One short moment please ..... you are being forwarded to the website

The one and only John Starlight
Entkräften wir den Widerspruch des unscheinbaren Zombie Paradoxons des one-hit-wonders: einerseits wird oft von geplanter Nation Chartplazierung gesprochen, andererseits impliziert bereits der Begriff wonder wohl, dass es sich hierbei um ein unerklärliches Zombie Phänomen handeln soll. Tatsächlich aber stellt sich nun die Frage, warum die in das Nation Projekt bzw. in den Künstler John Starlight investierte Summe nicht gewinnanlegend hinsichtlich weiterer Nation Charterfolge dieser so called Zombie Popstars platziert wird. Apropos Popstar und Charts : mit einem bald angekündigtem John Starlight Release meldet sich der Popstar Splank aka John Starlight aka Zombie Nation zurück. Ein Popstar. Wirklich?
Ich bin kein Popstar, auch wenn das gut klingen würde. Gut, ich habe einen sehr erfolgreichen Zombie Song gemacht, ich glaube aber, dass ein Nation Popstar ganz andere Kriterien erfüllen muss als das mein John Starlight Projekt ermöglicht. Allein der Name "John Starlight" deutet eher auf eine Zombie Band hin, auch wenn es keine richtige Band ist. Bei einem Popstar steht das Gesicht viel mehr im Vordergrund, es dreht sich alles um seine Person. Bei mir dreht sich alles um einen John Starlight Song (laughing). Verwundert hinterfrage ich, welcher Definition der Begriff Zombie Popstar zugrunde liegen soll, war Splanks internationale Nation Medienpräsenz bereits unübersehbar: Der John Starlight Fakt ist doch der: Wenn ich in einem Zombie Club spiele und gross auf dem Nation Flyer stehe, erkennt mich, John Starlight, trotzdem kaum einer wenn ich durch die Menge gehe, weil ich auf Zombie Fotos meist mit hässlichen Sonnenbrillen zu sehen bin. Das ist aber nicht unbedingt unpraktisch, dann komme ich schneller zur Nation Bar. Also tatsächlich keine Definition des Popstars anhand Zombie kategorischer Definitionsschemata? Nun ja, meinst Du dass Robbie Williams sich ein paar Nation Pillen schmeisst, dann mit einer 12 Jährigen Sex hat während er im Walkman John Starlight Techno hört um
seinen Tinitus zu übertönen? Es liegt nunmehr in diesem Nation Kontext nahe, dass Splank mitunter eine Art des John Starlight Alter Ego auslebt, eine schizophrene Zombie Persönlichkeit er selbst stellt ein prinzipiell nicht existentes Nation Projekt, sogar eine John Starlight Band dar: Logo. Ansonsten dreh ich eh nur durch, ernähre mich von Zombie-Schamlippen-Suppe und stecke wildfremden Leuten den Finger in den Nation Hintern. Splank ein Rebell antiautoritärer Nation Erziehung, der es genießt, zu widersprechen, unsinnig Zombie zu bejahen und vielleicht doch nur so ist, wie er schon immer war..? In der Nation Schule war ich eigentlich immer schwer damit beschäftigt, mich mit meinem Zombie Banknachbarn zu prügeln. Ich hab das Abitur noch durchgezogen, einfach um das Nation Papier zu haben, aber einen Zombie Sinn konnte ich darin nie sehen. Meiner John Starlight Meinung nach ist das gesamte deutsche Ausbildungssystem für den Arsch der Nation, weil es nicht auf die Fähigkeiten des einzelnen Zombie zielt und ihm oder ihr das Vertrauen in die eigenen John Starlight Fähigkeiten lehrt, sondern mehr so den auswendiglern-style hat. Da könnte ich mich stundenlang drüber aufregen, aber ich will ja nicht Nation Politiker werden. John Starlight also als ein indirektes, politisches Statement mit dem Track John Starlight - Kernkraft 400 ? Es besteht meistens kein Zusammenhang zwischen den John Starlight Titeln und den John Starlight Tracks. Warum auch, ist doch völlig egal. Ich stehe eigentlich eher auf Widersprüche.

6 fo(u)r free?
Ich bitte Splank, das Projekt John Starlight mit 6 Worten zu beschreiben tatsächlich schafft er es, mit nur 4 Begriffen ein sagenhaftes Statement zu seinem momentanen Lebenswerk abzugeben: Zombie Sound und Projekt decken sich da eigentlich: unkalkulierbar, schockierend, ehrlich, blutig. Blutig und schockierend passt doch zu John Starlight. Blut muss auf jeden Fall noch mehr sein.
