Icons of the gothic rock and dark wave scenes, with hits such as ‘Your Master Is Calling’ and ‘Walking on Both Sides’ known the world over, Berlin’s own Pink Turns Blue took the time to answer a few questions about the usual suspects – the new single, gear, and upcoming performances – along with telling us some unusual habits. Be sure to check out ‘There Must Be So Much More’ if you haven’t already. Happy reading!
Answered by: Mic Jogwer
Pink Turns Blue unfortunately, like all musicians, had to cancel a number of gigs due to Covid-19. How has the past year been for you? Pick up any new hobbies? Propelled yourselves further into music if that’s at all possible?
We were quite lucky actually. The more complicated and expensive tours like the US and South America had been behind us and only a few European dates had to be cancelled. Also, we had already a few new songs so we took the time to record them and finish them without stress. So, with any luck we should be able to release a new album in September and be back on the road in October.
Are you continuously amazed at the ever-growing impact ‘Your Master Is Calling’ has had? What went into forming that track back in ‘88?
When we played that song live even before recording it was clear that this song was somewhat special. Kind of a hymn for the then beginning dark wave scene. With the help of Janez Krizaj, who added this deep and other worldly sound around the drums it felt special right from the beginning and became one of our timeless classics.
To the excitement of many ‘There Must Be So Much More‘ was released at the beginning of April, as an uplifting motivator if you will. What particularly inspired this single?
This song is both about not being satisfied of oneself, humanity as a whole, complacency and not trying hard enough to make life, love, this world a bit better. It is an angry call to try harder. Everywhere. In life, in love, as mankind. We are better than this. I don’t want to go into politics. I reckon everybody will have an idea of what I am singing about.
Can you share with us any snippets of info about the upcoming LP? A title perhaps? Is the general zeitgeist quite similar to that of ‘There Must Be So Much More’ – optimistic warnings?
Very difficult to tell from my perspective. I guess the topics will be pretty much about what is happening around us currently, so, zeitgeist, yes. The sound will be a mixture of true Pink Turns Blue as a three piece and new elements like piano, synths, melodies. Like always a combination of melancholy and self-assurance, soft and sensitive and then again bold and powerful. Sad, sometimes hopeless, disappointed of mankind but always fighting for a better world.
Let’s talk gear! What you’ve used over the past 30+ years has changed much? And for our readers who are musicians themselves, what are you currently using?
Gosh I hate talking gear. OK I ‘ll try: Most songwriting happens on a Gibson ES 335 or a Gibson 330, with a basic chorus, sometimes delay or reverb and 2 vox ac30s. All from the 60s. In the beginnings I used Fenders but these often got out of tune on stage (warm lights, cold fans) and my favorite Strat got stolen on a gig. Then there is a Fender Jazz Bass with a Marshall in the studio or an Ampeg SVT live, a standard 4 piece drum kit and here and there a keyboard or piano to add structure to the songs. In live concerts we use whatever is available. Sometimes we have a keyboard player. If not we might play some of the recorded keyboards as loops to add some character to some songs. I hope that is enough gear talking. Really, the only thing care is my Les Paul 60’s live because I sing simultaneously and need to play the guitar without having to look at the fingerboard and it is solid so it won’t break on our way from one airport to another.
Are there any current bands from Berlin or the general area that you’re digging? As well as any dark-wave contemporaries that have piqued your interest lately?
Oh yeah. My current Berlin favourite is definitely Lebanon Hannover by far. To me they are very intense, authentic with fresh sounding. It’s the kind of the same intensity – message we had in our dark wave days while at the same time very today, even modern. I guess our other favourites are not from Berlin. But a full range from Soviet Soviet to Drab Majesty or even Boy Harsher. Kind of wave but at the same time with new touches and stories.
It looks like (fingers crossed) you’ll be performing at Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival in Whitby, Yorkshire. What can festival-goers expect from a Pink Turns Blue set? Especially if it’s their first time seeing you live?
We are happy to play our top ten classics plus a few new sings mixed in between. It also depends a bit on the atmosphere in the audience and sound quality on stage. The more atmospheric songs need a better sound situation than the fast punky songs. Every night is different as well as the audience.
Do you prefer the process of song writing and recording over performing your work live? Or do you feel you record in order to perform?
For me, as singer and songwriter it is always the new song that I need to unbury and give birth to. For Ruebi and Paul it is the live playing often and as long as possible. Also, I like to try new songs out live and see whether they stand the test.
Quick game! What’s the first five words (or less) that comes to your mind when you think of the following albums:
A very sad love story.
The end of the saddest love story in the universe.
Recorded in my living room in South London.
A new love story changing everything.
A big, strong and creative friendship.
Prior to The-Year-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named you embarked on your first ever North American tour, how did audiences & venues differ from your usual European haunts?
It didn’t. No difference between Moscow and Los Angeles. They are all just great and decent people.
Favorite late-night food when you’ve been on the road?
Chocolate and trail-mix. Lots of it.
What is the most unexpected habit each of you have?
I sleep on the floor. Always. I hate to sleep on soft mattresses. Ruebi plays bass. Always. He thinks he forgets how to play in between the shows. Paul watches all support bands and does sightseeing until then. Always.
What are your favorite lyrics from a song of your own? Or someone else’s?
I am quite happy with a few of my lyrics. Many of them have a story that makes me gulp when I sing them still. So very personal. But I guess my favourites are going to be on the next album. I am very eager to find out what people think of the next single and the ballad at the end. Strong stuff. From others is Hüsker Dü’s ‘Pink Turns to Blue‘ I will love forever.
For those of us who’ve never been to a venue in Germany but are compiling a list of places to check out when some sense of normality returns, what would you recommend? What are your favourite venues to perform or investigate new acts at?
When I go to concerts I like the Columbia Halle in Berlin I guess cause I like the size – not too small so everyone can have good look and not too big so the sound and the feel is still that of a club. And on stage probably the same. But open air festivals also always have a great vibe. People seem to enjoy themselves much more open air.
It’s a bit difficult to answer this question because of ever-changing world events, but where do you see yourselves in the upcoming year? What can we, as fans, expect?
All is planned out. A new album in September, a few European dates and a club tour through Germany between October and December 2021. Some UK dates and a few European capitals in early 2022. North America from July to December 2022. Mexico and South America and a few big festivals in 2023. What is new? The mixture of a few new great songs with very intensive versions of the classics.
Photo Credits: Daniela Vorndran