interview: NOTWIST

Just one year after their latest studio album “Close To The Glass”, The Notwist have recently published an instrumental “music library” album titled “The Messier Objects”. Here’s Marcus Acher talking about the latest release and giving his point of view on the independent musical scene of these days.

You have now a quite long perspective on the German music scene: do you feel any difference between nowadays and the times you started playing music?
At the time we started, we were mainly a part of our own local scene, and didn’t have much contact to other German bands, actually. Later there were bands like Mouse on Mars, to Rococo Rot or Tarwater, that we met frequently, and that had a big impact on what we were doing. I think the times, when these bands started mixing electronics with live- playing was a very vital and creative period. But I don’t see big differences…. sadly money became an issue for everyone in music now…. but that’s everywhere in the world.

Notwist had (and currently have) many side projects: do you feel there is something you can do in other projects that you can’t do in the band? And how side projects relate with the band and have an influence in its production?
I tend to see every band I play in as its own thing and not so much as a side-project of another one, and so they all have their very special language, idea and chemistry. It’s good and important, to not squeeze every idea into one band. Sometimes, when you work in the studio a lot and construct the songs on the computer, it can become really liberating to play live in an acoustic band without any electronics and the other way round. And although we try to focus on the differences of the different bands more, there’s always sounds and techniques, you learn, that you will carry into the next project.

Generally speaking, how does the creative process behind an album works?
We start to compose separately, and then we meet and work on the song, start to play and record, and also compose songs together in the studio. And then most of the time, it’s a long way, until we’ve found the right form for every song.

Over six years separate “Neon Golden” and “The Devil, You + Me” and other six “The Devil, You + Me” and “Close To The Glass”: is making an album as a band always a matter of time? Can you tell any difference between these two nearly equal periods of hiatus?
That was not intentional. You can maybe say, we toured for 2 years after the record was released, then there was 2 years, when we worked on other things ( other bands, music for films and theater…) and then we went into the studio for 2 years ( with breaks). But we always want to be faster!

The Messier Objects” is an organic and (mostly) instrumental thing: you’re not new to this, as it already happened with projects like “Absolute Giganten” and “Storm” but how much are you interested in associating music and other forms of art, especially movies?
Very interested. I can talk for myself in this question, but at least half of my inspiration for my music comes out of art and films and books. Many lyrics, I see as short movies, many songs as pictures, and I relate them to artists or writers, I love. And the work on music for film and theater gave us the opportunity to realize different ideas apart from the classical song- structure.

You often crossed boundaries between different genres and definitions, for what they can mean, but is there something you feel that can truly represent your approach to music?
At the moment, I would say “The Messier Objects” represent best, what I like to achieve in music. Something vibrant and diverse, where you can go anywhere anytime. And the song ” they follow us”.

In your different musical wanderings as a band, you never lost a connection with songwriting, melodies and (somehow) pop music, which – imho – proves that experimentation and “pop” can co-exist: what’s your position about this, related to the music you’ve released?
I think, it was less a concept, but more the love for both… that’s what we are now…. too strange for ” real” popmusic, and too melody- oriented for ” real” experimental music. We just can’t do it different….

Apart from all the projects which band members are already involved in, are there other artists you’d fancy working with?
There’s so many people I’d like to work with….. And there’s alread y a few plans, but It would be bad if I write it now…. Nothing’s really fixed….

What current records have you been enjoying the most last year?
Last year I enjoyed records by Virginia Wing, Death + Vanilla, Dean Blunt, Jam Money, Fennesz, and many reissues and compilation like Ennio Morricone- soundtracks ( or with his ensemble), the Clean -Anthology, LPs from Sublime Frequencies and Numero, and many wonderful Free-Jazz- records from Peter Brötzmann and others.

What do you think about the way music spreads nowadays through the web?
I love, how music spreads in the internet!

What more can we expect from you in the close future and what else do you expect from music?
I just hope, we can still live from making music as long as possible….

(full English version of the interview published on Rockerilla issue no. 414, February 2015 – Italian version)


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