When Funker Vogt was founded in
1995 by Gerrit Thomas and Jens Kästel, nobody could foresee that, within
just one year, it would grow into one of the leading electro-acts of today.
Originally, it had been envisaged as just one more of Gerrit Thomas's many
musical projects; but the project took the world by storm and grew to become
GT's main act.
The man who gave the band its name, Funker Vogt is a
friend, who was serving as operator/navigator with the German army at that
time. This choice of name describes and defines the theme of the project:
German army - military - war.
The responsibilities/roles of each member
of the band are clearly defined: Gerrit Thomas composes the music, Jens
Kästel is the singer. Most of the lyrics are written by Kai Schmidt, with
occasional contributions by Jens and Gerrit. In concert Jens and Gerritt are
supported by two guests, namely Björn Böttcher (keyboard) and Thomas
Kroll (guitar). For three years Kai Schmidt managed the band, when he handed
the management over to Repomanagement (KS/BB).
Since 1996 Funker Vogt
has published 4 albums, 4 EP's, 5 singles, 1 remix CD and 1 video. In December
2001 the first three albums plus bonus tracks were republished under the label
Reporecords. FV managed to reach the top of both the German and the
international electro-scene very quickly and has since remained at the top of
these charts: where they have been received with much enthusiasm from areas
such as Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland, Denmark, France, Belgium, Holland,
Italy, South Africa, Israel, South America and England... FV has also
established a sound reputation in the US, where its music is distributed by
Next to its creativity, it is the vibrant energy of
its live concerts which best characterises the band. This quality has undergone
continuous improvement as the size of the band has grown from two to four.
Funker Vogt is also known as a complete work, regrouping image, music, lyrics,
and stage presence into a unique theme: One of the major characteristics of
Funker Vogt's concerts is the martial appearance of the band. Critics describe
this experience as a war being presented on stage.
This is an image, deliberately chosen by Funker Vogt.
On one hand, it is provocative and hence liable to be misunderstood on a
superficial glance. On the other hand, however, this controversial image gives
rise to deep-seated associations and creates a strong and consistent link
between the fan and the band. The image that is sought combines both the
appearance of the band and the contents of the songs. In combination, these two
elements preclude all misunderstandings, as there is a clear irony between the
drastic militarism presented, which is caricatured during live concerts, and
the underlying message. These contradictions emphasise and strengthen the body
of the texts.
War and social injustice have become the main topics over
the years. These have reached their fullest expression in Funker Vogt's earlier
publication: Execution Tracks, and the video accompanying it. Audio and Video
present the grotesque cruelties and the tragedy of war, most obviously in such
songs as Civil War and Tragic Hero. The group's stance is unambiguously
expressed in Fortunes of War and its chorus. War reappears as a topic in the
publication which followed, Maschine Zeit, but more allusively as a foil and
backdrop to more specific ideas, where a change of musical style accompanies
the evolution of these concepts.
While Funker Vogt produced its first
album, Thanks for Nothing, with rather elementary and means, they have
consistently strived for more complex soundscapes over the course of the
following albums, exchanging standardised structures for a richer variety. The
band has kept an experimental dimension while using pop influences but
sparingly. The last album features something more immediately ear-catching,
pointedly including elements of pop, and as a consequence, the album proved a
success within the alternative electro-scene.
Survivor: Funker Vogt's new album,
Survivor, published in October 2002. The single, Date of Expiration, published
in June, serves as a foretaste of what to expect as a sonic direction. It
contains the title track plus two new songs. Survivor presents the future in a
rather dark scenario, the titular hero being the last of mankind. Furthermore
the Survivor is a metaphor for the history of Funker Vogt itself. Despite a few
quarrels with some labels and the words of sceptic critics, FV is still alive
and kicking, gaining in strength and popularity with each new album. Survivor's
story is pictorially presented on the cover and explicitly told in the booklet.
