I have got chance to ask Ronny Schreinzer questions about him and his partner Sven Dohrow. They are known as very popular band from the 80's – The Twins! They made many great songs. The Twins are part of German's Electro/Disco scene of the 80's and we can call it also as Italo Disco band (!?) since few singles they have been published in Italy under Italian labels. About these and other interesting things you'll find out below, in Ronny's answers. Some of them were a bit suprise for me personally.
Zeljko: As first, thank you for this interview and opportunity to find out more about great Disco band The Twins. Welcome. Would you introduce yourself please?
Ronny: Hi there. My name is Ronny Schreinzer, born 1958 in Berlin, singer for the band „The Twins“.
Zeljko: Ronny, I have to admit that I wasn't sure will I get positive answer from you regarding interview and after I sent you mail I saw on your site that your Bad Characteristics is „Can't say NO!“ After that I knew you will answer me ? Is this really bad characteristics????
Ronny: Hmmm.... actually when people ask me for a favour in most cases I say „o.k. I can help you“, which sometimes puts me in trouble, because I'm a very busy person and I don't have the time to satisfy everybody. As you can see, it took me long time to answer your request for this interview.
Zeljko: Would you tell me how you met each other and how you decided you will work together?
Ronny: We met each other back in school in the seventies, in Berlin. Sven was a guitar player and I played the drums. We had many discussions about music and musical equipment in general, but we never played together. After we finished school around 1976 we accidentally met again (in a disco where Sven was a frequent guest and I was working as a DJ). Sven asked me if I would like to play drums in a band he just joined. I agreed and we played together in this band for about three years. When the band split up (sort of), we thought this would be a good opportunity to try somethinhg new. Sven had bought two or three synthesizers and we started making music together. It took us a couple of days to compose and arrange our very first song „Desert Place“. Actually we were very surprised that the song was so catchy and that it was so easy for us to make that sort of music just on our own.
Zeljko: And of course how you choose name The Twins?
Ronny: When we finished our first few songs, we thought about sending the demos to a few record companies but we still had no name. We had just finished a little photo session where we had the same sort of leather jackets and the same sort of of hair styling (can be seen on the front cover of our first album „Passion Factory“). So we had a little brain storming. The plan was to come up with a name that describes the fact that we are just two band members, with identical musical taste and by coincedence we sort of looked very much the same on that first photo. So we came up with the name „The Twins“.
Zeljko: At the end of the 70's disco music from USA moved to Europe in „shape“ of Giorgio Moroder, then soon came Modern Talking in Germany, Italo Disco in Italy.... You two released your first single in 1980. It was „Runaway“. Have you felt in that time that Disco (in different sound way) will become popular in Europe later and that's why you choose music style you still perform today? Or it was something else?
Ronny: Actually we never saw ourselves as a „disco“ band. We liked music made by Gary Numan, Human League, Roxy Music and Depeche Mode and a few other bands. Our musical style was very „electronic“. If you listen to „Passion Factory“ our first album you know what I mean. The next answer explains how we added the „disco feeling“ to our style.....
Zeljko: To be honest, I don't know how sounds your first song „Runaway“ but I surely know how sounds „The Desert Place“. Fantastic! Please tell me more about your second single who was hugely popular?
Ronny: When we signed our first record contract, the record company wanted us to produce a maxi version (called „Super-Sound-Single“ back in those days) of our first official 7“ „The Desert Place“. So we thought, if it's going to be released on a 12“, chances are good that it will be played in a lot of discos because DJ's really much liked to play 12“ mixes because of the better sound and punch. We created a long version of „Desert Place“ where we added a few additional parts (for example the drum part in the middle of the song), changed some of the original synthesizer sounds and mixed it to be very fat and punchy. The result was very satisfying for us. DJ's all over the world really liked this 12“ and they still play it today.
Zeljko: Have you expected such a great popularity in Germany at first and then in other European countries? Have you reached your plan you had at the beginning of your musical career and could you share with us what was the plan??
Ronny: The plan was simple: Making music that we really like, earn money for a living, meeting girls?!!!! (I think you would get the same answer from 99% of the musicians on this planet, no?)
