Name: I Want Poetry
Members: Tine von Bergen, Till Moritz Moll
Occupation: Songwriters, instrumentalists, producers
Recent release: I Want Poetry's Solace EP is out via recordJet.
Recommendations: Tine: I’m in love with the album The Caretaker by Half Waif, the project of American singer Nandi Rose Plunkett. She combines fine electronica, interesting rhythms and a voice that feels like being wrapped a warm blanket.
Moritz: To me, the most inspiring works of art are not human-made. There’s nothing more uplifting for me than walking through an ancient forest, standing on top of a mountain or watching the waves of the ocean.
[Read our Half Waif interview]
If you enjoyed this interview with I Want Poetry and would like to find out more about the band, visit their official website. They're also on Instagram, and Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
Tine: Singing and writing melodies and lyrics were always connected in my head. I didn’t have any music education, there were no instruments at our house, but I’ve been singing as long as anyone can remember.
I’ve always been drawn to emotional music with interesting and poetic lyrics, such as Radiohead, and also the great songwriters of our time like Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos. I would listen to them for hours and get lost in this world. To this day, I have a quite natural and “gut feeling” approach to music.
Moritz: I grew up surrounded by music - there’s photographs of me, age 0, sitting at the piano on my mum’s lap. At an early age, I was heavily influenced by film music, I remember watching movies and TV and being fascinated by the soundtracks’ ability to inspire emotions.
My dad owned an Ensoniq ESQ-1 synthesizer with a sequencer that I composed my first songs on. I loved stacking sounds and rhythms and I also loved the records of Pink Floyd or Queen who had that super dense, layered arrangement that you could get completely lost in. Later it was artists like The Prodigy or Massive Attack that inspired me.
But for all that, I still gravitate to my mum’s old piano - now in our own home studio along with that ESQ-1. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of connection to a real instrument.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
Tine: Music can create and intensify moods, and that alone is amazing. But what I really love about music is the connection, the resonance with the feelings and thoughts of another person. A song can make you feel understood.
For me, sharing music with one another is the ultimate human experience.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
Tine: Nowadays, you’ve got all the music there is at a fingertip. It’s so easy to immerse yourself in the greatest videos and sounds and to get lost in that. There are just so many incredible artists. I’m a very enthusiastic person and for me, it’s very easy to get lost in other people’s work. So the challenge for me is rather embracing silence and listening to myself, to my inner voice.
Moritz: Writing music is a kind of soul-searching experience.
For instance, on our new EP Solace we are looking deeply into ourselves and our past. There’s a daydreaming reminiscence about it that we wanted to capture in the sound as well. Sampled tape machines, noises, vintage instruments, reverse sounds - it’s like a collection of sonic souvenirs.
Working on finding this sound with Michael (our producer) was so much of fun. He brought in a ton of ideas that perfectly embody the yearning and the wonder that we felt when writing the songs.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
Tine: In music, we love to explore different topics that are at the core of human existence: human touch, grieving and hope, the comfort we take in each others presence - and the relatively short period of time we all have on this wondrous place called earth that can be filled with countless precious moments.
We’re always interested in the layers that are beyond that which is obvious to the eye. We love to ask questions and explore them in our songs.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Tine: Music, and art in general, for us is a way of expressing and processing feelings that otherwise cannot be expressed. We have a quite intuitive approach to music. We love improvising and not knowing which direction a chord progression or melody is going to take.
To us, it’s always a little miracle how a song comes into being, literally from nothing.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
Moritz: Are those even contradictions? I think everything we do as humans is both inspired by what’s come before and sparks something new. We love it when we discover something new, a sound, a melody, an idea. But we don’t go about specifically looking for something just for the sake of “new”.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Moritz: Although we often use electronic elements in our songs, our three most important tools are the piano, Tine's voice, and our connection with each other. We often write our songs just at the piano, then add production elements, electronics, drums and so on depending on what the song tells us.
Of course, it’s mind-blowing what you can do with Ableton Live for instance, so we love to fire up the software and just go with the flow.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Tine: As an indie musician, you have to be several people all at once - from songwriter and recording artist to promoter, to tour manager and graphic designer and so on. Which is super exciting, because no day is ever the same.
Our day usually starts with coffee - after that it depends on whether we are on tour and drive to a venue, write or record songs or shoot our next music video.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Tine: On May 20th we’ll be releasing our new EP Solace, which is the first part of the album Solace + Light.
When we started writing it, we had all these existential thoughts and questions running through our hearts and minds. How can we make sense of what we do and what happens to us? What will remain of us - what do we take with us? What gives us hope and the strength to go on? It was like the songs came to us to offer answers.
Moritz: One of my favourites is the song “Souvenirs”. It revealed to us that the physical things, the mementos we collect, are irrelevant. The memory lives within ourselves, making us richer and more complex human beings as life progresses. Everything we do has meaning.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Moritz: Leave one of us alone for an hour and there will be a new idea for a song - creating music alone is a beautiful and satisfying experience. But the real magic is when you find someone you can open up to, and something greater emerges from this collaboration. We love to work together, but also with fellow musicians and producers.
Tine: That’s when you really have to let go of your ego and completely surrender yourself to what the songs wants.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Tine: It’s easy to view music purely as “entertainment” - and that’s fine of course.
For me, listening to and creating music is kind of a necessity, it’s hard to explain. It’s like breathing or eating - just something I have to do. I suppose, it’s a means of understanding myself and making sense of the world around me.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Tine: There are countless occasions that music helped me out, so to speak. Music of others makes me feel understood.
When I hear Joni Mitchell's “River”, for instance, I feel connected to her in a beautiful, inexplicable way.
I’ve never met her and the song’s more than 50 years old, still the song has the power to make me feel at peace - here and now. That’s probably only something art can do.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Moritz: I think both science and art are a way of making sense of the world, just in different ways. And both can be like a rabbit hole - going ever deeper into a topic until a wonderland blossoms around you.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Tine: We love a good cup of coffee. (laughs) And yes, making coffee can also be an art form in itself.
The difference for us is, in making coffee and doing the steps you have to do for it, you already know the outcome - in the best case an aromatic, hot drink that you really enjoy. Creating music for us is much less result-driven and full of surprises.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Tine: For me, it all comes down to vibration - between human beings.
Moritz: Everything that happens makes a sound, so every sound contains the world. Through sound, and through music, we feel that connection to each other and to the universe itself.