“When we are in the room doing our thing nothing really manage to enter this circle.”
Elif Dikec, Isabelle Pabst, Yotam Schleuniger and Felix Nisblé are most of all a gang, one you rarely find out there in the jungle: they are standing at the same time tight together and still they are always up for a good, productive discourse. Well, I guess that´s why they are Tired Eyes Kingdom, a still young band in search of their identity. It is a privilege for us listeners to be able to join them on their ride to find the right sounds, words and pictures in this so often so wrong looking world.
A conversation on the debut ep “Tired Eyes Kingdom” and the videoclips to the songs „Will“ and „Edge“.
I wonder what each of you sees in the lyrics to „Edge“?
Isabelle: Actually the meaning of the lyrics is not a stable thing for me. It’s more like they get coloured by perspective or the situation I’m in. The video is reflecting one of these perspectives. Singing lyrics again after some time has passed can bring surprises. But one thing that really sticks with “Edge” is the fact that you can find your own shadows with your counterpart.
Elif: The lyrics to “Edge” is for me mainly about a woman craving openness and her realising how it’s not the end of the world if she actually speaks her feelings out.
Yotam: Unfortunately I really don’t give much thoughts to lyrics but to the mood and journey they take me into – unless it’s like Conor Oberst or Bob Dylan where a story is presented. I let the mood take me without thinking about it too much. The girls hate me for that, but luckily theres so much else they hate about me for, so this subject gets pushed a bit to the side.
Felix: For me there’s also no fixed interpretation for the lyrics. As a producer and beatmaker I hear the lyrics more as an instrument in the whole composition. But in every song, there are phrases that I like the most and that represent my feeling for the song.
Could you share some insights on the process of making the videoclip to „Edge“ with us? Is this the common sense of you four? Or more likely the vision of director Alexander Ritter?
Yotam: Yeah, most of it was Alex. We actually had a lot of drama with the production of this clip, like changing the whole production team a week before we were supposed to shoot etc. Besides that we only had some guidelines – like we didn’t want to be in the clip ourselves, we wanted Lise Wolle as the main actor, and of course something spooky for the vibe.
Isabelle: Exactly, our wishes were: dark, unhealthy magnetism/poisonous relationships and Lise Wolle. Having Lise as the main character alone is pretty „Edgy“. The rest of the concept was then developed by Alex and Lise, whereby Alex presented a very musical directing-style.
One does not have to read the credits to the clip to realize how serious the team behind it is. How many days did you guys film? And may I ask how big the budget was?
Isabelle: We had two long days of shooting. Luckily all the people who were involved fell in love with our music and did it all out of passion for their job. We’re very thankful that we had such talented and motivated people on board. In the end we only had to pay for the equipment, so the overall costs where not too high.
Elif: Again it was Lise who brought the whole team together, she basically were the producer for the whole clip. And yeah, we were lucky, that the whole crew were really there for the sake of ‘doing it’. We’re very grateful for that.
Of course we have to talk about that „Ultra Surf“ shirt in the clip – whose idea was that?
Isabelle: This detail was Alex’ idea. Apparently his plan worked. But we don’t want to give away too much and leave the inerpretation to the viewer.
Felix: I don‘t know about the shirt but after the shooting I got the swim shorts. Because I needed new swim shorts.
Elif: Lise Wolle looks good in everything, that’s the lesson to learn in this story.
While the clip to „Will“ is very much atmospheric, the one to „Edge“ is über-narratively. To be honest, in the first moment I was quite surprised about this direct form of communication as Tired Eyes Kingdom to me so far is more likely blurred in its aesthetic approach. Watching the clip again and again, I digged that is is quite contrary to the song and by that mirrors it.
Isabelle: Thats correct. The clips are in a way reflecting the songs. In „Will“ the lyrics are quite open for interpretation, whereas in „Edge“ the meaning is a bit more fixed.
Felix: You are right, the videos are very different, which is not a problem for me because they both are connecting to their song. Also we are quite a young band and maybe we still have to take some time to define our style.
Elif: The “Will” video is again a very brave moment for us, or more on the thin line between bravery and stupidity. The recording of “Will” was taken from our second gig ever, full of mistakes but still also full of soul. Stefanie Grawe and Michael Möckel were so kind to work with us and provided us with their beautiful interpretation to it.
„Edge“ is the opening song of your debut ep “Tired Eyes Kingdom” which came out about two months ago. You decided bravely for the DIY way of doing all by yourself. How does this feel so far?
Felix: One of the main reason to release our first record DIY, was that we wanted to decide the releasedate by ourselves. All of our friends knew for a while that we were working on music, but they could never listen to it. Through the DIY-way we were able to decide the right moment to share our music. Of course this brings the consequence of carrying all the workload, besides our solo projects, day-jobs etc. Its not always easy to find the energy for this, but its also very rewarding when we are getting positive feedback.
Yotam: It’s terribly tiring and there are many moments of second guessing everything that we do since we walk this way blindfolded so to speak – but we very much still in love with playing together and when we are in the room doing our thing nothing really manage to enter this circle. Which gives me the power to keep on going and try to make great music.
So, what´s next for Tired Eyes Kingdom?
Yotam: We plan on releasing a live video from our album. We are also planning on releasing a new song and video begining of next year. And we will go back into the studio to record our second album which hopefully will come out next spring. On top of this we are in the process of working on our live show with the intention of bringing more live visuals and lights into the mix. And as always working on new music is the number one priority – the only that we seem to be good at!
Elif: I’ll tell you what’s next with TEK: it has to get big enough to earn me an artist visa. OK, semi-kidding, we will be in studio this winter, this time for an album. There’s so much to arrange and record, this already makes me drool.
To end this lovely conversation, could each of you please name hers/his favorite videoclip right now?
Isabelle: Son Lux “You don’t know me”
Yotam: Noga Erez “Balkada”
A new one clip from Noga Erez. She’s on the rise and one of my best friends is playing drums for her – this track is my favourite from her new album and my home town Tel Aviv is here in some of it’s glory
Felix: Aphex Twin “Come to daddy”
Getting still goosebump everytime I see it.
Elif: Athena “Ses Etme”
It’s already a year old, but I wanna send you this video, from the Turkish indie band Athena. This was already my favorite track of their latest album, but then they came up with this video to draw some attention to the attacks and murders of trans people in Turkey. The murderers are sentenced only for very little amount of time, that is if the case is ever taken seriously enough to catch the murderer. Athena is a famous band and their videos run on TV regularly so I respect them very much for coming up with a statement instead of having it easy or making sure they don’t cause any commotion, especially during these weird times when the country has turned into a place that a single harmless statement can get you jailed for unknown time.
Remark of the author: I met the four musicians of Tired Eyes Kingdom through my teaching at Institut für Populäre Musik at the Folkwang University of the Arts.
But this does not had any impact on my journalistic decision to cover them here on kaput. I only do so cause they kick ass.