ARTICLES / INTERVIEWS
alphabetically ordered by name of magazine/portal:
Musik an sich (Germany)
»For MARGIN "psychedelic“ doesn't necessarily mean trippy and cacophonous« (10/2014)
CLASSIC ROCK (German))
»MARGIN Teacup Rock
Since 1979 Lutz Meinert played in various Berlin bands whose music ranged from progressive rock to jazz-rock. It didn't lead to great success, but he never lost the love for music. With the MARGIN debut PSYCHEDELIC TEATIME he now dares to make the next attempt and, according to his own words, serves now "Psychedelic Prog made with passion".
"Well, Berlin was not a good place for music of this kind in the 80s and 90s," Lutz smiles about his past, for his bands FOR YOUR PLEASURE, Camembert, Keex and Imago "all disappeared without a trace". A new project was needed. For several years the musician had three pieces in the drawer. "I've owned my own small studio for quite a long time and one day I found some time to work on the pieces" Lutz says about the further evolution of MARGIN. "One of them, 'A Mysterious Cup of Tea', developed rapidly and soon became so influential due to its length and its psychedelic character that the other two titles looked a bit out of place." He laughs: "Okay, I thought I'll simply create a pure psychedelic rock album then."
Almost all of the songs he recorded alone. They were refined with the acoustic guitar playing of Arne Spekat (also formerly FOR YOUR PLEASURE) and the background vocals of his wife Carola Meinert. The MARGIN debut PSYCHEDELIC TEATIME follows the tradition of psychedelic rock of the 60s and 70s. Lutz mentions PINK FLOYD, Genesis, King Crimson and Jethro Tull as influences.
While some bands of the past reached their creative zenith under the influence of mind-expanding substances, PSYCHEDELIC TEATIME was made without the use of any drugs at all. "I didn't even have a single cognac praline during this production," Lutz smiles. "I could not concentrate on composing while being tipsy."
The main point is to become aware of your imagination again. "Children can build their own world with simple objects such as a stick or a box," the Berlin musician explains. "Imagination has shaped our environment and has made us what we are. It is a gift and sometimes it can help to take the time to have a cup of good tea and to let your mind wander." Perhaps it becomes a trip inside a teacup into other dimensions, as in the five-part "A Mysterious Cup of Tea". "You only have to let yourself in for it, then your own imagination can present a wonderful trip," says Lutz. "And the good thing is that it's free and there is no need for drugs at all!"«
Sascha Blach (7/2014)
»The Berlin Project MARGIN invites you to a cup of tea with an inebriating effect
Plants that bloom in secret are often the most beautiful. This applies for the debut album "Psychedelic Teatime" of MARGIN, a project of the Berlin multi-instrumentalist Lutz Meinert. One hour of pure psychedelic prog enjoyment completely made without the use of drugs. On the highly atmospheric recording you'll find many PINK FLOYD references, according to Meinert especially to his favorite albums "More" and "Meddle": from the echoing "pling" sound of the piano strings to Roger Waters-like vocals to the album title, which appears like a tribute to "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" from "Atom Heart Mother".
Lutz Meinert previously played with various prog and fusion bands, most recently with FOR YOUR PLEASURE. Concerning the origin of his first album he remarks: "The whole album developed from the long track 'A Mysterious Cup of Tea'." When it comes to guitar tone, style and psychedelic spirit, on the whole the album sounds almost as if David Gilmour and Syd Barrett had met after recording "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett" to record a full-fledged duo project that never existed.«
Walter Sehrer (7/2014)
Musik an sich (German))
For MARGIN "psychedelic“ doesn't necessarily mean trippy and cacophonous
Among others, the cover of the last MAS edition showed the cover of the MARGIN debut "Psychedelic Teatime“. A new name in the circus of prog, which is associated to another prog group via the name of Lutz Meinert. More than 10 years ago, MAS left only words of praise for the then released album of FOR YOUR PLEASURE. Norbert von Fransecky wanted to know how FOR YOUR PLEASURE and MARGIN are related, whether MARGIN is a band or a solo project and some more things. The combination of "psychedelic“ and a simple cup of tea in the album title triggered his first question.
MAS: The CD title "Psychedelic Teatime“ raises a clear stylistic claim, which indeed corresponds with the album getting in PINK FLOYD's wake repeatedly. But for many avowed "psychedelians“ especially the early releases of the british band apply as a yardstick for the psychedelic style, for they contain songs that sound like trips cast in music.
You chose a more calm and orderly approach and praise tea instead of LSD. Is this actually still real psychedelic? And if so, what you mean exactly by psychedelic?
