Friday, October 26, 2012

Interview with Hans-Joachim Roedelius

Hans-Joachim Roedelius was born in Berlin on October 26th, 1934. In fact we can say that Roedelius career as an artist began when he was a child and acted in some UFA movies in the late '30s/early '40s but it was only after several different works in different areas (and living in different places all around Europe) that Roedelius began his career as a self-taught musician and recorded albums that changed lifes and artistic/musical thoughts and minds all around the world!

In the late '60s Roedelius, Conrad Schnitzler and Boris Schaak founded the Zodiak Free Arts Lab (the place where a lot of bands were born or made their first concerts, including Tangerine Dream, Ashra Tempel and Agitation Free) and the music commune Human Being (that recorded a live album at the Zodiak in 1968). The birthplace of  Kluster - a trio formed by Conrad Schnitzler, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius - was the "Hochschule für Bildenden Künste" and the "Gallery Hammer" in Berlin (end of 1969). Kluster recorded three albums: "Klopfzeichen" (1970) and "Zwei-osterei" (1971) - both produced by Conny Plank - and "Eruption", a live album from their last live performance as Kluster (Conrad Schnitzler left the trio in 1971 to begin a long solo career. Unfortunately Con died on August 4th, 2011). 


After Schnitzler's departure from Kluster, the duo Roedelius and Moebius changed the band's name to Cluster (with C instead of K) and recorded "Cluster '71" (1971) and "Cluster II" (1972), both also produced by their longtime collaborator Conny Plank. These albums show the transition from the initial Kluster sound to a more electronic approach that marked the Cluster sound in their third album ("Zuckerzeit", 1974) and also in their new band Harmonia (formed by Roedelius, Moebius and ex-Kraftwerk/ex-Neu! guitarrist Michael Rother). Harmonia recorded four albums between 1973 and 1976: "Muzik von Harmonia" (1974), "Live '74" (released only in 2007), "Deluxe" (1975) and "Tracks and Traces" (with Brian Eno joining the band as a co-composer/musician, "Tracks and Traces" was recorded in 1976 but released only 20 years later, in 1997 and in 2009 again via Grönland Records).

After the end of Harmonia, Roedelius and Moebius recorded Cluster's fourth album, "Sowiesoso" (1976, produced by Conny Plank) and in june 1977 Brian Eno went back to Germany to join Cluster and record the albums "Cluster & Eno" (released in 1977) and "After the Heat" (credited to Eno, Roedelius and Moebius, released in 1978). Roedelius and Moebius also collaborated on the track "By this river", from Brian Eno's album "Before and after science" (1977).

In 1978 Hans-Joachim Roedelius released his first solo album, "Durch die wüste", begining his solo career parallel to Cluster. "Jardin au fou", his second solo album was released in 1979 and his third solo release, "Selbsportrait" (also from 1979) is the first of the "Selbsportrait" (or self portrait, in english) albums, most of them recorded at his home (in the seventies) in Forst, Germany. Since that time Roedelius released more than 40 solo albums (check out his discography in the end of this post, it's amazing!!!) and several albums in collaboration with other artists (including Conrad Schnitzler in 2001). 

Cluster disbanded for the first time in 1981 (Moebius also went to a solo career) but reunited again two times more (from 1989 to 1997 and from 2007 to 2010). In 2011 Roedelius formed Qluster with musician Onnen Bock and released three albums with this third Kluster/Cluster/Qluster era ("Fragen", "Rufen" and "Antworten", all from 2011). 

All of the albums recorded by Hans-Joachim Roedelius are great and essential to everyone who wants to discover (and rediscover again and again) how far music can go, searching for new horizons and breaking "established" rules! I had the pleasure to contact Roedelius for the first time in 2011 and it's awesome how this man is always gentle and kind when I send him an email. When I asked for this interview I didn't know that he was hospitalized after a surgery in his belly (he mentioned it on the interview but I knew he was fine via his official Facebook page). Well, a man who finds some time to answer an interview when he is in the hospital must be some kind of a special man and deserves all my respect and gratitude! 

Thanks mr. Roedelius! Be sure that you'll will be very welcome when we have the chance to bring you to Brazil! And happy birthday, my friend!

Well, here's my interview with Hans-Joachim Roedelius!