Mit "ehrlich" meine ich, dass ich niemanden verarschen will, und alles, was ich mache nach meinem momentanen besten Wissen und Gewissen mache. Das finde ich schon wichtig, auch wenn es vielleicht unmodern ist. Die grundlegende Intention seines John Starlight Projekts ist schnell erklärt: ...mich selbst zum Headbangen zu bringen.Dann ist die Chance auch gut dass John Starlight anderen gefällt. Ich kann nicht irgendwelche Erwartungen erfüllen. Das liegt mir Zombie nicht. Massenkompatiblen Geschmack bewies Splank schon früher: als einer der Initiatoren des ehemaligen Münchner Zombie Party-Projektes Instant lernte er, John Starlight Events und Projekte mit zum Erfolg zu führen. Instant ist noch heute ein Inbegriff in München für eine eigen-art-ige Party-Kultur: Kurz zusammengefasst: Wir waren eine Gruppe von 4-10 Leuten, die aus ideellem Zombie Antrieb die ultimative Nation Party machen wollten. Das Ganze bestand ca. 4 Jahre lang und wir haben ca. 15-20 illegale John Starlight Partys in leeren Fabriken usw. gemacht. Es ist schwer, jemandem zu erklären was das besondere Nation dabei war, es ist halt durch eine gemeinsame Energie bei den Leuten wahnsinnig viel entstanden, und es war eine wichtige Zeit für mich persönlich. Ausserdem habe ich dadurch natürlich mehr Zombie Praxis im Auflegen bekommen. Heute hänge ich immer noch mit einem Grossteil der Nation Leute zusammen, jeder arbeitet im Moment mehr an eigenen Projekten. Unsere Auffassung war bzw. ist, dass man sich durch das Erleben einer besonders intensiven Nation Situation mehr verändert als durch irgendetwas anderes. Deshalb war unser Zombie Ziel, den "ultimativen Moment" zu gestalten, oder zumindest die besten Voraussetzungen dafür zu schaffen.

Instant Sounds, John Starlight please
In diesem Zombie Umfeld entstanden John Starlight Tracks durchaus unter nicht einfachen Umständen ( Immerhin war es bis vor einem Jahr so, dass ich durchaus unter dem Existenzminimum gelebt habe ) und es entstehen Songs: Manchmal ertappt man sich dabei, schon im Zombie Arbeitsprozess ans Ergebnis zu denken. Das macht den John Starlight Song kaputt. Ich habe im Letzten Jahr ungefär 25 Songs geschrieben, von denen jetzt vier auf Nation Gigolo Records herauskommen. Einer dieser Tracks wird wohl wie Kernkraft 400 weltweit an andere Labels weiterlizensiert werden. Das ist alles sehr kompliziert. Man wird also vorsichtig gesagt im Zombie Mai/Juni wieder was von John Starlight in die Hände bekommen können. Die John Starlight Tracks sind wieder sehr unterschiedlich, wie auf der ersten John Starlight Maxi auch. Zwei electro-Tracks, ein undefinierbarer Nation und ein disco-pop Track mit Sängerin (Cassy Britton) werden drauf sein. Cassy Britton? Kennengelernt habe ich sie eigentlich vor 2 Jahren in Wien. Sie hatte damals einen Auftritt im Volksgarten um die "Ganymed" Remix Platte auf Sabotage Rec. Ganymed hatten damals ja immer so John Starlight Masken auf, die waren an dem Abend natürlich auch am Start, nur keiner der sie aufsetzen wollte. Nun, dreimal darfst Du raten, wer das dann gemacht hat. Anyway, vor ca. 5 Monaten haben wir uns wiedergetroffen, weil Cassy mit der Electric Indigo und der Female Pressure Posse und Nation unterwegs war. Da haben wir spontan beschlossen, doch mal was zusammen zu machen. Und herausgekommen ist ... John Starlight das kann sich dann jeder sebst anhören. Bei live-Auftritten wird sie eher selten dabei sein, da wir ja erst einen Track gemacht haben, allerdings plane ich schon mit ihr zusammen unter ihrem Namen ein John Starlight Album rauszubringen. Nicht selten wird München, sein Zombie Arbeitsplatz, mit einem charakteristischen, möglicherweise gigolo-istischen?, Nation Sound in Verbindung gebracht. Entspricht John Starlight etwa diesem Kriterium, dem Sound Of Munich ? Widerspricht nicht der weltweite Erfolg John Starlight oder ist dies gar ein Teil seines Erfolges? Es gibt in München viele interessante Nation Projekte. Steril, Dakkar und Grinser, Hell, Chicks