Lutz Meinert: A very complicated question, because the criteria whether rock music can be described as "psychedelic" often have been highly controversial. Strangely, "Psychedelic Rock" for me starts at a time where in the popular pure doctrine, according to which the era of this style only lasted from about 1965-1969, it already had ended. Historically it was of course a novelty and highly innovative when bands started to use sitars, tablas, bells and other instruments considered as exotic by the then pop and rock scene or applied some new studio effects. But very often these elements only were decorative, more or less subtle accessories to quite conventional beat, pop or folk songs. Sometimes it was only the lyrics that formed the psychedelic nature of a song, for example in "White Rabbitt" by JEFFERON AIRPLANE. From a pure musical view I would assign bands and artists like THE DOORS, JIMI HENDRIX, THE BYRDS, CREAM or JEFFERON AIRPLANE to other styles in the first place, regardless of the fact that they are considered not only predecessors, but pioneers of psychedelic rock for example by Wikipedia.
Also the stereotype that "psychedelic rock" necessarily has to be trippy and cacophonous, does not apply to most of the classic recordings of this genre. Even the PINK FLOYD debut "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn“, which is considered as a highlight of classic psychedelic rock, mainly provides nice pop songs in a usual song format, which however get that playful and naive psychedelic touch by adding interesting effects and sounds. The only exception is the long and trippy instrumental "Instellar Overdrive" that sounded novel and definitely not catchy.
Although I find this phase of the psychedelic rock, which after all especially the short version of "Psychedelic Underground" on our album benefits from, quite interesting and entertaining, I am far more fascinated by the psychedelic rock music that followed. For me this applies in particular to the albums from "Saucerful of Secrets“ to "Animals“ by PINK FLOYD. There are some pieces on these albums, which in my opinion are the epitome of psychedelic rock. In these songs natural and electronically imitated sounds, effects and musical structures actually merged to form a unique, previously unheard entity, which became part of the composition. Song structures dissolved in sounds or seemed to proceed in slow motion. Here I really feel like listening to music while under the influence of drugs. A good example for this is the calm "Cirrus Minor" from the 1969 album "More“, in the middle of which the music seems to float away with organ chords, or the long track "Echoes" from the 1971 album "Meddle“, a great musical trip. However, "true" music lovers would not call this "psychedelic rock“, but "art rock“.
Anyway, I think our debut follows this tradition too, even if only in part. The rest was mostly inspired by classic progressive rock. The songs have been composed more consistently and were arranged in a more complex way than you would expect from psychedelic rock or atmospheric art rock. Therefore, the style label "Psychedelic Prog" applies best to us.
MAS: Can you tell us something about musical examples and influences?
Lutz Meinert: I've been influenced mostly by progressive, psychedelic, folk and jazz-rock from the end of the 60s to the mid 70s. Besides PINK FLOYD these include the usual suspects such as JETHRO TULL, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, YES, PFM, BANCO, (Premiata Forneria Marconi and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - two Italian Prog bands of the (early) 70s, NVF) VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, BRAND X. And this list is far from being complete.
MAS: You aren't a musical novice. Before MARGIN there was FOR YOUR PLEASURE, your band, which was highly praised in the MAS of that time. (At that time, our now venerable and hoary magazine had a completely different outfit.) As most of our readers do not know you, please give us a brief description of your musical past.
Lutz Meinert: From the late 70s to mid 80s I played as a singer, keyboardist and drummer in several Berlin rock bands whose style was situated somewhere between rock, progressive and jazz-rock. These bands were CAMENBERT, BIZARR, KEEX, IMAGO and SOLARIS. They were all amateur bands, who played idealisticly and with a lot of passion, but musically they were fighting a losing battle. At that time, Berlin was not a good place for music of this kind - and neither it was later.
I then retreated from the music scene and after a time-out I started setting up a home recording studio which I expanded continously. The tracks for the debut album Scattered Pages were recorded here, in collaboration with guitarist George Zikidis. Initially we published the album on our own label as a duo under the name FOR YOUR PLEASURE. The tracks on this album were arranged in different styles between rock, pop, folk and progressive rock.
But when the initial studio project turned into a complete band only six months later, we musically moved straight ahead into progressive rock. This became evident at our first concerts and later on the followup album "Timeless".
MAS: If you look at what Carola Meinert and Arne Spekat contribute to "Psychedelic Teatime“ (Arne Spekat can be heard on two tracks playing the acoustic guitar, Carola Meinert sings backing vocals in three pieces. Everything else is done by Lutz Meinert, NVF), it looks more like a Lutz Meinert solo album. Would you still call MARGIN a band?
