Monday, January 18, 2010

Best No. 56, March 1973 - Interview with Klaus

Our good friend Rodolphe just posted the scans of this interview on the Zeuhl and Beyond blog. Here is the approximate English translation, as performed by Babelfish. These translations are usually not accurate, but you can get the gist of what Klaus is saying.

Discussion with Klaus BLASQUIZ,
by Christian LEBRUN

Klaus, it is not a singer, it is a cathedral ?. Thus, in the preceding interview, Christian Decamps qualified Klaus Blasquiz, singer of Magma. Klaus Blasquiz has, indeed, an impressive vocal power and uses it with a great originality. With the beater, Christian Vander, it belongs to Magma since the creation of this French group if discussed. Generally, very the strong personality of Christian Vander contributed to relegate to the second plan the character of Klaus Blasquiz. II was thus only time to give him the word, more especially as after deep changes Magma seems today decided to set out again of more beautiful.

Christian Lebrun: II a question has there which is essential: for this summer, since the festival of Châteauvallon, one has little heard of Magma; where is exactly Magma?

Klaus Blasquiz: The second formula of Magma is extinct in September. One dissolved the Magma group, and at the same moment one reformed the group. I.e. makes some there no was dissolution, but there were nevertheless deep changes. II a new formula of Magma has there, already on the level of the instruments. Second formula, he remains Christian Vander, Jean-Luc Manderlier and me. We are now seven: a battery, low, a guitar, a pianist, an organist and two singers. There is a new phenomenon, it is that several musicians play several instruments. A singer plays of the saxes, me I play of the glockenspiel and of the alto saxophone, the organist plays of the alto saxophone, the pianist plays of the alto saxophone, everyone sings.

CL: Which were the principal reasons for the dissolution of the second formula of Magma?

KB: The principal reason is a problem of spirit. II had there people in Magma who did not have the spirit of Magma, and we are happy - them as much as us - to be to us separate; while being happy to have made the experiment of Magma.

CL: Which is this spirit of Magma?

KB: It is a compound: it there with the musical spirit. For the musical spirit, there were problems. François Cahen (the pianist) liked to play the music of Magma but did not take there the maximum pleasure which a musician can test. Francis Moze (the bass player) took really the pleasure, but it had a need for freedom; that it was another problem of spirit, the problem of the spirit of group. II had there another problem, that of the spirit of work: Francis Moze is estimated free to choose its way of working, whereas we, one estimated that it was necessary that it works on certain plans.

CL: Shouldn't the material problems either have arranged the things?

KB: It is well-known that in France the music is a thing of plane tenth. Front, there are the beaujolais wine, steak fried, Camembert cheese, etc Même the song is not really with a choice place. One is under discussion permanent with people who make classical music, and it is a true disaster in France. One can say that it is the country where there are the most drunkards and the country where there is less music. It is a disaster. It is what that the material is very expensive, because people do not make a musical material where hardly start to make ? of it In addition, how to live without money? How want you to repeat for three months by paying drafts every month because you are obliged to pay a truck, etc At the beginning, one had a providential help of an American, and then this debt of twelve million was deferred on Philips which us made the advance of it. And then once one has the material it is necessary to be able to renew it. Now one will sign at A. &. Mr. in the United States, one perhaps will have possibilities of arrangements; the only solution is to find subterfuges, to make use of the name of Magma to have money ?

CL: Which is the assessment of the rounds of Magma the last year?

KB: People come to the concerts from Magma, everyone can note it, people start to be accustomed to the music of Magma. One played in places in France where there had never been nothing. It was the first time that it occurred something there. It is nevertheless serious to note. The result of the round is very positive; but, on another side, one can realize that it would be necessary to make three times more. In France to obtain 10, it is necessary to make 300. II certain countries have there where you make 10 and you obtain 300. On another side, as for Gong, one cannot remain about it there. If one does not go to the United States or to England, one will turn in round.

CL: On is the properly musical level, how directed the new formula of Magma?

KB: The musicians of the new formula have the general spirit of Magma, then the music will be whole, if ever the music of Magma were not whole front; it is the continuity of the music of Magma, it is the evolution of the spirit. There are two things: it there with the music of group, i.e. the pieces composed by the musicians, and then there is Mekanïk Kommandöh ", with the chorus-singers. One is repeating both.

CL: Let us speak a little about the past, if you want. How did you contact Christian Vander and Magma?

KB: I belonged to a group of blues. Then, for six months, I vegetated after having left it. I then wanted to make a group with Claude Engel. II said to me: I am repeating with a group, thus come to a repetition. It was at Pathé Marconi, with the Bridge of Sevres, and I fell on Vander. I had already met it in a studio die repetition and, obviously, I had fallen like a fly, as all people can do it by seeing Christian, especially that in more it was with lamentable musicians, it was a true disaster, and I saw only him, I heard only him. Good, the chance makes me come with Claude Engel and I re-examine it. Unfortunately there was a singer, it was Zabu. II Laurent Thibault with low had there, Claude Engel with the guitar, Rene Garber with the sax, there was Guy Rene, a saxophonist trumpet player who plays with Hallyday, there was an American pianist. II did without the small changes and, at the end of one month, I found myself singer. Laurent Thibaut found producer bass player, and then the group started. One repeated in various places, in particular in a villa with Saint-Rémy Chevreuse. One worked for nine months the first thirty-three double turns. It was at the end of 1969. Thereafter that was elutriated, one found Teddy Lasry, Richard Rault, François Cahen, Francis Moze and then there was Paco which, was to him also at the origin of the group.

