Interview: 206

206 - Photo by M8S

206 - Photo by M8S

The origins of modern-day 206 date back two or three years ago, although singer and guitarist Timm Völker – who is the only original member – was involved with the project earlier than that.

“This band was [in existence] before the last two years but it wasn’t the same kind of music,” he explained. “It developed.”

The current lineup includes bassist Leif Ziemann and drummer Florian Funke, both of whom appear on the band’s debut album, “Republik der Heiserkeit,” which was released in February of 2011 on ZickZack Schallplatten. Currently, the band is in the midst of its second tour in support of the album.

In addition to playing a set with songs from the first album, 206 will also be playing a handful of new songs, in order to test the live audience reaction to the music.

“We think that it’s very important to check out new songs in front of people,” Völker said. “Because sometimes, when you are just rehearsing them and writing them, you are in some kind of cage where you…forget the world outside. And so it’s really interesting when you perform them in front of people. Sometimes there are reactions that you didn’t [expect].”

Although the new songs might show up on the next album, Völker shared that they still have to evolve naturally on their own.

“There are some songs on the way but I think they’re only in the first [stage] of their [lives], so they have to grow up,” he said.

This attitude and organic approach to the music is something inherent in the 206 songwriting. Particularly, Völker insisted that the band members are not preoccupied with the idea of writing the perfect song, instead focusing on what comes about naturally.

“I’m writing songs in a very fast way,” Völker shared. “They get reborn again and again, and so the song in the end is sometimes different than in the start.”

And while it’s true that the tendency for many bands is to feel external pressure between freshman and sophomore releases, the members of 206 feel that pressure, but admit that it’s self-induced. Keeping that in mind, they let the sound of the songs transpire without much force or effort.

“The song is the song and I am not the master of the song because the song develops itself,” Völker said. “It comes from somewhere and I just note it down and then it’s there.”

Worth mentioning is the fact that 206 pens its lyrics in German, a point which musicians across Germany tend to be divided on. But for Völker, the reasoning is really quite simple.

“I think I sing in German ’cause it’s my language that I’m talking and thinking in,” he said.

While this does open the band up to criticism from fans, who pay more attention to the lyrics when they’re in German as opposed to English, Völker acknowledged the art in finding a way to make the words meld with the music.

“I think you can also write German lyrics that work together with the music and don’t push the music down in some kind of way,” he explained.

As far as the bigger picture is concerned, Völker shared that playing in a band has its tough moments from time to time.

“Everyday and everywhere there are so [many] things that want to drag you out of your way,” he said, citing making a living and dealing with criticism from people who claim that being a musician isn’t a career choice.

But in spite of the negatives, he said that he is generally hopeful about what 2012 will bring for 206.

“Sometimes it’s very hard [to keep] some kind of vision,” he said. “But I think it’s very important to have your own vision and position in the world.”

206 plays tonight at Comet Club in Berlin. The show begins at 19.00.

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