Between the constant promotion and excitement surrounding Beborn Beton's new release, "A Worthy Compensation", I don't think there is much I can say in this introduction that will really be new. Being that they are gaining significant reception and steam (including from myself, where you can read my review of their new album here), I'll just let Stefan Netschio, vocalist and lyricist of the band, do the ready of the talking:
This is as standard an introductory line can get, but give us a little introduction to yourselves and Beborn Beton.
Netschio - "Beborn Beton consists of Stefan Tillmann (music, keys, drums), Michael B. Wagner (music, keys) and me, Stefan Netschio (lyrics, vocals). We started the band in 1989 and the line-up has always been the same ever since. We have grown as a band but more than that we have become inseparable friends. We are family. We work together. We party together. And once in a while we make music together."
We are going to cover some history here. Where was it that you first started to play instruments? Did you start with electronic music or classical?
Netschio - "Influenced by my Dad’s love for the Beatles, the Beach Boys and country music. My first instrument was a classical guitar, but soon I got my eyes set on a Flying-V. There probably was a bit of glam rock lurking deep inside of me. I must’ve gotten one glimpse too many of T-Rex and Kiss when I was young. Luckily my old man is very versatile in his beloved styles of music, so at an early age I also got my servings of Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and ELO.
The lazy boy I was, I could play a couple of chords pretty well, but I never made it big on the strings, so when my passion for electronic music kicked in I switched to an Italian monosynth (with a poly string section) that was as big as it was awful sounding. It was a Crumar DS-2. And from there on I never looked back.
About the same time Till had a Korg MS-20 and started tracking his first songs with this fine piece of gear along with a few other synths he borrowed from his schoolmates. He was driven and determined for a boy of his age and tweaked that poor thing ‘til kingdom come. At that time we had not yet made contact."
What exactly influenced you to begin making music? Was it a relative, another band in the scene, or just yourselves?
Netschio - "We were actually hooked on UK-based wave and synthpop bands like A Flock Of Seagulls, New Order, Duran Duran of course and ABC. Later on, it got a bit darker as we favoured the likes of Joy Division, The Cure, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, The Neon Judgement and Front242 to name a few.
So it was the music of these bands that got us into forming a band of our own."
How did you meet with each other? Beborn Beton has been around a while, so it would be interesting to hear when you guys first started to meet up.
Netschio - "Till and I met on our way to school and started chatting about our identical musical influences and what we would like to achieve musically in the future. Back then our financial resources were limited, so we made a pact that as soon as we would have the funds to acquire the needed equipment we would start a band and live our musical dreams together. Years later, in the summer of 1988 Till and Michael got to know each other on a holiday and they had the same talks. So they met on a regular basis to fuse their synth arsenals and started writing first songs. A bit later Till contacted me again, as promised and introduced me to Michael at a friend’s birthday party and after some warming up the three of us clicked and that was the hour of birth of Beborn Beton with me taking over the role of the singer and lyricist."
How long did it take for you guys to get Beborn Beton started? Did it take a while or did you guys just get to it as soon as you could?
Netschio - "As soon as the three of us got together we synchronized our creative juices and songs came up real fast. It was a stroke of luck that Michael had a friend who let us borrow his Fostex 4-track tape recorder, which enabled us to pen down our musical ideas at a pretty decent quality for that time. In these days there was a tape scene going on in Europe and a lot of bands from Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Belgium handed their material to people that ran electronic music tape labels. So there were a lot of tape compilations circulating. Some of the featured bands among them included Wolfsheim, De/Vision, Plastic Noise Experience, Serpents and ourselves stood the test of time and managed to gather quite a following."
Now, as far as I know, the first thing you put out was "Pyre". However, was there anything you guys created before that? And is it available anywhere?
Netschio - "'Pyre' was our first self-distributed tape, but of course there was a lot of material recorded along the way that we did not release so far. These gems still lie dormant in our vault on Digital Audio Tape waiting to be recovered. Who knows, maybe in the future some of these recordings may surface as 'historical documents' of our past."
And how did Beborn Beton succeed at first? Was it bumpy or was it all a positive experience in the beginning?
Netschio - "Although back then, with the internet in its infancy, it was much more difficult to get your music known by a broader audience than it is now, the overall response to our early material was very promising, so we knew we were onto something good and kept going.
