Have you ever met a nazi
Interview with the electronic band "DAF": "Still Post-Nazi Germany"
In 1978 the band "German American Friendship" was founded. The artists about left-wing liberalism and punk, which ended up in the trash.
Anyone who has seen the film “Waste Your Youth” will recognize them again: the band “DAF” Photo: Sabine Raef
An artist house in Berlin-Pankow. DAF are about to be photographed in a studio. Before that, singer Gabi Delgado-López and drummer Robert Görl give interviews. So far, however, only Görl has been there, the plane from Delgado-López arriving from Spain is delayed. So let's start.
taz: Mr. Görl, “This is DAF” is the name of the box that is now appearing and which is intended to summarize your work. What is DAF?
Robert Görl: “This is DAF” are the four canon albums for us. I think many DAF fans also see it that way, that the albums between 1980 and 1982 are the great works. We often call the debut album from 1979 the “0” album, the prelude. Really wind made 1980 "The little ones and the bad", that was still indie, it appeared on Mute Records. Then came the three best-selling albums that we released on Virgin.
A band biography will also appear soon. Do you want to retain sovereignty over DAF history?
Görl: You could say that. The DAF book will also contain a lot of our original sound. The authors Miriam Spies and Rudi Esch each had 18 hours of conversation between the two of us on the dictation machine.
Gabi Delgado-López came to the Düsseldorf scene as a guest worker child from Wuppertal. How was that with you?
Görl: My story is very different. I come from Munich, when I was six I lost my parents. I grew up in an orphanage. As a teenager, I still got myself up. I wanted to study music. It was important to me that you learn the craft from scratch. First I studied classical music at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg, and from 1976 to 1978 I was at the Graz University of Music.
They played in jazz combos.
German American Friendship (DAF) was founded in Düsseldorf in 1978. DAF was one of the first bands to combine the aesthetics of punk with electronic and beat-heavy music. The best-known pieces by the band include “Der Mussolini”, “Kebabträume” and “Verschwende Deine Jugend”.
While in the early phase of DAF, among others, Kurt Dahlke (Fehlfarben, Der Plan) and Chrislo Haas (Liaisons Dangereuses, minus delta t; 1956-2004), the band has been the duo Gabi Delgado-López and Robert Görl since 1981. In four decades of band history, DAF broke up again and again, but - since 2008 - has always found its way back together.
Delgado-López now lives in Spain, Görl in Berlin and Munich.
A CD and LP box with the four DAF albums that were released between 1980 and 1982 ("Die Kleinen und die Böse", "Alles ist gut", "Gold und Liebe", "Forever") will be released these days. .
DAF: "German American Friendship - This is DAF", LP and CD (Greenland / Rough Trade). Live: September 30th, Berlin, October 22nd Freiburg, November 11th Hamburg, December 2nd Vienna
Görl: I went to Graz because you could study there in a much more modern way. There was a state-recognized jazz department, you didn't just have to play Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. Chrislo Haas, with whom I later played at DAF, was already a college friend of mine at the time. We have already jammed together in Augsburg and Graz.
How did you get to Düsseldorf?
Görl: I was also very fond of rock music. Modern rock music was more progressive than jazz. I wanted to start my own band and went to England. In the summer of 1978 I was in London when I was confronted with punk, which was trendy right now. I met a guy who invited me to Düsseldorf. So in the autumn of 1978 I came to Ratinger Hof, where I met Gabi - and that's how DAF was founded. We wanted to go towards punk.
But they sounded completely different from the punk bands.
Görl: Exactly. There were many who wanted to sound like the Sex Pistols. We wanted to do something of our own. Did I study music so that I could play the Sex Pistols? We liked the provocative and audacious aspects of punk. Musically it was too conservative for us.
Gabi Delgado has arrived. “Boys and girls, I've been through an odyssey,” he says and disappears into a cigarette. Then he joins them and is briefed on what is being talked about.
Mr. Delgado-López, was DAF one of the first German post-punk bands?
Gabi Delgado-López: I was a real punk. I only played at lunch break and the punk group Charley’s Girls. Punk was in the tradition of rock ’n’ roll. But we wanted to make music that is not in any tradition - not even in the tradition of electronic bands like Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk. When pieces reminded us of something else, even if they were good, they went in the trash.
