Nico Santos steps into the light of the music business
Nico Santos released his debut record “Streets of Gold” on Oct, 12th. “Rooftop” immediately resonated with me and it became this spring’s favourite song of mine. But he was already working behind the scenes as a singer songwriter for years. We all know Mark Forster’s “Wir sind Gross” and yes he co-wrote the song. So when I was told that I could have a quick chat with Nico Santos I was really happy and I was super excited to get to know the person behind those songs.
So Nico, you’re not a newbie in the music biz. So why did you release your debut album only just now?
I wanted to have the album just right so that I won’t say in 10 years time „Ahh I should have spent more time on it“. I wanted to have it perfect. I can listen to the record in one go and think wow I love every song so that I don’t have to skip one.
How long did it take for it to be just perfect?
Streets of Gold – the title track I wrote 4 years ago. Since then I wrote 200 or 300 songs. Those are the 14 best songs which transport the best emotions I had at that time.
Streets of Gold – What does the the name mean?
It’s about the time before I started with music, before I found the right people to play music and the desire to play music. It’s about the desire to find the right path in life. Everyone knows that feeling. And for me it was music.
The cool thing was that when I moved to Berlin I find the right guys to build a team and create my new record.
But what does it actually mean?
If you look up synonyms for lucky „Streets of Gold“ comes up so it’s the pursuit of happiness.
(A little side note on that: The saying comes from the time where Europeans immigrated to the US because people would say the streets are paved with gold over there.)
The record is so versatile. This morning you posted outtakes from your video shoot where you danced like Michael Jackson. So I assume his one of your idols but who else are your musical inspirations?
My parents, definitely. My Dad’s a Jazz musician and my Mom does rock. But other than them Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake.
Did you see them live?
Yes, both. 🙂
Prince and Stevie Wonder are inspirations too. My parents gave me a lot of music to listen to.
I think songwriting is so exciting. I saw John Legend on Saturday…
John Legend, really? That is so cool I was just googling Gigs John Legend 2019 and found nothing! Where did he play?
At the Baloise Session. It’s a very cool venue with 10 gigs over 3 weeks and you are sitting at tables with candle’s on them. It has a Jazz club vibe.
Wow that sounds really cool!
It is. Anyway John Legend mentioned that he starts with a melody and then finds words that fits the melody. What about you? How do you write your songs?
It’s different every time. I think if you had a recipe how to write good songs everyone would want it. There are certain tips or ways how it’s best to write songs. I usually sit at the piano and transport my feelings into chords. Quite often a little lyrics slice comes up and then I use my phone to write it down. I think I have like 1500 voice messages! 🙂 A lot of ideas…
But most of the time I sit at the piano like 40 / 50 % and see what happens.
Sounds a lot like John Legend! 🙂
Your stage name is Spanish and you are German. So why did you choose English as your language of music?
I grew up with English music. Back then I wasn’t interested in Spanish music and I wasn’t familiar with German music because I grew up in Mallorca. My parents inspired me with English music and that’s why English is the language I felt most comfortable with when I write songs. Now I’d gotten used to it and I feel like I can get across my feelings better in English. When I’m at songwriting sessions I see that my German isn’t as good as others. They grew up in Germany and went to school there. That’s why I’m happy to be able to sing in English and there are not many German artists singing in English.
That’s why my blog is in English too!
Your – I call it “spring hit” – was „Rooftop“. When I heard it the first time I knew I loved it immediately!
Very cool! Thank you that makes me happy 🙂
Sometimes you have those songs that you know that you love them immediately. Do you have this too and if yes, which one’s are yours?
From others or my own?
At the moment I love the record by Khalid that just came out. I just loved every song… „Better“, „Saturday Nights“… I like R’n’B a lot. 6LACK is really cool. He’s got some cool features too. Amazing record!
And now your songs?
With „Rooftop“ I had a good gut feeling. If you jump up in the studio and you’re really happy that you wrote the song then it’s a good sign. Sometimes you think it’s good and then it’s bad but if you get up…
Oh yeah, I know that feeling!
I googled and I found this Filipino actor Nico Santos. How often do you get mistaken for him?
When „Home“ came out a lot of people wrote and tagged him by mistake because I didn’t have Instagram and Twitter. So he wrote on Twitter: „I’m not Nico Santos the singer“. It started to annoy him so he tweeted: „Nico start your own IG and Twitter account!“ And I think OK, now I really have to.
So you two are in contact?
No. He wrote it and others sent it to me and so I knew I had to something now. I’ve never met him but I think it’s funny how two complete different people have the same name.
3rd of May you’re back in Zurich at X-tra for the final gig of your tour. What do you expect from the Swiss audience?
I was in Berne at Energy Air and I had one of the coolest shows ever! The energy was unbelievable, it was a lot of fun. It’s weird because in Germany people say they’re a bit aloof and you Swiss say it too but in Berne I thought I was Justin Bieber! 😀 I pointed at something and everyone completely lost their minds. It’s not like that in Germany. I tried a few different spots and the energy was the same!
Really? I had a very different experience the last few years? Maybe it’s the front rows I’m too old for that! 🙂
Ha, no! Maybe it’s that but you know during the „ohh ohh ohh“ part I thought the whole football stadium sang with me!
Cool, so the same at X-tra in May! 😀
The same at X-tra in May, yes 🙂
What needs to happen that you say „Yup I made it“ with my music?
I don’t think this exists. I never want to have this thought. Music is ambitious as well as your whole life. I don’t think there’s ever a point where I say „Now I have 100 golden records“ I made it. I think my wish is that I can make music my whole life and be happy and then, yes, then I made it 😀
Daniela who’s joining us at the gig in May asked: What made you step in front of the mic and not only write music for others anymore?
It always was a bit of a wish for me. When „Home“ worked in Germany with my voice, a song that I wrote in my when I was little, I thought it be cool to do my own music. The song was a bit too deep house for me so I wanted to do my own and perform them. That was the first moment I thought OK now I gotta start doing it.
Then I wrote „Safe“ and after that „Rooftop“.
Kellin asked: What’s your dream location where you want to perform?
Madison Square Garden. Every artist wants to play there 🙂
True. I heard it before in my previous interviews.
I heard that Stromae is the only French singing musician that sold out Madison Square Garden twice. If you managed to that, that’s not too bad!
And I’d love to play Plaça de toros de Palma in Mallorca.
Oh wow, yes that’s a great location 🙂 I think that’s where the show „Wetten dass“ was filmed. Have you been in that location?
Yes, I actually watched “Wetten dass“ and another programme where Melanie C performed her hit „Never be the same again“.
Last Fan Question from Anna: What’s you favourite dessert?
It changed recently! Now it’s cheesecake.
What was it before cheesecake?
Everything with ice cream. It didn’t matter it just needed ice cream. I ate like 3 ice creams a day and now it’s cheesecake. Princess Cheesecake in Berlin is awesome. People might start saying „Nico stop it“.
I totally get what you mean I don’t know how people can have summer bodies! I have the best ice cream guy around the corner called Gelati am See and I’m there every lunch time.
Yeah, everyone talks about summer bodies but I don’t know how they do it either.
So that was it! Thank you so much Nico!
Cool, thank you!
Get your tix for Nico Santos’ show on May 3rd at X-tra via Ticketcorner. Check out “Streets of Gold” and leave a comment below which song is your favourite or head over to Instagram and let me know there 🙂
P.S: Please vote for Nico Santos to win this year’s Bambi award: https://www.bambi.de/nico-santos
Watch out for kickass singer/songwriter Madeleine Rauch!
Kekoas Korner has been in contact with Madeleine Rauch for quite a few months now. She’s not only a Marteria Girl no she’s a kickass singer who’s super friendly and very talented. Last Friday I got Skype with her since she’s currently visiting friends in L.A. on a well deserved holiday.
Let’s start with a bit of background. How did you get into music?
Good Question! 🙂 As a kid I sang in a choir and I started playing the piano when I was 7 or 8. My parents thought it would be good if I could play an instrument. Then it all took its course. I was in the school choir and started singing solos and when I was around 14 I started my own band.
What kind of music did you play with your band?
We covered rock and pop songs!
Later I really wanted to study music. A lot of people told me it would be unrealistic and it’s gonna be difficult to get accepted. But I managed to do it!
I have to ask now. You’ve been a Marteria Girl for 1 1/2 years now. How did you start working with Marteria?
Connections helped. Miss Platnum started to look for a replacement because one of the girls wasn’t able to continue. I know the bass player in her band and he recommended me. Henrik texted me: „Would you like to sing for Marteria?“ And I was like: „Of course!“
So she called me to invite me for a little rehearsing session with the other singers. No casting it was totally laid back without any pressure. I sang a few songs and a few solos and then Miss Platnum liked what she heard and said you’re in!
