at the beginning was based on pure live music during the first couple of years. As we started doing low-budget tours and played many tours and single gigs abroad, it soon became apparent that we had to start reducing the amount of equipment in order to travel lighter. Therefore unfortunately we were forced to use a certain amount of sounds from backing tapes and just mainly used percussion and an array of conventional instruments such as brass instruments, violins, a broken guitar, pedal effects and tape fade-ins, as well as synth keyboard. Even though I didn’t have conventional vocals at the time, I usually improvised a lot and just made words up on the go, which I just shouted into the microphone.

11. Worth mentioning is your participation to the historical Side Effekts anthology Vhutemas Archetypi in 1985, alongside SPK, Laibach, Hunting Lodge and Lustmord. Has that record any special meaning to you? Is the topic of the “Wodan Archetype” of any interest to you?

Of course the record did have and still has a very private special meaning to me. On the other side, I must admit that at the time of recording the two tracks for the compilation were certainly not related to the “Wodan Archtype,” even though I was interested in the occult and Northern or Germanic mythology to a certain degree. I think the interest has increased slightly over the years. What still fascinates me in retrospect when listening to the compilation is that every band or project who participated and worked on their tracks independently and without having had any communications with the other participating musicians, but if you closely listen to it someone may get the feeling all tracks were recorded within the presence of all contributors. It certainly seems to give a strong impression that all of us had a common denominator, as each track seems to fit together, almost like pieces of a puzzle.

12. Let’s get to the present now. Towards the end of the 1980s your traces were lost, only to reappear in 2005 with the CD reissue of Hypnotischer Existenzialismus. What led to this release after so many years? How did you come in contacts with Isegrimm Records?

Shortly after the beginning of the Millennium I noticed that the so-called industrial or post-industrial music scene with all its sub-genres wasn’t dead, as I had presumed for so long during most of the ‘90s. In 2001 I was approached by a Berlin festival organiser called Stefan Schwanke, who kindly asked me if I would be interested in recording a track for one of his upcoming  vinyl compilations by the title of Statement 1961. The theme of the compilation was meant to be the building of the East Berlin Wall, which had been started by the GDR in 1961. The compilation was meant to be dedicated to all East German residents who tried to escape from the East and were executed in the process of doing it. I did like the idea a great deal and was surprised that someone still showed an interest in Gerechtigkeits Liga after such a long period of absence.

The compilation was finally released on the 26th of June 2004  within the framework of a festival. Stefan had previously asked me if I would be interested to perform at the launch festival of the compilation and I had agreed to do so. After a rather disappointing performance due to the fact that I encountered problems with some of my equipment on stage, I was later that evening approached by a gentleman called Lerry who mentioned a great interest in the history of Gerechtigkeits Liga and who asked me if I would be interested in a re-release of some of the older vinyl releases from the 80s. We exchanged email addresses and telephone numbers, and eventually the planned material was released as a digipack in 2005. By 2004 I had already decided to pursue the project again, and had made the acquaintance of a new friend and now collaborator, Ragnar. At that time he was visiting London on a very regular basis, and we continued working as GL where I had left off at the beginning of the 90s..

13. I read that you’re planning new Gerechtigkeits Liga releases. How has your perspective of music changed? What do you have in mind, musically speaking, these days?

Since 2004, we’ve recorded and released plenty of material on different vinyl and CD compilations, as well as two 7-inch vinyl records (one a split release with the German noise project Gehirn Implosion) and the new album Dystopia, not to mention the Vinyl-on-Demand retrospective that I mentioned earlier in the interview.

Obviously my perspective of music has changed over the past decades. In many ways my ideas have somehow stayed the same but I have become much more open-minded towards almost all genres of music that are out there, which was an impossibility for me when I was in my late teens. I can now listen to almost all genres of music and view them far more objectively. I’m also able to spend longer periods of time without listening to music at all, especially when I work on my own sound projects.

I’ve been able to work with a much larger array of instruments, be it conventional instruments like Tibetan dungchen (horns), or high-tech instruments and recording gear.  We did do some similar things in the 80s as well though. At one time in the late 80s we used more electronic instruments than we use now, but analog of course rather than digital.

At present I am really wondering how to continue. I have a more ambient noisy project that has been mostly recorded and has been sitting in the corner, which needs to be worked on: a Shining Vril vs. Gerechtigkeits Liga album. If a release will finally be available is as yet unknown. 

We’re currently planning to put out a follow up release to the new album “Dystopia”, which will come out in form of a limited cassette with additional live studio recordings. This release will be called “Dystopia” – ‘Ritus’.

A number of other releases is planned for the year 2012:

One of them will be a special Gerechtigkeits Liga live release on Klanggalerie in Vienna and a special dark ambient project, possibly to be released on GL’s Zyklus records.

14. Are you planning to do any live performances too, and, if yes, how do you see an industrial live performance these days?

Yes, we’ve done a number of live concerts in the past few years, the majority of which took place at small or larger festivals, such as the 8th Wroclaw Industrial Festival in 2009 in Poland, as well as the Wave Gothik Treffen in 2008 in Leipzig, Germany.

Generally the live performances we’ve done over the last few years are quiet different compared to what I used to do with one of my ex-colleagues in the 80s. We used to put more emphasis on backing tapes but now we are much more of a band set-up. Whenever we play at larger venues we have a third man on board who has been playing metal percussion as well as drums. Even though we are still using video projections for all of our concerts I am concentrating more on vocals and brass instruments, as well as limited samples nowadays, and my main colleague is responsible for synthesised as well as organic sounds and drum percussion.

15. Thank you very much for your time and the answers. One last word at your disposal.

Many thanks for your never ending patience and for having waited such a  long time for my answers dear Simone!

 

Original source: http://www.filthforge.org/interviews/interview-gl.htm 

In 2013 Simone V. decided it was time to take his Filthforge website offline.

The Interview has since been re-published on 4iB Records.

Source: http://4ibrecords.com/2013/07/03/gerechtigkeits-liga-interview-by-simon-v/

 

_______________________________________________________________________

This interview was conducted by Alexei Monroe in 2007 and first appeared on his I.C.R.N. website. It is re-published with kind permission of the author.

Monday, April 02, 2007
I.C.R.N. Paper 4: Alexei Monroe: Gerechtigkeits Liga: Many Unhappy Returns?
Gerechtigkeits Liga: Many Unhappy Returns

The name Gerechtigkeits Liga is one which re-surfaced only recently, but which has recurred at key points in the history of industrial. The group appeared alongside SPK, Laibach and others on the seminal compilation Vhutemas Archetypi on Graeme Revell’s Side Effects label. It also performed at the Berlin Atonal festival in 1985, an event which still casts a long shadow and which due to its reputation is possibly even more significant for those who weren’t there than for those who were. Given GL’s association with these key moments in the development of second-wave industrial, the group has had a surprisingly low profile. Partly this was due to the vagaries and adversities of the music business: tracking the trajectory of such a group you discover that industrial groups also suffered from exploitation and neglect, even on independent and supposedly progressive labels. Yet although force of circumstance conspired to keep GL silent for much of the last two decades, this silence and the rarity of its works may have actually have helped maintain an aura of fascination and elusiveness which motivated collectors and others to track down rarities and which has now inspired both a re-issue programme and a return to recording by the group.

In 2005, the long unavailable first album Hypnotischer Existenzialismus and single were re-released on CD, together with a live recording from New York in 1985. In recent years the group has released new material on the German compilations Statement 1961 (Ironflame) and Paranoise One (Paranoise). Further re-releases are planned, as well as new material, and this is a good opportunity to analyse the work of this obscure but still fascinating group. This article is based on conversations with founder member Till Bruggemann, initiated in March 2005.

