Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

Alexander 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 UK, why?

HP: We wanted to go somewhere that is not gentrified. To see how that feels like now a days and how it influences our music.

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 a distance.

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 clicked.
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 you like?

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.

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