Test Tube Kid Interview
Starting with E-de-Cologne’s Live at the Sex Shop Patric C. has released a steady and prolific output of tracks on the hard fast & noisy end of the spectrum, most recently as Ec8or and Test Tube Kid.
Interview conducted in July 1995
TTK: Whatever you want to ask, but maybe a bit about things in general.
datacide: Let’s start with your work – the earliest things I know are the records on Monotone. They were already quite speedcore, but also experimental – were those your first records, and how did you conceive this sound?
TTK: Yes, my first record was LIVE AT THE SEX SHOP on Monotone, Monotone 19 I think it was, and if you look at Hardcore, that was at the beginning… The first record I bought was PCP: T-Bone “Fucking” Castro He’s Ruff, He’s Rugged, He’s Full of Shit, and at the time I thought Hardcore would go into a direction of getting noisier and noisier, so it would move away from the usual ideas of Techno that are dominated by grooves etc, not progressing from grooves, but intensifying certain things and including a certain attitude.
datacide: So it was not a development from House to Techno to Hardcore.
TTK: Not at all as far as I’m concerned, I never used to listen to House, nor to Kraftwerk or things like that. I used to listen to Metal, Death Metal and stuff, and somehow I came across this sound through friends, and later I even converted some Death Metal bands to it.
datacide: So how did that work out with Monotone?
TTK: Well, the people who run Monotone, or used to… well, Walker is someone who simply uses the ways of the underground for commercial thinking. He checks out the trends in the underground, milks them, earns money with that, and that’s it; really someone who doesn’t care about the people he uses.
datacide: You never got paid?
TTK: I got the money in the end, but it took a very long time, and what’s really been sold of Monotone records I don’t know; got the money for compilations, everything else went under as the pressing plant got abused as well….
datacide: That era came to an end, and you started producing on several different labels.
TTK: Yes, it wasn’t enough for me and I also realised how bad it is to chain yourself exclusively to just one label; when I saw that my sound attracted different labels, I wanted to connect more – I don’t feel like doing the same things again all the time; like you do a few things on a label, and then realise that you don’t want to be stuck there, like it’s the case with Shockwave a little bit for me now.
datacide: Shockwave, Fischkopf, Napalm and Praxis.
TTK: Some other bits and pieces. And Loop records, and DHR of course.
datacide: Of course – how would you describe your sound – is there such a thing as the E-de-Cologne sound, or is that split up into the different projects?
TTK: I would think you can recognise my approach, the way I make my tracks, but I don’t want that with my next record, you go “ah, new E-de-Cologne”, that it would sound like what I’ve done before, I try to avoid that. Think further.
That’s how the Dutch Gabber market stagnated: You orient yourself towards what’s already there, take this sample and that; then the air is out.
datacide: You used to be described as the Gabber King. How do you see that scene now?
TTK: Well I liked it at the beginning. The first Euromasters, things that were really quite extreme, the records that were made at the beginning, Mokum 2 and things like that; so I used to speak out for Gabba because I thought it would be really a new movement. But what really happened was in fact the same development like in Germany with Hardtrance, that they tried to attract more people to the raves and compromised the sound, so that in the end they had enough people dancing and buying the compilations. That doesn’t help the music. And my position in the whole thing is that, I think, I can make really good Gabba-live-acts, but I’m departing from that a bit, trying to transgress the normal borders with these live shows, and I would not call it Gabba anymore because that’s run down and discredited. Old Gabber records like Euromasters’ Alles Naar de Klote and things like that, that’s Gabber and brilliant and my first record, Monotone 19, I’d call that Gabba, but that’s something completely different than Mokum number such-and-such.
datacide: Also it seems to be the case that by the middle of the decade a lot of things have run themselves to death, became mainstream or don’t develop because they’re stuck in niche-marketing. Where are things moving?
datacide: I don’t mean that bad development, but new things. Where are you moving for example?
TTK: Well, I will continue making hardcore in any case, and my experience is that the reaction of people is still really good if the music is full of energy, I think that goes over to people and no one will stop me from doing that. I will produce a bit more varied and multidimensional things, also because I’d like to see what I can do, but that will remain in the areas of hardcore and experimental sounds, and not become happy or anything like that; should I not be able to make the music I really want to then I wouldn’t feel like doing any. Then I do something else and emigrate to a warm country. [chuckles] I don’t feel like making music on order; I mean it is possible to make tracks where you know they will be functional, they’ll work, and they’ll sell such and such numbers, but I don’t feel like getting into that.
datacide: Is that where Shockwave is going?
TTK: Possibly. I don’t want to say too much. Someone who knows the situation will know.
datacide: Do you see a new movement forming, something that maybe already exists?
