This is another interview that was initiated before the lockdown. Wolfgang Ottl & Jean-Philippe Hulin AKA The New Morning had just reissued a trio of E.P.s with Emotional Rescue. Some of their music had also been picked up and repressed by Kalahari Oyster Cult – so it seemed like the perfect time to quiz the two of them on the little documented `90s Bavarian afro-cosmic scene in which they both played a part. I also wanted to see if they could help fill in a few blanks regarding the sound`s originators, Daniele Baldelli and Bepe Loda. I`ve “unarchived” the interview now since it fits into this week`s theme of “Funky Alternatives”.
Where are you from, and where are you currently based?
Wolfgang: Munich, Germany
JP: Munich, Germany. I’m still there, in the suburbs.
When and why did you first start DJing?
JP: I started off mixing and cutting in the early `80s, inspired by the non-stop-mixing of hip hop DJs like Kool Herc. Non-stop-dancing was born but it killed my dad’s turntable.
Wolfgang: I also began in the mid `80s – playing mainly disco, funk and hip hop at block parties. Like many others I was influenced by the hip hop/ graffiti movement which was just hitting comingGermany. Wildstyle the seminal hip hop movie was co-founded by a German TV company, and it aired the first time in around 1984. I believe this was even bit earlier than in the US. The film had a tremendous impact on a lot of young kids and a new scene very quickly started to develop. At that time Munich and other cities in Germany had a lot of US citizens, due to the US military bases. There a lot of venues and clubs playing “black” music – soul, funk. disco and rap – mixed with early European synth pop. In around 1988 acid house took over and the early rave scene brought more new styles and mixing techniques to Munich, parties. By the mid-90s techno was dominant all over Europe.
Where were your first gigs and what kind of music were you playing?
JP: My first DJ gigs were in small clubs in Munich, playing hip hop for the younger crowd and soul for an older one; sometimes with my drum machine and MCs combined – very Wildstyle (laughs).
What clubs were you going to locally, and what DJs did you like?
JP: Before the house and acid house wave came over to Germany we were mainly going to hip hop clubs like The California New or the Eastside. Then to the first underground house parties started in abandoned houses and basements. In the early `90s there were the first techno raves, and in parallel the cosmic music scene had its first peak in the south of Germany.
Wolfgang: In the `80s there were many local clubs Like California New, Café Größenwahn, Reitschule, Eastside, Far Out, Jacky O, Charly M, P1, Parkcafe… the DJs were mostly locals like Lupo, Michael Reinboth, Romeo – the German DMC champion, Randy just to name a few. The `90s were the rave years and the popular venues were Ultraschall at Riem – this is an area out past the airport were there are many different clubs. It was the home of first Tribal Gathering outside the UK – and Kunstpark Ost – which is a huge city like area with dozens of different clubs and bars. I didn ́t really have a favourite DJ or act – there were so many different influences.
How did you discover afro / cosmic, Loda / Baldelli?
JP: Actually in the mid-90s techno and cosmic were both played in the same clubs. Each scene had its own night.
Wolfgang: Completely stoned at Pablo (Landauer) ́s house listening to some tapes ….to be honest neither Daniele Baldelli or Bepe Loda were big motors driving the German scene, at least in the beginning. The Afro–Funky–Cosmic sound came to the south of Germany in around 1989. It became a kind of Italian parallel world to the German house / techno scene. The music was a slow steady pumping collage of afro-tribal-funk-arabic-reggae-brasil-electronic-industrial-rock. A lot of equalizer sound effects and later samples were layered on top. Records were played at 45rpm instead of 33rpm and vice versa – creating a trippy, spacy feeling. It was completely different to the increasingly accelerating house and techno beats. Off course later there were pitched down techno and trance records that formed part of a more afro-trance sound, especially in Germany and Austria. In Italy they remained “funky”. I think a lot of this was to do with the weather, many of those Italian clubs were open air.
