Wermut logo Wermut has caught the attention of both minimal electronics fans and lovers of dark folk music. They seem to be a rather new group but are definitely not. Both members, Sofia E.R. and Laszlo P.S, have been producing music for along time. Also they are active with their relative new label Treue Um Treue / Reue Um Reue.
Funprox took some time to dive in the past, talk about the present and gaze a little into future with these two very creative and productive individuals.

Who are you? Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Funprox.

We are Sofia and Laszlo of WERMUT. We’re just a man and a woman trying to be someone… as LE SYNDICAT ELECTRONIQUE would put it!

Wermut may seem to some people like a new project due to the recent releases on Kernkrach/Hertz and Treue um Treue. Can you tell a little about the history of Wermut?

Wermut - Laszlo We created WERMUT back in 2001. At that time our main project was called ANENCEPHALIC CRETINISTS, much more industrial but already with some minimal/wave elements. So in many ways AC can be considered as WERMUT’s genesis or prototype. The first official release came much later, in the spring of 2004, with LES CINQ-À-SEPT POST-NÉOISTES” on OLD EUROPA CAFÉ. This was a concept mini-LP in a much more “industrial” or even “neo folk” vein, featuring guest-musicians such as HIS DIVINE GRACE, NOVY SVET and DITTERICH VON EULER-DONNERSPERG. At the time we recorded this album we had no intention of submitting it to a label… It is Jürgen Weber who insisted that we should. We also sent two other much more electro songs, which were composed at the same time, to KERNKRACH… That’s how everything got started.

You have a new record entitled “Anna” coming out on Punch Records. Can you tell something about the music and the ideas behind that album?

cover“ANNA” tells the story of two people we know who, in the late 70’s, built their own sailing ship and engaged on a three-year-long journey around the globe. We were very impressed by their adventure and decided to put it to music. In style this first CD is much more quiet and introspective than HOFFNUNG, but it has the electro and wave elements which were not very present on the OEC release, so on the whole you could say it is “in between” the two previous albums. However some people say it is yet another aspect of WERMUT…

What other releases of Wermut are you working on?

There are a few contributions coming up. WERMUT will appear soon on “LE SALON DES INDÉPENDANTS”, a sampler on Dutch Label ENFANT TERRIBLE, as well as on the next TREUE UM TREUE release, which is also a sampler (actually an electronic tribute to Death and Black Metal). We are working on a more “dance-floor orientated” WERMUT 7” to be released on T.U.T in 2006, as well as on a follow-up to “LES CINQ-À-SEPT POST-NÉOISTES” for OEC. Ah! And we’ve just recorded the soundtrack to a small experimental film we made, which will be released soon on DVD-R on a new subdivision of T.U.T/R.U.R called GETREU ALLZEIT.

Which projects besides Wermut are you own active projects at the moment?

Laszlo has another electro project called ICH WOLLTE ICH KÖNNTE, which is much wavier than WERMUT, and very melancholic. Two tracks from this project feature on the sampler “SACRIFICE MODERNE” which is now being released on INVASION PLANETE, and a first album will follow, also on IP. Sofia has a post-industrial project called KOSTNICE, making what Laszlo likes to call “funeral march musak”, and whose second album has just been released on REUE UM REUE. There are also other projects which are more a less on stand-by…

Why and when did you decide to start a label yourselves?

At first we were passionate music listeners and vinyl-lovers, then we started making music ourselves… in a way producing our own records seemed like the logical next step to take. As a matter of fact we have been manufacturing tapes and CDRs for years but only on a very small scale, making extra-limited hand-made editions for our family and friends. So you could say it was essentially a change in scale and format! We really started planning T.U.T/R.U.R in 2004. The idea was not only to have a platform for our own music, but also to be able to release the music we knew and loved from other people, and to create the objects which we ourselves as listeners would like to buy.

Why did you decide to have two imprints for the label?

We have always been equally interested in many different music genres, so when we decided to start a label we didn’t want to confine ourselves too much. On the other hand, a label should be representative, people should know more or less what to expect. So we thought the best solution was to have twin-labels, one dedicated to the more danceable electro tunes and the other to the more introspective, so-called post-industrial ones… which you could basically consider to be the two main directions which were born out of the original “industrial” movement. Inside these two labels however we grant ourselves a lot of freedom… REUE UM REUE in particular is dedicated to more than one style. The first releases are very much ambient”, but there will be much more experimental/noise releases in the future.