We released a couple of more tapes and we managed to get the attention of a certain Mr. Carlos Peron, who agreed to work with us on a couple of tracks, resulting in our first experiences in some of the world’s best equipped high tech studios.
Soon after the release of 'Pyre' we had our first show at a festival in the electronic music stronghold Düsseldorf. And our first live performance started with a bang as we managed to blow the fuse off the venue’s power amplification system. That incident took a bit away from our initial stage fright. We had nothing more to lose, so we tried to kick ass as best as we could. And we succeeded by doing so. Well, that has been our mantra ever since and it worked every time."
After your 1999 album, things went quiet. For over fifteen years, fans have been wondering what happened. Why did you step away from creating music? Were there personal reasons? Was it lack of creativity?
Netschio - "First of all, we never stepped away from creating music. We just didn’t release anything new. In 1999 we did our first shows in the US, 10 years to the day after our first stage appearance ever. We did two shows in New York City and one in Washington DC. That was a very exciting trip for us and the responses from the crowds were unexpected.
After that, we engaged in putting together the remix album 'Rückkehr zum Eisplaneten', that featured all our previously released songs in German tongue remixed by our friends and internationally known artists, such as Apoptygma Berzerk, Camouflage, Covenant, Haujobb, Francis Preve and many more. This album was released in 2000.
In the meantime we concentrated on remixing other artists (e.g. Funker Vogt, Camouflage, Claire Voyant, Apoptygma Berzerk, Wolfsheim…) and we continuously played shows all over Europe, for example Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, the Netherlands and of course Germany.
When we realized that we had a huge club hit in the US we thought that our songs should be domestically available there. So we worked on getting a record deal with an American label. The result was the 2CD best of album 'Tales From Another World' that was released on WTII Records. To promote this album we toured the US opening for Apoptygma Berzerk on their “Harmonizer” tour. We had a blast to say the least. Four weeks of fun, Jack and rock’n roll. Our friends from Norway treated us like friends as we heated up the crowds for them every night. Well, they could have done it without us, for sure, but the spirit among all musicians and crew was without compare.
Pumped with new energy and our heads filled with experiences from the tour we instantly started writing new songs. But we didn’t just want to write a good album, we wanted it to be as perfect as possible. So we took all the time we needed. We didn’t just make up stories to turn them into songs. We lived our lives and a lot of those little stories and big and tragic events that eventually happen along the way were turned into authentic and true-to-the-bone songs. In addition to a top notch songwriting we wanted to work with the perfect partner to produce the tracks as we saw fit. We found a soulmate in producer Olaf Wollschläger. So whenever we felt ready to approach the next song, we got into the studio and tweaked the shit out of the tracks. Since this process took several years we needed to revisit the earlier tracks to freshen them up a bit and tune the sound more into the direction of the songs we finished last. So the years passed.
Until finally we felt like we reached the ultimate goal. The best album we had ever done, the best album we will probably ever make."
However, now that's all changed. You have a new album coming out soon. What's the title of the album?
Netschio - "The album is called 'A Worthy Compensation' and it will be released on September 4.
We have been searching for an album title throughout the years but we were never fully satisfied until we finished recording the last song for the album. The title for the track 'A Worthy Compensation' was conceived last minute when we wrote the final bridges for the song and it contained the lines '…it’s got to be forever / we’re headed the same way / a worthy compensation for the price we had to pay…'. As soon as we were done recording we just knew this would make for a perfect title for the whole album.
From our point of view this is one of the best tracks we have ever written.
On one hand we feel that after all these years of continuous work, of revisiting track by track several times, of remixing a couple of the songs… We rewarded ourselves with an opus of grandeur. This album actually is a worthy compensation to us. At this moment we feel that it cannot get any better than this. Well, we will see about that once we get started writing the next album.
On the other hand it certainly is a fitting name for an album that took such a long time to make and that was highly anticipated by our fans for ages now. So we hope that it is also a worthy compensation to them for all these years of patience."
When you went to write out the music for the album, were you going for a sound that fans would be familiar with? Or were you going for some sort of new synthpop sound to coincide with a new age of Beborn Beton?
Netschio - "When we start writing an album we focus on the lyrics, the chord progressions and the melodies. We want to tell meaningful stories and to some extent we have a certain sound in mind. But as it turned out that this album would be a long-term project, we realized, that apart from the initial melodic content, the final sound would be determined later in the production process. Our likings in sound may have changed over the years, but the basic character of the songs have been laid out in an early stage.