The forerunners in Germany were promoters and DJs like Pablo Landauer (Fiesta Musica Magica) and Stefan Egger, who trademarked “Cosmic Music” – together with three guys – the Cosmic Music Agency, from Augsburg, a small town close to Munich. Pablo had the first regular club nights at a club one hour away from Munich and it was him throwing the first big parties in Germany. The cosmic tribe hippies were basically traveling each weekend to different venues, in the beginning mostly out in countryside or in Innsbruck or Lago di Garda. The afro-funky-cosmic sound was played – geographically – between Bavaria, south of Germany, the Alps and Innsbruck and Northern Italy – Bolzano, Venice, Brescia, Bologna, Ravenna and Rimini. Later there were regular club nights at different venues in Munich and scene was at its peak by the end of the `90s. Off course in hindsight we know that those DJs and promoters were inspired by Daniele Baldelli, Bepe Loda, and their tapes, but we didn’t know that at the start.
Did you holiday in Lake Garda?
JP: Sure, it`s only 4 hours by car from Munich
Wolfgang: I remember many nights at Spleen, and Arco where Corrado DJ was the resident.
Did you attend parties at Baia Delgi Angeli, Cosmic, or Typhoon?
Wolfgang: These were all closed by then. The follow up to Baia delgi Angeli, Baia Imperiale, Cattolica, yes.
Did you collect “the tapes”?
JP: Sure, everyone did. They were copied and traded, copied. Today I don ́t have any anymore but there are still people collecting them.
Did you own a Citroen 2CV?
JP: Only a Citroen DS
Wolfgang: Nope, a Mercedes Benz 240d
Who was the biggest influence on you, Loda or Baldelli?
JP: For Cosmic Music my biggest influence was Corrado DJ.
Wolfgang: As I mentioned before, they only became a source of influence later. Bepe for his eclectic style mix of afro / electro and Baldelli for his perfect harmonic mixing. Both are great storytellers. When I started the most popular DJ in Germany was Yano. He did the best tapes, some of which were overdubbed – where he’d record the mix, and then mix over that. He was the resident at the Cotton Club, in Venice and Le Cupole, in Verona. He played regularly in Germany. He was certainly a huge influence on the next generation of cosmic DJs – who were all copying his style – mixing and scratching on three turntables. It ́s sad that he just vanished, like many of his contemporaries from back then.
Other famous DJs in Germany in the early `90s were Corrado, Ebreo, Pery, Meo, Fattori, Fary and Stefan Egger. Meo ́s uncle, if I remember correctly, owned the Melody Mecca, in Rimini – an open-air club in a lush garden – which other than Cosmic and Typhoon was the most legendary afro funky club. In the summertime, most of Italy’s cities shut down as people go to the seaside for their vacation. So the city club DJs all also move to these summer destinations.
Were you also influenced by Claudio “Mozart” Rispoli and Claudio Tosi Brandi (TBC)?
Wolfgang: TBC was only playing hits … He was more recognized as a live drummer – at least in Germany – even though he was “first generation” Cosmic DJ. He was involved in both of Baldelli`s Cosmic LPs, in `84 and `94. I liked Mozart playing funky and his Jestofunk productions are classic today. Also notable is his Art-Of-Moz LP from 1984. It`s a crappy title but it has some top early Balearic tunes on it.
Where were you finding your records? Did you shop at Disco Piu in Rimini?
Wolfgang: Sure, but also in other shops in Italy and Austria. Later I was involved in setting up and running two shops in Munich – Afro Vibes and Bam Bam Records.
Did you shop at Loda`s store in Brescia, Señor Salsa?
Wolfgang: I can ́t remember, perhaps.
In interviews I’ve seen Beppe state that he also did a season DJing at Cosmic – but I’ve never seen Daniele mention this. Do you know if it`s true?
Wolfgang: I believe the Cosmic club reopened shortly with Loda in 1985. But there were certainly other DJs playing at Cosmic as well. How often and when I don ́t know.
Bepe also says that his Afro Gatherings, in Gambara`s sports stadium, attracted to up to 10, 000 people. Did you attend these parties? Is it true?
Wolfgang: I don ́t know. It sounds excessive to me. Both Loda and Baldelli are telling their very own stories on how the afro-funky scene developed. Truth is, there were still large outdoor parties in the `90s and I went to a couple of them. Even today there are beach parties in Rimini and Ravenna during holiday season that attract many people – but probably not the hardcore party crowd anymore.
Did you DJ at any of these events?