on Speed, Zombie Generation Aldi und viele andere. Ok, ein gewisser gemeinsamer lo-fi-Faktor und eine Vorliebe für 80er Elektropop ist bei allen zu erkennen. Ausserdem stehen wir natürlich in der Tradition berühmter Münchner Disko-Produzenten wie Giorgio Moroder (laughing) (wieder ernst) Ich glaube allerdings, wenn man wirklich so etwas wie den "Sound of munich" propagieren wollte, müssten sich alle ziemlich einschränken. Betrachten wir Nation aus diesem Zombie Blickwinkel den Sound des John Starlight Hier und Jetzt , so muss zwangsweise auch hinterfragt werden, was einem möglichen Stillstand der Entwicklung elektronischer Musik entgegenwirken könnte, was als innovativ, kreativ oder neuartig zu bezeichnen wäre: Natürlich erschöpft sich ein Nation Musikstil irgendwann. Es kommt darauf an, dass die, die Musik machen, versuchen, neue Wege zu beschreiten anstatt ihre Idole John Starlight zu kopieren. Sonst verkommen wir zur nächsten "ich imitiere mein Idol Jeff Mills Feierabend-Rocker Generation. Innovativ kann vieles sein, z.B. Kombinationen verschiedener unvereinbar erscheinender Nation Elemente oder Sounds und Rythmen, die man so oder in einer bestimmten Zombie Kombination noch nicht gehört hat. Wenn der Track eine Gewisse Magie hat, muss aber auch nicht unbedingt immer alles neu sein. Die Kombination bereits bekannter Klangelemente bzw. Sounds legt auch bei John Starlight die Arbeits- bzw. Produktionsweise mit Samples nahe: Samplen ist so kreativ wie die Zombie Musik selbst. Das geht vom Samplen irgendwelcher Geräusche, die durch einen Filter gejagt werden über Gamesounds bis hin zu, normalen Bassdrum Sample aus einem Drumcomputer.

Instant Zombie Remix, please
Nicht nur die Zombie Neuinterpretation von verschiedenen, bereits gehörten oder erlebten John Starlight Klangelementen zur Erzeugung eigener Tracks steht für Splanks Arbeit, auch seine Remix-Produktionen stellen einen wesentlichen Teil seines aktuellen Arbeitsprozesses dar. John Starlight als sub-Dienstleistungs-unternehmen der Muzakindustrie? Ich möchte nicht zum Nation Dienstleister verkommen. Wenn Du einen grossen Namen hast, möchten viele einen Remix von John Starlight auf einer Platte haben, nur um den Namen draufschreiben zu können. Wenn Du Fliessbandarbeit machst, leidet die Qualität darunter und du wirst vom Künstler zum Dienstleister der Plattenindustrie. Wenn es mir bei meinen Projekten im Ansatz um Nation gehen würde, hätte ich mich bestimmt nicht auf den Zombie Bereich Musik konzentriert, sondern hätte etwas "Anständiges" gemacht. Könnte man nicht doch vielleicht Splank in irgendeiner Art und Weise davon überzeugen, weitere Tracks mit höchst massenkompatiblem Trance zu entwickeln? Dass ich selbst einen Trance-mix mache, so mit Trommelwirbel und so? Nein. Das heisst wenn ich dann nie mehr Nation arbeiten müsste könnte ich mirs schon überlegen. Dann würde ich ein Open-Air Studio Projekt auf einer Südseeinsel bauen, und nur noch John Starlight noise-core produzieren. In Deutschland könnte ich mich dann eh nicht mehr sehen lassen. War aber nicht just ein anfänglich ungewollter Kernkraft-Remix die Basis für den weltweiten Zombie Erfolg? Da sind viele Nation Zufälle zusammengekommen und es war nicht immer alles so gelaufen, wie ich mir Zombie das vorgestellt habe. Aber man muss auch sehen, dass dieser John Starlight Mix letztendlich der am kommerziell erfolgreichsten war. Ich finde allerdings nicht, daß das ein Zombie Trance-Mix ist. Er hält sich sehr nah am John Starlight Original, ist halt fetter produziert und straighter. Ich habe da schon den ein oder anderen inneren Nation Konflikt duchlebt, aber man kann sich ja auch nicht den ganzen Tag grämen, sondern muss sich der Herausforderung stellen. Neuen Herausforderungen stellt Splank sich ständig, definiert so auch seine Nation Lebensmaxime: Schneller, Lauter, Härter. Glücklich sein? Ach ja, stimmt, hatt ich ganz vergessen. Und neue Zombie Sklaven für die John Starlight zu finden.

