Jürgen Eberhard: “We never been really interested in experimental music, music came to us”

I made this inter­view just before Lithuanian postin­dus­trial music fest­ival SPEIGAS, and every time, when I tried to tell any­body how great the upcom­ing event will be, I found myself strug­gling when spelling one project’s name. “Feine some­thing and some­thing daheim”, — I used say to that per­son. “The title has some­thing to do with fel­lows who like to drink and does not behave them­selves at fancy homes”, — I try to con­tinue with a slightly British-​sounding accent. People would look at me strangely, then say they left their bags some­where and start to go away back­wards, then run away. In a way it was disturbing.

But fel­low concert-​goers shouldn’t be dis­turbed, at least not in this way. That’s why I asked Jürgen Eberhard some ques­tions which picks the mind of a man, who for the last 20 years stand behind Feine Trinkers bei Pinkels Daheim project.

F.T.B.T.D. per­form­ance in Speigas fest­ival, Vilnius (Photo by Marius Puida)

F.T.B.T.D. is around for quite a long time, and it is not easy to say what exactly changed in those years — pos­sibly everything. But if you look into your car­rier from a per­spect­ive — what would you say to younger ver­sion of your­self, the one who just star­ted the pro­ject? Would you change any­thing if you had a possibility?

Ha, yes, of course. We used to stay together with my band boys at bars and did not have any plans to start a car­rier with a band in this kind of music. I am not jok­ing! We star­ted our pro­ject Feine Trinkers bei Pinkels Daheim in the Blackforest 1989. And before we did it ser­i­ously, with 5 friends we had an idea to be a band in kind of wave and punk music. But nobody couldn’t play any instru­ment, so we were a band without gui­tars, drums etc. After some time Oswin and I bought a bass gui­tar and a syn­thes­izer, but the sounds we cre­ated were really horrible.

But in this time the tape scene with net­work­ing exis­ted. This scene was very inter­est­ing and opened our mind for other kind of music from all around the world. At that time, nobody had inter­net or email. So it was very great to get a small pack­age from Japan or the USA with a let­ter and a tape. It was hard to get even a little bit pop­u­lar. I think nowadays it is easier to find people who organ­ize con­certs and other stuff. At that time it was very import­ant to have a his­tory and avoid hav­ing many dif­fer­ent projects.

F.T.B.T.D. per­form­ance in Speigas fest­ival, Vilnius (Photo by Simonas Rupšys)

From this comes obvi­ous ques­tion — how else from your point of view indus­trial scene changed in the last 20 years?

I think, at the begin­ning of indus­trial, the scene was a kind of secret soci­ety ;-), it was very spe­cial and most people couldn‘t under­stand the main reason to do this sound or per­form­ances etc. It was more pro­voc­at­ive, but it was in the end of the punk era. You haven’t had to wear swastika or uni­forms to be a nazi. Nowadays the scene has split to dif­fer­ent styles, such as rythmic indus­trial (for me it’s party indus­trial, it should be played only in tour­ist areas like St. Tropez, Honoloulu and Zermatt.). Then there is indus­trial for the aca­demic nerds with big glasses (mostly played in very small gal­ler­ies, where all people are sit­ting on hard chairs), mil­it­ary indus­trial and neo­folk (this stu­pid sound is for losers, which one of you boys have the hip­ster uni­form?). So in fact, we should go to the roots, but in mod­ern way.

Do you see any really good new pro­jects around?

Not really, because in the past I stopped listen­ing to music intens­ively. And I think it is dif­fi­cult to play live as a new group. Most of organ­izers haven‘t got enough money to pay them. So it is more a hobby for most of the projects.

At the begin­ning it was “Industrial music for indus­trial people”, and now what? “Slightly rythmic music for cat video lovers?”

Electric Saturday Night Fever on Speed.

F.T.B.T.D. per­form­ance in Speigas fest­ival, Vilnius (Photo by Marius Puida)

Back to the F.T. B.T. D. — how did the pro­ject evolved, and where is it head­ing now?

The situ­ation is dif­fer­ent, because we star­ted as a duo and at the moment I’m the only mem­ber, so it is easy to say F.T.B.T.D. does dif­fer­ent things now. Sometimes it plays in con­certs like Maschinenfest and after that in gal­ler­ies or Universities of Art. One of the main ideas is to cre­ate sound with inter­est­ing mater­ial, which was never done before in this way.

How did you come up with a name which is so hard to pro­mote when telling people how inter­est­ing the upcom­ing event will be? I red that you like when people try to inter­pret this German word­play. Do you have your favour­ite version?

As we star­ted our pro­ject, many indus­trial pro­jects had evil names and they pro­voked with the band titles and out­fits. It was a little bit ridicu­lous for us. We wanted our name to be very atyp­ical for an indus­trial pro­ject. And we had some prob­lems with it, par­tic­u­larly in Germany. Nobody wanted to see a per­form­ance of a stu­pid band with this fuck­ing name. So in this way most people were very bor­ing and con­ser­vat­ive. The favor­ite ver­sion is “Elegant Drinkers at Snob’s Home”.

In live per­form­ances you use vari­ous kinds of instru­ments and gad­gets. What kind of things you usu­ally use, what do you prefer? Which instrument/​thing you could call the weird­est sound source you ever tried? Why do you prefer per­form­ing this way? What do you think about ever­last­ing “battle” (laptop vs. gad­gets) in exper­i­mental music?

There are really many of them, for example, an old record player to cre­ate ana­log loops, wooden sticks, stones, bathing powder for chil­dren, gui­tars, harps, con­tact micro­phones and other things. For the last con­cert I kind of formed a small big band with insects. From the stage you could hear loud chirp­ing of crick­ets, it was very intens­ive nat­ural sound.

I chose to do it because I don‘t like the idea to use laptops on stage, it is some­times OK for some musi­cians to com­pose with it, but it should be for­bid­den on stage.

Together with B°TONG and 1000SCHOEN you are in the Secret Society. Could you tell some­thing more about the concept of it? Or would it be break­ing some kind of Secret Society rules? How did you start to play together in NID with Chris Sigdell and Oswin Czerwinski? Overall, do you recall when and how did you become inter­ested in exper­i­mental sounds?

Chris and I had the idea to found the Secret Society. If you want be a mem­ber of the Secret Society, you never use laptop or com­puter on stage! And after mys­ter­i­ous exam­in­a­tions in our black forest cen­ter, one can become our new member.

Some ques­tions before I told that Oswin and I are the main mem­bers of F.T.P.D, but some years later we meet Chris in Basel. So Oswin knew him from a record shop in this town. Chris knew our tape NOSH released on Audiofile Tapes, USA and he was also inter­ested to play with us. After this we had our first gig as NID in a water tank in the underground.

We never been really inter­ested in exper­i­mental music, the music come to us.

Thanks for your answers!

Ilona Klimaitytė
About author:
Ilona Klimaitytė
From the very beginning, Ilona had a passion for event management, writing and a cold glass of beer. These three forces fit perfectly together with interests in postindustrial music, anthropology and weird cinema. At the moment, she is finishing her cultural history and anthropology studies and is writing thesis on the subject of industrial elec... Read further >
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