Kyau vs Albert Interview: Euphonic or Euphoric-
Author: Clare Dickins
Tuesday, 21 March 2006
In a world of untouchable DJ primadonnas and pre-programmed interview subjects, guys like Ralph Kyau are a breath of fresh air.
As one half of German duo Kyau vs. Albert, Ralph has been at the forefront of the trance movement for 10 years and have charmed the pants of punters with their massive hug-me-I'm-peakin' scorchers Made Of Sun, Velvet Morning and Outside. While their imprint 'Euphonic', trails only Paul van Dyk's 'Vandit Records' as Germany's biggest trance label.
Chat to Ralph though, and he's quite content to quiz you over the Australian weather forecast, tourist destinations and beer, then he is to chat about the duo's scene-topping form.
Born in 1974 in the small East German town of Löbau, Kyau's first exposure to dance music came in the early '90s. "I remember when I was about 15 or 16, luckily I had a friend who was three or four years older and was a DJ. At the age of 16 you couldn't go to a proper club, but he took me to clubs and underground parties and, when I look back, it was really underground. It was not accepted by the radio. I remember a time when I was at school and I said to people, 'hey let's got to a techno rave' and everyone was looking at me and said 'what are you talking about- Is this music or what-'" [laughs]
Like many, Ralph has drawn inspiration from the cultural melting point of Berlin - only a short distance from Löbau - having studied social and political science at university there [he tells me not to laugh at his choice of major]. Although he can't say the city fuelled his production work. "There's a lot of space and a lot of different communities, so it can be very inspiring. I have to say I studied in Berlin and because of all its different influences, I did not produce that much. When I came back to my home town I had a lot more time to work on music. Sometimes when you need to concentrate it's best to be in a quieter place.
He adds, "Berlin has such a rich club culture; on one night you have the choice to go to 30 or 40 clubs, either big or small."
Much has been made of Germany's struggling trance scene. Cosmic Gate's DJ Bossi recently commented "you cannot talk about a scene because there is none" - Ralph tries to look on the positive side. "[When it comes to Berlin] the only regular things are 'Euphonic' and 'Vandit'. Maybe there are, from time to time, some events, but not regular things.
"On the other hand, when I look at sales figures from the big CDs, Germany is a really big market; when I get royalty statements from the UK and the Netherlands, the sales from Germany are quite big and I think it's more the problem of overkill with the music. When Paul is playing a gig, or even Tiësto, it's always full. But maybe it's become too much. When we started our Euphonic night in 2004, it went really slowly, but now it's getting better and better," he tells.
Still, Ralph agrees with the recent outburst from Gareth Emery (aka GTR), with the UK trance ace labelling 95% of the genre "generic, derivative crap" in an interview with Skrufff.
"I think the problem is that there are too many average productions out there, but I would say that it's the label's fault. Maybe a young label owner thinks to themselves 'Hey I can release an average track' to start the whole thing. Personally, a couple of times I've given feedback to producers saying, 'No it's not for Euphonic, it's not a hit' and they've responded with, 'Yeah, but when I look at this label, they've released the same kind of music'.
"It's a strange situation and Gareth is absolutely right. But neither of us can change this. In the end it's not a bad thing that young people start to produce either."