Kadavar's Lupus is coming to visit!

Precision German engineering...

Kadavar guitarist and vocalist Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann is in a hotel room in Germany, at the tail-end of the band’s European tour. It’s Friday night in Australia and I’m half-cut. The phone-line is terrible. But let’s push on and discuss all things retro and velvet pant-like.

Kadavar will be landing this week to kick off their Australian tour with Blues Pills; it’s your first time in Australia so what kind of ideas do you have about this great, brown land? “We’ve heard a lot of good things about Australia and we’re really looking forward to meeting all the people down there.”

A lot of European acts tend to play only a handful of dates but you guys will be playing 14 dates – why so many?  “We got the offer and we like to go to countries and play a lot of shows as much as possible. We just like to play every night – and if you do all this travel to come down there, it just makes sense to play as much as possible.” And your view on touring with Blues Pills?  “They’re one of our favourite bands. We’re really good friends and if you ever see them live, you will love them. They’re great; great vocals, great rhythm section; they’re really nice guys and I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun together. It’s always good to have a really strong band on tour with so we can push each other to become better and better.” After Australia Kadavar will be jaunting over to the US for a number of dates – Lupus is very excited about this.

Your latest album Abra Kadavar (which is also the band’s second album) has seen Kadavar hailed as the latest and greatest new blood of the doom/psychedelic movement; do you feel any pressure or do you just do whatever takes your fancy? Lupus plays the whole thing down: “We’re not in the practice room going ‘How can we become part of the scene or part of the new wave?’ We have fun and we like to play that kind of music.” He explains “We only had six weeks to write and record that album so there wasn’t much time to really think about what we were doing – it just came out of our fingers and our heads – and that’s what we recorded. We just recorded what we wanted to.”

The majority of Abra Kadavar was recorded in one room (in drummer Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartlett’s studio), as Lupus notes “We recorded everything ourselves, mixed ourselves and mastered ourselves – all made in one little room in the north of Berlin.” I’m with you on this one; everyone recording together – none of this drum tracking one day, guitar the next. “Of course! And I’m sure you can hear that on the record. It only works if all the people are playing together; of course, it’s never perfect and there are always little mistakes when you play live but I think that’s what a real record is about; this is a moment that you’re recording. Sure there are mistakes but that’s the sound and that’s the feeling the band gets when they play together – and you catch that moment and record it and I think that’s more organic and real than it would be if you recorded each instrument separately, and work it out later and maybe do a lot of over-dubs. But this is just how we recorded it; really simply and not fake. We really like that sound.”

And playing live, do you go in for improvisation and rambling jazz solos? Lupus says ‘Nein’ because “Every part is worked out and there’s no place for jamming – we’re not a jam band; we’re too German for that, I guess!” He laughs as he adds “German bands are not made for jams. That’s what I think – we’re just too strict in our heads! We have too much structure! So most of the guitars are written but sometimes we change it a little bit but the songs have a structure – that’s the only way for me to put all my energy and power in to it because I don’t have to think because I know the part and what’s coming next and I go deep into that instead of being like ‘Oh shit! I don’t know what to do and I’ve already played every note that I have’ so we really try to make it clear what everyone does on stage and I think it works really well for us.”

And how do you get that distinctive retro sound that you love so much? “We have old equipment; old guitars and old amps but I don’t think that this makes it sound old. We try not to use too many pedals and we try not to use too many effects, we try to keep everything as clean as possible; we really use the sound of the amps and try not to use too much distortion.”

Seeing as Abra Kadavar has been so well received, do you think there’ll be pressure to get more technological with the next album? “I don’t think that we will change much because it works. Of course the third album is going to be really different because now we have a new bass player (Simon ‘Dragon’ Bouteloup) and he has a totally different style. If you change one person in a three-piece band, you’re gonna change the whole sound of the band so the album is gonna be different anyway but I don’t think we’re gonna change much with the sound itself.” He ponders the possibility of future collaborations but he’s not sure who with – though he’s keen to point out that “We’ll try not to change too much: no digital recordings and no over-dubs, stuff like that. We try to keep it whole because that’s the way we like to work…”
And with that, our time is up – though I did find out that the new album was recorded on a 16 track, one inch tape machine; a rare and beautiful thing.

Kadavar – hitting our shores this week.