Austrian duo Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister take a different path from most electronic artists. Seeing themselves as traditionalists, Kruder & Dorfmeister specialize in downtempo and dub remixes; since establishing themselves in the early 90s in the Vienna club scene, they’ve generally avoided the fads of electronic music. With the 16th anniversary of the duo’s label G-Stone this year, Kruder & Dorfmeister have released a new compilation and are touring in support of the anniversary. Their shortened new sets, however, have received mixed feedback.
After a short set at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco, I sat down with Kruder & Dorfmeister and discussed the new developments, as well as some of the silly antics on display on the tour.
Let’s begin with the basics. Your promo photos show you throwing cake at each other. Yet there was none tonight. Why so?
Kruder: Because the problem with the cakes is that they get bad really quickly. So you need to make them, and then you need to throw them within 5 hours. When we did that shoot, the cakes were made over 3 days because we had to do a hundred [shots]. When it began, we started with the fresh cakes, but then as time went on we went to the older cakes, and that’s when they really started to smell.
“As much as I like dubstep and that it’s definitely adding a little thing to modern music, it’s not something that is revolutionary and changing everything.”
Let’s talk about G-Stone, your label. You guys are turning 16 this year. Why is this year so important? Did you guys forget its 15th or something?
Kruder: We actually forgot its 10th. [laughs] But really, in Vienna everything is a bit slower, and 16 is a good age to be. In Vienna, at 16 you can officially smoke, drive motorcycles, and have sex. So 16 is a good age in Vienna.
You seem to emphasize fucking. What’s the importance in that?
Kruder: It’s so contradictive to what we do that we thought it would be funny to add that to the copy. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that, unfortunately. A lot of people don’t understand that we have a funny side to what we do. We don’t take things very seriously. Otherwise we wouldn’t throw cakes at our faces. Still, some people have some problems with the word.
I guess it’s a little obvious, given how you censor the word.
Kruder: Yeah, and people who cannot take the joke, we’re sorry. [laughs]
Speaking of contradictions, watching your set, I saw some new elements in play, including some MCs and a little bit of funk. What brought this about?
Dorfmeister: It’s kind of a natural progression for us, because we’ve been doing a lot of improvised shows for the last 10 years or longer. These sets were not rehearsed at all. The plan was not to have a plan. So it was cool to just go there and jam. This show was completely planned and rehearsed. Everything: the setlist, the way the MCs come in, the visuals, how music is played; this is based on proper work and rehearsal. We were always about doing it as it comes. But if we’re doing shorter shows like the festivals we have done this year, we were always limited with time. We have to be more to the point. We can’t just play DJ for 5 hours or something. So that’s why we did it. And also, we did it to put ourselves into a position where it was interesting for us again.
“… it’s music you can remember, music that hits you. It’s not only based on just hits from a bass drum, or some bass.”
Yeah, it definitely sounds different as a result.
Kruder: You really need to see the full two hours of our usual show. It makes a different program, I think. Tonight, we had to cut it short because all we had was 50 minutes. So we really needed to just step through it. If you see the full two hours, you get an understanding of the world we are in at this moment.
I understand that some of this material is from the G-Stone compilation. Will we see some of tonight’s cuts in a new EP/single/etc.?
Kruder: For us, it’s always been an organic growth. We don’t really plan this sort of thing. We just work at it and hear what comes out. If it’s good, we release it, and if not, we just hide it in the vaults. That’s more or less how we do things. We worked a lot on that show, but we would only release the material there if we were 100% sure that it was good.
Dorfmeister: Before, when we started, we were in opposition to techno, because we did more downtempo stuff. I mean, what I’ve seen this year at the festivals, if I see a techno or techno-based act, I can say we still do that. We do uptempo stuff, for sure, but it’s still organic, and it’s music you can remember, music that hits you. It’s not only based on just hits from a bass drum, or some bass. And that makes a very big difference, I think.
Come to think of it, in relation to that, I’ve seen a very prominent rise, especially in America, of dubstep. What do you make of this progression, and would you implement that into your music?
Kruder: Dubstep is definitely an interesting movement for people to check out. But for us, I think we’re somewhere else in total because we were never about trance or the like. We were about music and the heritage of music and the history of music, and not necessarily the flavor of the month. As much as I like dubstep and that it’s definitely adding a little thing to modern music, it’s not something that is revolutionary and changing everything. So for us, I think we see ourselves as traditional songwriters, but in a modern way.