The cover presents a talisman or dogtag sinking to the bottom of the sea. The
talisman, which belongs to Survivor, also embodies Funker Vogt's logo,
symbolizing both the endurance of Survivor and of Funker Vogt. It will last and
outlast even the Survivor. Funker Vogt is immortal.
in the lyrics, where he retells the story of the wars has outlived (This
World), of his time as a soldier and its impact (Compulsions), He tells the
story of the POWs, which may be allegorically interpreted as the history of the
decline and fall of civilization, of his dreams and wishes (Final Thrill), of
his discontent with present-day society (Stolen Thoughts), of his search for
fulfillment and solace (Faster Live), of his experiences as refugee (Refugees).
In Red Queen his stories are rounded off: as in the beginning of the album
(Date of Expiration), the Survivor does not narrate his stories, but addresses
the listener directly and analyses not his own life but that of the listener.
Whether the cap fits or not, is up to every listener to decide.
Musically, the album offers something new, presenting for the first
time guitarist Thomas Kroll live. Both Fallen Man and Red Queen profit from
this intense use of the guitar. Moreover, the album contains Funker Vogt's
first ballad, while some other songs push the envelope of what they have done
in the past, adding variety and richness to the established canonical Funker
Vogt-style. The band trusts the richness and complexity of the new album will
appeal to most, including the harshest critics.
Fallen Hero: After three years
of silence, Funker Vogt returns with their new single "Fallen Hero."
this track, Funker Vogt continues their story of the "Tragic Hero," one of
their most successful singles to date. After a short recapitulation, we find
out what happened to the hero in the past, present and what may occur in his
future. In a sense, the tale of the "Fallen Hero" applied equally well to the
band itself. Just like the Fallen Hero, the band returns after a long time of
silence to be more actively involved in the music scene.
From a musical
point of view, Funker Vogt has evolved with this release. Here they prove to
their critics that they can do much more then just distorted vocals and 4/4
beats. The vocals in the songs are supported by their captivating melodies and
For these first remixes, the band chose two of last
year's most successful newcomers, Underwater Pilots and The Birthday Massacre.
Other well known bands will be utilized for future remixes. This MCD and their
upcoming album "Navigator," are just a taste of what's to come for Funker
This MCD will be completed by two exclusive non-album
tracks. "Fallen Hero" stands on its own and is much more then just a
promotional tool for their upcoming album "Navigator."
Navigator: Funker Vogt is back with their
new album "Navigator." On this newest release, stories of current events
("Friendly Fire," and "Reject"), war and the end of the world ("Stronghold,"
The End," and "Fallen Hero") dominate the lyrics. On a deeper level, the album
also reflects our own desolate society. "House of Sorrows," "No Tomorrow" and
"Für Dich" are much more personal, taken from the band's own experiences
Funker Vogt uses new elements throughout the album.
The band is anxious to see how their fans react to their new sounds. The
direction of Funker Vogt's music will be determined by the success of
"Navigator." Depending on how the fans react, Funker Vogt will decide what they
will do for their future releases. Songs like "Vorwärts!," "Starfighters"
and "No Tomorrow" use the guitar in a more pronounced way, while other songs
like "Reject," "Navigator" and "House of Sorrows" are somewhat of a departure.
Funker Vogt still brings some of their signature sounds to their fans on this
release and its up to them to decide if they prefer Funker Vogt's newer sounds
over their older ones.
Funker Vogt's future role in music will be
determined by the success of this CD. A new era has arrived and "Navigator"
will show the band their way on the upcoming journey.
Biographie: german -
Jens / Gerrit 1 -
Jens / Gerrit 2 -Band
1996: "Thanks for Nothing" (CD
1997: "Words of Power" (EP)
1997: "We came to kill" (CD
1998: "Killing Time again" (EP)
"Execution Tracks" (CD Repo003)
1998: "Tragic Hero" (MCD)
1998: "Remix Wars": Funker Vogt vs. Velvet Acid Christ (EP)
1999: "Live Execution" (Video)
2000: "Maschine Zeit" (CD Repo005)
2001: "Subspace" (MCD)
2001: "Code 7477"
2002: "Date of Expiration" (MCD)
2002: "Red Queen" (CDS)
"Revivor"/ Remixes (CD)
2005: "Fallen Hero" (CDS)
2005: "Navigator" (CD)
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