Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category

Herman Dune : Interview x Tickets

07:00 PM

With Strange Moosic David-Ivar “Yaya” and “Cosmic” Néman Herman Dune have released a pop and folk album these days, that should quickly find a big listenership with its refreshing summer sound and fine lyrics. Most of the eight predecessor albums succeeded here, too, but this time it’s not self-evident, since the French-Swiss duo took its first proper break from touring and recording in more than ten(!) years. We’ve met the artists to speak with them about insights into your needs, travelling, the influence US-culture had on their work and filming a music video with Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame.

But first some additional information: currently Herman Dune are touring through Europe, playing for instance London tonight and on June 14 with Waters and Wye Oak at the City Slang Summer Slang “Strange Moosic” at Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin. We give away 2×2 tickets to the latter. As usual, the winners will be chosen random, but this time we kindly ask you to comment on our Facebook side. Good luck!

-Interview-

David, Néman, how is the blue yeti family doing?
DAVID-IVAR: They’re pretty good. Baby Blue is in the new video. They had exhibitions and so on. It’s big time at the Yetis.
NÉMAN: They’ve been to Texas and California, becoming real globetrotters.

The 2D graphics of the Strange Moosic cover artwork reminded me of video games as Farmville or Zoo Tycoon. What kind of games do you play or did use to?
D: Yes, it’s a Sim-City-kind-of thing, but I meant to draw a waffle house there. Anyway, I’m a big Nintendo fan, playing a lot of Mario Cart. But it’s nothing I would recommend, since I’ve been wasting quite a lot of time playing video games. I can be on Zoo Keeper, a great game, for two hours, but I could also write three songs during that time. And work is fun, when you are a writer, when you built choruses. But then again, if you hate your work, you might be better off playing video games.
N: I get excited with games very fast, but I don’t play it very long, don’t get addicted to.
D: Néman never had an addictive personality, which makes him protective for this and me. I know him for years and for instances he can smoke but doesn’t get addicted. I again have an addictive personality. When I started Super Mario World I had to finish it. It was hard, one of the best games ever. It drove me crazy.

So Neman, you don’t even have an addiction for the music itself?
N: It’s funny. When I visit my parents at their summer house in the mountains, it’s probably the only time and place I don’t need to listen to it. Usually I have records around me all the time and I buy a lot of them. Then just being outside, going climbing or swimming stops me from being addictive to music.

David mentioned, that you could write three songs in two hours, which also sounds like an addictive songwriting pace.
D: You never know. On some songs you can back a lot of times, try replacing this part or this rhyme, working on the melody. But some come very fast. You could have a sleepless night, being just with your guitar, feeling inspired.

The special circumstance about this record is, that it’s actually the first time ever you really took a break from touring and recording, before trying getting to the final album. Was it hard to come back to this circle?
D: No, it was fun. Coming back to something means that you really wanted and needed it, which you do not know before. It was great to take a break and feel the need to come back again, especially since we constantly played for such a long time. The break was a healthy choice.

It was also a self-test?
D: Music was never gone. I played everyday. But we needed to know, if going back to recording an album and really playing it out lot then was, what we really wanted. And for me it was always good, I wanted it.

Were you ever questioning your choice in the years, or better: the decade, of constant touring and recording before?
D: It was good all the way through. There were only a few times with us feeling tired, where I thought, I might better be a studio musician, have a dog and stay at home. Or being more a producer or songwriter instead of a performing musician.
N: It takes a lot of energy, but I never regretted it. The last ten years were the bests of my life and I hope they’ll last. I couldn’t imagine doing something else than playing music with my best friend, being on tour and meeting all that fun people. We are very lucky.
D: It’s a cool job, still a lot of work. The creative part takes a lot out of you. And most people I know might not say it directly, but I can sense it from how they talk, that the best years they had were in school or university. But for me every year has been better as the one before. I’m 44 now and there’s never been a year, where I wished to go back in time.

A very vivid theme on the new record are the road trip experiences, in “Ah Hears Strange Moosic”, “Be A Doll And Take My Heart”, “Just Like Summer”, “Lay Your Head On My Chest”. Did you keep on travelling during the break?
D: Now that you say it, it might have been a Freudian will to go back on tour again or my way to sing and write like Willie Nelson. Driving is cool, man. With words or melodies for instance, it’s a great way to come up with new ones. And even when not being on tour I love to just drive somewhere.

Without a destination?
D: Sometimes with one, sometimes it’s less important than the way to get there. I’m not talking about taking planes here, because that’s never fun for me. It’s stress, like being on a bus for ten hours.
N: Airports are the worst. But driving or being on a boat or train is a good way getting somewhere.

What kind of car do you drive? Is it a vintage one as in the video?
D: I would love to drive such an old Chevy, a Malibu was the best car I ever drove, but I used to have an Honda. Now on tour, we drive Mercedes or Volkswagen vans.

The Chevrolet is an American icon, Strange Moosic was recorded in Portland, Baltimore. What influence did this country and the road trips through it play for the creative process?
D: For me, America and the United States are very important. My culture comes from there. I love going there, speaking English with the American people, seeing the landscape, driving through Missouri or California. When we are in the US we always have fun and everyone’s nice to us. I feel home, especially since it’s the birthplace of rock’n’roll, it brings up memories to certain songs.

Could please trace such moment back with us?
D: Venice, Los Angeles, makes me think of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, which was shot there. Or I think about the Doors, who lived there. And New York… Everything between Woody Allen, Seinfeld, Bob Dylan comes up. I just feels good coming to Chicago imagining Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters have played there before you.

I think, you somehow recreate at least the American vibe of the 1950ies in your song “Monument Park”. On the other hand, you sing in the opener “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”, “every new band sounds like I heard them before.” Was that meant to be ironic?
D: It probably is. We like using vintage gear, my guitar for instance is from 1954. But we like the sounds, we don’t want to reproduce anything.
N: Even the synthesizers we use are vintage by now.

There a two points on the new record, where you describe nature as a miracle. Where does this interest come from?
D: It’s been brought to my attention by reading books. Everything was seen as a miracle there. Just the fact, that nature is so beautiful, is a miracle itself. Why do people spend a lifetime waiting for a miracle, when you could realise, that everything around you is one? The blowing wind for instance.


Herman Dune : Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Video)

Who had the idea to pick Jon Hamm for the video of “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”?
D: When I wrote the script, I already wanted a comedian to play the driver. This would work best, because it would be silent, since it’s a music video, and I wanted that person to be funny, to have strong facial expressions. First I thought, it would be totally funny to get Laura David into that car. But then, when working on the script, (our director) Toben (Seymour) thought of Jon Hamm – not because of Mad Men but because of 30 Rocks, where he’s very funny. He is a great face and as a big Hitchcock fan, I think, he has something of Cary Grant or James Stewart, these classic kind of men. It was a great idea, but I didn’t expect it to happen, since he was too famous. But Toben just asked him and he said Yes.

Could Jon give you some dating advices?
D: Are you suggesting that we need such?

Not that in particular, so let’s say, maybe you could exchange tips instead.
D: He was definitely a magnet with the girls. But he’s very handsome for real, not as other actors who are way smaller in real life than they appear in the movies. He’s tall and super strong, looks good, has a very male voice. But that’s no actual tip, looking good. Anyway, if I would be a girl, I would probably find him attractive. I know my girlfriend does. I don’t want to talk about his private life, but from what he told us he doesn’t seem to be a second Jack Nicholson, but haves a rather steady love life instead.

Back to the Yeties, which are very hairy monsters. I wonder, if there’s any connection between David’s long beard and their hair?
D: I’ve been drawing this character for a very long time now and most of it it was an alter ego, an image of myself. When I saw myself in my dreams, I was the Blue Yeti, so that’s how I used to draw it, in visions and dream-like sceneries. But in the new video it’s his son, Baby Blue Yeti, which would be my-dream-self’s child. I don’t think, it looks anything like me, but it’s a cool little guy.

The last time you’ve been to Germany your beard was twice the size it has now. How did that change the Yeti?
D: When you are on tour, you are not shaving or trimming your beard because of the time it takes.

But you don’t trim the Yeti, do you?
D: Actually they did, when they made the puppet. They took very long hair for it and even had to cut to make it look like the drawings. It’s the same hair everywhere, it’s just trimmed very short around the eyes etc to make a face appear. There was a hair stylist on the set just for Jon, but sometimes he was also styling the Yeti.

Did it turn into a little hair-attention-battle between the two?
D: I think, the Yeti just won.