Cool! So how does your tour life look like?
It depends! When we’re doing the festivals we’ve got breaks in-between. Usually you do a few festivals during the weekend and then you head back. The longer tours we’ve done in December and in March we were gone for 3 to 4 weeks. It’s a very special lifestyle. We’ve got a tour bus in which we sleep and drive from one city to the next in one night. You’re always around people and you don’t have a lot of privacy. It’s good if you’re kind of like a tour family like we have with Marteria. They were very kind to me when I started. If you didn’t get along with the people it would be super difficult to do it. Sometimes you get an off day and you get some well needed rest. I really love it!
A few months ago you released your own music. Tell me a bit more about „Hands Off“?
I recorded „Hands off“ and “Stick to my plan“ three years ago when I studied at Berklee. I wrote them already and during my year there I organized some friends and colleagues to form a band and they helped me record, mix, edit and master it. It took me a minute until I was completely happy with the mix. So I was happy to release them last autumn.
Who would you say is inspiring you musically?
It always changes. When I was 13/14 I loved Christina Aguilera.
Uhh I understand that! 😀
And then Alicia Keys became my idol. Of course I listened to some other musicians too but those two were very important to me. Later during my Jazz studies in Weimar I got into Neo-Soul: D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott.
At the moment I don’t think I’m into anything particular. I’m listening to a lot of different music but it’s always a bit of R’n’B or Soulish. I did have some phases where I was into the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Incubus but the music that inspires me and I’d like to do is more in the R’n’B/Soul genre.
You are in LA now visiting friends. What are your plans for the next few months?
Exactly! A lot of my friends from Berklee moved to L.A. and almost every day I am meeting up with old study buddies. It’s quite cool to be off for a month 😀
I’ll go back to Berlin to teach voice lessons and play gigs with the Smoke & Soul Band. That’s why I’ve been so busy the last few months.
Sounds very cool! Tell me a bit more about your Smoke & Soul band.
It’s my pretty successful cover band that I have had cool gigs with for example at the Weimarer Opera Ball or at Innotrans – this huge trade fair in Berlin.
And what about your students? How old are your students?
That varies a lot. Most of my students are in their 20s. It’s super fun! I’ll keep on teaching and if something else comes up like a session or a gig I’ll try to combine it. That’s the life of a musician.
Fast forward 5 or 10 years where do you want to be?
Making enough money with my own music and to be able to live off it. Of course I would also like to have my own family. I’m very bad at making longterm plans. I try to reach my short-term goals and don’t put pressure on me with long-term ones.
I get that! 🙂
What needs to happen that you would say „Yup I made it with my music!“?
The question implies that it will stop at one point but I think it always continues to be a work in progress. But I guess getting a record deal, having your music in the charts and cool gigs is pretty much I made it. I’m assuming that your standards are increasing and you wanna do even bigger things. But yeah, the three previous things would be a big step for me.
Now I’ve got some fan questions:
Anna asked what’s your favourite dessert?
Oh oh. Nutella-bread! 😀 I bet my Marteria-family will start laughing now because there I’m known at the Nutella-Girl! I always eat it and on tour you can’t keep secrets.
I also really like creme caramel. My Mom is doing it perfectly. Good question!
Sue asked what’s your fav drink of the year?
I’d say Whiskey Ginger Ale is my go to drink at the moment.
Sarah asked how does a day off look like?
Depends! If I haven’t got much energy I’ll be chilling and binge-watch Netflix. If I got enough energy I love to spend time with friends. I’ll be probably doing music anyways – Playing the piano or write songs or sing. Sometimes I read too! 😀
You mentioned Netflix what would you recommend watching?
I watched Suits and White Collar a lot. I also just watched 13 Reasons Why but that’s very extreme.
Ohh I heard about it but I think I’m a bit afraid to watch it.
In any case that was it! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me even though you are in super cool L.A!
Check out her social media and webpage but most importantly her two amazing songs:
Following his dreams from Basel to Hollywood
Benjamin Keys contacted me a few weeks ago. His e-mail immediately touched my heart and I knew I had to know more about this guy and support him in his dream: Living in Hollywood and tour the world with other fellow musicians. So of course I went on a little internet search including his homepage: benjaminkeysmusic.com
Obviously we couldn’t meet in person so we schedule a Skype interview even though the time difference was super difficult to overcome 😀 So here it is:
You’ve been on big tours with artists like Ira May. So what would be your favourite or most special venue you still want to play in or have played in?
When I lived in Switzerland I went to the Openair Frauenfeld every year. I must have gone about 9 times in my life. If I ever play there with an American artist, that would definitely be a dream come true and very special for me. Other venues I would love to play are the Hallenstadion in Zürich or Madison Square Garden in New York.
I understand. Lots of artists would love to play in the latter one. So speaking about venues I read that you’ll be touring with Ollie Gabriel next year. Who would be your favourite artist to tour with?
When people ask me, I always used to say my favorite artist to play for is Justin Timberlake. Bruno Mars recently took his spot though and is now definitely my dream tour. My dream tour of all time would be Michael Jackson, no doubt.
Why did Bruno Mars take JT’s spot?
Timberlake’s Futuresex/lovesound tour was just the ultimate modern pop tour for me personally. But then came Bruno Mars with his 24K Magic tour and topped it! Plus I don’t really like the JT’s new record.
What’s your favourite thing about touring?
The idea of traveling to different places in the world and at the same making music is an incredible thought to me. Also getting paid for it instead of paying for it. 😉
Haha I totally understand that! So we spoke about Bruno Mars, JT and Michael Jackson. Who are your musical influences?
I had many different phases of heros and inpirations. My first album was “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles. Later I got into Rock and Punk and went from Blink 182 to Limp Bizkit to Rage Againt The Machine. And then one day I discovered hip hop and fell deeply in love with it. My favorite rapper of all time would be Nas. My favorite album of all time “Voodoo” by D’Angelo. And my favorite artist hands down Michael Jackson. Today I mostly listen to R’n’B influenced music and love to dig out old Prince records or see what Anderson Paak is up to.
Wow that’s a pretty big range. Just like me 🙂 Now let’s fast forward 5 years where do you want to be? Sorry I know it sounds like an interview question haha
I want to be a respected and in-demand keyboard player and tour the world. Also be healthy and live a happy life in Los Angeles.
We spoke about where you want to be but not where you’ve came from. After graduating did you just pack up and leave without any job offer or did you organize everything from Switzerland?
Yes, after graduating my jazz studies in Luzern I basically packed up and left to go to Musicians Institute in Hollywood. I started planning my move around two years earlier though and had to apply for many scholarships and foundations to get the financial side of studying in the US covered.
Last question: What needs to happen that you would say „Yup I made it with my music!“ Or did this already happen?
Oh I absolutely didn’t “make it” yet. I might have a slight feeling of making it, when I’ll embark on a world tour with a famous artist. But even then, the hustle obviously doesn’t stop. You have to always be on your toes to survive this fast-paced and crazy music business. And there is always a next step, so you must consistently find new ways to “make it”.
Well that was really interesting. Thank you for speaking to me and I wish you all the best for the future!
Dabu Fantastic’s Träume und offene Geheimnisse / Dabu Fantastic’s dreams and open secrets
Vor dem tollen Konzert an der Baloise Session traf ich Dabu und DJ Arts von Dabu Fanstastic für ein kurzes Interview.
Please scroll down for the English translation.
Ihr habt ein Konzert im Seebad Enge 2015 gegeben und ich war dort.
DJ Arts: Ja?! Warst du dort?
Ja, es war sehr cool!
Dabu: Er hatte einen guten Abend.
DJ Arts: Ja, da hatte ich ein All-time-high an diesem Abend. Ich weiss nicht warum.
Dies war ja ein sehr spezieller Ort und heute an der Baloise Session auch. In welchem Venue habt ihr sonst noch gespielt, das sehr speziell ist oder in dem ihr mal spielen möchtet?
Dabu: In der Schweiz gibt es unfassbar viele kleine Festivals, für die wir jetzt fast schon zu gross sind, um da zu spielen. Die Leute geben sich dort immer sehr viel Mühe. Solche Gigs waren immer toll. Es gibt auch grosse Venues, in denen ich noch spielen möchte, z.B. das Volkshaus in Zürich.
DJ Arts: Ich fände es toll, wenn wir in die Westschweiz gehen würden. Das Paléo Festival z.B. oder auch ins Tessin wäre super. Sie verstehen es dann nicht oder nur ein wenig. Wir würden dann versuchen, etwas zu sagen und das leider eher schlecht als recht. Das fände ich cool, weil im Moment ist dies noch ein schwarzer Fleck. Wenn du auf Mundart Musik machst, ist es sehr schwierig.
