Felix Rüdiger Buff Musician
"The song has to offer a universe like Beatles did."
  • Become aware of what might be Willis Drummond's "final forever" on the day of Intxaurrondo's concert, with his head immersed in the publication of the album The Dancing King of the personal project Rüdiger. The day after the interview he travelled to France with the Petit Fantôme group to offer a concert. And so, always and always, from one group of musicians to another, from one group of friends to another. Although music is an essential ingredient, it is the great "family" thanks to the music it needs. In the interview we find a word of family that has been appearing over and over again, and that basically has dedicated a song to the reflections the family proposes: Where I Belong.
Jenofa Berhokoirigoin @Jenofa_B 2024ko otsailaren 07a
Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA
Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA

Willis Drummond, Duncan Dhu, Petit Fantôme, Botibol, Rafel Berrio, Joseba Irazoki, Joseba B. Lenoir, Atom Rhumba, Dual-split, Testura… is a list too long to name them all. You've participated in over 30 projects. What are you? A workaholic or a passioned with work?
(Laughter) a bit, but mostly paused. More than a musician, I'm a big fan of music. I started drumming at age six, my first group was Monarch, Willis Drummond, Joseba Irazoki -- I've met a lot of people from the music scene in Euskal Herria and I've collaborated. In the Shorebreaker study of your brother [Johannes Buff] we also offer musicians services. It always leads me to deny a project in my head. Moreover, I arrived in Bera about ten years ago and it has to be said that it is a country with many musicians, where I have a rich musical nursery.

What can be an end – Willis Drummond – or a beginning – Rüdiger – with what do we start the interview?
We can start with Willis.

Do we raise the 500 sucks and what do we give in the last concert of Intxaurrondo?
A long cycle that has lasted almost twenty years. It was a very nice time. Personally, I was in the vortex of launching the Rüdiger album, and the same day I realized that we were just going to live the last concert. Bilbao, Gasteiz, Mutriku, Baiona… There were many familiar faces and they remembered each one of them and the many moments that happened together! The feeling was pretty crazy, and of course, I had to focus on music and it didn't go easy. As I watched the next day's stories and videos, I realized that people were singing, I didn't realize that behind the stage I was excited. It is still too fresh, it seems that I do not fully realize it, but I know that from here I will feel nostalgia in remembering that moment.

"The spin to meet new musicians leads me constantly to deny a project in my head"

A 20-year journey, he laughs. What do you mean?
Willis Drummond is my family. We lived together in Larrondoa, we formed the team… It is true that other people have been part of the group, but the meeting of Xan and Jurgolilla has been a hard core. I have them as brothers and there is no doubt that we are together for life. We will keep watching, together we will continue in music. Willis Drummond is a family story, it's an old friendship, a strong bond. But for me it also represents the connection with the Basque Country. I have known the geography of this country, the social composition of this country, the people who are militating to change or create things… For one cause or another, they have often called us and we have touched all the time with great pleasure, it is true that I have known a social reality that I did not know.

Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA

Let's look at Rüdiger. You put your second name to the group. It has been a desire to go to their roots in Germany or to account for that part of Félix that we didn’t know…
My father is German and my mother is Basque, Mauletana. My name was Felix Rüdiger. The truth is that when I put the name of the group, I didn't think too much and I'm not going to share a deep thought. I liked sound, and I also liked being something that's part of me.

You've gone from back to front row, from battery to song. It's not a ttip change.
It's not that easy. Plus, I'm in my hand and that's new to me as well. I pulled my first record during the pandemic. All of a sudden we had to stay home, and for my part it touched me after fifteen years of tour. He welcomed me because it was at the limit of burn-out. I wondered if I'm a workaholica, but yes, I had different turns at once. Petit fantome in France, Atom Rhumba from Spain, Willis Drummond especially in Euskal Herria and worldwide... Coupled with this, the fatigue accumulated for fifteen years, because until then I never really stopped. The pandemic came to us and I stayed for three months. But of course, I got bored at a given moment, because I always have the strip there for creation and projects. I started exploring the hard drive, and I captured unowned songs. They weren't for Willis Drummond, nor for Joseba Irazoka; in the end, because they were more pop, they weren't the same breath as they did with them. We picked eight songs and pulled out the first album in silence (Before it's vanished), making about 40 concerts helped me get used to guitar and singing. For me, guitar is a new instrument, and as far as singing is concerned, the first recording for the first album was singing it in front of a microphone. He didn't master anything and didn't feel able to revitalize those songs. Nor did it represent concerts. But in the end, following the guitar at home, I imagined the first concerts and asked Joseba Irazoka the help for the first concerts. So I went and Juan Carlos García Alberca, from Bloody Mary de Irún, told me that if I was a group I would play at the Andoain Rock festival. I called musicians friends, and so I started a new adventure with joy.

He just released his second album, The Dancing King. It has formed its own musical sphere, with an interesting sum of rhythms and layers that complement each other.
I don't believe the song thinking about a record. The song must stand alone in a whole. The song must offer a universe like Beatles did. Great fan of Banaiz Beatles and this pop style. Therefore, I form small universes and then my brother helps me to internalize that coherent whole.

In Before it's vanished we are in American music, in American folk; the result is very simple and clean batean.The Dancing King, however, has a more pop or English side, has popa, electronic music and synthesizing sounds. The second album is a sum of more complex songs. Drum rhythms are also more complex, with rhythms triggered in jazz or progressive music. It's not that I'm looking for complexity, so it's gone.

