Mr. Andreas Buchwald is a musician whose career can be said to be admirable, especially through the music group Remain In Silence. He has also given great musical performances, especially in the post punk-alternative music scene. One thing I can say for sure is that if he lived in West London or Crawley of England rather than Hannover, Germany, he would be more widely recognized. However the power of creativity for most artists is the driving force, not money and glory. Today we are given the pleasure and the opportunity to talk with him about the new musical solo start with the title ‘Escape From What Life Is’ and about many interesting things. Let’s enjoy him!
Hello Andreas, first of all, let’s wish you a good career in your new musical beginning. I imagine for the people who follow your musical path, the first question starts about your new musical solo project: how did it come about since before that you were a member and main composer of Remain In Silence?
Yeah, thanks for having me again, Michael. A lot has indeed happened in the past years.
After the last Remain In Silence album (‘…And The Soul Goes On‘ from 2016), in 2018 I started writing and recording the first demos for what I thought at that time would become a new RIS album.
The fact that it became a solo album was not planned from the beginning, but the necessity has turned out to be inevitable in the course of the work.
The process of writing has developed in the context of serious cuts in my life: Farewells, losses, self-doubts, crises of meaning, breakdowns. All of it. Over a long period of time, things went up and down emotionally for me. Dejection and euphoria alternated constantly. The songs reflect these areas of tension and inner conflicts. The more I delved into the songs, the more aware I became that something was taking shape that had to do directly with me personally. I had to confront my inner demons before they threatened to devour me. Something was bursting out of me for which I had to find a form – musically but also lyrically. As the songs developed like a film plot it became clearer and clearer that I alone had to find the words for this soundtrack. In the end I had no other choice but to finish it alone and finally giving it my voice.
Now that a new musical chapter has opened for you, how do you feel?
It feels good to have overcome all the difficulties and to have brought this album to light. To have given form to an amorphous mass of a raw material that was hidden inside me. And it feels like a kind of recognition that I am the protagonist of that album.
It was certainly not an easy decision to say goodbye to the name Remain In Silence and consequently to part with the original singer and long time friend Andreas Gimpel. But as a result, something new has emerged. After drastic changes, new beginnings arise, new paths can be taken. Artistically it gives me more freedom. The change was bitter but necessary.
We would like you to tell us a few things about your new album ‘Escape From What Life Is‘. What were your main influences when creating the album?
Two years after „…and the soul goes on“ I developed the first ideas for the new album. I was in a very negative phase when a kind of concept for a new album formed in front of my inner eye and ear. At first it was like moving through thick fog. But with every step, contours began to emerge.
Looking back, I think that with the instrumental ‘Endless Sea‘ from the last RIS album, I had already unconsciously given a preview of my musical future. My musical approach was to become more epic and let the songs develop more like a film plot. In parallel, the lyrics have also become more visually powerful and multi-layered.
In general, the influences on my work are manifold. Film scenes, emotional moments, nature, art or whatever stimulate my imagination and can give rise to a diffuse inner soundtrack. I later try to trace this and bring it into a musical form. My musical roots lie, as you know, in the early New Wave era, This is possibly the backbone. But I don’t usually look backwards when I start writing new music. My melancholic attitude is certainly another aspect that gives an impact on my work, as is the music of Portugal, which has filled and inspired me for some years now.
Because I was one of the first and lucky ones to listen to the album, I see that it has a more electronic approach compared to your previous works. I also noticed that the tracks are quite interconnected. However, because I don’t like to put labels on the music, would you like to give some musical term to describe your music?
Well, maybe Cinematic Post Wave could be a fitting term. On the one hand, it describes my cinematic approach to writing the songs. On the other hand, it refers to my roots in the post-punk or new wave area of the early days. But since I’m not trying to look back I go beyond that, in order to develop these formative periods further.
I’m glad you felt a connection between the songs. It may not be that obvious for everyone at first hearing, because the songs are stylistically quite different. You never know what to expect from the next song or how the song itself will progress. There are sometimes surprising twists and turns within the songs. But on the whole, everything fits together atmospherically. For me, the album is a kind of cathartic journey and each song is a station on that journey. Stations and places where I had arrived – whether I wanted to go there or not.
The difference in writing the songs is that I have picked up the guitar quite late this time. I worked mostly with keyboards and on the ipad. That way I was able to work out the soundscapes I had in my head more freely. My producer also followed this more electronic approach. But even if it’s not immediately obvious from the overall sound, there are all kinds of acoustic instruments on the album.
What was the most pleasant experience creating ‘Escape From What Life Is’?