CL: How did you react to this new music? In particular with the fact of singing in kobaïen?

KB: II had there for everyone, even for Christian, a total break with all that could have been made before on the pop music plan. It was a radical change. In the beginning, one had very to make; there was the group to create, the music to be created, the disc to be worked, the formula to be created. There were very varied problems, and gestation was a little slow and a little difficult. I had the feeling to return in a dream. I knew what was Christian, I knew what it had in the belly; I had seen it at his place playing of the piano ? When you see Christian playing of the battery or singing while playing of the piano, if you do not include/understand, you never include/understand anything; there is such a current of energy which passes that you can that to be turned over, in a direction or another ? I worked with the kobaïen with him in the beginning, and thus I did not have of evil to adapt me. The kobaïen, at the beginning, they was onomatopoeias, three or four words of onomatopoeias, and then one said oneself: one will make the complete language, one will make the dictionary as long as one is there. That was done progressively. For one year one has worked really above.

CL: Had you posed yourselves the problem to know so yes or not you must sing in French?

KB: The problem was posed, although right from the start it had been decided to sing in kobaïen. And then, to a given moment, one said: hold, it would be funny to make French things. But one returned from there to the reasoning which one had held with the beginning: there does not have problem, the music kobaïenne is not made for French, it is made only for the kobaïen. Possibly, one thought of doing that or in German, or Russian, or Slavic. But, at this moment, why not in English? The language kobaïenne is sometimes hard, sometimes very dry, sometimes very round, very poetic, very Slavic. It was thought that there was no problem on the level of comprehension. People could include/understand, listen to the words very well, even without including/understanding the real, word for word direction. And then, it is not known as that is not done a day.

CL: But isn't it one of the reasons for which some qualified Magma of hermetic?

KB: Hermetic? I am afflicted, on people who listen to pop music, it has of them there really only ten percent which include/understand really English. Personally that makes me a little laugh. There are even people who write on the music and who do not speak English.

CL: Do you remember what ace felt with the first concert of Magma, into 70, with the Theatre of the Music?

KB: I was really with the Skies, and I believe that I was not only. There are many people who had a fantastic surprise. We one was really with the roof of happiness. One was not afraid. One was so sure us, one had prepared our blow so much. One arrived really extremely of that, you see, and there was such an electricity between us and people, it was really fantastic. II had there world, people expected something. And then there was a contact. The groups which passed before us made rock' frankly roll, and there was such a difference of universe between what they heard before and when one arrived ? That did besides on a disproportionate scale compared to the time, that was not passed by again before six months. Maintaining that passes by again itself, one feels that people obtain what they awaited from Magma. They await Magma this species of revival, of new musical birth. II birth did not have there still. Because one says in vain, the rock' roll in the Sixties, did not have birth, that there always was of the continuations. True birth of the music, it did not have there since 1910, since Stravinsky.

CL: For Europe? ?

KB: For Europe. In only one fairy-like bubble, I put Bartok, Stravinsky and Ravel, Debussy. I still do not speak about the contemporaries, because there is a new music which was created, but there is not a new musical ethics. If you prefer, people are not integrated yet as one is integrated into the music of Stravinsky. Or as people were integrated into the music of Made green at the time; all the Italians sang Verdi ? All the Hungarians sang Bartok, Bartok which used Hungarian country topics, and everyone could feel the musical obviousness of Bartok. For us, I think that it is a little the same phenomenon, it would be necessary that people feel the musical obviousness of Magma in Europe. One is currently in a musical bath which does not correspond to us, it is cool water or too hot water, we would need water at our temperature. Water too cold it is Alice Cooper, water too hot it is Stockhausen. It is too. The origin of the music of Stravinsky it is the feeling of the music in Europe. I estimate me that the Russian music, it is the European music. Y does not have other music. II there with the Latin music, remained at a nonadvanced popular stage; there is a Celtic music, which is very beautiful, good, there is somebody who is occupied it is Alan Stivell and it is very well for the principle; but, the gasoline of the music it is the Slavic music, there is only this feeling and when you hear it that pulsates at least as much as the African music.

CL: But finally, by certain sides, and even if that attenuates you continue all the same a tradition resulting from the jazz, blues, rock'n'roll!

KB: II has things there to draw from all. The current musical expression can be done only by listening to all. Even if one does not listen one hears, one bathes inside. One can take the good things of all. There is of Africa in Magma, there is more Africa than of England. II has there of the Afro-American. It is always the folklore, the music first, and Magma wants to be to be a new music first. One would like to be the folk music of Europe. The music is a physiological function, whether it is made it or that it is listened to, like eating, sleeping, to see, breathe, speak. You must do it, if you do not have do not do it you have problems, you have a blocking. Then, there is a rejection of that on another thing: there the plonk has, with puffs out there, the family, certain forms of political militancy. I could note that people, of agreement or not with us and who were militant policies for whom one played, do not like the music, they cannot feel it because they are blocked.

