This page has been set up to provide inside information to those who want to know more about the music and the character behind Tangerine Dream. Here you will find answers to letters by fans, e-mails and interviews. As each question and answer is given equal importance, the text is not divided into topics.

Answers are given by Edgar directly or by the Administrator of this website.

 
 

# 21 Who was your most faithful audience and which social classes do your fans come from?

 

At the beginning, we played nearly exclusively in the lecture auditoriums of universities, then in larger locations for artistic events and expositions or at special events, where
a group of parrots or birds of paradise making music were required. But in principle, we don’t have any special target groups, and our music is not intended for people with especially good intellectual capacities. Personnally, I disapprove of all ivory towers used for condescending musical doctrines. Whoever fancies our work can be a welcome guest in our very large group of followers – and leave us again at any time he wants.

 
 

# 22 Do you have any direct contact with your fans? Do you know what they really think about TD and what the group means in their daily life?

 

Well, the only personal contact occurs during the various concerts around the globe. Often we spend some time after gigs giving autographs and talking to fans. A lot of fans are quite cool and open-minded. It’s interesting how they’ve managed to make the music an integral part of their life experience. I’ve heard some statements which have given me the impression that all our hard work hasn’t been in vain. It’s a good feeling. Apart from these smaller meetings, I surf the net from time to time. Sometimes I find myself in a very bizarre landscape of opinions and primitive sounding statements. Often, by having a look at the dozens of TD mailing lists, I ask myself how people can make definite statements about something that never happens. Sometimes it might just be a comment out of curiosity to find out about a non-existing truth. Even if the number of possibilities is extremely low, fans find endless things to discuss, often of little or no value. Music is and must remain at the centre of it all, whereas the musician’s personality has to come second or third. But to put things straight, they have the freedom of choice of course, to discuss what they want to discuss and to spend their time doing what they like. Digging deeper into subjects just a little bit to bring a conversation or discussion to a higher level is highly appreciated. Often you’re just like a projection on the wall for others to manifest their emotions against. It’s a strange experience – surfin’ with the aliens.

 
 

# 23 But without fans or an audience, an artist has nothing to reflect his art off of. Do you sometimes feel you need to put your artistic desires aside and give your fans what they are looking for? Do you feel the need to serve your customers?

 

Of course you have to respect those people who are following you and spending their hard earned money on concert tickets or buying your records. It would be totally arrogant to ignore such facts and an artist should be very conscious of the way die hard fans often follow, often for a long time. On the other hand, it would be absolutely dishonest to serve fans one serves customers in a supermarket. In my personal belief, it is not the order of a true artist to give people what they want, but rather, it’s to take them on the journey they have always dreamed about without even knowing about an existing map or ways to reach their destination. If you’re just in it for your own ego or just to satisfy the whims of an audience, it’s certain that you won’t have a long lasting career with lots of good and intelligent fans who love to travel the same route you do.

 
 

# 24 On one of your latest releases, Paradiso, which was composed by you exclusively, what was the most crucial part as far as the orchestration goes?

 

There were both major and minor problems. To name them all here would take half of the FAQ on this Site. After composing most of the stuff on a grand piano and arranging everything on synth modules and plugs, the two hour and eight minute long piece had to be arranged for a 58 piece orchestra, for solo voices, a choir and couple of solo instruments. The conductor I worked with is a pretty experienced guy and generally easy to work with. But one should know that such an orchestra arrangement where synths and acoustic instruments aren’t battling against each other, but are rather melting into one great body of sounds, is a real sensitive experience you have to fight through.

Of course, it is not enough to assign the synth voices to the orchestra instruments, to note double layers or, if necessary, transpose keys, when piano tunes shall be played with a flute. Of course, these basic capacities are requirements that must be fulfilled by all the participants. A problematic point is the use of so-called ornaments, which is part of the playing technique of orchestra instruments, if the ornaments sound constructed, kitschy or spoil the composition of the sound. Compared to the synthetic sound, the dynamic composition of the acoustic sound is very difficult. On the synthesizer, you just use a few buttons in order to change immediately a frequency picture or the volume or you in order to program exactly a crescendo or a filter graph. An orchestra cannot be controlled with buttons used for giving global orders. Besides, in an orchestra, people are always playing ad libitum, that means that, in spite of the conductor and the timing requirements, there is a permanent “human imprecision”. When the orchestra is playing alone, you will hardly notice this imprecision. If the bass note of a sequencer runs parrallelly, all the imprecision is remorselessly uncovered. Much to the disappointment of the poor orchestra musicians who actually play as well as they usually do. Taking all this into account and, in addition, changing the speed of the music 15 times with partly perfect accelerando phases of 2 minutes, are just some examples of problems which could finally be solved.

 
 

# 25 Were these tasks of composition and performance technology in any way similar to the tasks accomplished for the first two parts “INFERNO” and “PURGATORIO”?