TTK: Yes there is a new movement opening up. Nasenbluten in Australia, Praxis in London, Gangstar Toons Industry. Things that are still at the beginning; these are people who take the music more serious, not just as a party thing, fast and that’s it, but who want to bring a movement ahead. In that respect I’d say you could speak of a movement that is starting. Also I have formed a band with my girlfriend Gina, the tracks are released on DHR, and our aim is to make people think, people should think more about everything which is completely overlooked and people don’t realise that they get exploited by the industry, that they are made to believe that they orient themselves towards new styles of music and those things are completely fabricated. The first track we made was called Discriminate the next Fashion Sucker you meet – It’s a Raver it’s a total Pogo-track, and we’ll see what we can achieve with that.
datacide: Do you also play live?
TTK: More than DJing anyway. I find it more interesting to present your own music rather than stuff that in a way you consume again. If I buy records I depend that someone made them. But if I play live I play sometimes up to an hour with two Amigas and can achieve big changes within the set.
datacide: You’re doing everything with Amigas?
TTK: Yes yes, this is really my music and if people book me they should be able to hear it.
datacide: Do you think that with the new Hardcore-scene that the music is getting more experimental, with more levels and less just dance-oriented?
TTK: I hope so. For me it’s definitely the case that Hardcore will always develop and that it’s not just about how the bass drum comes back in, that you orient yourself only on the party compatibility, but things that are completely crazy and even put things on the records that will disturb some hardcore fans, wake them up a bit. For example I made a track that’s 60 BPM – but it’s fucking hard, things like that, hardcore doesn’t have to be fast, even if I speak out for speedcore, I love super-fast things as well like breakbeats on 220 BPM, but it’s also important how it was programmed, that you feel it’s going forward and is not just speed and completely distorted samples.
datacide: The creativity suffers if people produce after formula that only gets changed a tiny little bit…
How do you see the political dimension of it all?
TTK: What I’m trying to work against in any case, is this whole industry-run and manipulated music. It makes me wanna puke when I see 250’000 people who think they hear a totally new music, stuff that’s programmed in such a sterile way, that any idiot can imitate with some Yamaha preset-sounds, such a youth movement’s fucked. If you could motivate people to do something else, then you could achieve much more, also in a more general sense… when you see what clothes people are wearing and they think they somehow… they wear a shirt from some club wear company, that’s “underground” like Stüssy, and then you know that this Stüssy company is owned by Kiemsee, a big fashion company.
Music that is different from the normal dancefloor stuff and, that’s important, that all these ravers, all these people from Berlin are being exploited through being non-political. I think they’re being used for things they can’t even see what they are. I mean if the CDU, the Christian Democratic Union [German equivalent of the Tory Party] , a very conservative party have a float at the Love Parade, I think that’s dodgy. You have to act in a way that people wake up a little bit. I don’t want to put down people, there are a lot of people who haven’t heard anything else before and they got into it because it was something new; you can’t just say they are all assholes.
datacide: …and how do you see the chances?
TTK: The chances? Quite good really, I mean after the last party at the weekend, the first party in that club at all, the SUICIDE in Berlin, at a time when there were like 30 other parties in Berlin on the same night or even more, we had 700 people, I think the chances to change something are really good. A lot of young people are looking for something new, also people who come from guitar-music, skaters, people who like aggressive music. In general it’s much better than it looks like even if it often seems that this-and-this commerce-DJ pulled whatever crowd for some rave, but that is a movement that is getting tired, and I’m quite confident; if it keeps developing like this I’m quite satisfied and if I can achieve some more then I’m quite happy.
datacide: What other aspects of your work is important?
TTK: We already talked about a lot of things… Maybe the way I would categorise my music, my sample sources, things like that. It’s the case that I try to sample from as many different types of music as possible, as it’s my opinion that there’s some things in any direction of music that are o.k. except maybe in commercial techno [laughs]. I used to listen to a lot of metal, I’m really into industrial and ragga is also quite cool, and if you try to be in the picture about a lot of different types of music then you’ll find good sample sources in this way; I also sample quite a lot from hip hop, and also metal, I don’t draw the borders anywhere really. I try to say things with my music, develop things further, just for myself and people who are interested.
What really makes me wanna puke is that total fashion thing that even exists with the gabba-parties now, that’s not different from any rave-shit by now. It’s not Westbam and Marusha, instead it’s, what’s his name, Chosen Few, or whatever, before that also Charlie Lownoise and Mental Theo if they are making any gabba still; the last thing I heard by them was just commercial cack.
datacide: Weren’t they signed by Low Spirit or something?
