Kollektiv Turmstrasse – that’s Nico and Christian – formed in 1999 when they were roommates in Wismar, Germany. Quickly they fell in with the most famous producers and DJs in the field of minimal techno. Many years have passed since then – and Kollektiv Turmstrasse have evolved musically and conceptually. Their new album UNITY OF OPPOSITES is a response to digitalization, globalization and the pandemic. Instead of an ordinary streaming session, the duo celebrated the album premiere together with their fans in a digital space. We asked Nico about the album, digital merch dealers and the new Kollektiv Turmstrasse logo…
UNITY OF OPPOSITES – more than an album
Hello Nico! Wow, we are really happy to interview you. Some of your fans work at Spreadshop… Generally, how do you connect with fans?
Hello to you and all readers! We are very happy that you are interested in what we do! To answer your question: I hope, of course, that we inspire fans mainly with the music. 😊 Otherwise, social media is the medium to reach fans directly.
We’ve been lucky enough to have a good fan base for years that always support us, and that’s great of course. But we haven’t really dared to put ourselves on display for a long time. That’s not our attitude at all, but in the meantime we also realize how much fun it is to have a direct exchange with fans. With our new album concept, we hope to make social media even more interactive, especially in these difficult times.
Your last album (‘Rebellion of the Dreamers’) was released 11 years ago, after that you mainly appeared with the ‘Sorry I Am Late’ EP and numerous remixes. The new album ‘UNITY OF OPPOSITES’ is much more than an album. Can you tell us about that?
For a long time, we had the feeling that one album would not be enough. The idea for an album was there for a while and there were also sketches, but there was never the right time. It sounds stupid, but for us an album is really something special. Maybe that’s why it took 10 years.
We already had some ideas that went into the virtual realm, and we had also already talked to my good friend Alex from the agency Demodern about some concepts. Then in the winter of 2019, he told me they were working on a virtual stage and asked if I would like to take a look at it.
UNITY OF OPPOSITES is the result of many hours of work, a lot of love for our project and created with UNITY in mind. It would go a bit beyond the scope of this article to talk about how it will go on and what will happen. I can only say this much: We are only at the beginning. Both musically and with the virtual stage.
UNITY OF OPPOSITES is therefore first of all a concept album. The stage, the show, the music are together in the album. I would like to emphasize that everything is connected here and therefore there is no release date for the album itself. But one of the basic ideas was of course to bring people together in the time of COVID and to be able to play live.
So, UNITY OF OPPOSITES is something like a digital club? Fans can buy a ticket to a digital party, and then dance on site with their own character. How exactly does something like that work and how did your first digital gig go?
It’s not necessarily a club, it lacks a roof 😉 That was also important to us: we’re outside, not inside. And how that works, I can only explain to you amateurly, because there’s a lot of technology and know-how behind it. In the current online issue of Page Magazine, there’s a great background report on the technology that Demodern has built into it.
Our first event was really incredible! I can’t tell you how great it was to play in front of a real audience again. It was very exciting and I’m very proud of the team and that everything went so great. The feedback from the fans was overwhelming. I don’t think anyone really expected it to be fun, and most people probably just wanted to hear the music. But in hindsight, the music just seemed to get casual feedback 😉.
I’m looking forward to the next shows, because each show will also bring new changes. As always, it remains exciting with Kollektiv Turmstrasse.
Merch from the digital dealer
Glad to hear your show went so well! We heard that there was also a (digital) merch dealer on site. What did they have on offer?
Of course, the catalog from our Spreadshop 😉. Our merch dealer has the best stuff, that much is clear.
Why merch? Was that your idea or did it come more from the fans?
I’m a big merch fan myself, but we’ve actually struggled with it the last few years and we wanted to fundamentally change that. We are just starting here as well, and we are currently working on many new motifs and designs that are wonderfully easy to add to our Shop.
How did you come to Spreadshop and what do you like about it?
I can start right away. Spreadshop offers us an uncomplicated way of dealing with merch, from designing the products to having our own Shop, it’s a piece of cake. We don’t have to worry about anything, you take care of shipping, complaints and support. It doesn’t get any better than that!
It should also be said that you can set your own prices. For example, we decided to offer lower prices to our fans. This makes us happy and also makes our fans happy.
We like your Shop a lot! Can you tell us something about the setup, product selection and designs? You also redesigned your logo, right?
Thank you very much, we’re happy to hear that. Alisha, our creative fairy, also put a lot of effort into the design – not just with the Spreadshop. Kollektiv Turmstrasse, as you’ve already noticed, is completely redesigning itself right now.
But that’s the beauty of Spreadshop, we can customize our Shop layout to our liking, whether it’s image or color. The product selection for the merchandise is very large and we had to be careful not to offer everything available.
As I mentioned before, I love merch. But it was important to us in the product selection that, for example, we could also offer great products to our female fans. With the designs, the colors of the fabrics were important to us naturally, it should all fit into the new design of Kollektiv Turmstrasse. And then it’s as simple as deselecting the colors you don’t want to offer. Done! Such small features, which have been wonderfully integrated into the Spreadshop, make offering merch easy and above all, instantly possible.
Pandemic streaming solutions
Awesome! We’re glad Spreadshop is working out for you. So, you’ve streamed on Twitch, YouTube and now the live digital show. Nico in particular is very fond of the streaming world. Where does this desire to stream come from? Does it also have something to do with the circumstances caused by the pandemic?
Christian and I were (and are) nerds, we love technology, we love the Internet, streams and YouTube are everyday media for us. We want to use this to have direct contact and exchange with our fans here as well. That works well and is very popular, especially with younger audiences.
The fact that I’m more present right now has to do with the current circumstances, though.
Christian decided during the pandemic that in the future he’ll work in the background. We always had different strengths and in times with an uncertain future such decisions are important for inner well-being. Christian and I are still Kollektiv Turmstrasse, but unfortunately people have to get used to the fact that the handsome one from the band is no longer on stage 😉
Oh, we think you are both very pretty! 😉 Do you have any tips for musicians and producers who are struggling with the never-ending pandemic and haven’t had any gigs for a long time?
I think the number one place to go [in Germany] at the moment should be NEUSTARTKULTUR. There are some support programs for musicians and artists. Unfortunately, we ourselves were not lucky, because we were already too far along in the development of our project. So, you should submit applications already in the conception phase. But a lot is being done in this area. Unfortunately, there are many bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. It’s not quick help. We very much hope that with the vaccinations some normality will soon return for everyone, but for many of my guild it will then be too late. And that is very sad.
Yes, we think that’s very sad, too. We hope that with Spreadshop we can still make a small contribution to ensuring that the voices of musicians and artists are heard. Thanks for the interview, Nico!
Thank you! If you want to buy a ticket for our virtual live show to support us, you can find out more on Instagram. Otherwise, you can find out more via our website or the link: https://unityofopposites.world/.
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