Zeljko: It wouldn't be fair to single „Runaway“ if we won't say something more about it so please tell me how you made „Runaway“, what music style is...?
Ronny: It's an up-tempo song with a neat and catchy melody..... I can't come up with more!
Zeljko: After huge succes of „The Desert Place“ came „Face To Face Heart To Heart“ in 1982 and smashed the Italian Charts. Italy was very important music country in that time and not only then but still today is. How you were feeling after that smash hit?
Ronny: We were totally surprised about the success in Italy, it was like a dream suddenly come true. We had to go to Italy many times, to appear in TV shows and to play on open air disco events.
Zeljko: Some of songs you published in Italy under famous italo disco labels – Il Discotto and Baby Records. I wonder have you met their owners (Mauro Farina, Giuliano Crivellente, Freddy Naggiar) and can you tell me more, much more if possbile ? about your work in Italy?
Ronny: We only met Freddy Naggiar (Baby Records) two or three times. He was a busy man back in those days and so our meetings where very brief.
Zeljko: Have you met any artists from Il Discotto and Baby Records at that time? If yes, please tell me about your impressions.
Ronny: We had a few TV shows together with Gazebo. Paul is avery nice and friendly person. He always had a grin on his face. We went to a few clubs together and we had a few very nice chats together.
Zeljko: Your music taste is perfect in my opinion. Your music is great, vocals, arrangments... everything best. For people who knows how to sing, play instruments... people say it's God's gift. What do you think about that? I wonder if you could explain me what is the feeling inside when you discovered in yourself something like singing or playing instruments are? I don't know anything about those God's gifts unfortunately?
Ronny: Thanx for the compliments. I would say some have the talents and some don't. We can compose songs, sing and play but other people can paint a nice picture (which I definitely can't). Personally I can say that it was a big surprise for me when people told me that they really like my voice and my singing. I really felt that this is some sort of gift that many other people don't have and will never get.
Zeljko: While I am thinking about this interview and questions I am listening song „Love System“. I could choose any other song (masterpieces like „Ballet Dancer“ or „Face To Face“...) but for this particular song could you tell me how you made it? I mean how you made melody on synth, lyrics, then „voice from radio“ (if I used the right words for the special efects in vocal), for all that you needed an idea, right?
Ronny: “Love System“ is one of the very few songs that where not entirely composed by The Twins. We had a keyboard player in our live band back in those days named Michael Gerlach. He gave me a tape with a few demo songs he made. I really liked the refrain melody of one of the songs and we sat down together and arranged and added some additional melodies for the verse and the bridge. I programmed a new drum arrangement for this song and the result was „Love System“. Our lyric writer Tim Dowdall came up with the words for this song and when we rehearsed the vocals for the first time, Tim always added the part with the telephone voice (or radio voice if you will). So we found that it would be funny if we would use Tim's voice for this part, which was a good idea as you can hear.
Zeljko: I haven't asked you yet about other people, coleagues, who worked with you, if there were any? On your productions or.....
Ronny: Nothing special to mention here. Tim wrote or translated most of our lyrics, Michael Gerlach co-wrote „Love System“ and „Fantasy“. Sven co-wrote „Time will tell“ and one or two other songs together with a guy named Bernd D. We also produced other artists named „IKO“ and „My favourite toys“.
Zeljko: In your time in the 80's, except The Twins, in Germany and in the rest of the Europe were popular others disco artists like Modern Talking, Silent Circle, Bad Boys Blue or Fancy etc. etc. Have you watched their work and what do you think about German's disco scene in the 80's?
Ronny: I have to make this very clear (and I can speak for Sven here as well). We really don't like the aforementioned artists and their music very much and we don't see ourselves in the same line with them. They may forgive us our ignorance. (Although I must say that we met Bad Boys Blue and Thomas Anders on a few occasions and we had a few nice chats together, both are very friendly persons especially the guys from BBB).
Zeljko: The same question I am asking you about Italian disco music or better to say Italo Disco?
Ronny: I am not familiar with Italian Disco Music so I can't make any statements here.
Zeljko: Who was your favorite italo disco artist(s) in the 80's?
