Kafka Tamura – [Interview]

Vor zwei Wochen haben wir Kafka Tamura auf dem Lunatic Festival in Lüneburg getroffen, um ein wenig zu plaudern. Sie haben uns erklärt, wieso sie auf der Bühne fast klingen, wie auf dem Album, wieso sie nur noch zu zweit unterwegs sind und, ob ein Nachfolger von ihrem Debüt Nothing To Everyone geplant ist.


I really liked your show! But what comes to mind instantly while listening to you, is the fact that it sounds exactly like on the record. At least more than it usually does. So, also considering your past as a producing duo, do you like playing live?

Emma: Yes, we do! It’s very important. Everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, but it’s very important to go and put yourself out there as well, so people can listen to you.

Gabriel: I always have the feeling that there are two different ways of doing it live. One is to move away from the things you’ve recorded and the other is to try to make it really sound similar to the record. Right now it’s more, like you said, that we’re very close to the record. But I can imagine that this might change when the band develops further. We’re producing a lot of our music on the computer, so most of it has never been played live, before we go on the stage. So even for us this step is discovering something new. We’re not a band which is jamming some songs over and over and than going on stage and playing the same stuff. Before we’re playing live, we have to learn to play the songs we created before. Maybe that’s the reason because we’re doing it like this until now.

So this very technical producing process you talked about was mostly because Emma was living in Southhampton and Gabriel in Germany. Did you now start to jam since Emma moved to Berlin?

Emma: No, we still don’t. Because it was never like that and the old process is just how we do it. Actually I think it will always be like that, because it’s how it works for us.

Speaking of the big distance between you two when you started the band. You haven’t met, like a “normal” band, but through Soundcloud on the internet. Quiet uncommon.

Gabriel: I don’t think it’s that uncommon anymore. Everyone says it is uncommon. But actually I think that lots of people meet like this nowadays.

But you have to admit that it wasn’t this typical romantic band story of meeting someone in a bar and just start making music together, but more a business decision. Because you, Gabriel, and your former partner Patrick searched the internet for a professional singer, fitting your style of music.

Gabriel: Yes, maybe that’s how it started, but now it became something different. Also because we are not three people anymore, but just the two of us. So things changed.

Emma: Maybe it was kind of a business decision. At the beginning that was kind of the way we went about the music, but I don’t think that it is like this anymore. Now it feels more like we met on the street or were friends before.

So even over the distance becoming friends worked. Even though you probably did not meet that often.

Emma: Actually we met quiet a lot.

Gabriel: Maybe that was one of the reasons why it was so important to play live. So we will see each other. (laughing)

Did the language barrier between you play a big role in the beginning?

Gabriel: No, not the language, I think. Maybe more the age and culture. We had to learn that some things would offend people in the one country that wouldn’t in the other. In Germany you sometimes do stuff that can offend people in the UK and the other way around.

Do have an example for this?

Gabriel: I don’t know. In the UK everyone is really polite.

Emma: Yes, in Germany all of the people are straight to the point and not sugarcoating anything. You just say how it is and I wasn’t used to that. And I’m still in the process of getting used to the Germans.

Gabriel: I think there was this one time, when I, kind of, insulted the English crown, when I said that that I don’t care if Prince Williams gets a child and I said it in a really bad way in front of Emma’s parents. I think that was really offensive, but I didn’t realise.

Emma: That was so disgraceful!

You already mentioned that you are just two people now, but started as a three piece. How did this happen?

Gabriel: I think we just had different opinions about what the band should be about – or actually what everything should be about. So it wasn’t like we kicked someone out of the band, but we decided together that it would be better if just Emma and me continue the band and Patrick goes another way. We all agreed that it is the best for all of us.Kafka Tamura_NothingToEveryone_Album CoverLet’s talk about how you’re producing. At the beginning of the band Emma was just 16 years old and quiet unexperienced in comparison to the rest of you. So Gabriel and Patrick produced the music and Emma sung and wrote the lyrics. After a few years, is there still this kind of hierarchy in the band? 

Gabriel: Not anymore.

Emma: When Kafka Tamura started of, I was very shy and unconfident with myself and I always felt like the two of them were way more confident. But being on stage and writing more and more – every show is like a confidence boost. When everybody claps it’s always like: “Ah okay, it’s not that bad”.

Gabriel: I think we now played something around 100 shows together and that’s more than most people ever play in their entire life, so the gap is closing. And also in the writing Emma becomes more and more part of the whole process. In the past it was more like we had some music and Emma would sing over it, but now it works both ways. There are compositions from Emma on the guitar and then I try to keep parts of it. So there are not these two layers anymore.

You also played guitar on the stage today. Did you do this from the beginning?

Emma: Yes, I did it before, but it wasn’t the guitar that I wrote. So I always found it kind of difficult to kind of get a hang of it. Now it’s the guitar that I did, or mostly did, so it’s much more natural to play it.

Probably that’s also a reason why the new songs, you played today, sounded very different to the old ones. Way less melancholic and calm. Is this the direction you want to go to? And do you work on a second record?

Gabriel: Definitely! We are slowly working on new stuff, but as the whole band changed it takes a bit of time. But we will go for a second record for sure!

A lot of the critics said that the first record “Nothing To Everyone” was too undynamic and sounded quiet homogen. Is that something you learned and want to change in the new material?

Gabriel: Yes, we will! Actually that was because all of the songs were in the same key on the first record. But now we want that everything is more natural.

Emma: Yes, the first record felt a little bit unnatural and contrived and we want the second one to be more open and more like: It is what it is. We want to just make music and don’t think about it that much.

Kafka Tamura – Tourdaten:

  • 01.07. Lärz – Fusion
  • 11.07. Leipzig – Arena am Panometer
  • 13.08. Berlin – Wilde Möhre Festival
  • 01.10.Wien – Waves Vienna
Chris Umbach

Gründer von reissnadel.com - studierte, neben dieser Sache mit Musik, irgendwas mit Flugzeugen im Norden Deutschlands und geht, ab und an, auf orangefarbener Schwalbe auf Reisen.

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