|Birth name||Florian Schneider-Esleben|
7 April 1947 |
|Instruments||Synthesizer, vocals, guitar, flute, saxophone, drums, percussion, violin|
|Years active||1968–2008, 2015|
Florian Schneider-Esleben founded Kraftwerk with Ralf Hütter in 1970. They met in 1968 while studying at the Academy of Arts in Remscheid, then at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf. They played improvisational music together in the ensemble Organisation. Before meeting Hütter, Schneider had played with Eberhard Kranemann in the group Pissoff from 1967 to 1968. From 1968 to 1969, Schneider played flute, with Ralf Hütter on Hammond organ, Eberhard Kranemann on bass and Paul Lovens on drums.
Originally Schneider's main instrument was the flute, which he would treat using electronic effects, including tape echo, ring modulation, use of pitch-to-voltage converter, fuzz and wah-wah, allowing him to use his flute as a bass instrument. He also played violin (similarly treated), electric guitar (including slide guitar), and made use of synthesizers (both as a melodic instrument and as a sound processor). Later he also created his own electronic flute instrument. After the release of their 1974 album, Autobahn, his use of acoustic instruments diminished.
Schneider, speaking in 1991, said: "I had studied seriously up to a certain level, then I found it boring; I looked for other things, I found that the flute was too limiting... Soon I bought a microphone, then loudspeakers, then an echo, then a synthesizer. Much later I threw the flute away; it was a sort of process." Although he has limited keyboard technique, and is a trained flautist, he apparently preferred to trigger the synth sounds through a keyboard in the group's 1975, 1976 and 1981 concerts (later, developments in sequencing limited the need for hands-on playing).
Schneider's approach is concentrated on sound design (in an interview in 2005, Hütter called him a "sound fetishist") and vocoding/speech-synthesis. One patented implementation of the latter was christened the Robovox, a distinctive feature of the Kraftwerk sound. Hütter said of Schneider's approach:
He is a sound perfectionist, so, if the sound isn’t up to a certain standard, he doesn’t want to do it. With electronic music there’s no necessity ever to leave the studio. You could keep making records and sending them out. Why put so much energy into travel, spending time in airports, in waiting halls, in backstage areas, being like an animal, just for two hours of a concert? But now, with the Kling Klang studio on tour with us, we work in the afternoon, we do soundchecks, we compose, we put down new ideas and computer graphics. There’s always so much to do, and we do make progress.
Departure from Kraftwerk
Schneider did not perform on any of the dates of the Kraftwerk 2008 world tour (his last performance with the band was November 2006 in Spain). His position onstage was filled by Stefan Pfaffe, an associate working for the band as a video technician. According to a close associate of the group, Schneider left Kraftwerk on 21 November 2008. On 6 January 2009, NME confirmed Schneider's departure.
Schneider currently lives in Meerbusch-Büderich near Düsseldorf, although he has a house in Florence, Italy. He has a daughter named Lisa. He is the son of architect Paul Schneider-Esleben and Eva Maria Esleben. His father designed Cologne Airport and several other influential buildings.
- Copyright paper for Kraftwerk, filled by Florian Schneider, 1970
- Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.92
- Pascal Bussy (1993). Man, Machine and Music
- Mojo magazine interview, August 2005
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- "News". Elektrodaten. 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- "Kraftwerk co-founder quits band". 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2011-08-27.