Music & clubs

A chat with… Caspar Brötzmann

This week, the cult avant-metal trio Caspar Brötzmann Massaker has reformed for the first time in a decade: "We are back." What happens next?

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The legendary West Berlin-based avant-metal power trio Caspar Brötzmann Massaker is back.

Self-taught, Kreuzberg-born Caspar Brötzmann first played guitar at the age of 14 and has since forged fruitful collaborations with FM Einheit of Einstürzende Neubauten, Page Hamilton of Helmet, Diamanda Galas, and with his father, the famed free jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann.

On June 3, the Massaker attacked the Berghain stage with its first Berlin concert in a decade.

Why did you wait so long to reunite?

It’s a long story, but we always kept in contact. We wrote some new songs and met a year ago professionally, but we only talked about playing again when a promoter from Belgium suggested that we do a show in Brussels. And we did a very wonderful gig there. This is the best constellation of the band ever. Danny [Lommen] is the best drummer that we have ever worked with and, of course, Eduardo Delgado Lopez is the best bass player.

Any new material for the Berlin show?

We have brand-new work, new songs. We have discovered new ways to play our old songs, too. Our last show was in 2000 in Columbia Fritz, but we feel that we have made a great musical leap since then, and that we found new ways to relate to each other on a more professional level. Our fans should be aware that this isn’t a revival show and that we are not back from some recovery phase in our musical lives. We are a ‘gang’ once again. Our playing has become a musical orgy.

What’s the new direction?

For the live shows, we will be playing with two basses, but the guitar playing will be smoother, tied in by diverse and new layers. Musically, we are not heading towards commercial success. We agree that our music is timeless, that we live with our secrets. We’re just delighted to be in the position where we can say to our fans: “WELCOME!”

CBM has managed to resist new technology and electronic sounds to concentrate on pure guitar assault…

It’s true we have resisted electronica. We don’t use laptops or computers. We have continued with the classical idea of the rock trio: our melodies are close to the classics, punk, rock ‘n’ roll and the entire combination of all these roots. We are not interested in using samples because we think it’s about the music that we produce ourselves. In the studio, we pay attention to the importance of sound quality; we work with good mics and stable instruments to create perfection.

So then really, why the split?

During our punk times we enjoyed our unique way of self-discovery. To bring new experiences into this band we needed a break from each other. To continue our idiosyncratic sounds, we had to give more, discover new ways to deal with the music business and bring together new ideas before going out in the world with our stuff. The main basis for this process and us being together is our deep friendship – the spiritual need to get together was always ardent and there for us. We aren’t scared of playing together again. WE ARE BACK. For how long? We don’t know.