GL emerged in Bremen in 1981 and its members were from the generation slightly too young to have been involved in, but creatively captured by, the first wave of Punk and industrial. Beginning as a punk/noise group it soon switched to using industrial-electronic textures and equipment. The group assumed the sinisterly fascinating name Gerechtigkeits Liga – certainly one factor in the aura surrounding the group. Gerechtigkeits Liga was a ready-made name, taken from the American comic Justice League and translated into German. Like many key industrial groups, the choice of name instantly generated a sinister and ambivalent aura.

GL grew up in what was Bruggemann says was already a post-industrial society, but industry was an important presence. Like so many (post)-industrial producers, Bruggemann was interested in industrial buildings, but could never imagine doing factory work. He was fascinated by the impact such monotonous work must have had on people’s lives and the fact of being born into it and having no other options. GL were fascinated by post-industrial landscapes, and would always visit the ‘outer areas’ of towns they visited. Bruggemann was particularly inspired by London’s docklands in the 1980s. He recalls it being possible to imagine the most fantastic post-apocalyptic scenarios. It was possible to drive for 20-30 minutes across Docklands, an area that looked “as if a revolution or hell knows what” had taken place. In 1986, Bruggemann together with members of Laibach and Test Dept. were extras in Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, filmed in the ready-made war-zone of Docklands.

GL also assimilated some of what could be called the “canonical” cultural sources particularly associated with first and second wave industrial. These included Dada and the work of John Heartfield (later also used by Laibach and Front Line Assembly amongst others). The montage Der Henker und Die Gerechtigkeit (The Hangman and Justice) was a source of particular inspiration and GL used it on the cover of a promo VHS in the early 1980s. Concerns over copyright issues and possible political misinterpretations (01) meant GL never used it more publicly but it remains clandestinely associated with their work.

From an early stage GL’s actions and images have been misperceived as rightist but its art doesn’t seem marked by an unmediated will to power so much as an urgent, existential will to communicate some of the most disturbing aspects of present day life.

Heartfield and Dada style collage and montage techniques were an inherent part of the GL aesthetic, particularly in the designs of some of their now sought-after cassette releases but also in their early home-recorded sound collage work, which was closer to artistic techniques than to the sample culture that shaped industrial later in the decade. At this stage GL worked mainly with tapes and transferred sounds between numerous recorders, a method that founder member Till Bruggemann describes as having been quite an effective method. They also had a primitive emulator and other devices built for them by a friend.

Unlike some of the other industrial groups, the young GL were not then aware of electro-acoustic or musique concrete at the time, despite the similarity in techniques, if not resources. One definite influence was Einstürzende Neubauten’s junk aesthetic, and GL went on sound-hunting sorties in Bremen and elsewhere; recording pure noises and raw material from whatever industrial debris they encountered. However, GL did not share EN’s fascination with the objects themselves, but were interested in their sonic potentials. They would treat, accelerate and slow down these sounds into more abstract yet still oppressive and confrontational sounds. The new group soon relegated the guitar to its proper role as an extra source of distortion with layers of tape loops. GL acquired a drum machine the archetypal industrial synthesisers – first a korg ms10 then an ms20.

Equipped with this new sound arsenal GL moved into one of several former air raid bunkers that the city of Bremen made available to musicians and groups as rehearsal spaces. GL were one of the first groups to receive a double room in one of these bunkers. They removed the wall down between the rooms and created what Bruggemann describes as an ideal location for GL’s kind of music with a great acoustic. GL already had an interest in Germany’s suppressed past and so to operate in such a historically and literally resonant space certainly had an effect on its work. Here their first cassette releases were recorded straight to tape with amplification from standard bass and guitar amps. These releases were issued between 1981 and 1983 (02) with self-produced booklets and graphics in very small editions of 20-50 copies which sold fairly fast.

Although the primitive quality of cassette releases by GL and other industrial groups was primarily the result of limited resources, this very roughness soon became integral to the industrial tape aesthetic. However, despite the similarities and some influences, the group were still working in isolation and only joined the emerging industrial scene when GL became a more professional project around mid 1983.

Around this time original member Frank Stroepken left and was replaced by Thomas Furch. The group continued working in the bunker but did see the need to go into a studio and make their first professional recordings. Through a personal contact they gained access to a four track studio at a cheap rate. However, GL had no studio experience and the engineer (who later worked with Neubauten in Berlin) was unfamiliar with the industrial aesthetic, being used to working with Punk and indie groups. Despite this he liked the GL sound and became their live mixer for a while. Bruggemann feels these early recordings sounded far too minimal and yet, as in so many other cases, technical limitations and accidents have helped cement industrial’s aesthetic of D.I.Y. monumentalism. Flaws obvious to their creators were taken by new industrial listeners to be stylistic templates and inspirations, and the genre as a whole has been shaped by successor groups taking the inherent “wrongness” of early industrial recordings as a staring point to be developed and perfected rather than overcome.

Around the same time, GL began to tour Northern Germany and came into contact with one of the industrial scene’s key facilitators, Uli Rehberg of Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien. Rehberg organised a slot for GL to play with Whitehouse 03. Rehberg liked GL’s live sound and had previously expressed interest in releasing some material but disliked the first studio recordings. GL then took the material for mastering in London and had them transferred to eight track. The first single The Games must Go On then finally appeared in an edition of five hundred copies on their own label Zyklus records, distributed by Das Büro, mainly in Germany & Benelux. Looking back, Bruggemann feels that the recordings from early period were too minimal and although for many listeners this gives the material a certain charm and fascination, he still would have liked to have used just a little more percussion or other elements. This seems to be a motivation for GL’s current work – to produce a sound that is not technically hampered and that fully matches the scale of the vision.

One particular source of inspiration for GL in 1982-3 was SPK, particularly the Leichenschrei 04 album and the Mekkano single. On their first visit to London, the group visited SPK video maker Dominic Guerin in his squat and then met Graeme Revell and Brian Williams (Lustmord). GL were now developing a stronger network of international contacts and began to visit London more regularly. The group managed themselves, retaining complete control over their work. They organised a successful U.S. mini-tour in 1984, and returned again in 1985. On these visits they played memorable shows in San Francisco and New York 05 and recorded a session in the TV Studios of Columbia University.

The group were now recording on an eight track home studio and brought their latest recordings to London. Revell heard these and was impressed by GL’s progress since the previous material he had heard. By now, Revell had enough income from SPK’s more commercial work to finance releases on Side Effects and offered to release work by GL and similar groups who had problems finding labels to release their work. In fact, Side Effects did not remain active long enough 06 to make a serious impact on all these groups’ finances or careers, but again the very short-lived nature of the label soon gave it a retrospective “classic” status, which also settled around GL’s Hypnotischer Existenzialismus LP and their tracks on Vhutemas Archetypi.

In common with many industrial and other musicians, Bruggemann has an instinctive distrust of musical categories. He found Graeme Revell’s term “post-industrial” interesting, but this never really caught on and isn’t widely known or used among younger listeners. Of course, GL’s work is close to industrial in many ways, and it operates primarily within the industrial scene, but Bruggemann dislikes categorisation and is uncomfortable with it. As he says, once named, something can be put into a drawer and forgotten. In fact, some reviews of GL’s first release described it “dancefloor.”