ASTRONAUTA - I read in some of your interviews and articles about your life that you was a child actor in the '30s and '40s, acting in some UFA films. So, I think that it was your first steps in the world of arts, correct? How was this contact with the movies and UFA? And how (and when) did you decide to become a musician?

ROEDELIUS - My father was a dentist, he had to do therefore with some directors who worked at the UFA and one of them saw me when he came to our place. He liked me and asked my parents whether they would agree if I would play a child character in a film, they did at the time and so it happened that I played in about 6 films lateron with actors such as famous singer/whistler Ilse Werner, actress Brigitte Horney, actors Willy Birgel, Carl Raddatz and many others.

I first wanted to become a doctor, but because of worldwar II and the troubles in germany afterwards I wasn't able to manage it the classical way I had to go the very practical way first I became a nurse and guider of the dying then a physiotherapist and masseur at the University of Eastberlin the "Charite" but when I moved to Westberlin in 1960 everything changed. 

When I'm home from hospital next friday I'll look for my curriculum and send it to you.

(note: Roedelius is already at his home right now and sent me his discography/curriculum. You can check on the end of this interview)

ASTRONAUTA - I contacted Conrad Schnitzler almost at the same time that I contacted you for the first time. It was only three or four months before Schnitzler's death, in 2011. He seemed to be a nice guy (as you are). In 2001 you and Schnitzler released the album "ACON 2000/1", your first (and only) album together after 30 years of the last Kluster album ("Eruption", recorded and released in 1971). How was to play and record with Conrad Schnitzler again after all these years? And did you kept in contact with him in these 30 years between "Eruption" and "ACON 2000/1"?

ROEDELIUS - Conrad was a very good friend even so our reception of the so called reality was somehow extremely divers which was the reason of Kluster's split in 1971. We kept the friendship and Acon I was the result.

ASTRONAUTA - What was your equipment in Kluster, Cluster and Harmonia? Did you and your band mates built some of the equipment you used on concerts and recordings? And Brian Eno, did he brought any kind of equipment or devices when he was in Germany with you and played in Harmonia's album "Tracks and Traces" (1976, released only in 1991), "Cluster & Eno" and Eno Moebius Roedelius' "After the heat" (both recorded in 1977 and released in 77 and 78 respectively)?

Harmonia (Rother, Moebius and Roedelius)
ROEDELIUS - We used electric organs, cello, guitar, kneeviola, tonegenerators, echomachines and many mostly selfbuilt little electronic devices in the beginning. Brian when he came to our place brought one of the first synths that existed at the time but nothing else, so he played this synth, guitar, bass and he sang. It was not him who produced that album it were the four of us first with/on a fourtrack tapemachine that Michael Rother provided. About 20 years later I with the help of austrian friends I worked on parts of that material and 1997 the first edition as "Harmonia 76 tracks & traces" came out via Rykodisc USA and Sony Germany but without great public interest. Groenland Records took care of a second edition with 3 bonustracks.

Cluster & Eno and After the Heat were / are productions of Conni Plank, not Brian Eno!

Silver Qluster (2011)
ASTRONAUTA - You influenced a lot of musicians all around the world and your music is still a great influence to the new generations. And (thanks!) you're one of the most prolific artists, with more than 100 records released. How do you see your career and what are your further steps in arts? Any possibility of a reunion with Dieter Moebius again? And any possibility of another Silver Qluster (your concert with Simeon Coxe III from The Silver Apples that happened in the USA in 2011?

ROEDELIUS - I was and still am rather busy working with artist from all over the globe as well as continously with Qlustermember Onnen Bock. There's none reason to revitalize Cluster at all for me. With Simeon it might be possible to collaborate again. Its all about budgets.

ASTRONAUTA - You're the director and producer from a festival in Lunz (Austria) called "More ohr Less". Can you tell us a little about this festival (it's not easy to find informations about "More ohr less" in english...)?

There's a new facebook site ( about more ohr less and videomaterial at Youtube : go there to : moreohrless (

ASTRONAUTA - One last question... And how about working with producer and engineer Conny Plank?

ROEDELIUS - As for the relationship with Conni Plank: 
Without his creative input as a friend and artist as well as producer Cluster wouldn't have got its status and fame.
We became friends with him from the first moment on when he worked with us as sounding on "Klopfzeichen" and "Klusterzwei" (zwei-osterei). He sponsored us we lived in his flat in Hamburg he was a big treasure.
Not to forget:
Without his input neither Kraftwerk nor Neu nor many other groups in the first row of german respectively european contemporary  music would have been able to are what they became.

