Wolfgang Tillmans reveals how his German techno track ended up on Frank Ocean’s ‘Endless’

The musician and photographer didn't know Ocean had used his full song until the album was released

German fine art photographer and musician Wolfgang Tillmans has spoken about how his song ‘Device Control’ came to be on Frank Ocean‘s visual album.

Ocean surprise released ‘Endless’ in the early hours of this morning (August 19), with rumours the long-awaited ‘Boys Don’t Cry‘ will follow this weekend.

Endless‘ is bookended by Tillmans’ track, which opens the album with the line “With this Apple appliance, you can capture live videos.” It also forms the last seven minutes of the record with more lines about Samsung Galaxy phones.

Tillmans told Pitchfork the pair had been brought together for a photoshoot, which Ocean kept cancelling.

“I had given up hope and said I had to go to Berlin next day,” the musician said. “He said he would prefer to do it there. I didn’t think he meant it, but two days later he showed up at my Berlin studio, having driven 12 hours through the night from London.”

He said Ocean had got in touch three weeks ago about using one of his photos on an upcoming album. He continued: “Whilst chatting I mentioned my recent musical activities, and he was interested in listening to some. I sent him two spoken-word pieces, two pop songs I’ve written with my band Fragile this year, and the solo dance track ‘Device Control’, which I had written in April and worked on with Tim Knapp in Berlin and Kyle Combs in New York, to be released next month.

A bit more info: Enormously proud and happy that Frank Ocean did include my (yet unreleased) track ‘Device Control’ as intro and as a full length ending of his ‘Endless’ album! We were in touch about the intro, but I wouldn’t believe it until it happened. Three weeks ago I showed him a few songs, which I had written and produced for myself earlier in the year, and he replied ‘Device Control is brilliant. Love. Can I sample it for the intro of my album?’ I agreed to it, and to my excited surprise this morning he didn’t just sample it. He released my complete original track as the end of this amazing album. So now it’s out – and in full length.. Below are the complete production credits. Thank you everyone involved! The song is on the forthcoming Wolfgang Tillmans ‘Device Control EP’ (Digital release date tomorrow) featuring also two addictive remixes by Berlin’s Daniel Wang & J.E.E.P. and one by US legends Salem, all of ‘Make It Up As You Go Along’ (The original is out now on vinyl and digital and Spotify – ‘Wolfgang Tillmans’) and a new vocal piece of mine in two versions called ‘Angered Son’. We will release the new EP digitally in the very next few days. Vinyl release will be Sept 16 as originally planned. Fragile003 on Fragile. Distributed worldwide by WordandSound. Wolfgang Tillmans – ‘Device Control’ Vocals, lyrics, melody by Wolfgang Tillmans Keyboards, harmonies, arrangement and drum programming by Tim Knapp at Trixx Studios, Berlin Intro: all instruments and production by Kyle Combs, New York Live drums by Rosie Slater recorded at Studio G, Brooklyn Additonal arrangement by Kyle Combs, Jay Pluck and Wolfgang Tillmans iPhone voice recording at Keithstrasse, Berlin and book binding machinery recording at Grafica Maiaduoro, Porto by Wolfgang Tillmans Mixed by Alexis Berthelot at Studio G, Brooklyn Mastered by Klaus Knapp at Trixx Studios, Berlin Written and produced by Wolfgang Tillmans, 2016 #frankocean #devicecontrol #timknapp #kylecombs #alexisberthelot #rosieslater #klausknapp #danielwang #salem #j.e.e.p. #jaypluck #wolfgangtillmans #betweenbridges #endless #blonde #boysdon’tcry #fantasticman #fragile #fragilelabel #fragile003

A photo posted by Wolfgang Tillmans (@wolfgang_tillmans) on

“All communication is very brief unless on the phone. He wrote, “‘Device Control’ is brilliant. Love,” and later a one-liner [asking] if he could use 15 seconds for the intro of the album, it would be perfect for it. I’m thrilled that it now ends the album also in my full original seven-minute, 30-second version.”

Tillmans said he only knew Ocean had used the full track when he saw the full lyrics quoted in a news article this morning. “I wondered how they knew them,” he said. “Then, I realized that the full original song ends the album.

“I mean, the whole world has been at his mercy about information of any kind for the last 15 months. I’m all new to this, and the art of the digital release. I think the video album is beautiful.”

He added: “The publishing mode I take all with a pinch of salt from artist to artist. Whatever he will do in the end, I hugely respect him. Now, I end up being more part of the project than I ever knew.”
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