Music & clubs

A chat with… Felix Kubin

INTERVIEW. Like Kraftwerk's short-panted son that can't be taught his table manners, Dadaist techno-pop visionary Kubin has been soldering and doddering for decades. He helps close out the Worldtronics at HKW on Sun, Dec 1.

Felix Kubin helps close out the Worldtronics Festival at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Nov 27-Dec 1) on Sunday, December 1.

Like Kraftwerk’s short-panted son that can’t be taught his table manners, Dadaist techno-pop visionary Kubin (née Knoth) has been soldering and doddering for decades (a compilation of his youthful early recordings is entitled The Tetchy Teenage Tapes), passing through the Neue Deutsche Welle with a Fin de Siécle flair while running his own label, Gagarin Records.

And what might you call yourself?

Oh, Sweet Rain.

But rain is a terrible, terrible thing. It causes bacteria. You know what happens when a shoe gets wet. Yeah.

It’s not acidic anymore. You know my father made a surgery, uh, insurgence – what’s it called? When you investigate, yeah.

He was a murderer.

No. He investigated.

He was a CSI, like Quincy.

Quincy? Jaws?

No, Quincy. Jack Klugman. What do Germans call Quincy? It’s a very popular show among the Germans. It’s about a medical examiner.

I grew up with German culture, I don’t know Quincy. I just know MV St. Michael or something like that.

That’s probably Quincy.

No, that’s Katzenchrist. That’s a cat that is really boring. My father made some investigation about the acid rain, in the 1980s.

Acid rain. It was quite trendy.

They had to make a lot of investigations of the ground to find out what the reason could be. And they actually never really found out. Because it was not just pollution. Disease maybe, also. And pollution. Maybe. Mixed.

Maybe it was a hangover from the 1960s: the bad acid coming from the sky.

You look like a hangover from the 1960s.

No, look at this haircut. I would be considered a square back then. Or a British racist depending on your style.

Oh, but a British racist with very stylish glasses.

Oh, shucks. Gee. Tee hee. Felix Kubin, there are other worlds out there, right?

Well, yeah, definitely. Behind the curtain.

Which curtain? As someone involved in music, your decorative ability must be pretty intense.

Heavy, rubber curtains. They close them and when you try to move them ahead they are very sticky, and they are just sliding on the ground and just giving you a lot of resistance. Resistance is a lot of my nature. Not resistance against authority; I really like to be dominated, by guys like you, for example, with these kind of capitalist faces and so on. But no, it’s against bad culture and boring thoughts and formulas of aesthetics and behavior, views on curtains for example – you understand. I’ve been trying to resist, and I’ve been criticised for this for a long time, but now I’m the winner.

What’s the prize?

Oh beauty, Just inner, shining beauty.

But only Germans appreciate your beauty.

You know, I think it’s the other way round. Because I’m so German, they know me better outside of Germany. It’s just recently that more people in Germany are aware of what I’m doing, but most of the time I just play concerts or I get responses from Europe, and America: South and North.

Do they view you like Angela Merkel, like the typical German?

Yes, maybe. I don’t know why. But maybe yes.

Are you interested in pursuing a political future?

Maybe, yeah. I could pursue you. [Laughs]

Politically, you mean?

No, I wouldn’t do that. I’m very political in general, but not in the parliamentary sense.

You’re against democracy?

Yeah, actually in my heart I’m a monarchist, to be honest. And yeah, I’m the king, of course. But I’m also the one who suffers from the king. It’s like what Sigmund Freud called the “Es”.

Wait, the “ass?” The Id?

Yeah, the Id. So, I’m suffering a lot for myself.

You’re kinda like the king’s id, like Ludwig II’s?

Absolutely, yeah. And lonely, and lost, and on the edge of sometimes losing my mind. But I put it together very well. I’m very good at putting my mind back.

Back where?

On the shelf.

Worldtronics Zeitkratzer: Electronic Archeology, Felix Kubin and Mitch & Mitch Sun, Dec 1, 20:00 | Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, Tiergarten, S+U-Bhf Hauptbahnhof

Originally published in issue #121, November 2013.