GL’s music in this period was a reflection not just of the still-developing (post)-industrial Zeitgeist, but of the political, cultural and personal terrors and excesses of the time. Bruggemann says that while he was not consciously aware of putting his anxieties into the music at the time their influence is undeniable when listening now. The political atmosphere of the new cold war period in Germany certainly seeped into the music, being present as a sort of “background radiation”, even if it was never an explicit theme in the music. During the particularly tense period between 1983 and 1985, Bruggemann had panic attacks induced by what seemed like the threat of imminent war (it’s easy to forget now how close war seemed in that period). He also found the paranoiac front-line atmosphere in Berlin particularly oppressive, even while enjoying the city’s alternative cultural life. Living near the wall, Bruggemann was aware of the phone in his Berlin residence having its phone line monitored by the Stasi 07. Like many others, Bruggemann came to Berlin in order to avoid national service but would spend two works there and two weeks in Bremen to recover from the pressures (and pleasures) of Berlin. This was interspersed with increasingly frequent samplings of the tense but dynamic London scene of the period. Eventually, Bruggemann was permanently seduced by what seemed like the fascinating fertile chaos and greater breathing space offered by eighties London in comparison to the cleanliness and order of Germany and relocated permanently. He found that the German atmosphere induced both paranoid and justified feelings of being spied on. Ironically, Bremen later experienced some of the traumas of de-industrialisation that were so fascinatingly apparent in London.

A key conceptual reference for GL in this period was the work of the controversial Romanian writer E.M. Cioran. Bruggemann’s partner was a great admirer of Cioran’s work and Bruggemann read it during the recording of the album and it was decided to integrate some Cioran material onto the album cover, alongside what they called the Manifesto of the Anti, which was a first attempted distillation of the vortex of influences operating on the group. GL were fascinated by Cioran’s work, and appreciated his Weltanschauung, and tried to express its spirit in their music.

Of course, like so many other industrial sources and references, Cioran was an ambiguous, even contaminated one, due to his early connections with the Romanian Iron Guard movement, from which he later distanced himself. Industrial in this period could be seen as a sort of mass-alchemical appropriation of a whole range of forbidden, compromised and unhealthy sources. Such material held a particular fascination for sensitive artistic types who were out of step with the mainstream zeitgeist of the pack, and desperate to communicate their horror at the state of things. In the experiences and concerns of these groups it’s possible to apprehend heroic attempts to process the vast range of half-understood cultural debris they were surrounded by or sought out.

This refusal or even existential inability to remain apart from horrific and forbidden material has been a key marker of industrial groups. In some cases, manifestoes arguing for a confrontation with painful reality have simply been a cover for un-thinking shock tactics 08 and outrage for the sake of outrage. Certainly, use of some sort of ambivalent material became almost de rigeur for industrial groups. In the polarised, hyper-ideological context of the eighties, there was infinite scope for the misunderstanding of such work and GL encountered their share of denunciation and obstruction even when not 09 consciously trying to provoke. Despite its contacts with squat and alternative culture, to be identified with the industrial movement often meant being under suspicion – from certain types of leftist activists as much as from the authorities. Of course, for many groups and their listeners, their “outlaw” status was and remains a badge of honour. Certainly, to provoke some of those provoked by the very idea of industrial is almost always worthwhile.

GL first attracted hostile attention in 1982 when they released a limited cassette based on the history of the Nazi era. They produced an A4 poster showing a wagon load of holocaust victims with what they believed was the self-evidently cynical title Scenes We’d Like to See. As Bruggemann recalls, “all hell broke loose in Bremen” and an unsuccessful hunt for those responsible was launched. GL believed that the meaning would become clear when people took time to listen to the music (because of the way it expressed horror at what had happened?) 10. However, snap judgements were and remain a sign of ideological rectitude on both left and right, and the idea of exploring anything in greater depth is inherently suspect to many ideologues. Like many of their generation, GL were very dissatisfied with the way the past was handled in Germany, about the lack of open discussion, and the refusal of the older generation to discuss it. GL were struggling in their own, perhaps unsubtle, way to express this, but were never interested in simple shock for shock’s sake. When GL later became aware of Laibach they found much to admire, and would certainly have welcomed the almost unique chance Laibach and the NSK had to reach intellectuals, journalists, and the country generally.

Certainly, many people at the time misunderstood or chose to misunderstand industrial in the 80s, and lost no chances to demonstrate their rectitude by attempting to suppress it. Later in the 80s GL were due to play at a Berlin festival organised by students at the technical university. The event was all paid for and British groups had flown in when a rumour began among the university feminists that GL would show Frauen- feindliche Filme (films hostile to women). Their agitation led to the entire event being cancelled. Bruggemann still has no idea where the rumour originated from: beyond a very small VHS release in America, no GL video material was available. One possible explanation is GL’s use of “video nasty” material in the film collages they used on stage, yet even this seems like a slightly insufficient explanation for the cancellation of the event. In these and other situations GL were certainly accused of rightist tendencies but while such accusations may have been more credible when attached to certain groups, in GL’s case it certainly was not. While they refused to restrict themselves to the “approved” range of material and subjects, they actually represented just the type of sensitive, alienated, individualistic, unsettling voices of the type that Fascists are the first to try and suppress.

GL’s use of film on stage was another point of similarity with their industrial colleagues, although GL’s case was slightly different. They never had a lead singer or front-man as such, and had always used background films to make a stronger statement, combining their own films with found footage, including porn and execution clips. Bruggemann states that the films were used to “enforce” the ideas the music was trying to express. At I.C.R.N.’s Return of the Repressive event in Birmingham last September, GL film material was screened publicly for the first time in two decades. It was very evident that even among a well-disposed industrial audience, GL’s films still retain a power to shock as well as fascinate. In particular, the clip Jesus Crucified left a very strong impression on the audience. The final part of the GL re-issue programme will be the re-mastering and issue of some of this material, and it will certainly add to our understanding of this crucial period.

GL was more or less dormant in the 1990s, experimenting, observing, and adjusting to the new post cold-war, fully post-industrial cyber-cultural context. GL has joined numerous other industrial groups in their colonisation of myspace 11 and become part of the new and revived trans-national connections currently possible. Yet while Bruggemann is involved in the contemporary scene, he is also aware of the negative side of the proliferation of industrial (sub)genres and the impossibility of monitoring them all. GL originally wanted to inspire people to create their own sounds (leftover of Punk attitude), and not to be just consumers, to start to criticise governments and systems more. This has happened to a certain degree but Bruggemann is unsure at what price this has taken place.

The creative process now has a very different ausgangs-position (starting point) to the much more “black and white” 1980s, yet GL still responds to current events. Living very close to the scene of one of the July 2005 London bombs, Bruggemann responded with the anguished and aggressive track Slash 7705 (one of few if any commentaries on this already near forgotten event). With luck, GL will continue to issue more urgent warnings and dispatches in what seems likely to be a seductive(ly) neo-apocalyptic period.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

01- Back then, I wasn’t so much worried about political misinterpretations whenever I use(d) John Heartfields fotomontage ‘DER HENKER UND DIE GERECHTIGKEIT’. For the German speaking audience, it can only underline the fact, that the usage of the name GL, is (was) meant to be ironical…
For the non German speaking audience, the usage of his montage can give them a hint, for what the name GL could possibly stand for…
However, nowadays it seems that any kind of slightly military symbolism, such as some of Heartfields work, is and has been ironically misinterpreted as being right wing, even though a lot of his work represented the opposite.
02 – Tape releases were issued between 1981-1986, but under 2 different label names. The first label was GL’s Lausch-label, the second was GL’s Zyklus Records, which distributed mainly tapes and videos. Only the first cassette editions were sold as limited ones!
03 – Rehberg organized the gig with Whitehouse in a YMCA in Hamburg, Germany.
04 – Information Overload!
05 – Played memorable shows in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Boulder- Colorado.
06 – Side Effects was founded 1976 by members of SPK as an outlet for their own work , and quickly became established as one of the pioneering labels of what was then referred to as the “industrial movement” of the late nineteen seventies
In 1985 the everyday running of the label was handed over to B (Lustmord), at which time it became apparent that the commercial and critical success of the SPK releases justified the inclusion of other artists within the Side Effects roster, and soon, with the release of SER 04, projects by other like minded individuals were made available and in 1988 Brian took over sole responsibility for the label.
Unfortunately, and rather ironically, during the heights of the labels artistic and financial success at the close of the eighties, the distributor Rough Trade (England ) went into receivership, leaving it’s very large debts unpaid.
The severe financial loss incurred by Side Effects as one of it’s creditors forced the label into a period of inactivity.
In the early nineteen nineties, the gradual process of re-birth was initiated, and a few releases were issued with the help and support of World Serpent Distribution and in 1993 the label re-located to the USA, with new distribution via Soleilmoon.
Side Effects ceased operations Effective April 1999. – except taken from Lustmord (ex-Side Effects) Brian Williams Website –

