Wolfgang Flür’s ‘Absolut’ Conversation with Laurence Mackin

The Grandfather of Electronic Music jokes around at Metropolis on Friday night

Former Kraftwerk legend Wolfgang Flür enters the Red Bull stage, donning a full black suit and a very Metropolis-esque glittery silver music pin. He looks around the room and pats the plush sofa, commenting on the impressive cosy atmosphere. Irish Times Arts Editor Laurence Mackin agrees, soaking in the rare quiet away from the techno beats and flashing lights.

Mackin begins with the beginning, asking the drummer what led to his invite to the band. At 15, he learned English by translating Beatles songs. That mix of English and Pop kick-started his interest in the new wave of music, and he unabashedly admits money lured him to join Kraftwork.

Perhaps stemming from his Beatles exposure in school, Ringo Starr remains his drum hero to this day. Regarding the amount of work in Kraftwerk, “The drummer has a little less to do. Ask Ringo Starr, maybe,” noting how the band developed melodies without him.

The conversation switches gears from band to solo Flür. Wolfgang’s 2015 album Eloquence contrasts to Kraftwerk in several ways. His own work looks outwards, drawing inspiration from traveling (hence the suitcase album cover) and meeting new people. The “Lush new album” allows him to release his inner romance and technic side. Kraftwerk on the other hand, felt insular and limited inspiration to a recording room.

On a lighter note, Flür wants everyone to know, “Did you know we liked disco techs and girls?” Besides music, the band had hobbies! Bike riding, cinema, the outdoors…indeed, the men in suits weren’t entirely stuck inside the Kling Klang Studio thirty-six hours a day.

The past comes to the future when Laurence picks up on Flürs sly mention of Florian, the Kraftwerk founder that Wolfgang has not spoken to in thirty years. A few weeks ago, in a Dusseldorf brewery, the man bumped into Florian having a pint. The two looked at each other and marveled, “How did we become so fat?!”

Laurence takes that opportunity to end on a good note and thanks Flür, who calmly assures the crowd with steady hands, “Everything is fine.”

 

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