"We compare the album 'The Dancing King' with a notebook that gathers the experience for two years"

Every record has its own universe. Rüdiger is the sum of the melodies that impact you.
Yes, absolutely. It's a showcase for what I hear at home. If the music that excites me is a lot, I can't direct everyone to other groups that I have. Those who did not fit were addressed to Rüdige. I guess every album from Rüdige will offer a world of its own and each time I will have a very different album. I'm sure to lose people on the road and win some new ones. Nihaurk is a pleasure project.

Does the direct feel pleasure?
Yes, now yes. No wonder I know the stage long ago! For eight years I had a terrible terror, it was literally speaking, but I've had a gift and less evil. Of course, being a guitarist makes me more complicated because I'm not as hidden as when I'm a drummer. In addition, you must channel the relationship with the public, make something happen, even to the team members. But little by little. I am still too mental, the technical part takes up too much of it, but thanks to the forthcoming concerts and the strength of working at home I will, of course, take some steps. It's a great job, but at the same time I'm really interested in it, I learn a lot and it will serve me as a battery.

You in front and the battery behind, therefore.It's hard for
me to leave control over the battery and I've been on the battery of this record. But I have to say that the Rüdige battery fragments have caused me the most difficulties. It was different from the usual, it allowed me to uncolor some rhythms that asked for the song. Sometimes I had to block an arm behind my back so I could hit what was different. In the end I had to relate to the battery differently.

Go through depreciation.
Yes, deconstruction has been metal. It was both a surprise and an interesting challenge.

And as for words, what reflections do you tell us?They are quite simple
letters, they are based on a special theme, poetry with us. I mean the journey of a migrant who told me in the first person in the song Memory, Breathe can be a conversation about the situation of the world… There are political letters, but not only. The Once I Was Away can be a raft of lethal love, a LSD trip that I encounter with a loved one. I also talk about the family, the essence and the family core, the family universe that brings friendship ... What is the family? It is possible to compare the album with a booklet that gathers the experiences of the two years. I struggle to invent stories, I mean very specific issues.

He has chosen to sing in English s.Una accuracy has been complex to
me in language, and in the end there has been an exclusion of languages and not a selection. As for the Basque country, I am studying but still do not have enough level. I want a song in Basque and I'm in the process. I have proposals from some friends, so it will come to my place. In French I didn't feel it, I don't have chanson française culture, at home we had more New Orleans Jazz, or to sum it up in a word, Beatles! Then I've also heard alternative American or English rock. That's why I got out of English. I didn't feel Spanish either.

Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA

Brother, sister and you are the whole family in the music world. Is music a family story for you?
Parents gave us a passion for music. His father had a family custom: they were six brothers, each had an instrument (along their father a flute, an aunt the cello, another the violin and so on) and after all the year they offered a Christmas concert! Maybe it comes from a family tradition, I don't know. However, at six years old, the question was not “do you want to make music?” but “what instrument do you want to learn?” I picked the drums, my brother the guitar and my sister the clarinet. My mother is also an artist, a painter, and since childhood I have always seen working at the drawing table. In the end, from home we normalized the possibility of living from art.

Teammates, study, discography… It seems you have all the phases surrounded by amigos.El study Shorebreaker was
created by his brother, but we have been there for three years with Willis Drummond and there we recorded our last album. I think that is the case for all musicians, but I also have to feel confident at the moment of creation. A site doesn't say much, people who occupy it do. I feel good among those of us at Shorebreake, we form a small family. I have the same labels, Usopop and Forbidden Colours. They're record labels with multiple music passionates. I always like to feel part of the family, move forward together.

"I think in Rüdiger each album will offer a very different world and a very different album every time."

As an artist, do you have an intermittent status?
Because I have my administrative life in France, I work as an intermittent. I'm very lucky. For the friends and friends of Hego Euskal Herria and Spain the situation is much more complicated, they act as autonomous, they have many rates, if they do not work they have no income, they are at a hard pace, they have the opportunity to make stops. Maybe I do it too, but if I feel like it, I could lighten the rhythm and intermittent status would guarantee me income. The members of the government refer to the reform and/or disappearance of the status; what we can expect is that it does not happen, because it is a great security for artists.

You know the realities on both sides of the Bidasoa, what would Hegoalde say from the musical scene of Iparralde and vice versa?
It has not been easy for me, because I have never felt too much difference between the two sides. In general, I look healthy at the musical scene of Euskal Herria, there are many groups! However, repetition sites are scarce. If someone wants to do something political for music, promote it. I would be very welcome. What I see is that there are fewer people in the Northern Basque Country, so it seems logical to me that there are fewer groups, even if there are many. There are more people in Hego Euskal Herria, if they're big cities, and that makes there more concert centers and groups.

I believe that the Northern Basque Country has lost the dynamics of cheese shops, and I find that very regrettable, because in the end they are tabled for groups. With Willis Drummond, we started in the queserías and they brought us a lot musical and social: to know self-managed spaces, people of their interest... But you have the answer of someone close to the age of 40 and I have to confess that I feel a little old. Maybe it's better to ask a twentysomething... In recent interviews, there is always a time when I define that I am older. [laughter]. That's right and if you want it or not, that's it!


A concert hall of Euskal Herria: Matadeixe in Azkoitia.

A Song by Willis Drummond: About Water

A Basque album: Fdo. Ke Lepo Group

A global record: Water From Your Eyes Crushed

A musical dream: Performance with Rüdige in Victoria Eugenia.