From today's perspective, what is the most striking thing in terms of aesthetics that has remained of DAF?
Delgado-López: We moved away from the classic song structure - verse, chorus, A and B part - and made track-oriented music. Today 90 percent of music, at least dance music, is produced according to DAF rules, i.e. all house music. That stayed - and the lyrics.
Keyword texts: Are they closely linked to the historical context of the time or can they, say, an 18-year-old understand today?
Delgado-López: I have always tried to write texts that are not about current politics, that are as timeless as possible. A few texts have been overtaken by history, "Kebab dreams in the walled city" for example due to the fall of the wall.
If a historian looked at DAF, he would probably say it is music that is aesthetically closely linked to post-fascist Germany.
Delgado-López: But we are still in a post-Nazi Germany! The world doesn't change that quickly. We still live in a world that was designed after the Second World War: institutions like the United Nations, including most of the state structures as they are now, with the exception of the Balkan states, for example, are all based on the post-war period.
How can it be explained that folk thinking has now grown stronger in Germany?
Delgado-López: Many classic postulates of left-wing liberalism have been implemented. Homosexuality is okay, even CDU people say that. You can't beat women, that's what CDU people say. All of this is inherent in the system today and is protected by law. Of course, one suspects the rebellious potential on the right-hand side. That is the big qualitative difference to the right movements that there were in the Eighties. Some of these are young, modern poppers today. Some of the top people in the alt-right movement are gay themselves today. That would have been impossible with the British National Front in the 1970s and 1980s. The right has taken over the iconography and vocabulary of the left; they themselves speak of revolution.
DAF have always been an ideology-free band. Did you actually travel politically in your private life?
Delgado-López: I am an extremely political person. But that has nothing to do with art. When I paint a picture, I paint a picture, maybe I just paint a red square. Then I don't have to write “Fight American Imperialism” on the square. I think a lot of my lyrics are political. But not so bluntly political. "The gods are white" is about the supremacy of the white man. Like other songs, it was misinterpreted, but I played along because provocation is a very good way of making things visible.
It at least generates attention.
Delgado-López: Yes. But provocation is also a very classic tool of capitalism for penetrating markets. Langnese works no differently than DAF in the end.
The songs “Der Mussolini” and “Die lustigen Stiefel” were also misinterpreted.
Görl: Even then we were asked: Are you Nazis? We then said: No, we are not Nazis.
Delgado-López: Sometimes we didn't say anything. Or I said “Sieg Heil” because I think that's better than explaining it like a teacher. Our followers have already understood us and so have 90 percent of the criticism. Pop culture is like that. Bonnie and Clyde were killers, now they're pop icons. Or Charles Manson. If something becomes a pop icon like the Nazis - there are Nazis in every third science fiction film - then they can be used as such.
What repertoire did you draw from in your styles?
Delgado-López: We simply occupied, used and appropriated some issues. For example, I really like tribes. But I don't want to belong to a tribe. Because one day I want to be leather gay, another day I want to be a skinhead, and another day I want to go to the opera in a suit. But when I imitate these styles, I try to match all the codes exactly.
In 1978 the Korg MS 20 synthesizer came to Germany. How much does the DAF sound owe to this development?
Görl: You couldn't get synthesizers like the ones used by bands like Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream for less than 100,000 Deutschmarks. We couldn't afford that. When Korg launched this type of popular synthesizer, it was a sensation. The MS-20 only cost 1,200 DM, still money, but nothing compared to before. That gave us a boost.
The beats were extremely pounding with you, were strongly produced. How did that happen?
Görl: This was thanks to our producer Conny Plank.
Delgado-López: He had the idea of sending the Korg out through real amplifiers, basically like guitars or basses. This is how this mixture of what comes out of the synths and the power of rock came about.
You didn't want to sound like others yourself. Where do you see your influence on bands like Rammstein for example?
Delgado-López: At Rammstein this is primarily the text catalog. There is even a piece called “I want”, which is exactly what I've sung before. Our influence goes on EDM, on industrial, on techno and house, electroclash and even on rock theaters like Rammstein. I am proud that we have influenced so many different types of music. Great feeling. As Burroughs once said, "I hope that someone carries these experiments further." Yes, I hope that someone carries on these experiments.
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