T.u.T./R.u.R. definitely is not just a label. Judging the concepts and artwork of the releases you want to do more then just’ release music. Is that correct? And, if so what are your aims?

Wermut - Sofia Even if the music stays in the foreground, for us the medium” (format, artwork + concept) also plays an essential part. With the mp3 technology people tend to consume music as if it were a mere product… Hearing good music this way is more or less like eating refined cuisine out of a McDonald box… Music, like any form of art, needs a certain appropriate context to be appreciated fully and can be enhanced through other art forms… So that’s why we try to make each release a unique object which can be a pleasure for the eyes as well as for the ears. In the future we would like to include other forms of expression ­ film (starting soon with GETREU ALLZEIT) and maybe literature (we are planning a conceptual release which will include short-stories from a brilliant underground French novelist). Our main aim is to release what we like without any form of self-censorship, which is so common today and in the long run probably the biggest threat to a truly “independent” music scene.

Will you release (more) music of your own side projects on T.u.T./R.u.R. in the future?

Surely, but we haven’t got any concrete plans about this yet. The next releases in our schedule are all from other artists ­ except the WERMUT 7” mentioned above.

What other artists can we expect to find on your label in the near future?

The next T.U.T release is a sampler featuring artists of the German minimal-electro scene such as ECHO WEST, BASTARDS OF LOVE and A”, but also international industrial acts such as AIT!, UNIDAD SASAO and . Upcoming in the T.U.T catalogue is a very special release with ECHO WEST as well as a LP from the great Dutch 80’s project DOCTOR C. STEIN. On the R.U.R side, expect the Hamburg noise act PROGRESS RECONSTRUCTION (ex WEREWOLF CASTLE), the next full-length album by UNIDAD SASAO, and very soon hopefully a new collaboration with HDG. There is more in store but… let’s not reveal everything at the same time!

I have the idea that a lot of musicians on your label are personal friends of you. Do you search for new talents only within a certain circle of befriended musicians?

No, actually not… Of course we tend to collaborate with the people we love, and hopefully we will have further opportunity to release the works of befriended artists. But this is not a rule or a criterion. A lot of upcoming releases on T.U.T/R.U.R feature artists we didn’t know at all personally before wanting to work with them… By the way, we are also very happy to receive demos!

Wermut does not play live that often. Would you like to play live more and if so with which bands?

Well, certainly, as long as we can find the time… Until now our live experiences have been very positive. With which bands? Well, let’s see… we’d sure be glad to open for Whitehouse, or Manowar, or maybe the next Abba-reunion…

It seems a lot of your history can be discovered through the cd-r releases on Gigabrosaurus Recs. What is Gigabrosaurus Recs and Gigabrother? What projects of yourselves were released on that label?

GIGABROTHER is basically a huge website gathering the work of a community of artists, essentially musicians, which were very active in Paris a few years ago. It was created in 1997 by a friend of ours as a follow-up to TNT COSMOS, a fanzine which had a cult status in the French and international hardcore Techno scene of the 90ies. The idea was to create a steadily growing virtual world of its own, with its arts and wars, history and politics, heroes and bad guys. Every artist could contribute spontaneously, adding new bricks to the edifice according to the Neoist principle… GIGABROTHER used to offer days on end of music to free download, until the provider slowly but surely erased all mp3s… So we decided to start re-releasing this music on a CDR-label, and that’s what GIGABROSAURUS RECS is about. We are at the reference 035 and it’s only the beginning… The world of GIGABROTHER has been the main platform for our activities for some years, so it is surely a main key to our musical past. Most of the artists which have been involved on a regular basis with the website have now taken other (sometimes very different) paths… Things from us on GIGABROSAURUS RECS are essentially the AC and KOSTNICE releases as well as a crazy toy-tunes project called MANDARINE DUCK. More will come soon.

No more questions. Anything I forgot or you want to say?

Thanks to you and Funprox for your support. And of course today’s German proverb: “Only dead fish swim with the stream”.