Jan Warnke runs the label GERÄUSCHMANUFAKTUR and is also the operator of many sound art and noise projects. Much could be said about his excellent work, but now, without further ado, I present the interview I was happy to conduct with Jan.
TM: Hey there! First of all, thanks for the interview. For those who do not already know you: who are you and what do you do?
Jan Warnke: Hey! My name is Jan Warnke. I run the Geräuschmanufaktur label for experimental sounds and noise art which I founded 2011. Since 2008, I produce Noise, Power Electronics and Ambient Noise with my project J.Adolphe and under my own name. Everything evolved from my interest in synths, fx pedals and the will to construct and create such machines. Simultaneously, I started to get very interested in the Black Metal, Noise – and Industrial scene. But originally I come from a Punk – Hardcore background.
TM: One of your projects is J. Adolphe. What can you say about themes and concepts it deals with?
JW: J.Adolphe is kind of an alter-ego for me! A project that enables me to use some special experiences in my life, my work and interests and transform them into creativity and to speak out „hidden thoughts“.
Sometimes it’s even like a shadow that helps me to get a different view on some impressions.
TM: Of all your projects, J. Adolphe may be the one that owes most to classic Power Electronics and Harsh Noise, while still sounding very progressive. What are the differences and similarities between J. Adolphe and a „pure“ Power Electronics project?
JW: J.Adolphe is highly influences the tradition of bruitism. My sounds often come from very simple sources! In try to alter the cliches of the „scene“ to a great extent, thus making it easier to get an innocuous view on the special themes I’ve used for some of my releases.
TM: So far, every J. Adolphe album seems to have been a concept album, at least to a certain extent. Are there any binding elements between the respective releases?
JW: There isn't really a common thread! But there is something like a theme (often very close to my experiences and interests in my everyday life) that moves into the foreground. I can assign every release to a special point - and turning point in my life! So, maybe there is a common thread but naturally on a very personal level. I have to mention that the J.Adolphe output was not released in a chronological order. My first recordings were characterized by the abysses of sexuality, sexual dependance and lust. The themes in the later recordings are more profound. „Epistemische Erkenntnis“, for example, was created shortly after the birth of my daughter and handles with my fears and the consciousness about the fragility and beauty of life.
TM: Like many post-industrial artists, you address themes attached to sexuality and paraphilia. However, there seems to be less shock value in the way you present these images, as is usually the case. What can you say about your approach?
JW: Every single release passes through a certain process. But the realization is very different. Once the concept is clear, I try to research and plan everything. With J.Adolphe, it is often pure improvisation where I intuitivly allow my thoughts and emotions to fly freely.
TM: Your last release was entitled „To Praise Prothesis“. What made you discuss this topic? Were you inspired by artists like Witkin, for example?
JW: „To Praise Prosthesis“ was a concept where everything came together!
As an Orthopedic Technican I've made some creepy experinces with a very special customer. Haha!!! And there is a lot of inspiration out of my interests in paraphylia like acrotomophily, prosthetics - and orthotics fetish, victorian era anatomics, history of orthopedics and even art! Especially the works of Joel-P. Witkin and some collages of Karel Teige.
TM: The respective releases sound quite different. Is it important that every release has its own sound? Is a varied style more important than recall value?
JW: Yes! There is not only a difference in sound or style but also in the concept. I’m not searching for a special style for myself. It’s more that I like to work in varied ways and try to get an individual exposure that fits every new concept – concerning sounds and visuals. And quite honestly, I’m not interested in producing sloppy plastic noise where everything is predictable and common.
TM: You also work under your real name Jan Warnke. What kind of sound do you create and where does it differ from the J. Adolphe sounds?
JW: I release my more experimental recordings under my own name! This stuff is often positioned on metaphisical themes. Partially, the transitions are fluent between both projects. Jan Warnke is always a little bit of J.Adolphe and vice versa!
TM: Why do you see your real name as most fitting for the project? Does it maybe cover topics of a more personal nature?
JW: Exactly! For example „The Echoes Of The Gestapo Cellar“ is based on a tragic lovestory between two people and its ending. For me it seems more fitting and personal to produce and present it under my real name.
TM: What is the story behind the Fanton Auditory Operations collaboration?
JW: Fantom Auditory Operations – The Echoes Of The Gestapo Cellar was a collaboration between Michael Esposito, Amphetamine Logic and me.
