INTERVIEW to DAVE SCHMIDT (SULA BASSANA) (ZONE SIX) (ELECTRIC MOON), (KRAUTZONE), (INTERKOSMOS) (SULATRON RECORDS) (ex-LIQUID VISIONS) (ex-SOLARIS) (ex-TWILIGHT NETWROK) (ex- WELTRAUMSTAUNEN)
DenpaFuzz: It’s been more than 20 years since ZONE SIX was born, making it one of the most influential groups in the contemporary scene of psychedelic space improvisation and kraut-rock. Firstly, how has Zone Six changed since 1997?
Dave: So much! I don’t know if I played in another band, that changes musicians so often, hahahaha. The current line-up is exactly the Electric Moon team, but next gig we add a friend on 2nd guitar, Manuel Wohlrab, who also played a concert with us in early 2019. Due to the fact I founded the group and take control about everything, the style has not changed, but the sound always depends on the musicians who are involved in a recording or liveconcert.
DenpaFuzz: How would you define Zone Six to someone who has never heard the group?
Dave: Uh, difficult. Everyone listens to music in a different way, so, it’s hard to tell. But it’s always experimental psychedelic trancerock.
We meet and do spontaneous composings in realtime. Sometimes we can remember it and can re-produce it live, like Song For Richie. But most time we play only for the moment
DenpaFuzz: You guys have various projects such as Electric Moon, Zone Six, Krautzone, Interkosmos… am I forgetting any? How do you maintain all of the projects while still running Sulatron Records? Are all of the groups still together or are any of them inactive now?
Dave:Interkosmos is in a hiatus since the last gig in 2010. But I hope Sergio, Bernhard (Pablo Carneval) and me will meet again, for new recordings or a live concert. Krautzone seems to be a one off project, or two off, hahahhaa. We met 2 times for recordings. So, only Zone Six and Electric Moon are playing live at the moment.
DenpaFuzz: How do you make Zone Six songs? At the time of compositions, do you create the songs do you work with Lulu and Rainer? In the case that it’s only you, do you decide beforehand which song you want to use for which group?
Dave: We meet and do spontaneous composings in realtime. Sometimes we can remember it and can re-produce it live, like Song For Richie. But most time we play only for the moment. Later, after recording, I chose tracks and cut them down to normal length (at least not longer than 25 minutes, hahahaha) and we do some overdubs or whatever… I only “wrote” some basslines for Zone Six in the past. That’s it.
DenpaFuzz: As opposed to Electric Moon, where you play the guitar, in Zone Six you’re on the drums and synthesizers. Which instrument do you feel most comfortable with when developing creatively?
Dave: Drums are not easy for me, my knees became unwell and I prefer to play other instruments. That’s also one reason why Pablo is playing drums in Zone Six now, at least live and on the split LP with Arc Of Ascent! So, I’m back on Guitar and keyboards…
But to answer your question: I love to compose on Keyboards and Guitar, and on Bass. 🙂
The styles are mixing and everything is called psychedelic…
DenpaFuzz: ”Kozmik Koon” is the first studio album since 2015, if I remember correctly. Why now? Do you feel like there’s a proper time to resume activity with each group or how is it decided?
Dave: It come as it comes. In the meantime we did a split LP with Arc Of Ascent (2018), which was a studio recording. But not a whole album. Things also take their times… most basics for the new album were recorded in 2015! And 2016. That’s the reason why I played drums on “Kozmik Koon”.
DenpaFuzz: What inspired you to construct the spacial odysseys that we find on ¨Kozmik Koon¨?
Dave: We decided to take these parts of our recordings and I produced the flow of the album.
DenpaFuzz: The album starts with ¨Machinenseele¨, where you explore mostly spacial sounds with some progressive moments and a touch of Kraut. Later you offer two calmer, shorter space-cutting themes such as “Raum” and “Still”, concluding with another long jam that’s more psychedelia and space. Is this a concept album or does each song have their own story? Could you explain the song distribution to better understand the album?
Dave: It’s all about emotions and flow. Not a constructed story. It’s not a concept album. But a typical Zone Six album, with interleaved songs and so a whole trip to enjoy.
DenpaFuzz: With this new album, is it safe to say that Zone Six will make a return in the scene? Is there any tour planned?
Dave: Return? We never were huge in the scene, only hitting stages from time to time, like sonic rebels. 🙂 We have one show planned for 2020 so far (31.01. in Marburg).
So we try to play live a bit less next year. Sorry for that, but our private life suffers too much when we play that often…
DenpaFuzz: What’s your opinion on the Space-Psych scene currently?
Dave: What can I say? The styles are mixing and everything is called psychedelic… is there any REAL Spacerock band outside, like Hawkwind in the first years? I don’t know…
DenpaFuzz: What type of music do you listen to in your spare time? Any favorite contemporary groups? And regarding the classics, what are some favorites?
Dave: A lot of different stuff. Starting with Electronic Music from the 70s (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Jarre, Kitaro etc.), 60s psychedelic like Pink Floyd, Ultimate Spinach, Arzachel, C.A. Quintett just to name a few. Some Wipers, some indan raga music, some other ethnical stuff or fusions, like Atman, Huun Huur Tu with Angelite and the Russian Art Trio, or whatever touches me. I also like some actual groups from the “scene”, like Earthless, Sherpa, Seven That Spells, Sun Dial, Cave and Bitchin Bajas, or the Japanese invasion of Minami Deutsch and Kikagaku Moyo and so on… so many bands/projects, I can’t remember them all, maybe including some very important. 😉
DenpaFuzz: This past spring we saw each other in Freak Valley, where I could finally see you play-which is something I had been wanting. The improvisation with the guys from Arc of Ascent, Bill from Bushfire, and Lulu as ¨Electric Puha¨ was absolutely amazing. It was like living in an authentic gift, a truly wonderful experience. How you were feeling in that moment?
Dave: Great. I was happy to jam with our friend Craig (also from Lamp of the Universe) and his buddies. And Bill is a superlovely guy too, happy he came with us!
DenpaFuzz: Should we be waiting for anything new from any of your other bands? Any new projects unfolding?
Dave: Oh, always! 🙂 My 6-CD Box (and 6-LP Box) is coming soon. This is a huge project which makes me super happy and proud! Also we have a lot in production with Electric Moon. Also new Sula stuff will come in 2020! Ah, and a nice album we (Lulu and me) did with Lex from Seedy Jeezus last year. We just need to add some overdubs.
DenpaFuzz: Will we see you in Spain soon or do I have to go back to Germany to see you? Hahaha
Dave: Come here! 😀 We need more time to finish and produce recordings. So we try to play live a bit less next year. Sorry for that, but our private life suffers too much when we play that often…
DenpaFuzz: Thank you so much for you works and I hope ¨Kozmik Koon¨ is well received by the public. Is there any last thing you would like to say top your fans?
Dave: Thanks so much. The vinyl issue is almost gone now (1 week after releasedate), so I guess people do like it. What to say in this weird world, full of things I can’t understand. I mean politics and the unrespectful treatment of our wonderful planet. I just wanna stay at home and make music. Or going into the woods, which brings joy and peace to me. Don’t like it to be on the road anymore. Doing this for sooo long now.
Traslation: Abigail Simpson