Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto – who perform as hackedepicciotto
- have just released Current, their fourth album of “cinematic
drone” since leaving their native Berlin and traveling
the world as nomads. Both rightfully claim the title of
Living Legend in underground music: Danielle de Picciotto
fronted Space Cowboys, was the co-initiator of the Love
Parade, and collaborated in the Ocean Club with Gudrun Gut.
Her partner, Alexander Hacke, is a founding member and bass
player of Einstürzende Neubauten. The couple, married
since 2006, has been actively involved in the international
avant-garde music scene for over two decades. Danielle specializes
in unusual instruments such as the Hurdy Gurdy, kemenche,
and the auto harp, besides playing the violin and piano;
Alexander plays bass, guitar and drums. Danielle, a published
author, writes most of the lyrics. Alexander Hacke, a throat
singer as well as a traditional rock vocalist, alternately
growls, screeches, whispers, and roars. Together, they create
a unique, otherworldly sound that’s found a devoted
worldwide following. – Jim Testa
Interview by Phill Bruce
Q: Of all the places to record you chose Blackpool in the
HP: We wanted to go somewhere that is not gentrified. To
see how that feels like now a days and how it influences
Q: Blackpool used to be one of the Victorian hotspots with
its piers and the tower, but now it’s run down and
a place for stag parties. In its heyday it had a heart,
so you feel that heart is still beating and if so how?
HP: It definitely still has a strong heartbeat. Most people
we saw were with their families. Only one stag party. We
saw a lot of children and adults taking care of elderly
people in wheel chairs. They were laughing a lot having
fun together. It was really touching. Hardly any i phones,
no hipsters, no businessmen, hardly any noise, hardly any
single people.. It had cheap entertainment on the piers,
but there were mainly fish n chip places and bingo bars.
People seemed to stay at home and entertain themselves in
the hotel lobbies playing cards. We noticed how much calmer
we felt after a week and how friendly people were. How cold
and anonymous our “regular” world felt from
Q: There has been a lot of work gone into ‘The Current’,
your fourth album. Can you explain exactly what “cinematic-drone”
is and why do you choose this as a base for your music?
HP: Our music is influenced by our nomadic life. We gave
up our house in Berlin 10 years ago and have been touring
and traveling ever since. Our compositions mirror the world
we experience and so it is kind of the soundtrack to our
existence. That is why we call it cinematic. Drone is what
we feel it to be – the drone of our souls.
Q: What was it about the Irish Sea that inspired you for
‘Third from the Sun’?
HP: We wanted to record our music close to nature and Blackpool
was perfect for that – it is a coastal town and we
were confronted with the Irish Sea every day. Sadly the
coast is quite polluted and they have warning signs out
most of the time. To experience something like this within
Europe makes very clear how baldy our planet is polluted
and as our environment and Earth are a large topic in our
compositions the title seemed appropriate.
Q: I love the reasoning behind your interpretation of the
classic German poem ‘Loreley’, can you please
tell our readers why you decided to interpret in your own
way that poem and what it inspired you to do?HP: Danielle:
Heinrich Heine meant it as a metaphor: The golden haired
girl in the story is a society corrupted by vanity and romanticism
and because of this obsession all the ships sink. We feel
that our planet is the ship and that we may all sink if
we do not get rid of our greed and vanity.
Q: Has classic literature ever inspired you before and
what do you feel is the importance of classic literature
in today’s society?
HP: We are inspired by literature all the time. One of
the first shows we put together was based on the medieval
novel by Sebastian Brandt “The Ship Of Fools”.
We also performed a show with the Tiger Lillies for almost
2 years based on “ The Mountains Of Madness”
by HP Lovecraft.Q: Danielle, can I please ask you the story
of the ‘Love Parade’ and your part in it? It
meant a lot to me and I was there for one of the other offspring
events in Leeds, UK on Saturday 8th July 2000. It’s
a fond memory for me and I would love to hear more about
the original happenings.
HP: Danielle: Back then it was the end of a decade that
had mainly been a cold war. We were the new generation and
we were sick of the melancholy and darkness. We wanted peace
and happiness and good music. Techno was just appearing
on the horizon and we loved it. It was the beginning of
something new so my back then boyfriend and I decided to
organize a music parade /demonstration for peace, joy and
the distribution of nutrition for all (which can also be
music). We must have touched something magical because so
many people could identify with our ideas …after a
couple of years 1,5 million people were dancing to the music,
the wall had fallen and everything seemed to be going into
a beautiful direction.
Q: You have both been travelling for ten years now, what
life lessons have you learned from your ten years travelling
and what effect has this had on your music?
HP: In a way traveling is metaphor of life. It is a constant
change and movement forwards. Each step counts because it
influences the next one and in the end, your life is a result
of every tiny decision you make. Being nomads made that
very clear. It has changed everything for us. We have become
aware of the world as a whole, seeing it from an eagles
perspective and not from a local personal one. It has made
us aware of how much beauty there is everywhere and the
many amazing people we have experienced in diverse cultures
have proven again how multi faceted the world is and how
wonderful that is. Unhappiness and misery mainly stem from
the greed and the power of a few. Not because people are
bad in general. They are just negligent because of being
depressed and hopeless in many areas because life is so
complicated now a days. After getting rid of most of our
belongings we realized that we do not miss them, the accumulation
of “things” is not what makes us happy. It is
our friends and loved ones. This sounds simple but if everybody
would go back to appreciating nature and our world, taking
care of it in a responsible way, taking more care of themselves
in what they eat, what medicines they take, how much exercise
they do, and putting more emphasis on friends instead of
money our world would change very quickly. We have also
become vegan, stopped drinking and smoking and meditate
regularly. We have tried to banish plastic from our lives,
mainly wear second hand clothes and do not own a car. We
are not hippies or new age dreamers. All of these things
came about in a natural way – we had to live very
healthily because traveling constantly is very exhausting.
And so one thing led to another.
Q: You both have amazing musical backgrounds, both being
a part of very influential bands. Can you both please tell
us one high point and one low point of your musical journey
to this point?
HP: High point: When we found our “sound”.
We had tried a lot of different styles for a couple of years
and with our album “Perseverantia” it suddenly
Low point: we do not dwell on them.
Q: You compliment each other musically with just sheer
perfection, you are also married too. How do you feel that
you compliment each other most as man and wife?
HP: By loving how different we are and sharing a great
sense of humour.
Q: Alexander you are a gentleman like me with an eclectic
taste in music, what would you consider the most obscure
thing that you like and what is it about the music that
HP: I listen to music all the time and discover so many
fascinating oddities that I cannot really only name one.
I dislike reducing myself to the ghettoization of music
styles so I guess that is what I like about the music I
listen to... it is diverse, contradictive and unexpected.