Herman Dune : Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Herman Dune live:
Monday, June 6th: LONDON UK at Xoyo
Tuesday, June 7th: AMSTERDAM NL at Paradiso
Wednesday, June 8th: BRUXELLES BL at La Maison Des Musiques
Thursday, June 9th: PARIS FRANCE at LE TRIANON
Tuesday, June 14th: BERLIN D at Festsaal Kreuzberg
Wednesday, June 15th: VIENNA Austria at Chelsea
Thursday, June 16th: GAMBETTOLA IT at Tressessanta Club
Saturday, June 18th: LUZERN Switzerland Festival B side
Thursday, June 30th: EGERSUND Norway Vidfestival
Saturday, July 2nd: CAEN / HEROUVILLE, FR Festival Beauregard
Tuesday, July 5th: CALVI CORSICA at Calvi On The Rocks
Thursday, July 7th: LIÈGE BL at Festival Des Ardentes
Saturday, July 9th: TOURS FR Festival Terre Du Son
Friday, July 15th: BENICASSIM FIB Spain
Wednesday, July 20th: GENT BL at Boomtown
Saturday, July 23rd: METZ FR at Centre George Pompidou

Bag Raiders : Jägermeister WHT Interview

01:19 PM

No, the photo above doesn’t picture two lonesome (but stylish) Robinson Crusoes happily celebrating their rescue. Although, you might guess that from the palms and beards. Anyway, it’s Bag Raiders, the Australian duo consisting of Chris Stracey and Jack Glass, proud creative fathers of some of the most capturing disco tracks of the recent seasons compiled on their about-to-be-released-internationally debut album. Before playing with the Jägermeister Wirtshaus Tour (and Peaches and aUtOdiDakT) in Stuttgart, Jack discussed their first German gigs, the path to success (and mobile contracts) and artistic affinities with us, surprisingly outing himself as a big fan of a certain German product.

Hi Jack, by now, you’ve already played three shows in Germany. How was the reception?
So far really good! We’ve played four actually. Deejayed in Munich and Saarbrücken and live in Berlin and, last night, Hamburg.
They’ve all been pretty amazing in their own special ways. And very different, too. We did Saarbrücken the night after Munich and it would be hard to find two more different cities than that!

It’s actually your first time in Europe. What is different here from what you expected it to be before the trip and what turned out to be exactly as you thought it would be?
It’s pretty much what I thought. I’ve always been excited to tour here (it’s been a few years coming), because every city is something new and exciting. I mean, I love touring in America but if you do ten dates there, the big cities are exciting, the small cities are weird and interesting, but nothing is wildly different. In Europe we’re in a different country everyday, going to all these amazing cities with such rich histories. We’re loving it!

Have you tested a German Wirtshaus or pup to prepare for your show in Stuttgart?
I don’t think so! We’ve had plenty of beers and sausages though. But for the real thing, I guess, we better get there early in Stuttgart!

According to last.fm (one of) your first ever gig happened to be at Brisbane’s Empire. What are your memories of this event?
That might be right. I can’t really remember to be honest. Maybe that was out first show outside of Sydney. I remember being super excited that we got to travel and do our thing, that people wanted to hear us in different cities. We’re still excited by that, I think. Anytime we get to to somewhere new is a good feeling…

In the recent past Cut Copy and Empire of the Sun pushed Australian electronic music on a quite popular level in Europe, you replaced the latter as the soundtrack of a mobile service provider’s current campaign. Do you think, that these acts paved your way to Europe in a way?
I’m not sure really. In Australia, no, we’ve paved our own way, I guess. And over here? I don’t know. I mean, when people say stuff like that it kind of sounds like they’re saying, “Empire of the Sun were big here. You do similar music and are from the same country. That’s why you’re popular.” Obviously I’ll never subscribe to that. With the internet everyone can know every band from every corner of the earth. So really, I don’t think it matters where you’re from. If the music is good, people will dig it


Bag Raiders : Shooting Stars (Video)

We were introduced to you back in the fall of 2008 with the b-side of the Turbo Love! single, “Shooting Stars”. Two years later it was also featured on your debut full-length. What kind of relationship have you developed towards this song over the years? What does it mean to you?
It’s a big part of our lives! I’m proud of it, really. Maybe a little sick of it, too. Haha. But every time we play it – live or dj – it gets the most amazing response. I’m not sick of that!

What kind of activity, do you think, is the album an ideal soundtrack to?
Lots of activities we hope. We wanted to make an album that had tracks for the club (obviously) but also tracks for the car, the loungeroom, the bedroom, the kitchen, the laundry, whatever. I think we succeeded in that more or less. The diversity of the album is one of the things I’m most proud of.

To be honest, its artwork looks a bit as the airbrush art on a ‘pimped’ car. What type of cars are your favourites and what was the idea behind the artwork?
Ha, you’re asking the wrong people. Neither of us are rev heads at all. Chris rides a scooter and my car is a beat up old piece of shit (just the way I like it!)
We like the artwork because it represents for us all the hundreds of different influences that go into our music. Polar bears, surfers, cup cakes, it’s all there somewhere…

The video to “Way Back Home” shows you working on various different exhibits in an atelier. Are you very artistic persons besides your music as well? Do you draw while being on tour for instance?
Not particularly. The set for that film clip felt more like a drug lab than anything else to me. We both love art and movies but I think our talents are confined to the world of sound.


Bag Raiders : Way Back Home (Video)

Last but not least: we pretty much don’t know anything about Australian food or drinks, except for a certain blue beer (F…..’s). What does your favourite local dish look like and are you able to make/cook it yourselves?
Fosters is export only. You never see it in Australia (lucky for us because it tastes like urine!)
The most popular beers are things like VB, Tooheys New and Carlton Draught. None too amazing. There are some nice boutique beers and great wines. But to be honest, I love weissbeers and normally drink German stuff like Erdinger and Shöfferhoffer. Mmmm.

Bag Raiders Bag Raiders is out on June 3 via Universal in Germany.


Bag Raiders : Sunlight


Monarchy : I Won’t Let Go (Bag Raiders Remix)

In cooperation with Jägermeister.

aUtOdiDakT : Jaegermeister WHT Interview

12:29 PM

When the Jägermeister Wirtshaus Tour comes to Stuttgart’s Calwer Eck this Thursday, his journey to there is the shortest: Andres Klein alias aUtOdiDakt, label founder of Traktor Records and Mähtrasher, has his homebase in the Neckar city, being as familiar with the native club scene as with the regional cuisine, which he always comes back to after touring around the world. And despite expecting the rather hard (musically electronic) sounds from him first, he’ll be probably playing the most diverse of all three acts there. For us he answered a few questions on his background, first setbacks and later successes.

You can still win tickets for the night with him, Bag Raiders and Peaches here until today’s afternoon.

Until recently Stuttgart was recognised as a tranquil provincial capital, but with the protests against the Stuttgart21 construction project it suddenly turned into the home of the new Wutbürger (Germany’s protesting middle-class). You again never wasted much time on compromising in your music. Have you been a forerunner?
I have no idea and it would be presumptuous to call myself so. But in the early days most of the other DJs greeted my hard stuff with smiles, partly even telling the club owners in front of myself, that this would overcharge the people anyway and that the sound would never make it here. After a while, they started playing the same things, too. After the claim had become untenable, ha.
But I do believe, that, already for a while, Stuttgart takes a special position when it comes to acknowledging things that are in some way a gesture of rejection against certain things, musically or politically…

You are deejaying all over the globe. What are you most looking forward to, when returning home?
A hard mattress! I always get a backache on the way to soft hotel ones… Other things are my bathtub and cooking and recording music again!

Which dishes of the local cuisine are your favourites, and, more importantly, which can you cook/bake yourself?
I pretty much like all from the Swabian cuisine expect Kutteln (tripe) and Hirnsuppe (brain soup)! I can make a proper Zwiebelrostbraten (fried beef and onions in gravy) as well as Kaesespaetzle (cheese noodles), although my girlfriend does them way better! I like my food hearty and meaty, so the Swabian is exactly my thing…

Your aUtOdiDakT-predecessor project IMP-ACT perished at a major label without the release of the planned album.  Does this experience still pursue you until now, seven years later?
Of course, this had an ongoing influence on me! Back then, we had invested three years of time and ideas in it, without being able to influence what would happen afterwards with it. This meant, we were completely at their mercy and couldn’t sign somewhere else as well. Eventually, this destroyed the band and all seven involved band members wanted to leave the music business. Now they’re all having normal jobs, except me. I founded Traktor Records, because I needed a platform, where the complete control belonged to me a no a&r with Ibiza tan could tell, which music I should make or in which pigeon-hole he would like to promote me with with image…

Last year saw the release of your debut full-length Genres Are Dead, including 28(!) averagely more than four minutes long tracks, compiled on a double CD album. Didn’t you fear to overcharge your potential audience?
Of course I was aware of this maybe overcharging or confusing most people. But in the end I thought, that I was a) not up to make an album only filled with the rough stuff people would expect from my DJ sets and b) doing the whole album format only for myself. Actually, I just wanted to see, if I would be able to make a record that would stay interesting for me in the long run, offering a wide variety of styles as a producer. I recently listened to the album for the first time after three months (previously I wouldn’t have been unbiased enough) and was really pleased by it. This was my only aim: to still like the album after a while. The rest, meaning: record sales and if there any people at all, enjoying the record, too, was only secondary for me. But naturally it’s now the icing on the cake.

