Left to right: Sula, Komet, Marcus
Interview with Dave Schmidt and Lulu Neudeck, aka Sula Bassana and Komet Lulu
By Jack Gold-Molina
Electric Moon was formed in 2009 by guitarist Dave Schmidt and bassist/vocalist/painter Lulu Neudeck, along with drummer Bernhard Fasching (aka Pablo Carneval) who left the band in 2011. Top shelf musicians, they represent the newest wave of European psychedelic music and a revival of the genre known affectionately as "Krautrock." Having been active in Europe's festival scene since their inception, this is no minor statement. A few of the festivals that they have performed at include Duna Jam in Italy, Kildemose Festival and Copenhagen Psych Fest in Denmark, Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, Yellowstock in Belgium, Sonic Rock Solstice in the United Kingdom, Dark Bombastic Evening in Romania, and Freak Valley Festival in their home country of Germany. Schmidt is also the founder and owner of Sulatron Records, a label dedicated to psychedelic rock that also specializes in colored vinyl.
Perfect Sound Forever: How did you get started playing music?
Dave: I was a child and heard a lot of electronic music - Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, stuff like that - and got a small organ when I was 10 or so. Later, I started collecting synthesizers and all that stuff.
Lulu: When I was a very little girl, I was always making sounds on my grandparent's harmonium (pump organ). Then, my parents decided to donate a keyboard (laughs). This awesome keyboard had a little built in synthesizer and soon I thought, "This must be the sound which you hear in the universe!" So since then, I was infected by psychedelic sounds.
PSF: What inspired you, and who were your early musical influences?
Lulu: As I said, I always wanted to create space sounds, even as a child. Also, I listened to all the records of my dad, which were Pink Floyd, Can, Tangerine Dream, Pretty Things, all that stuff. So... good influence I guess.
PSF: Given that you play multiple instruments, how have you established your musical voice?
Lulu: Traveling to space in mind...
Dave: I only played synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, etc., until I saw Hawkwind the first time in 1991 or so. Then I started playing bass and guitars. We began with Liquid Visions in 1994, with me on bass. But the drummers often came too late to the practice room, so I used the time playing the drums just for fun.
PSF: Can you talk about some of your early musical projects and some of the artists and musicians that you worked with?
Dave: I started in several electronic duos and trios. We played mostly in Berlin, where I come from. Highlights were the Berlin Elektronik Nights and two gigs in the Berlin Planetarys. Then I stopped doing electronic bands and gigs. From 1995 on, I played with Liquid Visions and started many projects and bands from 1997. I worked with many people, but the ones you know were mostly just session partners in Zone Six or Liquid Visions, like Nik Turner, Huw Lloyd Langton, Ax Genrich. Ax and me played a while together with Mani Neumeier in Psychedelic Monsterjam, one time together with Damo Suzuki and Keji Miashita. Also I jammed as guest in some bands including Circle, Øresund Space Collective, and Electric Orange.
PSF: In what ways do you think your playing has evolved since then, in different musical situations?
Dave: It's a steady progress.
PSF: How early in your playing career did you start touring, and how did that come about?
Dave: I think my first concert outside Berlin was in 1987, with my first electronic duo Solaris. But a tour, more than 4 gigs (laughs), was in late ‘90's I think.
Lulu: (Laughter) My first concert was me playing in a big band... pssst!
PSF: How did your band Electric Moon come together?
Dave: Very easy. Lulu is my girlfriend and forced me to do a band with her. After some first recordings (Gefaehrliche Planetengirls, Lunatic, Hotel Hell) we asked Bernhard Fasching, aka Pablo Carneval (the drummer of Interkosmos, another space rock project I was into), if he would like to do a project with us. Luckily he agreed. He is a lovely and very sensitive guy and a great drummer. So we made some first recordings, "Moon Love" and "Brain Eaters" and the first LP was finished. Our first gig was at Duna Jam in Italy. What a start!
Lulu: Dave just named it. It was magical, cause our very first takes became our first album!
PSF: You have toured a lot in Europe with Electric Moon, including playing some great festivals. How do you think that has affected the band's music on a creative level?
Lulu: Quite a lot! So many different energies from so many different people, places, etc. All these impressions, visual and emotional... affecting me very much.
Dave: All shared experiences affect on us and so on our music!
PSF: Can you talk about the creative process? What is it like recording and performing with Electric Moon?
Lulu: Mostly it's the energy of the moment which is leading us through this. Often, Dave or I have a special riff or idea which we show then and try to get the others on that ship. Then, while playing, the theme completes itself. While listening to the basic recordings, we get the ideas for maybe some overdubs like vocals, synthies, a second guitar, etc. I get the most of my ideas in the special moments when I'm falling asleep but still do not sleep. Sometimes, I hear such wonderful orchestral melodies or really cool and groovy songs, complete stuff. Sometimes, I can remember them. But others are so complex so that I just try to remember the bass lines from my dreams (laughs).
PSF: What inspired you to form Sulatron Records?
Dave: The wish to get an income with music an any way. I can't do normal jobs anymore (laughs), so I had to find a way to survive and a label was the best way. I know many people, because I'm in business for a long time.
PSF: What do you suggest for musicians who are pursuing their goals creatively?
Dave: Go on, do your very own thing!
Lulu: Be yourself. Don't try to mimic others. Just get inspired by others but don't try to copy them. Being yourself is the best you can do to create your very own sound.
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