Pleasant might not be the right word when producing an album. The work can be nerve-wracking. There are always phases when you doubt yourself. But then there are also those sublime moments, when you have created something even greater than your original idea. Then it almost feels as if you didn’t create the music, but the music created you.
I remember a wonderful moment when I played the new, not quite finished songs to a fan and friend. As he listened, he had a fulfilled smile on his face, he kept shaking his head full of joyful bewilderment and was overwhelmed by what he was hearing. “Whether you call it RIS or Buchwald, it doesn’t matter – it’s just awesome“, he said. Sadly, he did not live to see the finished album.
Following your music career from the beginning until now, one can see your musical style constantly changing. Is it something intentional or does it just happen?
I think it’s both. There are almost 40 years between the first RIS album and the new one. I’m in my late 50s now and it would be rather horrible if I were the same person I was when I was 20. With personal development, musical approaches naturally develop and change. One can draw on a much greater wealth of experience. But as far as my attitude to music today is concerned, I don’t see myself that far away from the early RIS albums. The dark colours of my palette are roughly similar, but it has countless new nuances today.
What are your expectations for your new album?
My expectations have already been fulfilled up to this point. The fact that I made the album the way I did is already the first success. The fact that my new material has also found a label is the next success. Especially in these difficult times for the music industry. And the fact that there are musicians again, young musicians, who want to be part of it is another personal success and a confirmation that my music can speak to people. And if some people will finally buy the album, that would be the icing on the cake.
I would like you to tell us a few things about your collaborators who helped you create the album.
Sure. Albi Husen played a big part in this album as co-musician, producer and arranger. I have already worked with him for RIS. Albi originally comes from the jazz scene, but produces across genres. He is an extremely empathetic person and since my songs have a very personal touch this time, I couldn’t think of anyone else who could look into both: my state of mind and the soul of the songs. I first handed him my finished demos and asked him to make them a little more perfect where necessary.
But apparently the songs also spoke to him, so that it drew him deeper into the work than originally thought. He not only acts as a producer but also as a musician on numerous instruments on the album. I’m grateful to have had him with me. I was also glad to have Genevieve Pasquier with me, a great singer who is active solo or in various industrial projects. She did the backing vocals on ‘Rituals‘. Flow Steiner, a very talented young drummer, did some additional drums. Finally a rather surprising guest had an appearance: Greg “Big J“ Perrineau of disco band Eruption. He lent his voice to the song ‘Artifacts‘.
Can we have a final release date of the album? Also, what form will it be, cd/ vinyl? For anyone who would like to buy the album, is there a website or e-shop?
The album was recently released, on April 21 through Sireena Records (Broken Silence). First on CD and then vinyl is planned for winter. The album is availabe through every record store or the usual online shops like amazon.de, jpc.de, sireena.de etc. and finally via buchwaldoffical.com (the shop will not be online until May, but you can already order by email and get a paypal link back).
Are any plans for live appearances in the future?
Yes, I really hope so. The band is almost complete. Carlos from the last Remain In Silence line-up is on the keyboards. Flow Steiner on the drums is there and Ben on the second keyboard. And for the bass, two names are currently being discussed. A first short appearance for the album release will have already taken place in April when this interview is published. For future performances, I hope that it will be possible to get us all together at the same time. But the problem with time schedules was no different under RIS.
A more personal question now. What is it that gives you the impetus to keep creating music for almost 4 decades?
Sometimes I ask myself that. Artistic work releases thoughts and feelings that were previously hidden. And music is an art form that touches you most directly inside. There are so many emotional moments that touch a person like me. As a result, there is always something building up inside me that needs to find redemption. And wanting to give these feelings a form is not a question of wanting, but of having to. I have no choice but to go on.
What are the most characteristic/memorable experiences you have had as a musician all these years?
It’s the many unique encounters and moments with people. Fans who are touched by my songs. Fellow musicians who are already willing to enter my world. It’s that give and take. Although I operate somewhat outside the perceptible public eye, I am always humbled that still so much interest is shown in my work.
If someone wants to listen to your music for the first time, which album would you recommend and why?
Of course it’s ‘Escape From What Life Is‘. It’s 100 % Buchwald and it’s happening now. There’s a lot to discover on this album. Maybe it’s not an easy album, but it grows and grows … like a maelstrom that pulls you deeper and deeper.
The past of RIS is best represented with ‘Monument‘. It was on point at that time and still has an aura.
Are Remain In Silence a closed chapter or not?
I think we’ve had our time, for what I am thankful. But for the moment it’s all said and done.
I have nothing else to add, any last thing that you would like to add?
“I must go in, the fog is rising.“
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Photo credits: Christoph Speidel