How was the album made?
In the winter of 2008 I released the first proper aUtOdiDakT single “Shit your rack” and kept on producing since then, without aiming at recording a full-length. I tried different things, because a get bored fast with producing the same style. I need diversion, that means at best I have three unfinished tracks on my harddrive, a calm, a hard and a funky one, so I can work on them according to my moods. If I’m in a bad mood, I can’t do the funky one, and if everything’s bright, I can barely focus on banging around.
Anyway, at some point it were about 80 tracks from electro to pure indie rock or downbeat and I started trying to compile an album out of them. Then I realised, that I still need some bridge songs, seguing from one style to another, or which where just stylistically lacking, to make the whole thing more logical.I then did these ones and also send instrumentals to some singers and rappers I like, because I don’t think of myself as that great singer, who should sing on the majority of the tracks… But I needed vocals to be on the album of course. Eventually, I only sing on the first and the last song, but the guest vocalist have done a more than great job! Maybe I’ll song more myself on the next record.
In terms of the different styles I also tried to rather leave out the really hard outliers from the electronic base, otherwise it would have been to hard even for me to identify the final record as an artist album instead of a compilation of not linked to each other stuff.

Your Traktor sub label Mähtrasher is pretty much a year old right now. How pleased are you with its progress? Which directions will it take in the near future?
Mähtrasher extremely surprised me! I thought to myself, that it would be easier to brand a label, representing only a certain style (instead of many different as Traktor does), but I never expected it to happen that fast! I almost believe, that Mähtrasher (at least outside of Germany) has already overtaken Traktor in terms of popularity in that one single year.

With Stuttgart kaputtraven – Traktor Edition you also host a bi-monthly party at the local club Rocker33. Have the hereby collected experiences made you more relaxed or more demanding as an artist on tour?
I think, in terms of the crowd’s reaction it rather made me become more demanding, because often the people totally freak out at Kaputtraven, ha. But in terms of the daily routine it naturally calmed me down a bit. When you experience all the promoter’s stress at a party yourself, you don’t get worked up as a DJ as well, because most of the problems are not yours.

You recently described deejaying with Proxy as “Christmas, birthday and the apocalypse put in one night.” Which other aUtOdiDakT gigs and Traktor nights have burned themselves into your mind as well?
“Exotic” appearances as in Johannesburg or Sydney have, but also “smaller” ones, like the one at a country inn called Fuchs & Has in some Bavarian village of 20 souls, where we hundreds of people went completely mad and the emptied out all the drinks pretty early! I don’t want to highlight a single edition of Kaputtraven here, because they have been all very special for me… The first was of course especially important, same goes for Kaputtdubben. An event series is defined by its  night and hence it was really satisfying having  such a great headliner and experiencing such an intense atmosphere!


aUtOdiDakT Genres Are Dead (Exzerpte)

In cooperation with Jägermeister.

Frittenbude : Jägermeister WHT Interview

03:10 PM

Finally: as mentioned yesterday there’s a first German band at the Jägermeister Wirtshaus Tour in Frankfurt and it’s also coming from Bavaria. So Frittenbude (translates as ‘chips stand’) were the ideal (e-mail) interview partners for a south-German specialities and spaetzle graters. Somewhere in between more serious topics such as Bollywood, their home label Audiolith plus the ideal ratio between partying and age came on the table. And singer/rapper Johannes “Strizi” told us, that there might some new solo material by him very soon!

Servus together! This year marks five years of Frittenbude – we congratulate! Do you celebrate with some typical Bavarian dishes besides the obligatory chips?
MARTIN: Bavarian, I should actually now this as a butcher’s son – Lebakaas (meat loaf)? Blutwurst (black pudding)? Leberspätzle (liver spaetzle)? Obatzda (Bavarian cheese creme)?
JAKOB: Maybe we drink “Hirn” (brain).
STRIZI: Since we are becoming fat more and more, there will definitely be nothing of the above. I would really prefer this new meat, which is no meat, but exactly tastes like it. Note: Tofu?)

Cooking has become a big male trend again. Do you sometimes cook for each other?
M: A clear NO.
S: I like to cook a lot, unfortunately mostly too much and as people confirm way too well. My huge beer belly, which is actually a meat belly, comes from this. But for these two rascals I won’t cook. That would be even better…
J: I experienced that Martin can better order than cook. And if it really comes to him cooking for me, I will think about it twice before. But I once ate a Bolognese made by Strizi and he sometimes tells me about his pasta maker and spaetzle graters. I’m really pleased about not knowing, whether I can cook or not. But if you consider warming up a Bavarian veal sausage, we quite often cooked for each other already.

The veal sausage is pretty proscribed outside of Bavaria. Could he please hold a plea for this calf’s head dish?
M: I allow myself a veal sausage every three weeks. Everyone should have tried it once at least. Our FOH guy from East Frisia (coastal Northern Germany) was scared of it, too, when he was forced to eat one. But we was amazed! He wanted to have one the next week again and maybe he’s already addicted…
J: Exactly… our mixer once called it a “complete meal”. Whatever is in there, it tastes fantastically! But I wonder, why the sausages are white.
S: Everyone, who likes eating meat, likes Bavarian veal sausages. It’s as simple as that. I defies me, that people are disgusted by it. Maybe it’s because they claim they are made from brain. But I can only comment that with: Guys, you should look, what’s in your wienerwurst first! The combination of a veal sausage, pretzels, sweet mustard and a wheat bear, oider (Bavarian slang for: ace)!

Lately, Jakob and Martin were busy recording and touring with Ira Atari and pandoras.box. What did you, Johannes, do to fight boredom and loneliness?
M: Hannes? Are you sad and lonesome?
S: No, I didn’t get these things. There are other things, too, which make fun apart from music. I had to completely switch off to deal with what happened in the last year, visited some old friends and watched flamingos and kingfishers at Delta del Ebro. Furthermore, I was productive myself, too. Maybe you can listen to some things soon – if I’m happy with them.


Frittenbude : Bilder mit Katze (Video)

What inspired the mass choreography in your video “Bilder mit Katze”? Bollywood?
M: Errr no, it was more the Vogelhochzeit or the rainbow fish…
S: Yes, definitely the Vogelhochzeit.

In the opening scene on the street, we think, we can see you as the friends of the main actor (but maybe we are wrong).  Is that the general position you want to take over for your fans?
S: You are wrong. These are the real friends of the actor and Cpt. Clepto. Later, we briefly appear in the train. (Note: Then, we are wrong, yes, but at least we recognised the later before.) I consider us to be the big brothers of our fans, cuddling with them and being at hand with help and advice for them.
J: Yes, you are wrong. And Martin doesn’t even appear in the video, because as usual he got a double.

Today, a term very often, if not inflationarily used is “kultig” (iconic). “Bilder mit Katze” is a hymn to your label Audiolith. Did you ever have concerns about this may being a bit too much or did the “family” need such song?
M: Yes, they were there in the beginning. But our love is honest and sincere. The so-called “family” doesn’t need this of course. It supports the identification with the whole Audiolith-complex. Also for us.
S: To be frank here: we never thought about it. Now I have to say, I wouldn’t write it again as I did. It would be more something like: “Du kaufst der Frau, die du liebst, ein Shirt von Frittenbude, aber das, das doppelt so teuer ist als die anderen, und dir selbst auch noch zwei…” (“You buy the woman you love a shirt of Frittenbude, but the one twice the price as the others and also two for yourself…”)

Back to Bollywood: What do watch and listen to at the tour bus?
M: We once won a recreational love energy CD ROM at a Swiss TV show with Papa Wango. It features spiritual instruments such as guitars and flutes. We always listen to that when we’re in a bod mood. At every other time everyone is pupating himself in his iPod…
S: Word!
J: Sometimes I put on wale sounds or various meditation CDs. The music on them sounds almost as the most fresh and hippest current sound.

In another song, “Und Täglich Grüßt Das Murmeltier”, you sing  (although in a different kontext): “Doch wir sind längst schon über den Zenit hinaus.” (“But we are past our best by now”) Your music subsists to big parts on your nocturnal experiences at clubs. Do you think, you’ll ever get to old for such?
M: Yes, and in my eyes sadly way too early.
S: We consider the whole thing very objectively and soberly. I will turn 30 this year and you start thinking about such things at that point. But no one can cast out the partying of me. That’s too important for me. And apart from that a party’s is best when you have it with a not only mix-aged bunch of people…
J: Sometimes in life you turn younger, too.

On April 21 Frittenbude will play with Tom Deluxx for the Jägermeister Wirtshaus Tour at Yachtklub in Frankfurt am Main. You can win tickets for it on our site and via das-wirthaus.de or Facebook.

