“Kaput has won the Rocco-Clein-Award. What do you say now, hater?”
Reeperbahn Festival; end of September 2015. Somewhere in Hamburg. Through our thick glasses we keep staring in disbelief at a framed certificate. Kaput Mag has just won one of this year’s Rocco-Clein-awards. And what now? Should we maybe just shed a few tears of joy?
It was only at the beginning of this year that I was at Thomas Venker’s, sitting there together with art director Christian Schäfer and programmer Benjamin Walter. The atmosphere was tense – since (as may come as absolutely no surprise to you at all) the endeavour of just then and there creating a brilliant website that would change up the current state music journalism is in, is all in all not that easy to accomplish. I remember sneering at the terms “art director” and “programmer”, as I thought these terms alone were pretty ridiculous and I regarded them as part of what I actually wanted to do away with. After all, the two are only unlucky friends of ours who are blessed with a little bit of talent when it comes to the aforementioned skills. So what was it with all this pretence?
At least we agreed on what it was that we wanted to do: stories, interviews … all sorts of things really – stuff that would establish its own approach and justification. Talking to artists because you actually want to talk to them and not just because they are just doing the promotion for their latest record or because it seems obligatory that they be featured in every last manifestation of music media there is at the very same time. Never again just working your way through topics. An epitome of music industry speak which itself justifies any sort of biblical punishment (illegal downloading, music streaming, general decline and subsequent demise of the whole music business) that the industry denies while yet complaining about it loudly. We wanted cool people to write for us – and above all not again and again just men. And after decades of also having fallen into a sort of operational blindness, we wanted to rethink our way of encountering artists. Thomas has been more successful in doing that than I have been so far. He established a series of topical interviews in accordance with the subtitle of our magazine (“pop music and bankruptcy”) which grant an exciting insight into what is happening behind the scenes of the regime of high spirits named self-exploitation. Art, money, no money.
His conversation with Frank Spilker concerning this topic is rightly one of the articles that has been read the most on kaput-mag.com. I myself on the other hand recall lots of guesswork when it came to doing the first few of my own interviews, which were interviews I did with Wanda and Zucker. Turning everything upside down always sounds pretty exciting and promising. In the end it is however exactly this kind of typical empty phrase that I may have picked up in one too many meetings. Then what exactly does that even mean? Of course I don’t want to know anything about the recordings in the studio or merely run through the first few things Google spits out that I have somehow turned into questions. I had to realise eventually that there was not a completely new, exciting and innovative way of doing everything – since I don’t think it would have been all that beneficial to simply ask random nonsense. (Though, looking at the previous sentence, seeing this option neatly written down, I really kind of do fancy doing just that.)
Either way, all of this would not have been possible without Thomas insisting on his “grand vision” (with an art director and all that jazz) during our couch-meeting. Had it been up to me, we would have ended up with one of the free design templates that WordPress offers – and everything else would have just been done effortlessly on the side. You know, kind of “If there is really nothing else left to do, then I could probably write something for Kaput. Maybe at Christmas.”
But just the opposite thing has happened. Kaput-mag.com has thrived to be a proper website. The editorial work is done with a great deal of ambition. And it is because of that that we are incredibly proud to not only have been able to reach out to a great deal of people, but to also already have been presented with an award, even though we have only been around for a relatively short amount of time! An award that, on top of all that, is dedicated to someone that we held in high esteem and admired deeply. So thank you to those involved in the Rocco-Clein-awards and thank you to Rocco Clein himself! And of course a thank you to all of our female and male authors, translators, graphic designers, supporters, visitors and those who have believed in us from day one.
This photo gallery of those who have contributed is naturally pretty incomplete, but shall be representative of so many more amazing people who have presented Kaput with their ideas, their time and their general awesomeness.
(Translation: Tanita Sauf)