Interview with Andreas Ernst aka Randweg

(photography by Mara von Kummer)
Interview with Andreas Ernst aka Randweg

Randweg Equisetales Funken

Album LP Funken001 Out: 22-04-2013 Funken presents berlin based solo clarinet-player and performer Andreas Ernst aka RANDWEG along with the first album EQUISETALES. RANDWEG portrays the theme of a journey that moves (and represents a thread between) while sketching the tiny little things beside the pathway. Following Andreas Ernst’s debuts tracks and cooperations with Ellen Allien on Sool, Der Dritte Raum’s SWING BOP and his live appearances with the electronic act Der Dritte Raum, he presents us nine tracks on EQUISETALES with a Krautrock and Jazz affair - coupled with ethereal sonic environments, and a surprising variety of sounds that come from his clarinet. It could be said that EQUISETALES is carefully sequenced to a narrative structure: beginning with‚ ARMY OF ANTS' a 5/4 time signature track that almost visualises the vitality of formicary and then ending in the mellow wilderness of ‚YOFA.' RANDWEG utilizes little, electronic instruments. Clarinet and the natural resonances of organic materials (usually by way of the clarinet-play or home-made contraption) become his main instruments, and as his live shows often attest to, Andreas Ernst can turn almost the full audience into a woodwind capable of producing beautiful music. Monday, 22nd of April, the debut solo album "Equisetales" by Andreas Ernst aka Randweg on Funken  is out. The new "label for electroacoustic music" of Andreas Krueger, better known as Der Dritte Raum, is based in Berlin. We met Andreas (Ernst) to talk about his album. WPP: Congratulations to your debut album! AE: Thank you, you like it? WPP: Yes, well it´s different to what I expected from the swing bop clarinet player. It´s maybe different to everything I´ve been listening to, though. So tell me the story behind your "Equisetales"? AE: Great, well it all started at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, a few years ago. I was at a BPitch party and it just happened that i was standing next to Ellen (Allien), chatting, drinking, dancing. In the end she said, I will contact you! You can play the clarinet on a track of my next album. I remember how happy I was, and really, a few weeks later i got her mail and she finally released the track "Zauber" on her ALbum SOOL. I played one of the oldest melodies i had in my head. The theme did fit perfectly with her track. WPP: That track is nice, yes. So at the same time you also had a first collaboration with Der Dritte Raum, playing the Clarinet for Swing Bop? AE: Yes, Andreas Krueger is kind of a regular (and former part-owner) of Bar 23, the best bar i know in Berlin. At this time we had no special relation. I´m working there since 7 years, so you know some guests better than others... One evening Andreas was sitting at the bar and I was playing the new "Zauber" master there to give it a try. He listened carefully. I didn´t know that he was working on a Hale Bop remix, i didn´t think of him as Der Dritte Raum at all. But on the same evening he asked me, if i could play the clarinet for him, too. Since then so many things happened, it´s unbelievable. Swing Bop´s been a huge success, we did a lot of live shows together. Suddenly i played the Swing Bop solo on fusion´s Turmbühne... But much more important: Andreas and I started jamming, recording, just for fun. I was working on my own tracks as well and of course he listened to them. He just said: Go on with it! I will start my own label anyway - so make your record, I will release it. WPP: Lucky Guy! AE: Yes! Without looking for it at all, i found a label, a producer and now the record is released! WPP: Let us talk about the music... you mainly use the clarinet on your album - but in a quite unexpected way. How do you work, how do you create your sounds? AE: Well, the clarinet is the only instrument i learned playing back when i was younger. I had lessons for about ten years, but after moving to Berlin I kind of lost my interest in daily playing. My music interests had changed, I bought records nearly every day, discovered the clubs and their music but playing clarinet was kind of boring. I knew that I would need more equipment to create sounds with it, that I actually really like. Back then I was experimenting with a pick up system for clarinets, but that was crap. So I didn´t play that much for a couple of years. It changed when I found that pick up system I use now. Suddenly I could connect to effect units and most important: i could use a real guitar amplifier and found myself in a new universe of sounds that i can create. I fell in love with playing again and started recording. A clarinet player is a melody player. I cannot do long jam sessions with cords alone, I cannot start with a rhythm loop. But I have a lot of melodies in my head. Some stay there over years, others get lost after a while of presence in mind. Those I keep I try to play on the instrument, which is not easy sometimes, as you are free in your head but limited in the fingers. At least me. However,  I started to record these ideas and did the arrangements on the computer. WPP: What is coming next? AE: We (my friend David Baurmann and I) are currently preparing the live set for the record release party (at kater holzig, may 4). David is a great DJ and musician, living in Aachen. He contributed sounds and ideas to the album and we wrote Comico Pera together. During the recording process he´s been my hardest critic! I am really looking forward to get Randweg on stage with him. And there is a new album of Der Dritte Raum coming up. (Yes, we did it again) … and Andreas (Krüger) has even more on his hard drive. WPP: A last Question: your own favorite title regarding playing the clarinet on stage? AE:  uuuh.. Equisetales are nine tracks, let´s say nine different tales. It might depend on my mood. But playing live is something very different anyway. I can only play one clarinet at the time where there are layers of up to eight clarinets on the album. For me the whole journey through a longer set is a kind of physical task. It´s like biking. You need power, fast fingers, a wet tongue, concentration and some fresh air would help, too. But it´s always great to see how people react when someone is really playing live.

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