Der König tanzt – The state is I
The king is dead? Not so at all: the king dances!
A friend in Copenhagen who has also been mixing the likes of Who Made Who turned me on to a new band from Hamburg called Der König tanzt (= The King dances: name of a belgian film about Louis XIV) that falls somewhere between the Kitsuné kosmos and the DFA domain, with one foot in Manchester’s Hacienda anno 1990.
I was able to reach their major dude and singwriter König Boris and enjoyed a 30minute telecom audience with the current krautland king of kool.
The name of your band is “Der König tanzt”. Your stage name is König Boris (King Boris). Who and what do you rule over? What makes you dance?
I am ruler of my own dazzling empire. I’m a wandering king and wherever I am there’s my realm. The dancing is done on a vulcano, a stomping dance on the fragments of todays confusing highspeed reality.
So are you leading the dance for a generation in lack of utopias, caught in the chaos of here and now?
When the flat disc underneath your feet spins around too fast, you ought to jump.
Louis XIV, the sun king, built the debauchering chateau of Versailles. The french band Phoenix who’s sound shines through in your music, stems from Versailles, also. Do you secretly rent a room on the premises? Do you have a french passport?
The crinkled German passport in my pocket has carried me around a lot, even into the Parisian palaces of pop. My producer Arne Diedrichson used to be Phoenix’ support act during their “United” tour. They liked him so much, that they personally carried his equipment. Pedro Resende from Tahiti 80 did a remix for “Amsterdam” by my other Band Fettes Brot.
So, any other main music inspirations?
I was spoonfed on The Cure. Generation Joy Division, New Order, Gang Of Four, … today I enjoy their heirs The Rapture, Metronomy. Little Dragon, I like, and also Jacques Brel
Another phony frenchman. Wasn’t he Belgian?
Yes, a Belgian, who reforged the french chanson.
Since you are mentioning your other band (Fettes Brot). I have looked at a few of your videos. A gay friend of mine from New York mentioned them to me. My favorite is “Erdbeben” (earthquake) that’s like Benny Hill starring in Rainer Werner Fassbinders “Querelle”. “Schwule Mädchen” (= gay girls) seems to me some kind of electro punk anthem for the abolition of gender boundaries. Do I read that right?
Our drive to write that song was fired by an extreme hostitiliy against gays and females in a Hip Hop scene we felt a belonging to. In our band we always looked at music as the great liberator, as a portal to express ourselves outside of the mainstream niff. To specifically speak for people who are marginalised, the outsiders. If you are not content with the way things are, and you are not able or want to meet expectations, music can be a way out. At least it was for me. So if there are forces around agitating to the opposite, letting off their dull reactionary phantasies, it makes me want to puke and it will not stand un-commented.
Some classic German bands like Fehlfarben (“14 Tage”), D.A.F. (“Der Mussolini”) or todays Deichkind and Kraftklub cultivate quite a bodily conversion of punk, funk or electro. They all share an ultra european angularity, but there is a strong impact of black music to their New Wave-asymmetry. Do you relate to that tradition? And do you locate yourself in some kind of mixed zone between Hip Hop culture and Indie Disco?
I was socialised equally by Punk and Hip Hop. There never was a contradiction to me. I just saw the parallels. The urgency of the delivery fascinated me. The rude and snotty stance of Punk Rock and the flexibilty and butt-kick of Hip Hop.
Do you welcome the Dr. Alban-isation of current US R&B? In other words the re-import of Euro trash disco filtered through todays R&B and Hip Hop music?
I have nothing but the utmost respect for that swedish dentist for being able to subjugate the american R&B scene.
Looking at the images in your video for “Alles dreht sich” I do not see some rennaissance king, but a figure coming out of A Clockwork Orange doing a turn into New Romanticism. Adam Ant in heaven 17, so to speak.
Well observed, and like I said before, we are in the world of pop. As in: Pop art. My reference frame is made up by literature, art, film and music of modernism phasing into post-modernism and head-on. Elvis, Andy Warhol, Rude Boys, Glam Rock, Blade Runner, Rocky 1, Manchester 1990, Ghost Dog, Banksy, This is England, …
Which are your favorite windows to the world?
Blogs. From Hypemachine to Spreeblick. Or to simply leave the house. That’s where you pick up a lot. I’m a wandering king, so I know what I’m talking about.
Who best explained the world to you recently?
Ask me again another time ...
… who best explained the world to you recently? Or who let you down the most trying to?
I find people suspicious, who think they could sum up the world in general. My view on the universe has been shaped by musicians and artists. Someone from their stray corner of the world telling a story, or sharing an individual perspective on life or society, without being didactic, but out of necessity to create art, that’s what impresses me the most.
How do you advise the poor: eat cake, like Marie Antointte suggested, when the bread was out. And: Are we allowed to feel compassion for the rich, or not-so-rich-anymore?
To be poor is shit, no debate. In our sphere you will meet many crybabies, though, that as a form of revolt tie themselves to a waggling birch tree with a gold chain. The majority of them fears only for their sinecures. They protest, but not out of solidarity, but to protect their property.
Which political system do you prefer, then?
The state is I. And I am the state.