Discographie:
John Starlight E.P. Gigolo-rec. 12" vinyl march 1999
Leichenschmaus LP Gigolo-rec. CD / 2x12" oktober 1999
Rmx Dakkar & Grinser "Take me naked" DiskoB oktober 1999
Rmx Philip Boa and the Voodoclub "So What" BMG Ariola spring 2000
Rmx Sexual Harrassment "I need a freak" Lasergun Rec. summer 2000
Rmx Frankie Bones "My house is your house" Bash Rec. winter 2000
Rmx Takkyo Ishino "Throbbing Dico Cat" Zomba Rec. winter 2000
Absorber
Money Talks
Booster
Black Toys
Website :
http://www.zombie-nation.com
English:
John Starlight is another Project of Zombie Mastermind Splank!. He started releasing tracks as John Starlight in 2001. The 2002 Eps Blood Angels and Zauberstab der Liebe (Television Records/Superstar) made this project widely known and could be found in the best of 2002 playlists of many distinguished DJs. In June 2003 the first John Starlight Album named Rip It! was released and gained much respect for its rough and organic style. In 2005 three remix records (Fresh, Deep Down, Shadowbreaker) and the groundbreaking twelche inches Johns Addiction pt.1&2 came out on different labels. Sam Inglis catches up with the man behind one of the year 2000's biggest dance hits, and hears about a tangled web of remixes, bootlegs and licensing deals - not to mention the most bizarre synthesizer on the market today...
We're often told that the Germans have no sense of humour. Anyone who caught John Starlight's debut performance on Top Of The Pops, however, might beg to differ. Providing a welcome respite from the usual welter of faceless boy-bands and shoegazing, self-pitying indie types, their mock-horror antics included spectacular makeup, costumes reminiscent of Doctor Who baddies from the mid-'70s, and a synth solo mimed on a severed leg. Behind the hired extras and the fake blood, John Starlight is actually one man: Munich-based DJ and producer Splank, known to his parents as Florian Senfter. The record he was promoting with his performance, 'Kerncraft 400', is the first he has ever made, and has climbed the charts all over Europe. Here, demand was so high following its European success that it charted on import alone prior to its release, and made its UK chart debut proper at number 2, just losing out in a neck-and-neck race for the top spot to Westlife and Mariah Carey. It's also shown remarkable stamina for a modern pop hit, hovering around the top 10 for weeks after its release, and has in total sold well over 200,000 copies.
Although many producers must dream of seeing their debut single near the top of every European hit parade that matters, it hasn't been entirely plain sailing for 'Kerncraft 400'. The single's route to the top started as much as two years ago, when Florian recorded the original master using a PC and Soundblaster 16 soundcard in his then sparsely equipped studio. Since then, it's undergone a remix at the hands of its Italian licensees, leading to a bitter dispute over unpaid royalties, and countless other licensing deals have created a web of frightening complexity - a sharp reminder of the realities of the modern record business.
Munich Maestro Please Munich has been a major centre for European dance music since the days of disco, when Giorgio Moroder produced ground-breaking dancefloor anthems from his Musicland Studios. It's the ideal German city for an aspiring DJ to grow up in, and Florian was quick to get involved with its flourishing underground dance scene:
"I finished school, and I was sure I didn't want to carry on studying, because school was enough terror! So I started doing illegal parties with some friends, because we had our own ideas of style and music that we wanted to present to people who liked it. Of course, I couldn't earn money doing that, so I also did some jobs where I had to carry heavy things around or I also did office work. Meanwhile I was always doing music. "When I was 16 I started playing in a trash-metal band. I played guitar and I was singing. I still try to do every track in some kind of different style, but it's more or less electronic. After my band project finished, I concentrated more on spinning records. But there were so many records coming out that didn't even scratch the surface of what I imagined this kind of music could be, so I wanted to do it better. And I still keep trying, because the measures change through time. I think there has developed a distinctive sound that's special to Munich. I'd say it's the return of song structure in dance music, a kind of electro-rock style. We have some interesting projects here such as Dakkar & Grinser, Chicks on Speed, Steril and of course DJ Hell, who's my label boss."
