TimeLord Michalis: First of all, let’s start telling us about the feedback you are getting so far from the journalists/radio producers, etc of the new Vibravoid album “Zeitgeist Generator”.
Dr. Koch: I think I can say the feedback is really good. Somehow it was much easier to get media support some years ago due to the simple fact that we had definitive release dates which are almost impossible to maintain because of the massive delays in vinyl productions. But I am far from complaining, we do not make music for the journalists but for the people who like the music and it is by far much more important what these people think of our albums. Anyway, the feedback is enthusiastic all over, it seems everyone really digs the album.
“Zeitgeist Generator is a mirror and a process”
TLM: Yes, I know that, but since the CD version of the album is not out yet, that’s why I asked about journalists/radio producers’ feedback. Soon we can discuss people’s aspects. Anyway… I believe that “Zeitgeist Generator” is a concept album. Most of the lyrics are quite pessimistic. The antithesis is very obvious. The music is uplifting, psychedelic, and extremely dance-a-delic but the lyrics are so depressing. Please, explain to us the whole concept of the album.
Dr. Koch: I can´t say if the lyrics are actually depressive, they just reflect daily life. If life is depressing, so the lyrics are most probably, too. We live in really weird times compared to the maybe last 30 years which were weird but in a much better way. I think psychedelic music always had this certain edge because it is basically not about escapism but reality. Even Flower Power was not about dreaming to live in a better world, Flower Power was about fighting to make this world a better place, just hence the word Power. My spiritual mentor and advisor Guru Sky Sunlight Saxon explained all about Flower Power to me, he still talks to me through the music and the word has to be spread. That´s what the Zeitgeist Generator is doing. Zeitgeist Generator is a mirror and a process. It started with the song “Black Corona Death Mantra” last year – can it be that it is still the one and only song existing that was released around the killing of George Floyd and the outbreak of Corona? Isn´t it weird that the complete music scene did not react to these happenings? Where are the songs and albums that deal with the current times? Where are the statements by artists who want to comment on these things from their point of view? Some clever guys just added something to their album title but that´s it – there is absolutely no content. Zeitgeist Generator is all about this – the nothingness and emptiness of our times. There is no art, there is no progress, there are no thoughts, there is just nothing except a truckload full of shit.
TLM: How does it feel for an artist/a musician to have to wait almost over 12 months to be able to see his work to be released in a physical format?
Dr. Koch: Well, I think this is really annoying. As an artist, you spend so much effort in doing something that is meant to be contemporary as it should reflect the “now and here”. It is really annoying to see these songs being released so late that they almost sound retrospective instead of predictive. But as I said the most annoying factor is the impossibility to make a proper promotion and it always feels like all the effort just eludes its own chances. But if that´s the way it has to be, it is OK. It may sound weird but this can feed the creativity because there are automatically new challenges, you can embrace these or not – that´s up to the individual. We always had our own way to do things and this way was always against the odds. I think we are used to it and so it does not matter too much, we just do what we do and we will see what happens. It is all just one big experiment and we don´t know where it will lead us to… and in the end we don´t care at all, that´s the best we can do because it is just one big plastic hassle.
Psychedelic and Kraut stuff was cool when it was underground and totally dominated by passion instead of hipness
TLM: Vibravoid, for the last 30 years, kept the flame of the Underground pretty much Alive! And I’m not referring only to Psychedelia!
The 90s and the 00s were literally “dead years” for the Vinyl industry. But, Vibravoid, stayed tied to their initial plan. Vinyl Records! In a period where almost no one was buying vinyl, you kept on releasing your Albums, Singles, EPs on vinyl format (on black, colored, multi-colored, mixed-colored) accompanied with high-quality artwork introducing clever psych gimmicks (Picture disc postcard, kinetic op art vinyl, etc) that took the whole triptych “music-vinyl-artwork” to another high level of Psychedelic Art. Your comments, please.
Dr. Koch: Yes, it always felt adequate to do these things, and honestly it was extremely cool because it was very much true underground some 20 or 30 years ago. The whole vinyl thing was something completely else. It was meant to be made for people who think in the same way and may cherish the releases like treasures. Albums that really have a true meaning for these people. As well it was like a means of communication for a certain community because you had your “own” media and people. So we made groovy editions for people who love psychedelia as much as we do. It was much easier to find fans for the music because the people looked for these things and were not overfed by mass production. The community was small but all enthusiasts – that´s something that really helps to make better music and art because it is all about attitude. I think that´s why we made all these vinyl things because it was a part of our attitude… I really loved vinyl records since I am a kid, so it was only natural to make vinyl records. How could we know when we started where it will take us to and in 30 years it will be mega trendy to play psychedelic music and release vinyl records. We were just kids and there were a lot of things we did not think about because it never looked like it could happen. When you consider the fact that for the first time in music history the vinyl album was almost dead, it was an all-new situation, so what we did was done for the first time – but we did not know this at the time. Kraut Rock was, especially in Germany, extremely unpopular in the 1980/90s so drawing ideas from this era was completely uncommon when we started doing this. There were no contemporary bands that we could copy as we made something that was new at the time.
