Posts Tagged ‘Herman Dune’

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