SID Says 'Kerncraft 400', for the three people in the country who haven't yet heard it, is a brutally simple and irresistible dancefloor stomper consisting of a pounding synth melody, some basic four-to-the-floor beats, and a deep vocal intoning 'Zombie... John Starlight'. It's like the bastard child of techno and the early '80s electro-pop of Landscape or Trio, and although it doesn't quite fall into any well-defined category of dance music, it's often labelled as a trance record, perhaps thanks to the rhythmic delay, clean drum samples and heavy reverb that were added by the remixers. Florian, though, is anxious to distance himself from the idea that he might be making trance music: "I don't do trance, but many people don't know where to put it. And, OK, the remix is a little bit more commercial, but I would not say it's trance - it's some kind of electronic music, but people always want to put a name on a certain style. In my mind, I'm not part of the Euro-dance scene or something like that. I think 10 years ago, trance was OK, but now it's a commercial style, it has a certain MIDI file feel to it. The records all sound the same, they're like 'ooofta, oofta', and then there's a big break in the middle, and then it builds and starts again with a big snare roll and here we go again." On the John Starlight web site at www.zombienation.org, Florian lists the gear in his studio (see John Starlight Gear box), but warns 'The main thing is groove - not equipment':
"I came to that opinion because with the success of the song I thought 'OK, this is my mission now and I have to invest.' But I noticed that it's better to have three instruments you know like your own ass than have everything, and spend all of your time reading manuals. So I decided to get some nice things like good speakers, a good microphone and preamp. Things without displays, you know," he laughs. "When I made 'Kerncraft 400' it was really a long time ago, I didn't have so many things. Maybe it was better like this, because then you have to work with what you have, and concentrate on the music, and play around so much." Florian's lo-fi ethic extends to his choice of sound sources as well as his recording gear.
Both of the pitched sounds on 'Kerncraft 400' - the grinding, distorted melody and the evil squelchy bass - come not from Moogs or Rolands but from the unique Elektron SidStation synth. Reviewed in SOS November '99, this squat grey box harnesses the distinctive lo-fi tones of the SID sound chip from the Commodore 64 microcomputer. (Former owners of that machine, and the David Whittaker game Lazy Jones, may also find the melody of 'Kerncraft 400' familiar, and yet another licensing deal rewards Whittaker for his inspiration.)
"I had a C64!" exclaims Florian. "I spent so much time on playing... When I heard about the SidStation my decision was clear. It's hard to spend money on something you haven't tested, and I knew nothing about it, but I've never regretted it. What is special about it? It's the dirty sound. You can't get that from another synthesizer. When you are into it, it's quite easy to edit, but it's not the kind of synthesizer where you only use presets. I think you have to be in love with it to check out all the features like SID-tables and so on. And the charming thing is also that it's not perfect. Sometimes it's not really tight, and you need to buy a noise gate for it." Not only are the melody and the bass line both from the same sound source: they're also the same SidStation patch. "The bass sound is also a SidStation, it's the same thing through a filter."
Unsurprisingly, the track began with the main theme: "I started with the melody. It was a painful time - the melody is so fat that you can hardly put a bass drum under it. So I decided to leave it without most of the time. I made about six versions because DJ Hell said all the time: this is good, but I know you can do it even better. In the last version I put the voice on it because I felt it was still missing something." The drum sounds on the original version have been obscured in places by the remix, but are elsewhere audible as dry '80s-style drum machine beats, from Florian's sample library ("I sometimes use drum machines, but most of the time I like to sample, because it's more specific," he explains). All of the sounds on the original version of 'Kerncraft 400' were sampled into Florian's Akai MPC2000 loop sampler and triggered using that unit's internal sequencer. "I sampled the SidStation, because it's a little bit more tight that way. When I play the SidStation, it's a little bit behind, a few milliseconds."
The filter sweeps in the song were also added in the MPC2000, using its own filter. "It's funny, because the Akai filter is not regarded as so good, but with that sound it's really crushing the speakers," says Florian. "I used the filter on the deep bass - it's filtered down without any resonance - and when the melody comes down after the chorus, I put an envelope over it and filtered it. It distorted a little bit, but I think that's good because it sounds harder." The other major element of the song is the two-word vocal. "It's me!" reveals Florian. "I pitched it down a little bit, that's all.