07 – Aswell as the West – German Verfassungsschutz. The West German Intelligence could’t have afforded to have let a potential Spy slip through their hands.
  08 – Whenever GL used shocktactics in the past, they couldn’t be described as un-thinking ones, but they certainly became more subtled as time went by and as we became older and wiser.
09 – Even when not allways consciously trying to provoke. A lot of GL’s later provocation came in the form of more subliminal usage within some of their use of backround films and slide projections, and of course within the music itself.
10 – At the time we certainly believed that by listening to the music, people would have certainly understood our orginal intention/idea… or may have taken a bit more time before coming to such rushed wrong conclusions.
11 – As far as we are aware of the dangers that exist within new webtechnologies and communication techniques such as myspace, which is owed by Rupert Murdoch and his cohorts, we shouldn’t have to fear anything! The most important thing is not to become replacent in this ever growing war of information…

Source: http://icrn.blogspot.com/2007/04/icrn-paper-4-alexei-monroe.html

______________________________________________________________________________________

G.L. Interview first published  in Black Magazine, Germany, Ausgabe 45. Autumn/Herbst 2006.

Gerechtigkeits Liga Interview with Alexander Nym (I.C.R.N).

Till Brüggemann im Gespräch mit
Alexander Nym

„GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA ersetzen
mytho-poetischen und romantischen Nihilismus durch einen introvertierteren und
neurotischeren Ausblick. Es ist dies die paranoid-kritische Art zu urteilen und
zu handeln.“

Dieses Zitat enthält keine
absichtliche Referenz an Salvador Dalí, aber sie kann auch nicht schaden,
schließlich erforscht die GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA seit inzwischen mehr als einem
Vierteljahrhundert Träume, Ideen und Halluzinationen, die dem Surrealismus
ebenso artverwandt sind wie dem Schamanismus und der Magie – der Magie der
Klänge und Rhythmen.

1981 von Till Brüggemann und Frank
Ströpken in Bremen gegründet, war das düster-experimentelle Projekt der beiden
eines der ersten in Deutschland, die die Energie des Punk mit elektronisch
disziplinierter Maschinenkraft kombinierten und damit ihre Hörerschaft in
unbekannte, dunkel-bedrohliche Klanggefilde lockte. Vor GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA war
Till Brüggemann als genialer Dilettant in der Punkband E-605 als Gitarrist und
Sänger zugange gewesen, zusammen mit einem gewissen Hank am Bass, der später
für eineinhalb Jahre ebenfalls bei G.L. mitwirken sollte.

Ströpken verließ das Projekt um
1982/83, und Brüggemann setzte in den folgenden Jahren die Arbeit mit anderen
Musikern fort. Zusammen mit den EINSTÜRZENDEN NEUBAUTEN  zählen GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA zu den
bekanntesten Industrial-Pionieren aus deutschen Landen. Das blieb allerdings
nicht lange so, denn nach einem Umweg über Bremen und Berlin
(Besetzungsänderungen inbegriffen) zogen die LIGA-Mitglieder 1985/86 dauerhaft
nach London. Dort verliefen sich die Spuren in den 90er Jahren, und es blieb
lange ruhig um das ominöse Projekt, bis es im neuen Millennium mit der
Wiederveröffentlichung der klassischen Vinylscheiben The Games Must Go On
und Hypnotischer Existenzialismus  sowie mehreren Samplerbeiträgen wieder auferstand.

Wie bist Du zur Musik/zum Klang
gekommen?

Bevor ich mit dem GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA-Projekt anfing, hatte ich in zwei
Punkbands als Gitarrist gespielt. Ich war ein totaler Dilletant und hackte auf
dem Instrument eigentlich nur herum. Meine Mitmusiker hatten auch andere
Projekte am laufen, und somit war es nur eine Frage der Zeit, bis wir uns
trennten um in „künstlerischer“ Hinsicht unsere eigenen Wege zu gehen. Ich war
sowieso schon seit einer Weile vom Punk-Sound desillusioniert und suchte nach
anderen musikalischen Alternativen. GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA sollte eine Plattform
für die neurotischen Obsessionen ihrer Mitglieder sein, was auch gelungen zu sein
scheint, wenn ich mir die Aufnahmen aus den frühen 80ern so anhöre…

Wann und unter welchen Umständen
erschien Deine erste Veröffentlichung?

Meine bzw. unsere erste Veröffentlichung mit dem Titel Scenes we’d
like to see
erschien 1982 als Tape: 50 Stück Auflage mit 4-seitigem

Begleitbuch, auf dem schwarz-weiss Kopien von Archivfotos deutscher SS-Ärzte
abgedruckt waren, aufgenommen nach Versuchen an lebenden Menschen. Der Titel
war natürlich höchst ironisch, was aber z.T. völlig missverstanden wurde und uns
in der Bremer Punkszene den Ruf eintrug, Neonazi-mäßig drauf zu sein – was
völlig daneben war!

Ein ständig
auftretendes Problem. Was hat Dich damals veranlasst, die KZ-Bilder für das
Tape zu verwenden, und was bekam man darauf zu hören?

Es frustrierte mich zur damaligen
Zeit sehr, das die deutsche Vergangenheit doch offensichtlich immer noch von
vielen Bundesbürgern bewusst verdrängt wurde. Diese Tatsache war ein
wesentlicher Ausgangspunkt, der uns letztendlich dazu bewegte, dem Tape release
diesen eigentlich Unmissverständlichen Titel zu geben. 

Dazu inspiriert hatte mich der Schriftsteller Primo Levi mit seinem
Buch Ist das ein Mensch – Erinnerungen an Auschwitz. Er wurde im Jahre
1943 als 24-jähriger in Italien von faschistischen Truppen festgenommen und
nach Auschwitz  deportiert, wo er 1945
von den Russen befreit wurde. Auf dem Tape, das wir im Eigenverlag
produzierten, veröffentlichten wir Soundcollagen, die sich aus Tape-loops,
Synthesizersounds wie etwa basslastigem Rauschen, sowie Metallsounds, die von
field recordings stammten, zusammensetzten. Zum Teil wurden auch konventionelle
Instrumente mit Verzerrern eingesetzt.

Wie ging’s weiter mit GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA?