Wolfgang: I played at an Afro Raduno in Bolzano but not at these large events. Only very few DJs from Germany played in Italy. The most well known German DJs in Italy at that time were for sure DJ Fred and Amma. DJ Fred did also the big events and was running Bam Bam records by the late `90s. He was involved in some of our productions.
Cosmic closed to drug problems. Were there also drug problems at Typhoon?
Wolfgang: I don ́t know, you’d need to ask Beppe. I believe Typhoon was even smaller than Cosmic, and there were simply too many people on the weekends. People couldn’t get in and were hanging around in Lazise, with all the typical problems, noise, waste, etc.
Were / are you friends with Bepe and Daniele? Do you know the Austrian DJs Navajo and Enne?
JP: Enne, si.
Wolfgang: Navajo was one of the very early cosmic DJs in Austria – alongside with Stefan and Enne. I don ́t know him personally. He founded the Galaxy nights at an Innsbruck youth centre – which became a cult event. I believe even today there is a yearly Galaxy revival party. He also held the first Afro Meeting in Innsbruck in 1988 – which later became THE afro-funky event outside Italy. It was an annual 2-3 days Festival in a Sports Arena. People came from 3 countries, camping outside in a parking lot. The other guys I know. Enne has been living in Munich for many years now and Stefan moved to a lake close to Munich. But I haven ́t been in contact with Beppe or Daniele for quite a while.
Can you tell me more about how the scene developed in Munich? When and where were you throwing parties? How many people attended? Who were the other DJs?
Wolfgang: I would think that Loda, Baldelli, Rubens, Mozart, TBC, Ebreo, and others were the first generation of cosmic DJs, also Stefan Egger and Enne. Then you have the second generation with Yano, Corrado, Pery, Pablo and others and then basically a third generation with DJs from Germany and Austria like Fred, Amma, Merlin, Venus, Chris DVM, Makossa, Bogi, Makah, Dibongo and me – I went by the name Otti DJ at the time.
The scene in Munich, Augsburg- and rural Bavaria was steadily growing, and different groups were throwing parties – some large two day events – like the Fiesta Musica Magica outside Munich and some small parties at special places – like the Bahiana Corps events which were held on a mountain top. At that time, I didn ́t really promote my own parties. But I did do a few. The most notable one was a one-off event called Afrosphere in 1993 with Baldelli, Pablo and others at the Nachtwerk Club in Munich. Later the Nachtwerk Club became the first weekly cosmic club night – called the Boom Boom Club – run by Pablo, with Pery and Corrado as residents.
Were you closely tied to the scene in Augsburg?
Wolfgang: Somehow or other, I ended up living in Augsburg, but I moved further and further away from cosmic scene in around 1996,1997 – and was playing other things like UK garage, dub, house and techno. I was involved with an underground house and after-hours club in Augsburg at that time.
When did you start making music as The New Morning? Had you been making music, or been in any bands before this?
JP: I’d been making music, doing live gigs and releasing tracks since the late `80s – mainly hip hop – but then in the `90s moved into electro and house. In 1994, we – Wolfgang, Thilo and me – got together in my studio and made the first tracks – which were released as the Cricket Island E.P. It was all very improvised and there was lots of creativity in the room. Crazy times.
Wolfgang: We were both DJs, but The New Morning project was the first time I`d worked in production. By the mid-90s, the cosmic scene was on a heavy decline creatively. A handful of DJs and promoters were dominating the scene and they had the aim of commercializing the music, and making more money – for example by selling bootlegs compilations. The scene was a “closed circle” with very little outside influence, or new styles, getting in. Quite different to the house, techno and drum & bass scenes – which were constantly evolving. Everyone on the cosmic scene was copying the style of a few in demand DJs. Everyone was playing the same records over and over. So we had to do something about it. With the New Morning project we tried to re-capture the original spirit and it with combine different styles and live instrumentation.
How did the two of you actually meet?
JP: We were still at school. It was the mid-80s and we were introduced by a radio DJ – Candy Andy. A few days later Wolfgang came to my home and we rocked the Technics 1200s. My parents were very patient with me and my friends…
Wolfgang: That ́s right. We started hanging out with other hip hop DJs, Graffiti artists and break dancers, and doing some early DJ mega-mixes – using 6 turntables in my parents’ basement. Old school stuff.