In association with Jägermeister

William Fitzsimmons : Interview

04:30 PM

His hair’s gone and so is his weight. Cut short, lost. Only the beard stayed. But he gained an important insight. William Fitzsimmons, the singing mental health therapist, or better: the therapy-giving singer (because his songs offer our souls relief, too), thought that he had made it. Thought, that he had faced the whole world and found peace with himself after he sang about his own divorce and the one of his parents. But he wasn’t ready yet.

Before recording his fourth album Gold In The Shadow, Fitzsimmons quit writing music for almost two years, dealing with his inner-self. Now, the new work is the once again beautiful, slightly more instrumented result of this process, the catharsis. We met the artist (who cautiously excuses himself in advance, whenever he’s about to tell one something personal) in Berlin, discussing hitting rock-bottom, turning psychology into art, Sufjan Stevens and living without music.

“It was a wake-up call.”

William, you look thinner than before.
There were good and bad reasons for it. Some were healthy and some were not. Sometimes you go through hard things and get pushed to the site a little bit. But I was a bit too heavy before anyway. I feel better now, more healthy and fresh.

To be really frank here: It’s always slightly comforting myself, that psychologist as you have the same bad habits as “normal” people. But this comes a bit unexpected, since I expected you personally consolidated with the last record. What are the new bad reasons?
It was the time in between. I’d done a lot of work and there’s was an eating disorder for a lot of time in my life. Whenever things are very stressful and hard, I can fall back into that. It’s like a drug. In a way it was good, because they say, you hit bottom and things get pretty dark, but it showed me, that I needed to get help and make some changes. So I did a lot of work again.

Does the album title Gold In The Shadow reference to that?
Yes. I hope, it’s kind of clever and not too simple. It’s the idea of jumping with head first into all the shit, into all the dark stuff and not running away from it anymore. The really funny is thing, that I thought, I would have been already doing this with Sparrow and the Crow. It was still real, I had everything realised and wanted to go through this. But it was just a symptom and never got real help, just telling one story. It was a wake-up call. But if it had not happen, I think, I would have been writing about my next divorce or something. And I don’t think, nobody would need that.

“Nobody listens anymore, we just talk.”

So it was again a second, personal motivation to record an album behind the artistic one, wasn’t it?
Yes, but this time more at the same time than afterwards. Previously I had gone through something and was purging it now. There was the experience and then the album about it. This one was side-by-side. I was writing about this stuff while I was in therapy, trying to change and heal my mind. It didn’t have to wait, but could embrace the whole thing.

Gold in the Shadow follows a certain concept-idea, based on the DSM-IV, the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Was the album thereby also a try to face your own work as therapist?
It’s half that and half external, too. A part of the whole process was getting outside of my head for a little bit, because one thing, singer-songwriters are good in, is being really, really self-involved. We love talking about ourselves. It’s okay to share some things, but it’s not really healthy. I wanted to write about this personal struggles and the psychology of them, but the other half is external and made with people I work with, so it’s not just about my share, but other people, too.

Writing about yourself and writing about other people: How much difference lies in these two approaches for you?
It’s really different. Only the emotionality is the same. You can basically write about everything as long as you understand its emotions. If you are a human being and all honest with yourself, you do understand a lot of different things; laws, grief and sadness, joy. You don’t have to go through a disaster to know what pains feel like. Your main goal as a therapist is empathy, living as if you’re in the shoes of the other person. So if you sit there and be client, talking to me about a great nervousness or a fear of snakes, I don’t approach you with sympathy or sadness, but with: How would I feel now, if I was you? Fortunately, I was taught by very talented people doing that. It’s really not that hard with emotions. Most people just don’t spend that much time for it. Nobody listens anymore, we just talk.


William Fitzsimmons : The Tide Pulls From The Moon

Let’s take a look on the person in your chair: How do separate the role of the inquirer as therapist from the role of the object as an artist being interrogated in interviews?
It’s a weird, because it indeed feels a bit backwards. Fortunately, I’m one of this annoying people, who like to hear themselves talk, so I’m very okay with that. And if people say they don’t, then they’re full of shit, because musicians want to get out on stage and play music. The goal of a therapist is to understand, not be understood. That’s the complete opposite of people’s life, because 99 percent of your time you go through it just trying to be understood and no one listens. But that’s why people go to therapy. It’s a bit awkward, but I’ve done that for the people, so I understand what the process is and why it’s a helpful thing. I spent time in both chairs and think, it works best like that.

Do you think, it helps your probable patience approaching you, because they know of this, of your vulnerability?
Absolutely. In fact, this is one of the reasons, why people connect with the music. I might could be wrong about this, but there’s a little of trust there, too, because people are more open to being vulnerable with me and that music because I was a therapist. So they find themselves in a more appropriate place to be more dark and honest.

“I was finished with all this depressing shit, but also afraid about having nothing left to write about.”

How do you secure, that your observations and experiences become lyrical art and don’t tend to be too analytic?
At the very beginning of the new record there was indeed a danger of the latter to happen. It started out really theoretical and scientific as the defence mechanism that’s intellectualisation: You keep everything in your head so it never has to go to heart. But I’m too much an emotional person, that I would ever get to hang up. Quite the contrary, I lean too far in emotional stuff and get too sappy. I was really careful here, pulling it away from being a textbook of diseases.

And musically there’s more instrumentation which also opens the book a bit more.
You have to have both. When Sufjan (Stevens) made the states record, they would be missing something, if they did not have both, the corky, historical stuff and the very emotional things. Both things have to be there, otherwise it would be kind of an empty project.

What do you think was going on inside of him, when he quit his apparently huge project of making a record on every of the 50 US states? It seemed like a life project.
And it would have been incredible. He could have finished the last one at 70. I think, he was serious in the beginning. Ambition often goes with creativity and he’s probably one of the most creative people alive. I don’t know him personally, but I also think, he got a little bit bored. He never wants to do the same thing in a row. Which is kind of a shame, because I guarantee, if he had made ten or fifteen of them, every single one would have been good.

Maybe he should have put out other records in between and give it time.
Right. And probably that’s what he’s doing at the moment, because he could come back at some point. But I doubt that. I’m always talking about writing books instead and I can see him doing that, too, which would be really awful, because we need more of his records.

Because there’s a special cultural need for us in them?
I don’t know. Things get watered down, get deluded. For instance, there was a kind of fear when I was done with the last record, because I was finished with all this depressing shit, but also afraid about having nothing left to write about. By the way, this is a good place to be in life, if you feel, you have nothing to empty out. Sufjan and a small group of others again have so many substance in them.

“The purpose of writing the songs was becoming a better therapist. And it’s the same reason still.”

You grow up with music and probably can’t even imagine life without it. (William: Yes.) Then you turned away from it in your adolescence for a while, before returning soon again, which brings us to the DMS again. It’s actually a quite controversial manual, with experiments like the Rosenhan-one questioning it. Was there ever such event for your relationship towards music, too?
Music used to be a family thing for me and then became a depressing one, because family went to shit. Then all of a sudden music isn’t that great thing anymore. We used to do it together and now we don’t. So I got into music that was a bit louder, harder and faster – not metal, but neither folk. It was just noise. Once I was able balancing these things out and accepting that, I realised, it does not always feel grey. Sometimes Christmas isn’t perfect, but that’s okay. It can still be good and have to get these things together. Maybe this is a bit cheesy, but there’s the Watermelon Principle: If you want to have a watermelon, you have to take some seeds. That’s life, you’ve to deal with it and there are too many good things in it and music to give both up completely.

You wrote about your patients’ struggles first. Is music also a good tool to canalise things?
I did not directly. It was the exercise of me being more emotionally connected to them, so I could help them. But I didn’t play them the songs. But the purpose of writing the songs was becoming a better therapist. And it’s the same reason still. You try to understand yourself and other people better and music is a great vehicle for getting there.

For the end: You’ll play a little set at the Berghain Kantine tonight. The whole complex experiences an almost religious musical devotion, where music becomes not part of your life, put your lifestyle. What do you think about this?
That’s a good question. Music is very powerful and will as I believe be here forever. Nothing could ever replace it. Aber it’s only meant to do certain things and can only go so far. Relationships and people for example will always have music. But the people take it too far, absolutely. A fork, Gabel, is great for eating with, but if you try to build a house it’s shit. You have to use something for the right thing. And music is meant for many, many things, but to make it a religion, your one passion, it’s incomplete.

