Sunday, January 4, 2015

Musician Interview: BOERNI K

Interview with Boerni K

You were a solo musician for many years, recording and releasing material for your project Boerni K. Is being a solo artist more liberating for you than playing in bands?
I am pleased for your invitation to this interview, thanks! I can only say it is fun to work alone on a music production! I go fast, because discussions disappear on how to do this or that. I'm able to switch between instruments, depending on what is needed, and don't have to call another guy again to hear that he or she has no time. But I work together with other musicians. I have worked with the jam band Soundtheatre since 1995! We often work together in my studio, depending on which instrument is needed; sometimes a saxophone, sometimes an organ, or whatever else. On our newest CD production Funk Hole (funk/crossover), saxophone is combined with trumpet and synth-brass 'cause for me it's important to do a perfect brass sound! Our latest work is a double CD called Du Und Ich (not finished yet) with Gudrun Rubini (words, vocals) and Boerni K (words, music, vocals, guitar, bass, keys, programming, production) on vocals. It will be shown live too!  Our management will schedule the release-concert for "Du Und Ich" on Easter 2015 in Vienna, followed by gigs in a little Austrian tour. My musicians are international. Drummer Luna for example comes from Switzerland, our bassist is from Sweden and my saxophonist with whom I have played since 1991 comes from Hungary. One singer is from Poland. Just a few to call! I work with singers like Gudrun Rubini, Markus Sis, Bixi, Da Inti, Seta, Dorota Malek, doing my own songs or producing their music. So we are an international troupe who has been working together for many years. And because the people are from different countries, it becomes open-minded. All we want to do is produce great music!

Will Easter 2015 be your first Austrian tour? Have you toured Austria or any other country during your career?
Our management would like us to have a gig at Vienna around Easter 2015, and then have some additional gigs after that! And we are working on Du Und Ich at the moment, and will see if we have the CD finished until then. If we should, a CD-presentation in Vienna would be absolutely feasible and if we don’t make it, everything will just be delayed by a few months and I honestly wouldn’t give a shit if you pardon my French. I want to deliver a solid CD, and time is not really an issue for me haha!

How many different musical styles have you liked as long as you have been a musician? In Austria is it easy to find like-minded people seeking to explore a wider musical spectrum?
I've worked on my music in different styles: folk, pop, musical, classic, rock, metal, jazz, free music and e-music! Here in Austria we've got a number of talented musicians but unfortunately there’s no real market for Austrian music.

Without a market, how many clubs and independent labels exist where Austrian artists can get their names around?
In Austria we don’t really have a music industry! The local bands are having a very hard time getting their CDs and products into the market! A few have “made it” in neighboring Germany, and others founded their own labels to be able to sell their musical productions. Playing live isn’t exactly easy in the rock and metal genre either and there are few clubs/locations which have such events on a regular basis! Every now and then some big name bands come to Austria from abroad, but getting a hold of a “slot” for playing live is not easily done, and most of the times just very, very expensive, so “regular” bands won’t be able to afford it at all. In the US for instance there are uncounted rock music labels and on average rather few E-music labels; in the EU and in Austria in particular it is the other way around: Here we got multitudes of E-music labels and comparatively few metal labels.

How early did you start developing your range of musical influences?
I was nine years old when I started to play guitar with a lot of folk music. Afterwards I started to play austropop and pop! I came across the Beatles and from that point on my definition of music was different! At twelve years old I loved Kiss and Iron Maiden. Then Punk came into my life, which brought me to metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth and finally Slayer!

The Beatles were also my introduction to rock and eventually metal. What first appealed to you about them?
When I heard the Beatles for the first time, I was fascinated by the guitars and singing. Back when I was very young, I always wanted to play E-Guitar and I really liked the whole style of the band and how they looked. I was especially enthralled by the harder songs like A Hard Day’s Night! But also the softer, calmer stuff of The Long And Winding Road were up my alley.

What aspects of the Beatles, Kiss, Iron Maiden and Megadeth have you incorporated into your songwriting?
The Beatles produced so much material as only few other bands did and this had inspired me greatly from childhood on! Kiss is known for their catchy melodies and powerful refrains, so you can take example from them as a rock musician! As for Iron Maiden, you could really learn a thing or two from them when it comes to guitar parts in two and excellent work on the bass, and speaking of Megadeth and Dave Mustaine, they are extraordinary songwriters when it comes to metal and when it comes to solos on the guitar. With these examples it is almost a duty to produce good rock or metal music haha!

