Franz Treichler - The Young Gods - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Tazz Stander   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 05:00

TYG_4The Young Gods were formed in Switzerland over two decades ago as a Post Electro Industrial Rock band.  Right from the start The Young Gods took a radically different approach to their art form, treating their samplers like proper musical instruments and creating light and shade within theirs sounds and space, instead of simply treating them as glorified tape loops to be play back at their audiences ad infinitum. Now, some twenty-five years down the line, they're still working with that same creative ethic and still making bands labelled, as "cutting edge" seem stale and unoriginal.


The quartet were in the UK recently supporting Killing Joke at their shows in Edinburgh and London and they return in December for their own headline shows in support of their brand new album 'Everybody Knows'. I got to catch up with the band's enigmatic frontman, Franz Treichler over a glass of tequila, which he fondly called my "youth juice".



Hi Franz, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.  Okay let's start with if 'TV Sky' is classified as your rock based album, what would you classify 'Everybody Knows' as?


It's a bit more complicated; it's not that straight forward.  It's a hybrid and I don't know if you can put one objective on it.  It is more melodic:  popular in a 60's definition but pertinent and kind of experimental.  If you look at what people were doing at that time; not in the last 20 or 30 years but back at that time.  We are still a rock band basically but maybe sometimes we give more of a colour and guitar orientated album like 'TV Sky' and sometimes we give more of an electronic style.  I think the acoustic experience is also featured on 'Everybody Knows'.  I think hybrid would be a good definition.


Talk me through the inspiration behind the artwork on 'Everybody Knows'.  I get nauseous when I look at it.


(Laughing) It's just an upside down picture of New York.  Why are we getting nauseous about it?


Because it's pretty violent. 


I totally totally agree with you though, when you look at the picture the way it should be, it's fine but if you reverse it, its just like ... is it something subconscious? [Franz gives me a French quote here which is totally untranscribable] ... it means: Everything upside down which I take to mean, 'Everybody Knows' (laughing)


TYG_3When sampling sounds, what determines the elements that are captured?


I'm not totally sure I know what you mean?


Okay. You went halfway around the world to the Amazon to sample tree sounds for an album - Why there? Why those trees?


It doesn't really work that way; it's more about whatever sounds good and that we can capture.  It could even been our own instruments.  It's a bit like painting where you know what colours you have to hand.  We know our sound banks and one sound might give me a vocal idea or an awesome groove and then you start hearing what is convenient to put around or together, like different colours or textures. Any sound is welcome; it can be distorted or abused.


(Laughing) Like only you can?


(Laughing) Maybe


What has been your most challenging album in terms of demands on your ability and creativity?


Going back to acoustic instruments was a walk in time.  We totally forgot how to play instruments are 20 years of sampling apart from our drummer at least.  Both Al and I stopped playing guitar in the 80's so it was a big challenge to record like a regular band in a room with headphones on and not being behind a computer all the time.  The challenge on this album is the fact that we're now 4 musicians and we wanted it to be very democratic.  Everybody brought ideas so the hard part was to eliminated and get down to the essentials.


Just how do you put heart and soul into a machine?


It's not that hard.  Machines are here to help us - there is nothing wrong with them unless you become a slave to them.  Especially with sound, the evolution of technology in the last 15 - 20 years has been amazing; you can now do things that you couldn't of even dreamt of doing back then.


What do you think Young Gods fans absorb the most, your music or your lyrics?


Probably the music; the energy in the music and then perhaps with a second listen ... actually, the whole experience is a mixture of lyrics and sounds, the poetry that is in our music, the abstract sounds.  I pretend to believe that we know that some of the lyrics provoke things in people.


TYG_1Is there a Young Gods philosophy or is it just music to dance to?


There is a little bit of philosophy but I think first it's physical.  You can give messages to your body through movement and dance that, to me, are more important than the ones you give as a philosophical message.  I definitely do try to pass on an energy that to me is very positive; something very intense.  Pass it on and not be afraid of knocking people down. 


Do you think music is the best medium to get ideas across to a mass audience?


No.  I don't think we are a mass audience band.  I think we are more into pioneering territories, unknown territories and it might be too challenging for a mass audience.  (Laughing) Talking from experience. 


Musically, does The Young Gods offer any solutions?


We kind of do.  We give proof that you can co-operate in an organic way between man, machine and the world.  Some people might take this as a solution because they are trying to find a happy equilibrium between machines and instruments.  You could take that on a philosophical level as well.  We do show solutions but we don't push anyone to take them.


Finally, does it ever concern you as to how an album will translate live?


Of course.  Most of the time it's the other way around.  How can we capture this momentum live onto a CD? That is the hardest part, for sure.  To keep the sound massive but with fragility because then the equilibrium is there and it's true.  We don't like doing acrobatics with a net so to say, if you fall on the floor, that's it.


Franz, thank you very much.


You're very welcome.


If you'd like to know more about The Young Gods then click on one or both of the links below to enter their extraordinary world, you certainly won't be disappointed. Also catch up with the Uber Rock review of 'Everybody Knows' here, or better still pick up a gig ticket for one of their five upcoming UK shows. 


Don't forget to tell 'em Uber Rock sent you.



Live photo kudos Marie GC