Dabu: Für uns ist es auch ein Traum, nach Deutschland und Österreich zu gehen. Einfach mal zum Ausprobieren und schauen was passiert, wenn wir ins Ausland gehen würden. Patent Ochsner hat es probiert, aber sonst macht es fast niemand.
Man muss es ja nicht immer verstehen. Tokio Hotel und die Toten Hosen spielen auch Konzerte auf der ganzen Welt.
DJ Arts: Ja genau. Wenn wir ehrlich sind, 90 % der Leute die Musik, vor allem auch Rap, auf Englisch konsumieren, verstehen den Text auch nicht und es funktioniert trotzdem.
Eure Live-Shows sind speziell und immer voller Energie. Bemerkt ihr Unterschiede des Publikums zwischen den Kantonen?
Dabu: Es gibt tatsächlich Unterschiede, die man spürt. Es ist aber heikel, wenn wir gleich mit dem Klischee anfangen. Wir hatten lange das Gefühl, dass die Bündner ein anstrengendes Publikum sind, weil sie viel reden. Aber das ist doch nicht überall der Fall. Wir haben auch immer gehört, dass es eine Weile braucht bis die Walliser mitmachen, aber bei uns waren sie schon nach 2 Minuten dabei.
DJ Arts: Volltrunken von der Bar heruntergefallen!
Es ist halt auch je nach Band unterschiedlich.
DJ Arts: Ja schon. Aber es ist schon lustig, wenn wir immer Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag in meistens gleich grossen Venues auftreten, das gleiche Programm spielen, die gleiche Band dabei haben, dann ist es zweimal komplett anders. Das ist schon extrem spannend. Es sind z.T. nur so kleine Mikrosachen wie man einen Gig empfindet, und ohne das wäre es glaube ich sehr langweilig! Wenn du nur noch so riesig spielst – stadionmässig – dann bekommst du nichts mehr mit vom Publikum und das stelle ich mir komisch vor. Weil so spielst du 2 Jahre lang und es ist jedesmal das gleiche. Da bin ich froh, ist das bei uns nicht so.
Dabu: Letzten Freitag haben wir im Bierhübeli gespielt und da war viel Liebe. Das habe ich gespürt auf der Bühne. Es war so warm und irgendwie ein umarmendes Gefühl. Lustigerweise haben wir dies öfters in Bern, z.B. in der Mühle oder auf dem Gurten. Irgendwie ist im Moment ein guter Vibe da.
Ihr habt verschiedene Einflüsse in eurer Musik. Wer sind eure Vorbilder, die euch inspirieren?
Dabu: Das ändert natürlich im Monatetakt. Man hört dies den Alben auch an. Beim Drinks-Album war die österreichische Band Bilderbuch sehr wichtig. Wenn man genau hinhört, merkt man den Einfluss. Insgesamt ist mein Musikgeschmack sehr breit gefächert, auch viel Black Music.
DJ Arts: Alles soulige, funkige und wenn es nicht gerade eine plumpe Melodie hat, dann finden wir das geil – ob es jetzt Hip Hop, Rock oder Pop ist.
2016 habt ihr ein Konzert gegeben mit nur Übersetzungen der Fanta 4 Songs. Hat die Band euch ein Feedback dazu gegeben?
DJ Arts: So halb.
Dabu: Es war eine sehr erfreuliche Geschichte, weil uns dies viel Spass gemacht hat. Wir haben sie auch vorher getroffen und sie haben uns gesagt, wir seien eine gute Live-Band. Der Wermutstropfen an dieser ganzen Geschichte ist, dass wir von Ihnen eigentlich nie ein richtiges, ernsthaftes Feedback bekommen haben. Via Seven haben sie ausrichten lassen, wir haben es gehört und dass sie es cool finden. Wenn eine Band unsere Lieder auf Maori interpretiert, dann würde ich schon genau hinhören und ihnen schreiben: „Ey, ist geil!“ oder auch wenn es uns nicht gefällt.
DJ Arts: Andererseits hat Thomas D eine Videobotschaft geschickt, die wir auch gezeigt haben. Sie waren schon committed, aber sie haben glaube ich einfach viel zu tun.
Ich war vor kurzem auf Korfu und habe einen eurer Drinks-Kleber gesehen.
DJ Arts: Hmmm…
Also habt ihr Fans auf der ganzen Welt oder war es sogar einer von euch?
DJ Arts: Ja, vielleicht.
Dabu: Meine Challenge ist immer, ob irgendein Mensch die Kleber sieht, die ich auf der ganzen Welt verteile. In Korfu war es tatsächlich ich. Das finde ich jetzt sehr geil. Ich war in Tel Aviv, habe ca. 5 Kleber verteilt und jemand hat dies auch gesehen. Ich bin fast durchgedreht und jetzt hat es jemand auch in Korfu gesehen. Da waren es auch nicht mehr wie 5!
Ja, ich fand es auch lustig. Ich bin vom Markt Richtung Hauptshoppingmeile geschlendert und plötzlich habe ich den Kleber gesehen. Natürlich habe ich ein Foto gemacht. Ich musste wirklich schmunzeln.
Die nächste Frage habt ihr eigentlich schon beantwortet. Ihr würdet gerne nach Deutschland und Österreich expandieren.
DJ Arts: Ja, sowieso! Das wäre geil.
Dabu: Wir sind sowieso eine Band, die immer Neues ausprobieren möchte und sich möglichst nicht wiederholen will. Das war schon immer so. Wir haben noch nie gesagt: „Komm wir gehen ins Ausland und spielen wieder die kleinen Festivals!“
Oder nach Korfu 🙂
Dabu: Ja, oder nach Korfu. Wobei, da hat es sicher viele Deutsche und Schweizer, die uns verstehen würden. Wir würden gerne irgendwohin, wo wir noch nie waren und ausprobieren, was dort passiert. Vielleicht zerstört uns dies, weil wir nach 10 Shows merken, es interessiert sich niemand für uns oder vielleicht ist es auch so, dass sie doch etwas verstehen und sie es lustig finden. Wir müssen das mal ausprobieren.
Die letzte Frage: Was muss passieren, dass ihr sagen könnt, ihr habt es mit der Musik geschafft, oder ist dies schon passiert und was war dieser Zeitpunkt?
DJ Arts: Ich glaube, das darfst du im Leben nie sagen. Klar haben wir mittlerweile einen Erfolg, den nicht viele Bands haben und das ist geil. Ich habe es geschafft heisst für mich immer es geht bis hier und nicht weiter. Unser Ziel ist es einfach, dass es immer weitergeht, und dass es, wenn möglich, nicht wieder abwärts geht. Ob du es dann wirklich geschafft hast mit deiner Musik zeigt sich, wenn du nicht mehr auf dieser Welt bist.
Dabu: Bei mir sind es kleine Sachen: Letztes Wochenende der Platinaward für „Angelina“, und zu hören, in welchen exklusiven Kreis wir aufgenommen worden sind, dann haben wir es schon irgendwie geschafft.
DJ Arts: Ja, das ist schon mega geil!
Dabu: Aber gleichzeitig denke ich morgens, wenn ich aufstehe: „Yes, wir haben es geschafft“. Aber am Mittag, denke ich schon: „Shit, ich muss etwas Neues machen!“. Es geht bei uns immer weiter.
Als allerletztes habe ich noch eine Leserfrage von meiner treuen Leserin Anna. Was ist euer Lieblingsdessert?
Dabu: Wie geil, über Essen reden wir gerne. Lieblingsdessert, hmm? Ich bin recht ein Süsser. Ich finde, fast alles geil. Ich esse sehr viel „Schoggi“ oder so ein richtiges frisches gut gemachtes Panna cotta.
DJ Arts: Ein geiler „Schoggi“-Kuchen mit flüssigem Kern und Rahm und Krokant oben drauf.
Super! Danke vielmals. Das wärs.
Dabu: Danke dir!
Before the brilliant concert at the Baloise Session on Friday night I’ve met Dabu and DJ Arts from Dabu Fanstastic for a short interview.
You’ve played a gig at Seebad Enge in 2015 and I was there.
DJ Arts: Oh yeah, you were there?!
Yes, it was really cool!
Dabu: He had a good night.
DJ Arts: Yeah, I had a all-time-high that night and I don’t know why.
It was a very special location and tonight at the Baloise Session as well. So what’s your most special venue you’ve played in or you want to play in?
Dabu: There are so many little festivals in Switzerland for which we are almost too big now. But the people there always make a huge effort. Those gigs are always great. There are also bigger venues we’d like to play in such as the Volkshaus in Zurich.