William Fitzsimmons Gold In The Shadow was released by Grönland / Rough Trade. See here for a previous interview by us with him, here for another rather interesting one by the National Association for Mental Illness called “William Fitzsimmons: From Mental Health to Music” and here for the tape.tv channel with a mixtape, live videos and a tour documentary on Fitzsimmons. If you want to see him live: here are the upcoming dates:

17.06. Dortmund, Konzerthaus
18.06. Neuhausen ob Eck, Southside Festival
19.06. Scheessel, Hurricane Festival
20.06. Brussels, Botanique
25.06. Amsterdam, People’s Place
26.06. Cologne, Gloria
28.06. Berlin, Lido
01.07. Vienna, Jazz-Fest
02.07. Nuremberg, K4 Festsaal
03.07. Frankfurt a.M., Mousonturm
05.07. Graz, Postgarage
08.07. Leipzig, Centraltheater
09.07. Kassel, Kulturzelt Festival

Round Table Knights : Interview

06:04 PM

Invidia or envy is one of the mortal sins and mankind’s biggest vice. It’s absence is almost essential for the success of Bern’s Round Table Knights, because if the knights would begrudge each other and label head Jesse Rose of Made To Play not allow equal opponents next to him, the six minutes of pure ecstasy that is “Calypso” by the Swiss house-music duo would not have become of of last year’s biggest club tune and en passant the label’s greatest hit until today. Now Marc and Biru Bee have recorded their diverse debut album, which reminds us of a small, but care-free infant: You enjoy the time with it, take it in your arms and from time to time the little bouncy ball’s energy just carries you away.

But life ain’t no pony farm and in this case all the fun is hard work. So Say What!?, which is MTP’s only full-length release anno 2011, sounds mature as well. Biru (in the photo on the right) knows this only well, being a booker of  Club Bonsoir in Bern parallel. Today his first official act is our German-Swiss phone call.

Hi Biru, does every of your work days start at 1 pm?
Actually I always try to be in the bureau or studio at nine or ten. But first I have to get out of my bet and that’s sometimes easy and sometimes not. When I did my commercial apprenticeship I had to get up even earlier.

Does this work out with your everyday producer life?
I used to a night person all the time and got used to this rhythm, being happy to have all these freedoms, which are not self-evident.

This sounds relaxed and stable to me. Are you a nonchalant band?
No.

But that’s exactly what press shots of hotel-bed-breakfast or remix contests started from a ironing board make me think of.
We are not trying to come around funny with this. It’s more about, that every pose, every photo with your own record on it is totally stupid to us. It should be something different for us. And since we’re not really photogenic, we are happy to have distraction and being able to eat croissants in the meanwhile.

Many producers are all on their own, which is probably supporting the ego business and poserism. Does being a duo already naturally repudiate you against that?
Maybe. We’re currently playing a lot and I can’t imagine doing all of this alone. Travel would be boring, there would be no one to exchange with. It’s just so much more when you’re two.

How do you assimilate such different impressions in short sequence as playing in front of 8.000 people at Canadian Igloofest, then a regular club show in German Essen and finally the bureau work at home?
That was pretty funny all in all. At the day before Montreal we played in San Diego, USA, at 25 °C and the next day it were -20 °C. But with the time you get sucked into automatically and there’s nothing else do instead. Before we were in Australia, Beijing, Singapur and Bali for two month non-stop on the road. So you are happy to be back home once, hanging around with your friends. But we enjoy all these opportunities a lot. And for sure there are days, at which you are totally wasted but then you get up on stage, hear the music and there comes energy!

And you can push each other when playing.
That’s the good thing about being a duo. Let’s say I have a bad day, then I still know that there’s another one, you can help me getting out of my hole. We always play freestyle, not pre-made sets. Only Mark plays the very first track, the rest just happens. Through doing it like this for ten years now, we understand each other half blindly.

“Jesse wanted to have an album by us in the next year, but to be honest, we never took this really serious. But then in late September he called us all of the sudden and we had nothing yet.”

Musically you went through a lot of different genres in your ten years. Was the free approach the only constant in this time?
At the beginning as a turntablism-scratch team we used to be four, but even back then everyone played different types of music. It was underground hip-hop with funk, d’n’b and rock. Hence, it was never a subject for us to play a ready-made set, since every night, every club, every crowd is different. It would be nonsense, no fun for me at all and surely often turn out the wrong way.

Last year “Calypso” was your big and final breakthrough. How did this development influence recording  the album?
There was no pressure at all. But after “Calypso” came  “Cut To The Top“, for which we played with Jesse Rose in Paris, where he told us, it would really like to have an album by us in the next year. We were totally surprised, but to be honest never really took this serious, since all recent dance or club albums used to be quite boring for us. Then later in September Jesse called us all of the sudden and wanted to hear the first bits. At that point we had pretty much nothing done yet, so we finally had to go for it from then on. Our idea was to have an album made that can be listened to as a whole. It should be no club-banger-ride with five or ten Calypsos on it. Now it has got tracks for both, home and club on it.

Say What?! is divided into four parts by a few short intermezzi. Was this a solely sound aesthetically decision or is this story-telling?
The record should be like one of our live mixes when deejaying; with an end, numerous highs and lows and a peak at the end. We liked the idea, to calm down the whole thing through this skits a bit, because otherwise everything would just go through roughly. Surely our hip-hop heritage had some influence on us here.

“We didn’t want the big names like Kylie. It should be our album, our thing and make the people happy.”

Lyrically it’s all about women: The first gets dropped, the second first sweet-talked and then proudly presented in the club. Where does this lead us to? The album stops here.
(laughs) We’ll see.

Does your music act as an instrument of seduction?
I’ve never thought about this from this point of view before. Maybe.

Anyway, all lyris are rather short and precise than comprehensive.
We have three features: Bern garage-rock legend Reverend Beat Man, Ghostape from Genf and Ogris Debris from Vienna. We still know the reverend from our early days but didn’t know, if he would like to sing on a house track as “Cut To The Top”. Eventually we gave him free rein and the vocals did fit perfectly in the end.
With “Say What?!” it was almost similar. We are huge fans of Ogris Debris and especially their track “Mietzekatze“, furthermore their are on the same booking agency as we are, Jackmode. This immediately fit as well and we liked it so much, that it had to be our album title. Now, one of the two guys’ girlfriend moved to Bern, so he’s often over here and just last week we ate fondue together.
Ghostape then again is a really cool artist, for whom we already did a remix years ago (“Ghost Eyes“). But it’s really hard to get into interaction with him. Out of the five studio dates we arranged with him he did not appear at a single one. And just before we were close to cancel the whole thing, he sent us his parts last-minute. Despite that we did not want to have big names like, let me exaggerate: Kylie, because of often this tracks disappoint you already in the first place.

You are often approached as the figureheads of the internationally below average represented Swiss scene. Is it a coincidence, that all three feature guests are from the Alpine region?
I think so. To us it was only always clear, that we don’t want to have at least one big name on every track as for instance Crookers did.  It should be our album, our thing and make the people happy. It’s still cool that there now two artists from Switzerland, not very well known outside of their scene even inside this country. That was bridge building for us.

So what else is left of your personal Swiss heritage except of fondue?
Probably there’s still a bit of the Swiss punctuality in me. Apart from that there are still the Swiss clocks, chocolate and cheese, but it’s not like we necessarily need to have a Swiss cross on our record covers.  (laughs) We don’t want it to turn it into a big thing and have been always focussed on getting get on our feet ourselves.

Round Table Knights Say What?! was released by Made To Play. Tonight, the band will play at Snack Crackle & Pop 4 Birthday party at East Village, London. On April 15 a huge release party will take place at Berlin’s Ritter Butzke with support by Umami, Renaissance Man, Oliver $, Monkey Safari and many more. Find more information on this event here, all other tour dates at roundtableknights.ch and their current Winter/Spring 2011 Mix plus another track from the album below:


Round Table Knights : Cat Power

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs : Interview

08:57 PM

If it happens that you meet a guy on the street wearing a dinosaur costume, claiming his father’s a professor in Oxford and the world’s most beautiful was written around 300 years ago in provincial Germany, you might tend to call him a lunatic not for bad reasons. If the same thing happens at a club, you better watch your mouth because you speak to Orlando Higginbottom alias Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Beginning a bit more than one year and a half ago with the bouncy, energetic debut EP All In One Sixty Dancehalls, the Oxfordshire talent has continuously gained more and more interest and popularity with the video for “Garden” becoming a semi-hit on Youtube.

And he’s not the usual next big thing. Not because of his wide musical knowledge and interest, including sharing a passion for Johann Sebastian Bach with the likes of Francesco Tristano and a love for all kinds and styles of electronic music with his con-genial label home Greco-Roman, which he’s about to leave. Nor his ability to create something like a smart and still fresh electro-house. But because of his condensed main thesis: Pop music is a tragedy. It’s time to discuss the approach, the costuming and the future and it’s an old video game console in the backstage of Magnet Club, Berlin, we find him at.

-

Orlando: Hej sorry, I haven’t played Sonic 2 on a real SEGA for years.

