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Dieter Meier - The Visionary

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:37 am
by Random Tox
(I have recently cleaned among my older and even some earliest data backups I have, because I figured I am missing some documents on my Lan server. I hope this is not something everyone here has already known, but then again, its quite old - enjoy)

ZEBRA looks into the future through the past, and YELLO's past has always been the future.

The approach YELLO had when they first made music is the same philosophy the dance music scene has today. YELLO were one of the first major European dance music acts to break all the rules by using synthesizers and sequencers instead of guitars and drums. These days electronic dance music is considered to be common ground.

"YELLO has a slight advantage," admits Dieter, "because we know the machines so well that, unlike other people, we've never become slaves to the machines. I've always said the new technology is nothing more than the bongos of the twentieth century. We use the technology with no respect to the machines. It's just a means to an end. YELLO are not impressed by technology. It's nothing more than banging on a piece of wood. If we like the sound, we'll use it."

Zebra makes an appropriate title for an album which is very much in keeping with what YELLO is all about. Dieter Meier is quick to point out that a zebra is an unpredictable horse-like animal which no one can ride. "Nobody can sit on a Zebra," he exclaims.

"YELLO are like the wild horses of the world of electronics," cites Dieter. "We are an urban tribe of the twentieth century who uses the sk in of modern technology to make music. Our music is very tribal. We are an urb an tribe. There are a couple of tracks on the album which are very ethnic (ie. Poom Shanka, Fat Cry)."

Although Boris creates music which, on occasion, sounds like film soundtracks on a grandiose scale, Dieter is the visionary who indulges the listener on an audio-visual journey of mystery, irony, double entendre and suspense.

Says Dieter, "In most cases Boris' Soundtracks trigger little scenes fro m movies in my head. It's almost as if the projector is switched on and I see a thousand pictures. That's why a lot of our tracks have a cinematic quality. As a singer songwriter I've never tried to come up with big messages for the world. They're only little observations of the world around me. As a filmmaker this is much more important.

I have no big statements. For me the big statement is how somebody in a certain situation orders a glass of beer. That's the structure that makes the world tick, not just the big gestures. I'm all for the rightness of t he smallest cell of life. When I talk to a lift boy in a hotel in New York, I take as much effort if I talk to philosopher. It makes no difference to me. Whenever I try express these observations in a song, it's details like these that make it all worthwhile."

YELLO have forever been in love with dance music as a cult aesthetic.

"The first music and the last music on this planet will be dance music," professes Dieter. "In the old days people sat around only listening to music. The experience was extremely tedious and boring. Music has always been around for people to move their bodies to the rhythm.

The reason why people spend an entire evening dancing is because it's a desperate attempt to return to their roots, to fulfill something that's missing from their lives. It makes an individual feel as if they are part of the human race. It's like throwing yourself into a rhythm situation for a couple of hours. It's very tribal. People always ask YELLO, `When is dance music going to be over?'. It's not going to be over until the next war replaces it. Only then will there be no need to dance."

When YELLO first dabbled in music they had no other choice but to create their own identity, make their own sound. How did one musician and one visionary from the deep provinces of Switzerland manage to create their own style? Musically speaking, YELLO came from nowhere. Even though they hailed from Switzerland, it's almost as if they came from another planet.

"Switzerland was another planet," laughs Dieter. "We always felt that we didn't belong to this complicated Anglo-American conglomerate of music. Even though we were consuming everything around us, we were like plants without any roots. This is exactly what's happening to continental music at the moment. The first time music from the continent found it's true identity was with the arrival of techno. Before that everything from Continental Europe was nothing but poor imitations of pop and rock'n'roll."

Originality and style. YELLO have sustained both, and in doing so, have somehow managed to come up with their most adventurous sounding album to date. So how have YELLO changed over the years? If there has been a change, has it been a gradual transformation?

"At the beginning our music was more linear," explains Dieter. "In between it was more song orientated. Now it's mixed. Some of the t racks on ZEBRA are sound and rhythm, while others are more song orientated. When you listen to the first 10 seconds of the album you'll be able to tell it's YELLO."

"The basic characteristics are still there. To be original you have to h ave your own style. To have your own style means the doubts and insecurity of your perception is part of your music. There's no such thing as perfection in music. When it's perfect it's boring. It can be very difficult to constantly be innovative, develop and change within the parameters of your style. I don't blame any good writer or painter who has only had two or three good years where his or her work was really interesting. That's plenty. 99% of all artists have never had a good day in their lives."

Prepare yourself for ZEBRA.