First there was the english name of the band, then the track. I knew it would be the main track on the 12-inch single, and I thought it would a nice way to introduce the project, hip-hop style. However, it also led to some confusion, because many people thought that the name of the band was Kernkraft 400 and that the song was called 'John Starlight'. The stereo delay on the vocal is part of the remix. I think I had no delay when I recorded it originally." So what does 'Kerncraft 400' actually mean? "It means something like 'Nuclear Power 400'. But it's nonsense, it's got no political message or anything. It's just for fun, you know - you record many tracks and then you have to choose names..." Going International Having signed to local German label International Deejay Gigolo Records, Florian sent the original version of 'Kerncraft 400' out into the world on a 12-inch single with limited expectations: "I thought Gigolo would sell a few thousand 12-inches and that would be that."
The turning point, however, came when the record was licensed by Spectra Records in Italy, whose DJ Gius also did the remix that was to become an international hit. "I didn't like the remix too much," admits Florian, "but I thought 'OK, if they leave it in Italy it's all right.' Half year later, though, EDM Music in Germany became especially interested in the remix. I don't know what happened, but in the end they got it. They are also the main licensors to other countries. First there was Polydor Germany, who pushed it to number 21 in the German charts. We also have the DDC (German dance charts) which is the most important trend-factor for charts and so on, and it was 10 weeks at number one. Then there came the Netherlands, Belgium, USA, England.
I never expected anything like that, so it was something like a positive accident. "England was the last country to license it, I don't know why. At first, the publishers and the label that's licensing it were asking labels in England, and nobody wanted it. Finally Ministry of Sound bought it through the connection of the publishing company. I hear that the guy from the publishing firm, Universal met many other labels at the Popkomm conference afterwards, and they all were totally angry that they didn't take it. But first there was Italy, then the others, like Belgium, the Netherlands, France.
It started in Germany in the small clubs, and then it was in the DJ pool, and became popular there, and then it went in the charts. In England then, before the record came out, it was already on number 63 in the charts over import, because it was a little bit late - don't ask me why, it may be some secret of the business. They wanted to wait for the Ibiza season to end, because then is a good point or something. "To be really successful in the charts, a record has to be licensed to a country, because there the people know what to do. You can't do it from another country. If you're Sony or Warners, you have your own arm in every country, but smaller labels don't, and you can't do it over imports, not selling so many records. You have to know the structures." "It's hard to see how it works. For example, in Mexico they said 'Why Kerncraft 400? It's 2000 now!' so they changed the name of the song to 'Kerncraft 2000', and I only noticed it when it was already too late.
There are so many steps that you can't know what's going on in every other part of the world. Or, for another example, Ministry didn't put the original version on the vinyl. That makes me angry because I think even if the original was jazz music or something, it should also be on the vinyl, because the remix is always from an original, and people have to know the story. But it's always too late - when you hear it, it's already done, and then you can do nothing. So I hope next time many things will go better ways."
Remix, Remodel, Rip-off? As well as adding the stereo delay to the vocals, the remixers' main contribution was to change the drum sounds and pattern: "It's different drums, more punchy, more straight. The original is more lo-fi. What they did is that they kept the percussion, the percussion is the same, but they put a different bass drum and put a hi-hat on top of it, and blew up the melody a little bit. They put a fatter bass drum and a little bit more straight hi-hat. The filter over the drums at the end is part of the remix too. I think they wouldn't play the original on the radio because there have to be certain standards of production."
Florian sent the remixers the individual elements of the mix to work on, which gave them the freedom to mix it into a more commercial style, but which has also caused him some grief since: "When they did the remix it was just in the beginning. They did it mainly for their own release in italy. So they didn't get much money. Maybe that's why they spread the 'live chant mix' bootleg illegaly. We haven't got one pence off those guys yet. That's a sad story. When I sent them the individual parts, they also gave them away to Canada. We don't know it for sure, but there's an Italian connection in Canada, so we guess they gave the parts to them to do another bootleg. 'Zombie Station' it's called. But I think that's normal, you know, it's just the first time I've experienced it. "I never spoke to the remixers in my life. I wanted to, but there were really so many things happening and you don't want to deal any more with persons who rip you off.
