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Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Interview

Interview with: Christoph Clöser
Conducted by: Michael

Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore hit the scene over two decades ago. Their down-tempo style of jazz which has since been labeled by some as dark jazz or doom jazz hit the spot for many fans throughout the career of this band. With a very healthy tour schedule Bohren have slowly and steadily introduced the world to their music. After two decades and a handful of albums, Bohren are still going strong, albeit as a trio, due to the departure of one of their original members. They have just released Bohren For Beginners an album which should be the perfect introduction for those around the world who haven't yet had the pleasure of hearing their sound. I had the opportunity and privilege of asking Christoph Clöser some questions about the past, present and future of this incredible band. Dim the lights, grab a glass of your favorite spirit and indulge in their music while reading this quite interesting interview!

Michael: When listening to Bohren, I always feel like I've been transported to a dark smokey lounge in some foreign country. Where, I don't necessarily know the culture, all I can feel is the environment and the music. How important is the nightlife to you? Going out to clubs and meeting friends for drinks, or just sitting in isolation, watching the crowds.
: Well, we all like to have a drink, too. This leads one to the other. Sometimes things can be quite simple.
Michael: Many musicians like to set a particular mood in the studio and band-space when working on music. Does Bohren have any specific rituals when preparing to work on music?

Christoph: Coffee and cake are usually enough to reach good results.
Michael: Did you go to school for music?
Christoph: Yes.
Michael: You weren't part of the original line-up but you've been in the band for the majority of the bands existence covering now over 2 decades. How did you meet up with the other guys? Had you heard Gore Motel and Midnight Radio before meeting the rest of the band?
Christoph: A friend told me that the guys were looking for a saxophonist. I knew their music before but I was still surprised what the hell do they want with a saxophone.
Michael: Sunset Mission is still my very favorite Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore album. I even know of a musician who played this as his reception music on his wedding day. How did you see the sounds of Bohren shift from the previous two albums to Sunset Mission?
Christoph: Midnight Radio was recorded and mixed within two days, Gore Motel in 8 hours. Sunset Mission took the band about 3,5 years to record. It was the first album that was done in our own studio to have total control about the recording process. Of course, to abandon the guitar also changed a lot of the sound. This, by the way, had nothing to do with the parting of Reiner Heseleits from the band. He was formerly responsible for organ and synthesizer.
Michael: Black Earth took the Bohren sound to one of the darkest places it has ever gone. A true blend of jazz and utter blackness. Was it the intention to take Black Earth deep into the void or did this darkness reveal itself naturally?
Christoph: I think we have forced it a bit that way because of the titles and the artwork. The music by itself sounds not dark to me. And certainly not darker than our other albums.
Michael: Doom or dark jazz has almost become a genre of itself over the years, albeit a small one. Are you happy to see new artists crop up occasionally with this similar sort of sound? Would you like to see more endeavors like this or would you prefer the Bohren sound to not be mimicked?
Christoph: If it is as you say I feel it as a compliment.
Michael: Do any members of Bohren have any prominent side projects that fans might not know about?
Christoph: I'm the one who has a side project, The Nest. We play a wild mixture of experimental jazz and electronics with surprising melodic moments. Last album: The Nest Sayweenjoy
Michael: Bohren is about to release a new album, Bohren For Beginners. This album is sort of like a greatest hits with some interesting additions. Can you tell us about how this album came about, and for how many years have you wanted to do something like this?
Christoph: The album is a showcase! It is not a best of record, that would have looked different. PIAS, our record company, had the idea. It should lead people who have never heard of us very carefully to our music.
Michael: Bohren For Beginners has a different sort of connotation than Greatest Hits. Do you see the best years of Bohren are still to come?
Christoph: This will be shown. At the moment, however, we are more like a battered boxer.

Michael: Has Bohren already begun working on a new album?
Christoph: Yes, we have.
Michael: Bohren is now a trio, minus Thorsten Benning. Was this a hard split? How do you foresee the sounds of Bohren changing now that there are three members?
Christoph: If a very good friend leaves after such a long time, this is always sad. For the three of us it means more work. We have found a way to play the drums with one of each of our free body parts. So us three are one drum set. Sounds funny but thanks to our slow tempo, it works quite well.
Michael: The saxophone is one of the most recognizable aspects of Bohren, and to me what makes it so great. Is the sax your favorite instrument or is there something else you prefer to play most? How did you get into saxophone playing in the first place?
Christoph: Before I came to Bohren I was fed up with saxophones. Working on our music I saw the possibility to find my way to play the instrument. Great luck. By the way, it was Fausto Papetti, the great Italian alto-player, who brought me to play saxophone.
Michael: Does the band get to spend much time together when not touring or writing new music? Or, do you all have very separate lives at this point?
Christoph: We try to meet at least once a week. But we do not live in the same city anymore. This makes it a bit more difficult than before.
Michael: Will you guys plan to remaster and re-release any of the previous albums like Black Earth?
Christoph: Sunset Mission, Geisterfaust and Black Earth will be re-released on CD and vinyl very soon.
Sunset Mission 11.11.16, Black Earth 2.12.16 and Geisterfaust 13.1.17
Michael: How do you guys feel about the vinyl renaissance? Will we be seeing an official vinyl press of any older Bohren albums?
Christoph:  I see us more as a CD band. But if people want vinyl they get vinyl.
Michael: You guys always have a healthy tour schedule after album releases. Will this pattern continue? Do you still enjoy the shows as much as you did 10 years ago?
Christoph: We never wanted to exaggerate it with tours and will keep it that way. 20 shows a year is quite enough. Plus as a three-piece we are currently at our limit. Playing drums in addition does not make it any easier.
Michael: Your music seems to draw fans from all spectra of cultural and musical backgrounds. What is it about this "doom jazz" music that seems to be so universally enjoyable?
Christoph:  I would say, it is the saxophone...
Michael: Do you think the apocalypse is coming? If so, how do you think it will happen?
Christoph: The 80s are in big fashion again. So I bet on a nuclear war.
Michael: Thank you so much for your time, I'll leave the last words to you!
Christoph: Stay happy!

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore links: Facebook, Official Website