What is the meaning behind your favorite songs
MiA. about casting shows and why life is a request concert
At MiA. you can be what you want That is the message that the title song "Biste Mode" from the Berlin band's current record calls out to the world. This album goes on a big "every second" tour, on which the musicians will also play in Täubchenthal in Leipzig on December 15, 2016. We meet singer Mieze and drummer Gunnar, who reveal their plans for 2017, philosophize about their favorite songs and talk about the importance of good friends.
You are currently on the "every second tour". What can you look forward to?
Gunnar: In the best case, every second!
Puss: We have a motto, it always says so beautifully, life would not be a pony farm, no picnic and no request concert. We see it differently: We say life is a request concert. Above all with MiA. We have had great experiences in the past when fans ask for songs from us. And we've decided that we'll base our program on that. That means, we asked again in a bigger action on Facebook and are still up to date: Which songs do you want? Surprises us. And we are in the process of editing these songs, rehearsing them, trying them on - does that still suit us at all? How would we translate it into the present day? What do we find totally unsexy? It's a really great way of doing your own material. We would certainly choose other songs ourselves, that's why I think it's so awesome that the fans, who might see us differently, say “try this, that means to me ...”. In this respect, it is the topic and also an idea of the MiA. concert: request concert. And that means that in the best case scenario you experience and enjoy every second intensely.
And the, what now seems unsexy, do you still play?
Gunnar: Well, you try to make that up again.
Puss: Above all, it's funny, I say no, we've already done something like that!
Gunnar: Just! There are of course situations or examples where it just doesn't work. But as a rule, something like that is always a very interesting situation, and a task to establish: Yes, I would like to do the piece, but it just doesn't suit me the way it is. And that's why I have to change something about it. There are also pieces that don't need it, but so do the others. You have to try that. In the end: trying is more important than studying.
Among other things, you have a gig in Leipzig in December. What do you have in common with this city?
Puss: A friend of mine studied art here and that's why I was actually here more often for a while. It's a good feeling when you know that you know your way around here a bit. And then I always have cafes and streets in my head, where I know I have to go to see if everything is still there. That's where the anticipation begins. We have already been allowed to play in different clubs. We are playing in Täubchenthal for the first time, but I was at Bonaparte's in Täubchenthal on my last visit to Leipzig, so I now want to see it from the other side.
Gunnar: We have always been lucky that the locations we played here always have an interesting environment. At Haus Auensee, for example, I still remember that it was totally cool on the day of the concert the last time we played there. It was freezing cold in winter and I had to call my girlfriend for a long, long time. I walked around the Auensee two or three times during the call. It's not that big, but it was totally awesome. It was blue skies, winter, really freezing cold and it was also a good activity to really wake up and get some fresh air. The last two times we were at UT Connewitz, which is really a dream location. And Connewitz anyway, a great part of town. And so you're just lucky, that's why I'm looking forward to Täubchenthal in Plagwitz.
Your current album “Biste Mode " was published in 2015. It combines different styles, such as club music from the 90s or classic pop music. What inspired you?
Gunnar: On the one hand, we wanted to try out things that you haven't tried in the past, that also comes from working with yourself. Otherwise we cannot shut ourselves off from the music that is around and that flies through the area. In some way that leads to making things that sound the way they sound. But first and foremost, it is actually the case, at least with the record, that you look for what we haven't done yet. And with every album that we have made, we always talk about the music that, for whatever reason, did not make it onto the last album, that was still there, with which you wanted something and had something to say.
Which song from the new album is particularly close to your heart?
Puss: I think it's different for everyone. At the moment it is "Biste Mode", the title track of the record. Because for me it really expresses the MiA.-thought, the MiA.-spirit, the MiA.-soul perfectly. Also imperfectly perfect. And it also expresses our connection between us and our fans and at what level we meet. At the same time it shows the need to be a countermovement to a need for perfection, maximum performance and always having to bring an optimum. To want to set an opposite pole, that agreed on this song for me. You come as you are and the way you are, you are perfect. As you are, you are perfect. You don't have to be another. So often in this society you have the feeling that you have to be someone other than what you are. Not being good enough for the needs that fly around here. This song invites me to do this, and the lyrics should also invite me to do this, because it describes very imperfect characters that we encounter openly and without any judgment. And that's a MiA. concert for me. For me that is the epitome of this group. I have always given my vote for minorities. Whether that was in the school yard or is in the band now. That's my character and I think the song describes that well. That's why it's my favorite song. And that's the first song that I'm Berliner (laughs).