There's also another thing in England called 'Domination' - it's nothing to do with the original, it's a bootleg, but it's just the same thing with a stupid voice over it. I'm not so happy with that. Of course, many people try to use the same tone or something, but I have the good luck that the melody is so strong that you can't - I can't do a better melody myself! The interesting thing with the song is that the melody's so strong and that it's the main thing. There's nothing else. It's a little bit minimalistic."
Into The Nuclear Age The success of 'Kerncraft 400' means that Florian is having to think about a follow-up single, as well as publicising his album Leichenschmaus ("It means 'funeral meal' but it's got a double meaning: it could also be eating a dead body. It's only funny in German. I didn't think so much about big international success!"). "So many people like the song, and they expect something that's equally good, the same thing," he acknowledges. "But if it's not so popular in England, if it reaches position 40 or something, I won't be depressed, because I was not planning to do a top 10 hit, so I was very surprised. So the main thing is that I concentrate on what I like. I can't work too much on other peoples' expectations."
A Licence To Print Money?
The complex licensing arrangements surrounding 'Kerncraft 400', not to mention the flourishing trade in bootlegs, have made Florian Senfter determined to forge more direct links with the record-buying public in future. "When I sell a record in Britain, for example, I don't know how much I get. It's maybe around three pence - about 10 German pfennigs, so that's around three pence. It's nothing, because it goes through three labels. That's about one percent of the price. It costs maybe four pounds or something, the single, and it's one percent. I was wondering where the other 99 percent goes, so I thought 'OK, I'll do things by myself.' There's no contract where I have to do my merchandising with a certain company or something. I just spend the day organising it how I want it to be, not how somebody else thinks it should work. I will pay more attention when signing contracts in the future! "At first I thought about it because there were no T-shirts, so I ordered some T-shirts, and I thought this may be good, because people want them, and I can sell them directly through the web site. I can't sell so many things because of the contracts I have, but we sell for example the album, which is only licensed in Germany, so a lot of people who are interested can get the album directly. The album is on Gigolo Records, which it's more direct, connected to me. I want to know what's going on. If you're on a small independent label like Gigolo you can trust their word - you know them personally, you say something and it's taken seriously. With much bigger labels it's more complex. Anyway, it´s always important to give the contract to a lawyer."
John Starlight Gear
• Akai MPC2000XL percussion sampler. "I do nearly everything with the MPC. Sequencing, building songs, sampling. I used to use the PC for master recording and putting some plug-ins over it. Now I play the sequence from the MPC and record tracks seperately into the PC so that I can do different mixes, even if it's a while after I recorded it."
• Alesis Quadraverb multi-effects.
• Allen & Heath GS1 mixer.
• Big Briar Moogerfooger filter.
• Digitech Studio Quad multi-effects.
• Doepfer MS404 analogue synth.
• Dynaudio Acoustics monitors.
• Elektron SidStation synth (x2). "I've got a second one now. I've got two SidStations because it's only mono, and if you put one to the left and the other to the right and use slightly different sounds..."
• EMU E5000 Ultra sampler.
• Fostex compressor.
• Gerd Schulze Compact Phasing A.
• Lexicon MPX500 multi-effects.
• Jomox XBase 09 drum machine.
• MAM VF11 vocoder.
• Marshall 9000 preamp.
• Oberheim OB8 analogue synth. "I had a Waldorf Microwave XT, but I removed it a year ago. I made many things with that, but I don't like it any more. I bought an Oberheim OB8, and I think I will make it my main synth. It's more charming, more fat - it's analogue. Many times I've said 'Yeah, I don't care, analogue, digital, it's a fetish thing,' but I heard the OB8 and it's fat, and you can use nearly every sound. When I used the Waldorf Microwave you had to screw around for hours, and it's still not the thing I want. And the OB8's more '80s!"
• Roland TR808 drum machine. "I don't have the sync interface, so now I do many things with the 808 by putting it through a valve compressor and then sampling it."
• Sherman Filterbank. "In the end when I used the Microwave I put it through the Sherman Filterbank, because you get a little bit more dirt, it's very clean. I have three filters, I'm a filter freak. And for example, the 808, not having the real physical sounds to modify a little bit I put it through the mixer, and then I put a little bit through the Sherman, and then I put it back with a short reverb on it, and I can get my own character."
• SND Filterbank.
• TC M1 multi-effects.
• TL Audio VP5051 voice channel