In December 2022, a new project called Kanka + Bodewell released an electropop anthem called “Believe.” It arrived too late for my year-end countdown, but it would have easily made my top 25. “Believe” is a catchy-as-hell jam that remained in my heavy rotation throughout 2023.
If the names Kanka and Bodewell sound familiar, it’s because they’re two veterans of the dark music scene. Uwe Kanka belongs to the German band Armageddon Dildos, and Martin Bodewell is part of Orange Sector. They’ve been releasing music since at least the early ’90s, and both bands were once part of the influential label, Zoth Omogg.
They’ve now teamed up. On February 9, Kanka + Bodewell will release their debut album, Stroboscope. I reached out to them to find out more about how this project came about. Here’s what they told me.
You guys come from two legendary bands, Orange Sector and Armageddon Dildos. How did this collaboration come about?
Uwe Kanka: The idea for this project was born at a gig in Frankfurt twelve years ago. Martin suggested a collaboration, and I agreed without any reservation. However, years went by and nothing happened. As Martin called me last year and told me that he had some tracks and that he could very well imagine releasing them with me. I said yes and so the story went on. I liked the tracks straight away and felt very comfortable writing the lyrics and recording the vocals. It was from the beginning and still is a very relaxed way of working.
Martin Bodewell: We decided to call our project Kanka + Bodewell. The first ideas was Armageddon Sector or Orange Dildos. It is unbelievable what we think about. The first ideas were not good but very funny.
How will this music differ from your existing projects?
Uwe: It’s always very interesting and exciting for me to break new ground. When I sent Martin the first vocal ideas, I didn’t know how he would react. Because the vocals on some of the tracks are very soulful and poppy. But that’s what made it so special for me. No rules, no limits!
I was therefore surprised and above all very pleased that Martin felt the same way.
Your debut album is called Stroboscope. Why that title?
Uwe: Strobolights and fog were always part of our stage shows in the late eighties and early nineties. These images in my head inspired me to write the lyrics for this track.
The Stroboscope was generally indispensable and was always at the start in most clubs, including the Techno Club in Frankfurt. We think the title of the album is very fitting, as it has a strong connection to that time for us.
“Believe” is an uplifting electropop anthem. Your new single “Techno Club” is classic EBM. What else can we expect from the album?
Uwe: I think these two tracks convey very well what you can expect from STROBOSCOPE: A mixture of classic EBM and eighties-influenced electropop.
Martin: Everything was allowed, but we didn´t want to sound like Orange Sector or Armageddon Dildos.
What more do you want to do with this project? Any plans to perform live?
Martin: We don’t have any plans for the future yet. We’re pretty relaxed about it. But performing the music of Kanka + Bodewell on stage is a very interesting idea.