DJ Arts: I would love to play in the west of Switzerland, e.g. Paléo Festival. Or we’d love to go to the Italian Part of Switzerland (Ticino). They wouldn’t understand much but we would try to say something which would be a challenge for us too. I’d really like that because at the moment it’s still a black area for us. If you sing in Swiss German it is quite difficult.
Dabu: It is a dream for us to go to Germany or Austria. Just to try and see what happens if we’d go abroad. Patent Ochsner tried it but no-one else does it.
You don’t always have to understand it. Tokio Hotel or die Toten Hosen play concerts all over the world.
DJ Arts: Exactly. To be honest 90% of the people who listen to English music, especially rap, don’t understand the lyrics and it still works out great.
Your live shows are always special and full of energy. Do you see differences between the cantons (regions) of Switzerland?
Dabu: In fact there are differences you can feel on stage. It’s a bit tricky if we start with the cliché. For a long time we felt like the people from Graubünden are exhausting because they talk a lot. But then we found out that it wasn’t always the case. We also heard that the people from Wallis are taking their time to go crazy but for us it has only taken us 2 mins.
DJ Arts: Drunk and falling off the bar!
Every band is different.
DJ Arts: Yeah. But it’s really funny to see that even if we play the exact same on Thursday, Friday, Saturday with the same band in similar type of venues it is still not the same. That is extremely interesting. It’s the little things that make a gig different to the one before but without it, it would be incredibly boring. If you only play the big venues – stadiums – then you don’t get to feel the audience and that I think it’s very weird. Because then you play 2 years and every time it feels exactly the same. That’s why I am glad it is different for us.
Dabu: Last Friday we played the Bierhübeli (in Berne) and there was a lot of love. I felt it on stage. It was very hot and just an embracing feeling. Funny enough we always have this at our gigs in Berne, e.g. in the Mühle oder the Gurten. There is a very good vibe there.
You have different influences in your music. Who is your idol which is inspires you?
Dabu: That changes on a monthly basis. You will hear that in each record. The Austrian band Bilderbuch was super important for the Drinks record. If you listen carefully you can hear their influence. Generally our range is quite big but we also love black music.
DJ Arts: We dig the soul funky stuff and all songs that have a good melody. It doesn’t matter if it’s hip hop, rock or pop.
In 2016 you’ve played a gig with only Fanta 4 songs translated into Swiss German. Did the band give you any feedback?
DJ Arts: More or less.
Dabu: It was generally speaking a good thing because we had a lot of fun. We met them beforehand and they told us that we are a good live band. The only fly in the ointment was that we never really got a serious feedback from them. Through Seven (Swiss musician) they told us that they’ve heard it and that they liked it. But when a band translates our songs into Maori then I would listen carefully and write them: “Hey, awesome!” or we didn’t like it.
DJ Arts: On the other hand Thomas D sent us a video message which we were showing at the gig. They were committed so I just think they have a lot on their plates.
I went to corfu recently and I saw one of your Drinks stickers.
DJ Arts: Hmmm…
So you have fans all over the world or was it one of you two?
DJ Arts: Yes, maybe.
Dabu: My challenge is if anyone sees the stickers which I scattered around the world. The Corfu sticker was in fact me. That is so cool right now. I was in Tel Aviv and put up around 5 stickers and someone saw them and went nuts! And now you saw the one in Corfu! I didn’t put up more than 5 there either!
It was also funny for me. I walked down from the market to the shopping main street and then suddenly I saw your sticker. Obviously I took a picture. I had to laugh.
The next question you actually already answered. You would like to go to Germany and Austria.
DJ Arts: Yes! That’d be great!
Dabu: We’re a band who wants to try new things and we don’t want to repeat ourselves. It was always like that. We’ve never said: “Let’s go abroad and play all the small Festivals!”
Or you could go to Corfu! 🙂
Dabu: Yeah, to Corfu. I bet there are a lot of Swiss or Germans who could understand us. We would love to go somewhere where we have never been and see what happens there. Maybe it will destroy us because we realise after 10 shows that they don’t care about us or we see that they understand us and love us. We just have to try.
Last question: What needs to happen that you would say “Yup I made it with my music!” or has it already happened and what was that point?
DJ Arts: I think that you can’t say that ever in life. Of course we are quite successfull and a lot of bands will never be and that’s quite cool. But making it means to me that you can go that far and no further. Our goal is to always go further and hopefully never down hill. And if you really made it is for the people to decide when we are not on this earth anymore.
Dabu: For me it’s more the little things: Last weekend we got a platinum record for “Angelina” and to hear in what an exclusive circle we got in is a little bit like saying we made it.
DJ Arts: Yeah, that was awesome!
Dabu: But at the same time when I wake up in the morning I’m like “Yes, we made it!” and then at lunch time I go “Shit I have to do something new!”. It always goes on and on.
Last but not least I have a question from a loyal reader Anna. What’s your favourite dessert?
Dabu: How cool to talk about food! Favourite dessert, hmm? I’ve got a sweet tooth. I love almost anything sweet. I eat a lot of chocolate or a really well made fresh Panna cotta.
DJ Arts: An awesome chocolate cake with a melted core and whipped cream and brittle on top.
Brilliant! Thank you. That’s it.
Dabu: Thank you!
The Coronas – one of Ireland’s finest
I’ve met the Coronas a few times after the show but never officially for an interview. So I kinda knew what to expect and I was super excited for them to answer my questions. When I arrived they were still sound-checking. To me it sounded great already and they proved it later. Read more about the gig here.
Right after I met Danny backstage for the interview. Dave seemed famished so I let him off the hook and talked with Danny who promised to know Dave’s answers too! 🙂 So let’s see about that:
You’ve been around for quite some time and played a lot of venues. So what would be your favourite or most special venue you’ve played in or want to play in?
Danny: If I could pick anywhere I would love to play in Madison Square Garden in New York because that’s like a historic huge venue. I went to a Basketball game there when I was really young and it’s just amazing. It’s in the centre of New York but I don’t why it always stood out to me. That would be cool to get to that stage.
But we’ve been very lucky to play in some amazing venues. In London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire which is a great venue. At home the 3E Arena which is unreal. Just this summer we had this big outdoor gig in Kilmaine which was amazing as well. Our favourite place is a small theatre in Dublin and the Marquee in Cork. West Cork is lovely we always have great shows down there there. We’re lucky that we always have great gigs. But we love travelling and playing small venues like these too. Sometimes a big venue doesn’t necessarily mean a good gig. We’ve had some shows on this tour that we’ve all been buzzin after even though they were only 100/200 people at the gig and we have to say to each other that was amazing. The night we played in Hamburg and Freiburg the night after and we’ve never played there before and it was a big venue and we didn’t know if people would be there. It was a really good crowd, they were brilliant! It’s also refreshing to see on this tour so far in Germany it was all locals coming to see us and hopefully tonight in Switzerland too as opposed to Irish. It always is a bit of both but in Germany there were a lot more locals so I think that’s cool for a change. It’s nice to see us making some ground with the locals. So hopefully it’ll be the same here.
I hope so too. You are really good. I’ve been to a few shows and I don’t know why you haven’t gotten much bigger yet.
We’re lucky that we are big in Ireland. There are so many bands who don’t make it. We’re still trying and making baby steps forward. As long as we get to travel and play our music. That’s all we want.
As a fan I noticed quite a few differences in the fan culture depending on which country you’re in. Do you notice it as well and what are the differences?
In Ireland the crowds are much louder and they are up for a party and they are noisy, dancing and sing along. They go crazy. Whereas here in Europe in general but also in Switzerland they listen. They know their music and they are bit more laid back. It’s cool I love the different crowds. Every country is different. In Australia they go a bit crazy. The UK is sort of inbetween. We played in some crazy places in Asia for example in Japan it was so quiet. You could literally hear a pin drop no matter how many people are there. It’s amazing. They have that respect. So it’s different in every country but we love it all.
You just released a new album called “Trust The Wire”. Who were/are your musical influences?
We influenced by everything, by music or people influence us: relationships, friendships. Everything influences us. Surroundings too. We wrote this album in Dingle, County Kerry, which is in the Southwest corner of Ireland and it’s beautiful. We locked ourselves away and it was beautiful scenery and very quiet and atmospheric. That made a difference to the album as well.
Musical influences I would say the National are big that we love. Bon Iver, James Vincent McMorrow, Bell X1, Glen Hansard loads of different musical influences personally and I’m sure the guys are different as well.
What would Dave say?
What does Dave like. Ohh I don’t know you’ll have to ask him. No he likes James Vincent McMorrow and those bands as well. That answer works for both of us.
What is your way to connect to fans?