Good to see you did enjoy it! Have you ever been a computer or video game fanatic?
No, but there was a game for Mac called Civilisation, which was fucking amazing. The idea of conquering the old world was something cool for me when I was six or seven. And because of that game I got already draw a map of the world at that young age, so I think it was educational.

But you turned out to be an electronic music producer and not a second Napoleon. And you made some developments on you three first EPs. I even think, that the third and lost one, the Household Goods EP, was somehow a synthesis or hybrid of the two prior Sixty Dancehalls EPs.
Yes, the third one was part of a whole series so I was going to that point. Really I see the second and the third one as a come-together, they’re in a same sound world for me. But all my music is never planned, I just look what tracks I got I can put out.

Still, you seem to have found your sound. And although their common core is more distinctive now, all the three songs vary a lot as usual.
It’s important to me that dance music is not one single bpm rate. But all the styles are good and all the styles are related. There’s always bass, drums and a melody. And if it’s a good tune, it’s a good tune. More producers should try writing other styles, because I think they do amazing music. Imagine Skream writing a tech-house tune: that would be fucking wicked.

Or the complete opposite.
You never know. What’s the harm in trying? I think, the fans are cooler now and up for producers challenging themselves. Things have changed because of the internet and Annie Mac. I feel, you can get away with more things now. When I first started playing sets with all kind of stuffs in it, I was scared that people could hate it. Was I not allowed to play electro-house any longer, for instance? Was it that uncool all of a sudden? And then I told myself: Fuck it!

How does it feel to have the Annie Mac or Greco-Roman’s Joe Godard (aka Joe Hot Chip) as your supporter?
The scene is very friendly and nurturing. People make an effort looking after you. Annie Mac and other BBC Radio 1 DJs took me under their wing, concious or not, but that feels amazing. But especially in the UK the people were always more interested in underground stuff, so actually if I become more successful it could be harder, ha.

“I try writing happy songs but whenever I play at the synths or the piano etc it turns tragic.”

In the UK underground genres are often rapidly turned into as anaemic as successful decal acts like Modstep.
(Creasing his face, when the name comes on) You can’t do anything about it. If you are 13 years old and start listening to the radio, then you don’t know the history but go straight in where everyone’s at now. That’s normal and why things move forward. Acts like Modstep will always happen and then there’s a backlash against it. But for a lot of people being into dubstep that one act could end it all. As Pendulum did with drum and bass. That was when a lot of people including me, who liked DnB for years and years, turned around. You feel something special is gone and look for something else. For myself, I just don’t want to ever not put a record out because people might not like not. Maybe I’ll have do someday, but I don’t hope so.

Instead you play a lot with different sounds and styles as for instance James Blake or many other newcomers do as well. Do you think this open approach is genuine to your producer generation?
Maybe. I know it’s happening, but I’m not sure why. If you are a kid now wanting to make music, you need no band but just a computer to start with. So thousands of thousands of people are getting really into it. There’s a lot of love inside and people feel that. They see the care others put into writing and recording their music. There’s a huge appreciation for it, especially for James Blake. Not only he is really talented, but obliviously cares for every sound. It’s a good time.

You again used to be a duo before.
I was not. In the beginning it was just me, then Boxman (Edmund Finnis*) joined me live for a year. Now he’s a serious music composer for orchestras and the opera. I again have now dancers on stage and sometimes Louisa (of Lulu and the Lampshades) from “Garden” with me.
*Finnis and Higginbottom, both used to sing in The Choir of New College Oxford directed by Orlando’s father Edward.

That song is a perfect example for what’s special and outstanding about your music – apart from its diversity: A certain vibe of melancholy.
I try writing happy songs but whenever I play at the synths or the piano etc it turns tragic. And I think, there’s something tragic about both, clubbing and pop music, and about being me and you.

What do you mean in particular?
On a very single level, you go out for a night out with dreams on what your night might to be: I’m going to get drunk, kiss a girl, have a great night… bla-bla. Most of the time this never happens and you get home slightly disappointed. Even when you had a great night, you’re sad about that two days later. For me, dance music is full of nostalgia, which is a really powerful emotion, and I hope, that’s what my music feels like. You best listen to it on a Wednesday, so after the weekend. Clubbing goes by like that and I’m back in my studio writing music about experiences I can’t really remember.

“I’m dressed as a dinosaur. I can’t be cool!”

In a way this contradicts with your funny, entertaining live shows.
Yes, that just happened and I don’t know why. I hope, it works.

How many dino costumes do you have? They must be very sweaty by now.
They are okay. The girls’ ones are worse. Mine are washable because they have a tail, so I dry-clean them. It’s two green ones and one of each, black, light blue and African-styled print. And I’ll get more. The black one is my favourite. Nina (Rebina), who also joins me as a dancer, makes the costumes, so whenever I have a hundred pounds I call her.

And they make you quite fashionably looking. Has ever someone from the fashion industry try to get you involved there in any way? Apparently you are always in Berlin around fashion week.
Yes, I have worked with designers on a head dress for myself, but I’ve never done fashion shoots or any related stuff. I’m not saying that I’m fashionable or that this is cool. I’m dressed as a dinosaur! I can’t be cool dressing like that and I’m not trying to. I actually try the opposite by telling my audience to be themselves, relax and have fun, not thinking about anything, because the guy on stage is dressed as a dinosaur, making a fool out of himself.

The whole thing reminds me of Max and his wolf costume in Where the Wild Things Are. Do you see your playful costuming as an escape of anything?
Escapism? Probably. Music is often escapism and this might be part of it. Sometimes I think I write music that is a get-away. But I don’t know, all I do, is that I enjoy it and see myself able to do it for a few more years. I can earn my living and people like it, so it works. There’s no great philosophy in the basket.

No agenda, no sub-context?
Of course not.

Why ‘of course not’? Why do nowadays’ thoughtfully and conceptionally working artists like you deny any kind of personal or aesthetic agenda?
Maybe we need some more poets, but I’m… Okay, if I have an agenda, it’s to entertain, but there’s no deep meaning or clichés in the lyrics. I just hope, people are humming my tunes somewhere. If I wanted to write serious music, I would write contemporary classical music. The world’s most beautiful music is Bach and why should I try competing with that? If I would try being deep and amazing, I would just play piano and other people’s music.

“Greco was a perfect home to me, but there’s another label.”

Does this all arise from your father Edward, who is a professor of choral music at the Oxford University?
From my mum and my dad. I learnt how to use a CD-player very young and listened to a lot of records. I loved playing the piano, sang in a choir as a kid. All of that was very important to me. Classical music is serious and incredible stuff but I’m doing something light. The melancholy, the tragedy of my music… it’s heavy but it just happens, it’s nothing I think about.

Do you exchange thoughts with him about your music?
Yes, he wants me to change it more, to develop ideas more. To him a loop going around for a whole track – which makes good dance music – does not make sense to him. He loves minimalism, Reich and Cage, but, I think, techno is beyond him to understand. But to be fair, when you dedicated your life to classical music and you’re sixty-something, techno is going to feel quite alien. But I can feel the same kind of energy in both and how do you explain that?

I guess, it’s the same approach but different techniques. Speaking about composing: What’s the state of your debut album?
The album is being written now and I have to finish it in three weeks, so it will come out in summer. Maybe there will be some features. I’m currently recording some people and will see how it goes. You have to try things. I was very happy with that EP format and putting three, four tracks together to take you into different directions. Now you have an album, the whole cut. Many people will listen to it. How are you going to present it? It takes me around for a few years now so it has to be right, giving the right message across.
And I won’t be releasing any more music with Greco for now, because there’s another label, a major. But it was a perfect home to me. They enabled me to do this weird project and I’m sure that we’ll still do parties and other things together.

-

Later Greco-A&R Alex Waldron will tell us, that Orlando’s plans were just too big for the small labels budget, so we’re looking forward to the things to come. Also his collaboration with Riton is still on with two tracks already been recorded. Next thing coming up is Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs supporting Darwin Deez in the UK and Germany, starting today in Manchester – find all dates here. In addition, read an interview with Nina Rebina on her design work at Amelia’s Magazine.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Household Goods EP was released by Greco-Roman.


The 2 Bears : The Lunatics (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix) (Stream)


Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs : Household Goods (Justin Martin vocal remix) (Stream)

Yuksek : Jägermeister WHT Interview

10:00 AM


PHOTOS: Christoph Paul

It’s a nice contrast that opens itself to our eyes, a clash of the clichés: Across the table sits a young, well dressed Frenchman with a glass of red wine, but in front of him a huge plate full of German sauerkraut and Kassler (a kind of smoked pork chop) wants to be his dinner. Yuksek, our second interview partner at the Jägermeister Wirtshaustour’s opening night in the rustic heart of Berlin-Friedrichshain, is a widely travelled man and with his often thoughtful propensity for minimalism and simple pop culture a rather outstanding mind in the France’ current electro scene.

