While Kraftwerk are often, quite rightly, credited with being electronic music pioneers, fellow Germans Tangerine Dream formed in 1967, a full three years before Kraftwerk. It’s not a competition, but it is amazing when considering just how long ago these guys were pushing boundaries. Particularly in the ’80s, their music could be heard on movies such as Firestarter and Legend, and TV shows like Street Hawk.
The lineup of Tangerine Dream is ever-evolving. Band leader Thorsten Quaeschning, for example, only joined in 2004. No current members of the group were in Tangerine Dream in the last millennium. Think of it as an orchestra.
“It’s an everlasting evolving and morphing process, learning from every note ever played and combining things that were explored and set as rules inside our microcosm,” Quaeschning says. “We are combining Synthesizer from all decades, hardware, modular, software to come as close to the sound, created in our heads and imaginations, as possible. Edgar Froese, the founder of Tangerine Dream that sadly passed away in 2015, had a very detailed vision of what Tangerine Dream should do, which scales we should use, there are even many rules when it comes to program step-sequencers, melodies, and structures. The source should always be a deeper intention and emotion transferred to the computer, sequencer, and instruments. Peter Baumann once said that the concept of Tangerine Dream is stronger than the single musician, a bigger sum of the parts, and that is why Tangerine Dream could live forever. Every single musician’s role was to be part of that concept and giving triggers out of their personal strengths.”
When it comes to the current state of electronic music, Quaeschning says that the term covers just about everything nowadays.
“We are not in the position to judge, and if music is connecting people, giving the chance to bundle the situation with the heard music, creating a personal memory and shared or even lonely important moment, it’s an undeniable good thing,” he says. “The variety is nearly infinite and there is so many inspiring, fresh sounding and clever music out there. It’s often hard to find, but on the other hand, in a world where everything is just a click away, the feeling to find some new or old music, that touches you on many levels, hearing music you instantly can connect with, music that triggers longing, sadness or warm confusion is a moment of luck.”
Tangerine Dream recently scored the Grand Theft Audio V game.
“Rockstar Games asked Tangerine Dream because they loved the soundtrack for the Michael Mann Movie Thief,” Quaeschning says. “We composed around 35 hours of music for the game. An interesting fact is, that besides the navigation system and fixed ‘scenes’ the game itself creates the mix, depending on the player’s position inside the game. The biggest challenge was to find the right balance of melodies vs. Atmosphere, because the time of each single players is very individual and differs between minutes to many hours.”
Looking ahead, Tangerine Dream has plenty planned for 2023.
“Last year we released our album Raum that we are very proud of and toured the UK extensively after its release,” Quaeschning says. “We just announced our North American Tour that will take place in September 2023, and is Tangerine Dream’s most exciting North America Tour in over 30 years. Besides the US Tour we will be playing many concerts in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Romania, Hungary, and perhaps Asia and South America. Our new album is roughly planned for 2024.”
Tangerine Dream’s Raum is out now. They play the Knockdown Center in Queens on September 30.