Asena Hayal: Wonderful Combination of Machines and Human Soul

The death of one of the founders of German electronic music group Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider was announced on May 6th 2020. Asena Hayal joined my little investigation on the group. She is the Director of Istanbul Comics and Art Festival (ICAF) and DJ.

Florian Schneider, together with Ralf Hütter played certainly the most important role in introducing electronic music to popular culture. Music authorities describe the band as “the Beatles of electronic”, offering a wonderful combination of machines and the human soul they carried electronic music to another point. Their music influenced a variety of music genres from 80s hip hop to EDM, trance and house .

Machines making music. Repetitions. Technology. Which ideas flourish in Kraftwerk's music?

Schneider and Hütter had conservatory education. But instead of performing the classical music from the past over and over again, they set off with the question: “What is the soundof today’s Germany?” They hugged the idea that “machines are also born from human imagination”. The industrial elements of the music swelling from the industrial giant in Europe, Germany influenced so many other musical movements, like Detroit techno,where the city industrialized rapidly.

3 essential Kraftwerk songs?

A 22 minutes masterpiece Autobahn, the most important song in the popularization of Kraftwerk Das Model and with its lyrics updated with the names Chernobyl and Hiroshima Radioactivity.

Would you like to tell the story of one of these three?

I would like to tell the importance of Autobahn which I also have a tattoo on my arm. As a kid born and raised in Germany, we were traveling from Germany to Turkey by car from broad highways for days. Germany-Austria-Yugoslavia back than-Bulgaria and then Turkey. Electronic rhythms repeating for 22 minutes and the repetition ofwir fahr’n fahr’n fahr’n auf der autobahn’makes me think of those trips.

For the music world, this song got the group for the first time to Top 40 lists and it is also their biggest hit in the US charts. Acoustic and electronic instruments were used together and in musical means never tried before techniques were used. The 22 minutes original version then radio edited to 3 minutes and 28 seconds.


Life From Istanbul, is a solidarity project I started together with Erel Eryürek, Aksak, Arman Akıncı and Harun Şahancı to support the local scene and local DJs. We have a Youtube channel where we make interviews with leading names from the sector along with DJ sets. Our most important purpose is to generate a source of income to the local electronic music workers. Income from sponsors and Merch products would go to the DJs who earns at least of their living from being a DJ.

We also hope Life From Istanbul would continue after the pandemic. This time to unite the local electronic scene members and to be a platform to speak about their rights, problems and needs.

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