Like the Noblette he has sailed through musical realms, for more than two decades, foremost following a from the studio to the club-routine, but the pandemic has left its marks in cultural fields, in every artist’s life and routine and forced people to undergo changes. Ruede Hagelstein, despite all the critique he utters when it comes to govermental support for artists, is not glued to his life before but has done the best and reflected the situation and produced music. A lot of music. Most of it not out before 2021 but with some pieces seeing the light this year. His remix for music affiliate, companion and friend Christian Rottler and his Lenin Riefenstahl collective for example is one of the works that makes this year, at least in a musical way, shine brighter. Ruede turns the original track into a slightly more dance floor-ish version while adding a touch of weirdness Christian himself could have if he had produced the remix. Ruede the Berliner blithe spirit speaks up for artists shortly before the release of his repenetration of dwarfs and other creatures on Torture the Artist, chats about his daily routines and the current covid-situation, his life, the process of producing the remix and other artistical projects he’s working on.
Torture the Artist: Hello Ruede, it’s the second time on Torture the Artist. How are you in these strange days?
Ruede Hagelstein: 2020 started well and then Corona happened. That was a shock, of course. I am running a label and events next to my artistic life. So the virus killed most of my business activities. It was a fundamental change in my life, but it opened new and interesting perspectives.
Torture the Artist: It seems you’re not heavily realising music during the pandemic. However, we are sure that you, as a music lover, are involved in quite some bits. What are you currently working on and do you hold this music back for ‘a time after’?
Ruede Hagelstein: I am writing a book which should come with an album next year. The music is mostly piano with me singing on it in German. I am working on a pop album, invited other artists to join in, no idea when this is going to see the daylight. I am 90% done with an album under my alias R100, which is basically 132BPM Ambient Techno, and will release it next year on my own label DUAT Records. And there is another Ruede Hagelstein & The Noblettes album, which has to be finished next year too. There are a bunch of typical Ruede Hagelstein club tracks, but since corona took over I am enjoying making a lot of music, without having the dance floor in mind. I think I left that ‘Ding’ (editor’s note: thing) behind anyway. I want to focus on live music in the future.
I want this nightmare to be over as soon as possible.
Torture the Artist: What’s a habit or routine you’ve developed over the past months that had not played much of a role before Covid?
Ruede Hagelstein: It’s more that I am missing routines, like going to the gym and nightclubs. Anyway if it was allowed or not, I tried to avoid crowded places like clubs or bars. I want this nightmare to be over as soon as possible. In the first lockdown I took long walks, that helped to think about the situation.
Torture the Artist: How much does the pandemic effect you at an artistical level as well as personal level?
Ruede Hagelstein: I think the aforementioned describes it best: It unleashed me. I would not say that corona is cool or anything, but in a way it did good things to me. I had been pretty much in a tunnel as I mostly took those nightlife impressions with me to the studio to then take those tracks or the impressions, I musically expressed, to the nightlife again. Now and due to corona I am more free again and less stuck than before the pandemic.
It’s not acceptable that the government does not help artists and their networks in a way they deserve and need it.
Torture the Artist: Do you feel arts should be more supported by the government these days or what could be an approach to keep the scene going?
Ruede Hagelstein: It’s not acceptable that the government does not help artists and their networks in a way they deserve and need it. The way they handled the situation so far in Germany hasn’t been too well or accurate and fair, in my opinion. So the handling of the situation has to improve. But I am missing solidarity within the scene too. There are just a few people trying to help, while most of them persevere and do nothing really.
Torture the Artist: In some countries like Switzerland events take place, while other countries like Italy or France have tightened measurements again and forbidden any kind of (dance) events due to increasing infections. Should any event under the current circumstances, partly increasing infections and events with very limited people, take place and how can they put the events into practice so that they are still an amusement for everyone, meaning the crowd and the people in charge?
Ruede Hagelstein: I co-organized the Aware Festival in summer. We followed the rules to have a limitation of 999 people dancing outdoor. It went very well in terms of corona and it showed that it’s possible to run events. Next summer is safe, even if it might be a little different. I am afraid having parties inside in the winter while having high numbers of infections is not going to work, so we should not do inside events over the next months orjust with a strict limitations. It’s really hard to tell, but that’s my feeling about it.
Torture the Artist: Some clubs in Berlin but also elsewhere are changing, meaning they do or host art exhibitions, Berghain does it for example, while others are converted into bars or beer gardens, at least for the summer. What’s your plan B? Could you imagine becoming more active or maybe you already in other (artistic) fields?
Ruede Hagelstein: That’s the idea of my book, I am doing a radio play with a friend too in order to enjoy other ways to express myself in arts.
While some people are following the rules, some people don’t and that feels and felt unfair.
Torture the Artist: Of course, there are videos of events around and it partly seems as if the events they were taken at kind of show the world of today without Covid-19, what impression have you gained of current festivals or events taking place and do those events and also the DJs do the scene a disservice as they put their own matters over the responsibility of containing the pandemic?
Ruede Hagelstein: We should all agree that Covid19 is a serious thing and try to act responsibly. There were a lot videos and impressions of parties and activities, which made me angry. While some people are following the rules, some people don’t and that feels and felt unfair.
There is a 90’s vibe coming up. Corona shows a little bit how commercial things went within the last years and that wasn’t the plan, when Techno started 30 years ago.
Torture the Artist: What (overt) changes does the scene in Berlin undergo at the moment and do you think a self-cleaning process is going to kick of some permanent changes for a better?
Ruede Hagelstein: It’s tough for the scene. Some of the clubs have better pre-conditions to stand the crisis – some are in a very critical situation. I hope government helps to survive all of them. On the other hand the underground is rising – it feels. Let’s say there is a 90’s vibe coming up. Corona shows a little bit how commercial things went within the last years and that wasn’t the plan, when Techno started 30 years ago.
Torture the Artist: You remixed Lenin Riefenstahl’s track Kurz und Schmerzlos, German for short and sweet, how did that come about and does this remix-approach reflect your musical diversity and does Christian Rottler alias Lenin Riefenstahl bring out the Punk in you?
Ruede Hagelstein: The remix is a good example for feeling unleashed and being able to do what I want. Christian is a great artist and friend and I enjoyed it a lot to throw around ideas and work out a very special dance version of a Punk-Rock track.
Torture the Artist: What subculture would you like to be part, if no one could see?
Ruede Hagelstein: That’s an interesting question. Actually I would firstly want to get introduced to some new undergrounds, to consider afterwards.
Torture the Artist: What was your musical approach for the remix, did you mean to make it short and sweet?
Ruede Hagelstein: I tried to make a dance version. Funny and short.
A musician should be able to feel every kind of style.
Torture the Artist: How much do you need these ‘off-electronic music’-genres in order to create or feel inspired as an artist? Would you say this is something an artist with a certain experience in life thrives for more than younger ones, who tend to be more nerdy and bound to one genre?
Ruede Hagelstein: I think the difference between electronic and none electronic music is purely based on theory. The essence of music counts or let’s say the message, the emotion. I’ve never understood people just listening to one kind of genre. I can understand why they just release one kind of, based on abilities and tools, but a musician should be able to feel every kind of style.
Torture the Artist: Why are you a fighter?
Ruede Hagelstein: I am 41 years old and still holding on to my dreams.
Interview by Holger Breuer