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Interview with Paul Frick (from the Brandt Brauer & Frick Ensemble)

Brandt Brauer and Frick
Paul Frick (from Brandt Brauer & Frick)
(Interview by Nicolas Ragonneau - october 2010)

No-computer electro German trio Brandt Brauer & Frick has released a new album (Mr. Machine, !K7 Records), just one year after their debut record You Make Me Real, and this follow-up is a must-have for both hypnotic groove addicts and sophisticated experimental music lovers. Our fellow interviewer Nicolas Ragonneau is an early fan of the band since he made this interview of Paul Frick in October last year.

Brandt Brauer and Frick

1. What was your musical education/background ?
We all started to play the piano as kids. Daniel learned classical percussion and played in an orchestra. Jan and Daniel also played together in the band of their school. I have studied classical composition at University of the Arts (UdK) Berlin.

2. Where did the three of you meet ?
Daniel and Jan met in school. We all met 2 and a half years ago, first through myspace, because we liked each others music. Then we met to exchange some records.

3. How did you decide to write and play this 'never-heard-before' sort of music ?
When we met we found out that we already had similar approaches in using real instruments to make dance music. When Jan and Daniel heard a piece of mine for classical instruments, they thought that it would be great if techno could sound a bit like that. Then we made a session and the chemistry was very exciting for all of us, so it was clear we had just formed a band... But we are certainly not the first ones to have this kind of idea, we just have our own way of doing it.

4. You quote John Cage and Helmut Lachenmann among the works you love. But what about Chicago and deep house, jungle and drum-and-bass ? What about jazz ? Krautrock ?
Well, all of that!!

5. How many musicians are playing on the record ?
We have only one guest musician on the record, the bass clarinet player Milian Vogel. So that makes it 4.

Brandt Brauer and Frick Mr Machine

6. I've seen that you extended the trio as an ensemble last summer in order to prepare a tour.
We'll have our first Ensemble shows in January and February. Since we started we wanted to do this, and now we finally built a fully acoustic group.

7. Does this mean that if you play as a trio you will have to use oversamples?
Yes, as a trio we use our self-recorded sounds and trigger them electronically, with drum pads, a nord wave keyboard and a korg electribe groovebox, but NO computer. But don't imagine that like a playback track, we do manipulate all the elements a lot, and for us it's a very intense way of performing.

8. The record is great, but seeing your music performed is more impressive… isn't it a little bit frustrating?
That's what you say. For me it's about the listening experience.

9. What is the part of improvisation in your 'apparently-very-composed' music ?
Most of our ideas come up when we are improvising. And then we build structures with it. Sometimes we set rules for the improvisation, like "no loop should have the same length" or something like that. We don't think there's a clear separation between improvising and composing, we rather see it as a whole.

10. Imagine you own a record store. Where do you file 'You Make Me Real' ?
I would put some into techno, some into classic and some into jazz.

11. Will you be touring in France in 2011 ?
Yes!! One amazing show is being planned, but we can't tell before it's cofirmed. Anyway, we'll come for sure, just don't know yet when exactly.

Interview made by Nicolas Ragonneau in October 2010.

Links :
Info on the 'Mr. Machine' album
Brandt Brauer & Frick : official | discogs | facebook | myspace | parisdjs | soundcloud | residentadvisor
!K7 Records : official | facebook | parisdjs | soundcloud | twitter | youtube
Nicolas Ragonneau

Nicolas Ragonneau

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