What sort of an impact did metal, punk and thrash have when you discovered those genres?
Back in secondary modern school (after elementary school) some of my classmates brought some Iron Maiden cassettes with them. Since I used to listen to Kiss a lot, these “newfangled” tunes from Iron Maiden were awesome and impressed me greatly; the speedy tracks especially. All hell was let loose when we listened to The Number Of The Beast! Sometime later I stumbled onto Megadeth and the road was paved for the harder stuff when I started to listen to Slayer. From that time on the soft times were over and I had a real blast when it came to Death and Thrash Metal. Way back in 1988, together with a friend, I started the band Cheetah featuring Ulli Mhesz on vocals, and we meant serious business when it came to “hardness”! With Ulli Mhesz I formed another band again in 2000 and we played something like rock-metal. You can check out a sample track (Ich Will Sein) on Youtube: youtu.be/QQY2Mae0elY.

How long did it take you to contact musicians and vocalists when you began your career? How much have they contributed to your projects?
Over all those years there were always new people. Many of them I still know from my education as a watchmaker. In 2009 I rented two studio rooms and began with the music production again, only this time a little more serious! From then on I was in search of instrumentalists and especially vocalists. After first contact, mostly on Facebook or similar social networks, I invited them to sessions with me and if it worked we started recording! However, the first base is always my music. I have written about 150 lyrics and set them to music with others or myself. I've searched and found some singers over the years; most live within a radius of 200 km, but some are even farther like our Swiss drummer Franziska Bub!

Inform the readers about Soundtheatre and the material you composed with them. How many recordings does this band have available and which are personal favorites of yours?
Soundtheatre recorded about twenty concerts. Please find our videos on Youtube. We have about ten gigs for free download on soundtheatre.eu! The response to this free download is huge; we already count about 100,000 downloads of songs, crossing over a few projects there. We are proud that we can offer downloads for free. Most of all I like "Dance" and "Extended Version"!

Who were the musicians working in Soundtheatre with you?
Soundtheatre has existed in this form since about 1995! This agglomeration of musicians from very different areas consists of the guitarist/singer Börni Kreindl, Lukas Wällstedt-Brass and Helmut “Budi” Budaker-Keys! In the meantime, the number of members has grown to as much as about thirty! Partly even music teachers from certain conservatories and autodidact musicians bring in their various experiences in this fantastic, musical dream world! The main means of communication is the music itself, which is always recorded “live” only to pop up in the form of a CD or MP3 on our website/distribution soon after. We usually adapt our music to the local conditions and environment and love to get carried away by a positive atmosphere wherever we play.

Where were Soundtheatre’s performances on Youtube filmed? Were your shows filmed by a professional crew, or by personal friends of yours who?
The gigs were recorded in 2007 in the local Wels pub The Soundtheatre. Onstage we had four cams installed which were operated via computer through one technician who controlled the cams live! It is in fact a true live video and nothing was cut at all afterwards!

How long were you and Ulli Mhesz working in Cheetah? Did this band release any full lengths while it was active?
Cheetah existed from 1992 until about 1994. We played many concerts in Austria and self-produced a demo consisting of six tracks. Alas I don’t own a copy of that demo anymore as it was on a music cassette I had lent to a fan who, to my great shock and grief, had thrown himself in front of a train as I learned a bit later, which really saddened me back then.

What was your second band with Ulli Mhesz called, and how much material was released by this band?
The second band after Cheetah with Ulli Mhesz, was simply named Ulli Mhesz Band! We played some gigs in Austria back then and released a few CD-EPs with four tracks and after that also one CD-EP with four tracks as well including the video for Ich Will Sein.

Who filmed and produced your promotional video for Ich Will Sein? Do you work with the same film crew and producers for your videos or do you work with different people on your videos? Are there other videos you have filmed that you deem worth mentioning here? What about these videos do you consider unique?
An Austrian film crew produced the video for Ich Will Sein. The company is owned by a producer of mine, Peter Guschelbauer! Peter also recorded the Soundtheatre studio-live CD over in his own studio. Currently we are working on two music videos. One of these will be done for a single taken from the upcoming double CD Du Und Ich. The song is called Immer Wenn and is performed by Gudrun Rubini doing the vocals. The second video will be done for a track taken from the e-music CD Behind The Moon (eleven tracks will be on it) which should be released in February 2015 if all goes as planned! The video for Immer Wenn may well be finished prior to Christmas, and the single of Immer Wenn will be released at the same time. In January/February next year, a second single, Frei Für Die Ewigkeit with me on the vocals, taken out of Du Und Ich will be released and the release of the twenty-four track CD Du Und Ich itself is planned for around June next year!

