Since 2010 go nogo, aka Markus ‘Fred’ Scholl and Eric Schemer, have been making music, sharing files and releasing music via the label they co-founded called Emerald & Doreen. In 2017, they dropped their debut LP Main Course which showed off their special style of marrying together songwriting with dancefloor qualities. In 2018 they will take to the stage once more with go nogo live. Markus and Eric reside in Saarbrücken and Heidelberg, Germany.
How did you decide on the name go nogo?
I was looking for a name that was simple in structure (band names consistent of three mono syllables are quite catchy), but with a deeper meaning. Go nogo tests in psychology are used to measure a participant’s capacity for sustained attention and response control. I guess, they will become more popular since we are living in an age of short-term attention and fast consumption. But I also liked the association which we get from the world of everyday slang: human beings tend to constantly judge if things are a ‘go’ or a ‘nogo’ – so why not apply both options to the music you are offering. You see, it’s all up for interpretation, even the name in itself!
How would you explain the sound of go nogo to a stranger in five words?
Well, it depends on how much a music lover he or she is, but I guess I would say “the thinking man’s pop music..”
How do you come up with ideas for your songs?
Well, there is so much to write about the human condition in modern times, that you can hardly not write a song about human behavior. You check social media, you see the rapid changes in the world which we tend not to get a hold on. I tend to write lyrics about things that bug me, throwing in a bit of Jello Biafra’s (singer in the Hardcore Punk Band Dead Kennedys) sarcasm, add pointed emphasis to everyday observations. I get a lot from the strategies of acclaimed singer/songwriters like Jarvis Cocker, Paul Weller, Lou Reed. They all have a great way of picking a distinct vocabulary, the same as authors or film makers do. I definitely try to support the lyrical content by choosing particular instruments and I certainly tackle the topics in a melodic sense. But there is no fixed recipe. Sometimes a lyric is so strong – and most of the times, those are the songs that come easy – that the choosing of instruments and melodies comes naturally, just like thunder and lighting.
What do you love about Heidelberg?
I live in Saarbrücken, 125 miles south-west of Heidelberg, but I’ve visited it at least 100 times, since the hey-days of the legendary ‘Schwimmbad-Klub’. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and a rich vibe of nostalgia due to large parts of historic buildings in the town center. As a mid-sized German town, Heidelberg is in a well-off area with a lot of trade and international visitors from all over the world. It has a student scene, so there is a youth culture, meaning a lively night life. You also get a very prestigious jazz festival and classical music days for the well-off punters.
What’s your motto / life philosophy?
If you want a job to be done, do it yourself.
What inspires you?
Uh, so many things. Life is such a big source in itself. It is the everyday rather than the extraordinary. Mundane things like cheating hearts, rivaling neighbors, caravans and other dwelling places, oddities, really. As a musician with many many stations in life, I used to live in all sorts of hoods, so I draw from a big source of being a spectator – but also by being an actor.
If you could look into the future what would you want to know?
Actually, there is not a damn thing I would like to know about future events because I like surprises way better than certainties.
Finish this sentence. Life is…
… great if you can afford it.
Where do people hang out in Heidelberg who listen to music like yours?
The Karlstorbahnhof is the first and only location which springs to my mind automatically, because have acts like Pere Ubu playing one night and Etienne de Crécy on another night. And that is as eclectic as it can get. I always liked English mash-up culture, also the 2ManyDJs approach of mixing AC/DC with Salt&Peppa. The only other place I know of is more focused on a particular audience. I like it colorful.
Do you ever struggle with ‘writers block’ when coming up with new songs?
No, because I can’t force myself to write a song. I have no pressure since this project is still a total DIY thing. If I had to be successful, because some manager tried to put me under pressure in order to write something “sellable”, then I might have a writer’s block.
What's worse? An innocent person imprisoned or a guilty person set free?
That’s a dilemma… both a tragedy. It really depends on the crime, though. Someone can be guilty of a petty crime and gets away with it. That’s no big deal. It’s not as big a tragedy as someone who is innocent and facing life-long imprisonment.
So, I cannot say one thing or the other, for the question is put in a very general way. But if the pre-condition was the same crime followed by the identical punishment, then I’d go for the innocent person imprisoned as the greater tragedy. Why? Because, I am in doubt that prison is the right way of punishment at all. But what I am sure of is, that in the end, the innocent and wrongly imprisoned guy will have a serious damage from being locked away.
His moral beliefs will be damaged in the way he thinks about justice and the legal system. Maybe, as a consequence, society will have to face a second villain next to the other dude.
What brings a tear to your eye?
Unforeseen beauty and grace.
What do you feel has been your best song to date?
I think it’s ‘(I am) Industry’, which will be released with our next LP release ‘no go area’. It is one of those lyrics which just flowed. That song is about us being a little cog in the wheel, worshipping the treadmill of pre-(and ill-) conceived life plans. As society’s built on this idea of industry, where every part of it is industry in itself, even individual workers are.
In that last line, when the worker has to make way for the droid and gets sacked, the question of ‘what for?’ is implicitly asked and explicitly answered by the machine, that spits you out either as an old beggar or (well-off) pensioner.
I guess, also the ascending bass-melodie and ringing Indie-guitar chords add perfectly up to the head bopping beat, which is one of the prominent features in the new go nogo catalogue… the next LP will have some hip hop flourishes. There is another one of the new tunes which I love just the same… but I guess that is normal, that someone is always more enthusiastic about the things in the making.
If you were able to listen to only one vinyl record forever what would it be?
Gosh, that is probably ‘Screamadelica’ by the mighty Primal Scream. Actually, that question is ‘unanswerable’ for a collector, BUT, since you assume it is, I’ll come up with a likely explanation. This double LP from 1991 is so many things in one, elegantly weaved together, comprising a journey which is filled with sounds which are dancey and hyped-up to soothing and entrancing. It really is a kaleidoscope of things – Dub, The Stones, Acid House, all bound together by the voice of Bobby Gillespie. And actually, that aim, to have a smorgasbord of styles combined into one cohesive picture is great great art to me.
Are you more or a rule breaker or rule follower?
What rules do you mean? 😉
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2018?
We are rising from the cellar to play some gigs in the area of Heidelberg, namely Mannheim and Karlsruhe. Not to mention Markus Schneider’s (The Robot Scientists, and Emerald & Doreen other founder) birthday gig in Saarbrücken, my hometown.
These are small club gigs to check us out as a live for the first time … don’t ask how it feels, but after eight years of releasing E.P.s, remixes and compilations, writing over 40 songs, there had to be a live rendition of the material.
We have split roles as Eric plays the guitar as the gravitating element next to my voice and bass playing. We stripped down the arrangements, so that you’ll get more of a three piece band feeling out of it… having Ableton Push as the third member.
As I mentioned, I am in the studio together with Marcel (Sude – an accomplished analogue studio recording engineer), to mix down 10 new tracks. I hope they will be finished by the end of early autumn. We are looking for more venues having us, which can be a combined venture as a live/DJ-afterparty thing. I hope to play some DJ gigs in my hometown too, but at the moment, the playing-live-temperature is rising.