Duisburg, early 70s: Heinz Robert Martin and Claus Rauschenbach founded the duo Kalacakra and released the album "Crawling To Lhasa" in 1972. A krautrock mix of dirty rock-blues-folk and Indian-Tibetan sounds. Right after that, the duo called it a day. In 2002 Martin dared to release a new album and now he is on the road again with Kalacakra
Heinz Robert Martin is 72 by now, but he remained musically active all these years and shows himself as open as ever in the interview.
eclipsed: How did your interest in the Tibetan, Indian and Far Eastern arise?
Heinz Robert Martin: I have never been to these countries myself. These influences certainly came through the Beatles, who incorporated Indian things. But also through Ravi Shankar and the American jazz flutist Paul Horn, who had made recordings in the Taj Mahal. But I grew up with rock'n'roll. In 1959 I heard Chuck Berry. I turned professional early on and did blues, soul and rock. But I was always open to new things, so I quickly started listening to music from Africa and India. I was looking for new colors.
eclipsed: How did you meet your musical partner Claus Rauschenbach and how did it come to the decision to make music together?
Martin: When I was nine years old, my father died. Then I moved with my mother to my aunt. She had a music bar in Duisburg-Ruhrort, which is the harbour district and the red light district in Duisburg. That's where I got to know rock'n'roll. Bands played live there six times a week. There were sailors, students and also people from the red light district. Claus was one of the students. That's where I met him. We moved in together at some point, smoked pot and took drugs and made music together for fun. He bought a couple of congas. We just did sessions. That's where the music came from. But we also composed some of it. At some point we asked ourselves, "Shouldn't we make an album?" We then rented a studio for a weekend and recorded. We financed the studio together with our girlfriends.
eclipsed: The album was then released as a self-production. Couldn't or didn't you want to find a label?
Martin: We were simply inexperienced in the music business. We did some research to find out what it costs to press 1000 records. Then we were asked whether we wanted to be registered at the GEMA. We didn't know at all what that is. So we did without it. This had the disadvantage that later pirated copies of our album were produced just like that. It wasn't until the 90s that we were registered with GEMA.
eclipsed: "Crawling To Lhasa" is actually divided into two parts. First come the Indian-Tibetan pieces, then comes the dirty-freaky folk/rock.
Martin: Yes, that's right. The many little melodies at the beginning sound Indian. After that the western guitar comes in.
eclipsed: Claus Rauschenbach wrote the lyrics. What is it about the black plague in "Nearby Shiras"?
Martin: Shiras is a place in Persia. There the plague raged in former times. Claus read about it and the lyrics about it are actually improvised. The text is rather a persiflage. It's a depressing and especially nowadays topical subject, but it's meant humorously ...
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