I have always been very interested in parapsychology, ghost sightings and stuff like that, especially Friedrich Jürgenson, the Swedish artist and opera-singer who has communicated with the dead via tape-recorder and the radio. So, naturally I’m a big fan of Michael Esposito’s work based on EVP. I’ve ordered a few of his older releases from discogs and realized that I’ve done it directly from him. We got in contact and he was interested in the label and my projects and he gave me some advice on recording EVPs.
He offered to check my recordings from the Gestapo Cellar and scan them for some EVPs (which made me very happy, because it was a lot of material). After that we both came up with the idea of creating something based on them. I asked my friend Christian Stadsgaard (Posh Isolation, Damien Dubrovnik) if he liked to join us. „Echoes Of The Gestapo Cellar“ evolved from there. I’m very proud of this release!
TM: What is the idea behind „Your Child – The Unknown Creature“?
JW: Haha, I got the idea for this „experimental audio-drama“ because of my family
When Matilda was one year old, me and my wife talked a lot about parenting and sexual education and always jokingly mentioned Oswald Kolle and his movies.
In his movie/book „Your Child The Unknown Creature“ both comes together! I watched the movie and thought that it would be a great idea to do something humourous based on it....
TM: Are you currently involved in other projects that you would like to introduce?
JW: I'm planning a little series of live-recordings and a collection of collaboration tapes with HNW artists. The first releases have been certified!
Besides J.Adolphe I have another project called De Chauliac (electro-acoustic and tape-manipulation). And I’m working on a new zine with collages and short stories.
TM: According to the usual sources, you didn't release anything before 2012. Are there maybe any older, unreleased or unlisted releases?
JW: I’m always very sceptical when it comes to my own recordings! My older stuff was given to friends exclusively.
TM: You own the label Geräuschmanufaktur. What made you found it and what are your goals?
JW: Geräuschmanufaktur originally was supposed to be a platform for selling my diy synthies and noise machines. But then, I started to put the logo on the first private cassettes and cdr releases. Starting from there, I pursued and realized the idea of running the label.
TM: What kind of artists do you want to release? Which criteria have to be met?
JW: It differs. The first release I did for an artist was the Nematomorpha cassette. Isaac is a good friend and I have always liked his stuff. I also mastered his release on Waterpower.
I’m very happy that Michael Esposito wanted to work with me! Through him I got in contact with great artists like CM von Hausswolff, Francisco López and a lot of other interesting people.
So Michael has played an essential role in the evolution of the label. I’m really very happy about it.
But to answer your question: The whole concept must be homgenoues and coincide with the label's aesthetics! If it fits, it doesn't matter whether it is a well known artist or a newcomer! Of course, mutual sympathy is a must!
TM: When taking a look at your label's back catalog, it appears that the artists Francisco Lopez, Michael Esposito and C.M. Von Hausswolff play a bigger role. What's so fascinating about them and how did you start to cooperate?
JW: The biggest part of the entire output of these artists is very interesting! All three have created groundbreaking stuff!
Francisco López „La Selva“ is one of my favourite recordings in my collection. Michael’s and CM’s theories, ideas and art about the communication with the dead is absolutely fascinating! The same goes for all the other artist whose works are sometimes based on the metaphysical, like Francisco Meirino, Michael Münnich and Pietro Riparbelli.
TM: You have released tapes by the prolific HNW icons Vomir and Dead Body Collection. What is your opinion on the partially controversial HNW style?
JW: I’m not that big a fan of the HNW genre! But I have to say that there are some interesting artists with good releases out there. Vomir and Dead Body Collection (or Romain Perrot and Aleksandar Nenad) are indeed able to transport a special mood with their sounds! I like Romain’s concept of HNW and Aleksandar’s „sad“ undertones in his newer recordings!
And not to forget germany's Die Reitenden Leichen! It's a very good project with great aesthetics!!!!
TM: Presentation seems to be important to you. Do you create all the collages? Is presentation vital in these music styles, or should it just be seen as a nice bonus?
JW: Yes, most of the collages and artwork are made by myself! Apart from that, Francisco Meirino, Manuel Pereira and Philip Marshall have also done great work for some relases.
I think it is very important to do the artwork for my own releases. It truly represents the release and I always try to work out and underline the theme.
TM: Apart from the pretty standard underground medium cassette, you have also released flexidiscs. Are you a fan of „eccentric“ formats?
JW: The cassette is my favorite medium! It is THE underground format. In my opinion the ideal one for this kind of art! The same goes for the flexi. The history of the flexi is really impressive! A lot of people know it only as promotion add-on. Originally the first flexis were done illegally in the USSR with old x-rays. A true underground medium for sure!!!
