October 2011 - DxBxSx
DxBxSx (better known as Drive By Shooting) has been cranking out releases over the last ten years, but their new album 'Zugriff' is the best thing I've heard 'em do yet. But how to describe DxBxSx to the uninitiated? Well, first off you need to imagine some heavy punk-driven rock 'n' roll oozing from amplifiers that are dangerously close to implosion. Next, think of some raw 1970's heavy rock, combined with some distorted blues and ironic German lyrics. Now, mix it all together and you've got a potent concoction that perfectly reflects today's daily madness. If that sounds good to you, do yourself a favor and check these cats out. For me, 'Zugriff' (review here) was the decisive point to make finally an interview with DxBxSx. All questions have been answered by bassist Timo Tolkmitt and it was really great to find out more about the backgrounds which led to 'Zugriff'. Well, I hope you end up feeling the same way like me.
Congratulations on your new album 'Zugriff'. You can not imagine how much I love it! It's like a fresh breeze, not least because of the German lyrics. Moreover, the album sparkles cheekily with wit and irony and every track brims with authenticity. Are you pleased with 'Zugriff', too, and would you agree with me that this your best release so far?
Hey Klaus, thanks for you warm words. Of course, I would agree that 'Zugriff' is our best record so far. We never had a better drummer than now, we think that we never had a better-sounding record and, of course, the German language fits much better to Angel's voice so I think that even for a non-german-speaking audience we sound much better now.
Who came with the idea to use German lyrics and why did you decide to do this?
It was a kind of a process. Some years ago we had a funny little project called N' Dreiviertel StÃ¼ndchen where we recorded a few punk rock songs in the afternoon at the rehearsal room. Squoodge Records released it as a limited seven inch later. 'Die Ex von Otto' was on that release too, and a lot of people liked it a lot. A few years later I wrote the lyrics for 'Berlin is sooo geil' (or more exactly, I collected phrases of tourists in the streets of Berlin) and it was not possible to translate it into English without losing the humor of these phrases, so this was the second German song. A few days later we lost our drummer and did not find a new one for half and a year or so. During this time me and Angel continued to write new songs and we decided to write 'em in German, because we had a good flow with German lyrics and furthermore we realised that Angel's voice sounds much better when he sings in his native language. So we kept the German lyrics.
The album appears to be as if taken out of real life. It's raw, unfiltered and the songs are characterized by straightforwardness. No artsy-fartsy shit or something similar. How much of your personal life is there in the songs?
Sometimes more, sometimes less, but most of the time we write the lyrics because something pissed us off, so there is also a lot of personal life in the songs.
What's the story behind the title track 'Zugriff'? Did you ever experienced the sudden attack of a special commando unit in your own homes?
'Zugriff' is one of these songs with less personal experiences, it's just an imagination how it would feel if a special unit will smash your door and it comes out in the chorus, because when we wrote the song, Angel said that we need a chorus with a long scream in the beginning - and so it came to the wrong door...
To what extent is the music of DxBxSx a mirror to the social situation in Germany? I ask because songs such as 'Hartz IV oder Superstar' or 'Liebesgrüsse aus Neukölln' show that you're attentive watchers of present times.
Of course. What else should we sing about than all the shit that is going around us? I try to write a love song for years, but it's almost easier to rail against all the shit by which one is surrounded. And, of course, it's more interesting!
The last song is called 'Berlin is sooo geil'. Is that scathing irony or a honest declaration of love?
It's pure and unfiltered irony!!! It gets misunderstood by most people, but I think if you know us a little better or listen to our other songs then there can be only one conclusion: IRONY!!! But of course, I love Berlin even when there are now so much other cities where I would like to live more than here, because sometimes it sucks to live in a city full of "artsy-fartsy-tourists".
You may believe it or not, but I really like the cover artwork. Firstly, because it reflects the fuck-you attitude of your music and, secondly, because it's funny as hell. Who had the brilliant idea and can we expect a t-shirt with this picture? By the way, I would buy one immediately!
The brilliant idea came from Mareike Walter, who had designed the whole artwork. This time we didn't have a cool idea for the record cover so we asked her, because I had seen some of her work and really like her style. So we asked her a few days later after we met and she came with six brilliant and really complex ideas. But that idea was so simple and powerful that we know this has to be our cover! What a bummer that we didn't had that idea by our own, and some people really do not like it, but I think it's some kind of a classic. We are really proud and lucky about that cover!
The album sounds like it's been recorded live in the studio without any overdubs and recording tricks. Am I right with my presumption and which working method do you prefer?
Yeah the basics except for the vocals have been recorded live in the studio, and there are not so much overdubs, with the exception of the pianos and some little funny things you maybe even not hear here and there. Of course, we prefer to record as much as we can live in the studio because it's the best way to keep the energy alive. We also have tried to record it live with vocals, but that's too much for a recording session, because Angel has to sing and play guitar at the same time. As a result, the vocals did not sound particularly good (or better said, the recordings did not sound good). So, we decided to record all the music live and sing over it at the end.
How did it come that you ended up on Elektrohasch Schallplatten?
Quite simply because Elektrohasch Records was the only label that wanted to release the record. And even Elektrohasch knows that we do not fit really between the other bands on the label, but hey, Stefan (head of Elektrohasch) really likes the record, we really like Elektrohasch which led to our really nice vinyl album!!!
Are there already plans for the next album?
We have written more songs and we hope a new record comes out next year!
It's obvious that you practice artistic freedom in your work. Punk, blues, rock 'n' roll and 1970's heavy rock are on equal footing. How important is creative flexibility for you?
I think you just listed our main influences, so it's normal that we sound like a mixture of that, and of course it's a mixture that would attract me most on a band. So we don't think about creative flexibility, we just write songs that we like and from time to time we try not to sound similar on every song (wich is complicated enough haha..)
Have you ever thought about doing a cover of a Strassenjungs song? (preferably from 'Dauerlutscher' or 'Los!')
To be honest, I never listened to Strassenjungs before, because the name of the album and the tracks do not wake my interest (the cover picture of 'Dauerlutscher' does, but not the lyrics). But after we have been compared with Strassenjungs in some reviews, I started to listen to 'Dauerlutscher'. Meanwhile, I really like that record, but we did not thought about a cover so far. But if we had, my favourite song is 'Jet Set Ficker'.
DxBxSx now has been around for ten years. What were your best and worst experiences?
There have been of course a lot of experiences. A real highlight was definitely our show at the campground of the Stoned From The Underground festival in 2010. That was the hottest gig I ever played, and of course one of the best gigs we ever had. No big PA, just we, the amps, the drums and a little PA for the vocals - just as we like it. We enjoyed it so much and I still adore the people who stand in front of us during the show and had a great time while listening to us even though it was 40 degree. It was one of the best gigs of all time. The worst experiences were crossed out ... well ok, being on tour with the Murder Junkies and Merle Allin (who are really only in it for the money and nothing else) was a bad experience.
What is the latest on BEAP Entertainment? Do you still organize shows in Berlin?
I do no organize any more shows in Berlin - it costs too much time and money. But I had a great time during the years and I (and I think you, too) still remember shows like the first ever European gig of Church Of Misery in Berlin or the first shows of Suma and so much more. Right now we just give advice by naming good shows in Berlin on the webpage (www.beap.de), and maybe in the future I will start again to organize shows again. Who knows!?
Yes, that aforementioned show of Church Of Misery was in 2005 at the Rosi's and it was absolutely great! Well, that is already all! Thanks a lot for answering my questions. I hope that you will visit the Ruhrgebiet soon. Here it's as funny as in Berlin. Do you have any last words?
Buy more vinyl!