Taking the step as a band and getting completely away from to separate his label, to renounce to a Promo agency and to offer his new record only over the own Bandshop – in addition also as a free Download – is courageous. The post-hardcore band Heisskalt has ventured on exactly this venture and their third album “Idylle”, an unconventional, rough work that does not abandon the usually critical for the band’s world view, completely self-published and recorded. However, the new release strategy is not the only innovation in the band life of the meanwhile trio. We met two days after album release in Wiesbaden after the first show as a threesome constellation with singer Mathias Bloech and talked about the unfamiliar novel (live) situation, the reasons behind the decision now to act independently and the new record.
artquery.info: You have just played your very first show as a trio. How was the show for you?
Mathias: I just said that down in the backstage as well. That was exactly what I expected.
artquery.info: Did you have positive or negative expectations?
Mathias: Neither! Well, I expected that we would play bumpy in many places. Bumpier when we made it four of them, simply because we had to play other instruments and therefore had to re-learn some of the songs, in parallel we released our album ourselves and therefore did not get much rehearsals. In addition, we have a lot of new technology here, the instruments often change, which is also technically super demanding for our mixers and us. That was still very much undone today. I had to think about the songs all the time and we made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes they pull you down a bit.
I had the hope that people would pick us up again. That’s exactly what happened. That was nice. I found that today was a very nice togetherness. I felt like people were digging that a little bit, that they are on such an unsuccessful show. Actually, I always like to see unspeakable moments from artists I celebrate.
artquery.info: It definitely has not gone so badly that things went wrong. It seemed mature.
Mathias: That’s very nice, especially if you say that as a seasoned concertgoer.
artquery.info: The breaks and changes between the songs were perhaps the only which was a bit bumpy. But that’s something you can work on.
Mathias: Yes, we want to try tomorrow in Berlin to change the setlist again, so that there are not so many changes. Then a little more peace will come in.
artquery.info: That’s an interesting development in terms of live shows! You released your third album “Idyll” last week. You have completely renounced a label, distribution and a promo agency and offered the record for free download and purchase as a CD and vinyl in your shop. I would like to give you a few guesses on my part why you could have taken this step. You can always comment on that!
Point one would be that you have completely turned away from this industry because the internal structures that prevail in it are not at all good. An example would be, for example, gagging contracts.
Mathias: If two right-wing parties that want to work together have a very different size and mass – purely financially – that’s something that does not really work together. This leads to very funny decisions being made, which have very little to do with the respective reality of life of the other party.
That happened with us too. For our last records much more money was taken in hand than we could have ever found. Of course, we could not import that at all. So a sum between fifty and a hundred thousand euros, which then takes such a label that finances a record in the hand – how are we going to bring that back? That does not pay.
That’s why such a label has to get back a lot of involvement in other places, so that coal comes in. Say something from the merch, take what live, and so on. It’s always nice to say that you do it that way. One speaks always of the industry usual. That’s a very nice concept.
I wondered if you would not have to pay the coal, could not use for something much more explicit. Then you would not be dependent on these big corporations, to which somehow no real relationship exists. The label we were with did not finance the record, but it came from the Sony [Music Entertainment – one of the three big major labels]. So it is often done that the money at sub-labels quite anonymously comes from the big company.
This structure – here we come to the point – has, I think, very little to do with it, as artistic Work works. It’s incredibly inefficient, unpredictable, and it’s always getting bad and much less radical and meaningful as soon as you think about how it’s evaluated while you’re doing it. This can also be seen in the German music scene in many bands that are firmly anchored in these structures of the industry. This is often insanely trivial entertainment, which I just find difficult from a political point of view. With this you somehow get on the side of the currently prevailing movements. As a band, it’s also about being an opposition.
artquery.info: Is not it often the case that the label gives the artist a kind of credit, which he then has to bring back with album sales?
Mathias: Exactly, that’s a model. Since you get the plate almost financed first. There is then the term “recoupen”. With each sale, you “recoup” the record, so to speak, and only when a certain amount has been reached does the split work. This advance technique is even very common. Of course you can lure a band very well with that. For a band that’s cool too, of course, if you just get 25,000 euros, and then you can only live and make music for a while because you had jobs before. That can be cool in moments anyway. But then you have to play it somehow, because that usually gets very uncomfortable, because the contracts are not so relaxed.
It’s also common, for example, for the labels to decide after the first record, if a second one is done. Only the label then pulls this option or not. That shows how uncool these contracts are. Only the party that gives the money gets more decision-making power. That speaks for me, that I do not want to have anything to do with it. (laughs)
artquery.info: So we had a bit of the financial aspect that would be the next point on my list ticked off. You get more of the cake and just have more.
Mathias: The cake may be smaller now, we’ll find out. That’s just not a supermarket marble cake in plastic wrap, but rather homemade muffins that you bring birthday or something. Here we have to look, if we finally get happier. Making it happier and having a better relationship with your own work is such an assertion that we make – that you also feel more that the work you are doing makes a difference. Maybe that will make you feel less satisfied or simply get more from less, but suddenly it will be viable as a band.
We now had nearly 2,500 downloads and almost 400 pre-orders in the two days since Wednesday , That is very nice. But I can not even classify that because we did not do any promo phase or anything at all. This is definitely less than other plates we made. We see the release as a starting point to find our way. That’s why I think that will continue. Do you have to watch how it is going to be? I think that’s exciting.
artquery.info: The third point that I have here would be third-party influence on the arts.
Mathias: No, that was never really the case with us so that people wanted to tell us how to do things. The place where you depend, of course, but also something with a. It’s like when people say they’re going to be a cop but want to stay cool and change the place.
artquery.info: You grow in there.