Gunnar: My favorite song is the song where the tour motto comes from: "Every second". Because that's a piece that could be on any MiA. album. It stands for a type of music that we make together and in which a lot comes together, from what we also bring with us in terms of dispositions.
Puss: Yes, in terms of content, I also think it's mega, it means a lot to me. It also got an important meaning within the set over the summer, and also from the point of view of keeping this “nothing more”, no matter how many songs are still to come or have already been, what to keep something for? What happiness, the dancing, the singing save for. This is a really great experience now in the now. I don't want to lose a second of our shared experiences. That is also totally MiA. So, especially in terms of content, full MiA. Musically that's totally MiA. I agree with you. You always ask: "What kind of music do you do?", "Every second" is a great example.
Gunnar: It's a kind of imprint that you leave behind. Many people would associate that with us too. On the one hand, this is something that I feel and now claim, but on the other hand, and the kitty already agrees with me, that's good, if people, to whom we mean something, would also see it as very typical for us.
What is it like to be the only woman in the band?
Puss: This is something that I only notice when I am asked about it. Sometimes I have the feeling that you can tell when it comes to distributing forces. The guys would play 10 concerts in a row without batting an eyelid, even whistling on the last hole, they would do it. Because I am the voice and the voice is actually the most sensitive instrument, there are very natural limits that my voice dictates and what I can achieve with it. Thees Uhlmann also plays tough 30 gigs in a row. So not me. I just can't do that. After four appearances, I first need some regeneration. I am perhaps a bit more sensitive and I bring that to the group. But I grew up with an older brother and his group of friends, it was never anything strange to me. There have never been a time when the guys treated me like “you are the girl”. This is only ever an issue when someone asks me that.
Gunnar: But you also have to be very clear that it is actually always a topical discussion or a topical issue. You are traveling in a totally male-dominated world. If you look at the whole entertainment rock'n'roll business: all the major decision-makers, be they concert agencies, organizers, people who run festivals, MTV was once an exception because there was a manager, but otherwise it's a " man's world ”. I think it's super important and also good that this changes and mixes. This has to do with the fact that women are still disadvantaged in many areas every day, even in our oh-so-enlightened society. One wonders what year are we actually living in, folks, what's going on here? That's why I don't take this for granted and always a good question, and also a question that I like to answer, even though I'm not a kitty at all. But of course it still affects me and I just think that it takes something to stand up and say, "Here I am", anyway, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, a transgender or whatever. As a woman, especially in this business, it is always a struggle in many places. And I can only try to imagine it and take part in it, but I don't think it's good. That's why I can't accept it. It is just not a matter of course. You also still encounter a lot of opponents.
You are politically and socially involved in various projects. Would you say that famous people can do more in this area?
Puss: You can put some kind of focus and draw attention to it. We are actually a long way from playing the moral code for other people. These are decisions that we would make in our lives regardless of the band. To get involved for Greenpeace or for Amnesty is simply a natural need for us, we are not opening a big barrel now. Once we choose an organization, we are very loyal, very loyal and stay connected. Anyone who wants to follow this is welcome to do so, but we don't want to advertise it, we would be so committed. Everyone can decide for themselves. It is also important to us to support the people behind the scenes in what they do. We don't chain ourselves to rails, stand in the way of oil tankers or focus on people like Amnesty, who face the death penalty or imprisonment. We support people who help other people. We are actually committed to that.
You also consistently enforce your political stance, because in 2013 you let yourself be removed from the list of nominees for Echos because you think the worldview of “Frei.Wild”, who were also nominated, “sucks”. How were the reactions to it?
Gunnar: To be honest, we haven't really dealt with that. We decided that together spontaneously. I don't even know if we would do it again. At that moment, I think, it's always important to stand by and do it. Of course you have to deal with it when you behave or express yourself in this way, whatever consequences it can have for you. To be honest, I didn't care too much about the reactions after that.
Puss: It all looked very constructed, will I stick with it or not? One felt more like a plaything than a genuinely nominated artist in a category. One had the feeling that it was more about the press than the content. It was just a moment when we felt extremely uncomfortable. We don't need any prizes in order to see ourselves as musicians or to live as musicians, and so I personally believe that if you asked me today, I would make that decision again.
The song "Mein Freund" was described by you in 2008 as a Mia hymn. As an artist, do you still have a lot of time for your friends?
