He calls himself an old bag. Achim Reichel, 73, looks back to the seventies, not without pride, but with the awareness of having been lucky too. Growing up in St. Pauli, a stone's throw from the neighbourhood, the hamburger talks like his beak has grown. That is amusing and makes him sympathetic, this guy without airs and graces, but with a lot of charisma. In his answers he sometimes digresses, but that doesn't matter, because the man has something to tell. Anything but a sailor's yarn.
eclipsed: In your musical life you didn't necessarily take a straight path stylistically. You've always done what you just made sense of. You don't compromise?
Reichel: Not always. With increasing age less and less. As a green boy I somehow got into the music business by chance, because I grew up around the corner at the Star Club in Hamburg. At the beginning we just thought: Oh, that's awesome, now we already have a record. It's even played on the radio.
eclipsed: How did you get to A.R. & Machines after the Rattles and Wonderland?
Reichel: When I realized with my old Akai-X330D tape machine that it could be used for looping, it was a coincidence. I had somehow pressed the wrong button. I wanted to record a guitar motif, and suddenly it was always repeated in my headphones. Dong, dong, dong... And I think: It's crazy, you can do something with it. Recognizing this was actually my creative achievement.
eclipsed: How were the reactions to A.R. & Machines?
Reichel: I went to Polydor with my recordings, and thank God there was one who said: "You, Achim, this is somehow quite interesting. But you do know that no radio station plays that." I said, "Yeah, but it's kind of awesome." Winfried Trenkler wrote in 1973 in the "Kölner Stadtanzeiger": "From teeny to top musician". That's when I thought: That's awesome. After all, if you really want to claim to be an artist, you also have to stand by the ideas that go through your head. I had a US sound engineer visit once. He's going through my record box and he says, "That's a great record!" There he holds "The Green Journey" by A.R. & Machines in his hand. I say, "I made these once, about 1970." He says, "What? That's you? It's not pop music anymore, it's art! You anticipated the looping."