Johannes Schmoelling was born in November 1950 in Lohne, Oldenburg. At the age of eight he started to take piano
lessons and at the age of twelve he took his first steps at playing on a church organ. The fantastic sound of
this majestic instrument shaped him more during the following years, moreso than playing the piano. At the age
of fourteen he was already organist in a Catholic church in Delmenhorst.
After completing his school leaving examination in 1970 in Wilhelmshaven, he became very interested in the job of
sound engineer, which would allow for the perfect combination of his musical education together with the technical
knowledge associated with that discipline.
But before starting to study sound engineering at the "Hochschule der Künste" (college of arts) in Berlin, he had
to do his military service; musically, at the "Marine - Musikkorps Nordsee" (Marine Music Corps North Sea) in Wilhelmshaven.
After his study in 1977 he kept busy with electronics. A logical step complimented also by his intensive work on the organ.
A job as sound engineer for theatre at the "Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer" in Berlin followed. There he learned to
handle noises, sounds, room installations and lighting. He still uses this knowledge in his music today.
In the middle of 1979 he was approached by Edgar Froese directly at the theatre. Edgar Froese – founder of the electronic
band TANGERINE DREAM – endeavoured to reform the band again in the classic lineup of three keyboard players.
Johannes joined TD after this and stayed with TANGERINE DREAM until 1985.
Apart from tours around the globe, several studio- and live-albums developed, as well as soundtracks for movies from
American studios (e.g. Thief – directed by Michael Mann, Legend – directed by Ridley Scott) and German TV stations
With the album "Wuivend Riet" on the Erdenklang label, Schmoelling started his solo carrier in 1986.
In 1988 his second album "The Zoo Of Tranquillity" was released on Theta/ Polygram in London. In 1990 his third album
"White Out" followed on Polydor in Hamburg.
Besides the studio works in his own "Riet-Studio" in Berlin-Kreuzberg, several radio-plays for the German ARD-radio
stations came into being, mostly together with the author Martin Burckhardt.
In 1990 Schmoelling composed the first of three works for the "Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz" for the play
"Mütter und Söhne" (mothers and sons) written by Javier Tomeo. In 1992 followed the music for the play
"Der Ohrenmaschinist" (the ear mechanic) by Gerd Jonke and in 1995 the music for the play "Kunst" (art) by Jasmina Reza.
This successful play documents the prolific cooperation between the director Felix Prader and Johannes Schmoelling.
Since 1993, compositions for TV-movies by the director Konrad Sabrautzky came into being, among others "Zu Treuen
Händen" (to loyal hands) by the ZDF (second German TV-station) which got the "Grimme Preis 1996" and the
ZDF-crime series "Ein starkes Team" (a strong team) with Maja Maranow and Florian Martens.
In 2000 the cooperation with the director Felix Prader continued in the production of "Das Atelier" by Jean-Claude
Grumberg at the "Renaissance-Theater" in Berlin. In 2001 the music for Jasmina Reza’s "Drei Mal Leben"
(three times life) came into being at the same theatre, again produced by Felix Prader.
In the year 2000, Johannes Schmoelling succeeded in fulfilling his long time ambition of founding his own record label.
For the initial release on Viktoriapark Records (the name of this new label) the album "White Out", which had been
out of print for 10 years, was released. Added as a bonus track to the 1990-version was a remix by the young artists
Ulrich Schnauss and Robert Wässer.
In December 2002 the second album on Johannes’s own label followed: the radio play "Laufen" (walking) by author Dirk Josczok,
with music by Johannes Schmoelling.
During 2003 the album "Recycle Or Die" evolved, and was released precisely on Johannes’s birthday, November 9th, again on
In 2004 the attempt to release radio-plays in addition to standard album music, led to the double-CD-production
"Weltmärchen - Weltmusik" (world fairies – world music), a collaboration with the author and artist Hubertus
In autumn 2005, Schmoelling started to work on a new, highly anticipated album, which, although it was considered to
be overdue, was much sought after following the success of the "Recycle Or Die" album. In August 2006, the fifth
release on Viktoriapark Records was released under the name "Instant City".
In 2007 the anthology "Images and Memory" followed, a compilation of tracks from 20 years of solo-works (1986 – 2006) on a double-CD.
With "Early Beginnings" (2008) another anthology followed, spanning Schmoelling's time with TANGERINE DREAM.
From occasional meetings starting in 2005, after Jerome Froese, son of Edgar Froese, had left Tangerine Dream in 2005,
the idea of a musical cooperation between Jerome and Johannes became more and more concrete. In spring 2010, the project LOOM was born.