CL: On this subject, you had problems in Bordeaux I believe.

KB: Yes. There was a group of drunkards quia started to re-sift the old saying Magma fascist", they are assembled on scene with kils of red out of plastic and they said to us: drink. One did not want to drink, one was there to make music, one was not content that they stop us. They were not emptied. They understood that one did not deal with them, that one continued, they are descended. And then, i1 had there the Communist League which was there and which took its party to make a event as they say. The event was to prevent us from expressing us. Magma fachos, Magma fachos, one could not play any more. They were fifty and there were seven thousand people.

CL: Which is fascistic Magma the origin of this saying which continues the group since its beginnings?

KB: Until now one did not fight against that. One was what one was. Now, one will fight against that. Because if people do not include/understand what one is one will be obliged to specify it. People do not include/understand anything. Initially, they do not have any direction of humour. For example, they cannot understand that Christian makes a speech. The speech of the first thirty-three double turns, if that resembles Hitler, me I am cleaned! A small man who makes a speech violate that can be only Hitler. It is not Mussolini or another, it is Hitler! Because the large high-speed motorboat, in this moment it is Hitler. You have only to look at the covers of Historia, Thing, etc, Hitler it is the taboo it is the first box which one leaves his brain ? and then a speech that ever saw ? Bon, here are reasons of the misunderstandings at the beginning. Then, then, as we one had fun of that, one does not have of it magnifying glass one to shout Heil Hitler, one had died of laughing to see the connery of people; but one did not think nevertheless that would go up to that point, one did not think that people would come to the concerts to prevent us from playing because supposedly one is fascists. Eh Ben, my old man, one had right there!

CL: On the same topic, there is a reproach that one makes you, and who is less formal and deeper: that to want to restore a European music, vis-a-vis the current preponderance of the musics at base Afro-American, to remind memories of the Wagner style, etc

KB: Yes, but Wagner it is the gasoline of our music. I have stronger feelings with Wagner, Berlioz and all the German opera that with Joe Cocker. However, I like Ray Charles ? Y' does not have a problem one likes the music Afro-American, one played about it, one likes that. But it is not for that one must make our torch of it. II has obvious traces in Magma of them there. But one is neither African nor American. One is it a little now by culture, but one is not it by major feeling, when you go to the United States, you include/understand immediately how you are you. You understand that you have ten percent of what they feel. I would like to see somebody here praising myself to feel it as much as people who like Tamla Motown in the United States. One wants to make music which corresponds to people. People do not live the life of this music. They are not in a black ghetto, they do not live in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. The music, that has a social origin. One cannot make music Afro-American in France by really feeling it. One does not want to prevent people from playing of the music Afro-American, but one wants to show them that they will never manage to be exploited there completely, to be discovered there.

CL: But since the beginnings of the rock'n'roll in Europe, one arrives now at two or three generations accustomed to this sound. You do not think that there can be habituation with long?

KB: Not, they are not accustomed with the sound. You have only to listen to the groups when they play, they play French, and that feels. On the other hand, which is important, since two or three generations, it is that people learn how to play of an instrument, which is important it is the phenomenon of group.

CL: What brought mainly Giorgio Gomelsky to you?

KB: Giorgio Gomelsky, it is the mythical being which everyone hopes for. One awaited Giorgio Gomelsky. It is François Cahen, the pianist, who knew that Giorgio was in Paris. One made a concert for a.J.S. with Reciprocity and one asked him to come. It was just at the time of the second album. The first words which he said it is: Listen, the guys the music of Magma they are fabulous, but you are the kings of the idiots ? because with the music whom you have, for the musicians whom you have, it is necessary absolutely that you do something to make known to you. One made at the time only one concert per month. II made work coppers which played with partitions. II made them work so that they learn all by C ? ur. Giorgio was the first to be really dealt with the production of Magma. And i1 created this famous circuit of Houses of Young people which has enabled to us to really be able to play in front of people. Front, one played very very little in province. This year, one did an utmost of concerts. One is one of the groups to have made the most concerts in France, with the most success. There were the price of the Academy of the disc. And one in spoken forever. Nobody in the press gives an account of the concerts. If people want to know Magma, it is necessary especially that they come to see us on scene. It is very important.


  1. this is a very interesting interview ..but as it is very long the babelfish translation will give you headache...anyway thanks marc.. the french in the end would have made me miss some of the facts klaus states in this interview......

  2. Magma fachos? Klaus vegetated? Good ol' babelfish.

    Interesting comments on aping Hitler, given the recent controversy.


  3. What in the world is "Large high-speed motorboat" a mistranslation of?

  4. The original French was "Parce que la grosse vedette", which was translated into "Because the large high-speed motorboat". Well, a "vedette" is a motor boat. But it can also translate into "star".

  5. to use babelfish on french to english is as satiesfying as to use latin to kobaia...