[4 min read + 17 min media]

BPI Q&A is a strong strongheaded questionnaire that is being tossed around some of our favourite people in the music industry. It’s all about personal tastes, habits and opinions when it comes to music and images.

Katja Ruge is a German photographer mostly known for her intimate portraits of musicians in the last three decades. She is also the author of some striking photo reportages that gave birth to the fascinating book Fotoreportage23 – In Search of Ian Curtis (Lauschrausch, 2010) and some very successful themed projects and exhibitions such as Can Love Be Synth? (a party series rotating around classic analog synthesisers), Warp 25 – A Musiclabel in Pictures, and, more recently, Ladyfalsh – Women in Music. She’s also a DJ and a fierce music lover who’s not that hot for fandom and music streaming services. This Q&A is a teaser for a more in-depth interview that we will publish in the following weeks.

What’s the last song you listened to before starting to answer this painful questionnaire?

“Sinner of the week” by Daniel Wilson.

And what’s the last song, album or record you purchased?

Vibe Telemetry (2016) by Telephones.

What’s the music streaming service of your choice?

Absolute no go, the sound quality is crap.

What’s your favorite music listening device?

Computer plugged into my old Marantz eeceiver with Mordaunt speakers.

Arrange by growing order of preferences the following words: iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and YouTube.

Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, iTunes. Fuck the rest.

Same thing for: vinyl, Cassette, CD and MP3.

I do it all.

Can one judge an album by its cover?


Have you ever bought a record only because of its artwork? Which one?

Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986) by Felt [photo by PP Hartnett & design by Shanghai Packaging].


What’s your favorite album cover of all time?

Unknown Pleasures (1979) by Joy Divison [artwork by Peter Saville].


Could you name an album whose cover you recently felt drawn to?

EARS (2016) by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith [artwork by Salihah Moore Kirby].


Could you share with us a music-related photograph (promo, live, personal) that you cherish? And why?

Michael Stipe holding my book Fotoreportage23 with the cover of Ian Curtis that was given to me as a present from Mark Reeder (B-Movie).


What’s your favorite record label artwork-wise?

Warp Records.

What’s, in your opinion, the music genre and/or music period with the greatest iconography?

Shoegaze, early 90s, I love all covers of the band Ride [featured below: the cover of Ride’s Nowhere (1990); photography by Joe Dilworth].


Can you name a bad record with a great cover? (Come on, nobody’s reading)

Sorry, nothing comes to mind.

And vice-versa?

Nothing comes to mind either.

Any favourite music photographer?

No, but Herb Ritts did also some music photography which I really admire.

Were you ever an MTV fan?

Yes. At the end of 80s I was the one in my first flat in Hamburg who had MTV. We always met on Sundays for 120 minutes. Later, I photographed presenter Paul King and could tell him that his program was essential for me and my taste of music.

What’s your favourite music video? Ok, you can pick two (three, tops).

“Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack [directed by Baillie Walsh]; “Blue Monday” by New Order [directed by Malcolm Whitehead & Stephen Morris] and “Running up that Hill” by Kate Bush [directed by David Garfath with choreography by Diane Grey].

Is there any music video director close to your heart?


Let’s say you feel a sudden urge to listen to a specific song – what do you do to listen to it?

I probably go for a ride an listen to it in my car.

Could you share a picture of you?