One half of inimitable downtempo electronic pairing Kruder & Dorfmeister, Richard is also one half of the Tosca project with childhood friend Rupert Huber. Their first Tosca album in 1997, 'Opera', was a shimmering chilled delight, and they're now releasing their sixth Tosca album, 'Odeon' — an elegiac, ambient triumph (out next month on !K7).
“Yes, I'm pretty amazed as well that this new one is the sixth album,” Richard tells DJ Mag. Still maintaining his studio in Vienna, still running the G-Stone label (“it's basically a leftfield operation, a labour of love”), and now with three children, Richard intends to carry on making and playing music as long as possible. “I want to continue doing music as long as I can, so long as I can keep the fire up,” he says.
The first Tosca album 'Opera' was a standout electronica album of the late '90s, but do you have much association with opera?
“Do I have any interest in opera? Not at all. I don't like opera at all. It's too formal, the way it's done, you have to sit there throughout the whole thing. We did a big shoot at the time of the first album through a window, which was quite impressive. It was raining, and we used this as the album cover image. Have I ever listened to opera at home? No, at home I listen to all kinds of stuff, but not opera.”
So if DJ Mag said to you, 'Would you like to come to the opera with us tonight, Richard?', what would you say?
“I might. Have I ever been to an opera? Yeah, I went to Mozart with my parents when I was a child. I hated it, it was awful. Have I been since I've been a grown-up? No. It was a bad enough experience back then.”
Your new album is called 'Odeon'... don't tell me you hate the cinema as well?
“Ha ha, no. No. Actually it's not a cinema, it's a theatre place in Vienna. We had permission to do a Tosca live performance there back in September, with our vocalists and including a collaboration with a visual artist. We decided to take the title 'Odeon' for the album, and it's come together really nicely.”
You do Tosca with Rupert Huber, who you've known since school. Over the years, how have you balanced doing your stuff with Rupert with doing your Kruder & Dorfmeister work with Peter?
“Yes, I've known Rupert 25 years or more. It's maybe a bit more comfortable working with Rupert because we've known each other for so many years, and the chemistry works really well. It's almost like a marriage in a way – ha ha.”
But obviously you still get on very well with Peter? Or do you hate each other's guts?
“Ha ha, no, we did this anniversary compilation last year, but at certain times I want to return to the Tosca project because it sounds a bit more familiar to me. The other one turns out very professional. I like to find a middle way.”
Back in the '90s when you had the Kruder & Dorfmeister 'DJ-Kicks' out, you guys got big really quickly. Was that a surprise?
“Yeah, completely. We jumped into the scene without any warning — it was great. We didn't do it to become professionals, we were just doing it to have a good time. Our DJing was a bit of a joke, in a way, and then the !K7 album turned over a lot of units. It was at a time when the music business was working — compared to now. We came into the music business at a good time, before the whole MP3 thing came in.”
You've been doing some Kruder & Dorfmeister live shows recently — how have they been going down?
“We did them mainly in 2011, we did 60 shows which went down really well. We had a really good live/DJ concept with MCs that worked really well, but we didn't just want to repeat it again and again.”
What's your take on the whole EDM explosion in the States? Have you felt like cashing in your chips and going EDM?
“It's a funny phenomenon, but it doesn't touch us at all — it's another world. It's a phenomenon that will pass. It's OK to bring electronic music to the masses, but what kind of electronic music is another question. I don't like it musically at all. It's not my thing. A better idea is the 'Gangnam Style' thing — the kids love it and everybody likes it, it's a bit like 'Pump Up The Jam' by Technotronic, everybody knows it. 'Gangnam Style' is so absurd. In a way it's my favourite tune of the moment, my son's friends were showing me the moves yesterday.”
If Kruder & Dorfmeister had to remix 'Gangnam Style', what would you do to it?
“Erm, it's a good idea, actually! Let's do it! I don't know what we'd do, but it would be funny, for sure!”