Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Real Camouflage: Look Close EP

It's very, very rare that one gets to compare a darkwave album to The Ghostbusters, but I have the opportunity to do just that with this post here, so I will take advantage of it. Those of us who grew up in the 80s will remember that the Ghostbusters cartoon based on the films we all knew and loved was actually called The Real Ghostbusters. This was because there was already a cartoon called Ghost Busters that was around years before the film-to-cartoon was extant. So it was not just a superfluous qualifier in the title; the "Real" indicated that THIS was the Ghostbusters you actually cared about (at least until the show became overly Slimer-centric and started being called Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters).
This ties in to the Kozmonaut LP I posted a while ago. Christian, who provided that LP, also provided this excellent record, as well as the majority of the info for the writeup below. Peter Ziegelmeier, who formed the industrial band Kode IV with Hans Schiller of Kozmonaut, was in a band called Camouflage years before his well-known industrial project existed. Camouflage was a darkwave band with quite a few similarities to the Italian and Greek darkwave bands of the mid-80s - groups like Magic De Spell, South of No North, and Diaframma. The band was formed in 1982 in Switzerland, which is where Peter was originally from. Back then, they recorded 3 songs (the ones on the A-side) before they relocated to Berlin in 1984. That's when they recorded the two songs found on the B-side. They made a video clip for both songs, which one of the band members uploaded two years ago but have received little play, what with all the competition from kitten videos:

(Peter is the one on the right)

Canmouflage was the name they went under for several years, until they finally decided to commit to pressing all five songs on vinyl in 1987. As luck would have it, a new Camouflage band had surfaced and became huge Depeche Mode clones overnight. Peter said that he was in shock when he saw a big banner advertising the other Camouflage's first album. The earlier Camouflage had no money or resources to go after the new Camouflage. Hence, they ended up changing their band name to "The Real Camouflage". Did they knowingly take a cue from the cartoon Ghostbusters naming war? Probably not... The record was pressed up in very small quantities and is virtually unknown to this day. They were completely underground.

The story of The Real Camouflage ends in 1987 when the band split up. One former member is still making music, another started working for a TV station, and Peter was looking for a new band. Peter said that he was really good friends with Carlos Peron , a former band member of Yello. Hans Schiller of Kozmonaut was also friends with Peron. When Hans recorded a Kozmonaut demo cassette called Hyko, he sent a copy of the tape to Carlos. At the time, Hans was trying to form a real band that was more than just a solo project. Hyko was the name of a girl he wanted to have a band with, but for some reason it didn't work out. Carlos played that cassette to Peter. Peter loved the music so much he decided to fly to San Francisco to meet up with Hans, literally just showing up at his front door one day. Just a few months later they had their first record deal as Kode IV. Kode IV was supposed to be named Code 4 but Peter, still traumatized from having one band name stolen from him, decided to mix things up and spell the band name with a 'K' and change the number to Roman numerals.
In one more highly amusing bit of Kozmonaut trivia, it turns out that Hans's identity is completely questionable - first of all, was not German at all. He was from a small province in Canada. He moved to San Francisco due to his sexual orientation, in hopes that he would find acceptance in the tolerant City By the Bay. He was fascinated by German culture, German music (big Kraftwerk fan), and Germany in general. Hence, he made these pseudo German records under the Kozmonaut alias. It also turns out that Hans Schiller was a made up name as well. He admired a musician called "Hans" and was a big fan of Friedrich Schiller, the German poet. So he mixed the two names together to make the pseudonym Hans Schiller. He also used a different name in the gay community - his identities were so different and separate from each other that he had three different phone lines set up at home and called himself different names depending on which phone rang.
He ran his "Vier Productions, Inc." label right out of a house that he rented near Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It has nothing to do with Hamburg, Germany. They recorded all of their Kode IV stuff in that same garage as well. That's where Hans stored all his records and cassettes as well. And, unless there are any more new discoveries, that concludes the story about The Real Camouflage, Kozmonaut and the beginnings of Kode IV all in one nice nutshell.

The Real Camouflage: Look Closely EP
1987, Z Records
A1 Walk With Me
A2 Il Tempio
A3 Get Away
B1 Out of This Time
B2 Victims


Anonymous said...

Awww...didn't you like the ape and the talking ghost bumper car? Let's go,ghost busters..let's go lol...memories. What year was that? Sheesh,time has flown by ;)

nothing said...


Anonymous said...

Hi, can you reupload the HI-I "Mind Your Head" EP, please? I try to download it but the Zshare page says the file doesn't exists...

sylvain said...

Good stuf

Anonymous said...

That's a weird tie-in there goutroy.I wondered if I was the only one that remembered that cartoon. I am 32 now, and recall watching it when I was about 8.Somewhere around 1985-87? I remember also when the 'Real Ghostbusters' came out around 1987-88 with slimer and the guy who did Garfield's voice.Killer post. I looked close at the distorted cover of this album,looks a little lewd...maybe it's just


frankie teardrop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frankie teardrop said...

yes! garfield via peter venkmen. i definitely remember that cartoon, and the reference is totally appropriate. this is amazing, man. you weren't kidding!

Anonymous said...

Nice find goutroy. Love the 80's.

Slow Pulse Girl said...

I know the lovely lad on vocals, I will send him the link to your blog I think he will be tickled pink to see this !

Билеты Формула 1 Валенсия said...

Quite worthwhile information, thanks so much for the post.