That said, we did not want to create a sound that would please our audience. We just did what felt just right. We put all our heart and soul into the songs and since we spend our youth in the 80s we might have a way to go about things that reflects a certain aesthetic.
As we sat together with Olaf to shape the sound of the album he just knew where we were coming form and where we were headed. We worked on the tracks with a fresh and contemporary approach. But we also wanted to retain that retro vibe without coming across too oldschool. We like to describe the album’s sound as 'timeless'."
And how did you go about writing the lyrics for "A Worthy Compensation"? Did you adhere to one single theme or another?
Netschio - "The lyrics to the songs reflect the happenings in our lives in the last 15 years. Be it relationship break-ups, joyful experiences on tour, the passing of a beloved parent, the feeling of alienation, the need to seize the moment, new hopes and a rediscovered love and happiness. It’s all there. You can’t force or plan these stories. They just happen to you. That’s one reason why it took us so long to finish the album. We had to live the songs. We always want to write about something that moves us, something that touches our hearts. And this time we took it a step further and made it very personal. As painful as it may seem, it is also very cleansing and comforting when you can listen to your songs over and over again and you still can’t hold back the tears."
With your return, you decided to release the new album via Dependent Records. Why did you choose this label?
Netschio - "We did not approach any label until the album was finished and mastered. We wanted to make the album just the way we wanted it to be. Without any interference or word from any record company. So once we were done we got in contact with several labels but Dependent just seemed to be the right choice. They made a great offer, they are very nice people that are determined to do a great job and to put out high quality products and they are located in a city nearby where we live."
So far, with some teasers available from Soundcloud and the like, how have fans and the scene in general been responding to your new songs?
Netschio - "Believe it or not, the responses from the fans and the media especially in Germany have been insane. The quality of the album has been widely acknowledged and I have read reviews about it the kind that I have not read for any other band at anytime anywhere else in my life. The hard work that we have put into this album seems to have transcended to a lot of people. And gladly the story of the prophet in his own land has been rewritten.
Beborn Beton albums have never been a quick fix. And although it is probably the most accessible album we have ever made, it may as well take a few listenings to reveal its full potential.
This year we have played a few shows introducing some of the new songs. Sure enough you can’t expect the audience to praise tracks never heard before in the same way they appreciate the classics. But from our point of view from stage… The audience was hungry for the new material, they wanted to embrace every single note and we looked in so many happy faces as we performed the new songs…. Amazing."
Are you worried that fans might not like what you put out after all this time?
Netschio - "After some time away from the limelight it probably feels a bit different when you reenter the stage with a new album. And of course, you can never be sure. But what choice did we have? We did what we needed to do. If that wasn’t enough, it would’ve been time to move on. To do something else. to discontinue Beborn Beton for good. We still have so much energy and potential for something else. It would have been sad, for sure. But that didn’t keep us from staying true to ourselves. We have never felt that good being in a studio than we did with Olaf and it all went too good to go wrong."
Do you have any plans to play live shows or tour in support of the new album?
Netschio - "This year we played the WGT in Leipzig and another big festival in Germany called Blackfield. In addition to that we will be participating in a series of festivals known as the Electronic Transformers Tour where we will play shows in Leipzig again and Erfurt.
In spring next year we want to play another series of shows in Germany and all over Europe and we will definitely play next year’s M’era Luna festival. And, we would love to play a couple of shows in the US as well. There had been offers for a 30 day tour across the states but we figure that we can’t do this many concerts in one go. We don’t want to take off a whole month for touring the states because we have day jobs and wives and kids. How we will go about this is not yet decided. But we love touring America and Canada."
And what's next for Beborn Beton? Will you continue to make music or will you break it off again until passion hits you once more?
Netschio - "Who knows? At the moment we are more energetic than ever and we haven’t told all our stories yet. There is so much more to talk about. We are currently upgrading our studio gear which is a good thing. I wish we could get right down to it and write more songs, but at the moment we are stuck in the promotion loop, doing interviews, making video teasers and a music video to the upcoming single which will be 'Last Day On Earth'. We are also building new devices and are making plans on how to enhance our live shows. So there’s a lot to be done, but with all the positive feedback coming from all sides there definitely is an urge to get back together and make more music."
Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your time and wish you well with "A Worthy Compensation". Cheers!
Netschio - "Thanks for having us. It’s been a pleasure."
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
Share this interview