Can you tell me how you started?
At the age of 10 I bought an old 20$ guitar from a friend and learned it by myself. This was the beginning of a lifetime story!
Who are your musical hero's?
I stepped through all kinds of music styles in my life, and in each there are some original specialists. At this point of the journey I´m very much into music of 1920-1940. So I love f.e. Glenn Miller cause he combined strong melodies & jazz to a sophisticated but popular mix.
When/where did the concept or inspiration for Tape Five start?
It started in 1999 when I was doing Radio Jingles in Cologne for big stations and in between, just for fun, made the track: "Avenue du Gare"
Tape Five leans on a nostalgic vibe? How important is that?
The nostalgic vibe is very important, maybe because seen through the old sepia looking glass, the things seem more calm, artful and classy, not like the hard, distressed and overcrowded present, psychologically spoken. ;)
New album is your strongest work, i think. Very stylisch & compact. You write everything and play most of the instruments. Are you in that respect a one-man band?
Yes, the work on the new album was easy going because I moved to that little charming witch house in the river bed, where I can be creative around the clock, just when an idea is kissing me. I also got me a double bass, congas and drums, but I work with singers and brass players. I can not do these jobs and its always good to have some other spirits inside my pack.
Are you a musician or a producer?
So I am a songwriting producer that plays instruments, checking contracts, cutting videos and doing promo, but I think thats not unusual these days. For me its great to have the "whole-art" in my hand.
Your songs are like little stories. It is like you are composing a film score. What comes first when you compose: the idea or the music?
Absolutely! I always have a picture, an atmosphere in my head, and want to create the music fitting to this scene.
Like in an old Bogart film, when Sam plays it again...
Tape Five is also very succesful outside Europe. How do you explain that?
From the beginning of TAPE FIVE I had a big eye on foreign markets and made efforts to be represented there. I have a world map behind my desk and childlike fun to have all these business contacts around the world! Maybe the european spirit seems exotic to people overseas, as they seem exotic to our eyes.
I love your new singer Yuliet Topaz. Who is she and how did you meet?
Yuliet Topaz is a girl from Siberia and was from the beginning with TAPE FIVE, she sang the songs for my first album "Swingfood Mood" when she was 16 (!) and was fresh from the music school. Now her moniker is Yuliet Topaz. Very talented person!
Tape Five is a new kind of swing or exotica, is it a modern version of old dance music or something completely new?
No man is an island! ;) Of course its not new, but things seen through my eyes and re-assembled. But I write songs and arrange in the old style, not only samples and a loop.
More bands are on the same vibe. Club Des Belugas, Bahama Soul Club, Waldeck. You also use the same vocalists sometimes. Is there a new scene happening in Germany?
I think its not the same vibe. All these acts have a special sound, so does TAPE FIVE. But of course there are some morphogenetic fields around that brings several persons to do similar things. On this planet you cant escape that! But ok, call it a scene. While it looks bad on the music market in general, our things are growing, and all are very nice guys!
Your future plans?
To get better and better, complete the whole-art aspect and spread it around the world!
So, Martin, you guess you are a nostalgic man. What do you miss the most from the past?
I cant really tell, cause I wasnt alive in older times. I have lots of inspiration from child days stored in my brain in form of pictures. But one thing is: If you compare the mass culture of the 1930ies in case of the BigBand Swing, it was on a much higher musical level than todays mass culture. Young people often forget that, because they think a phat distorted guitar sound or a phat house bassdrum was the evolution of music. In my opinion thats only sound without content.
Do you do live shows? If yes, what can we expect?
At the moment I am restructuring the live set. I had a 4 piece lounge set with a DJ, but more and more I get offers for big international festivals. So I have to think about a new concept with more spectacolous entertainment, & a vivid aspect.
Interview By Monte La Rue