Plastikstrom is a German duo set up by Jürgen Schips and Matthias Günzler. They were previously involved with a gothic-rock band, but finally moved on with the electro-driven Plastikstrom. It took them years and a break to unleash their official debut album “Beton Gegen Angst”. The work was released in their homeland by Young And Cold Records. I’ve been deeply impressed by the mature production and efficient song writing mixing elements of EBM and dark-electronics. Plastikstrom took me by surprise and I can only encourage you to discover this band. I’d a chat with Jürgen and Matthias.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: You guys were already involved together before you set up Plastikstrom. Tell us a bit more about your previous band Darc Entries and how did you finally come to set up Plastikstrom?
Plasikstrom: Darc Entries was founded in 1992 and was a gothic-rock band. Today you would of course call it a post-punk band. We were both founding members. In addition to punk and gothic-rock, we have always had a preference for electronic music. From the mid-90s, we both started working on purely electronic pieces alongside Darc Entries. This phase was very experimental and only took place in the rehearsal room. After 3 albums and many concerts, Darc Entries disbanded in 2001.
After the end of Darc Entries, the logical step for us was to focus more on electronic music. Since then, Plastikstrom has been our musical focus.
Q: Plastikstrom is already active for quite a long time, but it took you several years to release your official debut album “Beton Gegen Angst”. How did this album finally saw the daylight and tell us a bit more about the content and the sound?
Plastikstrom: Due to family and professional circumstances, we did not have the time to devote ourselves to music permanently and intensively, so Plastikstrom was put on hold for several years. After this we received an inquiry for a sampler contribution for the anniversary of a well-known German underground club. So we started working on new material again and we did some new live shows as well. At a festival gig in Augsburg we met Marcel and Daniel from Young And Cold Records. They offered to release an album on their label.
The album was recorded in the Young And Cold Studio by Daniel Hallhuber. It contains older pieces from the early years of Plastikstrom (“Grosny” and “Mir Egal”), but also completely new songs like “Beton Gegen Angst” or “Tote Stadt”.
About the sound, we have a lot of musical styles that influence us and have shaped our musical life: from punk to dark-wave, electro and minimal. We believe that everything affects our sound somehow and we like it and that’s the way it should be.
Q: I would describe your album as the imaginary offspring between Calva Y Nada (for the dark atmosphere and 90s touch), Liaisons Dangereuses (for the EBM input) and Suicide (for its minimalism)! Does this description fit to your own perception and what can you say about potential sources of inspiration and personal references?
Plastikstrom: As mentioned before, we have always listened to different styles of music and bands, which of course have influenced us since early youth. Comparisons with other bands are difficult for us. But of course Calva Y Nada, Liaisons Dangereuses and Suicide are great bands and are also in our record cabinet. Of course, many Belgian bands are among our favorites too such as Vomito Negro, Neon Judgment or A Split Second… just to name a few.
Q: How do we have to understand the title of your album and what are the lyrics all about? And is there a particular reason all songs are only sung in your Mother tongue (German)?
Plastikstrom: In Darc Entries the lyrics were in English. With Plastikstrom it was clear to sing in German from the start. Firstly, it is easier to express yourself in the Mother tongue. On the other hand, we wanted to form a counterpart to Darc Entries not only in music, but also in the lyrics.
The title “Beton Gegen Angst” can be translated as ‘concrete against fear’. The idea came from a documentary about the construction of private bunkers in the USA. These concrete walls create a feeling of apparent security. But this is also associated with a kind of indifference to topics such as politics, ethics, etc. These walls also exist in the mind. Some songs are about this isolation of people from others. This cold experience can lead to the described effects, which are discussed in “Amok”. Relationship issues also play a role and “Illusionär” is about letting go of the fear when you leave life.
But no, we are of course not pessimists and run grimly through the area all day, so there is also time to write a song about a trip to the mountains, as described in “Wandertag”.
Q: You already released a few clips some years ago now. How do you look back at these experiences and are you planning new videos? What’s the importance and impact of making clips?
Plastikstrom: We made our oldest clip “Wandertag” on a hike in the Austrian mountains with lots of beer in our luggage. We just had fun and no concept. However, we were very happy with the result. Today we are already thinking more in advance. For example, we were able to film “Beton Gegen Angst” in a bunker from the cold war phase. We are also planning to create a video for another song from the album.
Q: Live performances definitely are the best way to reach a wider audience. How do you transpose your songs on stage? What might we expect from further live performances and are there other plans in the pipeline?
Plastikstrom: It is very important for us to perform live. We like it very much, because we can better implement the energy of the songs. Of course, the term live with an electrical act is always a difficult thing. But we don’t play the songs according to fixed structures, so we can always change the songs individually at concerts. We only use hardware on stage. Nothing comes from computer or is playback. So the songs just sound rougher and powerful.
We have some gigs and festivals in Germany this year. And off course we would be very happy if we could also play in Belgium.