TTK: Fire Records or something, well yeah, Urban or Motor Music. They checked everything. They even signed Sons of Ilsa. A lot of people accused Lownoise and Theo to have the tendency of making things too happy, but that Nicole track “Ein bisschen Frieden” for example, that is a total hate-track in the ears of people my age, some shit where some grand-dads and mas and daddies get horny: “We need peace” and stuff. That was quite a noise track, and to start with that whole story with happy hardcore hadn’t escalated; with the happy tracks I’ve done I tried to make them interesting with lots of changes. There are some tracks on the E-de-Cologne LP that are really happy, but then really happy, convinced, and not according to some formula like… well who cares, I don’t have to say like who… but one should see that things aren’t exhausted by just going to parties, have a dance, whatever, and then shut your mouth and go back to work. Those are all things that don’t disturb any one at all.
datacide: We briefly mentioned it, this whole Love Parade business. My main impression is that at the end of the day it was almost a Festival of Conformism.
TTK: Yeah, I witnessed a bit of it because I had to change trains at the Ku’damm and saw people you could just as well see at the beer tent. Unfortunately you find people like that even at hardcore parties or techno parties in general, people who found this way to have their parties but don’t actually see a difference between going to a disco or something like that; maybe the atmosphere is even a bit more honest in a disco because it’s less dominated by drugs. I’m not against drugs but I think you should be careful not to see the main aim in getting your next line or pill in order to have fun. I think that’s dishonest. All these people, Westbam, Marusha or Sven Väth or Perplexer, or whatever their names are, are profiting from that, that people have to create their party like that and have to switch off. On drugs you think that you’re so open, but really you’re more pacified than you think.
[Here we briefly digress to the controlling function of smoking cigarettes, even Ernte 23, a german brand that is smoked widely not just because of its name and bright orange packaging but also as the company Reemtsma is believed to be “P.C.”, and TTK discovers his initials are P.C., and, as we are getting back to the subject of music, declares the E-de-Cologne project finished as he moved to Berlin and as the scene in Cologne is going down the drain anyway.]
datacide: There is a general phenomenon of regression, a lot of people go back to purist house or acid.
TTK: These are all things, that are absolutely nothing new, no field for experimentation, and even all those hardcore records that exist could be much more experimental, there could be more tracks that are just strange, that aren’t playing by the rules according to which you can dance or something. Maybe we have to see that we find other people also other distributors, and turn them on to it; in the socalled hardcore scene itself there are people who think they know the score, but they’re totally clueless, for them only the effect counts and not at all the attitude that’s behind it. Even the Bunker has become the total fashion-sucker place by now… if you get charged DM25 [approx £10] for a hardcore party, then those are things that don’t fit together. For me hardcore was always also about a left wing opposition against those kind of things…. even in the old days in Cologne those Delirium people were always quite conservative, and if you make hardcore you have work against that and not try to go down the same road because you’d kill the music doing that.
datacide: When did you move to Berlin, and why… how is the scene here?
TTK: The scene in comparison is… more guitar clubs, you find more people who react to your music, and I’ve found a lot of friends with who I’m just hanging out and have fun. And in Cologne people just got more and more rigid, on the one hand those “intelligent” – in inverted commas – techno-people, who get a hard-on from a Cheap or Disko B record, which I find quite appalling. There are so many things you can hear if you can program yourself that are nothing new at all, that is sticking to certain things; and then there used to be that boring english breakbeat scene in Cologne as well, the kind of stuff that kicks for 2 minutes and then you have the next string passage that’s ultra-boring too. And then you get the total hardtrance suckers, that whole Warehouse and Space Club posse, at the time anyway, now the clubs have new names, and the whole commercial attitude has taken over. I just didn’t feel like living in a city as small as Cologne anymore, it didn’t inspire me, the look of the place, its cathedral…
Well and here in Berlin, I don’t know, since I produce stuff for Digital Hardcore Recordings it’s quite good to live here, we meet up and do things together, start new things and bring people together that are more active besides just going to parties and listen, and we always try to attract new people.
datacide: So do you think Berlin could again become a metropole for the new sound?
TTK: Berlin is the metropole for the new sound!
Hardly a statement we should have left unchallenged but we will follow this up with further communications and discussions in a few months time. This conversation took place in July ‘95 on the street in Kreuzberg, Berlin, and was recorded on video by KMC.
So hopefully there will be plenty of new things to talk about the next time we meet, but in the meantime this is all still relevant.
Also I leave a detailed discography for the planned second interview, and just mention here that Patric released records as E-de-Cologne [on Monotone and Shockwave], Eradicator [on Fischkopf] , Ec8or [DHR] and Test Tube Kid [Praxis and Epiteth] and also did Napalm 4 and 6.
His latest release are
Ec8or: Spex is a Fat Bitch [DHR]
Test Tube Kid: H [Praxis]
Watch out for the first releases on his own new label Spite.
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2 thoughts on “Test Tube Kid Interview”
Real underground spirit! E-DE-COLOGNE 4 President :)
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