We always make an effort to say hello to people who come see us in these venues. It’s nice to be able to do that because at the big shows back home it’s too big to go out and meet people and get that reaction off people. It’s nice to know what they liked about the show or if they’ve seen us before. We like that. We’re quite active but we are trying to be even more active on social media. It’s a great way to stay in contact with people in Twitter and Instagram etc. It’s so important these days and makes a difference. Especially now that we are on tour. It’s nice to put up shots of the tour so people at home can see what we are doing and when we are at home people here can see. It’s a way to keep in contact.
Yes, the Marquee gig I saw.
I have to ask since I am a huge The Script Fan too. How did the cooperation between you two start?
We’ve met them on a TV show long long time ago in Ireland. They were about to release “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and we just released “Heroes or Ghosts”. We sang both our songs and we met and got along really well. So the guys just said do you want to come on tour with us? And we were like yeah that would be amazing. So we went on tour in Ireland and all around Europe and it was so much fun! I’m saying to Glen you have to get us back again.
Oh yes, I support that!
And he keeps saying yeah we’ll do it sometime. Great guys, great band and so much fun. We learned a lot from them.
You are visiting Switzerland quite ofter – lucky for me – what do you like most about Switzerland?
Yes, we’ve been here a few times. It’s beautiful but unfortunately we haven’t had that much time off. Every time we’re here we are doing promo and the gig – just in and out. So lots of stuff going on. The lake and the scenery is beautiful. There’s some green and some water. It reminds me of Ireland in many ways. The people as well. Friendly people. We love it here. Every time we come we’ve gotten a great response. It’s cool to see different cities. The people here are maybe a bit warmer, friendlier or outgoing than in Germany but I suppose every city is different.
Now last question is actually about your country. I will be visiting Ireland next year for The Script gig in Dublin. What’s your favourite place or what would you recommend to do?
If you’re going to Dublin for the show I’d say if you go down to Dun Laoghaire, which is on the south side coast of Dublin and maybe 20 minutes from the city centre by bus, with a lovely pier and beach area. It’s really nice with little ice cream places and cool coffee shops and nice vibe. I love Dublin city maybe just walk around there if it’s nice weather – fingers crossed. When are you going?
It’ll probably terrible and freezing! The Storehouse is good, some good pubs in Temple Bar. Do the touristy things, they’re fun! Hope you enjoy it! I might go to that show myself if I’m around.
See you there then!
Nina, thank you very much, is that okay?
Yes, sure! Thank you very much!! 🙂
Tobey Lucas brings the Nashville Spirit to Switzerland
Tobey Lucas is a Swiss musician and has been around for quite sometime. Kekoas Korner’s Country Music Week gave me the opportunity to interview him. I’ve met him in his studio full of instruments. So let’s start:
You’ve played at Moon and Stars and the Seebad Enge – these venues are quite special. So what would be your favourite or most special venue you played or want to play in?
Tobey Lucas: Already played in is Seebad Enge. It was wonderful and very magical. It was one of the first hot summer days in May. It was packed. In fact there were so many people on that raft that it nearly sank. It was awesome. The sunset was wonderful. It was the perfect concert. Another nice one was Jazz Festival Montreux 2015 where we also played on a stage outside called „Music in the Park“. The atmosphere was kinda similar and absolutely beautiful. We also performed with the biggest „Tobey Lucas“ band ever. 7 people normally we play with 4 or 5. Just awesome.
A venue I’d like to play in. Once I went to see John Mayer in Los Angeles in the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Today Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre) and that’s a venue I’d like to play in. It’s a big dream of mine it will probably never happen though. Or maybe generally to play in an Amphitheatre.
I’ve just seen P!nk in an amphitheatre-like venue in Berlin called Waldbühne.
I don’t know it but I’m in! 🙂
Country Music is not very big in Switzerland. How come you started to play Country Music?
Well, I don’t really play traditional Country. Especially my new album will be really rocky but it has certain elements of country music and american music. It sounds very american. But it’s not about that actually. I commemorate the Nashville style so it’s not particularly Country like Johnny Cash. The „Nashville Spirit“ that what I like. It’s basically just about playing music – spontineously. So in a bar or club the musicians gather around and play together. Maybe they played together before or maybe they didn’t. What they all share is the love for music and they’re completely devoted to music. That’s the Nashville style. There are no DJ’s there because they don’t need it. Everyone carries a guitar and you play the famous songs by yourself so you don’t have to listen to a record. This is something that I commemorate and that I want to bring to Switzerland and that’s what my music is about: To play songs with a band. No electronic instruments just handmade music. That’s what makes it country or rocky but my range is very broad.
Which artists were/are your musical influences?
Quite a few. Eagles influenced my a lot. I adore them and I listened to them when I was a child. Aerosmith inspired me. It’s the attitude that I like – it’s incredibly infectious. Ryan Adams inspired me a lot too. I have a few songs of his in my repertoire which I turned into my own versions. I also like to listen to Metal or the 80’s music. It’s a mix. When you listen to my music especially the new record then you really hear the different influences.
So we’re really excited to hear the new stuff! When is it coming out?
I will release a single in Mid-October. The album will be release next year. I am taking my time with it. There might be another single coming before the album.
As you’ve heard Kekoas Korner is in a Country Music Week right now, who is most favourite country music artist at the moment?
I love to listen to Lindsay Ell at the moment.
Oh wow. I’ve seen her as a support act a few years ago! Lovely person.
Last question: I don’t know if it’s already happened but what needs to happen for you that you would say „Yup, I made it with my music!“?
Quite difficult. I think I already made it. The most important thing that you can reach is freedom and I am free. I can play the music that I want, I can play the concerts that I want, I can write the song the way I want it and I don’t have to adapt to anyone. I haven’t signed anything and I’m completely free and that’s the way it always will be. That’s the Nashville Spirit. I’ve reached a place where I wanted to be and I am happy but it’s a journey. Life is always a journey and music too. I’m excited for the new release of the single and the album next year where it will take me and what concerts I will play. Concerts are most important to me. The other things are not that important to me so when I can play good concerts I’m stoked.
Sounds brilliant. That was it. Thank you for the interview!
Unfortunately I somehow managed to have never seen him live which is a big regret of mine. I always see the concert dates and it never suits my busy concert schedule. But let me tell you guys this needs to change! After this amazing interview and the way he talks about concerts I will deffo make sure to see him live next year. Stay tuned to Kekoas Korner or follow Tobey Lucas’ music journey to get all the updates!
Get his old records on Cede.ch!
This is only the start of the KARAVANN journey
KARAVANN are two Swiss musicians Tobias and Fabian who found the perfect voice in Ryan Sanders from Australia. They’ve released their first album Desert Tunes in 2016. I’ve listened to it quite a bit and it is incredible how diverse the songs are. You’ve got the classic ballad but also funky and up-tempo ones. I want to highlight a few songs which impressed me a lot. First of all the first single I listened to and how I got to know KARAVANN „Gimme Love“. It is a beautiful soulful ballad which will be stuck in your head all day (in a good way :-)) „Funk with you“ and „Feel Free“ are the perfect car songs. They make you happy and they are super catchy so you will be drumming your fingers against the steering wheel. The last song I want to point out is „Carry Your Universe“. It is a huge song – to me it is a so-called stadium anthem where the song echoes through the whole venue and people can sing a long to. I can only imagine how this will give people goosebumps! I won’t be telling you more about the album so you have to go and listen to it yourself. Believe me it’s well worth it! Click here to get the record from all major music stores.
As you might have noticed I unfortunately haven’t been able to see them live at Gurtenfestival because I had to work. Luckily they made a superb video of their performance which they shared on YouTube.
On a Sunday afternoon they took the time to meet me and answer a few questions which you can read right here. (There is a German translation at the end of this article).
You’ve played the Waldbühne at Gurtenfestival and you’re just back from a gig in Schmerikon. So what would be your favourite or most special venue you want to play in?
Fabian: I would say we both have different views on this or actually no, probably the same. I attended a lot of concerts at Hallenstadion and I always said: One day I want to play on this stage. It’s funny when you get to a place where you watch concerts e.g. Rockfest Schmerikon or the Gurtenfestival and then you are actually standing on that stage. That is a highlight each time, when you reach that certain step. There is not a biggest but just another step in the right direction. I always say that you shouldn’t dream small that’s why no venue is too big for us. I can be here or abroad.
Tobias: So we go for Central Park, Madison Square Garden and Rock am Ring.
I read a bit about your founding story but it doesn’t say how you two met and came up with the idea of KARAVANN?
Tobias: Fabian and I went to school together and in High School we were in the same class which is now a long time ago – 14 years. Back then his Mom had the idea that he should start a band which he did. First they had 4 people who were in the same class and they were looking for a singer. So basically I just invited myself to be their singer and that’s how we started to write our own songs together. At the beginning they were probably mediocre but we knew at some point that they had potential and so we stuck to our dream until today when over 10 years later it finally pays off. Fabian remembers me as someone who always forgot his gym bag.
