German post punk finest Bleib Modern play one of the most impressive modern take of the 80’s gloomy melodic coldwave with leading throbbing basslines, mechanical drumming, reverbed and razor-sharp guitar riffs, emotionless and visceral vocals.
‘Antagonism’ is Bleib Modern’s third album, their thicker, colder, darker and hopeless ever; a bleak realm of brooding romantic ballads and evocative and desperate sonic rides with in the far distance some glimpses of light, but the pain is too extreme, the soul too desolate, the outside world too ugly, better turning the switch off completely, just “pitch black” darkness.
Τhis Saturday, April 8th, Bleib Modern are going to play live at Death Disco in Athens, as part of their current European Tour, the time has come to be ‘ANTAGONIST’, don’t miss out!
Philipp is one of the most hard-working musicians around with a multitude of projects as Aftermath6666 (which recently changed its name to War Scenes), Forlorn Sights, Ivy’s Void, The Liturgist and Black Verb Records. Also Bleib Modern was initially a solo project, then turned into a duo with Vinz, before reaching a permanent stability with the arrival of Leo, Peter and Tommy. Where and how did you meet, which were your previous musical experiences and what makes your liaison so creative and fruitful?
Thank you for this kind introduction. We all met in Coburg, the city where four of us grew up. Forlorn Sights started about 2012, but we’ve been making music together even before. I guess we played the first Bleib Modern show in November 2014 – and the band consisted of the same members as we were best friends and I wasn’t able to play concerts alone (I even didn’t want to do this). It all went good so far and we came around a lot, which kind of really makes us happy those days. The solo stuff I do often changes. I even deleted some tracks/facebook pages etc, as it became too much for myself. Since I moved to Berlin, I did a lot, but the only thing that’s been released yet is the self titled debut EP by Ivy’s Void, the latest project that I started with Peter’s little brother. For me, it’s very important to make music with friends – cause this may be the key to musical success. You just have the saddest and happiest moments when you’re with your friends, and I guess this is what our music sounds like.
Did you start to get passionate about ‘different’, ‘unusual’ music since your teenage years? When you look back, can you see any early examples of being interested in what relates to your art now? Have you always had a certain kind of temperament and sensitivity that (paraphrasing Siouxsie Sioux) ‘made you feel on the outside’?
Of course there have been a lot of changes since my teenage years, it would be terrible if not! Some things never change, I don’t mean any specific bands/genres, but the mood of songs or movies. I don’t know her by now, but she’s right.
Last summer Philipp moved to Berlin, I don’t know if the other guys did the same. How’s life there, Philipp, for a Bavarian ‘expat’? My Berliner friends say that Bavarians are too attached to their traditions and… Mallorca. Has a certain rough, raw and dark feel of Berlin influenced your sound?
The reason for me to move to Berlin was to lose my fear of big cities. Life is good there. It didn’t take long until touring with the band showed us one thing: move out there, go somewhere else. I don’t want to see your dirndl anymore.
How is a song composed? What is your working process like? Do the musical ideas always come first? Or is it bits and pieces of possible lyrics that eventually lead to composing a new track?
Well just get some stuff and try it yourself, then you can find your personal answer to this. There are plenty of ways to start a song. Most of the time, they’re somewhere in my head from the moment I start to play an instrument. To play just means to get them out there I guess.
Your third album is called ‘Antagonism’, from the ancient Greek it means permanent conflict against an enemy for economical or idealistic reasons. Is it a choice related to the nowadays gloomy and wicked times? Should we expect another compelling gloomy, brooding, melancholic journey into the darkness of human soul?
I don’t care much about this planet to be honest. I won’t sing about any politics and I won’t even say anything about it as it doesn’t change anything. Bleib Modern was founded as something personal and it will stay something personal. The upcoming album is even more personal and emotional for myself than I thought it would be. But I didn’t think about it that much before finally recording it. You shouldn’t expect anything if you don’t want to be disappointed. We will release the first song on Valentines Day.
How has your sound evolved in this new album? What has changed this time around the Bleib Modern coldwave/post punk core? Please, could you give to our readers an idea of what they have to expect from it?
‘Antagonism’ is the soundtrack of the saddest movie you could watch.
Which songs would you pick out as your most representative of the new Bleib Modern signature sound and why?
I always listen to full albums and this is what I can recommend to everyone.
In the second part of 2016 you went on an extensive tour in six European countries, what are the best fond memories and the worst, if you have any?
The whole tour is one of the best things that happened to me (to us). I don’t have any bad memory in mind when thinking about those days, cause we just enjoyed all the fucked up situations as we had fun all the time. We met so many people that we really have to see again- and I guess we will. Portugal was amazing because the concerts were organized so damn well and the stages just looked huge. And it was the beach that made us fall in love with this country.
You pay an accurate attention to every detail of your logos, records/cassette covers (the stunning pictures by Rafal Karcz) and merchandise. Do you draw on, or are you influenced by, any non-musical cultural resources (e.g. films, books, visual art) in your creative process? Are there any visual artists you find particularly inspiring?
I love the work of Rafal and every time I see one of his pictures I’m really drown into the scene. And there’s always the same question: ‘What the hell is he doing while he shoots?’ I really like this mystery behind his pictures. I don’t spend much time with books and drawings, but in the past, I did. Now I focus on music, mixing etc. but I often miss it. I’m really into the stuff Olya from The Underground Youth is doing – she’s really talented! For some artworks/designs we get some help by a good friend called Marcus. He’s also the one who created the “official’’ logo. We always try to keep it simple, but pretty.
After the last very promising Simone Valentini’s ASTIO † project, can we expect anything new from your own personal Black Verb label?
Simone did a good job with that one, I’m very proud of him. Well aside from the Bleib Modern tapes I will release the debut EP of Theo’s electro/techno project, and other friends’ tunes like Venstar or Suir. But I’m also in contact with bands from Denmark, USA, Poland and Albania. Enough reasons to follow my instagram?
Many thanks for being our welcomed guest, just the usual what’ll be the next plans and projects after the release of the new album?
Thanks for the interview, I hope my answers are ok as I just woke up. The album release tour is gonna be in April- still many open dates, we should release the album soon I guess. No other plans yet, we take it easy as always. See you soon in Greece!