Read a transcript of an interview conducted by Biba Kopf as part of an article on Neu! in The Wire 208, June 2001
Biba Kopf: Can we start right at the beginning. You and Michael were in this touring version of Kraftwerk?
Klaus Dinger: Ja.
What was happening?
How do you mean what was happening?
It was you, Florian [Schneider] and Michael [Rother], wasn’t it?
Michael, eh hm. It was, overall and in general it was quite a nice situation, I think... quite a successful team, ja, quite a lot on the way at that time, for it was a very short period, several months only, but yeah, I liked it very much.
Was this pure improvisation, or were you working on songs?
We tried, and I think we quite well did, we tried to promote the first Kraftwerk album. We played these titles, like “Ruckzuck” or “Vom Himmel Hoch”, and so on, and we tried to do these live, mixed with, ja, but that sounded a bit different or so, I mean, compared with the originals on the LP. But it probably was much more live. You probably know this Beat Club recording, film (referring to this lineup’s TV appearance).
You never saw that?
Well, I’ve got a copy at home, but I heard it was available as a laser disc, as a bootleg, years ago already. Ja, what else can I say? Can you ask more precise...
OK, you went on from Kraftwerk? Ralf Hütter rejoined Kraftwerk and then you and Michael started working on Neu!? Can you tell me how Neu! Came about, how it came out of that early lineup?
Ja, we separated from Florian, I think it was end of June 1971, ja, nice summer holiday I remember, “Im Gluck”. Ja, this story, Hanni [?? his then girlfriend, see further down] went to Norway and so on. It took quite some time, several months until we finally decided we would go on together. After we split it was all a bit undecided and open. For instance, Michael was not so sure about whether that was possible to do this. That was also about the time when he started studying Psychology as an alternative from the other side, or so... you know what I mean. Ja, in the meantime I somehow arranged that with [producer/engineer] Conny Plank that — and finally by the end of the year or so, we decided, and the opportunity was there to go into a studio in Hamburg, and we recorded the first album. Was that about what were asking for? [chuckles]
That’s the kind of thing, yeah. Did you have songs or did you just generate them in the studio?
Well partly we had songs, well not songs really, I mean sketches or so. But I think the most important things happened in the studio.