Q: To start, explain Wunderwerke. A website, a record
label, a production studio.. or all of the above ?
Wunderwerke is a multimedia company that is producing
music,videos,events, and magazines since 1978 when it was
founded by Franz Aum�ller and Dieter Kolb. FA is managing
director. It is also a music publisher,distributor and a
website. And since this year a galery.
Q: You were particularly involved in the lyrics, stories and artwork for the
band. When did you first begin working on your creations and did you imagine
they would be used this way or was that its intention ?
A: Dieter and I have been frieds since kindergarden, when he started
playing guitar in a band I was his biggest fan and designed the logo for
the drum and the posters.Later, when he chaged to Hammond I helped him
carry it on stage and later after the concerts back to the car. His
parents had a shop for musical instruments. Dieter practised every day
for hours in the basement (the shop provided us wih the latest models, I
brought the records) and later we experimented with 2 tape-recorders.
Franz Kn�ttel our classmate joined on drums and built our first
sythesizer. later when we found out that his possibilities as a drummer
were limited, he developed a drum machine. I came up with the name
Roboterwerke and the story. Dieter studied music and had a fellow
student Jof who made the first deal with CBS. Then I created the story
and the lyrics for the first Lp. Although we sold more than 30 thousand
copies we decided to become independent. The second Lp Metaluna was
released on our own label Wunderwerke and sold not even 1 thousand
copies... So we had to release the third Lp Futurist with RCA but at
that time in Germany was the Neue Deutsche Welle and everybody was
listening to songs with german lyrics. Therefore Futurist flopped too.
Meanwhile I had spent all my money on a 6minute full animated movie, but
since there was no music tv at that time it was never shown. We worked
for annother year on the 4th Lp Cosmotropics that was not finished.
Q: The artwork and stories ive seen focus on a strange yellow cartoon character
who seems to always be getting high or be tempted by others on his adventures.
What is the history behind this little guy and does his story continue on after
Roboterwerke albums were completed ?
A: The little frog is Supersempfft a caricature of Dieter who has the most amazing adventures through the universe but
when he comes back to earth finds his superpowers vanished.
Q: If your characters from the album were animated it could
have become an early or the first music video. Did ever you have any
interest in this at the time?
We are still intersted,but...
Q: You are credited as producer on some of the albums, were there times when you
aided in the music production or was it solely the lyrics and story.
A: Dieter an I developed a way of working together as a team.
Q: You are photographed with the amazing "GUITARET"
did you play?
Was it used on any Roboterwerke recordings ?
A: Our next project after Roboterwerke was 4D the 4th Dimension which was
completely sampled with our Drumcomputer exept for the vocals.The
Guitaret that I found on the fleamarket was used on the pr shots,
because we didnt use any real instruments. We sold about 3000
tapecassettes when Virgin contacted us to be the first act on their new
German label. At the presentation of the record at Virgin they loved it
very much, but when I told them that all the instruments were collaged
from records they were too afraid to release it. Later I played the
tapes to Rusty Egan (I wrote the german lyrics for Visages The Anvil) he
took them to New York to Africa Bambaata who used it for his Timezone
: the Wildstyle.
Q: Seems you have be apart of so many elements of the art
writing to print/design to music videos. are you still
involved in all
of the above ? Was there an area you enjoy(ed) the most
A: What I always enjoyed most was producing experimental music videos.
Q: Dieter Kolb was the first to use a drum machine from his own creation. This
seemed to attract a lot of attention from artists ranging from Kraftwerk to
Herbie Hancock. Were you there to witness this? how long did it take for him to
get noticed for his inventions and what, if any, machines did Dieter produce for
A: The machines we showed to alot of artists were only prototypes we
planned to sell them, but when we had them professionally made there
were better and cheaper machines on the market...
Q: Considering Roboterwerke was the first or one of the first to play this new
type of drum machine electronic music, what was your reaction as it began to
become popular ?
We loved it!
Q: Im really curious about the track "Pinhead" seems to be dedicated to your
love from playing Pinball. I cant understand all the lyrics but i hear "extra
ball" in there and many of the sounds could easily be used as pinball background
sound effects. Did you write the lyrics for this? Was pinball a favorite pastime
of the band ?
Q: You mentioned Dieter stopped playing live in the early 70s. So Roboterwerke
never performed live ?
A: Yes the Roboterwerke equipment was too difficult to take around. We only
performed live on the first art electronica in Linz.
Q: I've read briefly that the band would spend time in the Caribbean enjoying
the local music etc, were you a part of these trips? At what point did this
influence the musical style of the group ?
A: We were big fans of dub music especially Lee Scratch Perry and King
Tubby. We went to Tobago + Trinidad because we thought reggae was played
everywhere in the Caribbean only to discover Steelband and Soca which we
liked even better. We were there 4 times for the carnival season.
Q: Honestly the first id heard of the group was from eBay! I noticed the amazing
album cover for "The Lion Sleeps Tonight/High on Tech" and then began tracking
down anything i could find about the band. what do you think of the eBay
A: E-bay is great for finding things.
Q: Recently there has been a resurgence in the band's music including a
re-released track on the MAGICK KUTS edits label, what do you think of this and
are you surprised it took so long ?
A: We love it and would encourage everybody to make remixes.
Lately DJ Flowrider has Played me a scratch version of the Roboterwerke
Lps on two turntables which I loved because the mix of old school
electronics and scratch.