It’s truly sad to see one of your musical champions up, close and personal look so worn out. When I sit down with Peter Kruder, I’m quite shocked with what I see; Kruder is a partially greying, haggard middle aged-man.
He chain-smokes, looks anxious and seems genuinely tired. I can’t really blame him, after years of DJ’ing, partying and living the ideal life. All these things tend to take a toll.
Even though my antipodean home was always so far removed from the surreal image and lifestyle of the European chill-out movement, I always maintained this image that K&D were the coolest dudes on the block. You’d always put on K&D at a party and everyone would just acknowledge that it was good, no questions asked. They re-invented parts of the music scene back in the mid 90’s, it was such a minor revelation to hear such a wondrous mix back in the day, so fluid, melodic and thoughtful.
But, then Kruder turned it up a notch when he released his masterpiece solo album Peace Orchestra back in 1999, a coveted obscure LP that tied up all the loose ends of chill out, electronica and moodiness that is before Warp Records came along stole all their thunder.
Where did it all go? What happened to Peter Kruder? Why did it take so long for K&D to open up again?
I had so many questions that I wanted answered, it was unfair, they were riding a wave and they didn’t want to take it. To be honest I thought it was selfish, they had so much talent and they didn’t want to give it to the world. Sounds so personal and subjective I know. But Peter Kruder explains the hysteria surrounding the K&D Sessions and why it was just so alienating for them.
“We actually had enough material to make probably two albums, but we didn’t want to release them.
Because at a certain point, the whole universe around us just became to unbearable. Success and everything that came with it.”
“We knew at certain point we reached a level of the things that we can’t control and to continue and to grow we would have to implement other forces that we didn’t want to work with. We knew that we had to make a major deal and we didn’t want to work inside that machine.”
Most artists would give their right leg to work inside that machine, but K&D threw that all away to work on their solo projects, Richard Dorfmeister with Tosca, Peter Kruder with his very elusive Peace Orchestra.
“We tried to restart our thing in our own way, in the way we can control and handle it and that’s the thing, if this is your goal to get super huge and big and you have to, there a lot of comprising and at the end of the day, I still like to have a life.”
Could it be that K&D had no more material to give?
There was so much talent there but it seems so wasted, Peace Orchestra never released anything again, Tosca worked on a much more subtle level, releasing tedious (compared to Peace Orchestra’s output) chill out albums touring the world.
Even when Kruder decides to finally release some new original material, well it’s a trickle of new stuff, like his new brilliant song Law Of Return, its an enormous song, deep, a dark and thoughtful. The man is talented, no question about it, but he won’t share it with the rest of the world.
Where does that endless stream of melody and thoughtfulness come from?
“It’s a feeling that you need to have to know what key follows what and what makes it special.
It was always important for me to do the things as well as somehow humanly possible; I want it to talk to you and your soul.”
I always saw Peter Kruder as this sort of dark, elusive luminary that would somehow evolve into a Philip glass/ Jon Brion kind of personality. Lending his brilliant production skills to films, composing and aiding innovative artists around the world but it seems it never turned out that way. Kruder left the scene in the 90s to pursue DJ’ing, make music for Helmut Lang and focus on his G-stone record company which mind you is also experiencing very sour times due to the ridiculous mess the business is in.
As Kruder laments, “With our label G – Stone, you see a record that would have sold 25,000 – 30,000, but now sells 2000. Its’ difficult, we were always very giving with budgets to make records, we supported artists to make and concentrate on their projects, we spent a lot of money to do their work and now we cant do that anymore.
Kruder then finds the courage to articulate his feelings about the true state of the business and it’s still confronting to hear even in 2010. “At the end of the day I release a record and people steal it. It’s a cold-hearted fact and that’s rather sad but I think I’m over the shock now. Now I know how to work my way around that. I see that with a lot of my friends who were not as lucky as we were. We were extremely lucky before everything went down. We sell 8% of what we used to sell.”
Kruder comes across slightly stubborn; experiencing success on a major scale back in the day (they sold 2.6 million records) has given him the wares to think he can do what he wants, wherever he wants and how he wants to do it. This isn’t so, in this day and time, you have to compromise, especially if you want to do more than sell a couple of thousand records, or at least find a way for people to hear your music.
He even stamps his authority with me telling me, “I always do what I want. I’m pretty ruthless, I do it my way or I wont do it.”
In the end Peter Kruder just seems like a wasted talent, hiding behind the façade of that one great period of Peace Orchestra and K&D Sessions in the late 90s. Watching everything pass him by, no one is immune to the fluidity of time. Lets just hope Peter Kruder finds his way back to the top, all he needs to do is release something, whether it’s a new Peace Orchestra that he’s assured me is on its way or a new K&D Sessions mix.
Lets just chill-out and see.