Hi there. How are you? You just returned from a short tour in Germany. How was the reception and the audience’s reactions?
Duende: We’re doing great thank you. This is our first proper tour we set up in Germany with actually having an album released. We toured Germany a couple of times before but didn’t really have an album out. Now we do and the reception in Germany has been great. In Hamburg and Berlin there were even people with Death Letters t-shirts on and singing along. That’s really amazing for us to see, especially when we feel we’re just getting things started in Germany, you know. And we’re coming back to Germany in the fall with a longer tour.
As DEATH LETTERS. is quite a young band, regarding the musician’s age and the band itself, maybe you could introduce us to the band. What’s your story, where do you come from musically? What is the name DEATH LETTERS. stand for?
Duende: Victor and I have been playing in bands for 9 years now. But one day, 5,5 years ago, I decided to ask him to start a rock-duo, so we did and it felt great. We played a different kind of genre when we first started but that’s all behind us now. We come from a lot of places musically, from really loud Punk/Hardcore to really experimental music to very intimate Indie Pop and everything in between. The name Death Letters is a name I got from Son House, a Delta Blues pioneer. He has this song Death Letter Blues and I thought Death Letters would be a cool name.
Being a duo in Rock’n’Roll, putting the WHITE STRIPES aside, isn’t something you usually expect. Is there no room for, let’s say, a bass in you music? Maybe you could put some light on this development.
Duende: We never started out with the idea that there would be ‘no room’ for bass in our band. We always said to ourselves: if it doesn’t work with just the two of us we’re just gonna ask someone to play keys or bass. I mean I play a lot of bass, piano and synths on the record. There is no limitation when I’m writing the songs, I just wanna make an awesome album. But when we play live it’s different because we are with just the two of us, but I think that’s a good thing because we don’t want to copy the album during live shows, you know. So, we find ways to play the songs live which makes it interesting and exciting for everyone, I think.
I learned that the new album “Post-historic” was recorded at Austin, Texas with Chris Smith, who is known for working with some of Rock greats like THE DARKNESS or the MEAT PUPPETS. How did you get in touch with him and how was the decision formed to go overseas to record?
Duende: Our manager met him during the SXSW festival in Austin in 2010 and gave our Pre-Production of Post-Historic to Chris. Chris literally e-mailed us the next day saying that we HAD to come to Austin to record with him, because he was in love with the songs. So, the idea of recording the album in Austin, TX, USA and adding Chris’ incredible enthusiasm to that really made us want to record there. It was very exciting ‘cause it could have gone completely wrong because we didn’t really know him besides his great work with, especially, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. But it was a great match. It clicked right away between us.
How did the reactions to your newest album turned out so far and are you happy with it?
Duende: It has been very good. The reviews and reactions in Germany are great. I’m really happy with that. It’s always so exciting to see how other people react to something that is so personal to you. And when you get these awesome reviews, reactions and hearing people’s cool words at the shows. There’s nothing like it.
What are the plans for the future of the band? I see that you’re a quite active live band. Does playing live mean more to you than just presenting your songs to an audience? And how does it feel to be only two guys sharing a big stage?
Duende: This year we’re doing a lot of touring abroad, we’re releasing Post-Historic in the UK too, that’s really cool. And in the summer we’re going to record the third album as well. A lot of things are going on. Well, for me personally, playing live doesn’t necessarily mean more to me than creating music. It’s both so different. When I’m writing the songs I’m always in a kind of surreal bubble and nobody besides me gets to hear the songs until I’ve finished them, I love that so much. But playing live also comes with a lot of travelling, seeing different countries and amazing cities, the comradery on tour between your mates which is just as big a part of the live experience, to us, as playing the shows. Touring is one of the most amazing and extraordinary feelings ever. Well, we’ve been playing in this band for 5,5 years now and we did so many shows that it became normal for us to play with just the two of us. It’s really liberating to play with just two guys on stage. It’s not really easier, it’s hard work, but that’s more than worth it. We’re never really self-conscious about that we’re just with two guys, actually. It feels great and that’s what counts, you know.
What are your plans for the future? Where is the road leading to for DEATH LETTERS.?
Duende: Like I said earlier, a lot of touring abroad, releasing Post-Historic in the UK and recording the third album in the summer. I’m going to produce it myself this time. I feel really comfortable with doing that. It’s going to be an incredibly personal and exciting album. I don’t want to sound premature about it, because Post-Historic has just been released in Germany, but it really gives me an adrenaline rush just thinking about it. So, we have a lot of plans for the future. But before a new album sees the light of day we’re doing all the touring for Post-Historic first, of course, including Germany. Can’t wait to get back to Germany. Last time was really cool, but a little too short to my taste, so we’re planning to do a little longer tour in the fall of 2012.
Thank you very much for the interview. The last words, as always, belong to the artist.
Duende: Thank you for the nice questions! And check us out at www.deathletters.net and like us on www.facebook.com/deathlettersmusic. See you on tour. Cheers!