The Munich band Kytes will release their new album "To Feel Something At All" on July 27th. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, drummer Timothy Lush (30) and singer Michael Player (31) explain what is behind the album title, why the four band members have recently appeared in pink suits and why TikTok is a tiresome topic for the musicians.
Timothy Lush: With the third we thought more about where we wanted to go. One premise was that it had to be songs that we really wanted to listen to live. Since we've always been a band that's in the mood for fast, energetic songs, we were able to narrow it down well. The two albums before that were more of a collection of songs that were created over a period of time, and there were also slower ones. We left it in the drawer this time.
Michael Player: Working on the album was also different. We spent a week and a half in Carinthia in an abandoned hut in the middle of nowhere, that was great. Nobody bothers you, you are from your usual environment and can fully focus on the music. There were already ideas for almost all the songs, but we just finished the album there. The structured workflow in these ten days helped us a lot.
Lush: It's a lyric from the song "Out Of Time". We thought long and hard about naming the album like the song title, but we didn't want to single out one song in particular. We found "To Feel Something At All" a good theme, which runs through the album, i.e. feeling something that you want from life. We are all in completely different walks of life. But what definitely unites us is that we want to do something where we really feel something. Be it in private or with the band, it's just good to feel.
Lush: "Out Of Time" has a double meaning, for me it doesn't mean that you don't have any more time, but that something has fallen out of time. That was also a theme of the album, that we're making indie music at a time when we should actually be strategically making music for TikTok. The idea of the video was then that we are time travelers navigating through a galaxy and that time actually does not exist. A designer then made the suits for us to match the astronaut look. We found them so cool on site that we wanted to have them for the stage as well.
Player: I didn't think we'd go through with it, but then they ordered pink, brown, green and red ones right away (laughs).
Lush: In the band we have had the topic for a long time of how we can be more of a unit on stage and whether we should no longer coordinate our outfits. We totally underestimated the effect that suits have. We're not the super stylish crazy artists you instantly recognize on the street. At the Modular Festival in Augsburg this year, we invited our bus in our outfits and at least 25 people wanted to take photos of us. Even I was recognized as a drummer - We felt like real stars for the first time in Kytes history (laughs).
Lush: It's an issue for me because I'd really like to take any chance that people can hear our music. We as a band struggle with it, our marketing team keeps asking us to post something. That's already become a negative trigger word for me - leave us alone, we're just making music (laughs). I don't like it when everyone thinks that's the only way to promote an album. But what I appreciate about the TikTok generation is that the more real and with fewer filters the videos are, the better they work. I like the idea of it and find it likeable because it feels more real than any disguises or elaborately produced videos.
Player: It feels like a lottery to me when a video goes viral. It stresses me out because I think it can't actually be that hard to make a video like this. Other bands that cover songs and aren't even that good suddenly have 180,000 views. At the same time, this comparison with others is really annoying, music isn't a damn competition. It's not about who has more Instagram followers or more Spotify listeners, but the fans should like both and ideally go to both concerts.
Player: I've found myself to be a fan of doing things on my own that don't annoy or burden anyone else. But I think it's very important to admit when you need help, because almost everything is easier with two or three people.
Lush: Even if you're not feeling well, don't be afraid to call your buddy and meet him for a beer. We all do that far too seldom.
Lush: Definitely. To me, they're my best friends and it's crazy that we, as buddies, have the privilege of running a business like this. Nevertheless, I noticed that we also have to work on our friendships. Just because we have band rehearsals three times a week or are in the studio or on tour doesn't always make it possible to have the deepest conversations and sometimes not talk about music. It's always a balancing act.
Lush: Corona definitely hit us. Our second album came out in February, and in March there was suddenly a pandemic. We tried to further promote the album with Instagram live streams etc. And then it was May, June and we had this list of 25 festivals that couldn't happen after all. We tried to muddle along, but then we realized: 'Okay, we have to talk about what that's doing to us emotionally right now. Actually, we would be on any stage right now, instead we're all sitting at home.' In the summer we took a six-week break and didn't have any rehearsals and didn't see each other much.
Player: That was also good for us. We understood that a band is just like a relationship and that even you're with three people and three different characters and it's maybe even more complicated.
Lush: It can definitely be exhausting with three different heads. But we can proudly say that we definitely cultivate a democracy in the band. As in politics, this can also mean that we are very slow in making decisions, because not just one person decides everything, but everyone wants to babble along in some way (laughs). But in the end it's just healthier when there isn't one boss.
Player: It's important for the overall project that people can fully support it.
Lush: Definitely, I like that we have more decision-making power and autonomy, that nobody tells us how our music video should be or what we should spend our money on. At the end of the day it was also a really lucky decision, two years before Corona. So we could make money through streaming. If we had been with any label, we would have only gotten a fraction of the money.
Lush: Because of Corona, I no longer feel insecure. I'm rather grateful and appreciate it more that we are allowed to play these concerts. Unfortunately, we humans always tend to take everything for granted. From time to time we have to keep in mind what we have actually achieved and then celebrate it for a moment.
Lush: As an indie band we want to play live as much as possible. For example, we're trying to play more support shows internationally. We've been doing this a bit longer now and we're not as naïve as we were in 2015 when we dreamed of the world tour. We now know that there is a lot involved and that a tour in America can cost 50,000 euros or more. We're still very up for it, but we want to go step by step, England is the goal for now. We work together with booking agencies and have the idea, for example, that we could bring a band from England to the tour and then simply swap and we'll play with them.
Player: The support shows are simply the best promo you can get. You go somewhere no one knows you and play in front of 2,000 people because you secured a good slot.
lush; I think it is important that there is no monopoly. I think it's important that things like Eventbrite exist and that Eventim doesn't just control everything. At the same time it's like Spotify or Apple, of course you want to play and we also want people to buy our tickets. To go all out and say we don't go along with the whole system is not our thing. There are also advantages for the buyer, you can get tickets quickly, easily and with confidence. Above all, we want it to be fair and people don't get ripped off. Artists should always draw attention to black market and fake tickets and warn fans. So that at least no one buys tickets and can make money with them.
Lush: As a band, you definitely have an influence on the ticket price. We said on this tour that a ticket, excluding fees, should not cost more than 30 euros. We think a lot about, for example, where we're going to play, how much it costs to rent the location and whether it might make more sense to play twice in a smaller hall. Due to the high rents, many bands now leave Munich completely out of their tour planning because it is no longer profitable. I hope that culture doesn't die out here and that there are still places where bands can play. More support from the city would definitely be appropriate.