Did the New Morning series start out as “DJ tools” – sampling sought after afro / cosmic classics?
Yes and no. The Beats of Pleasure E.P. was a beats compilation for DJs – they were designed to be “worked” on 3 turntables but they also had some live instrumentation in with all the samples. In general, we tried to create our own “cosmic” music and not rely on other cosmic – afro hits. We produced some cosmic classics – like Lingala, Tambura and Riddim Of Inari – which uses native Lapland voices for example. In other words we tried to develop our own style and approach.
Were Adrian Sherwood and ON-U Sound also an influence?
Wolfgang: Yes, the early Dub Syndicate and African Head Charge records are outstanding, and I played them a lot. Adrian Sherwood’s mixing and production skills are certainly extraordinary. I once saw him with Gary Clail, Akabu, Bim Sherman and Dub Syndicate – he was mixing the whole evening live in a dub style. It was mind blowing.
How did house and techno impact what you were doing?
JP: I’m still producing house and techno records. What more can I say?
Wolfgang: Yes, it had a certain impact, as I was playing house and techno next to cosmic music – the more the tribal and dubby end of things. Trip hop and acid jazz also had an impact.
Were you aware of Ibiza and “the balearic beat”? Did this influence you at all? Did you visit Ibiza?
Wolfgang: Yes, early balearic classics were played at cosmic parties as well – records by Elkin and Nelson, Chakachas and the Rah Band. To me the balearic genre – which is so popular nowadays – blossomed somehow in the aftermath of nu disco and the re-discovery of cosmic. It didn’t really receive global recognition until the 2000s.
Are you still DJing? Do you have any residencies?
JP: No not in clubs. Occasionally I`ll do some mixes for my crew – you can find them on Soundcloud. I’m JayPee68.
Wolfgang: I ́m part of a DJ team called Lagué Moin and we have two residencies in Munich and a monthly radio show at Radio80000. We play everything from oddball rare disco gems, funky leftfield techno, brazilian music, electronics, …. You know the good stuff. Occasionally we throw some parties and invite guests we ́d like to play – people like HEAP and The Pilotwings. Actually, we were due to host a floor at Wilde Renate, in Berlin, this summer – and played at a few smaller festivals – but due to Corona everything got cancelled.
You’ve recently had music reissued by Emotional Rescue and Kalahari Oyster Cult. How did these reissues come about? Are there any more to come?
Wolfgang: To be honest it came as a surprise. I didn`t think that there was any interest or a market for our 90s cosmic stuff. But I was proven wrong. Two years back or so I did a house mix for Ransom Note – which was accompanied by a short interview, giving some insight into what I`d done earlier. After that I was contacted by a range of people interested in reissuing our old stuff. Chuggy at Emotional Rescue had actually got in touch way back in 2017, but Kalahari were the first ones to put something out. It seems that Tambura`s Tikitaka was an underground club hit in Amsterdam, and pretty sought after. Dazion had already done a remix and then Tornado Wallace contacted me, asking if I might still have some copies to sell. So he ended up doing the other remix. I believe Chuggy first heard of us through Jan Shulte, when they`d played Salon De Amateurs together, and he`d been discussing Tikitatka with Sneaker DJ, who’d been playing it for quite a while. DJs like Jan Schulte and Toulose Low Trax – both of whom I also met at the Salon De Amateurs together – had been championing the records for some time. One of our tunes is also featured on the recent Studiolo compilation on Dizonord / Antinote – which shines a light on the 90s cosmic scene.
I think the best thing about all of this is that we – me and JP – got back together and started doing some new things under the New Morning moniker. Right now, we are working on some remixes for Permanent Vacation and Rebirth Records which will be released later this year. I`m also doing a side project called Wolfsford which is more experimental percussive music. JP also has his own project, ChromaSense, so there`s definitely more to come!
The New Morning`s Rhythms Of Culture E.P.s are available from Emotional Rescue, Tambura`s Tikitaka and the Studiolo compilation can be ordered through Kalahari Oyster Cult and Antinote. Don’t forget that Bandcamp are waiving their fees again this Friday, July 3rd. A big thank you to Stuart Leath for the hook-up.