Five Questions And A Playlist: Klaus Johann Grobe
Having toured extensively since 2014 with the likes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growlers and Temples, Klaus Johann Grobe are now gearing up for the release of their third album Du Bist So Symmetrisch. With a sound that continues to defy description and blur the lines between dance music, synthesis and kosmichse, 'Du Bist So Symmetrisch' follows the path laid out by their previous Basel Prize-winning album by incorporating slinky, jazz-laced grooves and braiding them with monstrously funky bass lines.
We caught up with the Swiss duo ahead of their only UK headline show at The Shacklewell Arms on 24th November to discuss music scenes, career paths and the value of music in the digital age.
Du Bits So Symmetrisch is out on 26th October on Trouble In Mind records.
Buy tickets for their headline show here.
Who were your favourite bands / artists at the age of 16?
D: 16 was kind of a changing point. I started working in a office just next to a record shop where I went to almost every lunch break. Before that it was stuff like Bob Marley, The Doors or Nirvana. And suddenly it went so much more diverse. Electronic stuff like Plaid or Jan Jelinek, I was fascinated by Aphex Twin (which I can’t listen to anymore) or even more experimental Acts. There was Jazz, Funk, HipHop, Trip Hop… Oh boy, I would love to be at the very beginning again!
S: Yes, good times! That was when I was mostly staying at my best friends house, smoking, playing organ and watching weird movies. We discovered the Norwegian Euroboys back then and they blew us away. And then we watched Fritz The Cat and couldn’t believe how good and raw the music was. We only knew funk and jazz from the whole Mowax trip hop records. Oh and I was heavily in love with Beck!
When did you realise music could be a career?
D: Since Kindergarten the only career I was able to imagine was being a musician. I wasn’t really aware of what that would mean in detail of course. And then there was this one moment, when our first EP suddenly gained a lot of interest and Sevi and I set in our shitty rehearsing cellar and thought like, uhhh, this could really work.. But still not sure if this is a proper music-career what we have right now.
S: Yes, that was in 2012. I think before that I never really thought of music as a career. Even though I always told my friends from very early on that, one day, I will release a record. And as Dani said, it doesn’t really feel like a career. That's probably healthy?
Do you have a job outside of music?
D: I’ve always been working in coffee shops. It keeps you in touch with friends and is really flexible. Sevi has his own graphic design studio together with his wife. And since this year he works as a booking agent. As long as it works we’d really like to keep our jobs so live isn’t just happening in one small bubble…
S: The bubble of cool, like minded musician friends!
How well is live music music supported in your hometown / city?
D: Always hard to tell. We live in Basel and Zurich in Switzerland. Basel definitely needs more live venues, Zurich somehow has all you need but maybe not enough open minded listeners. Anyway, the music scene in Switzerland is pretty sparkling these days…
If you could make one change to the music industry to help bands / artists in your position, what would it be?
D: The one thing I don’t understand is how everything digital completely lost its value. Not only music. I know I’m old-fashioned but it is just not sustainable. I hope this will change before we consume computer-generated stuff only.
S: Yes, definitely the appreciation for art and the willingness to pay for certain things. I’m still not over the, ‘Wait what? €10 for the show? Nah that's too much. Let’s eat something and then take the cab to that other venue where we can enter for free shit’ mentality.
It’s so weird how people, for example, fancy some ice cream and the buy that for €4 without thinking but if they want some cool music they rather search two hours to find it for free on the web than paying €4 for it. I still don’t get it.