Kadavar are a trio from Berlin comprised of members Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann, Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup, and Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt. The band has released two full length records, 2012’s S/T LP and their most recent, Abra Kadavar, on Nuclear Blast Records. Our friend Ryan Muldoon at Revolt of the Apes has compiled a list of 10 questions for Kadavar in anticipation of their APF 2014 performance.
Are all three members of Kadavar from Germany originally? How would you characterize your adolescence in Germany? How much or perhaps, how little do you that think where you grew up influenced not only your interest in music but in the type of music you¹ve come to play in Kadavar?
T: Our bass player is from France, but Lupus and me are German. My adolescence… I think I grew up pretty late. On the one hand my mother had a record collection which could have been the reason, but espescially within the last years my interest for older rock strongly developped and become an inspiration not only music and soundwise, but also from the production side. When I listen to music I love when I can hear the musicians character – the way they play their instruments. But aside from the Beatles and a few other acts, my mothers music wasn’t my growing up soundtrack. I listened to punk and hardcore music. I come from a small town in western Germany where you could go to shows and also play music. Everybody had a band when I was 14. You could express a lot with just a few chords. That was good to start. Even if I’d say I didn’t have a clue how to make music back then, this is an important part of my life as a musician.
We ask this in part to learn more about Kadavar, but also because Germany is one of only a few countries that can, by name alone, evoke a certain kind of sound, with what is commonly called ‘krautrock,’ or perhaps more pleasingly, ‘kosmische’ or even ‘Deutsche Elektronische Musik’. Was this type of music important to you in your personal musical evolution, even though Kadavar’s sound is much more riff-centric? Is there anything exciting or compelling to you about the current state of musical affairs in Germany?
T: Krautrock has definitely been important and influential for us as a band since the beginning. At one point you’ll come across that chapter of German music and it will soak you in if you are interested in history of music and sound. I think we are in a way looking for something cosmic in our music, but we choose very simple and straight ideas as basic elements of our music and play them in a real rock context. When we are just messing around in the studio, we are often sounding like an evil version of Neu! and Guru Guru. The repetetive elements in bands like them made me listening to beats in a different way for example. It can teach you to really dig deep into something entirely simple. And that’s something I am always looking for when we write songs. Elements that won’t get boring if you repeat them over and over, even if we don’t do it exactly like that in a finished song.
Germany’s music landscape is weird. Everything mainstream or successful is REALLY bad, I don’t even want to talk about it. At SXSW last year, the Germans just put some pictures of our fucking president on a flipchart in the exihibition hall to promote the music of our country because there probably just wasn’t anything better to show. But 90 % of the music consumers in Germany seem to want exactly that. The kind rock music relating more to psych art or krautrock is still there, or there again, but more as an underground phenomenon. Berlin is a good city for these genres and there’s a growing amount of bands. You know the Blue Angel Lounge probably as they’ve played Psych Fest, but also Mystical Communication Service or Suns of Thyme are Berlin based bands I follow with interest.
Can you think of any other genres of music or bands that you truly admire and enjoy, but whose doesn¹t really show up in the music of Kadavar? What is it about that music that makes you a fan? Is there a particular album whose appeal you did not understand until recently? What do you think accounts for this change in your mind?
T: I like most of Neil Young’s stuff, I like the last Daft Punk record, stuff like Jesus Lizard, just to name something that I feel is entirely different to Kadavar. There are so many ways how or for what reason you could like a piece of music. Sometimes I just think there’s a direct connection between the feelings expressed in the music and my feelings. Sometimes it’s just how the band plays together. Or you maybe just like that melody or the sound… I don’t know. If I get goose bumps it’s always a defnitive sign at least. I think there’s a lot of Rolling Stones stuff that I really like but didn’t understand so much before, since they’ve just been surrounding me for so long. You can here them everywhere, on the radio, in bars… My parents have been listening to them and I didn’t think it was bad music, I just didn’t realize how great some of their songs actually are, because I never listened to the records at home by myself. So it’s just a process I guess – try to let the known and obvious go and have a closer look what they were actually doing.