Ronny: I really liked Gazebo, Ryan Paris and Den Harrow (not sure if he was italian).
Zeljko: Have you had wish to work with some others Germans artists or Italians in the 80's? Have you tried?
Ronny: No we haven't tried. But it is a little known fact that we received some additional help by Christopher Franke of „Tangerine Dream“ when we recorded the long version of „Desert Place“. He supplied the sound of the main Bass sequence with his Prophet-5 synthesizer and gave a helping hand during the recordings.
Zeljko: I think you are very productive duo because you had no any bad song. Every single song was success. This is impressive! You must be hugely proud on yourself and happy!? What is the secret of such a fantastic success?
Ronny: Simply put...... I don't know. Our goal allways was to come up with a catchy melody and to put it in a compact arrangement. This is our secret if you will.
Zeljko: 25 years are behind you two! This is very respectable time. What can you tell me about your friendship and your work together during all those years?
Ronny: Well....... we had our up's and down's too. We always thought that „The Twins“ project can only continue to exist if we both supply ideas that both of us can aggree to. As usual between musicians we had many arguements about a couple of things but at the end of the day we always came up with a good solution to every problem. This a strong talent too, if you will......
Zeljko: You know, you couldn't choose better name for your duo than The Twins. I am saying this because after 25 years you still working together as one, making songs and going on concerts, as one.... You two are born for each other it seems ?
Ronny: You may be right.....
Zeljko: Have you going on many concerts in the 80's and if you can tell me somethin more about your recent concert in Sweden? You will publish also live album?
Ronny: Oh yes, we went to a few concerts together. I still remember a concert in a small venue with Duran Duran back in 1981. This was a very great experience. The concert in Sweden was a great experience too because swedish fans are very frenetic. The CD has been released in August 2005, a DVD will follow in about two months.
Zeljko: What are your plans at the moment you have for near future? This new album will be in what style? In that good old 80's sounds maybe. I belive so but „filled“ with a modern sound. Tell me please about that something more.
Ronny: We have plans but nothing I can talk about right now.
Zeljko: Do you have maybe wish to cooperate with some of the new dance projects in Germany or in any other country? I am asking you this because then you could introduce your great work to today's young people and show them your masterpieces from the 80's. In new sound as remixes perhaps?! It's kind of music very popular today.
Ronny: We are always interested if young musicians want record or remix some of our old songs. In fact we have sent melody and vocal samples to a few artists for remixes in the past years.
Zeljko: I persume your new work will be published for your own label? How come you decided to establish own label? I know it's logical after so many fantastic songs that you move from „foreign“ label to own one.
Ronny: Simply put, we have established our own label to re-release our old albums. Our new CD's, like the Live album was also released on our own label simply because we can decide everything ourselves (like artwork, title selection etc.)
Zeljko: In the 80's you also made video clips. I have some of them. Could you tell me something aobut that work as well? If I may to say, Gazebo told me in his interview that he enjoyed a lot in making videos, like it was real movie set and had some interesting moments. Your impressions please about your video please.
Ronny: Actually I never liked the video shootings because it has so little in common with making music and sometimes it was boring too. Today I feel a bit different about the whole thing. I tend to like it bit more. Mostly because it brings back memories and you can have a good laugh when you watch the stuff twenty years later ;-)
Zeljko: And for the end could you share with us what Ron and Sven doing today in his private life? Any interesting thing for your fans maybe?
Ronny: Sven and I still like good food and wine. Sven does a lot of jogging and playing golf. I like jogging and swimming. Recently we found that it is a lot of fun watching movies in our home theatres (surround and loud if you understand).
I work for a film company doing sound design for TV and Film very often and Sven still produces music with other artists in his studio.
Zeljko: OK, I have asked you lots of questions ? I hope it wasn't boring for you and for the end would you like to say something what you didn't say through my questions?
Ronny: There is one important thing to say. 25 years of The Twins wouldn't have been possible without our fans. People who like our music and coming to our concerts are the power behind everything. Thanks for your ongoing support.
Zeljko: Thank you very much for your kindness, for your patient and for your time for me. I wish you more great success.
Ronny: Thank you too....
© September 2005 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved