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Culture

From The Swamp To The Turntables

They call themselves the world's first toygroup. Fans have compared them to "The Muppet Show" on drugs. When The Puppetmastaz take to the stage, one thing is for sure: it's time for some very creaturesque tunes.

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Spreading the puppet philosophy: The Puppetmastaz

If you thought puppets were just for kids, think again. Your "Sesame Street" days may be long gone, but The Puppetmastaz are living proof that singing animals are still pretty good to listen to.

Seeing The Puppetmastaz live isn't quite like any other concert experience. A mole in a top hat and fur-lined leather jacket joins a dozen assorted amphibians and other animals on stage for some puppetstyle beats and rapping rhymes.

The Berlin-based toygroup is set on spreading its puppet philosophy all over the world. DW-WORLD caught up with some of the crew on their current tour to try to get to the bottom of it - which proved to be quite a difficult task.

How did The Puppetmastaz get started?

Croucho: I was president of South America for 45 years, and I was bored. So I decided to go to Berlin because I saw this guy on TV - you know John F. Kennedy - and he told the crowd "Ich bin ein Berliner". So, I thought, I can be a Berliner too - and president!

Mr. Maloke: Croucho wanted to open up a presidential campaign and I was his helping hand. But I told him: "Hey, you won't get enough votes to become president. You better start a band and that way, get yourself heard, get the puppet philosophy all over the planet."

So, what is the puppet philosophy all about?

Mr. Maloke HipHopNotist Croucho The Puppetmasters

Mr. Maloke, HipHopNotist, Croucho

Mr. Maloke (photo, left): When it comes to the puppet philosophy, we like to stick to the one. We like to keep it raw and undone. And we don't like to divide into the other because then you've got two. And then, you've got a problem because you have to decide between the one and the other one.

Croucholina: You have change perspectives, you know? If you don't like this thing, you have to step to the side and then look at it. And if it's not beautiful, then you can look at something else.

Hmm, maybe you've got to be a puppet to understand that one. Was it hard to hook up with other puppets once you started spreading the word?

Mr. Maloke: It was easy, because once we had our first single out, a lot of puppets heard of the puppet community in Berlin. Those puppets were spinning around town because the beats of Prosetti were wild and kicking and wicked.

Prosetti, how did you get into the movement?

Ducci Prosetti: We met them rapping in the underground, so we - Audio Chocolate Recordings - decided to produce them and make some hits. It's really fun to produce some puppets too, because we usually only produce dance acts. Now we're really into this puppet thing. For me, it's about the beats.

What's so special about working in Berlin?

Mr. Maloke: We parked our Puppetmastaz crew in Berlin because the East side and the West side were making this swamp atmosphere of chaotic growth. For us puppets, it's important to have a surface from where we can start off. I'm originally from New York, and there it was all kind of "settled" already.

Croucho The Puppetmasters Handspielpuppe

Croucho

Croucho (photo): We stick to chaos, because chaos is the most powerful force in life, in the universe. We want to melt the people, get them funny, you know, bring out the childish side of their characters.

You say your music is 100 percent puppet-made. What sort of a relationship do you have to humans?

Mr. Maloke: This project is about us puppets. Humans are just like a server unit; they're serving our deeds. Some humans really help us out, because some things are hard for us to do, like setting the stage up before we play, because we're half-sized.

Croucho: So we're in need of some humans. But sometimes we're fed up with the humans. They go in circles and they live in squares. So, what should we do, us puppets? Freak out at the square!

Mr. Maloke: Some people say, why don't you go back to the swamp where you came from? We say, hey, we grew up amongst humans, we might as well stick among them and help them out. If you make your belly and your booty move, you're gonna feel yourself and that's what rapping is all about: existence.

And what's so different about your music?

Ducci Prosetti: It's all about the creature funk, wouldn't you say Maloke?

Mr. Maloke: Yeah, maybe it's not so static. It's a little bit more sweaty than human music, more creature, more from the swamp, which is where we're from, hum dee dum.

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