Set up in 1985 by Alexander Veljanov and Ernst Horn, Deine Lakaien can be easily considered as a phenomenon. The band has always exposed a true artistic approach in their global sound- and vocal production. Deine Lakaien can’t be compared to any other band because they’ve always created a very own sound. The style might be linked to established genres, but in the end it always remains a very unique experience in sound with the charismatic vocals of Alexander Veljanov on top. After a hiatus of seven years, Deine Lakaien this year unleashed two new albums on Chrom Records and Prophecy Productions. “Dual” and “Dual+” both reveal an interesting selection of cover songs and new songs inspired by their covers. The approach is not new and ‘great’ bands often like to release an album with cover versions one in their career. But what I especially like and deeply respect in the approach of Deine Lakaien is that their covers sound a bit like it are original Deine Lakaien songs. They put their own sound and spirit into it, which finally resulted in two great productions.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I get the feeling 2021 has been a very special year for Deine Lakaien as you released two new-, conceptual studio albums. Tell us a bit more about what has triggered you to release both albums and especially the cover songs? And how did it progressively took shape?
Alexander: In 2019 we have been on tour with the ‘Acoustica’-line-up, combining Deine Lakaien, Helium Vola and Veljanov, each with acoustic performances. Having finished the tour in November 2019, we started recording sessions for a new Deine Lakaien-album. For the first time in our career, we decided to focus on cover versions, but we decided that it would be much more interesting to combine them with new original songs inspired by the covers we choose.
Q: You already released very special albums like acoustic works and also this phenomenal production together with Die Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt, but I honestly never expected to see you releasing cover versions from a very wide range of artists; from Jacques Brel to Linkin Park to Devo to Pink Floyd etc… What do the songs and especially those artists mean to you? And how was it working on songs from others?
Ernst: We deliberately wanted to present a wide range of styles: songs that we value personally, those, that had a certain meaning for us, especially in our youth, and of course music, that Alexander likes to sing and that I can do well with my instruments. Since we rarely dealt with songs in the past, that were not written by us, it was of course an adventure. Fortunately, we soon found out that this also meant a learning process for us and, as a result, a great enrichment. The world of music is wide, it showed us that we are only a small part of it, and that is a good thing!
Q: I can imagine working on covers is somewhat different than composing your own songs. Do you notice significant differences and what has been your global approach to achieve the songs?
Ernst: That was, of course, a completely new approach. We didn’t have to look for new words, melodies, chords and sounds, we just had to listen to the songs first and try to preserve the emotions that the music gave us for our work. We also respected the structure, melodies and chords of the songs and adopted them unchanged. Of course, we had to transpose the music into the key that suits Alexander’s voice. From then on, it was a pure pleasure to introduce these very different styles of music and their poetry into our world of sound.
Q: I’ve been touched by the cover you made of Jacques Brel who according to me remains one of the most passionate, delicate and authentic artists in history, but still a great and subtle poet. In which way do you feel connected with the work of Brel and what does he –but also other artists/composers, mean in your personal development as musicians/artists?
Alexander: Jacques Brel’s music and voice touched my life when I still was a little child. I was absolutely caught by songs like “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, “Mon Dernier Repas”, “Orly” , “La Ville S’endormait”, etc. At the time when we started with Deine Lakaien, in the mid 80s, the Post-Punk movement and -music certainly had a bigger impact on my first steps into professional work, but the French postwar existentialism and Classical music from Baroque to Late-Romantic were also important influences.
Q: The diversity of the artists you covered attempt to prove you’ve a very eclectic taste when it comes to music, which I think is also a very noticeable element in the sound and genre of Deine Lakaien. What is mainly catching your attention when you’re listening to music?And how do you explain this eclecticism?
Alexander: If you love music because you need to, because you are thankful to discover and enjoy what it can give you, you don’t ask why and how. Music is and always has been the most beautiful and powerful companion of my life. Friendship and love will always be connected to music, and if it will disappear, we all will.
Q: I noticed there’re already numerous live shows planned for 2022. What do you expect from these shows in pandemic-times? And what might we expect from the shows properly speaking?
Ernst: We can’t ‘speak properly’ about this matter, because the virus is driving us. We can only hope that we might be able to organize our concerts with our band like before the pandemic. This year we performed three gigs ‘acoustic’, with a reduced number of visitors, which worked well, but of course we also have to make sure that we cover our costs in this way and that our listeners can get involved in the music as a collective and will not be distracted from it through the Corona rules. Fortunately, our audience is more interested in feeling the music than in partying.
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