When you don’t know the Eastern German city Leipzig you might not know a bunch of things. For instance that it buzzes with new musical gems like no other. Where a cagillion bands arise that are genius, entertaining and fresh. They say that Leipzig is the new Berlin, and the sizzeling pop starlets Here Is Why prove it. Starlit dancefloor drenched in sweating sound – that’s what they call themselves; and rightly so! I interviewed Michael (lead singer) and Markus (drums) in their very own kitchen, after we had seen them live at the Berlin Introducing Show with Arte Live Web. Their show included some 80s disco dancing vibes and reminded us in which direction pop music of 2013 should go. Happy reading!
PDC: Your performance at the Introducing Show sounded as if you would transport Human League, Depeche Mode or New Order into the 21 century with a bang. What inspired you to your sound?
Michael: The 80s played an important role for us when recording our album HRSY. Not necessarily those bands, but there is quite a bit 80s in it. What counts for us though is the Zeitgeist of that decade. Currently, we are developing our sound further.
PDC: Besides your current (amazing!) album HRSY you also did a remix album called HRSY Perspectives. That one transfers your pop tunes to the club for sure. How did it come about?
Markus: Through a bunch of friends, contacts, old acquaintances. We have quite a few other projects that happen in the club. We asked for remixes, but people would also ask us. So we decided to make a whole album out of it.
PDC: Michael: Besides your role at Here Is Why, people know you under the moniker Good Guy Mikesh and sometimes even Leipzig’s Timberlake. How do you balance all these projects?
Michael: Well, that was quite some time ago with Leipzig’s Timberlake. Everything happens at different times. Sometimes I am on tour with Here Is Why or at the studio, then we work on a remix or a production with Good Guy Mikesh & Filburt. Those projects enrichen each other and influence each other of course. Since we are out and about in the Disco and House scene, we connect with interesting people such as Kasper Bjørke, the guys over at Permanent Vacation or Daniel Bortz for instance. Or the people at the Keinemusik label from Berlin.
PDC: How did the collaboration with the Danish producing god Kasper Bjørke came about?
Michael: At some point, Kasper sat in our kitchen, since Markus invited him for one of his events here in Leipzig. We spent an awesome evening together, so we had the idea that he could do a remix for us.
PDC: Tell us more about your own label Riotvan!
Markus: We started out as a Party collective and a booking agency. The thought of starting a label had been in our minds for a while back then, so it made perfect sense to put our first Here Is Why record out there as a debut for the label as well. And we are working very hard for it.
PDC: You are from Leipzig – and they say it is the new Berlin. How does the city influence your music?
Michael: Leipzig is more relaxed than Berlin. Others would maybe say boring, but I do not share that opinion. They are two different cities with different settings and conditions. In Leipzig, people are very close to each other. You are in the middle of the music scene, and at some point, you will meet everyone. Berlin is larger, more anonymous, and that makes up the difference for me. I love to visit Berlin, but in Leipzig I feel at home. It is way more likely, that you actually meet other people in Leipzig and work together. But Berlin is of course an amazing city with lots of possibilities.
PDC: So Leipzig is a new hub for music right now?
Michael: Right now, there are interesting things happening in the music scene over here. But not only in music, also our art scene develops to become more international.
PDC: How are producing conditions for young musicians?
Michael: Rent and living costs are relatively cheap in Leipzig. As a band here though, your issues are rather the expensive rehearsal spaces or studios. The city of Leipzig could support subcultures and unconventional projects more than right now. They do not recognize the potential of creative and subcultural movements yet.
PDC: Do you have band friends from Leipzig, that you could recommend?
Markus: For sure Deko Deko. You will hear more from them soon. Also we are good friends with Shandy Mandies, but there so much more, especially when it comes to electronic music. Like Phillip Matalla or Lake People, Panthera Krause, Webermichelson. There is so much happening in Leipzig right now.
PDC: What are you listening to at the moment, who is your favourite artist right now?
PDC: What are you up to next?
Michael: We are currently working on our new album with Here Is Why. We have a lot of songs already.
Markus: We have a bunch of things coming up and a lot of work to do. Our label is also progressing, we are working on a new live-set, an new video and a lot of things in the background. In 2013, we will have live gigs again.
PDC:One last question: What do you think about the typical Leipzig dialect?
Michael: Well the Leipzig dialect surrounds us everyday, and we speak it perfectly. If we want to.
PDC: Thanks so much for making the time guys!
Watch the whole sizzeling show of Here Is Why on Arte Live Web.