Folk and rock get down and dirty together when Lapwings saunter in, cello spike poised at throat level, threatening to spill your blood then write you a ballad afterwards. This international five-piece's warm tones have been gracing Berlin's grey environs for two years– by turns wistful and then jauntily upbeat, all bedded in rich strings. They chat to us about world domination and a potentially lucrative lack of moral fibre when booking shows for nightmarish presidents.
The lo down
BangOn Team: How do you go about songwriting?
JB: Throw everything onto the wall and keep what sticks.
Jeal: Usually in order to find lyrics or melodies, I need to be moved by something or by just a musical idea, and I keep this emotions inside or listen to that initial music idea for a while until I find a melody or lyrics to start with.
BOT: Who are your biggest influences?
JB: Quasi, George Harrison, Dinosaur Jr, David Bazan
J: I listened to a lot of things, from post-rock, to techno, singer songwriter music, rock, pop, some metal… I am influenced by very engaged artists who have a strong character, with a message and a coherence in their artistic personality, like Jacques Brel, Renaud, Nick Cave, Bowie, and Michael Jackson (my first concert ever). I am a big fan of progressive music like Sigur Ros, Mogwai, and Pink Floyd, but I can also name Daft Punk, the Muse from 10 years ago, Rage against the Machine, Arcade Fire, Passengers...
Marco: Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Cure, Johnny Cash, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Echo and the Bunnymen, Marillion, The National, Editors, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Radiohead and many more…
BOT: What’s been your lowest and highest point as a band?
J: The highest point is in general every time you play music and you have somebody who enjoys it, really! But personally it was also to realize that I had many friends supporting my career change (I quit a corporate career in Belgium to come to Berlin and play music), and having the chance to play two gigs for them in Belgium. When Natasha and I started Lapwings, the hardest (it was never really low) points were to find the right band members. We had to try a few setups before finding Klari, Marco and JB. Now even though we all have different backgrounds and influences, working on songs is just natural and everybody brings ideas that we all like, so that's fun and easy to play music together.
BOT: What’s your ultimate aim?
JB: World domination.
J: In general, making music that resonates with and moves people, or makes them smile or dance. Ultimately, having enough fans to support our music and to be able to record new music without worrying about the costs and to play it around the world would be amazing!
BOT: You have the chance to play one song for a legend of your choice. What do you play?
JB: I’d play the Ramones to Django Reinhardt
Marco: I would play Master of Puppets of Metallica to Mozart. Just to see his reaction.
BOT: What does Berlin do for you musically?
JB: Floats my boat.
J: Everything and nothing at the same time. It all started here so everything but nothing ‘cause the indie rock scene is very hard for a new local band here.
BOT: What do we have to look forward to in the coming months from you?
JB: A new haircut possibly, a MicroKorg and a Jazzmaster
J: Probably a new haircut too! At the end of April we will release our new song 'La Ligne d'en bas’ (in French) with an animated music video (made by Joscha Thelosen, a fantastic video animator) that will be shocking and eye-opening to the danger of populism (and Marine Le Pen) and which I hope will help people understand the hard situation of refugees with all the racism against them. Later on this year we will have a second release called Masquerade (in English)
BOT: Donald Trump has invited you to play a private party for him. He’ll pay you $1,000,000. Nobody ever has to know. Do you play?
JB: Sure, I have no pride and a very low moral fiber.
J: I will ask the money beforehand and then play ‘La Ligne d’en bas’ as a “special” surprise, as the Doors did with ‘Light my Fire’ on TV (and then we can play music for the rest of our life with that money).