Fabian: Yeah, that’s my first memory of him and when we went to high school together I recognized him because of that. From then on it got better. (Both are laughing)
Tobias: My first memory of him was when we had to do a project and he put a lot of effort into it and then someone threw it onto the floor where I stepped on it but it wasn’t my fault at all. You got super angry.
Fabian ironically: And with this guy I am making music!
Tobias ironically: Yes and me even more so! I didn’t do anything wrong!
Fabian: So we do have childhood memories which go way back and by chance it grew to an intense and ambitious working relationship with music. Tobi found his love to music very late when he joined our band. I grew up with music and got my first keyboard when I was 3 years old. It’s quite funny how certain decisions or ideas change your whole life. Who knows what would have happened if we didn’t had the idea of KARAVANN back then.
With time the idea grew. We met knew people. People came and went but him and me we are the core of the band. We created songs which had potential and then went looking for studios like Hitmill and then we met Ryan. Through pure chance and some luck and hard work everything fell into place.
Speaking of which: You’ve travelled the world quite a bit to find a singer like Ryan Sanders. What made you pick him?
Tobias: We pre-produced the songs in the studio and sang ourselves on our demos. We thought that the songs had potential but an exceptional voice was missing. So we went looking mainly through the internet and asked people and we were negotiating and we got a lot of different versions of our songs where people from LA, UK or Sweden recorded them. And Australia too. One of our producers was down there at the time and invited Ryan into the studio and he sang our first single „Carry your Universe“. The next morning we listened to it and just thought: „Holy Cow! What is that?!“
Fabian: I remember it quite well. I was driving home from the airport and listened to the song. I had to pull over because it was so awesome. Your own song with such a voice! The word „international“ immediately came up in my head. It’s a native speaker who sings your song that brilliantly. I played the song to my room mate who was always critical of our voices and I told him listen to this. He said is that Onerepublic or who is it? That was the moment when I knew that we had to try this with that idea.
Tobias: That exact recording from Australia actually made it onto the album.
That’s how I discovered you. His voice impressed me a lot.
Fabian: A lot of people who listen to us on the radio don’t know that we are Swiss. The attention is immediately bigger if you know that. We have to get people with that because here it is very rare that you find a singer who speaks proper English and can sing like that. This is what sets us apart from others in my opinion.
You’ve released an album and you’ve been touring a few festival this summer. What comes next?
Fabian: We haven’t finished the whole tour. We’re playing in Rapperswil at the Stadtfest (19th August, 11.30pm, stage 3), Stars in Town in Schaffhausen (8th & 9th August, 9.15pm, New Talent Stage) and we finish in Uster at SLM Musik & Sport Festival (2nd September ,6.45 pm). There will be something coming in autumn but we cannot tell you this right now since it is still top secret. There will be a few shows where we can play in late fall and we are very much looking forward to it!
Tobias: New songs will be coming your way too! We’ve been working on them for a while.
I noticed that one of your favourite bands The Script liked your post. Who are your musical influences?
Tobias: Of course The Script. Funny enough we just played a song „I’m Yours“ together the other days which is off their debut record. They were a part of our journey for a while. Linkin Park made us turn to play music at the start. Coldplay and Onerepublic are stylistically very close to us. We have both different preferences. I like Singer/Songwriters like Matt Corby, Andreas Moe and Nick Drake. Fabian like Daft Punk and some others.
Fabian: I like listening to soundtracks. Hans Zimmer and John Williams. They inspire me a lot and I get new ideas because of them. But yes of course the usual suspects who are stylistically close to our music as well and they inspire me too like Imagine Dragons who I’ve just seen at the Gurtenfestival. They flash me every time. We gather influences everywhere – Like The Script. They were one of the first bands who I’ve seen live. That concert at Volkshaus touched me a lot and is still one of my highlights with Gary Go as a support.
The Script always got superb supporting acts!
Fabian: Actually they shouldn’t just like us but also ask us.
Tobias: Maybe that’s how they wanted to ask us.
You should ask them! I keep my fingers crossed for you.
Last Question: What needs to happen that you would say „Yup I made it with my music!“?
Tobias: I already live off our music and for a lot of people that’s already the point where they can say I made it. But it depends on how much you need to live. When we made it to the point where also Fabian can say I live off our music then we have made it. (Laughing)
Fabian: This is where we differentiate a little. He’s more the All-in guy. I’m more of the „Bünzli-Schwiizer“ (Babbitt) type and he is a Dane, and Nordish people are usually more open and risk more. Both has its advantages and disadvantages. I appreciate the way he is. But I appreciate my way too and that’s how we complement each other. Music means everything to me and you see that when I’m on stage – we give everything. My boss always says if worked the way I make music I’d be the boss of the company.
So you are still working.
Yes, I am working. I personally have to. I think it would be possible but I don’t want to be under that pressure. Tobi is correct when that moment comes where we both can say we live off music then we have made it and that’s the goal we are working on. Of course there is a bit of a risk but that’s part of it. For that we make music and we are not at the end of our journey. Our caravan goes on. I am sure that we will make it because we are doing it for way too long to give up now.
Thank you for this brilliant interview!
Sounds good? Get more info about KARAVANN on their homepage or on their social media accounts.
Or see them live:
8. & 9. August 2017 Stars in Town
19. August 2017 Stadtfest Rapperswil
2. September 2017 SLM Musik & Sport Festival
More shows to be announced!
Interview in German / Interview in Deutsch:
Ihr habt auf der Waldbühne am Gurtenfestival gespielt und gestern in Schmerikon. Was wäre für euch die speziellste Bühne, auf der ihr spielen wollt?
Fabian: Ich würde sagen, da haben wir beide verschiedene Vorstellungen oder nein, wahrscheinlich die gleichen. Ich war schon oft im Hallenstadion und habe natürlich immer gesagt: Eines Tages darf ich auf dieser Bühne stehen. Es ist auch immer lustig, man kommt an einen Ort an dem man selber gerne Konzerte schaut wie z.B. das Rockfest oder das Gurtenfestival, und dann steht man plötzlich auf dieser Bühne. Das ist jedes Mal ein Highlight, wenn man so einen Step erreicht hat. Es gibt nicht das Grösste sondern einfach ein nächster Schritt. Ich sage immer, sich erwünschen oder träumen sollte man nie zu klein, deshalb gibt es für mich kein zu grosses Venue. Es kann hier oder auch im Ausland sein.
Tobias: In dem Fall Central Park, Madison Square Garden und Rock am Ring.
Ich habe ein bisschen über eure Gründung gelesen. Nirgends wird genau beschrieben, wie ihr euch getroffen habt und wie ihr auf die Idee für KARAVANN gekommen seid?
Tobias: Fabian und ich sind zusammen in die Schule, ab der Oberstufe sogar in die gleiche Klasse, und das ist inzwischen schon sehr lange her – 14 Jahre. Seine Mutter hatte damals die Idee, dass er eine Band gründen solle und dies hat er auch gemacht. Zuerst waren es 4 Personen, die alle in der gleichen Klasse waren, und sie suchten noch einen Sänger. Dazu habe ich mich mehr oder weniger selber eingeladen, das zu übernehmen, und so haben wir zusammen angefangen und starteten früh mit eigenen Songs. Am Anfang vielleicht mittelmässig, aber irgendwann wussten wir, es hat Potenzial und hielten an dem Traum fest bis heute, wo es über 10 Jahre später langsam anfängt Früchte zu tragen. Fabian hat mich in Erinnerung als jemand der gerne das Sportzeug vergisst.
Fabian: Ja, das ist meine erste Erinnerung an ihn, und als wir zusammen in die Oberstufe kamen, erkannte ich ihn durch das wieder. Da wurde es dann aber besser. (Beide lachen)
Tobias: Das erste, an das ich mich erinnern kann, war, als wir eine Arbeit machen mussten und du dir besonders viel Mühe gegeben hast. Jemand schmiss deine Arbeit auf den Boden und ich konnte überhaupt nichts dafür, als ich darauf stand. Du bist total wütend geworden.
Fabian ironisch: Mit dem mache ich noch Musik!
Tobias ironisch: Ja und ich erst! Ich habe überhaupt nichts gemacht!
Fabian: Wir haben also durchaus Kindheitserinnerungen, die weit zurückgehen und durch einen Zufall entwickelte sich die intensive und ehrgeizige Zusammenarbeit mit Musik. Tobi hat erst spät die Liebe zur Musik erkannt, als er bei uns in die Band einstieg. Ich bin schon früh mit Musik aufgewachsen und bekam mit 3 mein erstes Keyboard. Es ist eigentlich sehr lustig, dass gewisse Entscheidungen bzw. Ideen dein ganzes Leben verändern können. Ich finde dies schon philosophisch. Jetzt ist er hier und lebt von der Musik. Wer weiss, was passiert wäre, wenn wir die Idee von KARAVANN nicht gehabt hätten.
