As already on the telephone discussed, we would like to do an interview with you today. Of course we are both very happy and proud to know you personally. For both of us this interview means very much and we would like to thank you once again very heartily that you took extra time for us.
In which age did you discover the enthusiasm to the music?
I was approximately 16 years old at that time and a deep "Beatles and Stone" fan. I grew up with them and of course I was fascinated of their music. However, I was no Elvis Fan. During that time my brother played already in a band.
At which moment did you get professionally into the music?
As I said, my brother played in a band and he asked me one day whether I would like to play the bass guitar. I had no idea how to play it. After a guitarist showed me the magic of a guitar, I got fully into it. We never played according to notes but after our hearing. That was approximately early sixties.
In that case you were not on the disco wave from the beginning, as this type of music became popular only later?
That is right. In that period we played of course what was popular then. For example similar pieces like "Jimmy Hendrix ", or other particular things. By the way, our group was called "Expellt "and we were very well known. At that time we appeared the pre-group of the legendary “Pink Floyd “ during their big concert.
In which groups did you play?
I had some inquiries from foreign countries then; however, I didn't want to leave my own band. In 1969 our guitarist from England got an offer, which he could not refuse. Through his leaving the band was dissolved.
As a result I retired. After five years away from the music industry, I realized that I couldn’t live without it and decided to get into music again. So I started with guitar plays. As a result, I established my first band. This was approximately in 1975 and our music style was "blues, pop and rock.” In 1976/77 suddenly the punk wave came along, which I was very enthusiastic about. During this time we were a trio and gave various concerts. Approximately 1978 "Dieter Meyer" came into scene – later known as "Jellow ". Soon after that we had our first contract. We produced two albums. One album with the name "Dieter Meyer" and the second one with the name "FreshColor ". Dieter Meyer had been singing on both albums. For recording we went to the "Mountain studio" in Montreux (Switzerland). In this studio already groups like: "Queen and David Bowie” had recorded their songs. It was a very professional studio. During this time we gave various concerts together with Dieter Meyer and the records came on the market. We sold approximately 60'000 - 70'000 pieces of both records. We got inquiries from foreign countries including the United States. However, at the same time there were some inconsistencies with Dieter Meyer so that we decided to part from him. I continued together with a singer of the "punk and new wave style” and went on producing some records.
When did the “Italo-fever” get you?
The music scene was changing at that time. New style directions came along like "disco, dance, electrobeats etc. The first groups were created like: "Kraftwerk or Depeche Mode ". Also the "New German wave” was in high demand. That was approximately in the years 82’ and 83’. During this time I had re-formed my group and put an advertisement into the music magazine called “ Rocky ". I was looking after a new bass player. Somebody from "Läufelfingen "(Switzerland) came forward. Together we were both the principal item of the group "FreshColor". Our style was in the style of the "new German wave" and our first song was called: "computer girl ". Then 1984 “Italo Disco” came around and I was so fascinated by this music that I told myself this is my music. Soon afterwards I was looking for a new singer. At that time a colleague of mine knew somebody from England which was playing in a band in “Wohlen” (Switzerland), but wasn’t feeling comfortable. This was nobody less than "Humphrey Robertson "! Together we got fully involved into the Italo disco scene. At first I produced "disco future " and Humphrey wrote the text. We also wanted to pull through professionally and therefore we went to Italy (Milan). When we returned again to Switzerland we’ve got a contract. Afterwards the record came on the market and was a big success. In the Swiss charts we climbed from zero to place 15. Actually, it was also the first song I produced and wrote and it hit on just the sort of thing I like.
Did you have as well various appearances?
Yes, we gave some concerts. Particularly in Germany, because we were very popular there.
How did the foundation by "Fresh Music” actually occur? You were and still you are also
in a group called "FreshColor ". How did this connection of these two names come from or is that coincidence?
No, absolutely not. In 1985, we went with “Valerie Dore” on big Germany tour. We performed almost every evening during five weeks and each time at a different place. Afterwards our second song with the title "Sing With me Tonight” followed in 1985. After this song 1986 was the turn of the album. However, with time I found that I started to change. I had many ideas in my head, ideas for the production of cover-version. In 1986 I met "Mark Wyss“ in Lucerne (Switzerland) . We understood each other very well from beginning and produced the song ''4 You - I Was Made For Loving You " together, which was a cover-version of the group "Kiss”. This song got of course a touch of Italo music. The song was recorded here in Switzerland but was than produced in Italy. Also this song sold very well in Switzerland and reached in the Swiss charts place 6. Afterwards I produced "Arabella - Le freak C'est Chic" and "Arabella - Shame Shame, Shame". Both songs got into the charts. too. Mark Wyss and I worked in the same company where a brilliant singer was working at. During a weekend we flew with him to Germany to "Axel Breitung” and produced the title “In The Air Tonight". This title was very successfully and at the top of the charts. Between and after them I still produced "Veroniqué, Sharon and Air Project " under my own Label called "Fresh Music ", which I had built meanwhile. Of course this was the diversification of our group name "FreshColor". In 1990 until 1991 I then established my own distribution company named "Fresh Music ". The studio came only later. Also at that time “DJBobo” entered into my life. It was Mark Wyss then, which enabled DJBobo to put on in a disco. At that time DJBobo produced three songs and I helped him to distribute them. The third song by DJBobo was called "Let's Groove On". However, they were all low-cost productions. I told Bobo that this was nothing for him. He needed a real producer and then I took care of the whole thing myself. The success didn't take along and the first song produced by myself "DJBobo – “Somebody Dance With Me” became immediately a mega hit and burst on the world! During this time "Captain Hollywood, Culture Beat and Haddaway” had their first hits. In 1993 DJBobo appeared for the first time in Germany (Nuernberg) together with "Army Of Lovers and B.G. The Prince Of Rap ". The show was sensational.
