When people think of music in Germany, they often think of Berlin. But there are plenty of other cities churning out good acts, and Hamburg, the country’s second-largest city and a mere 300 kilometers northwest of Berlin, has its own comparable scene.
“There’s lots of stuff to find,” said Fee R. Kürten, the singer of Hamburger band LADA. “But still there are very different levels and kinds of musicians. We come from the more arty part.”
Indeed, their connection to the art world is the reason they formed, as members Thomas Klein (drums), Carl-John Hoffmann (synth and guitar), and the aforementioned Kürten (synth and vocals) first met in Hamburg through their various connections in the art scene.
“[Kürten] and I were living next door [to one another, while] Hoffmann and I [met] some years ago being backup musicians in a musical project,” Klein explained. “We soon realized we had a similar approach to music and had fun working together.”
Since then, Kürten has moved to the artist living space and gallery Vorwerkstift, where the band now meets for rehearsal. Klein, meanwhile, lives just down the street.
“I slipped into that art scene thing hanging around with [Hoffmann and Kürten] and I’ve been finding it very inspiring,” he said. “All those people and works provide a more complete and universal atmosphere and perspective on life, art, and music. It’s not as limited as, e.g., defining oneself by hanging around in a certain genre of music scene, like the rock music scene or whatever.”
Now, in the short time the three have been a band, they have already released one album, Trouble Hat, which came out in August 2012.
“We made [it] pretty fast,” Kürten said.” We finished the songs after, I guess, six months. We recorded it in one day at Niedervolthoudini Studios. [Hoffmann] mixed and mastered it.”
Already, the band is working on its next release, which is slated to come out in early 2014.
“We are recording at the mo. This takes a little longer because we must insert some pauses in between sessions, ’cause of the release of my solo album in January. It contains lots of pre-work releasing an album, as you probably know,” Kürten shared. “[But] we already did a session at the studio again [and picked] the best songs of it.”
As for the songwriting process, the members try to approach the music organically and just see what comes out as a result.
“Almost every song on [the first] record came to being in a different way…a direct and pure consequence of us openly coming together to play music without a plan [of] how to sound or to write,” Klein said. “I really love that!”
And as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, the band has employed this same technique while forging ahead with new songs.
“Some are written before, some are improvised. Then I, for instance, just lately did the vocals over an improvised one. It’s crazy; it became a dramatically perfect song,” Kürten said, explaining the process with the new album. “We have different ways to finish and start up a song, but at some state of the song it is about improvising. Also sometimes [Klein] drops in an idea. His energy triggers [Hoffmann], who’s giving the riffs and logic, and I do the chaotic creative part. And sometimes it’s the other way around.”
In addition to playing in LADA, the members all have separate musical projects. Kürten has a solo project, Tellavision, Hoffmann plays in Katzenkönig, and Klein spends a lot of time contributing to various musical projects that need drummers.
Yet when the three are on stage together, there is a certain bond that is evident, something the members feel is necessary for playing.
“If we play together we gotta get into this special attention for each other,” Kürten said, noting that heart and soul are essential for the music-making process. “This is given if we have a good sound on stage, but also if we let ourselves fall into it.”
LADA plays tonight at Schokoladen in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00.