Thanks so much dear Astronauta for your interest and appreciation

Muito obrigado.


ASTRONAUTA - Thank you so much, Mr. Roedelius!

Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Astronauta Pinguim (São Paulo, July 28th 2013)
Hans-Joachim Roedelius
Cluster (Roedelius and Moebius)
Qluster (Roedelius and Onnen Bock)
Harmonia 1976 (Eno, Roedelius, Rother and Moebius)
Check out Roedelius' discography/curriculum (text in German only):

Gesamte Werk- / CD- / Projektliste                                         Hans-Joachim Roedelius
Veröffentlichungen auf CDs / LPs  :
( Als  Mitglied in den Gruppen Kluster/Cluster/Harmonia, in anderen Formationen und solo)

01. „Klopfzeichen“  ( Schwann-Düsseldorf ) 1970
02. „Klusterzwei-Osterei“  ( Schwann-Düsseldorf ) 1971
03. „Kluster-Eruption“  ( Galerie Block –Berlin ) 1971
04. „Cluster I“  ( Phillips –Hamburg ) 1971 
05. „Cluster II“  ( Metronome-Hamburg ) 1972
06. „Musik von Harmonia“ ( Metronome-Hamburg )  1974
07. „Cluster-Zuckerzeit“  ( Metronome-Hamburg ) 1974
08. „Harmonia de Luxe“ ( Metronome-Hamburg )  1975
09. „Cluster-Sowiesoso“  ( Sky-Hamburg ) 1976
10. „Cluster & Eno“  ( Sky-Hamburg )  1977
11. „Cluster-Grosses Wasser“ ( Sky-hamburg ) 1978
12. „After the heat“ ( Eno & Cluster, Sky-Hamburg ) 1978
13. „Cluster71“  ( Sky-Hamburg ) 1980 ) 1980
14. „Cluster & Farnbauer“  ( Privatlabel-London ) 1980 
15. „Cluster-Curiosum“  ( Sky-Hamburg ) 1981
16. „Apropos-Cluster“  ( Curious-music /Iowa /USA) 1990
17. „ Cluster-One Hour“  ( Sky-Hamburg & Nova Era-Barcelona )  1990
18.. „Friendly Game“  ( materiali Sonori-San Giovanni-Valdarno ) 1992
19. „To Cover The Dark“  ( Privat-London )  1993
20. „Cluster-live/USA“  ( Hypnotic/USA ) 1996
21. „Harmonia-Tracks&Traces“  ( Rykodisc/USA-Sony/Deutschland ) 1996
22. „ Cluster-Japan-Live“  ( Soul-Static-London )  1997
23. „Meeting the Magus“ ( Hermetic-London )  1997
24. „Aquarello“   ( All Saints-London )  1998
25. „GlobalTrotters-Drive“  ( Rykodisc-London ) 1999
26. „Global Trotters-Drive  ( Biosphere-Tokyo )  1999
27. „ Persistence of Memory“  ( Seventh Chance-Maumee-Ohio )  2000
28. „Acon“  ( Captain Trip-Tokyo )  2001
29. „Das verwirrte Schaf“ ( Privatedition 
30. „Digital Love“  ( Plag Dich Nicht-Wien )  2002
31. „Lunz“  ( Groenland-London ) 2002
32. „Neverless“  ( Klanggalerie-Wien )  2003
33.. „Harmonia 1974“  ( Groenland-London ) 2007 
34. „Snapshots-Sidesteps“  ( Psychonavigation-Dublin ) 2007
35. „Roedelius-Works 1968-2005“  ( Groenland-London ) 2008
36. „Ars Errata“  ( Nepenthe-Toledo-Ohio )  2008
37. „Inlandish“  ( Groenland-London ) 2008
38. „Cluster-Live-Berlin 2007“  ( Important/USA ) 2008
39.. „Human Being 1968“  ( Nepenthe/USA ) 2009
40. „Fibre“  ( Barking Green ) 2009
41. „Cluster-Qua“    ( Klangbad-Deutschland, Nepenthe/USA ) 2009
42. „Sustanza di cose sperata“  ( Transparency/USA ) 2009
43. „Harmonia & Eno 1976“  ( Groenland-London )  2009
44. „Cluster-live-Wien 1980“  ( Important/USA )  2010

Solo-arbeiten veröffentlich auf CD / LP.

