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staubkind2Interview with

Louis Manke (vocals) from Staubkind

At the end of April, STAUBKIND comes to Russia for the first time. And in the light of this event there appeared a good chance to ask Louis Manke, the mastermind of the project, some questions about his music, concerts, future plans and other things of the kind. I like STAUBKIND’s songs, the atmosphere they convey, but I was surprised to realize that I didn’t know much about the band. So the questions may be not too global but the interview turned out to be interesting. I really hope you’ll like it, too. Just read and enjoy!

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): 10 years, it’s really a long time, so could you say something about the band’s early years? How did everything begin? Was it a difficult decision for you to leave TERMINAL CHOICE and to start your own project?
Louis: Actually, I didn’t leave TERMINAL CHOICE. The band is still existing but next to all the projects of Chris Pohl and the other band members – and of course – next to STAUBKIND there’s no time to get together at the moment. I started to do my solo project when I moved to Berlin in 2004. Then I started writing my own songs which were published in spring of 2004. The first time was very exciting for me – first own record, first solo concerts – everything new for me. But I’ll never forget the first tour when we got to know each other as a band, when STAUBKIND came to live. It was a lot of work during the years but it slowly grew up and I’ll never forget the beginning of it all.

RoD: How did you come with the name STAUBKIND for the band?
Louis: The name is a result of the period in my life when STAUBKIND started. I left my hometown Dresden in 2003 and started a new life in “big Berlin”. I had to leave my family, a lot of friends – the “dust” of the past – and started completely new – in a completely unknown part of my life – like a new born child. That’s what STAUBKIND means originally.

RoD: Your songs are very heartfelt with a slant of dark melancholy. So what emotions do you need to write them? What inspires you? And what comes first, music or lyrics?
I can’t say that I need a certain feeling or emotion to write songs. Indeed, I need time to get inspiration, to get a free mind. It’s sometimes hard to find some free space in mind when you’re living the “everyday life”. I take a lot of inspiration by episodes I experience in my surrounding. Of course, I also write about things I experienced myself. But I think it’s important that everybody who’s listening is able to find himself in my lyrics – something everybody could have experienced yet. Music or lyrics first – that’s different from time to time. Sometimes there’s a melody I want to keep in mind and write it down, sometimes it’s a story I want to tell. There’s no fixed scheme.

RoD:  If you had to describe your music only with one word, what word would it be?
Louis: Dreamotion ;-)

RoD:  How important for you is the reaction of the audience, of listeners to your music? What is your attitude to criticism?
Louis: I think critics are important to develop your own style – to avoid standing still. Most important for me is the reaction of my audience. It’s the most direct way to discover what people think about your stuff. It’s a kind of test when you play new songs live for the first time. Always exciting. Like now!

RoD: What bands influenced you or helped to shape your musical taste?
Louis: I like music of very different styles. Maybe I would put it together in “Rock” in general. I like music with guitars. And it depends on my mood – if it sounds more or less heavy or soft. There are some pop-rock songs I like, too. But when I go to live concerts in private it can be hard rock or metal, too.

RoD: Do you have a music education?
Louis: I had guitar lessons and I sang in a choir when I was younger. But I can’t say I have a classic education. It’s more learning by doing. And when it comes to develop or train the voice I’m still not finished with learning.

RoD: Are there any bands you would like to play a concert with?
Louis: Oh, that’s difficult. We have played with some great bands during the years. There were many musicians of different genres we met and got to know. The tour with UNHEILIG
was very exciting and a great experience for us. We have known each other for many years and it was completely great to have that professional team around us and play that big shows.

RoD: What concert could you call the best of yours? What is your favourite song of STAUBKIND or songs if there are several and why?
Louis: Oh, it’s always difficult to say what song of my own is my favourite one. And I think every musician feels like it changes from time to time. There are some songs you’ll discover live and some you like best from the beginning. Of our last record I really liked ‘So nah bei mir’ or ‘Angekommen’. ‘Nur ein Tag’ was the song which surprised the whole band after it was
staubkind1finished. And it’s difficult, too, to name the best concert. We enjoy all our live shows – if they were big ones in front of 10.000 people or small ones in a club. We had great concerts during all the years. You can’t compare one to the other. Every show is special to us.

RoD: And what was the last concert you’ve visited? Or maybe the last album you’ve bought?
Louis: The last concert I visited was HURTS here in Berlin. And I bought their new album, too. I have it on my mp3-player and I’m always enjoying it when I have time to listen to.

RoD: Now STAUBKIND is on tour. Do you like the touring life? Does it bring only positive moments?
In general, I like being on tour. It’s a lot of work – and not just when the bus starts travelling, especially in the time before. And it’s always a special time – like in another world. Everything’s cool – when you’re healthy. The most important thing before and on tour – stay healthy. And if you get sick – stay away from the others ;-)

RoD: And what do you do when you are not touring or making music? Can you describe your ideal day off?
Louis: The ideal day off starts with sleeping long – and then – completely nothing. The best thing about having real free time is to have no plans. Just the opportunity to do what you like. Meet family and friends, for example.

RoD: This will be your first visit to Russia? So what are your feelings about it, any expectations?
Louis: We’re really looking forward to travel to Russia. I had some trips to Russia with other bands and it was always a special experience. It’s our first visit with STAUBKIND and we’re really curious on our Russian fans. It was always a dream of mine to go to Russia with STAUBKIND. That’s why I’m really happy that it finally came true. Besides, Moscow and St. Petersburg are beautiful cities and we hope to get the chance to discover them.

RoD: Your latest album was released in 2012. Are you working on a new material now? How do you imagine the future of STAUBKIND? Do you have any goals or plans?
Louis: At the moment, our fourth album is almost finished. I’m spending almost all my time at the studio at the moment but I’ve almost reached the finish line. It will be published in June, maybe. And in autumn there’ll be our big tour all over Germany. In summer we’ll tour again with UNHEILIG. So there’s a lot we’ve planned for the next months.

RoD: And could you please say a few words to our readers and your fans?
Louis: I want to say I’m really looking forward to come to Russia and I’m excited to get to know the Russian fans. All the shows I experienced in Russia so far were fabulous and we had a great audience – so we hope to meet all of you on our shows and to catch some dreams together!!! See you all soon!!!

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