Denise Kylla (bass guitar) & Dennis Sennekamp (vocals, guitar) from Rabengott
Always looking for good new music, I came across RABENGOTT. The Cologne couple Denise Kylla and Dennis Sennekamp founded the project and have now launched their first songs. The latest track ‘The Weight’ was recently released. I talked to them about the background of the band, their music and further plans.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you start with RABENGOTT?
Dennis: RABENGOTT officially started at the beginning of the year. But the idea for it had been around for a long time. I’ve wanted to live out my dark side for a long time. During the pandemic I was suddenly left on my own to make music, and that’s how it developed. We released the first song ‘Kinder der Nacht’ on YouTube, we went on social media - and yes, here we are!
RoD: You are also a couple in private. Was it clear from the beginning that you would do this project together?
Dennis: It wasn’t clear, but it was my wish. I wanted to do the project with Denise. We thought about which instrument would suit her best and came up with the bass guitar. Of course, we also wanted to find out how we will perform and position ourselves in the future. Denise has always been the critical voice in all my musical projects. She really likes to complain and she does it well (laughs). So, we first talked about my ideas and tried to bring in other perspectives to take them further, and that's how it developed. That was also the case with our new song ‘The Weight’.
Denise: But I have to tell you an anecdote about that song. May I?
RoD: Of course, give it to me!
Denise: Dennis would have loved it if I sang the second voice. And I can’t sing at all! (laughs). We tried it out anyway, and I was really embarrassed. He sat there and tried not to laugh and tried to be diplomatic (both laugh loudly). But secretly he already threw everything into the dustbin, and he didn’t want to say that it wasn’t possible at all. So, we decided not to do it (both laugh).
Dennis: But she can still be heard in the background on ‘The Weight’. Out of 999 attempts, one was so good that I could use it (laughs).
RoD: Denise, so you would rather not take over the lead vocals, I guess?
Denise: No way! I won’t take his place! (laughs)
RoD: Dennis, you started making music a long time before RABENGOTT. Tell me about it!
Dennis: Oh, I could tell you all evening long what I have already done. But my serious projects started in 2010, that’s when everything became more professional. I was in a rockabilly band called STARSHOOTERS, and we were already earning money with our gigs. I was on the road with them for a long time. Since about 2014, there’s also the GALACTIC SUPERLORDS, a heavy metal band I play in. I have a very wide-ranging taste in music and therefore feel the need to express myself in different ways. I also still like country music.
RoD: Denise, did you also play music before RABENGOTT?
Denise: In high school I was actually in a band, and I sang! You can imagine how awful that was (laughs). But the band quickly broke up again, because it all didn’t work out. From that point of view, RABENGOTT is actually my entry into the music industry.
RoD: Where do you see yourselves musically? Who inspires you?
Dennis: My concept for RABENGOTT was 80s Goth music. Maybe you could recognise the influence of TYPE O NEGATIVE. THE SISTERS OF MERCY can also be clearly heard, a bit of BAUHAUS, but I don’t deny other influences either. For example, I’m also a huge TOTO fan, which is also the reason why there’s a saxophone at the end of our new track. It was inspired by their song ‘Straight For The Heart’. So, the basis is 80s Goth and Goth Rock, but I don’t want to set myself a limit there.
Denise: I’m a big fan of DAS ICH and of the KRUPPS. Basically, I like EBM, danceable music. You can also hear that in the song ‘Rabengott’. I always try to add more beats to our tracks so that they become even more danceable.
RoD: Do you split who writes the lyrics and who writes the music, or do you both do everything?
Dennis: We both do it. There is no demarcation and no ban on thinking. We have also written lyrics together, we both put our influences into it.
Denise: What I do is complain a lot (laughs). Dennis is the mastermind behind the songs. He composes the songs first and writes most of the lyrics. At the end we listen to them and I say “oh no, I don't like that at all, we have to do it differently”.
RoD: What music did you grow up with, did you learn an instrument? And what did you listen to when you were young?
Denise: When I was a child, I was often at my grandparents’ house, and the radio was usually on. It was WDR 4, and they only played Schlager songs. That’s why I really liked HEINO and STEFANIE HERTEL when I was a child. So, I was socialised with Schlager. But later it became uncool because all the other kids listened to BACKSTREET BOYS and SPICE GIRLS and stuff like that. I didn’t like that so much, but of course I didn’t want to be uncool and turned away from Schlager. Then I listened to what my father listened to, namely ZZ TOP - and ELVIS PRESLEY. I did that for quite a long time until I came to DIE ÄRZTE at some point. Through Bela B, I went in the direction of Goth, and that’s where I stayed. I was about 13 or 14 years old. When I was 18, I went to the AMPHI Festival in Cologne for the first time. Since then, I’ve been in the Goth scene. I started playing guitar myself, but I’m too temperamental. I can’t get that fine fingering, those fine notes. Rhythm is more my world, like bass guitar and drums.
Dennis: I got a small compact stereo when I was six years old. My first music cassettes were a BEATLES best-of and a compilation by ELVIS PRESLEY. And Elvis’ music still accompanies me today. I even have an Elvis-tattoo! The first instrument I learned myself was the flute, but I thought that was terrible. After that, at my grandfather’s request, I started learning the piano. But I didn’t enjoy that either, unfortunately. Today I wish I had persevered, because today I find piano one of the most beautiful instruments you can play. Later my best friend came up to me with an IRON MAIDEN album, so I started learning guitar when I was twelve.
RoD: Is there a concert that is a very special memory for you?
Denise: My first concert blew me away when I was about twelve and I couldn’t calm down for a fortnight. I went to see DIE ÄRZTE with my parents and a friend. That was incredibly cool for me. FETTES BROT played as the opening act, which was also such a cool mix of music. And my first THE SISTERS OF MERCY concert, that was also great, of course.
Dennis: The first concert I gave myself was when I was about 14 in a friend’s basement in front of three other friends. I remember that, of course. When I was 16, I went to a MISFITS concert. That was my first “real” concert, of course I won’t forget it.
RoD: What does music mean to you?
Denise: I have always listened to music as long as I can remember. So much that my parents were annoyed and at some point, I got headphones. Because I listened to so much loud music from a very young age, I unfortunately got tinnitus, which hasn’t gone away to this day. I also like to dance, I danced standard and Latin for a long time, so music has always been part of my life and has accompanied me.
Dennis: For me, music is as important as breathing. So important, in fact, that I have spent many hours making music myself for years. Music has a huge importance in my life, it determines my moods. When I’m in a bad mood, I listen to BEHEMOTH, when I’m angry, SLAYER. When I’m happy, I like TOTO, or when I’m melancholic, it’s country music. So, music is always part of it. But I have to say, music is not as important to me as my family. The people who are close to me are the most important thing for me.
RoD: What’s the next step with RABENGOTT? Are you already working on your first album?
Dennis: Our new track ‘The Weight’ is out now, it’s the third single. I don’t know yet if our next songs will be combined in one album or if they will all be released separately. For me, there is also the question: What is the future of the album? Personally, I’m always very happy about a new album, when I can discover a whole world at once. But you also have to see what people’s listening habits are like. Do our listeners prefer singles or an album? We still have to find and position ourselves. In any case, we have enough material. Personally, I would be in favour of vinyl records. But unfortunately, that is very expensive and has long waiting times. Maybe the singles will come first and then a CD. We will see! Thank you very much for the interview!
All pictures by RABENGOTT / Promo