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‘It Just Felt Otherworldly’: Why Kraftwerk Are One of the Most Influential Artists in the History of Music

The electronic music pioneers will tour Australia and New Zealand in November and December



Led by Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter, electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk emerged out of Düsseldorf in the early ’70s, soon to become a massive influence on music worldwide.

They were trailblazers and innovators, expanding the boundaries of music and with that the ears of many devoted listeners. David Bowie was an early fan: his Berlin-era albums were heavily influenced by Kraftwerk, even going so far as to reference them on the track “V-2 Schneider” from his classic 1978 album Heroes

As time went on and new heroes rose to acclaim, the likes of Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Human League, Daft Punk, and Kanye West all hailed Kraftwerk, who are also one of the most sampled bands of all time. Artists as disparate as Coldplay, Dr. Dre, De La Soul, Lil Wayne, Miley Cyrus, My Morning Jacket, LCD Soundsystem, and Afrika Bambaataa have taken their songs to greater heights with Kraftwerk samples. 

The Chemical Brothers – themselves touring Australia in March 2024 and who have consistently featured alongside Kraftwerk on festivals lineups in recent years – sampled Kraftwerk’s 1975 track “Ohm Sweet Ohm” in one of their most classic songs “Leave Home”, which featured on their 1995 album, Exit Planet Dust

Florian Schneider died in April 2020 from cancer at the age of 73. He left Kraftwerk in 2008, with Hütter steering the ship ever since with a cast of new members who currently include Henning Schmitz, Falk Grieffenhagen, and Georg Bongartz.

“It takes all kinds of different mental states, from patience, to anger to a big smile when everything is functioning,” Hütter told The Guardian in 2009 of Kraftwerk’s ongoing journey, which includes a 2021 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

“But we chose to continue working, and follow the idea of the Man-Machine,” he continued, citing the group’s influential 1978 album. “And for us, it’s still working positively.” 

Kraftwerk have also had a huge impact on Australian EDM artists. Paul Mac was effusive about their influence in a 2020 interview with Andrew Ford on ABC Radio National’s The Music Show.

“They were just game changers personally for me,” he said, “because up until that point – like I’m the youngest of seven – all the music in our house was a lot of prog rock, like Yes, and bands like that. So I suppose up until that point, my concept of what a good musician was that you were virtuosic, and the faster you could play, the better you were. 

“And then there were a couple of bands and Kraftwerk was definitely one of them. I started with Computer World. It was just mind boggling, the sound world, the concept, the imagery, the Man-Machine idea was just like, wow! It was 100% electronic and I was getting into that.

“To a lot of people growing up on it, it was just such a weird language that you didn’t hear in the blues or blues-based pop. It just felt otherworldly. I think their choice of notes and the economy with which they used them just sounded fresh. It didn’t sound like anything else.

“It was all encompassing – the artwork, the live show. It was kind of taking this idea – the Man-Machine – to the nth degree, which was kind of radical at the time. I suppose the other thing to think of with electronic music was it was often deemed to be inauthentic and soulless and all of that in the early days because it was made by machinery and not by humans. But I think that apart from the radicalness of it they also just had a really good sense of humour with it.” 

Tom Ellard of pioneering Australian electronic outfit Severed Heads recalled seeing Kraftwerk perform on their first tour here back in 1981.  

“It was wonderful,” he said on his Nilamax.com website in 2013. “They brought their whole opera stage with them; all those green/yellow Wagnerian boxes and knobs and neon tubes. They seemed to enjoy their show as much as their personas allowed – even daring to tap their toes – and were just then at the peak of their musical importance. 

“It was so vital in the early ’80s Australia to have this approval from on high for music that was from a different planet to AC/DC. We were empowered by it.”

Julian Hamilton from The Presets was introduced to Kraftwerk through a family friend in the early ‘80s. Many years later in 2003, The Presets were on the same Big Day Out bill and Hamilton spent the national jaunt attempting to go full fanboy.

“I carried this copy of Autobahn (1974) around with me hoping to get it autographed, yet each time I approached them I was waved off by a scary looking German bouncer type who shook his head and simply said in a deep voice, ‘later,’” he told The Guardian in 2021.

“I’d all but given up by the time we’d reached the final stop in Perth. I was walking through the backstage area when a white Tarago suddenly pulled up in front of me, the door opened and out stepped bloody Ralf and Florian. The only thing standing between them and their band room was this young idiot holding their LP and a Sharpie. 

“They must have figured it was easier to simply sign and move along – which they begrudgingly did, and it sits on my studio wall to this day.”

So, look both sides of your seat when you catch Kraftwerk on their Australia/NZ tour. You never know who might be sitting beside you. 

Kraftwerk 2023 Australia & New Zealand Tour

Presented by Frontier Touring

Frontier Members pre-sale begins Monday 17 July (11am local time)
General sale begins Wednesday 19 July (10am local time)

Tickets available via frontiertouring.com

Wednesday 29 November
TSB Arena | Wellington, NZ
Lic. All Ages

Friday 1 December
Spark Arena | Auckland, NZ
Lic. All Ages

Monday 4 December
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre | Brisbane, QLD
Lic. All Ages

Wednesday 6 December
Aware Super Theatre | Sydney, NSW
Lic. All Ages

Friday 8 December
Margaret Court Arena | Melbourne, VIC
Lic. All Ages

Tuesday 12 December
Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre | Adelaide, SA
Lic. All Ages

Friday 15 December
Riverside Theatre, PCEC | Perth, WA
Lic. All Ages