This article is part of our GIGsoup in Hamburg Series! Make sure to check out Zoe Anderson’s page for more coverage!
Photos by Steffi Rettinger, Jennifer Schmid and shotbywozinak.
GIGsoup sat down with Hamburg’s Meute, an eleven piece marching band who cover massive dance hits. They came dressed in their signature red jackets, ready for their performance on the Vorschot Stage later that evening.
You guys are from Hamburg. What was the inspiration for forming a techno marching band?
I think there are many inspirations. Many people in our band like techno music, but also like many other different styles and different artists. As an artist, you are always searching for new things that don’t exist already. Combining stuff creates something new. That’s what we do, it started as an experiment. And its still is an experiment.
Do you have a system for choosing the songs you cover?
We have a feeling about our tracks. If a song feels nice we’ll choose it. We don’t choose songs because they’re our favourite, we choose them for other reasons. Members of the band often bring tracks that we listen to on the bus, or in the middle of the night and we see where it goes.
What is special about Hamburg for you as a musician?
I think the scene is great. I come from this area but I live in Berlin. I always feel comfortable as a musician in Hamburg because the scene is not huge. So after some years, you get to know people and once you find your crowd. It’s very easy to get together to work. In Hamburg there feels like a nice homegrown scene and that’s why it was easy to put the band together in a way. Here if feels natural to put a band together and stick together for some years. Hamburg has a great tradition of live music. You have the harbour and the Reeperbahn where the Beatles started their career. So I think the music scene is very lively here.
As a marching band, you perform traditionally in the street. When you take this into a club, how does the dynamic change?
This is the most direct way to play music. There are no effects, and nothing people won’t understand. They see all the elements right in front of them. You feel the bass drum, you feel the beat, the air is moving. We enjoy this way of playing a lot. We obviously enjoy the big live shows but its still very interesting to play face to face. It great also when the electricity goes off, we can still play.
Did you plan that?
No! I swear we didn’t plan it! The production is very good here it seems!
Do you prefer to perform amongst a crowd or are there times where a stage is better?
We love both experiences. We always want to keep both. On a stage, we can reach 2000, or even 10,000 people at a time. There is a natural limit on what you can do amongst a crowd, so that changes the dynamic. A big live show is fun with big lights and big sound, but then there is the added pressure of that environment. We love the energy of all spaces.
What new angle do you think live instrumentation brings to these songs?
The people have to decide this. We just paint the picture. The people can decide what the new angle is. We just hope that we bring our personality to these songs.
I think people like the fact that we do something that usually machines or robots do and we do it with our hands. We turn that around and bring a human element. We take the jobs from the robots! Also, everyone can pick their own focus. There are eleven people on stage and these roles change during the track or set. In our case people can follow elements visually, I think that is quite interesting for a lot of people. In electronic music, people follow particular lines or rhythms but in our case, you can pick out the exact person who is creating a certain thing.
You’ve just been on a big international tour. Were there any shows in particular that stuck out for you?
We can’t just name one. Honestly, it may sound over exaggerated but in some ways, every night is a highlight because its so crazy to play this music and basically people go crazy every night. So it’s really hard to choose. The only thing to mention I guess is that when you go to many different countries and cities you get different mentalities and different festivals. We have the opportunity to come into contact with so many different audiences. In fact, is all about energy really.
How do you see the act evolving in the future?
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