Mit der Zeit hat sich diese Idee weiterentwickelt. Wir lernten neue Leute kennen. Leute sind gekommen und gegangen, aber er und ich sind der harte Kern. Wir schufen Songs, die Potenzial hatten und suchten dann Studios wie die Hitmill. Dann lernten wir Ryan kennen. Durch Zufälle und Glück und harter Arbeit hat sich dies dann ergeben.
Da wir gerade davon reden, ihr habt die Welt bereist, um einen Sänger wie Ryan Sander zu finden. Was hat euch bewogen, ihn auszuwählen?
Tobias: Wir produzierten die Songs im Studio vor und sangen auf den Demos selber. Wir fanden, dass die Songs Potenzial hatten, aber es fehlte noch eine aussergewöhnliche Stimme. Wir gingen auf die Suche vor allem im Internet, fragten Leute an, führten Verhandlungen und bekamen viele verschiedene Versionen unserer Songs, die Leute in LA, UK oder Schweden aufgenommen haben. Eben auch in Australien. Einer unserer Produzenten war gerade in Australien und lud Ryan ins Studio ein. Er sang unsere erste Single „Carry Your Universe“ ein. Am nächsten Morgen haben wir dies angehört und dachten nur: „Holy Cow! Was ist denn das?“
Fabian: Ich weiss es noch ganze genau. Ich fuhr vom Flughafen nach Hause und hörte mir den Song an. Ich musste anhalten, es war einfach so krass. Dein eigener Song mit so einer Stimme! Das Wort „International“ hat sich mir im Kopf gleich festgesetzt. Es war ein Native-Speaker, der deinen Song fantastisch sang. Ich spielte das Lied meinem Mitbewohner vor, der immer kritisch war und unsere Stimmen nicht so perfekt fand, und ich sagte ihm, hör dir jetzt das an. Er meinte, ist das jetzt Onerepublic oder wer ist das? Das war der Moment als ich wusste, dass wir es mit dieser Idee probieren müssen.
Tobias: Die Aufnahme von Australien ist jetzt auch auf dem Album drauf.
So habe ich euch auch entdeckt. Seine Stimme hat mich total beeindruckt.
Fabian: Viele Leute wissen gar nicht, wenn sie uns im Radio hören, dass wir Schweizer sind. Die Aufmerksamkeit ist sofort grösser, wenn man dies weiss. Damit müssen wir die Leute abholen, weil es hier sehr selten ist, dass man einen Sänger mit gutem Englisch hat, der zudem noch toll singen kann. Dies unterscheidet uns von anderen meiner Meinung nach.
Ihr habt ein Album rausgebracht und ihr seid auf Sommer-Tournee. Was kommt als nächstes?
Fabian: Ein Teil der Sommertour ist ja noch offen. Wir spielen in Rapperswil am Stadtfest (19. August, 23.30 Uhr, Bühne 3) und am Stars in Town in Schaffhausen (8.&9. August, 21.15 Uhr, New Talent Stage). In Uster am SLM Musik & Sport Festival (2. September, 18.45 Uhr) ist der Abschluss der Sommertour. Im Herbst gibt es auch noch etwas, das aber noch nicht publiziert werden darf. Es gibt noch ein paar Shows, die wir spielen dürfen im Spätherbst und wir freuen uns enorm!
Tobias: Neue Songs sind auch unterwegs! Seit einer Weile sind wir bereits wieder am Arbeiten an neuen Songs.
Mir ist aufgefallen, dass The Script eine eurer Lieblingsbands euren Post geliked hat. Welches sind eure Einflüsse in eurer Musik?
Tobias: Sicher auch The Script. Lustigerweise haben wir gerade kürzlich ein Lied „I’m Yours“ zusammen gespielt, das von ihrem Debutalbum ist. Sie haben uns schon seit längerem begleitet. Linkin Park bewog uns am Anfang, Musik zu spielen. Coldplay und Onerepublic sind stilistisch gesehen bei uns. Wir haben auch beide unterschiedliche Vorlieben. Ich mag Singer/Songwriters wie Matt Corby, Andreas Moe und Nick Drake. Fabian mag Daft Punk und einige Andere.
Fabian: Ich höre gerne Filmmusik. Hans Zimmer und John Williams. Sie inspirieren mich sehr und bringen mich auf neue Ideen. Aber ja, natürlich auch die üblichen Verdächtigen, die unserem Stil nahe sind und uns inspirieren, wie z.B. Imagine Dragons, die wir auf dem Gurten gesehen haben. Sie flashen mich jedesmal extrem. Wir sammeln überall Einflüsse. Eben auch bei The Script. Sie waren eine meiner ersten Bands, die ich live gesehen habe. Das Konzert im Volkshaus hat mich extrem berührt und gehört zu meinen absoluten Highlights mit Gary Go als Vorgruppe.
The Script haben immer tolle Vorgruppen!
Fabian: Eigentlich sollten sie uns nicht nur liken, sondern auch fragen.
Tobias: Vielleicht wollten sie uns das damit sagen.
Fragt sie doch an! Ich drücke euch die Daumen.
Nun die letzte Frage: Was muss passieren, dass ihr sagt: „Wir haben es geschafft mit unserer Musik!“?
Tobias: Ich lebe ja schon von der Musik, und das ist für viele schon der Moment, bei dem sie sagen, sie haben es geschafft. Es kommt halt immer darauf an, wie viel man braucht zum Leben. Wenn wir soweit sind, dass auch Fabian sagen kann, ich lebe von der Musik, dann haben wirs geschafft. (Lacht)
Fabian: Da unterscheiden wir uns ein bisschen. Er ist mehr All-in. Ich bin mehr der „Bünzli-Schwiizer“ und er ist Däne. Nordländer sind offener und gehen Risiken ein. Es hat beides Vor- und Nachteile. Ich schätze es sehr, dass er so ist. Ich schätze aber auch meine Art und so ergänzen wir uns super. Musik bedeutet mir alles und man sieht dies auch, wenn wir auf der Bühne stehen, dass wir alles geben. Mein Arbeitsgeber sagt, wenn ich so arbeiten würde wie ich Musik mache, wäre ich schon längstens Chef der Firma.
Du arbeitest in dem Fall noch nebenbei.
Ja, ich arbeite noch nebenbei. Ich persönlich muss auch. Ich denke, es wäre schon möglich, aber ich kann diesen Stress noch nicht mit mir vereinbaren. Tobi sagt es schon richtig, wenn der Moment eintritt, dass wir beide mit gutem Gewissen von der Musik leben können, dann haben wir es geschafft und das ist das Ziel, an dem wir arbeiten. Natürlich gehört ein gewisses Risiko dazu. Für das machen wir Musik, und wir sind noch nicht am Ende unserer Reise. Es geht mit der Karawane noch weiter. Ich bin mir sicher, dass wir es schaffen, weil wir machen schon zu lange zusammen Musik, als dass wir jetzt noch aufgeben werden.
Danke euch für dieses tolle Interview!
One evening with Jessiquoi
I approached Jessie through Instagram and she was very open to my interview request. She invited me to her show in the Kontiki bar in Zurich. She is a super nice woman who knows what she wants when it comes to music.
I thought I was there for just the interview but then I was able to stay throughout her show. Believe me you have to see it. It’s incredible! I didn’t know what I was in for because I missed her set at the Gurtenfestival. So when she started it blew me away. It is so asian and so special I cannot describe it. I stood next to an asian guy who danced to it and I’ve never seen an asian guy move like that. It was a brilliant experience.
Jessiquoi transforms into this energetic figure who produces unique songs with her loop pedal and her laptop and this special guitar with lights. It is the perfect club music and people there loved it.
Before her a little over an hour set we sat down for the interview you can read below:
You’ve played the Waldbühne at Gurtenfestival and you’re playing Zurich Openair on Wednesday, 23rd August. So what would be your favourite or most special venue you want to play in?
It’s my big dream to go on tour in Asia. There is a club, which I discovered when I was in Shanghai once so I think my favourite venue would be a shanghainese late night club.
Your music is super special. How did you come up with the idea to use a loop pedal and have some Asian influences as well?
The looping came to me through an artist that I follow. Her name is Kawehi. She is a completely DIY looping artist and she lives in Kansas, US. Se is completely unsigned and lives with her husband and dogs in a farmhouse and she completely built her career on posting looping videos on YouTube. A lot of the set up that I have today came from her. She’s really cool and she gives advice to people. She posted a photo of her set up and that’s how I figured out how I wanted to make my own set up.
