Interview: Of Vogue, Pretzels and Tanlines

Two days ago, I was very lucky to meet two amazingly nice fellows from Brooklyn. Namely those two everyone is talking about in the happy tropical world: Tanlines. Slightly smashed from an art party I went before I made no secret of my state of mind which broke the ice from the beginning. Jesse and Eric proved extremely laid-backness (thanks guys!) whilst returning to that party with me before their gig at Flamingo, enjoying a drink and taking in some art by Tom Sachs. Finally, we went to the cafe bar Sankt Oberholz to have a little chat about what goes on in Tanlines-land. Enjoy!

PDC: You’ve been in Vogue and Elle, how did that happen? Did that make you feel really awesome?

Tanlines: Well yeah, I don’t know, you don’t decide who wants to cover you. So apparently these magazines decided that we were perfect. I guess there are a lot of reasons, I mean obviously we have a publicist and that is part of their job finding people interesting in talking to us. We might be more attractive to those kinds of publications…Why do you think?

PDC: Because you look really cool and have awesome style?

Tanlines: We do, that’s the right answer! Even if it’s wrong it’s the right answer!

PDC: So, do you have any musicians you would like to be compared to? Or rather not?

Tanlines: There are definitely people we are compared to, and sometimes I do think that’s what we sound like. And that’s only because we share the same or a similar genre… I would love to be compared to some of my heroes and idols, but I think the problem is you probably cannot really hear that in our music.  So I cannot imagine that would happen.

PDC: So who are your heroes and idols?

Eric: Oh I never answer that.

PDC: Oh, not even like one?

Eric: Ok. Bob Dylan. But he is just one of a thousand! Eddie van Halen…

Jesse: I really like artists like David Byrne and Damon Albarn who manage to have really long entrepreneurial follow throughout you know. Damon Albarn has all these different projects, I just want to hear what he is up to do next. I just want to be compared to someone like that who can do whatever they want and people are following them. You have to put in a life time of work before you get all the people, but if I could decide right now it would be somebody like that. They are free to do what they want and people just wanna hear what it is. Does that make sense?

PDC: Yes! So do you have like a long term plan after this, or do you just go with the flow?

Tanlines: I do not think a person can really have a long term plan in the music business. I think that would be very hard to do. I think you can have a long term goal but it is very unpredictable. In my ideal world, I will be able to do this as long as I am physically  and emotionally able to. And also be able to have a comfortable life.

PDC: So why don’t you play festivals in Europe, I don’t believe that you’re not as big here as in the US…

Tanlines: Well we’re not.

PDC: I have seen a bunch of German music bloggers covering you, I will send you some links…

Tanlines: Yeah, please do! I mean we have been here 3 or 4 times since 2010. I know that it takes time, to build up an audience, and I think people know who we are. I think for whatever reason we just do better in the States.

PDC: So which festivals will you play in the US?

Tanlines: We are playing a few festivals this year, like Outside Lands,  also Metallica plays there, they are opening for us. Ok I’ve been using that joke a lot to see some reactions, the funny part is that they put them on the tropical stage

PDC: Naaaaaaaah!

Tanlines: Yep, they are headlining the tropical stage. I also think not everyone has been announced yet, but they are some very impressive bands if you live in the states. If you live here, you might not know what they are. But they’re all over California, Texas,  Kentucky – oh Kentucky, you could figure out which one that is! We are also playing in Miami…

PDC: Do you play in a lot of „tropical places“?

Tanlines: Well we get not really to decided where we play. We like what Chris Martin from Coldplay always says, we play wherever there are people who wanna hear us. And some places where they don’t. Like Hamburg. I prefer to go to places where people wanna hear us.

PDC: So did you have a bad experience in Hamburg?

Tanlines: I would not say that. We had a good experience. We played  there last night, it was one of the favorite parts of the tour. We played at the Nazi Command Base. It’s a former Nazi bunker or something.

PDC: Oh at Übel und Gefährlich! That’s a really nice venue no?

Tanlines: It’s pretty cool! We got to see the roof, we conquered that venue. We won a little piece of the war with this one.

PDC: So, last but not least, what would be your favorite question that you would like to get asked?

Tanlines: Maybe something about Pretzels, we eat them a lot. Also maybe the varieties about European bottled water, there are all the different kinds… But I will say that the Pretzels here are really good except for the ones that come in a red bag which they sell at gas stations. They are not good, they are too salty… Another question I would like to get asked is „What’s your favorite coffee?“

PDC: So, what is your favorite coffee?

Eric: Well, my favourite coffee ever is the first good coffee I ever had. It is from Washington D.C. and it is called Quartermaine Coffee. But they are out of business since they were competing with Starbucks when they started and clearly Starbucks won. The battle. Unfortunately.

PDC: So, what’s the next the next step after this, when you’re back in Brooklyn, are you gonna record a second album, are you gonna play shows…

Tanlines: I am looking forward to making some time to start writing. Just to be in the habit of it, because it’s healthy to be writing and I enjoy that part of it a lot.

PDC: Do you also work with other musicians in Brooklyn, besides remixing?

Tanlines: We used to more, when we started we did a lot of remixing, like with Glasser, her brother lives here in Berlin by the way. We spent a lot of time here together, she showed us around to a few places that she likes . I like that remix a lot.  A lot of people think that we play steel drums, and that is basically the only song where we ever used an actual steel drum on.  So that is actually a little annoying, a lot of people think we use steel drums when we don’t. We use a mix of samples, and live instruments, some computer generated sounds, but never steel drums. And then we started to write our own songs, which became more satisfying than doing remixes.

PDC: So is there anyone you would like to work with?

Tanlines: We always produced ourselves so the thought of working with other people I haven’t had a lot, so no one comes to my mind immediately. The Dust Brothers maybe.  They worked with Beck and the Beastie Boys and use a lot of samples, I would not wanna do that with them but maybe they would be an interesting collaboration. But no one in particular. Maybe T Bone Burnett, I am thinking outside of the box right now.

Thank you Eric and Jesse from Tanlines and the lovely people at Beggars for making this interview possible ♥

A few impressions from the evening:


Julia steht auf schwitzige Rockkonzerte, Whiskey und blutige Steaks. Sie braucht jede Nacht mindestens achteinhalb Stunden Schlaf und mindestens zehn Minuten um einen ironischen Witz zu verstehen.

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