Dyko Interview - UK debut for Dyko
Vince Yallop Why have German/Australian synth-pop duo Dyko - guest featuring former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flür - chosen to make their UK debut at Norwich Arts Centre this Friday night? VINCE YALLOP found out from singer John Barrie Dyke.
Some promoters go to extraordinary lengths to uncover new music. In the case of musical twinning group Muzica and gig promoters Wombatwombat, a visit to a festival a thousand miles from home is leading up to the UK debut of German band Dyko - who are joined by a ex-member of Kraftwerk - playing Norwich Arts Centre this Friday.
Muzica, who are affiliated to the Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association, was formed to foster links between young musicians in Norwich and its twin city of Novi Sad in Serbia. So far their work has seen nu-jazz band New Walking Trio brought over here, and Norfolk bands including Magoo and Smaller Than You sent to the Exit festival. Some members of Muzica are also involved with band promoters Wombatwombat who have staged regular nights at Norwich Arts Centre for over five years.
It was during a visit last year that they came across German art-punk-synth-pop duo Dyko on one of the stages around the Petrovaradin fortress.
The Dyko show in Norwich this Friday a UK exclusive. London and the rest of the country will have to wait until September.
John Barrie Dyke (vocals, electronic drums) met Christofer Jost (keyboards, guitar) in a party cellar jamming in a six-piece funk-rock. Dyko started about five years ago. "It was simpler and more efficient to work with two people rather than six," said John.
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They take their inspiration from art-rock bands such as Devo and Joy Division and synth-pop such as The Human League, Gary Numan and New Order. Songs are about everyday German life, with songs such as Elektro Leiber, In Ordnung and Rollerdisco.
There is a strong visual element to their shows, from the dress of engineers' workwear to big-screen visuals showing abstract graphics.
Last year saw them travel extensively, including shows in China, Russia, a month-long tour of John's native Australia, plus the performance at the Exit festival in Serbia - when they were spotted by Muzica members.
John from Dyko adds to the story: "We had played at the Exit festival in Novi Sad, which is a beautiful place with great people, and after the show Steve and Paul (from Muzica and Wombatwombat) came backstage with a really enthusiastic vibe.
"I mentioned that we might do a version on 'In Ordnung' in English but they exclaimed 'No, please leave the German style; don't change for the UK - you're perfect as you are!'
"So now we are very glad to be coming with Wolfgang to Norwich this week."
Wolfgang is former Kraftwerk percussionist Wolfgang Flür, who found Dyko's ethos in touch with his own and decided to play with the band.
Wolfgang, 60, was in Kraftwerk as a percussionist for 14 years, until 1987, playing on Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans-Europe Express and The Man Machine LPs. He built custom drum machines for the band for their Kling Klang studio.
Since Kraftwerk, he has released music as Yamo, whose debut album was produced in collaboration with fellow Germans (and Stereolab/Mark E Smith collaborators) Mouse on Mars. He also released a book, Ich War Ein Roboter (I Was A Robot), that detailed the inner workings of Kraftwerk.
"Wolfgang is great spirit to have around, he is a fantastic band member," said John. "He invented his own very special style of simplistic drumming. He is always says that we remind him of the early Kraftwerk days, not so much musically but in regards to the subject world we choose and the way in which we work in our studio."
"I had read Wolfgang's book. I had never read a book so fast in my entire life! It was very interesting and empathetic. During the book I got to know a person whom would later become a very close friend. An artist friend of mine, Eva Schwab from Frankfurt, knew Wolfgang and she hooked us up.
"Wolfgang immediately took to our music. After some time I convinced Wolfgang to play e-drums again."
The band are now including a version of Kraftwerk classic Autobahn in their sets, accompanied by Wolfgang.
"He had not played Autobahn since his Kraftwerk days. We have had some very wonderful reactions especially at the Exit festival in Serbia last year but also in many other countries all over the world."
Explaining the musical thinking of the band, John said: "We see a similarity with the way we work to the way the German Bauhaus movement used to make its works as 'the artist as a technician', which is very important when doing electronic music. We work very minimalistically and sometimes dadaistic.
"Sometimes our love of German music culture comes through and then the really Melbourne punk feeling also comes through.
"I really love to sing/write in German. I think that the music of the post-punk, new romantic/new wave period of the 80s was to short lived so it could really do with further development so apart form being a mix of all different influences that's what we are also doing."
t Tickets (£15 advance, £16 door), are available from Norwich Arts Centre (01603 660352) and the UEA Box Office (01603 508050), www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk). The event is a co-promotion between Wombatwombat and Muzica.
t Support in the main auditorium comes from Vista, a dance-pop duo that take their cue from Saint Etienne and the Pet Shop Boys; and Rice 'n' Beans, the new downtempo/nu-jazz project of Paul Cullen (Taxi). There's more in the bar with Howlback Hum welcoming Sukosi, True Adventures Happen Inside Your Head, Checkout Girls, The Owl Box and Hoofus. Doors 8pm (late bar).
t Muzica are also staging a fundraising night at the arts centre on Friday June 27 with The Neutrinos, Mustard City Rockers, Rob Brook (Halfway Hero) and Project Mork. Tickets £5.