Als ich 1983 volljährig wurde, begann ich mit einem neuen Kollegen am
GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA-Projekt vollzeitmäßig weiterzuarbeiten. Der „Neue“ war der
Bremer Thomas Furch, Herausgeber eines Punk-Zines. Wir waren aus praktischen
Erwägungen zusammen gezogen und waren in einer Musikkooperative mit anderen
Musikern und Bands zusammen, so dass alle das jeweils vorhandene Equipment
nutzen konnten. Damals probten wir täglich in einem modernisierten
Weltkriegsbunker, der im Fall eines Atomkrieges zwar keinerlei Schutz geboten
hätte, aber trotzdem vom Bremer Senat zum Atomschutzbunker deklariert worden
war. Diesen Bunker teilten wir uns mit ein paar anderen Bands. Wir fingen
mittags an zu proben, um den anderen Gruppen zuvorzukommen, wobei Thomas sich
im Lauf der Zeit zunehmend auf Klangcollagen konzentrierte, während ich mich um
die Rhythmen und Strukturen kümmerte. An anderen Tagen verlagerte sich die
Arbeitsaufteilung genau andersherum. Je nach Stimmung und Intuitionen.  Ich hatte mich nun endgültig entschlossen,
unsere Sound- sowie Film- und Videoarbeit auf eine professionelle Basis zu
stellen. Wir gründeten unser eigenes unabhängiges Label, welches sich Zyklus
Records
nannte. Nach der ersten Tapeveröffentlichung von Scenes we’d
like to see
von 1982 waren 2 oder 3 Live-Mitschnitte über unser Label auf

Tape veröffentlicht und per mailorder verkauft worden. Im Laufe der Zeit wurden
immer mehr G.L Tapes und auch Videos über unser Label verkauft.

Uli Rehberg, der heute unter seinem Pseudonym Ditterich von
Euler-Donnersperg
bekannt ist, organisierte mit WHITEHOUSE und uns ein

Konzert in Hamburg. Ein wirklich gutes set-up, zu dem allerdings leider nur
sehr wenige Gäste kamen… Trotzdem gingen wir mit der Einstellung einer
Punkband an den Gig heran; es war sehr aggressiv, druckvoll, und um einiges
härter als das, was es von uns auf Platten bzw. Tapes gab. Das lag u.a auch
daran, das ich wie ein metaphorischer Spiegel agierte, indem ich die Stimmung
des Publikums in mir verarbeitete und diese mit mehrfacher Kraft verbal
zurückschleuderte. Uli war von unserem Live-Sound so beeindruckt, dass er in
Erwägung zog, eine Platte mit G.L.-Studioaufnahmen auf seinem Walter
Ulbricht Schallfolien
-Label zu veröffentlichen, falls diese dem

live-Standard entsprechen würden. Zwar hatten wir bisher in keinem Studio
gearbeitet, fanden aber nach kurzer Zeit ein 4-Spur-Studio in der Nähe von
Bremen und machten uns an die Arbeit. Da es unsere erste Studiosession war,
hörte sich das Ergebnis auch dementsprechend mies an. Uli verlor beim Anhören
auch seine anfängliche Begeisterung, und wir entschieden uns schließlich, ein
billiges 8-Spur-Studio in London zu finden, um das gesamte Material
aufzuarbeiten.

Warum ausgerechnet London?

Einige Monate zuvor waren wir das erste mal nach London gereist und
hatten dort Graeme Revell von SPK, sowie Dominik Guerin und Colleen Ford (beide
von TWIN VISION) kennen gelernt. Dominik war auch an anfänglichen SPK-Aufnahmen
beteiligt, und er und Colleen arbeiteten damals an all den SPK-Videos und
–Backroundfilmen. Außerdem machten wir die Bekanntschaft von Brian Williams
(LUSTMORD), sowie etlichen anderen Musikern. Durch diesen ersten London-Besuch
hatten wir auch einen Studiobesitzer und Musiker namens James Braddel kennen
gelernt. Als wir wieder in London ankamen, machte uns James ein einigermaßen
gutes Studioangebot, und wir fingen an das 4-Spur-Master in seinem
8-Spur-Studio zu überarbeiten und neu zu mastern. Nachdem wir nach Deutschland
zurück kamen, konnten wir Uli trotz der Überarbeitung nicht mehr für eine
Veröffentlichung auf seinem Label begeistern, also entschlossen wir uns, Geld
zu leihen und die vier aufgenommenen Tracks auf einer 12″-Maxi auf unserem
Zyklus-Label herauszubringen. „Das Büro“, damals ein guter deutscher Vertrieb
in Düsseldorf, zeigte sofort Interesse am Vertrieb. Die GERECHTIGKEITS
LIGA-12″ wurde dann als einmalige 500er-Auflage veröffentlicht.

Wer ist GL heute, und wie hat sich Deine Herangehensweise
ans Sound produzieren verändert?

GL besteht heute aus zwei Personen:
Mir und Ragnar aus Berlin. Wegen der räumlichen Distanz zwischen Berlin und
London ist das nicht die praktischste Lösung, aber dank der heutigen
Studiotechnik sind solche Probleme bei Zusammenarbeiten eher zweitrangig. Was
hat sich noch geändert? Anfang der 80er Jahre arbeitete ich für die
Tape-Veröffentlichungen mit sehr minimalistischen Mitteln wie vorbereiteten Soundcollagen
von Tapes, die durch Gitarrenverzerrer oder sonstige Pedaleffekte manipuliert
wurden. Unser Ausgangsmaterial waren primitive Samples, die wir mit einem
Diktiergerät z.B. von Sperrmüllabholungen oder auch aus dem Fernsehen oder
Radio aufgenommen hatten. Das Diktiergerät war zwar nur mono, war aber
geschwindigkeitsverstellbar, wodurch wir das Material pitchen konnten. Die
Sounds, die wir verwenden wollten, überspielten wir dann auf Cassetten und
Tonbänder, wobei wir Loops mühselig durch vielfaches Kopieren der selben Sounds
manuell herstellen mußten. Analog total! Außerdem verwendeten wir analoge
Drummachines, E-Gitarren, Bass und Violine. Aufgenommen wurde das dann auf
einem Fostex-8-Spur-Gerät, das nur eine Bandbreite von einem Viertel-Zoll hatte.
Dadurch war das Gerät zwar gut zu transportieren, aber die Aufnahmen verloren
an Dynamik, verglichen mit einer professionelleren Maschine. Abgemischt und
gemastert wurden die Sachen schon digital; das begann damals gerade, Einzug in
die Studios zu halten, was den Klang erheblich verbesserte, aber auch sehr
teuer war. Auf Hypnotischer Existenzialismus hört man bereits einen
digitalen Drumcomputer, den Drumulator, ein riesengroßes Teil, und einen
polyphonen Roland-Synthesizer. Im Lauf der 80er mischten wir zunehmend
elektronische Rhythmen (Sequenzer) sowie natürliche und synthetische, also
digitale Geräuschkörper, in unseren Sound, verwendeten aber auch nach wie vor
unsere eigenen Samples. Heutzutage kann sich jeder Musiker mit verhältnismäßig
kostengünstigen Mitteln ein eigenes Homestudio einrichten. Für uns bedeutet das
wesentliche Zeiteinsparungen beim Bearbeiten vom Samples, die ich mit einer
digitalen Workstation hier in London abmische, mit der ich auch Analogaufnahmen
digital verarbeiten kann, und die bekommt Ragnar dann als Einzelspuren
gebrannt. Er ist Toningenieur und arbeitet in seinem Berliner Studio an den
Tracks, die er mir auf CD-R zuschickt oder in virtuellen Lagerräumen im
Cyberspace parkt. Ich sichte das Material, wähle aus, und per Telefon und
E-mail betreiben wir Ideenaustausch, um die Stücke voran zu bringen. Das ist
natürlich umständlich, und mein Laptop ist völlig veraltet, sodass das alles
moderner klingt, als es ist – gegenwärtig ist noch alles offen, weil wir ja
auch noch andere Verpflichtungen haben und uns nur selten treffen können.

Wie sieht dein Verhältnis zu deinen
Industrial-Mitpionieren aus?