In the meantime, further solo releases followed, "A Thousand Times" (2009)
and the re-release of the 1988 version of "The Zoo Of Tranquillity" (2010), on Schmoelling's own label.
The album "A Thousand Times" contains the track the track "Footsteps" which, for the first time, featured a composition by
Schmoelling's son Jonas Behrens, who would also appear on future albums.
Meanwhile, the line-up for the project LOOM had been determined, Robert Waters was to complete the band as a trio as the third member.
2011 was a year of many activities: in September, Schmoelling's thirteenth album, "Time and Tide",
LOOM played their first gig together at the E-Live Festival in Oirschot (Netherlands) and the first LOOM-EP "100 001"
was released in time for their debut concert on October 15th 2011.
The concert, which was a great success, was recorded and released as a double CD entitled "Scored" on Viktoriapark Records in early 2012.
Due to the concert and the success of Schmoelling's newest solo album "Time And Tide", the Schallwende e.V.,
an association of friends and supporters of electronic music, decided to award their annual special prize to Johannes Schmoelling.
On March 10th, Schmoelling received the Schallwende award in the planetarium in Bochum from his laudator Winfried Trenkler.
In April 2012 LOOM announced two more live performances: On September 28th and 29th on the old Ukrainian
transport ship A38 in Budapest, Hungary, which has been converted into a venue.
These two performances on the A38 ship were to become a highlight of LOOM's career so far
Encouraged by the very positive feedback from their listeners, Jerome Froese, Johannes Schmoelling and Robert Waters met in Berlin at Riet-Studio immediately after their return from Budapest
to start work on their first studio album, which was released in December 2013 under the title "The Tree Hates The Forest".
Before that, as a foretaste, the second LOOM-EP "200 002" was released in July.
In October 2014 LOOM had only a short performance at the Electronic Circus Festival in Gütersloh, where Johannes Schmoelling and Robert Waters musically supported Jerome Froese during a solo performance.
2016 was a year of increased activity. Exclusively for the concert at Berlin's UFA Fabrik in March, LOOM's third EP CD, entitled "300 003", was released.
The concert recording was released as a double CD under the title "Years In Music".
In October 2016 LOOM could be heard and seen again at the E-Live-Festival in the Netherlands, with the new Schmoelling-Studio-CD "A Thousand Times Part 2" in their luggage.
In 2017 Johannes Schmoelling released two new CDs: in May the re-release of his fourth solo production, "Songs No Words", from 1995,
in a remastered and remixed version with a bonus track that was unreleased until then, and in October a new studio album, "Diary Of A Common Thread".
In February 2018 a double-CD was released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Schallwelle Award with the title "Schallwelle - Die Besten aus 10 Jahren",
featuring Johannes Schmoelling as well as many international artists of the electronic scene.
For this event he composed his until then not yet released track "Kalypso".
In April 2018 JS was asked for a solo concert, as it had happened decades before.
Ron Boots, the organiser of the concert series E-Live in Eindhoven, had already tried several times before to convince Johannes to play a solo concert.
And this time it worked.
Johannes came up with a theme for the concert, which centred on reflecting on different forms of the concept of time, because his piece "Zeit"
(published on his first solo album after his departure from Tangerine Dream in 1985) would also open this concert in November 2018 in Eindhoven.
Robert Waters was on stage as accompanist.
But even before that, in June 2018, a new album "The Immortal Tourist", jointly composed by Robert Waters and JS,
was released on Viktoriapark Records.
In June 2019, the recording of the November 2018 Eindhoven concert was released under the title "Zeit ∞ ?"
(in the sense of "is time infinite?") as a double-CD plus a 71-minute DVD with excerpts from the concert and interview scenes from this event.
With this production in his luggage, Schmoelling was present at the SynthFest 2019 in Nantes, France
to learn about new technologies and sounds.
The following journey through France together with sound designer Kurt Ader and Robert Waters led to a new studio album as
a trio - S-A-W (Schmoelling - Ader - Waters). They recorded the basic tracks in the synthesizer studio of Olivier Grall in Andernos.
Grall gathers here almost all analogue synthesizers and keyboards ever built, like in a museum, but all still operational.
This was an unforgettable experience for the three members of SAW. This resulted in the SAW studio album "ICONIC", which was released in January 2020.
2020 is also the year in which Schmoelling's own independent label, Viktoriapark Records, celebrates its twentieth anniversary!
Overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many planned activities unfortunately had to be "put on hold" for the time being.
(to be continued...)
English translation: Andreas Hedler and Conrad Gibbons, M.I.C. (Member of the Inner Circle)