How did you and Franziska Bub come into contact? What about her drumming style intrigues you?
About a year ago I tried to get together some musicians for a live band with Dorota Malek, among other ways through Facebook. One day FranZi BuB contacted me there; she liked the demos which I produced with Dorota and hence we got in touch. Here’s a recording; the instruments and production are by me and Dorota wrote the music and lyrics: soundcloud.com/boerni_kb_k/dorota-malek-boerni_k-silence. FranZi plays many different styles on the drums, and her way of playing rock and metal hits pretty much bull’s-eye for my kind of productions! So what she does is just the thing I need for the kind of music I do when speaking about rhythm. She touches my heart with her rhythms; this is just the kind of drums I want for my music. Currently we are collaborating, among other things, on a double CD titled Du Und Ich (You And I). Just lately she travelled here from Switzerland to record six tracks with me for the upcoming CD! There are supposed to be about twenty to twenty-two tracks on the double CD.

Name more songs that feature your lyrics. What generally inspires you to write?
What I would like to mention is the Dark Angel Trilogy In Four Parts. I ended up with four parts as the theme; the topic had me under a firm grip and didn’t let go. The lyrics are about the “Angel Princess”, an angelic lady sent down from heaven to hell to teach none other than the prince of darkness, Lucifer himself, how to love so that heaven and hell can become as one, freeing mankind from evil. Furthermore I would like to mention Frei Für Die Ewigkeit (translated to Free For Eternity) which has the following message: You shall never give up as life will continue even after death. I usually derive inspiration for my lyrics from my life’s experience, hence the text for the song Der Wandel (The Transformation in English), which is a piece of social criticism. There are already various versions of this song with different people doing the vocals. Hence you can not only listen to Der Wandel sung by my humble self, but Bixi and Gudrun Rubini recorded a version of the song together in my studio.

What inspired you to write the lyrics to Dark Angel Trilogy? It seems to reflect many mythological tales in which a protagonist descends to hell for some higher purpose. Did you have any such tales in mind when writing this piece?
The stories behind the Dark Angel Trilogy in four parts actually just happened to come together like that (laughs)! I had nothing in particular in mind, not even writing such a concept. I just came up with the story and it just developed from that on more or less naturally, and captured me entirely. The first part of the trilogy for once explains very well what it is all about and this was a good foundation for me to build upon, enabling me to create three more consecutive music texts.

In what ways is “Der Wandel” a social criticism? How many different versions of this song have been released?
“Der Wandel” simply describes the fact that if us humans won’t change how we treat our planet, the environment, animals and last but not least ourselves, all this could go horribly wrong eventually. Hence it would be high time for a change (Wandel in German), lest all we are doing wrong and how we are mistreating the Earth and everything may fall back on us in a terrible way in the end.

Is your studio a place you bought or constructed? Is it just for rehearsing or is it for rehearsing and recording?
I live with my cousin in a rented house in the country where I have established two rooms, adapted a recording studio and control room. Of course we can do rehearsals here, but my studio is a small recording studio! Mixing and mastering is outsourced. I only do demo mixes.

Is the atmosphere in your rehearsal/recording studio more liberating than rented studio rooms? How much more artistic freedom do you have working in your own environment?
Of course it is pleasant to have your own studio where you live! This situation promotes creativity. I'm able to work in the middle of the night and I can adjust my daily routine to my work! So a good idea will never be lost! It's also cheaper than to pay for two separate places. It couldn't be better!

You and Gudrun Rubini worked on several projects available for free download on Soundcloud. How well do you and she communicate when collaborating?
With Gudrun Rubini I currently have several projects on the run! It is easy for me to work with her; she is well organized and a great person. When she came into my studio for the first time we immediately rocked a few songs! It was genius. You are always able to follow the progress of our projects on Soundcloud. The plan is to load up the demo mixes, where we can hold them available until they get mixed and mastered and go on sale!

