Interviews

German emo indie punk rockers THE DEADNOTES discuss their debut record, a testament to their growth

Sentimental emo indie punk rock trio THE DEADNOTES (first mentioned on IDIOTEQ in May last year) released their debut LP “I’ll Kiss All Fears Out of Our Face” in October 2016 and it was beyond a doubt one of the strongest offerings in the European scene of that time. The record demonstrates THE DEADNOTES as a band with an undeniable ambition and conscience, and we’re thrilled to give you our interview with them, breaking down their process and revealing more about the record.

Over the years, THE DEADNOTES toured over mainland Europe, the UK, Russia – released a few songs – drove around ten thousand miles over cold concrete motorways – played shows in schools, beverage stores, garages, on boats or roofs – camped in cornfields and even played with some of our favorite bands such as The Front Bottoms, Riverboat Gamblers, The Smith Street Band, Gnarwolves or Red City Radio.

“I’ll Kiss All Fears Out of Our Face” is out now via LaserLife Records (AT), KROD Records (FR), Sugarferry Records (DE) and Smithsfoodgroup DIY (NL).

Band photo by Franck Alix.

Hey guys! Great to have you here! Congratulation on your debut record! How are you? How’s Southern Germany doing this time of the year?

Hey there! Thanks for the interview. We’re doing great, maybe a little tired as we just arrived back home from our very last show in 2016. Southern Germany is a fine place, especially in winter. We only live 20 minutes away from the Black Forest ski regions. At the moment our hometown Freiburg is freezing cold but still the sun is shining. I really love that kind of mood.

Do you like this time of the year? Music-wise, how thriving is this time for your local rock and punk scene? Do you get a lot of shows?

I’m definitely the summer kind of guy. We actually live in the warmest bigger city in whole Germany however I still always complain about the weather. Especially this year it feels like local shows are getting less the closer it gets to Christmas. Anyway I think that’s alright because 2016 has been amazing. A lot of incredible bands played here and even a lot of new local bands showed themselves quite active.

How is Freiburg when it comes to being a good environment for young artists? Is there a great creative community for you to work with?

Unfortunately I’d say that Freiburg is a really tough place for young and developing artists. All the bands have massive struggles to find rehearsal spaces which is an public issue for years now. Since we started THE DEADNOTES as a school band back when we were 14 years old only a handful of new young bands were formed which makes me really sad. There’s only very few cultural support from the city administration and venues shut down regularily. All that just stands in condratiction to the actual liberal and green image of our city but I guess It’s just a topic no one really cares about.

However such environment forces bands to do things on their own, put a lot of hard work in all their stuff. Regarding the size of that city there’s still a good amount of awesome friends and people who do their best to network not only the punk scene but a whole creative community.

How did you get involved in it in the first place? Can you recall some of the earliest moments of your adventure with punk rock? Please drop us a couple of lines about your backgrounds.

I remember that one of the first shows we played was with 15 in a youth center in our hometown together with some of my local heroes, a punk band singing in German called „NIKOTIN“. We played together and I was so excited that we got to play with them, now almost 6 years later the band does no longer exist but still they are some of our best friends, their guitar player used to be my flatmate and he always tries to go on tour with us.

When we were super young we used to hang out in a squat venue visiting weird Techno parties. Somehow we found out that there’s shows going on as well and a bit later I saw a local band called CASUALLY DRESSED play there. They were already touring a lot at that point which made them super special and exciting to me. I got to talk with their guitar player and a couple of years later we put out a split record together and they’re some of our best friends.

That all just feels super weird but that’s excatly what made me fall in love in punk rock. Who ever we met, even if in our case super young, everyone gets treated super friendly and equally.

What prompted you to form THE DEADNOTES?

Yannic and I had already „jammed“ together in elementary school or did air guitar contests with a badminton racket to the 2005 Madonna record „Confessions On a Dance Floor“ (what an album!!!). I played in several bands since I was 12 years old but especially in that age it’s super hard to find people who already share the same passion and interests. Jakob and I were in high-school together and the moment he got his first bass we formed the band and asked our elementary school friend Yannic if he’d like to join.

Listening to ‘I’ll Kiss All Fears Out Of Your Face’, I couldn’t help but notice how nostalgic, sad and intense some of the lyrics are. Nevertheless, you’ve managed to encompass much of what made punk rock, vigorous indie rock and even post hardcore so infectious. How do you feel about this effort now that it’s released?

Is it safe to say that it is your most vulnerable and paradoxically the strongest album to date?

We don’t really care about genre. We just try to do what feels right for us. The funny thing is that a lot of people always compare us with early Emo bands which I actually never really listened to.

The record was written in a very strange time for me personally due to lots of personal changes, weird accidents in my inner circle of friends and relatives. Without working out a concept it just developed itself and so all the songs turned out to deal with fear in all different shapes.

Even though fears make you struggle they also work as a protective mechanism and to me it’s the most important thing to always keep your head up and stand there as a positive and content person the end of the day.

Lyrics-wise, can you break it down for us and talk about your stories?

Regarding lyrics I’m really into that MODERN BASEBALL, THE FRONT BOTTOMS, THE SMITH STREET BAND kind of style. I try to write songs just as simple, honest and straight from the heart as possible. “When I’m sad then I am sad, when I’m happy oh god I’m happy”

For some people the lyrics and vocals may sound overacted and weepy. I definitely get their points. But to me that’s exactly what it’s all about. When I feel like shit my mind does neither think in metaphors nor shows itself sophisticated. A song is always just a snap-shot to me. There’s just something right in that moment trying to find its way out.

DEADNOTES new album

How did you team up with KROD Records for this release? What do you feel are some of the most important features and characteristics of a DIY label that make it a valuable addition to self-distribution and running a band all by yourself?

Honestly I never heard of Krod Records before we got in touch for the first time. I somehow stumbled across their name when I did a little research and their work and also their band roster impressed me. It didn’t take them two days until they confirmed. It’s incredible when people don’t know you personally at all but put so much trust, efforts and even money in a band. We met for the first time just one month ago in Toulouse. I believe you should never overthink too much. Any person that puts a little work in a band is amazing. Doesn’t matter if paying a lot of money or just helping out with a show, buying a shirt on the merch table. We’re super happy that the people over at KROD share same values and most of all don’t regard us as a business relationship but just support us as some dudes who share a same passion for music.

Alright guys, so finally, who are some other songwriters who have really inspired you?

There’s an incredible amount of bands and songwriters that inspire me in any possible way. I grew up with classic rock/punk bands such as BILLY TALENT and GREEN DAY. At the moment I listen to a lot of german music from Rap, Pop to Post-Hardcore which I didn’t get into for quite some time because I always do myself a little hard with german lyrics.

In my 2016 top list you’ll find (no particular order). APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE, TOUCHÉ AMORÉ, BLACKOUT PROBLEMS, AGAINST ME!, THE SIGOURNEY WEAVERS.

How about authors? Do you read much books to get a different type of inspiration?

The last book I read was „SCHORSCH, Der Chef im Bus bin ich“, which our friend, the guitar player of the Stuttgart based Punk Rock band Kill Valmer wrote. It’s about a grumpy bus driver. If you have a command of German language you really need to read this. It’s probably the main influence on all our songs.

Great, thanks! Thanks a lot for your time and all the introductory information. It was really nice talking to you. The last words are yours.

Thanks for taking your time! Stay wonderful everyone, see you on tour in 2017.

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