You are guitarist, producer, keyboarder and songwriter. (Please correct us if something of it should not be right.) Which of the four things do you like the most?
Most of all I like to be a producer.
When did you celebrate your biggest successes?
My biggest successes were with my record company, as producer with my own studio and of course with DJBobo.
Where were you more successfully - as band member or as a producer?
I would say as a producer.
In your life the name "Mark Wyss” appears again and again. Who is he, how and where did you meet him ?
As already mentioned we met in Lucerne. We are still in touch, as he is one of my best friends. However, he has not much time left, since he is very engaged professionally.
How do you stand to each other today? Are you still working on common projects ?
He would like too, but as I mentioned before, he is short of time for launching something together.
What is your favourite music?
I don’t necessarily have my favourite music. I hear different things. I like to listen to “trance” as well as to “house” music. What I don’t hear any more are “Beatles” or “Stones" and such stuff.
You are fascinated since the 80’s of the typical disco beat. How far did "Italo disco” influence you in your music?
I would say very much. Also at Bobo’s time this Italo touch existed. Actually, I was always the type, who likes simple music. There is one brilliant interpretation to it and that is: "the strength in the minimum” . Or in own words, "minimal sound but brilliantly packed ". It is already almost an art, to get the maximum out, if you have only a few means.
Surely one of your biggest successes as a producer was together with DJBobo. Is this right?
That is right.
When respectively did you have the idea accrued to the megahit "Somebody Dance With Me”?
The idea for "Somebody Dance With me" came end 91’ beginning 92’.
How does it looks like when you are studying a song? Are you able to predict if this song becomes a hit or not?
Let me say it that way, most of them became a hit, apart a few exceptions. We had fixed a certain budget at that time and wanted to do a few things with "newcomer groups " which afterwards unfortunately became no hits, although a few songs were equally good. It also was difficult because there were so many newcomers and not enough space for all of them or rather the market was satiated at that time.
What kind of instruments did you use with the first four hits of DJBobo, which you have all produced as well as the first two albums?
These were all tiny things like: good bass sound = synthetic music, Wave Roland and so on.
Also the name "Robyx” stands for the first album by DJBobo. Insiders know this name, of course. It is nobody less than "Savage " as “Roberto Zanetti”. How did this happen?
In 1993 we were on the music fair in "Cannes" (France). Each year the music scene all over the world meets there. We met Robyx there as well. He came to us and showed interest in our song (Somebody Dance With Me) and asked us about a license for the publication in Italy and various other countries. As a result we negotiated a contract. At that time I also wanted to do a Remix of “Somebody Dance With Me and Keep On Dancing” and asked Robyx, whether he would be interested in it. He agreed and so we went 3 - 4 days to Italy in his studio, where the Remixes were realized. Furthermore, I think he is one of the most brilliant producers and despite all, he remains down to earth. He hardly has grand airs and above all he is a very quiet type.
We met a couple of times in Lugano for business purposes. Today we are not seeing each other any more, but you can never know.
How about other producers? Did you have respectively do you still have contacts with other Italo producers?
I have no contacts to other producers. I just know many because of their name and of course from my own records collection.
How are things between you and Humphrey Robertson today? Are you still working together?
We have a good relationship and are also good friends. He lives near where I live and we meet each other every week for coffee. We are not working together since he produces the typical synthesizer sound, which is not my Wavelength.
And now to the all fatal question: How do your future plans look?
At the moment I’m doing various reprints like for example from "FreshColor" and launch them again. I want to create more own pieces and produce new ones. I would also like to publish some sampler. Some time soon I consider to do a new publication of the song from 1988 “Digitronic – Disco Night”. I think summer or autumn of this year.
OK, we (the WebDjs) thank you quite heartily for this interview, which means a lot to us and we wish you all the best for the future!
I thank you as well. I was very glad to do this interview with both of you.