Leider habe ich den Kontakt zu meinen alten Mitstreitern
fast vollständig verloren. Die Tatsache, dass viele der damaligen Musiker und
Künstler, mit denen ich in den 80ern Kontakt hatte, schon vor Jahren London
bzw. Großbritannien verlassen haben, hilft natürlich wenig. Dazu kommt, dass
ich es bevorzuge, eher zurückgezogen zu leben, und es auch aus diesem Grund
schwieriger ist, neue Leute kennen zu lernen. Andererseits versuche ich
zumindest, Kontakte zu alten und neuen Freunden und Bekannten per e-mail
aufrecht zu halten.  Wenn meine Finanzen nicht so negativ aussehen
würden, wäre ich schon des öfteren mal wieder in die Staaten oder auch nach
Australien geflogen… Andererseits habe ich zwischenzeitlich neue, zum Teil
sehr interessante Bekanntschaften mit Musikern und anderen kreativen Leuten
gemacht, und bin darüber sehr froh.

Wie denkst Du über
den ungebrochenen Trend, monotone Einfallslosigkeit und strukturloses
Rumgelärme als Industrial Music zu bezeichnen?

>Die meisten von Dir
angesprochenen aktuellen Sachen finde ich ziemlich uninteressant. Leider! Es
stossen auch immer mehr Kopisten dazu, die Aussageloses Krachgewirr betreiben.

Welche Musik hörst Du daheim am liebsten?

Vieles; von Klassik – Wagner,
Mahler Händl, Mozart, Philip Glass ect,
ect. – bis hin zu experimentellem Techno. Insgesamt kann ich aber sagen, dass ich Musik aus vielen
Orientierungsrichtungen höre, entsprechend meiner Laune.

Zusätzlich zur Musik hast auch mit Video
experimentiert…?

Ja, ich hatte um 1982 auch angefangen, mit Super-8-Filmen, Video- und
Dia-Projektionen zu experimentieren und diese mit Soundtracks in Form von
krachigen Soundscapes zu unterlegen. In England besuchte ich – mit
Unterbrechungen – zwischen 1987 und 89 die St. Martin School of Arts, um
Experimentalfilm zu studieren, konnte aber die Finanzierung für meinen
Abschlussfilm nicht zusammen kriegen. Ärgerlich, denn es war schon ein
Privileg, dort überhaupt genommen zu werden. Eigentlich nutzte ich das College
hauptsächlich, um an Equipment ranzukommen. (lacht) Amüsanterweise kam ich aber
nicht durch St. Martin in Kontakt mit anderen Filmleuten, sondern
ausschließlich durch Freunde und Bekannte. Derek Jarman zum Beispiel lernte ich
über einen gemeinsamen Londoner Freund kennen, und konnte später auch einen
kleinen Nebendarstellerjob in dessen War Requiem bekommen. Am College
war ich aber ein extremer Einzelgänger, nicht zuletzt weil auch mein Englisch
noch nicht so gut und ich sehr schüchtern war und meine Interessengebiete auf
einer anderen Ebene lagen.

Du bist auch in Full Metal Jacket zu sehen…
Erzähl mal davon.

Leute von TEST DEPT. vermittelten uns kurz nach dem Umzug nach London
Statistenjobs bei der Produktion von Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.
Kubrick’s Produktionsfirma hatte eine riesige Lagerhalle in den Docklands
angemietet, die damals sowieso aussahen, als hätte dort ein Bürgerkrieg
stattgefunden. Und dort trafen wir dann auch noch drei Leute von LAIBACH, die
ebenfalls mitmachen wollten. Da wir damals in einem besetzten Haus ohne Strom
und Telefon wohnten, musste einer von uns morgens um fünf zur nächsten
Telefonzelle laufen, um bei der Firma anzurufen und nachzufragen, ob aus
Wettergründen überhaupt gedreht werden würde. Wenn das Wetter okay war, nahmen
wir die erste U-Bahn zur Baker Street, von wo aus man uns mit Bussen
raus aufs Land transportierte, wo die Aufnahmen gemacht wurden. Man wurde voll
rasiert, obwohl wir nur im Hintergrund durch die Gegend joggten, bzw.
Militärdrill exerzieren mussten von. Und dabei war ich seinerzeit von Bremen
nach West Berlin gegangen, um mich der Bundeswehr zu entziehen. Das ging über
mehrere Wochen so; Kubrick drehte wahnsinnig viel Material, von dem am Ende nur
Bruchteile im fertigen Film zu sehen waren. Als Regisseur hätte ich manche der
Scenen mit Sicherheit verwendet. Es waren einige Musiker bei FMJ mit
dabei: Big John, der mit Angus von TEST DEPT. zusammen wohnte, und
ex-SPK-Mitglied Carrel Van Bergen, waren damals bei der BAND OF HOLY JOY – für
die hab ich mal einen Gig in Brighton gemischt, und wir teilten uns eine
zeitlang den selben Übungsraum. Auf dem FMJ-Set habe ich auch Jason
Gilliam kennen gelernt, einen Australier, der gerade von Berlin nach London
gezogen war. Mit Jason arbeitete ich dann bis etwa 1989 an GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA
weiter, bis er begann in elektronischere, tanzbarere Richtungen aufbrach. Wenn
man sich Full Metal Jacket ansieht, kann man im Ausbildungscamp im
Hintergrund zahlreiche Experimentalmusiker schwitzen sehen…

Welche Musik hat Dich früher
geprägt, bzw. inspiriert?

Es waren ethnische Klänge aber auch ziemlich gegensätzliche
gregorianische Chöre, die mich inspirierten… Als mir damals die erste
SPK-Single Mekano von Freunden vorgespielt wurde, war ich von deren
Sound sehr begeistert. Kurz darauf hörte ich die SPK-Alben Information
Overload Unit
und Leichenschrei, die ich für totale Klassiker hielt.

Außerdem fand ich SPK’s Konzept wirklich genial. Dazu kamen die ersten
THROBBING GRISTLE-Alben wie z.B. The Second Annual

Report, DOA
und auch Discipline, welche mit SPK’s statements nicht wirklich vergleichbar
sind.
. Ein anderer Klassiker waren natürlich FAKTRIX aus den USA, aber auch

Gruppen wie die SWELL MAPS und EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN hinterließen positive
Spuren bei mir. Klassische Musik hörte ich auch, allerdings beschränkte sich
das grösstenteils auf Penderecki, Strawinsky und Prokofiev und einige andere.
Ansonsten fällt mir augenblicklich nicht sehr viel mehr ein. Es sind seitdem
schon gute zwei Jahrzehnte vergangen… Je kreativer ich mit meiner eigenen
Musik wurde, desto weniger hatte ich das Verlangen, Musik von anderen Gruppen,
bzw. Musik generell zu hören. Heute ist es nicht anders als es früher war: Wenn
ich an Aufnahmen arbeite, habe ich weniger verlangen Musik zu höhren.
Ansonsten sind es teilweise die alten Klassiker, natürlich aber auch neues
interessantes Material von „jüngeren“ Gruppen, die ich höre. Namen zu nennen
wäre zu aufwendig. Der Markt ist mittlerweile ja auch relativ gesättigt mit
ziemlich guten aber leider auch miesen Bands/Musikern, sodass ich zu einem
großen Teil den Überblick verloren habe! Andererseits habe ich angefangen, mich
doch mehr für klassische Musik zu interessieren, wie ich bereits erwähnt habe.

In Deiner Musik erzeugst Du dunkle Atmosphären mit
schamanischen Rhythmen, Samples von Naturvölkern, enochischen Gesängen, etc. –
Was inspiriert Dich zu solchen Kompositionen und woher stammt Dein Interesse an
Magie & Mystik?

