01. Al Karpenter – No More Heroes Anymore
02. Genesis P-Orridge with Splint Test – On Thee Way to Thee Garden C: Thee Fractured Garden
03. Interactive Music – Kinky Sky Candy Drops
04. REQ – Runout Scratches
05. DDR – Nekropolis
06. Gherkin Jerks – Midi Beats
07. Hot Bip – Bestiaire
08. Planet Underground – Trägerfrequenz Pegelmesser Typ MV 60
09. Kopy – Good Morning
10. Bookworms – African Rhythms
11. Doxa Sinistra – No Car, No Job
12. The Lloyd Pack – Tucked U Up
13. Club Of Rome – Faircomp 1 F
14. Logos – Zoned In (feat. Mumdance)
15. Tristan Disco – Be On The Decrease (Civilistjävel! Retake)
16. Keiska – Synth Mix
And some field recordings in between.
Berlin based incognito duo Inkasso recognition is growing, but the band diligently and consistently tries to remain anonymous. This concept enhances the atmosphere of an alienated metropolis and captures the attention of the audience, who are curious to encrypt Inkasso. Debut release on 'Osàre! Editions' and newest tape on 'Silhouette Tape's' label tempts the listeners with the precision of the rhythm machines, balancing the indefiniteness of echoes and various samples. Between art house and dance music, famous clubs and fast driving taxis in unknown streets, hazy salons, concrete cities, amusing leftfield and heated dancefloors. We're playing the interview, join.
Two figures in suits. The vibe coming from you is similar - better to be careful around. You cover yourselves completely, only bare eyes are left. From who are you hiding?
It’s not important who we are, how we look and which gender we belong to. Each of us is just another avatar of society. The name Inkasso was and is always a dystopian storytelling door for us. The musical structures and textures we use are always influenced by this. We won't say that we're dangerous, but we represent the anxiety that the future is not safe. There is always someone who doesn't know what will happen tomorrow or how to survive the next day. This oppressing feeling is what we see every day and what we think most of the time. But that doesn't mean everything's bad – we're also trying to find the moments of light, in between. It’s not important who we are, because we play with situations and feelings, we create a musical concept for ourselves that always excites.
Another remarkable object - a little black suitcase. What are you carrying there? Does all the gear fit in? If it can be identified, what's your usual set-up?
Inside the suitcase is a basic setup for collecting and transforming sound sources. The suitcase is the last part of our signal chain. For every performance we throw a different set up inside our cases. You can find loopers, effects, small synthesizers and some other gear there. We very often use Electro Harmonix 4800, Akai MPC 1000, AcidLab Miami, iPad, Korg Volca´s, Moog Mother, Boss Digital Delay, Sans Amp EQ, Microphones, Electromagnetic Contact Mics, Behringer 606/303, Pocket Operator...
Inkasso music has both: drum machine tightness and fuzzy sampled echoes. When observing the rhythmic sharing of these two plots, how is the balance being kept? Do you have different roles of performing in the rhythmic section?
On the day of the performance we collect the material: field recordings, daily news and whatever we find. With all that we create a musical discussion, using our machines on stage. Every performance is different and special for each location. There are no particular rules for us, we both do various different things.
Sometimes your duo is joined by the collaborator, who's not hiding under the painter's suit but still remains mysterious. ML, the performer & ideator. Many recognize his voice or his way of writing about music even more than from his appearance. ML adds sound recording excerpts from various contexts to Inkasso tracks. How did this occasional collaboration start between you? And what is the ML's input?
ML asked us to improvise in his album called 'Looted Lagoons', released on 'Kashual Plastik' label. He was playing sound textures, field recordings and spoken word audio material and we were creating a musical ground layer for this. That was more ambient, drone and noise, genre-wise.
Actually, we never rehearsed with him, but step by step ML's and Inkasso ideas started to melt together and became a good fit. Last year we had the opportunity to perform together at the 'Meakusma' festival in Belgium. For this we created a stage where all three of us were having a conversation, musically. Someone is throwing an idea and another is reacting or replying. Just like in the ping pong game, which slowly starts to intensify. During this show ML was speaking into the mic, sometimes his voice was clear and sometimes it became an undefined instrument between the layers. We still do shows together and, at the moment, record an album.