Not knowing that he would keep the party alive beyond 5 am on a Thursday winter night only a few hours later, we sat down with Pierre-Alexandre Busson for a glass and a quick chat on what The Cure have to do with his upcoming new album and his ambitions as a little kid.

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Tonight it should be getting quite crowded, because the Jägerklause a rather tiny venue. How do you feel about that?
It depends. Sometimes it’s fun to play a small place, that’s really busy, even who you already got a name. The people often go more crazy there. In a way I sometimes prefer that to clubs. I’m not too much into clubs, it’s often a bit posh there. So usually, I’m always bored there, so I drink very much and quite early and get drunken very fast.

So the decline of the French club scene might not all be bad for you. How does the response vary when you’re touring through Germany or other parts of the world?
France is not crazy for that kind of music anyway. For me it depends on some countries, where the album had the best impact. For example I played a lot in Asia last year and that was really great, even in places like Korea, where you don’t expect the people to be knowing every track. That was really fun. But the night is the night anywhere.

You recently released We’re Ready When You Are (ft. Ebony Bones) with your buddy Brodinski as The Krays and toured under that moniker. Is it true that you actually don’t like playing and recording alone?
There’s also Girlfriend, a really not dancefloor but rock-like project with my studio mate from ALB. But right now I’m finishing my new record and there are really more songs that, I think, I can’t defend alone on stage. So there will be a kind of band with me. Not a classic one, but something special.

How will this new record sound and what will it be focussed on? More storytelling and classic song structures?
Yes and more vocals.

What was your special need behind this re-orientation?
I always loved pop and indie rock and was listening to it much more than electro. Personally I do make music for DJs and clubs, but that’s not the only thing I like to do. On this album I experiment more with my voice. I sing everything myself, all untuned. There won’t be a single feature on the record.

What kind of subjects do you sing about?
It’s quite a personal record and a bit melancholic one, too. I sing about certain feelings I experienced. Also I had the first album of The Cure, the Three Imaginary Boys, in mind during that. The new album won’t be the same thing, but it still best describes a kind of music people can dance to, but which’s not the techno way. It makes you move, but at the same time there’s something different you meet the lyrics with and think about them. It’s not hedonistic for instance.

So the songs will probably not fit into a normal disco set, will they?
No, they are not really made for that.

Is music for you the best catalyst for any personal emotion?
Yes, I think so. Naturally, it’s my only way of communication, the only one to express or put out different things with. It’s a bit of as being with a psychologist: You talk and talk and he’s just listening. In the studio I’m working on things, not thinking too much about how to do them or not, even the lyrics. I just write, record, work and a after a week a tracks turns about to be itself without me planning it to be like that.

Music then becomes a medium of your inner you.
Yes, it’s the ultimate writing. Something’s just going through you, from the deeper grounds of your brain directly to the mouse in your hands and not through your conscious parts.

But this stream can sometimes stop all of the sudden. How do you fight these periods?
Oh, I got many things to do. Last year I produced the album Birds & Drums by The Bewitched Hands and other things. I have always work to do and am always late for all things, because I’m working on my own sets for two weeks. So when I feel that I’m empty, I take my works – even if you actually can’t call it work, because it’s a thing a really like to do.

You got a classical musical education from your childhood on, but what would your life be like today, if you would have not become a producer and musician?
I always practised music since being a little kid, so I can’t picture my life without it. Even back then I already saw myself as a future musician or maybe as a plane pilot. I love being up in the clouds, it’s very natural.

Yuksek Away From The Sea was released by Barclay.

Find more photos of the event and another interview with We Have Band here. Watch a video with some moving live impressions made by our friends of i-ref.de below. The Jägermeister Wirthaustour now moves on to Cologne, where The Subs and Proxy will play at the Dom im Stapelhaus at March 17 – see das-wirtshaus.de/gaesteliste or Facebook for more details and the next ticket competition.


i-ref : Jägermeister Wirtshaus Tour Berlin: Interview WE HAVE BAND & YUKSEK (LONG VERSION)

We Have Band : Jägermeister WHT Interview

12:15 PM

dede we have band

“It’s part of a real Eckkneipe or Wirtshaus that it’s slightly frowzy, stick and about as fashionable as your grandmother’s interior design.” While the orange painted Jägerklause might would have scared old animal-loving grandma with all its sets of antlers, the rest of our expectations was met or even beat them. After a Bavarian Brotzeit, some drinks and a decent warm-up with some rounds of ping-pong, kicker and darts, in which Darren appeared to be a natural talent, We Have Band kicked-off the Jägermeister Wirtshaustour in Berlin with an intense performance. And although packed shoulder to shoulder into the tiny venue the crowd clearly enjoyed it from the very first minute, filling the air with joyful transpiration – which was surely worth waiting in the street-long cue.

In the first part of two of reviewing the night, the really chatty British trio of Darren and married couple Dede and Tom shares some old and new Berlin memories with us, discusses touring with your own mother and which drink we would prefer along with their new yet-to-be-finished second album.

You all seem pretty excited and jittery, especially Darren, who once said, he was sometimes a son, sometimes a grandfather to you, Dede and Tom. What’s his status today?
Darren: Oh yes, meet me at the playground to play!
Dede: I think, it’s son.
Tom: But I’m a dysfunctional father.
Darren: No, I’m disposable for anyone today. In some places, everyone got older part for anyone and Berlin’s one of them. We’re always a bit giddy here. I don’t know why.

Is it the local vibe?
Tom: It’s the vibe of a great city.
Darren: We love the it.
Dede: We always get excited here.

And it’s already your sixth time being here. Some of the venues like Scala and Villa have sadly closed down shortly after.
Darren: And Magnet moved. The Villa guys we’re talking about it back then. Maybe we’re bad luck and this place here is also closing soon.
Tom: Sorry!
Dede: Yeah, sorry. Tonight may be the last one so enjoy it!

But the town and the crowds must be full of familiar faces by now.
Tom: I’m not sure. But when we played (at Festsaal Kreuzberg) in November, it felt brilliant. 500 people were there, which is quite a lot for such a small band like us to come to such city and sell out these venues. Maybe we stepped over the edge.
Darren: It was really special.
Dede: We were glad, because they were so enthusiastic, so we felt really welcome.

But actually you started your careers in bars like this one, such as London’s Old Blue Last or Barden’s Boudoir. What kind of memories do you have from that time?
Dede: It was a bit chaotic, but a vibey chaos.
Tom: We still love the Old Blue. It was a great feeling to be a buzzy band. Sometimes it’s a curse and you can struggle to get beyond the buzz.
Dede: You go to those places and you know that the people there don’t know you, but they’re up for it and a good night, anyway. So you’re just having fun. It’s sweaty, crammed, too busy. The sound might be really bad so they can’t hear you and you can’t hear them either, but things are great.
Darren: Somehow it’s always still working.

Do you miss those days, in which you still had to win-over the crowd?
Darren: In a way it’s still like that, because now there’s a room full of expectations by people, who bought a ticket four months ago. It’s a different pressure, it never goes.
Tom: And when you do festival shows only a third of the people in the tent does know you and the rest don’t.
Dede: You always have to make the shifting.

And it’s easier when you are up on stage as a trio so interest and attention are split up, meeting all different tastes.
Tom: I like three. I played in bands with more people, but three works best.
Dede: All I can say is, that you wouldn’t get me up on stage without the two of them.
Darren: You mean: Not without your husband.
Dede: … or my special friend.

How does it affect the band chemistry, for instance in the tour bus? Because to be frank, until now all the three of you were mostly speaking at the same time and I guess, this does not exactly simplify your communication among each other.
Tom: Actually, at the tour bus we’re all quite, headphones on, trying to sleep.
Dede: There’s no talking and this lasts for about four to five hours until it blasts.
Darren: Tomorrow morning there was no talking in the bus, only some at the airport and then suddenly… bam!

So you are all three more the hangover type, aren’t you?
Dede: No, it’s not about that. We just don’t like mornings, neither when being drunk nor sober.

No romantic breakfast for you, Dede and Tom?
Both: No.
Darren: I got up at six in the morning today, which is not bad and not good either. Especially when it was a long night before.

What about your tour lifestyle? From you interviews, I guess, it’s more wild, but then again Dede’s mother joined you on tour in Switzerland, which actually might not be a contradiction at all.
Dede: It doesn’t mean, that we stay in a better hotel.
Tom: … but that she drinks it all.

But you might behave better?
Darren: No, she can keep up with the best of them.
Tom: She likes to have a party. When again don’t like it rough, we just don’t mind it.
Darren: Oh, don’t you like it rough?
Tom: Leave it alone. We were not the band getting picked up by a major label before we got known and put into big hotels, being treated like stars. We did it all ourselves and that quite dirty. But sure we like some luxury.
Darren: But what’s the difference? If you’re eighteen years old and someone slaps a massive check on the table, then you go for it all. We were doing our own gigs, setting up our own stage without anyone to do the sound for us; no tour manager, no nothing. And now, coming from that, we still take our trash out ourselves, so that’s a bit of a difference.

