May 2024 23

What motivates Rudy Ratzinger to keep making music as :Wumpscut:? Well, we get to find out… or do we?
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An InterView with Rudy Ratzinger of :Wumpscut:

By Merv Uzzell (Muzz79)

For more than 30 years, Rudy Ratzinger has been the creative force behind the electro/industrial outfit known as :Wumpscut:, whose music has been something of a mainstay for dancefloors around the world. With an extensive discography that spans 17 studio albums, and numerous singles, EPs, compilations, demos, and boxed sets, :W: has garnered considerable popularity in the scene despite being a studio-only outfit that has never performed live. In 2017, Ratzinger had apparently ceased production of new material, declaring :W: to be finished; yet, :Wumpscut: returned to activity with the release of the Fledermavs 303 album in 2021, followed by the For Those About to Starve EP in 2022, and then the Schlossgheist EP in April of 2024. Known for his brevity, ReGen had the opportunity to speak with Ratzinger about his latest endeavors, including the reasons behind :Wumpscut:’s return, his thoughts on A.I. and the music industry, misconceptions about his image, and even some choice words for his critics and haters.


You’ve had a long and eventful career spanning almost 35 years, you’ve just released your latest EP, Schlossgeist, which from what I’m seeing is being well received. What truly motivates you to keep going after all this time.

Ratzinger: The same as it always was – to produce music with soul, that is worth being mentioned and remembered and listened to.

I bring up the word motivation purposely as I’d like to touch upon for a second your brief retirement or at least your step back from the music scene back in 2017. You were quoted as saying, ‘I am finished with making music for (more or less) nothing and don’t need to make music all my life.’ What spurred on this change of heart to start making and releasing music once again?

Ratzinger: My approach is different from that time. I started all over again because I felt not to be finished, so I switched on the machines again!

As to the subject of making money in today’s music industry, which is ever more challenging, even for an established artist like yourself, how do you see that we could navigate change? And it must be frustrating considering you don’t wish to play live, seeing that’s how most artists are having to generate most of their income now.

Ratzinger: Streaming is the future, of course. I never wanted to play live, so I didn’t. Not hard to be true to yourself if you do not like to. Unfortunately, we all aren’t Ed Sheeran, so we get a little less. (Laughs)

Shock value is a powerful tool for grabbing attention. And your work has often ignited conversations because of your use of provocative language or imagery. In Alexander Reed’s Assimilate, he names you as one such act that through its imagery has ‘evoked political suspicions.’ What are your thoughts on this? How much of the album’s aesthetics, be it lyrics or artwork, is just to purposely cause controversy? And do you think its controversy has sometimes overshadowed your music?

Ratzinger: No… at least, I don’t see that. I always wanted to use as a cover image what would hit my attention if I was a fan… or any human being who is stumbling over a :W: image.

This may tie in with the last question. What would you say is people’s biggest misconception of you?

Ratzinger: That I am the bloodthirsty monster that :W: represents. (Laughs)



Moving on to the production side of things. You’ve mentioned over the years how the writing process for you is pretty organic, as in you often go in with no predetermined sound or subject in mind. Has this always been your preferred method?

Ratzinger: Yes. Inspiration comes from everywhere. And as you can guess, on many :W: songs, irony can be important as well.

You’re well known for your prolific output. How often do you write music? And how much of what you produce sees the light of day?

Ratzinger: Once a year (starting from September), and in the deep night mostly.

You’ve used some intriguing samples from the likes of Phil Collins to Led Zeppelin. Do you look at any particular sources for samples proactively, or do you discover most of your samples in passing?

Ratzinger: Sampling often is by chance. In many cases, I don’t remember the sources anymore. Especially if you alienate them a lot.

What can you tell us about the changing landscape in underground alternative music scenes as you’ve observed them over the years? How have you personally responded to or been affected by these changes, how have they changed the way you think about or create music?

Ratzinger: No. Never did. I simply program what I like. Switch off your brain and work subconsciously.

What’s your view on the use of A.I. in music and its potential impact on the future of the music industry?

Ratzinger: Curious about what we get from A.I. – well, intelligence is a little bit over the top. I am sure it might take many decades for your personal bomb #20 to be conscious about its own existence (see Dark Star). Better try to teach your toaster first.

Do have any other creative outlets besides music?

Ratzinger: Photography

What do you feel you have yet to accomplish with :Wumpscut: in regards to your original intentions or vision for the project?

Ratzinger: I never made plans about :W:, and never will. Let life happen on its own.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention to your supporters and fans?

Ratzinger: Always remember not to kill anybody in :W:’s name.

You’ve dedicated past albums to all your enviers, doubters, and haters. Would you like to say anything to them too?

Ratzinger: Well, babies, I am still alive… until December 3, 2037.


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Photography provided courtesy of :Wumpscut:


1 Comment

  1. jess3 says:

    love the interview and the album!

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