Lutz Meinert: No, currently MARGIN isn't a complete band, but a pure studio project, of which I must admit to having contributed the largest part. But I did not call it "Lutz Meinert Project" deliberately because I wanted to keep the option to develop a complete grown band out of it. For this purpose, I found a neutral name more original and appropriate.
MAS: How did FOR YOUR PLEASURE become MARGIN?
Lutz Meinert: After the end of FOR YOUR PLEASURE I concentrated on other things rather than creating music for quite a while, such as photography and digital painting – which I by the way benefited quite a lot from while designing the cover for "Psychedelic Teatime“.
But then, after a long time, I wanted to record a nice progressive rock album again. I already had a bag full of ideas for it and three almost finished pieces in the drawer. They were meant to become part of a third FOR YOUR PLEASURE album in the first place, which we unfortunately never recorded. One of these pieces was "A Mysterious Cup of Tea". But when I started to record it, I didn't like it that much any more. So I discarded all but the first 7 minutes and re-arranged it. While working on it, such a momentum developed that in the end the title turned out to be significantly longer and even more psychedelic than originally planned. Due to its length and character it was so dominant that the other two prog-pieces looked like alien elements and so I removed them from this project. I told myself: okay, let's create a psychedelic art rock prog album. Then I wrote the other pieces more or less in one go. When the album was recorded almost completely, I asked the FOR YOUR PLEASURE bass player Arne Spekat, whether he would like to play the acoustic guitar. I also asked my wife if she could provide some background vocals. And thus MARGIN was created.
MAS: Do FOR YOUR PLEASURE belong to the past, or does the band still co-exist with MARGIN?
Lutz Meinert: Demoralized by all the lineup changes and the low resonance despite some good album reviews and occasional concerts in Berlin we eventually decided in 2001 to suspend our activities until the band will be complete again, and sufficient material will be available for a third album. Although FOR YOUR PLEASURE never splitted officially, we have not been playing together as a band again since that time, but we are still friends.
We meet now and then on the occasion of musical activities, such as drummer Frank Brennekam and guitarist Nils Conrad playing together with CRYSTAL PALACE and bassist Arne Spekat playing acoustic guitar on "Psychedelic Teatime“.
However, I'm thinking about reviving FOR YOUR PLEASURE, perhaps after the second MARGIN album, to re-record some pieces from the first two CDs plus some previously unreleased pieces with the band with the aim of releasing them as a new album.
MAS: I assume that you are not yet able to make a living from the proceeds of the sales of your CDs. What are you doing besides the bands?
Lutz Meinert: I have a fulltime job in the IT sector. On one side, this only leaves limited time for musical activities. On the other hand I am financially independent and can create music without caring about commercial considerations. Certainly, we also want to publish and sell our music. But in the foreground there always will be the music we actually want to play, while distribution and sales follow.
MAS: Keyword Marketing: Your CDs are published by Madvedge Records. Is this simply a tool you use to launch the FOR YOUR PLEASURE and MARGIN albums, or is there more to it?
Lutz Meinert: So far Madvedge Records in fact is the exclusive label for the albums of MARGIN and FOR YOUR PLEASURE. But we're planning to release the debut album of another progressive rock project next year in which, however, I am involved also. But basically, I can imagine other bands to cooperate with Madvedge Records. It's all a question of time and money. Above all, band and label must match, for we have already experienced the strangest stories.
At the time of FOR YOUR PLEASURE we wanted to build some kind of a progressive rock scene in Berlin. We looked for bands for joint concerts or a sampler we wanted to publish via Madvedge Records. As a label, we published official ads in which we stated clearly that we were looking for progressive rock bands only. But the numerous demos that we received only contained Rock, Blues Rock, Soft Rock, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Hardcore, Pop, Rap / Hip Hop, Techno, just everything but progressive rock! There was only one exception to this, which you could call Progressive Rock at least to a certain amount. But the demo was made so horribly bad that we had to reject it. After that, we resigned and dropped our plan.
MAS: Last not least: What are your plans concerning live activities?
Lutz Meinert: So far MARGIN is a pure studio project. But it is a very tempting idea for me to perform this music live. However, the effort would be immense, and at the moment it is impossible for me to fund and arrange this. But let's wait and see how the whole thing will develop in the future.
MAS: Thank you for your answers. I'm looking forward to your future activities.«
Norbert von Fransecky (10/2014)