Gegen 1983 begann ich mich für
ethnische Songstrukturen aus aller Welt und „tribal“-Rhythmen zu interessieren.
Die Herkunft, bzw. der Ursprung sogenannter „primitiver“ Musik ist ja die
Stammeskultur. Zur selben Zeit las ich Mircea Eliade’s Buch über Schamanismus
und archaische Ekstasetechnik
, welches mich in meiner Absicht bestärkte,

vermehrt mit diesen Elementen zu arbeiten und sie in meine Musik zu
integrieren. Ich empfand damals ein starkes kreatives Bedürfnis, eine
Komposition zu erschaffen, die einen Teil der menschlichen Evolution
symbolisierte, und verwendete dazu neben den ethnischen Samples und archaischen
Rhythmen auch atmosphärische Sounds und düstere Industrialklänge. Sozusagen
z.b. die akustische Version dessen, was H.R. Giger auf optische Weise mit
seinem Necronomicon angestellt hatte. Zum Thema Magie: Zu der Zeit hatte
ich mir das original(?) Necronomicon geliehen, an dem ich aber bald das
Interesse verlor. Eine Mitbewohnerin, die das Buch entdeckte – und überzeugte
Christin war – bekam einen Riesenschreck und verlangte, ich solle es innerhalb
von 24 Stunden aus dem Haus schaffen- was mich extrem amüsierte… Zumindest
bin ich durch dieses Buch später auf H.R. Giger aufmerksam geworden, mit dessen
Arbeit ich wesentlich mehr anfangen konnte. Durch die weitreichende, internationale
Korrespondenz, in die ich zunehmend verwickelt wurde, nachdem in einigen Zines
Artikel und Rezensionen über GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA erschienen waren, flatterte
mir allerdings manch interessantes ins Haus, z.B. Post vom „World Satanic
Network“…

Hast Du religiöse/spirituelle
Ansichten, und wenn ja, welche?

Ich habe mich im
Lauf der Jahre mit verschiedenen spirituellen Themen beschäftigt, und diverse
Bücher darüber gelesen,  hatte u.a. im
damaligen West-Berlin okkulte Erlebnisse, denn gerade dort manifestierten sich
einige der negativsten Energien, die zum Teil durch die geografische Isolation
entstanden. Übrigens möchte ich hier bitte nicht missverstanden werden, was
okkulte Erlebnisse und negative Energie angehen. Ich assozeiere  den begriff Okkult in keinster weise als
negativ. Dabei blieb es natürlich nicht aus, dass sich einige okkulte
Strömungen in meiner Musik manifestierten. Ein Beispiel dafür war ein
Compilation-Projekt,das von CLUB MORAL zusammengestellt wurde. Der Titel dieses
Tapes, welche 1986 als limitierte Auflage von 500 nummerierten Exemplaren
veröffentlicht wurde, war 19Keys/19Bands. Thematisch behandelte die
Compilation die 19 enochischen Schlüssel oder Anrufungen, und jeder
teilnehmende Musiker bzw. Projekt erhielt einen der Schlüssel, welcher dann als
chant oder gesprochen in das jeweilige Musikstück integriert werden sollte. Das
war die Vorraussetzung zur Teilnahme an der Compilation! Die enochische Sprache
wurde das erste mal von John Dee und Edward Kelley im 16. Jahrhundert niedergeschrieben,
hat ein eigenes Alphabet und eine eigene Syntax. Es hat den Ruf, Wahnsinn und
möglicherweise Tod für diejenigen zu bringen, die sich nicht für das Ritual
vorbereitet haben – Die GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA erhielt den 14. Schlüssel, den ich
in enochisch rezitierte. Der Einfachheit halber hier die englische Übersetzung:

O you sons of fury, the daughters of the just, which
sit upon 24 seats, vexing all creatures of the earth with age, which have under
you 1663: behold the voice of god, the promise of him which is called amongst
you Fury or Extreme Justice. Move therefore and show yourselves: open the
mysteries of your own creation: be friendly unto me: for Iam the servant of the
same your god, the true worshipper of the highest.

Rückblickend ein
wirklich sehr interessantes Projekt!

Zufall ist ein Konzept, dem ich nicht vertraue. Man sollte die Welt als
ein Netz aus vielfach verknüpften Geschehnissen (und Geschichten) betrachten.

Es war lange
ruhig um GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA. wie kam es, dass nach jahrelanger Pause wieder
Stücke erscheinen, bzw. das 80er-Jahre-Material wiederveröffentlicht

wurde?

Im Jahr 2001 wurde
ich von Stefan Schwanke, der die Ironflame– Infowebseite betreibt,
gefragt, ob ich Interesse hätte, einen exklusiven GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA-Track für
seine geplante Boxset-compilation Statement 1961 aufzunehmen. Da ich
schon seit längerer Zeit mit dem Gedanken gespielt hatte, neues G.L.-Material
zu veröffentlichen, kam mir dieses Angebot sehr gelegen. Außerdem gefiel mir
die Thematik des Projekts, da es um den Aufbau und den Fall der Berliner Mauer
ging, und ich in meinen jüngeren Jahren ja

für kurze Zeit in
West-Berlin gelebt hatte. Anlässlich der Veröffentlichung der Compilation im
Juni 2004 gab es einen Konzertabend in Berlin, auf dem ich neben anderen Künstlern
wie SCHLOSS TEGAL, CLUB MORAL, C O CASPAR, ect…, auch auftrat. Statement
1961
ist eines der besten Kompilationsprojekte, an denen ich in meiner

musikalischen Karriere unter dem Namen GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA einen Track
veröffentlicht habe. Diese Veröffentlichung ebnete mir wieder den Weg in die
Industrial-„Scene“, welche sich jedoch leider in mancher Hinsicht nicht
unbedingt zum Besseren entwickelt hat…Andererseits sind durch die Entstehung
des Industrial viele andere Musiksubkategorien entstanden, von denen manche
wirklich in vieler Hinsicht faszinierend sind. Aber noch mal kurz zum
eigentlichen Thema:

Am Konzertabend in
Berlin wurde ich von einigen alten Bekannten wie Graf Haufen, aber auch von
anderen netten Besuchern angesprochen. Einer von diesen war Lerry Dimitrow, der
kurze Zeit später sein eigenes Label Isegrimm Records gründete und
darauf meine erste 12″ The Games Must Go On,  sowie das Album Hypnotischer
Existenzialismus
, welches 1985 auf SPK’s label Side Effects, (in den

USA auf Themidor) erschienen war, plus sieben Live-Tracks aus NYC, in
Form einer Digibox-CD veröffentlichte.

Welche außermusikalischen Themen und
Einflüsse bestimmen die Arbeitsweise und Inhalte von GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA?

In den Anfangsjahren von G.L. bewirkte die Tatsache, dass
wir uns im kalten Krieg befanden und Westdeutschland geographisch gesehen an
der „Front“ lag, eine unbeschreiblich beklemmende, nervöse und fast schöne
apokalyptische Stimmung bzw. Atmosphäre, die wohl auch stark das rege Treiben
der damaligen atonalen Künstler beeinflusste und auf subtile Weise bestimmte.
Auch dass wir in dem erwähnten Bunker probten, erscheint mir rückblickend als
passende Ironie; dieses Ambiente verstärkte die allgegenwärtige Paranoia und
Untergangsangst noch – oder vielleicht lag’s auch am Speed… Jedenfalls war
ich manchmal nach den Fernsehnachrichten überzeugt, dass die Welt am nächsten
Tag untergehen würde, und war deswegen hin und wieder völlig fertig; am Rande
des Nervenzusammenbruchs.

Ebenso hatte ich mich schon in jungen Jahren über die KZs
des „Dritten Reichs“ informiert – was sich ja auch deutlich an unserem ersten
Tape zeigte. Meine Lieblingsregisseure waren damals (und sind zum Teil auch
heute noch) David Lynch – Eraserhead hinterliess bei mir extrem starke
Eindrücke; Krysztof Kieslowski, Lars von Trier, David Cronenberg, die Coen
Brothers, Tarkovsky und viele andere, die damals schon zu unbekannt waren, als
dass ich mich heute noch erinnern würde. Im visuellen Bereich natürlich der
bereits erwähnte H.R. Giger – und natürlich Dalí. Artauds Theater der
Grausamkeiten
hat mich immer fasziniert, aber ich bin bisher noch nicht

tiefer darin eingestiegen.

