1000 ROBOTA, the trio of Sebastian Muxfeldt, Jonas Hinnerkort and Anton Spielmann, got together while they were still at school in northern Germany and released their debut album of stern post-hardcore, Du Nicht, Er Nicht, Sie Nicht, for Tapete in 2008.
A second long player, Ufo, came out two years later, and then; nothing. Nothing, that is, until now.
Because exactly the same, proper line-up has reconvened with a new digital single, “Ende”, dropping yesterday, and the dark, muscular groove of which you can immerse in below.
Let’s allow Sebastian, Jonas and Anton themselves to fill in the story, beginning back a decade or so: “Absurdly, everything kicked off for us in England, long before anyone in Germany knew who we were. The NME discovered us on Myspace and began to write about us,” they say.
“Off we went, played our first shows ever (sold out!) in London. German critics and intellectuals started to take note, warm to us, criticize us, in some cases even hate us. We divided opinion like no other band, so we were told. Articles appeared in newspapers and magazines which our teenage selves had never heard of.
“A high-wire act such as this, juggling pop, trash and highbrow culture, is a rare and wonderful thing. However, it can be done and it feels good to do it. Random requests came in from such diverse characters as prime-time TV hosts and revered dramatists. The Volksbühne Berlin suggested a theatrical collaboration named after one of our songs: ‘Schmeiß dein Ego weg!’ (throw away your ego). Somebody made a documentary about us: Utopia Ltd! premiered at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
“In our own, nimble-footed fashion, we hovered between two stools, our hungry eyes scanning the world. What really hurt or alienated us in the long run was how hostile external perceptions could be, weighed down by earnestness and utterly lacking in humour. The stronger this feeling grew, the more our creative development as musicians and artists felt constrained. Wild and vulnerable, honest and pure, intuitive and DIY, that’s what pop and punk mean to us.
“There was something else besides, something few people were aware of. Anton felt compelled to conceal his past, the hard times his parents had endured in Germany as Russian immigrants. You can google the rest, or ask us. The interview room is open again. We’d been forgotten, reset, slate wiped clean. Which was comforting, in a way.
“People bought and believed in physical product when we first got together with Tapete Records. CDs were still a thing. Streaming? playlists? Nebulous zones in their infancy. Instagram or what have you was still a long way away. Still, something felt off, we sensed that the market was broken and searched for other avenues.
“Then 2020 happened. Yes, a pandemic, but something else besides. Gunther Buskies (Tapete Records) phoned up to express his interest in what we were up to. I called the guys. The rehearsal room beckoned.
“The music police and other fans pricked up their ears. Could it be true? Were we recording again, preparing an album? Others asked why it had taken us so long, what had we been doing for the past decade?
“1) We did nothing for ten long years.
“2) If we were an Amazon parcel with a tracking number, a pizza or a brand new iPhone, it would be easier to come up with an answer. But we’re not in the service industry and we don’t have a 24-hour support hotline where you can complain. Not something we need.
“We are artists and we have a band. The name of the band is 1000 Robota: Germany’s biggest disappointments. What you get from us is all our own work, planted, watered and cooked by us. When it’s done, we are the ones who will serve it up.
“A new song will appear in April to end a ten-year hiatus. And yes, we did the cover and the artwork, the video, the whole production. It is the EN/DE and our beginning. Poetic noise, drenched in hope. To be continued, in the form of an album. If conditions allow … .
“Time to wash our hands in readiness for the next high five.”
1000 Robota’s “ENDE” is out now on all digital streaming platforms.