I found STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP following me on Twitter and fell in love with the sound and their style. Lady Lützen and Jarno alias Straight From The Harp have answered some questions for me:
CARMENCITA: When did you start making music?
Jarno: When I was twelve my mom took me to a BB King concert in Copenhagen`s amusement park Tivoli. After playing four songs he called me to the stage and shook my little hand. From then on there was no way back. I got heavily into blues music and started playing harmonica. Since then I`ve been playing in a lot of different bands. SFTH was formed in 2008 and the rest is the history we`re about to unfold ;-)
CARMENCITA: Tell me something about the history of Straight From The Harp. Are there any witty anecdotes?
LADY LÜTZEN: At one point while we were making the album we were longing for some action apart from the creation of new songs. The next day we got an invitation from our heroes finnish band 22-Pistepirkko to play at their Ouwee show in Copenhagen. We met them at the concert and they were great! Sometimes you have to work really hard for things to happen. Other times something really exciting happens when you let go of your expectations and open yourself up to the powers of the universe.
CARMENCITA: What made you start making music?
JARNO: When we moved to Berlin in 2008 I was a bit isolated from my network of musician friends. When you spend a lot of time around the same crowd of people, you can`t help being influenced by their taste, what they`re currently listening to and so on. When you`re on your own, your surrounding`s vanities is no longer a factor, and it makes you see and hear things more clearly. Gradually the idea appeared of making a modern harmonica album, using only harmonica drummachine beats and vocals. So I dusted of my old drummachine, taught Lady Lützen who didn`t have any musical experience at that point some basic tricks. Straight From The Harp was formed, the sound was amazing and the music kept coming!
CARMENCITA: What is your biggest inspiration in life that you feel contributes most to your style?
LADY LÜTZEN: Very early on we decided that the visual side of the band should be as important as the music. I have a background in painting and photography and I`m a lifelong fashion voyeur and an art addict too, so I thought it would be fun to create something for the stage. We always have light installations with us on the stage and currently we`re working on some films and visuals for the stage show and also I thought it would be very important and funny if we had a certain look on stage. One of my favourite directors is Alfred Hitchcock who also has very inspirational costumes on set so we got a little inspired by that and decided on some suits from german Herr von Eden. //see THE DANETTES – Lady Lützen`s charming blog//
JARNO: Everything we do is rooted in blues music and the sound of harmonica makes most people think of blues music instantly, but being a child of the eighties, soundscapes from that era always find its way into our music. The combination of the two gives an indifinate range of possibilities – a little bit like Berlin. So many eras are present at the same time and nothing is right and nothing is wrong and yet it all makes perfect sense.
CARMENCITA: Any idols?
JARNO: Oh yeah you bet: Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Jean Michel Jarre, Muddy Waters, Alan Vega, Laurie Anderson, Beck, Kool Keith and so many more – all musical rebels that relate to tradition. But truly we`re just as inspired by people in the street, buildings in the city, supermarkets and railways as we are by musical and art icons.
CARMENCITA: What made you move to Berlin?
SFTH: Apart from the people in the street, the buildings, the supermarkets and the railways, also: The parks, the sidewalks, the public transportation, the indochinese cuisine, the friendliness, the good manners, the calmness and the chaos. You name it, we love it!
CARMENCITA: I like your photos- it must be Tempelhof..? Why did you chose the airport?
SFTH: Actually the press photos are from Haus der Kulturen der Welt. But the photos to be on the cover are from Tempelhof. Both places in Berlin are a little bit futuristic and we thought it would illustrate the music really well to combine something old with something modern. On the visual side you have us in the suits with 50`es hairdos and in the music you have the harmonica combined with the futuristic buildings and places representing the modern drummachine and the electronic sounds. The airport is also a symbol of transition and movement, which is also a theme in the songs. Straight From The Harp – into the future!!!!
CARMENCITA: When will your album get out? Are there any tour-dates at the moment?
SFTH: The release of the album is scheduled for september 2009. Hopefully we`ll have a single out before that. We`re playing in Berlin at Ausland in Prenzlberg at the 6th of June together with danish musician Bjørn Svin. Were planning on playing a lot of other concerts in Berlin this year too.
CARMENCITA: Great! Thank you and hope to see you even in Vienna!
STFH: Thank you for the questions, they were great to answer!
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