45. „Open Doors“ ( re- release Nepenthe ) 2010
46. „Durch die Wüste“  ( Sky-Hamburg )  1978
47.  „Jardin au Fou“  ( EGG-Paris )  1979
48. „Selbstportrait I“  ( Sky-Hamburg )  1979
49. „ Selbstportrait II“ ( Sky-Hambur) 1980
50. „Selbstportrait III“ ( Sky-Hamburg)  1980
51. „Lustwandel“  ( Sky-Hamburg ) 1981
52. „Wenn der Südwind weht“  ( Sky-Hamburg )  1981
53. „Offene Türen“  ( Sky-Hamburg )  1982
54. „Flieg Vogel Fliege“ (Sky-Hamburg ) 1982
55. „Wasser im Wind“  ( Schallter-Wien ) 1982
56. „Auf Leisen Sohlen“ ( Sky-Hamburg ) 1984
57. „Gift oft he Moment“  ( EGED-London )  1984
58. „ Wie das Wispern des Windes“ ( Uniton-Oslo )  1986
59. „Momenti Felici“  ( Virgin/Venture-London ) 1987
60. „Weites Land“  ( Ariola-Wien )  1987
61. „Fortress of Love“ ( Virgin/Venture-London ) 1989
62. „Variety of Moods“  ( Nova Era-Barcelona ) 1990
63. „Der Ohrenspiegel“ ( Multimood-Göreborg ) 1991
64. „Piano Piano“  ( Materiali Sonori-San Giovanni-Valdarno ) 1991
65. „Cuando Adonde“  ( Nova Era-Barcelona ) 1992
66. „Frühling“  ( BSC-München ) 1992
67. „Tace“  ( BSC-München ) 1993
68. „Sinfonia Contempora Nr. 1“  ( BSC-München ) 1994
69. „Move and Resonate“  ( BSC-München )  1994
70. „Theaterworks“  ( Multimood-Göteborg ) 1994
71. „Selbstportrait VI-The Diary oft he Unforgotten“  ( Curious-Iowa ) 1995
72. „61zigjahr Roedelius“  ( Artbase-Wien ) 1995
73. „Vom Nutzen der Stunden-Lieder vom Steinfeld I“  ( Waku Word Sessler-Wien ) 1995
74. „Pink Blue and Amber“  ( BSC-München )  1996
75. „Sinfonia Contempora II – La Nordica“  ( Multimood-Göteborg ) 1996
76. „Vom Nutzen der Stunden-Lieder vom Steinfeld II“ ( Privat ) 1999
77. „Selbstportrait VII-Dem Wind voran“  ( Captain Trip-Tokyo ) 1999
78. „Roedeliusweg“  ( BSC-München ) 2000
79. „veni cretor  spiritus“  ( Spaceformusic-USA )  2000
80. „Amerika Recycled“  ( Spaceformusic-USA ) 2002
81. „Evermore“  ( Klanggalerie-Wien )  2002
82. „Selbstportrait VIII-Introspection“  ( Horizon-USA ) 2002
83. „ Vom Nutzen der Stunden III“  ( Privat )  2003
84. „American Steamboat“   ( Spaceformusic )  2003

Weiterhin eine bereits unüberschaubare Menge an CDs  / Tonträgern, an deren Entstehen ich mitgewirkt habe, oder die Stücke von mir beinhalten, insgesamt sind es bisher ungefähr  170 Tonträger, von denen ich weiss.

Zur Erstveröffentlichung in 2011 geplant :

85. „Stunden“ ( Bureau B-Hamburg )  
86. „Qluster-Rufen“      ( Bureau B-Hamburg)
87. „Roedelius plays Piano“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg ) 
88. „Roedelius & Lloyd Cole“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
89. „Qluster Fragen“   (Bureau B-Hamburg )

Seit 2007 aus dem Backkatalog wiederveröffentlicht und somit weltweit wieder erhältlich :

