Interview: Fertig, Los!

Fertig, Los! - Photo courtesy of Fertig, Los!

Fertig, Los! - Photo courtesy of Fertig, Los!

Fertig, Los! is looking to strip things down and make them raw.

“When I listen to our second album, I think it could have been done a little bit more ‘dirty,'” singer and guitarist Philipp Leu said. “We got a lot of positive feedback on the album but there was always some kind of: ‘It doesn’t really transport the feeling you create on stage.’ That made me think. Maybe the next album will be more live-ish.”

The group (made up of Leu, bassist Julia Viechtl, drummer Florian Wille and touring guitarist Simon Schankula) was formed in the mid-2000s, releasing its first full-length, “Das Herz ist ein Sammler,” in 2007. It was followed up by 2010’s “Pläne für die Zukunft,” which is the group’s most current effort.

Since its release, the band has been writing with the next album in mind – something they hope to finish writing and begin producing sometime next year. Additionally, Fertig, Los! will debut a couple new songs for the crowds on its current tour, “Von Tür zu Tour,” in hopes of gauging how well they’re received by fans.

The process behind how those songs transpired is no different than in the past, with Leu writing the songs on his own, before presenting them to the rest of the band.

“Normally music and lyrics come up simultaneously,” he said. “Then I have to sit down and work on the idea in order to make it a song. When I’m done, I bring it to the rehearsal room where we do the arrangement together.”

This point, Leu said, is where the band fills in the blanks, working on the music together. And ultimately, he said that a song evolves because of one of the members taking ownership of it.

“We try to make democratic decisions about how a song ends up, but in the end it’s always someone in the band who claims dictatorship and pushes the song in one or another direction,” he said. “And it’s not always me!”

Although similar in musical nature, Leu said in addition to going for a less perfect approach, the lyrical content of the new songs has changed.

“I’m mostly inspired by the mess I’m in. If it was love-mess for the first two albums, it’s life-mess right now,” he said. “When I was going through my scribbles I was astonished about the amount of ‘what the hell should I do with my life?’ lyrics.”

While writing lyrics about these kinds of universal problems can be cathartic, some artists struggle with relating to them, especially when playing the same songs day-in and day-out. Leu said this isn’t so much an issue for him, sharing that he either reconnects with the emotions while playing the songs, or they allow themselves to be reinterpreted, time and time again.

“When I’m on stage and play songs from our first album, it transports me back into the time I wrote the song and I feel the happiness or sadness again [and] I hope that somehow this spills over to the audience,” he said. “The album is always a little bit more complicated, because there is a larger chain of people involved…and I think some aspects get lost on the way, and you get some distance from the song. But then again, this distance makes you see it from another perspective.”

But just as important as his own personal connection to the music, Leu said that his greatest reward is seeing the crowd connect to it as well.

“I don’t do it for the money. And if I did, I would be stupid, because it’s really not much,” he said. “I do it for the look on peoples’ faces, and for the 20 minutes after the show, when they hopefully come to the backstage door and tell us that we were great.”

Fertig, Los! plays tonight at Comet Club in Berlin. The show begins at 21.00.

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