TLM: But, also you were one of the firsts, a few years back, to ring the bell of the doomsday clock of the whole “Vinyl” thing. Somehow, you saw it coming… And here we are now… Is this the end?
Dr. Koch: Yes, it is the end of the world as we know it. I think it is wrong to think that everything will go on forever in the way that we are used to. There are changes all the time, every thing is changing, everything is change. This is very demanding but that´s the way it is and it is also wrong to refuse these changes. Everything has its own time, sometimes the time and place are the right ones, sometimes not – that´s how it is and we will not change this. I think the trick is to be as many times as possible at the right place and the right time. That´s the “underground thing”, you know. As long as something is underground it is automatically cool because it is about passion, as soon as it becomes mainstream it becomes automatically uncool and shit. The mainstream has absolutely nothing that is cool as it is only about making money, so it has to feed itself by exploiting the underground. That´s exactly what happened with vinyl. The mainstream music became so lame, boring, and predictive that a fetish was needed to create new credibility and excitement. Think of how many people started to collect vinyl records maybe 5 years ago and actually think they created something new. It is so weird, I know first hand because we have been one of the very few vinyl releasing psychedelic and Kraut bands – in terms of vinyl the only one – some 25 years ago. We really worked hard to get our albums in the few shops still selling vinyl. I collected psychedelic and Kraut records from the street´s dump as there was absolutely no interest in this music – but today everyone is a super expert of Psychedelia, Kraut and vinyl records and wants to tell me about the things that I have done while they illegally downloaded Metallica albums as crappy MP3. How much fucked up can it be? Most people buy vinyl albums as a fetish and not as music.
I think it is much cooler to be copied than being a copy. That´s what Op Art Rock is being all about, it is about being an original and not just a cheap copy
TLM: I think, it was a couple of years ago, that you decided to stop using the word “Psychedelic” to describe your Neo-Psychedelic music, being disgusted by the so-called New-Psych scene that was over flooded by metal/stoner guys. Tell us about Op-Art music…
Dr. Koch: Somehow that´s the same thing I said about the vinyl records. All this Psychedelic and Kraut stuff was cool when it was underground and totally dominated by passion instead of hipness. About 10 years ago, everything was all of a sudden psychedelic. Heavy Metal magazines that were not known at all for being experts in psychedelic music started to use the word for any sort of music to apply some credibility and excitement to it. At one point we were just bored of all this “psych” and “kraut” and things because they are so overused and meaningless now. We have done all these things decades ago and most of them you can only do once – for example I organized the one and only (as it seems no one else made one and what speaks for the general interest at the time) 30th-anniversary party for the UFO Club – this is what you can only do once, today it would be pointless. We always tried to stay away from the masses and do our own thing, so it was time to do something new. I think we also managed to not repeat on our albums and always release music that is different from the music we made before. We need a challenge, we want to go new ways and always preferred the ways no one has walked on before. I think it is much cooler to be copied than being a copy. That´s what Op Art Rock is being all about, it is about being an original and not just a cheap copy.
TLM: Can you reveal something about the new album (and I’m not referring to Zeitgeist) that is already finished and sent over for vinyl production?
Dr. Koch: The new album “A Sparkle In The Twilight” is finished and as well at the pressing plant, I am just waiting for 6 months now to get a test pressing, so I have no idea when it will be released. I think we will do a CD release first. The album will be different from “Zeitgeist Generator” as it is much more pop music orientated and at some points much more desperate and emotional. I always want to make better albums than the previous ones, so I hope I will succeed with this one, too. Somehow I really like this new album very much because I have never done something like this before and I hope that people will like it, too. The album contains 10 songs, so you may imagine there are no long tracks on it… we will see but I am sure it is a very good album and despite all the pop music it is a very psychedelic album, full of groovy sound effects and catchy hooks.
TLM: There’s a saying here in Greece, “When Man makes plans God laughs”, but I have to ask you about your future musical plans.
Dr. Koch: Oh, I don´t know and I don´t care. I concentrate on doing things and not on talking about them, although there is the need to do it from time to time. I have restored some very old recordings from the 1990s and the idea was to have them released in 2022 for a kind of anniversary as these recordings date back from 1992 to 1997. It will be an expanded edition of “Phasenvoid” that includes the unedited and longer versions of tracks from that album plus a lot of unreleased tracks. We will most probably go for a CD release first but as it is very difficult to foresee the vinyl market it could be that the situation will change next year – for example, I do not expect another new Abba album and that could give some distress to the pressing plants…
TLM: (or a new Adele one, I may add…)
© ® Timemachine Productions
07 December 2021
You can check our review of ZEITGEIST GENERATOR here