Mathias: Exactly. That does not happen. If you’re a cop for
a while, then you’re in there. Then that’s your life. It was the same with us with this music business. We have always felt this contradiction quite strong. Moments of encouragement, of course, have also done something to us.
Likewise, in moments of rejection, one has to react to that other opinion, even though it may not tell you that something is not going to happen. You are constantly engaged in behaving in an opinion that you actually do not want to have so much to do. That robs a lot of energy. There’s a lot of communication about stuff that you would not even discuss as a band. It would be easy to do that.
So it says, for example, that a free download is not possible, because it is difficult to evaluate or anything. With all the ideas, that’s a lot of work, until you’ve summed up the wish you’ve got as a band for a compromise that somebody will snap through. Since you are already so frustrated that the relationship to this idea is already so damaged. That’s how you can imagine that. (laughs)
artquery.info: My last point would be: other reasons. Is there anything else I did not mention now?
Mathias: I definitely had a go on it. I think that was a lot of me too. It’s all about the work you do, always about finding out about life, about society and about structures. Where can you do that better than trying to free yourself up? That sounds so blatant now. Actually, we are just a band and play concerts and sell CDs. That’s not the space technology we do there. That’s why I believe that is possible and that makes us, especially in our thinking, freer. So that was just motivation to just want to do that.
We also talked to other people and tried to find a distributor. We just did not find one. They all said they did not get it over because of US contractors, or that if we wanted to do a streaming service, we would all have to take it. That’s just the way it is and it’s annoying.
artquery.info: Where other bands, like the Leonids or the Blackout Problems, have already gone that way, but both have a distribution.
Mathias: At the end of the day, we have a kind of distribution. We also have our little online shop. For example, I do not know if I have to work without sales now. We’ll find out now. Of course, the [note: a distribution] has advantages. For example, you are online in more playlists. There are so many exclusive collaborations that a particular streaming service presents your tour. I do not know yet how that is as a band that is not in distribution. If we can not call Spotify, if we figure out who to call, and ask if they can not even grab us in a few playlists.
artquery.info: I mean Spotify also has people who go to newcomer concerts and see if there’s anything else they can throw into their big lists.
Mathias : That may be. But I’m talking about a collaboration. You always need partners and partners with whom you can do stuff. You have to somehow support each other. Alone that is not possible. It’s more likely that you end up in twenty playlists for the release of one song. Of course that’s cool. At the same time that’s just a streaming service and joah … I do not know. Where do you draw the line as a band?
artquery.info: I also had quite a long time with music streaming. Meanwhile, I use Spotify a bit, but somehow still wants to own the music. At least I need the MP3 files.
Mathias: Yeah, funny. An MP3 is already own for me. I know them and know where they are and can also delete them if I like. Voll!
artquery.info: Resulting from the fact that you did everything on your own, also, that you shot and edited the music videos completely yourself?
Mathias: We got together during this whole Production never actually sat down and recorded exactly how we want to do everything. But we just said, we meet three of us in the studio and take everything in only three. That was also the attempt I wanted to try. Actually, we wanted to record the record also four, but our producer has misunderstood us somehow. (laughs) He told us after the set-up that he thought we’d make the rest of the three of them, like the last time.
artquery.info: Simon Jäger [Note: Has the last two plates with him the band worked] now?
Mathias: Exactly. Then I actually engineered the plate more or less. Luckily, that was good because I’ve been in the studio many times and there was a bit of home at the time. This has always evolved. We noticed that it all worked well in threes and therefore decided to make the music videos only in threes. Marius [Bornmann, drums], Philipp [cook, electric guitar and bass] and I have a very special artistic connection. We do not have to talk so much when we do something and can trust us, trust and give things up. We always only fight when it comes to organizational stuff. We were really in agreement with the whole production. That’s why they’ve always been so bad decisions. Then we suddenly had these phones on the stands and have these really great videos shot. I am really proud of the. They are really great! Super own!
artquery.info: You also shot several videos directly, right?
Mathias: Yes, yes. We shot five music videos in three days. I do not want to tell much more about that now either. After all, maybe when they are all out there. In any case, unspeakable things have happened in these three days.
It remains to be seen where the new independence of the band Heisskalt is heading. In the second part of our interview, however, Mathias tells us how the whole process ultimately affected the music of her new album and what we really wanted to do differently.
Here’s part 2 of the interview
Click here for part 3.
You can download the album here for free.
And that sounds like this:
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Heisskalt live 2018:
06.-07.07. – Happiness Festival
19.-22.07. – Deichbrand Festival
27.-29.07. – Eggs With Bacon Festival
27.-29.07. – Trebur Open Air
18.10. – Solothurn, Kofmehl (CH)
19.10. – St. Gallen, Grabenhalle (CH)
20.10. – Zurich, Bogen (CH)
30.11. – Bremen, slaughterhouse
01.12. – Münster, Sputnikhalle
02.12. – Erlangen, E-Werk
05.12. – Essen, Weststadthalle
06.12. – Kiel, The pump
07.12. – Jena, Kassablanca track 1
08.12. – Marburg, Cars
09.12. – Dresden, Beatpol
11.12. – Munich, Backstage
12.12. – Bielefeld, Forum
13.12. – Hannover, Music Center
14.12. – Freiburg, Jazzhaus
21.12. – Stuttgart, LKA Longhorn
Heisskalt live 2019:
14.02. – Leipzig, Werk2 (Tickets)
15.02. – Frankfurt, Sankt Peter (Tickets)
16.02. – Cologne, Live Music Hall (Tickets)
Photo by Ilkay Karakurt.
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