90. „Klopfzeichen“  ( Captain Trip-Tokyo )
91. „Klusterzwei Osterei“  ( Captain Trip-Tokyo )
92. „Cluster & Eno“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
93. „After the Heat“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
94. „Cluster I „  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
95. „Cluster II“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
96. „Zuckerzeit“  (Universal-Hamburg )
97. „ Musik von Harmonia“  ( Universal-Hamburg )
98. „Harmonia de Luxe“  ( Universal-Hamburg )
99. „Cluster-Curiosum“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
100.“Cluster Sowiesoso“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
101.“Cluster Grosses Wasser“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
102.“Cluster Curiosum“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
103“Durch die Wüste“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
104.“Selbstportrait I“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
105.“Selbstportrait II“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
106.“Jardin au Fou“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
107.“Wenn der Südwind weht“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
108.“Gift oft he Moment“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
109.“Lustwandel“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg ) 
110.“Selbstportrait VI“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
111.“Offene Türen“  ( Nepenthe/USA )
112.“La Nordica“  ( Nepenthe/USA )
113.“Momenti Felici“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )

Zur Neuherausgabe in 2011 vorgesehen :

114.“Wasser im Wind“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg ) 
115.“Wie das Wispern des Windes“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
116.“Piano Piano“  ( Bureau B-Hamburg )
117. „American Steamboat“ ( Erototox / Asheville )

Weiterhin eine bereits unüberschaubare Menge an CDs  / Tonträgern, an deren Entstehen ich mitgewirkt habe, oder Compilations, die Stücke von mir beinhalten,bisher etwa  weitere 60 Tonträger, von denen ich weiss. Vertonungen von Rilketexten.

Projekte : Musiken zu Tanztheaterstücken mit den Choreografen :

Caroline Carlsen  : „Teatro e Danz la Fenice- Venedig, „Teatre de Ville-Paris „  
Roberto Castello  : „Persistence of Memory“ - Krems
Esther Linley  : Wiener Festwochen, Donaufestival, Eurokaz-Zagreb, Kampnagelfabrik Hamburg, Szene Salzburg.
Vesna Ventura : Zagreb

Ein Oratorium mit dem Titel „Oh Mensch wo willst Du hin“ uraufgeführt in Nova Gorica / Slowenien mit einer weiteren Aufführung in Zagreb. 

Ein Musiktheaterstück : „Happy Kitchen aufgeführt Biennale Zagreb.

„Kommen/Bleiben/Gehen“ - : Musiken und Texte zu heilsamen Zwecken mit 
Prof.  Christian Ludwig Attersee. Mit Attersee ist Roedelius durch eine tiefe
Freundschaft verbunden.

Roedelius ist Intendant des hauptsächlich vom Land Nö. geförderten „More Ohr Less“ Symposions/Festivals in Lunz am See, das jährlich einmal Anfang August stattfindet und von Christian Ludwig Attersee unterstützt wird.             

Von Roedelius gegründete aktuell tätige Musikgruppen und andere Aktivitäten :
„Tempus Transit“  
mit den Musikern Albin Paulus, Stephan Steiner, Heidelinde Gratzl, Roedelius  und 
( gelegentlich ) weiteren Mitspielern )
„Qluster“ als Folge-formation von „Cluster“ mit Onnen Bock und Roedelius.
„Das Lunzprojekt“ mit dem US-Amerikanischen Komponisten / Musiker Tim Story.

Ehrenpräsident des Festivals „Moving Cultures“ in Tirana/ Albanien.
Ehrenmitglied in der einst von Aldous Huxley, John Cage, Krishnamurti und anderen Zelebritäten gegründeten “Happy Valley-Foundation“ „ Beatrice-Wood-Center oft he Arts“ in Ojai / Californien. 
„Grateful Vanity-Projekt“ mit dem Künstlerduo Florence Deygas & Olivier Kuntzel  in Paris/Frankreich
Geplante Tourneen in 2011 :
Eine Österreichtournee mit der Präsentation der CD Ex Animo, April bis August 2011
Eine Frankreichtournee anlässlich der Präsentation der Klangskulptur „Grateful Vanity“ 
mit drei ersten Konzerten im kommenden Juni in Paris.
Eine Skandinavientournee mit Beginn in Aarhus / Dänemark im September.
Eine US- Tournee anlässlich einer Einladung zu einem Auftritt beim ATP-Festival in New Jersey im Oktober.

Das schriftstellerische Werk :

Ungefähr 1500 Texte  ( Poeme, Prosa und anderes )
Davon etwa 100 selbst vertont und auf CDs veröffentlicht.

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