But I’m very interested in other excentric formates! There are concrete ideas for tapereels and vhs releases.
Michael Esposito and CM von Hausswolff have a release out on a wax-cylinder. That’s very exciting! Some of the special releases on Radical Matters Edition Label are also absolutely awesome!!!!
TM: All of your releases can be downloaded in MP3 format on your Bandcamp page, which may be a tad unusual. What made you decide to make your work publically available for free?
JW: I can’t really tell you why! As soon as a release is sold out, it's made available for free. As long as it is available you have to pay for a digital file too! I think I only wanted to offer my stuff in a digital formate and it was a reaction to some people and supporters who asked for it. It’s always very kind when the people pay more than they have to! It’s a great way to show appreciation!
TM: There seems to be kind of a feud between fans and creators of „depraved“ Power Electronics and Sound Art „Hipsters“. Is there a lot resentment towars experimental sound? Why?
JW: I’m sure that the things you describe are to be found more within the audience than amongst the artists. Most of the artists I know (from the one or the other corner) are very open-minded and musically interested. I know about those tendencies, but I don’t know much about it. I guess it's some „True“-thing......
TM: You seem to be a huge fan of analogue synthesizers. Do you only utilize analogue sources in your music? Which device brings the best results? When did this passion start?
JW: My passion for synthies dates back into my childhood. My parents where young and listened to a lot of music. Mostly 80’s synthpop and Neue Deutsche Welle. Even when my friends started to listen to German punkbands like Toxoplasma or Slime I was still fascinated by the record collection of my uncles. There were Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Devo, Sisters Of Mercy, and a lot of Psychedelic – and Krautrock.
When I was 10 years old, my parents bought a Yamaha Synthesizer for me. It was a digital synth with a lot of great effects. I was in music school and learned to work with it. A few years ago I started to build up my first synths and noise machines. A semi-modular synth from MFOS, a few filter, a ring modulator and a few cacophonators.
I really love to work with both of my MS-20 synths. And I love my pedals. Regardless if analog or digital!
TM: Which artists in the field of Industrial, Ambient etc. have inspired you? Any works you would like to mention?
JW: There are a lot of awesome records! My very personal favorites are the following:
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Nurse with Wound - Chance Meeting On A
Whitehouse - Dedicated to Peter Kurten
Maurizio Bianchi - Symphony for a Genocide
Einstürzende Neubauten – Kollaps
Prurient – Roman
Beside that, I’m always interested into the works of:
John Duncan, Leif Elggren, CM von Hausswolff, Karl Heinz Stockhausen, The Haters, Herman Nietsch, Conraf Schnitzler, Jim O’rurke, Atrax Morgue, Christoph Hehmann, ...
But their stamp on me have definitely the older releases on Hospital Productions!
Actually I really like the releases on Posh Isolation, Narcolepsia, Fragment Factory, Robert & Leopold, Jartecknet, Hasten och Korsett, Ideal, Monolithische Aktion and Mazurka Editions.
TM: What about other forms of art? What kind of literature, films etc. do you like?
JW: I’m really interested in DADA and Fluxus! And I like photographic art like the works of Jan Saudec and Joel – P. Wittkin, antique nude photograpy, old medical releated pictures, post-mortem pictures,...
Some other artists that fascinate me are: Šarūnas Sauka, Johannes Theodor Baargeld, Wiener Aktionismus Group, Max Ernst, Henning Christiansen, Kurt Schwitters, Jesper Fabricius, Dr. Seuss,...
My reading habits are really nerdy! I like a lot of Sci Fi and fantasy stuff! Actually I’m reading Friedrich Jürgenson’s - "Voice Transmissions With The Deceased". In the last months I bought a lot of books I loved in my childhood for my daughter. Like „Where the wild things are“ or Doctor Dolittle.
It’s very similar with movies: SciFi, fantasy, older horrormovies, thrillerd, silent movies and vintage smut.
Me and my wife love to watch tv-shows like Twin Peaks, Top Of The Lake, The Killing, Hannibal and Game Of Thrones.
TM: What are your plans for the future?
JW: In the future of Geräuschmanufaktur there will come some very exciting new releases by well known great artists and also by some newcomers.
At the end of the year there will be the first 10“ and the first Lp! Also, two compilations are planed.
I would really like to expand the label a bit more and found a little, label releated, publishing company for small books and zines.
TM: Thanks again for the interview. Any last greets?
JW: Thank you very much for this interview and your interest! Many greetings to all supporters and friends of Geräuschmanufaktur!