Interview: Falling Knees

Falling Knees - Photo courtesy of Falling Knees

Falling Knees - Photo courtesy of Falling Knees

Not unlike many new bands these days, the members of Falling Knees struggled at the outset to find a name.

“We looked like 20 names up on and there was always like a Californian hardcore band already having that name,” drummer Robert Hillebrand said with a laugh.

Singer and other founding member Sven Lüder agreed.

“It was kind of depressing to find a name and lasted very long,” he said.

Yet once the two settled on Falling Knees, they still had a long way to go. This is because although Falling Knees is a relatively new band, Lüder and Hillebrand initially had the idea to start a band together long before. However, over time, the concept of it changed, and the project was restructured multiple times. In fact, it wasn’t until this past September that the current lineup of the two – plus Nils Schäfer on synthesizer and Lukas Boehnke on bass – was complete.

One unique aspect of Falling Knees is its instrumentation. While the band considers the music it plays to be indie, somewhere along the lines of the National or Interpol, there are no guitars present in the recordings.

“To ignore the electronic guitar was part of the plan,” Lüder said. “I don’t know if that’s actually to be heard on the songs, that there are not guitars on there.”

That said, it makes sense that the creative process begins on a computer.

“It usually starts…with [Hillebrand] inventing some idea on his laptop that every member can change by his own instrumental knowledge,” Lüder explained.

Then, the songs are flushed out as a band, until they become complete, which includes Lüder writing lyrics to fit.

“He’s not playing any instruments so he really can just focus on the lyrics and the lines,” Hillebrand said.

“I usually just have one idea of words or probably a line that I would like to sing, and then wait for my own intuition or a moment of great intensity or something,” Lüder said. “When I listen to the song in the rehearsal room, when I am introduced to it at first…then [I] just wait and wait for it to come.”

As for the lyrics, the debate over German or English lyrics happened early on.

“We had a democratic decision about it,” Lüder said, citing that Hillebrand and the former bassist wanted the words to be entirely in English.

Initially, he admitted he wasn’t certain about it, having wanted to sing a little in both, but eventually realized that for this particular project, it was probably the best decision.

“The English language is quite better arranged to write lyrics, I would say,” Lüder said.

It also keeps the band at a distance from critical listeners, because, according to Hillebrand, German audiences tend to pay less attention if the words are in English.

“We can understand it,” he said. “But we don’t have to listen to it that close like with German lyrics…so we have a distance.”

Falling Knees plays tonight at Dazzle Danzclub in Berlin. The show begins at 21.00.

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