Tina Sanudakura (synthesizers, theremin, piano, electronica) & Andy Schwarz (vocals, guitar, electronica) from No More
The duo NO MORE is back with a new double album. ‘Kissin’ In The Blue Dark’ contains 29 songs about the things in life and love that can happen to you during the so-called blue hours. The title of the album, borrowed from a Lana del Rey lyric, shows different aspects of love, lust and loss. The songs and the mood on the album are as different as our emotions are. One thing in advance: the album surprises with two very different parts! It will be released on October 14th. In this interview Tina Sanudakura and Andy Schwarz reveal a few things about its creation, their own development since the band was founded in the 80s and the new start of live-gigs after the pandemic.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Your new album ‘Kissin’ In The Blue Dark’ contains 29 songs, spread over two CDs. How would you personally describe the different moods on the two parts of the double album?
Tina: The first CD is Blue, the second Dark.
Andy: Or figurative and abstract.
Tina: Or expressionism, impressionism.
Andy: Or pop and short-pre-pop.
Tina: With vocals and almost entirely instrumental.
Andy: It starts at dusk and ends at sunrise.
RoD: The album is a lot about experiences and thoughts - about yourself, life and interpersonal relationships. How much of your personal life do you reveal in the lyrics?
Andy: We have made more personal albums before. So, in the sense that you reveal private things. We always draw from our lives; we also talk about our own experiences. But it’s not important which part is real or which part is fiction.
Tina: The only song that is so personal that we actually considered releasing it is “The Sun, Henriette, The Sun”.
Andy: The songs are about what can happen between the blue hours in terms of interpersonal, love things.
RoD: Is it difficult to “let go” of the finished work after the creation process, i.e. to publish it?
Andy: No, I’m glad when it’s finished, because then I’m already thinking about the next things.
RoD: Please tell me something about the process of making the album. Did you use the forced break during the pandemic for it creatively? Where was it recorded?
Tina: We recorded most of it in our own studio, then later did overdubs and the final mix at Pink Noise Studio in Aachen.
Andy: We made endless sketches and drafts during the pandemic period, collected them, tried them out and later developed what seemed worthwhile.
Tina: These collages turned into three dozen songs, 29 of which we used for the album.
RoD: Would the album have been different without the pandemic?
Tina: It’s not a “pandemic album”, but of course the time, just like the place, always influences the creation. We had the idea for the album before the pandemic, but it also changes a lot during the making process.
Andy: Before you return to the initial idea at the end.
Tina: And yet everything is completely different.
RoD: How does it feel to be able to present the new songs live in front of an audience now? Do you have a different perspective on it after the time off, maybe a greater appreciation?
Tina: We were honestly happy about the break in the beginning, we had overplayed a bit, needed a readjustment. Playing new songs is really great now.
Andy: The pandemic has changed all of us in our social behaviour, at least for the moment. Add to that the war in Ukraine, economic uncertainties, climate catastrophe. We are all still in such a state of limbo at the moment.
Tina: Music is enormously important now, in order to be able to find more to each other again.
Andy: People are both individual and social beings. Pop music has the great advantage over other art forms that it can be both an individual and a communal experience.
RoD: How important is the personal exchange with the fans for you? Does that also give you some kind of inspiration?
Andy: I am not a fan of the term “fan”. There are people who like our music and we are grateful for that. And at the concert, God willing - or rather the person at the mixing desk, the weather, the vibe - they become part of the performance, the, literally, togetherness. That’s certainly the best thing, apart from the appreciation you get in a personal conversation.
Tina: We didn’t do any live streaming during the pandemic because it was exactly these aspects that were missing.
RoD: After the end of NO MORE in 1986, you came back as a duo in 2008. What did you take with you from the 80s until today? And what have you left behind?
Andy: What did I take with me? The scent of Elnett. Left behind? Chorus guitars and bad moods when someone played wrong.
RoD: When you look back on the 80s - how much did this time influence you personally?
Tina: We always say that we are not an 80ies band, but come from the 70ies. Of course, we flirt with our advanced age, but it’s also the truth.
Andy: The time between 1976 and 1982 was the formative period for us. My first love was glam, and punk was basically DIY glam without glitter, the gutter version. The second, relatively short, love was progressive, and Post Punk was the punky version of that.
Tina: We stopped in 1986 when the 80ies were too 80ies.
RoD: The music industry has changed, people’s listening habits have changed. Especially the younger ones listen to music mostly via streaming and playlists, buy single songs rather than a whole album. How do you consider this development?
Andy: Music is being taken out of its context. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is greater openness, the disadvantage is that the social power of music is diminishing. But change is inevitable. So far in our lives, we’ve been rather lucky that things have mostly changed for the better over time.
Tina: In any case, the music business model is collapsing and nobody really knows where the journey is going. It’s the end of the world as we know it. The top acts are staying on top and the middle class is falling away. All the casting shows and pop academies are of no use.
Andy: We were and are underground, the cockroaches of the business. We survive.
RoD: You do not only produce your own music, but also all the artwork, photos and videos. How important is it for you to bring out your art as a complete work and thus realise your very own visual language to the music?
Andy: Pop has always been sound and vision. Making as much of the visuals as possible ourselves is more important to us today than ever.
Tina: We saved this DIY attitude from the early days into the 80ies. Simply out of necessity, because we couldn’t pay anyone else. And now we also want to control it 100 percent. That’s why we do most of it ourselves.
Andy: We are control freaks.
Tina: And then making it is also fun.
RoD: Is there a place you’ve never played, but definitely want to play?
Andy: New York, Bucharest, Israel, London, Marrakesh, Reykjavík.
Tina: Twin Peaks, Kiev
RoD: With which artist - from the present or the past - would you like to be on stage together?
Tina: Billie Eilish, David Bowie, Gail Ann Dorsey, Iggy Pop.
Andy: Billie Eilish, John Cale, Lana Del Rey and Miles Davis.
RoD: What are your future plans? Do you already know where you can be seen live in the coming months?
Tina: We will only play a few more dates this year and then really get going in spring.
RoD: Thank you very much for the interview!
All pictures by No More