What can you tell us about how Kadavar came together? Did any of your ever play together in previous projects? What is the one unique element that each member brings to Kadavar’s sound as a whole? Was it important to you from the beginning to create Kadavar¹s music as a trio? Have you ever heard the early Norwegian death metal band named Cadavar, who in 1990 released the album “Hallucinating Anxiety”?
T: I have only heard about the Italian “Kadavar”, who existed in the last decade, but never of the Norwegian version. I was trying to listen to “Hallucinating Anxiety” right now, but my internet connecting is too slow. The band came to life in 2010 and we hadn’t known us long before. The current line-up came together after our first bass player announced he would leave the band last april. Simon, a friend from Paris and known to us because he played in our favorite french psychedlic band, “Aqua Nebula Oscillator”, used to be on the road with us and was already a part of the
band in some way. It was always the idea and important for me to be a trio and keep it like that. I like that everybody has a big role in order to get a good sound. And there is plenty of space for every character. Let me avoid to say boring stuff about how each of us is a special ingredient to the band – I think everybody is but I don’t want to invent a story around.
“Abra Kadavar” is absolutely one of our very favorite albums of the past year and beyond, a mammoth, unstoppable collection of not just amazingly heavy riffs, but memorable hooks as well as so much of the album is very ‘sing-along-able’. Was there anything you wanted to accomplish with this album, differently from your self-titled debut? What is the strangest thing you’ve heard someone say about “Abra Kadavar”?
T: Thanks for the nice words! I wanted the production to be more live and energetic and the songs more straight in your face. That was probably what I was trying to accomplish. My main concern production wise was getting the feeling right and playing the song with the best overall performance rather than having a look at the performance of for example only me as a drummer or just paying attention to how tight we were in a particular take. In the end it’s always good if you take a break from thinking here and there.
Though we’ve yet to experience Kadavar live, your songs have us believing that it could spawn an absolute whirlwind of moving and grooving. What reaction has been most surprising to you in the shows you’ve played thus far? In the States versus Europe? What would the ultimate Kadavar show look like for you if you had a magic wand?
T: After all those shows, I’ve seen a lot of funny things. Men over 70 years old screaming and dancing in ecstasy, little kids climbing on stage telling us to stop, people cutting electricity and trying to knock us off stage. People have also punched me because they liked it so much. But what’s the most surprising or strange thing if there’s no reaction at all. That happens from time to time. And then you are surprised because it doesn’t necessarily mean you suck, people will come to you and tell you how they enjoyed it! The ultimate Kadavar show is easy to describe: We nail it from first to last second and people go crazy.
What music have you been listening to lately? Any recommendations for us from Germany or beyond? If push comes to shove, what¹s your favorite song by Pentagram and why?
T: I listened to Electric Wizard a lot the last weeks. I’ll probably see them again at Hellfest and they are amazing live. Check out UV Glaze from Germany, they are amazing, too. If I had to pick one song of Pentagram… Be Forwarned. Because the dark vibe is great, I love how guitar and vocal sound. Espescially how the song starts and develops in the first minute.
How did you first hear of Austin Psych Fest? Are there any bands in particular that you are hoping to see while there?
T: I don’t remember. Probably some years someone asked me if I had seen this AMAZING line up at Austin Psych Fest… This year, bands I’d definitely like to check out would be Night Beats, Golden Animals, Sleepy Sun and Temples.
Author Diane Setterfield who we believe used to play drums for Pentagram once wrote the following, “People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.”
T: Speaking of exceptions, I would say in whatever people create, a part of them lives on. Be it a book, a song or whatever… I haven’t read a book in a long time, but I feel there’s also a lot of personality in a good record.
What’s next for Kadavar?
We had some holidays in January and we started preparing for our upcoming tour across North America. Between March and May, we will play over 30 shows to promote our current record. We will also take time in Austin to write new songs and rehearse some old ones to put on the setlist. After the American tour, we’ll play shows in Europe across summer and fall and who knows, maybe we will come over another time later in the year. If all goes well, we can go back to the studio by the end of the year.
Catch Kadavar at APF 2014 May 2 – 4. Tickets and camping passes are available for purchase HERE.