Did you feel kind of sorry for all the young artists in the machinery of the major label you used to work at before starting the band?
Dede: No and we had different jobs.
Darren: Different time…
Tom: … different era.

Are you getting nostalgic here?
Darren: Not for answering other people’s phones. If we would have been cool A&R managers, it may would have been different.
Tom: There’s no relation between what we did then and what we do now.
Dede: We just enjoy different times. You get different things out of different parts of your life.
Darren: This is the crucial question.
Tom: We don’t mind slamming it, but we also like a bit of luxury.

How much luxurious will your second album production then be? Will we get audio jewels?
Dede: No, there will be lot of love. Maybe about luxury things we love.
Tom: But definitely love.

Nightlife love?
Tom: Nightlife loving.
Darren: Some sexy stuff.

Cherry funk?
Tom: Or sherry funk.
Darren: We do like to do some cool vocals after a few drinks, that makes it sexy.
Tom: Do you know trifle? It’s an English pudding and you should enjoy the record with it, when it’s done. Or better with a bottle of sherry.

We Have Band WHB was released by Naïve. See the first part of our photo gallery from the event below and check back tomorrow for the second part and an interview with Yuksek about champaign, France’ future and first insights into his new, upcoming album. Meanwhile, the Jägermeister Wirthaustour moves on to Cologne, where The Subs and Proxy will play at the Dom im Stapelhaus at March 17 – see das-wirtshaus.de/gaesteliste or Facebook for more details.

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PHOTOS: Christoph Paul

In cooperation with Jägermeister.

Esben and the Witch : Interview

08:01 AM

A two-year run-up paved with lots of advance praise is now finished in 2001 by next British ace, Esben and the Witch, with the release of their debut album Violet Cries. But the Brighton three-piece of Daniel Copeman, Thomas Fisher and singer Rachel Davies – named after a Danish fairytale and here portrayed by Jonathan Hyde lost in the snow – looks daintier than its music actually is. So the style is shaped by a darkness constituted by an again bizarre complexity.

Not seldom the music squeezes our chests and throats. But again and again the individual erupts from the tight corner and revolts. However, it’s not direct agitation, with which the band’s binding the zeitgeist recently bringing the UK’s student on the streets in protest, but reference to author James Joyce and ancient Greek myths. And then again the album is also offering in a modern dichotomy lovely, well auguring passages.

We reflect all of this and more with them. Please, also find their new tour dates at the end:

People were labelling you as ‘goth pop’ in 2009 and stealthily lumped you together with all the arising ‘witch house’ acts in 2010. Also there was the self-created’nightmare pop’. How important is it for a band like yours to sail under a certain, vivid flag and what conclusion do you draw from that?
We don’t feel any particular affinity with any musical sub-genres or labels. Nightmare Pop was a term that we once felt described our music quite effectively but it was never intended to be anything more than that and it’s something that feels a little outdated to us now.

The fairy tale you are named by is a story with a happy end and hence a bit ambivalent to your music, isn’t it? Because your music sounds so dark, dramatic and magical. It seems not to implicate a denouement.
It would be a thankless task to mirror the story and its sentiments in their entirety. Instead we chose to name the band after the tale because we were drawn to the more general imagery and themes it contains and felt the words themselves were a good fit for our musical endeavours. Having said that we also certainly don’t think that all of the songs are exclusively fixated upon the darkness. We feel that there are strong illusions to love, hope and happiness in the album also.

A song of yours (which didn’t make it on the final record) is “Lucia, at the Precipice”. Lucia was writer James Joyce’ daughter and got diagnosed with schizophrenia. She also struggled for the love of her mother and the attention of her father and during her whole life – as, I think, many of us do, more or less. Do these aspects somehow mirror the band itself or yourselves in your personal lives?
Absolutely not. As with many of the themes and ideas in the album, the inspiration behind “Lucia” was a story that captured our imagination and felt compelled to explore. Inevitably people will read into the inspirations for our songs and the references we make in a personal way.  There are emotional elements involved but they are not directly signified by the context.

And Joyce leads us further: You are well-known for your devotion to reading and books. What could in your eyes be the ideal story of the ultimate book that still needs be written? No worries, I don’t want the copyrights.
We couldn’t possibly say… that is the beautiful nature of literature we suppose.

Thanks for that, it brings us to the album again. What’s story behind the album title Violet Cries?
The album title was conceived during the same period as the artwork and as the album was coming together. It actually connotes less towards the meaning than the song titles do. The real relevance towards the album was the imagery it evokes and the colours involved in the creation of violet. This coupled with the word ‘Cries’ we felt would set the appropriate mood for the listener.

The album comes in many songs with an overwhelming wall of sound and since you are also referring to war and battles in the corresponding lyrics, what’s your opinion on music as a force in general?
Music is definitely an incredible force and its importance and influence on people is unquestionable. It’s something that people tie to memories and moments and is intrisically linked to the way people lives.


(directed by Peter King & David Procter)

Whilst listening to “Marching Song” I read “Le Horla” by Guy de Maupassant. It’s about a man who’s possessed and dominated by some sort of hallucination (the Horla), who seems to take the man’s life. And then again, you sing, “lost in the blackness/they’re losing their sights,” to this background of blurry and dread sounds. So, would you identify your music with this kind of story referring to insanity, darkness (and the fear of losing existence)?
That sounds fascinating and is in keeping with the sort of literature we are drawn to. Having not read the mentioned work we could not identify our music to this individual piece. Insanity, darkness and the fear of losing existence do enamour and fascinate us though and it would be fair to say they are explored throughout the album.

You also sing about diseases as “Argyria” or “Chorea”, and the original myth of the “Eumenides” might have a happy ending, but it’s a long way until then, while you seem to make no effort to change the picture. Is Violet Cries as a whole ergo one of Cassandra’s calls, a prophecy of doom?
Well as we stated earlier we feel there are moments of hope and happiness within the album and this may be that our idea of hope and happiness is skewed compared to the general populace. We find beauty in subject matters that many may find terrible and grotesque. It would be rather grandiose of us to call our album a prophecy of doom.

This takes up the previous question: Recently, London saw its students revolting in protest, the economy is in a pretty bad shape, the European Union is full of squabblers. In these times, what agenda do you have apart from the purely musically one?
It’s impossible not to be aware and concerned by the various ills surrounding the world of late. It’s an interesting and dangerous time as many of the elements of modern life the majority of our generation have grown up with are being undermined. Further to this there are very real and pressing concerns relating to the entire condition of the environment we live in.  How these issues will be accepted first and tackled second are of paramount importance to us.

You are from Brighton. Some journalist once wrote about this town: Brighton is full of people from London, who wanna escape from the metropole and noise. How do you feel about this proposition?
We certainly appreciate the fact that we live relatively close to London, whilst still being able to enjoy a slightly slower pace of life in Brighton. London is a fantastic city, however can be quite overwhelming!

In my younger years days I’ve been to Brighton a lot of times and I adore this city with the pepple beach and markets. I also loved the pier which had sadly burned down. Well, the point is, it’s quite unusual to listen to dark and dramatic-experimental sounds like you do. We all know Blood Red Shoes, The Go! Team and The Kooks – who are all from Brighton and who are all influenced by Pop and Rock. They sound happier and more adapted to the young culture of Brighton – as I remember them. Did we got the wrong impression (and Brighton has just become like every other place mentioned above) or do you just experience things differently and more critically in general?
Brighton is a very young and vibrant city still and your impression of it is fine. It’s not a conscious decision to be at odds with this view and hopefully the residents of the city do not feel we are misrepresenting them. We can only make the music that comes naturally to us and currently it appears to be of a reasonably dark nature.

And finally, besides all the darkness and sorrow – what was the funniest situation in 2010?
There was an incident where Daniel left the stage during the set and had some severe difficulties getting back on to finish the set.

Esben and the Witch Violet Cries will be released on January 28 in Germany / 31 in the UK via Matador / Beggars. Subsequently the trio will go on a tour through Great Britain, the Benelux, France and Germany:

31.01. The Louisiana, Bristol
01.02. Pavillion Theatre, Brighton
03.02. Other Rooms, Newcastle
04.02. Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
05.02. Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
07.02. The Harley, Sheffield
08.02. Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
09.02. XOYO, London
11.02. Botanique Rotunde, Brussels
12.02. Paradiso, Amsterdam
13.02. Gebäude 9, Cologne
14.02. Molotow, Hamburg
16.02. Loppen, Copenhagen
17.02. Comet Club, Berlin
19.02. La Route Du Rock, Saint-Père
21.02. Point Emphemere, Paris

TEXT: Franziska Finkenstein / Thomas Vorreyer