Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt’s scene is dependant on the weather and “Right now because it is summer, I like to go to the lake, ride my bike”. A scene that is a direct contrast to the enormous emotional energy that is unleashed show at every Kadavar show. Whether in a remote pub in the Macedonian mountains, facing huge European festival crowds or hundreds of fans at the Cherry Rock festival in AC/DC lane, Kadavar always deliver a furious and tight set. So it is difficult to believe that Kadavar have around only since 2010. Bartelt explains that the maturity of the band’s sound is due to extensive touring. “Definitely by gigging, by the time we had come to Australia for Cherry Rock, we had been on the road for two years. We practice a lot too, from Monday to Friday. Not on the weekends. It was always my dream but I never really thought it could happen. I moved to Berlin because I wanted to be a musician and wanted to work with musicians, as a sound engineer. But that we met five years ago, and made it that far, that was a lucky accident that I didn’t think of. We had another bass player when we started. We split with him before the second album when we got back from the states and we had to find someone really quick and that’s when I called Simon that day and he had to learn everything in five days. He had been living in Paris but had moved to Berlin, he had been our driver, and I’d always loved his way of guitar playing so he was our only choice”.
Now Kadavar is releasing their third studio album, Berlin. Berlin was created differently this time round; it was recorded live in the studio on the band‘s own analog gear again so it features a distinctly audible sound and captures the band at its best, both with songwriting and with arrangements. A sound that Bartelt describes as “Steroids. Washed down with a couple of beers”.
The band, Lindemann, Bartelt and Bouteloup, spent more time on the recordings than ever before. Bartelt states: “We started in January and had a three month period in writing the songs. Then we went to the studio in April and finished the whole thing by May. All in all it was about four months”. It was a much more relaxed process for the band this time round. Bartelt continues, “Last time it was really a big rush. We wrote the songs in just two weeks and went in to the studio. That was maybe a little too fast. Like this time, I had the feeling I could go home whenever I didn’t feel like doing anymore, whether it was three in the afternoon or six. We could just say let’s keep it at this for today, tomorrow is another day. It was more relaxed. And definitely more fun to do it this way”.
Though relaxed, Berlin is still hard faced paced music Kadavar is renowned for. Bartelt says, “It’s hard to say. The way we wrote the songs. For example, I might have a melody in my head; they fly by all the time. I don’t know where they come from. Mostly when I’m laying in bed at night and you take that and you try to create the energy with the three people in the studio the next day. You have to imagine this room, this big basement, where we’ve been rehearsing for years and it’s our little space and nobody else is coming in. It’s just about playing music down there and especially because we are a trio, creating this energy together and also it’s what inspires us to write music like that”.
For Bartelt, the track that was more rewarding was See The World With Your Own Eyes. He states: “It is the most far out, the most melodic, it has this big chorus. With harmony, vocals etc. the lyrics. We were at a stage were everything was fine and this song is kind of a manifestation of that. I was really happy when that song was done. The chorus/melody was mine about when we had a jam together but the chorus/melody was one of my weird ideas yeah”.
Bartelt takes the process of songwriting seriously, and personally. “If you look at a band, definitely the drummer is always just a rhythm machine and you wouldn’t think that he was thinking about the melody as well. But I am also a record producer and a sound engineer – I think about music a lot. I write a couple but most of the stuff is by Lupus, he’s the lyricist, but I help out”.
The decision to use someone else’s work for a bonus track was difficult at first but fit perfectly once Nico’s Reich der Träume was heard. Bartelt states: So the first idea was to have a German cover version because we called the album Berlin and maybe this would have been a special track to round the whole thing off with German lyrics because everything about Berlin was ‘Oh it’s such a great city…’ blah, blah, blah and it that was so boring. And we were sort of stuck and one day Simon came up with this song and it was intense and we were like yes. I guess it’s about death and about drugs. A really bad moment really. It’s more depressing song, and it’s intense feeling of loneliness and desperation. Sometimes I feel about that in Berlin, there are good and bad moments. Maybe that is what I like about those lyrics. They are simple and it depends of your mood, you can read it either way”.
Maybe that’s why the band members converged in Berlin. Maybe that’s why they’re eager to tour the new album. Bartelt says, “they will hopefully back in Australia in 2016. The tour will end in Europe at the end of 2015”.
Kadavar’s Berlin is out now on Nuclear Blast.