Combining a fresh alternative-indie with a hint of out-pop sound, this husband and wife duo from Germany are sure able to bring on one of the most unique stage performance two people can manage. She could live by the sea, he's dreaming about flying and together they make one hell of a perfect match. Their band, SEA + AIR, has toured internationally and performed at about 1200 concerts including some big openers for artists like White Stripes, Jose Gonzales, The Flaming Lips, and Sufjan Stevens. In fact, their first attempt to perform as a duo came when they were supporting Whitney Houston during her European tour in 2010. The most important cultural artifact for Eleni and Daniel is the harpsichord and the classical sound it brings, which was a major factor in their first album, "My Heart's Sick Chord". So, what do you say, wanna get inspired?
|Photo via: uwindsorlance.ca|
Hi Eleni and Daniel, wassup? What's on your schedule right now?
Hey! Since we're working on our new album we decided to try out new songs in some of our favorite cities. For example Ljubljana.
What came first: marriage or the band? I read somewhere that you got married pretty young, so can you share the story behind that "big" decision?
Eleni: The punk-rock band we were in together was first. Somehow Daniel sensed that I would be the band member he was looking for all these years even though I couldn't play an instrument back then. We both were really shy. So it took quite a while until we got together. And then nothing could tear us apart.
Daniel: The moment I saw Eleni I knew she would be good. The way she walked you could tell she could understand 7/8 rhythms without playing an instrument. I asked her if she could sing, she said: "I don't know, but I can scream!". Perfect, since I always wanted to be in a punk-rock band.
How do your personalities complement each other? Are there any similarities with the name of your band?
Eleni: Daniel represents the AIR part of the band. His dreams are all about flying. He also loves watching birds taking their circles. I prefer the SEA. I love swimming and feel safe in the water. As you can imagine I suffer from aerophobia. And big surprise, Daniel is afraid of the depths of the sea.
Daniel: It kind of makes sense as it reflects where we're from. I'm from the mountains of Southern Germany and Eleni's from Aegean Sea. Plus SEA means "she" in German and AIR means "he".
|Photo via: pink-pong.de|
What did the beginning of Sea + Air look like? What were you doing before the formation of this band?
Eleni: As I have mentioned before, we started with punk-rock when we were teenagers. Then Daniel had his solo project where I played the guitar and the keys. There was no steady band formation. A lot of friends joined.
Daniel: At one point in this project we realized how good our voices work together, started using that more and realized this isn't a solo project anymore. So we decided to start from scratch with a new name.
Has your relationship made it easier for you to work together?
Eleni: Well, on the one side it's really easy, because mostly we feel the same way when it comes to music. And when we're creating songs it's a very natural process. On the other side we also have relationship issues that we try to keep out of rehearsing sessions.
Daniel: Actually I believe the special dynamics in our music are created a lot by the unusual tension coming along with being a couple.
Your music style is quite unique. What styles are you experimenting with? How do you combine all those different styles in the final make?
Daniel: Thank you, that's very important to us. We are constantly developing the mix between new inspiration and our own "classic" sound. That means we will always sound like SEA + AIR, but we will never sound like anything we did before. Our first album was an experiment of mixing great melodies of the romantic and baroque era with 70's avantgarde music. Basically everything that was good about German music. Even more important to us is writing songs that remain good after decades. Hope we managed to do so, heehee.
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What kind of feelings are you striving to evoke in your listeners?
Eleni: We don't really thing about what's possibly going on inside the listeners. That's very individual. The only thing I can say is that we put every kind of feeling we're aware of in our songs.
Daniel: We try to keep the balance between putting extremely personal emotions into our songs and keeping it pretty open to interpretation to everyone to use it as a soundtrack to their own lives.
Let's talk about (probably) the most unusual musical instrument you use: the harpsichord. We all associate it with Baroque, Bach, everything classical. How do you manage to use it in such creative and fresh way?
Eleni: One day we realized that the harpsichord is the perfect rock instrument. The sound is a mix of a guitar and a piano. Really funky too!
Daniel: My father gave us his harpsichord and the most exciting jam sessions were always happening around that old piece of sounding furniture. So it was natural to bring it on the road.
What inspires your lyrics? Emotions, big life events, provocative or political topics? Anything else?
Eleni: Often words just come out and then you start thinking: what does it actually mean? So the songs come to you and not the other way around. Then you realize what you were dealing with without really being aware of ...
|Photo via: rockonnet.com|
Do you sometimes think about involving someone else in the band?
Eleni: Not at the moment. But eventually yes.
Daniel: Never say no, always say yes.
Who are your idols (not necessarily music-wise)?
Eleni: I admire people who create their own cosmos with their uniqueness. And people with passion in general. No matter if I see an extraordinary dancer, adventurers with crazy missions, or someone who forgets about him or herself to help people in need. I don't know if you can call someone like the Elephant Man an idol. But his story left a deep impact on me. Even though he had the most miserable life, it impressed me how he still could see the beauty in life.
Daniel: My idols are everywhere in real life. If you've seen some of Werner Herzog's documentaries you know that there are heroes wherever people understand that their own little life is so special that they start doing extraordinary stuff. And those are all around us, we just need to open our eyes.
What are your plans for 2014? I bet you have something interesting up your sleeves.
Eleni: Our new album.
Daniel: Oh yeah!
Thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it. See you at Kino Šiška!
Yay, see you!
I always find it very exciting to attend a gig of artists that promise to serve up something unique. Judging from their recordings and videos that can be found on their site, you can be sure that this won't be an average performance by any means. SEA + AIR are playing next Wednesday (5th of March) at Kino Šiška. Be there or be square!