Puss: Clear! That’s very important. The only funny thing is that with the hymn, because the hymn “My friend” has been internally replaced by “Biste Mode”. But "My friend" is still an absolute MiA. thought to bring people together. And I don't give a shit how cheesy that sounds, but: make friends out of strangers. That is actually possible at a concert and it happened that way. Strangers have not only become friends, friends have become couples, couples have become parents, that's why MiA. the soundtrack. And MiA. would not exist without our friends. Friends are family to us, it's a very important place. We all have long-cultivated groups of friends and I think we are looking for an exchange, we need people who meet us critically on an equal footing. Because we always have so much on our mind and then you need people with whom you can sit down and talk or who also let God be a good man. Friends are very important to us.
Gunnar: Just as important as for you, just because we play in a band, we are no different from other people. Most people are herd animals, need people, want to reflect, want to talk, want to be confirmed, need counter-speech.
Puss: Yes, and to take care of it, that is consciously a big topic with us in music that we deal with.
When you're in show business, it may be difficult to maintain friendships because you're constantly on the move, giving different concerts.
Puss: But ask a captain who has been at sea for months, it may be even more difficult for him. We can actually cultivate many friendships in very different corners of the world and it is always a dream to fill our guest list and say: “Here comes this and that”, because after 20 years we also know our groups of friends. A MiA. concert is also a great opportunity to bring our friends together.
How did you come to be on the jury of various casting shows?
Puss: “Your song” is a composition competition and not a casting show and there are very different reasons for it. On the one hand, I'm interested in TV, TV and music are even more interesting. I'm also interested in promoting and working with young musicians. And now especially with “Dein Song”, where I'm in the fourth year as a jury member, I'm interested in the intensive exchange, the inspiration and the work with the young composers. I composed my first song when I was 12, it was an anti-war song. That's why I know what input I would have needed back then. What would have inspired me to go even further. I always looked for everything myself, back then there was no such format at all. With “Dein Song” a lot comes together: I experience what the lighting technician and the producer are doing. I'm interested in that. Or how they deal with children. Here in particular it is possible for me to often experience the leap from child to young adult. The candidates are between 8 and 18 years old, there is simply a lot of space in between. That moves me a lot. It inspires me a lot, moves me and enriches me.
Would you also say that about DSDS, that that enriched you?
Puss: Yes, in any case.
Because you mentioned dealing with the children earlier, it is also often criticized that DSDS has increasingly focused on the private life of the candidates, instead of perhaps on musical talent.
Puss: Because I was there myself, I know it's different. Before a candidate ends up on TV, there are two pre-castings and that means everyone knows what is going to happen. I was in the 11th season, everyone from the lighting technician to the candidate knows where they are, so the candidate actually knows where he is standing, who he is standing in front of and what the danger is when you deal with one dubious vocal performance in front of Dieter Bohlen.And he knows what can come because he has seen the show himself. There was no candidate, at least in my season, who didn't know the show. And I think that especially with DSDS, the balancing act between what comes out in the end is very big. There would be no Beatrice Egli without DSDS, for her the show was a dream, a career start-up. But there are also artists like Thomas Godoj, who still hang over him like a sword of Damocles. He sometimes feels that that's in his way. The experience areas go from there to there, but also for other casting programs. Andreas Kümmert described the experience with The Voice of Germany critically and everyone can really only see for themselves who it is good for and who is not. E.g. Roman Lob is also a casting show winner of "Our Star for Baku" and currently has the leading role in "The One" in THE show in the Friedrichstadt-Palast on one of the greatest stages in Europe. The subject is just so complex, it can be useful for one person, but not for another. But if you want to know how television works, then it’s very useful.
How did the environment and the fans react when you took part?
Puss: Actually like every other MiA.-decision, you like it or not. MiA. is our playing field, our opportunity to try things out and let off steam, an expression of freedom. It would be crazy if someone would decide for me.
What are your band's next projects? Are you already planning a new album?
Puss: We'll be 20 years old next year and we're flirting with various projects. We could imagine a best-of. What we do one hundred percent is the anniversary tour. A kind of best-of concert has to be played, we want that too. We would probably combine our favorite songs with those of the fans again. We also kept toying with remixes of our own stuff. We’re going to write a new record anyway, but we’re not able to say yet whether it’s going to be a 20-year-old or a 21-year-old. Even if this is slowly the end of the year, we are still right in the middle of it. It just goes on and on.
Are you fashion (Berlinerisch for "on the kieker")
Gunnar: I think everyone who stands on a stage is examined, observed and has to live with it. They belong together. Where wood is chopped, splinters must fall. That's the way it is.
Puss: Courage and fashion belong together, regardless of whether it is about fashion or about being in focus.
Gunnar: To that extent we are fashion, yes. (laughs)
Info: MiA will play on December 15, 2016. 8 p.m. in Täubchenthal in Leipzig.
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