 

Thematically, this was the third part, following the first and the second one. Of course, this fact did have an influence on the composition. Transforming a linguistically difficult contents into music was very difficult here. Some fans of our music might have expected rather abstract, atonal or purely electronic sound collages. I created loads of sound layouts before the first concrete notes were put to paper. What we can hear today, was definitely the only thing that worked out – according to my understanding of the material. Many other styles of the average soup kitchen of electronics or of of the orchestra avant-garde would have sounded pseudo modern, hip, anemic and dissonant on purpose here. I threw at least the same amount of composition material into the famous virtual waste paper basket on the desktop. That corresponds more or less to the amount you can finally hear on our two CDs. Concerning realization and performance technology, this project was disproportionally more difficult than the first two parts.

 
 

# 26 There were some really strange comments on the representation of part 2, “PURGATORIO”, in the Royal Festival Hall in London in 2004. Can you give any background information about this concert that might make these comments easier to understand for some fans?

 

It was definitely a very strange premiere of this 2nd part. An invitation for a concert in the RFH was put on our table by a promoter in London in November 2003. We only got the information that is was a special cycle of performances with several representations of different artists specialized in modern music. No further details. We requested if they were interested in the premiere of the 2nd part of the Dante Cycle. The answer was an enthusiastic „Yes“. As we were getting a little bit under time pressure, we charged a good friend, who works with silent movies, with the details of the realization. Just to make a very long story short: We had planned to show a very old silent movie with the inferno contents of Dante as a backdrop in a silent Hollywood movie. In addition, theatrical effects should be used. When we came to the rehearsal in the RFH we couldn’t believe our eyes. A tiny screen fixed over the stage like a kleenex should be used to show the largest part of the visual program! In a big hurry the promoters arranged for a larger screen to be brought (still too small!) and for more light effects. We got another shock when we realized that we were on the Eather Festival, a festival for electronic, ambient, house, drum&bass and DJ performances. All that wouldn’t have been a problem if we had played the ordinary TD music, but it definitely was a problem with Purgatorio and opera songs. Last disaster: We wanted to fill the room with dry ice and fog. When we began, the theatre turned on the air condition at full power. Every small fog flag disappeared immediately in the pipes of the outlet. Even if we had been sitting naked on the stage, we couldn’t have felt more misplaced. A story that nobody knew before and that will certainly not happen again.

 
 

# 27 Sharp tongues say that TD had already worked with tapes and other sound storage media in the seventies. Is live also live when it is not “now” does live remain ?

 

Good advertising slogan. In many old fotos and in films you can see that all three band members are having a very slow Revox tape machine. Of course, you might come to the idea that the music you can hear there comes from the sound storage media. The truth is very simple: At the beginning of the seventies, we had already charged an engineer from Berlin with transforming the motor control unit of the ribbon draft into a variably adjustable speed mechanism. So it became possible to variably duplicate the notes of a sequencer in triplets or other rhythmic parameters with the record and play button of the tape machine. When three synchronizing sequencers generated rhythmic patterns in this way, we had already reached the exact ideas of an earlier polyrhythmic sound landscape. So a tape machine was transformed into an echo machine – this had nothing to do with backup tapes. Today you can reach the same result in five minute’s time with a commercially available software sequencer – provided that you know what you want to produce.

 
 

# 28 What about new technologies? In former times TD was a current topic in professional magazines. The music has stopped in the TD Hightech Laboratories.

 

If you stop shouting out loud and driving certain gazettes crazy with hightech spins, that doesn’t mean that our development has stopped. It’s just the opposite. It should be clear that, given the incredible oversupply in electronic rubbish on CD-ROM, plug ins, official downloads and many well-known or not common hacker sites, there is actually nothing else but sound war. Who puts 500 screws into a sound board, which is mediocre anyway, with a turbo screwdriver in a minute’s time? Brilliant, one of them did it, and he gets the highest award: a million of screws he has to drive into an even more mediocre sound board in ten minutes. Shall we join the others shouting and back up some collaborating referees of this stupid game? Arrogant as we were often imputed to be, I assert that we are doing more interesting things we will put forward soon, for the enjoyment of everybody.

 
 

# 29 What does TD music mean to someone who has composed and produced the largest part of this music himself or together with other musicians?

 

As I am a professed dadaist and surrealist, I think that, in addition to many statements in the corresponding Russian and French manifests, a sentence of Hugo Ball is very pertinent: „What we call Dada, is an extremely serious fool’s game coming from nothing, in which all higher questions are implied…! End of citation. The TD music can’t be defined in a more precise way. I hope that this answer will provoke millions of misunderstandings in order to uncover an everlasting truth.

 
 

# 30 In his book “Digital Gothic” Mr. Paul Stump did not exactly write extremely positive comments on TD. Why has TD never tried to adjust some of the statements – some parts are apparently pure fiction.

 

The writer has the right to give his opinion on a matter. It would really be a very good book if some pages had remained white. Stump is a little sorcerer’s apprentice who is extremely sure of himself when permanently chosing exactly the wrong way of describing things correctly. „TD – the description of a musical trash box with pioneer ambitions.” That would have been at least a witty title. “Digital Gothic” sounds like “candied plums with integrated ring tone in the sound of David Hasselhof’s latest hits.” Stumpy, how could you to do this to us? Just write it again – as a punishment

 
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