Kommen wir zu Büchern…

Meine literarischen
Einflüsse sind sehr breitgefächert und vielschichtig. In jungen Jahren war ich
großer Burroughs-Fan (und hatte ja auch das große Glück, ihn kennen zu lernen);
darüber hinaus las ich u.a. Georges Bataille, Marquis deSade, Aleister Crowley,
Joseph Conrad, E.M. Cioran J.G. Ballard,natürlich nicht zu vergessen. Es gibt
da noch soviel mehr Authoren…  In den
90ern las ich u.a. Bukowski, aber das wohl eher, da ich ein Alkohol Problem
hatte…

Wie kam es zu der Begegnung mit William S.
Burroughs?

Während meiner ersten USA-Tour 1984
hatte ich die große Ehre, während eines zweitägigen Aufenthalts in
Lawrence/Kansas Bill Burroughs zu treffen. Ich war mit einem anderen Bill
verabredet, der die (nicht mehr existente) Video-Firma Fresh Sounds
betrieb. Ich war von ihm eingeladen worden, die zwei Tage bei ihm zu verbringen
und mit ihm einen Exklusivvertrag für Nordamerika für das G.L.-Vodeomaterial zu
machen – und um ein bisschen Erholung vom Tourneeplan zu haben. Es stellte sich
heraus, dass er ein guter Freund von Burroughs war, und am nächsten Tag wurden
wir zum Schiessen auf Burroughs’ Grundstück draußen auf dem Land eingeladen!
Also fuhren wir am nächsten Morgen zu dem Haus, in dem Burroughs zu der Zeit
lebte. Ich sprang aus dem Auto und klopfte, und einige Zeit später wurde sie
von einem ziemlich dünnen älteren Mann geöffnet. Ich erkannte fast sofort die
Gesichtszüge und konnte gar nicht glauben, dass ich ihm gegenüberstand, seine
Hand schüttelte und wir uns vorgestellt wurden – hier muss ich erwähnen, dass
mein Englisch zu der Zeit fürchterlich war, und die Konversation von hier an
sehr einfach gehalten war. Bill B. stellte mir seinen Boyfriend vor, sammelte
seine Waffenkoffer zusammen, und Minuten später fand ich mich auf dem Rücksitz
eines Wagens wieder, auf dem Weg zum Grundstück, mit einem kurzen Halt zum
einkaufen von Munition für Bill’s Pistolen; er benutzte nur Handfeuerwaffen.
Als wir schließlich bei der Hütte, die sich mitten im Nirgendwo befand,
ankamen, verbrachten wir einen großartigen Nachmittag mit dem Durchprobieren
von Bill’s besten Schießeisen. Runde um Runde ohne Ende haben wir geschossen;
Zielübungen unter blauem Himmel, und natürlich die Freude der Tatsache, in
Gesellschaft eines der einflussreichsten Schriftsteller des vergangenen
Jahrhunderts zu sein – das war einmalig!

Etwa ein Jahr später traf ich
Graeme Revell von SPK und erzählte ihm von meinem Treffen mit Burroughs. Graeme
erzählte mir, dass sie ein paar Jahre zuvor auf einer ihrer US-Tourneen exakt
dasselbe Treffen erlebt hatten: Sie hatten auch in Lawrence halt gemacht, einen
Video-Deal mit Fresh Sounds unterschrieben, Burroughs getroffen und sind
mit ihm Schießen gegangen…     

War Burroughs noch auf Drogen?

Nein, keine harten Sachen
mehr. Ich fragte ihn, ob er noch Drogen nehmen würde, aber außer ab und zu Gras
hat er wohl nichts zu sich genommen.

Welche Rolle spielten Drogen bei G.L.?

Um 1983/84
experimentierten wir auch mit psychedelischen Drogen: hauptsächlich mit Pilzen,
die man im Herbst auf den norddeutschen Wiesen sammeln konnte, aber auch mit
Acid. Die Einblicke, die diese Substanzen ermöglichen können (und ich betone:
können!), waren schon sehr aufschlussreich, interessant und in kreativer
Hinsicht auch nützlich. Die meisten und besten Ideen bekomme ich durch
anregende Gespräche mit Freunden und Kollegen. Der Großteil meiner Inspiration
kommt allerdings aus meiner „inneren Dunkelheit“. Ich lebe sehr zurückgezogen,
was sich vielleicht seltsam anhört, wenn man bedenkt, dass London eine
Metropole ist. Aber gerade in Gegenden, in denen menschliches Massentreiben
herrscht, kann man sich am einsamsten fühlen – und wohl auch eher Misanthrop
werden.

Würdest Du Dich
als Misanthrop bezeichnen?

Teilweise schon,
ja. Mit Sicherheit. Mir kommen zwar auch Ideen, wenn ich raus muss; unterwegs
bin. Sie kommen ganz plötzlich aus dem Nichts, und ich versuche mir
anzugewöhnen, sie mit einem Diktiergerät fest zu halten. Oft beziehe ich auch
Ideen aus meinen Psycho-Träumen, kurz nach dem Aufwachen. Oder auch zu
verschrobenen Tageszeiten, frühmorgens oder spät nachts.

Was siehst Du für Dich, bzw. Gerechtigkeitsliga in der
Zukunft?

Zwischenzeitlich
sind neue Tracks auf Compilation CDs erschienen; eine DVD mit den Videos aus
den 80igern, auf der auch ein paar der lange verschollenen Bunkertapes
veröffentlicht werden sollen, ist in Planung und soll in naher Zukunft bei Vinyl
On Demand
erscheinen. Außerdem ist ein neues Album in Arbeit…und

möglicherweise eine portable Soundskulptur. Über das neue Album will ich noch
nicht allzu viel verraten. Wir haben einige Sounds und neue Strukturen
entwickelt, aber ich bin mir noch nicht sicher, ob es ein „Konzeptalbum“ werden
wird – wie es sich bei Hypnotischer Existenzialismus schließlich  ergab, weil wir einzeln ins Studio gegangen
sind und das Material individuell entwickelten, bevor wir daraus das Album
zusammenstellten. Und wie erwähnt, ist es ein sehr langwieriger Prozess, die
Stücke ping-pong-mäßig zwischen London und Berlin hin- und her zu schicken. Es
kann also gut sein, dass es bis 2008 dauern könnte, bis ein neues Vollzeitalbum
erscheinen kann. Möglicherweise wird 
vorher eine Single veröffentlicht werden.

Source: http://icrn.blogspot.com/2007/06/gerechtigkeits-liga-interview-with.html
(zuerst erschienen in/first published by BLACK magazin No. 45, p. 62 ff, 2006)

Black Onlinemagazin: http://www.blackmagazin.com/

_____________________________________________________________________________________

One response to “Interviews

  1. I almost dare not ask, but will the re-releases of older GL material ever expand beyond the “Per ignem ad lucem” box-set released by VOD? Even from a merely historical or documentational point of view, re-releases of live and “studio” material could be important additions to the archives of early European industrial musical culture. I reckon it’s Till’s choice if he views his antics as worthwile of surfacing once again – it’s a tricky thing with re-releases, I know. Asides from the content alone, the form could be very well purely digital and free-of-charge even. I assume there’d be enough people who’d voluntarily digitize the cassette tape sources, scan the booklets and so on (not that I’d know anything about digitizing and scanning).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s