‘Click Interview’ with Seasurfer: ‘Guitar Music From England Was Just Cooler Than German Stuff’
Seasurfer is a band driven by Hamburger (Germany) based musician Dirk Ritter. He worked together with different female singers and musicians. Two noticeable albums were released on Saint-Marie Records. This label has a nose for talented artists dealing with Shoegaze and Dream-Pop, both genres being SEASURFER’s main sources of inspiration. By the end of 2020 Seasurfer stroke back with the third album entitled “Zombies” released on Reptile Music. It’s a great piece of music released as double album. The bonus disc features guest vocals by Elena Alice Fossi (Kirlian Camera, Spectra Paris). The new work got produced by Robin Guthrie (The Cocteau Twins). No doubt about it, “Zombies” is one of the best productions in the Shoegeaze/Dream-Pop genre so I got in touch with Dirk.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: What kind of band did you want to set up with Seasurfer and how do you look back on the evolution of the band, the different albums and line-up changes?
Dirk: For many years I really worked as a band with my Dream-Pop band Dark Orange, each band member had something to say. With Seasurfer I wanted to build my own sound without compromises so it’s not easy for fellow musicians. After a while you notice whether it fits and is accepted or not. In arts, communities are often fragile. Most of the changes happened because for some reason it just didn’t fit anymore. It makes a difference whether you play in a democratic Punk band at the age of 18 or later when having your sound in your head and absolutely want to implement it.
Q: You worked with different singers, first Dorian E, then Julia Beyer and later on Apolonia. A singer often is the ‘image’ and ‘frontman (-woman)’ of the band. What has been the impact of each singer on the music and your work as musician? What makes the chemistry between musicians and singers?
Dirk: A singer has to inspire me; there has to be a spirit and an atmosphere of its own. All three singers did that and I’m still grateful for it. After the intensive work on an album, you often fall into a hole and wonder what can come after that, how it will go on. If then you aren’t convinced, then you should better leave it.
With Apolonia everything is easier now, she lives around the corner and we meet up with our art community regularly to talk and to drink. She’s more than a singer to me, she’s also a very good friend.
Q: I noticed you consider Robin Guthrie as one of your mentors. What makes the magic of this artist and what exactly makes him a mentor?
Dirk: I grew up with bands like The Cocteau Twins and for me Robin Guthrie created one of the most beautiful guitar sounds ever. I also find his instrumental songs very inspiring. When he remixed and mastered something for me and I was allowed speaking to him, those were nice moments. A very friendly person… only his Scottish accent was sometimes hard for me 😉
Q: You last year released the album “Zombies”. How did the writing and production of the album happened and what do you try to reflect with the album title?
Dirk: I played all the instruments by myself and mixed everything alone. That was a challenge because you don’t get that much feedback and sometimes you don’t know whether something is good or crap. And I wanted to develop myself further, using more electronics. When the rather gloomy mood of the first Corona wave came during the final mixing, the sounds of the album developed by itself. “Zombies” represents how we all felt during this time.
Q: The bonus disc of “Zombies” is featuring Elena Alice Fossi as guest singer. How did this collaboration happened –especially in times of Covid-19?
Dirk: A very good friend, the photographer Christian Klepp, is a huge Kirlian Camera fan. He kept saying, ‘hey, do something with her, it will be cool’. The contact was made via Stefan Herwig from the record company Dependent and then it started. Elena Alice is a lovely woman and she was delightfully easy to work with. The songs were done before Corona and are therefore not as dark as the ones from the “Zombies”-album. The bonus-album is called “The Dreampop Day” by the way.
Q: You’re based in Hamburg, which always had a very important alternative scene although Seasurfer sounds more like a British Shoegaze and Dream-Pop band. What do you like in the ‘British’ sound and do you feel any kind of influence from the scene where you live? What brings the future?
Dirk: I was never at home in the German or Hamburg music scene. In Hamburg, many looked to England in the 80s. Guitar music from England was just cooler than German stuff. The Cure, The Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine…all right? If you grow up with it, then it shapes and you develop your own sound with these genes. Unfortunately all concerts have been canceled and it won’t start again until next year. I’m doing a real Dream-Punk EP with Apolonia this year, no song allowed to be slower than 180 bpm. And with the wonderful Gloria de Oliveira, she is also on our label, I work out Electronic songs at the moment that tend to go into the witch-house corner.
Since you’re here … … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading Side-Line Magazine than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Side-Line’s independent journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we want to push the artists we like and who are equally fighting to survive. If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as 5 US$, you can support Side-Line Magazine – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. The donations are safely powered by Paypal.