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Three Questions With Tangerine Dream's Thorsten Quaeschning

Founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese in Berlin, Tangerine Dream's career has spanned multiple decades. Since Froese's passing, the group has been under the leadership of Thorsten Quaeschning, his chosen successor.

Currently, the line-up consists of Thorsten Quaeschning, a composer and synthesizer player who joined Tangerine Dream twenty years ago (making him the second longest-serving member in the band's history after Edgar Froese), Hoshiko Yamane - who has been the band's violinist since 2011, and Paul Frick who joined in 2020.

tangerine dream

Thorsten worked with Edgar for over 12 years and lived in his house for half of each year. Their relationship can be described as a master-and-student dynamic, where Edgar taught Thorsten about the philosophy behind the music, scales, and different approaches to sound and procedures; these guidelines would continue to be followed by the current lineup.

Tangerine Dream continue the legacy of the band, was honored to ask Thorsten some questions below...

Synth History: What are some of the synthesizers in your current live setup? Do these synths differ from the ones used in the recording studio? If so, what are some synthesizers used in the studio but not taken on the road?

Thorsten: Live sets are always a compromise, but the band pays enormous attention to sound and detail. The U.S./Canada setup includes a Modular system, Manikin Electronic Schrittmacher Step Sequencer, SH101, Roland Juno 106, Roland JDXA, Roland System 8, two Moog Minotaurs, Moog Sirin, Ableton Live, iPad Pro, and some Arturia and Clavia synthesizers. In Europe, they add a Waldorf Quantum, Moog Voyager, Moog Voyager RME, Manikin Electronic Memotron, Roland V-Synth, a larger Modular system, and many hardware effects from Lexicon, TC Electronics, and Strymon, among others. In the studio consists of a vast array of synthesizers, including a Marienberg Modular, Roland Jupiter 8, additional Voyagers and Minimoogs, Roland JD 800, JP8000, Korg Z1, Prophecy, Mi1r, 01W Pro, Wavestation EX, and many more.

Synth History: When performing live, do you think it’s important to improvise or stick to a plan?

Thorsten: At the end of each concert, Tangerine Dream performs a real-time improvisation, known as a session, that can last from 20 to 120 minutes. This is spontaneously created music, influenced by the environment, audience, venue, and recent experiences. During the main set, the band stays close to the original tracks, spanning from the seventies to post-2005 material.

Synth History: What is some advice you have for artists looking to bring their sound in the studio to the stage?

Thorsten: Create quality live versions of your songs. If you can't bring all your instruments on stage, sample the important sounds. Keep the setup manageable yet detailed, and take the music seriously, if not necessarily yourself.

Synth History: What is some advice for someone looking to get over stage freight?

Thorsten: There's probably no need to entirely overcome it. Be meticulous about your practice, gear, and cables, and be aware that unexpected factors like updates, force majeure, humans, poor MIDI cables and unstable router connections could destroy the world and interfere the space-time-continuum.

Tangerine Dream are performing at The Vermont in Hollywood on Tuesday, September 19th. Grab tickets here.


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