'Between dub, drone and techno' - one critic wrote about your debut album, which premiered on Osàre! Editions label. The name of the release is 'Zeichen im Schacht der verschleierten Tatsachen' (en. 'Signs in the shaft of the veiled facts'), the record cover captures a confrontation between excavator and human hand. There is aggression in Inkasso's music, but it seems that you are also looking for human tenderness - like you'd want to grab that hand on the cover.
The design of the Cover was chosen by Oliwia Szanajca. We think it’s a good symbol of how we're always digging for something warm and soulful in the coldness of electronic music.
Do you think that music could be divided by genre into cold and warm?
It is best to consume it with a body temperature of 36.8 degrees in order to be able to enjoy it to the fullest.
Another Inkasso release, a tape, came out in a literal concrete brick. It's called 'Familiendrama' and was released by Silhouette tapes. Literal musique concrète. What's recorded there?
Inside the tape, there are different tracks from different sessions recorded. So it’s more like a small archive of Inkasso music, pressed into concrete. In a way, it’s a musical photo album or an excerpt of a diary. Looking back to the past of hanging around with our family – the drama machines.
What art movements or personalities fuels the Inkasso works? Are there any particular subcultures in Berlin you are relating with? Do you notice that Berlin's subcultural movements are vanishing together with hardly avoidable gentrification and what venues/labels/event series are still working on keeping them alive?
There are a lot of influences but the real art is separating them and filtering out the individual essence. Often we are seen as modern alchemists, because our suits and suitcases – the room becomes the sound laboratory.
In Berlin, there still are a few locations and crews, who're rooted deeply into subculture. Of course, as gentrification progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to keep the lifestyle and spirit alive. But it's the case of clubs - they're always temporary. They're spaces that close, deform and reform. The pandemic also offered a few free new spaces for the city as they became unattractive to the business investors.
Another creative port for you to drop the anchor is the uncanny Kashual Plastik label. There's a lot of real DIY spirit left there. What's the actual connection? Do you bring the DIY culture fundamentals into Inkasso creative process?
nkasso is quite closely related to Kashual Plastik, some may know why, some may discover it in the future. That's also the reason why DIY instruments and other sound sources, as well as experimental approaches, reflect in our music and production. It is a spirit which unavoidably runs through the whole project.
There are many stories coming from artists telling the power of the scene costume. Changing everything - even socks - before entering the stage, to be brave while embodying the alter ego persona. If a costume has such power, why, in your opinion, has it become such a rarity these days?
The question is where the costume and the roleplay starts and where it ends. It’s true, costumes have a lot of power, especially empowering the performers.
When putting on the costume, from the first second we enter this special Inkasso state of mind. We assume that if somebody prepares for a bank rob, it's kind of the same feeling. It gives you an extra thrill.
And how does incognito mode go with the promotional pressure? Sometimes the coolest enigmas reveal their mortality by reposting three stories from the venue that's promoting the gig. What are the alternatives of spreading the word about your art?
It’s easier to promote someone like us than another person with the same haircut as everyone on Instagram. For sure, promoting is not easy when you avoid showing too much of your personal life. But we know for sure that people like gear and unconventional slogans on shirts. We didn’t find a good way for our promotion, but we have ideas - so it’s just a matter of time.
Inkasso dynamic is very suitable for performing live - I try to guess that you're also making the recordings by cutting the uninterrupted jams of yours to pieces. Correct me if that's a myth only. Don't you get frustrated by the uncertainty of live performance? Or there's a developed trust that shared energy will put you in the zone?
You are right, but you are also wrong. Jamming around with tools and material is always the base of finding a core idea, to find the energy, also significant textures. If we prepare for a performance, we always run a recorder. Sometimes we use parts of a recording for the new tracks. But we also work on tracks more properly, as most of our released music is produced in the studio.
Dance music. In some ways, this could describe every genre ever. What moves of dancing to Inkasso music you've noticed in the crowd? What's the tempo of the piece you serve to the Digital Tsunami podcast?
Snares, claps and pumpy basslines will make people move. But we always see people spinning their heads if there's a fluid meditative loop of sounds.
We like to play with half tempo and doubled tempo, mostly we start somewhere around 84 bpm. In the mix there are different kinds of tempos - it's like a train surf on Berlin's U1.
Lean close, I'll whisper the last one: are you not afraid that your true identities will be revealed one day?
There's no true identity in fiction.
Published: 17 Mar 2023