What is Gudrun Rubini’s background as a musician and performing artist? How much of the material you recorded with her is available on Soundcloud?
For the last twenty years Gudrun Rubini was a female rock singer. She has been booked in studios, performing perfect harmony vocals and polyphonic choirs. She is working as a vocal and personality coach and she's an author writing lyrics to rock songs. She had rock bands and projects crossing all genres of rock: metal, punk rock and finally Deutschrock, mostly localized to Vienna and Austria. Her site address is gudrunrubini.jimdo.com. For about a year we worked and produced many songs together. It started with an e-music CD production called Behind The Moon where Gudrun did all of the choral work. This was followed by a funk-rock CD named Funkhole, composed and recorded by me with lyrics vocals by Gudrun. Currently we are working on Du Und Ich by Boerni_K and Gudrun Rubini. It includes all our best solo performed rock songs and a few newly produced duets. There are six Soundcloud accounts of various projects where we usually load up some demo mixes until they are released in mastered/mixed form, and are online available on our label Digibrane! The reason for this is, in our opinion fans have to be able to follow our progress, and it is soothing for us if some of them expect our finished tracks. Chris Unger, the head of Digibrane, has finished mixing and mastering Behind The Moon with eleven tracks. They will be available soon!

Name some personal favorites you and Gudrun Rubini recorded together. Have you and she received feedback for them?
The best of them all is Liebeskrieg and Immer Wenn but my favorite song is Witches Of Rock where Gudrun and Bixi have shown strong rock voices. This song has wonderful grooves and has a great rock hymn feel! You can find these three songs on my account on Soundcloud! We received many, many positive reviews, on one hand from Soundcloud listeners but also from our numerous fans. Renowned local music critics posted positive reviews.

How would you describe Bixi as a vocalist? How much material does this singer have out? How well did Gudrun and Bixi work together when recording the vocals for Witches Of Rock? Was this your first time working with Bixi?
Bixi is a highly gifted singer, whose talent goes far beyond rock and metal! I produced the first song with her in 2011, which exists as a demo. Then I had the idea to record a song with Bixi and Gudrun Rubini, which we named Witches Of Rock. In my opinion the song turned out a real “haunting melody” as one could say. Here’s a demo-mix: soundcloud.com/boerni_kb_k/boerni_k-feat-gudrun-rubini-1. Otherwise I am already thinking about the possibility to produce more material together with Bixi and Gudrun, as the two of them harmonize greatly personality wise!

How would you describe Der Wandel to those who haven’t heard it yet?
So far, two versions were published on Soundcloud, of which one is sung by solo by me and in the other, Gudrun Rubini and Bixi are doing the vocals together. The links: soundcloud.com/boerni_kb_k/boerni_k-der-wandel-b_k-mix4 and soundcloud.com/boerni_k-crossover/boerni_k-feat-gudrun-rubini-1. For the next CD to come after “Du Und Ich”, which will be named “Boerni_K + Friends” with Rubin and me for the vocals, another version of “Der Wandel” will be created, with me doing a main voice along with Bixi and Gudrun doing the vocals.

How did you and Gudrun hook up with Chris Unger? Had he produced any of your material previously?
Three years ago Chris Unger and I came in contact on Facebook! A fellow musician recommended him to me! I sent him some demos of my music, he liked it very much and since that day we have worked as a team together! I played some bass and guitars on music productions of his, and afterwards he mixed and mastered our e-music production Behind The Moon on which Gudrun Rubini did the choirs and harmony vocals and Markus Sis sang lead. These will soon be available on Digibraine.

Of all the musicians you have worked with in your career, who are you most likely to record and perform with in the future?
There will be cooperation with the people I have been working with on various projects throughout the last few years! Among them are certainly Gudrun Rubini, Dorota Malek, Bixi and Markus Sis with whom I have been working for several years and also released a few titles on Soundcloud such as Skol, Das Mass Ist Voll, a song about the favorite drug of mankind, alcohol – here is a sample: soundcloud.com/boerni_kb_k/boerni-k-skol-das-mass-ist-voll?in=boerni_kb_k/sets/boerni_ks-metal-set

Are there any new projects you have in mind you want to reveal a little about? What are your hopes for them?
At this point we are actually working on several productions/CDs! Among them are Du Und Ich with Gudrun Rubini and my humble self on the vocals. Also, Behind The Moon (e-music) will be released soon. The lead singer is Markus Sis, choir and harmony voice by Gudrun Rubini. Both of them will be singing the choir parts in Du Und Ich to my vocal songs! Furthermore, we are working already on the upcoming BOERNI_K&FRIENDS CD (rock/metal) on which various artists will interpret my songs! We want to do one music video for each CD, for Du Und Ich to the song Immer Wenn for instance. The video is nearly finished and will be visible on various platforms such as Youtube in the next few months! All we are hoping for is that the finished productions will sell reasonably well, so that we will be able to fund further projects with that money in the future.


-Dave Wolff