The asian stuff comes from a friend in China when I first moved to Switzerland I was learning German and she introduced me to Chinese pop music. It’s totally kitschy and it’s close to K-pop (Korean Popular Music). For some reason I really liked it and we started singing chinese pop songs. Later, she invited me to China and I went there and was totally captivated by the sounds in Chinese pop music. They also use traditional instruments. That’s where the influence came from.
Do you speak Chinese?
I speak a little bit of Chinese but not as well as I’d like to. But I can do the basics.
Wow, that’s really good!
As you just said you basically moved halfway across the earth when you were 15. How did that happen?
I’m actually half Swiss. I grew up in Australia, my Mother is Austrialian and my father is Swiss from Bern. I grew up speaking English at home and my parents decided to move to Switzerland when I was 15 for financial reasons. My parents both got great jobs here and that was it. The funny thing is that they live back in Australia now and I’m still here. I didn’t like it at first but I didn’t start making music until I moved to Switzerland so lot’s of good things came out of it.
You’ve toured quite a few festivals this summer but you haven’t released an album yet. Is that something you have on the agenda as the next step?
I am working on my album. The thing is that I’m unsigned – still – I have had a meeting with a couple of Bern based labels but I decided not to sign yet because I prefer to be with an international label. So I’m just going to keep working on my album and start sending it out. I’m looking to secure a release date for 2018. So there will definitely be another single by the end of this year. I always release my music on all the major platforms and also band camp.
I’ve heard of band camp before but never checked it out.
You’ve never heard of band camp? It’s really great! There are artists who put their music on band camp exclusively and build a following. I’ve heard of a guy who funded his kids’ entire college education by selling his music on band camp. Band camp is a lot fairer to the artists. The artists get most of the revenue so it’s a really good thing. I personally put my music on everything but there are artists who just put their music on band camp and they do quite well with it. So it’s definitely worth looking at.
Last Question. What needs to happen that you would say „Yup I made it with my music!“?
Oh, that is a good question. Right now I can’t live from my music. I’m still working in bars etc. I don’t like the idea of being super super famous and not be able to sit in a restaurant just like that without being approached by people. That would be a horrible way to live. I would really love to have a steady following who are the exchange that I have with the public. That is like a growing and on-going exchange which also becomes a part of the music and then I would also like to pay my bills. That would be pretty much „made it“ for me.
That’s a good answer. Thank you very much for the interview.
Later she reveiled to me that she would also like to produce the soundtrack of a Zelda game since she is a huge fan of that game series.
I think she is a great artists with a bright future ahead of her and I wish her all the best and I hope one day she can say “Yup I made it”! 🙂
Have I made you curious about her? Then please check her out and click on the links below.
20.08.2017 Les Digitales Festival, La Chaux-de-Fonds
23.08.2017 Zurich Openair
02.09.2017 Les Digitales Festival, Bern
18.11.2017 Queen Kong Club, Neuchâtel
Naturally 7 have agreed to give me my first interview for this blog. I am so grateful to them and I was really excited to meet Roger Thomas, musical director, and his brother Warren, drums.
Yesterday’s venue was quite special. What was your most special venue you’ve ever played in?
Roger: This is a hard question. Things are special for different reasons. About six years ago we played Montreux for Quincy Jones’ 75th Birthday. What made this one special was that we were scheduled to sing only one song. All the people on the show were his friends, Legends Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin. He didn’t know who we were. We were there because of Claude Nobs. During the performance of Wall of Sound Quincy got up and you could see he was so excited “Who are these guys?” and right after we finished he came on stage wanted to know who we were and where we came from and how do we do what we do and we became friends from that point on. So I think that was a nice day.
Warren: Yeah, that was really special. Places that we performed that were special are of course Madison Square Garden because that’s home. It is always special to play there because it’s a legendary place. In London the Royal Albert Hall and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. When people ask us around the world where are some of the better places you performed we always say Zurich and I’m not just saying that because that’s where we are now. But anytime we played like Kaufleuten or Club x-tra there is always a good energy – as you know. We get that in other places too but it’s always consistent in Zurich. It’s one of those places when you see it on the tour calendar that you look forward to.
Really? Usually Swiss people are quite reserved.
Roger: That’s what they tell us. But for us – we’ve never seen that.
Yes, your show is special for example yesterday it’s quite a posh place and you rocked it. So people we’re like hold on who are they?
Roger: Yes, because they don’t know us. For us it’s always fun to play a show like yesterday where the majority of the people are probably not that familiar with us. It cost a lot of money so maybe they don’t respond the way Zurich usually does but that’s never the case.
So you do realise on stage when people are mesmerised by you when they see you for the first time?
Roger: That’s our goal when they hear us for the first time. That’s why we played with Michael Bublé. We knew that people did not come because of us and didn’t know what to expect – some guys who sing prior to Michael. Our job is not just to warm up the crowd but take you away as fans. So you say I like those guys and I want to see them after the show.
That’s what happened to me. I knew you but I didn’t know how good you are live and every time you come here now I go see you.
Roger: And we appreciate that. So from stage we do realise that people turn their heads sideways and go what exactly is going on and by the end of the 2nd/3rd song they go like “I like them”. We try to make sure that we give the best performance we can possibly give.
One guy next to us was exactly like that!
Warren: For someone like you who’s seen us you say to people like that wait till you see them. So the same thing that you do is what we do. We know that people do that as well.
You changed your formation quite a bit over time. How did you manage to stay a unity on stage?
Roger: Well five of us are still the same so really it was the two positions that changed twice. So three people have sung the bass and the guitar. So the fact that the base is still the same keeps that same sound. But it’s hard to find a bass or any position and do what we do. So we feel blessed that we found the right people all the time.
So to me it’s quite special because the bass does sound more or less the same every time I see you guys even though the people changed.
Roger: We knew Kelz from before. We all come from a church back ground where we know different singers. But everybody can’t do it. To be honest if we loose a member we first are afraid because you will always loose something. It’s not like you are having a bass or guitar player and when the new guy comes he just plays the same thing. Even then it’s not exactly the same but with singing even more so. Nobody sings exactly the same. And of course his personality is important. We all live together and I spend as much time with the group as I do with my real family – if not more. So we feel truly blessed that the 7 guys you see on stage really get along. We are like a family so we have our ups and downs and fight about this or that but most of the time everything is very good.
Us fans we do realise this on stage.
Roger: Yes, you can see it. It’s hard to hide. People try to hide those things on stage but you can see it. We really like each other.
Warren: Also the outgoing members. They didn’t leave in a fight. They left because of family reasons. We still talk to them, they are still our friends, we still see them from time to time. They live in the same community as we do. So we understand if they leave because they want to spend more time with their family. If we are in town we tell them to come to our show or we call on them – which has happened before – that our old members filled in for the new ones. We still have a good relationship.
That is great! So I’ve read a few things how you founded the group but how did you come up with this special idea to play instruments with your voices?
Roger: We started in church and sang harmonies together. How do you make yourself different from the next group. Warren and I are brothers and our father was very instrumental. When we were watching Marvin Gaye he taught us what made him different or Michael Jackson – this is what makes him different. So as a group we were looking to do something different. You know because we are from the Bronx, New York, Queens all these different sections. We like hip hop. Let’s combine the things we like beat boxing that type of thing with R&B, Gospel and Pop. All the things we know and then Jazz too. It’s the Bobby McFerrin’s of the world and Jazz that imitates instruments. What if we bring all those things together. It’s no different than a chef. A chef brings all those things together and you taste something for the first time. Really is it something new? No it’s not. New as in they made something up and in bringing things together that you haven’t tasted together before.
Warren: They add a little mint to the steak. Never had mint to a steak and then you go: Oh that actually works.
Very good comparison.
Roger: So this is what we did. We brought these things together over the years and once we found out Warren can do the drums we can build a foundation – we realised we need a bass. Don’t just sing words we need instruments. Little by little we evolved. We can all be part of this band and imitate instruments. So that became the goal to this point where can we walk on stage and somebody has never ever seen us before goes: “Ohhh” *Surprising sound*. We sound like a band and that’s the goal. Like you saw last night I don’t know how many hundreds of people have never seen us before but how long does it take for them to go like this.
Warren: Towards the end of the show you want them to actually forget that we are doing it all with our voices. We want to enjoy themselves because we are almost competing with a real band that’s there. They figured out what we are doing, sounds great, now can they just enjoy the music.
Roger: When we sing Englishmen in New York we want them to just enjoy the song. We’ve already established that we’re a band and now enjoy the song. We feel like we’ve accomplished this and it’s taken time and we are going out of our way to make it look easy because that looks good.
Warren: It takes time and hard work and talented people and voices. If you compete with the sounds of a band you need to make sure that the person who’s mixing it can make that come across.
Thank you for doing this interview. I am so very grateful.