No other musical genre has been pronounced dead as often as the one which developed from a whole host of creative people in the UK, Benelux and Germany at the end of the Eighties. What was probably the last genuine revolution in music history began with a drum machine which had previously been rather insignificant (the Roland TR-909), a few synthesisers and a bass synth which had been a commercial flop (the Roland TB-303). Whether hated, loved, ridiculed or hyped, Techno was always one thing in particular: polarising.
This perfectly reflects the history of a band whose name has been a constant feature on the European Dance scene for 7 years - Scooter. Few bands have caused as much difference in opinion as the three producers from Hamburg who, together with their manager Jens Thele, have been causing a sensation in international charts since May '94.
The road to success of this exceptional band has been marked by countless Top Ten hits, releases in more than 30 countries world-wide, numerous platinum and gold selling hits, several music awards, concerts in front of up to 80,000 fans and, finally, sales close to the 9 million mark. So H.P., Rick and Axel make no secret of their pride in what they have achieved: "We won't go home until nobody finds us exciting anymore," is the band's philosophy.
But what appears so simple and well-planned on the outside was, in reality, a long and winding road which hardly fits in with the concept of our 'at the touch of a button' society: "You kind of sit there in your basement for years, producing songs like a madman and they all flop, and just when you think it's no longer going to happen you suddenly have a Top Five hit throughout Europe," is how front man H.P. sums up his impressions from the start of his career when still with keyboarder Ferris Bueller, and he adds: "And then all the world says, 'hey, these people come straight from a casting, There's no way they produce the music themselves' - a strange experience."
Back in 1995 Scooter were already proving those critics wrong who thought the band would be a one hit wonder. After "Hyper Hyper" there were four other Top Five hits - "Move Your Ass", "Friends", "Endless Summer" and "Back In The UK" - and Scooter became an established act.
With creativity and a good deal of light-hearted self-irony ( "We Are The Greatest", 1998) the trio manage to surprise their fans and critics again and again - whether by including the "Miss Marple" title theme in a chorus or by using guitar riffs (as in "Fire" 1997) that would even make the "Rock musicians against Techno" association of that time doubt the purpose of its own existence.
Scooter are not only a band but also a way of life and anyone who knows the boys will know that 'party' is not merely an empty cliché with Scooter.
Their concept of music, however, always allows for thoughtful moments too. Tracks like "No Fate" (1997), "She's The Sun" (2000) or even "Dancing In The Moonlight" (from the album Age Of Love, 1997) show a musical diversity which clearly sets Scooter apart from other popular Techno and Dance acts.
So, what's the secret formula behind Scooter's ongoing success? The division of work is clear: Axel, who joined Scooter in May 1998 after Ferris left, forms the DJ part of the group and deals mainly with the basic grooves and the latest underground trends.
H.P. not only writes almost 100% of the lyrics but also often provides the creative basis for the typical, slightly over the top Scooter choruses. Rick contributes a conservative music style to the whole thing. He also shares the job of engineer with Axel.
The team is rounded off by Jens Thele who, as manager of Scooter, also set up - rather 'by the way-ish' - the Hamburg-based record label Kontor Records from where he looks after Sheffield Tunes, Scooter's own exclusive label.
Those who have seen Scooter in action on stage know that the unique live atmosphere of Punk and Rock 'n' Roll is not necessarily exclusive to guitar bands. But somehow it seems that the actual reason for success lies elsewhere: it is this naturalness, encapsulating a lust for life in music which, combined with creativity and imagination, is the central theme running through the now 20 singles and eight albums put out by Scooter.
Team spirit, fun and disputes and also the experiences gathered in seven years of touring and working in the studio together have made Scooter into probably one of the last authentic self-made bands in the charts.
On their newly released ninth album We Bring The Noise Scooter clearly show where their strengths lie. The tracks reveal a freshness which reminds us of the often cited freeness of a debut album: "Are You Happy?" includes samples taken from an old Commodore C64 computer, while some of the vocal passages on "Posse (I Need You On The Floor)" were changed to a higher pitch. Other tracks feature strongly filtered and re-integrated breakbeat loops, and on "Burn The House" the three boys make no secret of their association with Electro.
Scooter are simply recalling their roots without dragging up excess baggage from the past. Thus We Bring The Noise is, at the end of the day, a reminiscence of the early, unspoilt days of Techno when it was simply party, party, party - without much discussion about whether people are dancing to a Trance, Techno or Electro groove.
Finally, "Posse (I Need You On The Floor)", current single and musical harbinger of the album, sums up what it's all about: people, we need you where the fun is at - on the dance floor to be exact.
Their last hit "Aiii Shot The DJ" was a real party track too. The great piano parts remind you of the good old Happy Hardcore times. H.P.'s vocals sound fresher and more passionate than ever. "Aiii Shot The DJ" is a club rocker par excellence, as the charts have shown (Media Control #27). Perhaps this is not least down to the exciting guest appearance by German star comedian Helge Schneider.
However, if you think the boys are now going to take things easy after these successes, you are very wrong. The beginning of December saw a brand new track from the Scooter soundsmiths which rang in the festive season with innovative beats and catchy hooks. "Ramp! (The Logical Song!)", guaranteed to fill the dance floors with its driving electronic rhythms, really got the Christmas parties going.
This song was the lead-up to the album "Push The Beat For This Jam (The Second Chapter)", a look back over the successful singles since "How Much Is The Fish" with three brand new songs. Scooter fans were also rewarded with previously unreleased remixes and live tracks from some of Scooter's legendary concerts.
To coincide with the release, the successful trio toured more than 20 German cities presenting a spectacular stage show for their fans.
At the end of the tour Axel Coon decided to concentrate on his passion for DJing and left Scooter. An excellent replacement was found in Jay Frog, who had stood in for Axel Coon when he missed some dates due to illness.
Things soon reached top speed again for the new line-up with the next single "Nessaja" which sensationally went straight into the German charts at number one. The greatest success in the history of the band.
Scooter have long since become a legend, no one can dispute that. This is also why a DVD documenting the development of this exceptional band is going to be released on 13 May 2002. Interesting interviews and a detailed tour diary provide information on the band, while concerts, videos and other live recordings will bring the amazing Scooter show to your living room.
Also here, the DVD reached no. #1 in the German Media Control DVD charts!
Now it's time to present Scooter's whole musical work to those who are know Scooter only since "The Logical Song" or "Nessaja". All singles on one CD: "24 Carat Gold" - that's unique in the nearly 10 year band history of the techno trio