How does the city of Vienna speak to you in your creative musical pursuits?
Cobblestone streets echo whispers from the big history of a former empire. The timeless morbid flair of Vienna forms the typical Viennese with his grumpy mood, pessimism and cynicism. But there is also another side of Vienna. Eat Schnitzel and cake and dance waltz – likely at a funeral party. Who knows, maybe tomorrow we are six feet under. Enjoy life! My favorite saying is: Only James Bond lives twice. And I created that saying.
There is an inspiring tension between pessimism and joy of life. I want to hold back the grumpy mood for when I am in the age to choose my urn. Now I enjoy Wiener Schnitzel. So, my songs have a positive mindset.
And musically: Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven. Strauss worked in Vienna, the City of Music. That’s inspiration enough until World War III.
By the way: Vienna was named world’s most livable city again in 2023 according to Economist’s annual index.
Do you own a cat?
I had two cats, but they passed away. I hope they had a good life.
Well, I was thankful for being allowed to live in their flat and to be accepted as butler.
But aren’t some ladies like cats? And that is what my song “When the Cats Come Out” is about: the feline flair of ladies in nightlife.
What was your musical upbringing like?
When I was in basic school, I was educated in piano for four years. I reached “For Elise” by Beethoven level. As teenager, I was a pop music fan and borrowed a guitar from my sister. By the way – I never returned it to her. I put on records and played along with. Most groups had a too difficult chord progression for a beginner in their songs. So, I put on Rolling Stones records. Blues was easier to play along with. That’s why I think I have a little Keith Richards in my hands.
Do you play a musical instrument?
Not only one. Keyboards and guitar and vocal cords. In my recordings, only drums come from the computer. Can a free spirit play in pace? Ah, there is another instrument I can play: triangle.
What was the songwriting process like for “When the Cats Come Out”?
I was watching ladies in a bar and I thought that they look and act like cats. So, I had the idea to make a song about cats in nightlife. But the lyrics should be open for interpretation. Is it about cats or ladies?
Next was to find a melody. Finding a melody is not so hard for me, I struggle with lyrics. English is not my mother language. Hmmm, I should watch more CNN or BBC on tv.
And I wanted a catchy, recognizable opening chord.
Well, the rest was creative work. While recording the vocals I had the idea with this high “uh uh uh.” You have to leave space for improvisation.
How was it working with effects and green screen?
It is not the first time I acted before a green screen. The challenge are the lights so that you can easily cut out the figure.
With effects, I always want to remember to take as much as possible but only if it fits to the pictures. Effects yes, but not for effect‘s sake.
How has your experiences led you to where you are today?
Oh, with this question I feel like a knocked-out boxer.
I can only say: learn, learn, learn – and never surrender. I bought books about classical composing as well as song books of pop bands. Books with poems and ballads, about photography. I watched, and still watch, tutorial videos in internet.
I offered bands free music video and interview and with connections a broadcast in local tv. All bands agreed and I learnt producing videos.
I played in bands from punk, hard rock, to ball night music. Ball night music – what a monkey job.
That’s why I am where I am: already 10% of the big way behind me.
What was the most difficult part about creating “When the Cats Come Out”?
Recording vocals is always a challenge. I try hard to overcome my European accent. So, I put the lyrics to a text to speech service in the net and choose US English. Then I listened the pronunciation and try to imitate that. And I should catch the right tone and sing in pace (OMG what more…).
So, I usually take ten, sometimes up to twenty, takes until I am pleased and fed up with the song after two hours screaming the same song through the headphones into my tortured ears.
So much effort only because I was not born in New York City.