Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
Reinhard: There have been successes and record deals, big shows and radio play, but I don't define those as breakthrough moments, as this is not why I make music. It's nice to have success, and it's financially interesting, but other than that it's not my drive. There are some musical moments I consider a start of something new. The very first single of my first band Das Pop had a string arrangement that I wrote in four voices, and played myself. My orchestral composition for Spectra Ensemble I consider an important moment. This was 10 years ago, and kind of a difficult time in my life. Somehow, I pulled it off an orchestral score of 42 minutes for 30 people in 14 days. It was called ‘Themes of Frustrations’, and tells a lot of where I was at that time. ‘Miracles and Wonders’ was the first track I wrote together with Charlotte. That was the start of something very special, and a little prophetic. The first Rheinzand track was called ‘The First Time’. It’s a very sunny track that started a new phase in my life. My introduction into dance music.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Charlotte: I am most creative when life is very structured, when I eat healthy, don’t drink, work out, read, go for walks. Living a more secluded and ascetic life for me is best to dive into a period of writing. On the top of my creativity, it feels like I’ve opened a door to a ‘place’ where all the Ideas float. I call it The Pond. In this pond there are ideas swimming around in the form of fish. When I am completely balanced, I am able to enter the pond and catch ideas and inspiration flows almost incessantly. When that period is over I balance it out with the opposite. I go out, party, meet people, travel, play gigs… It feels like I collect all these impressions and when I am satisfied, I take the time to process them into work.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
Charlotte: When my father died a few months ago, I listened a lot to ‘Too Many Birds’ by Bill Callahan. I’m not really an outspoken fan of his and neither was my father but something about listening to this song on repeat made me get through the days before and after his funeral. I do think I kind of jinxed the song now, because I can’t listen to it again. So, it first felt healing and now it reminds me of the hurt. In my opinion, music helps us cope with the big universal emotions we feel during big life events. It reminds us that although we go through these events alone, we can share our experience with them. I do believe moments and emotions, good or bad, should be shared. No one should go through grief and loss alone and when you fall deeply in love, love does the work for you: you can’t stop talking about that person and your unique connection.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
I don't believe in copying, what’s the point? It already exists and it moves you in one way or another. Being inspired from it can lead to other journeys and at the end you create something that’s totally not like it. But the spunk, the spark, the feel is in there. I think that those issues should not interfere or limit you in any way with what you want to try to do. There should be no limitations in the process of creating. As long as you use your source with respect and not literally copy it but be inspired by it.
Rheinhard: It is a very personal thing and has to be reviewed case by case. It becomes inappropriate when it hurts someone, and then you have to be willing to listen, and admit your mistake. But as long as you make music with good intentions I can forgive a lot.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
Charlotte: When I hear music that triggers me in a good or a bad way, I mostly have a tactile sensation. I get goosebumps, shivers and sometimes tears in my eyes. My body reacts to what I hear and I can’t help it. It doesn’t matter if I am touched by the music because it’s so good or because the music is so bad I feel vicarious shame. This sometimes causes funny misunderstandings with me tearing up listening to the radio on the worst track ever and people thinking I like it.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
Charlotte: I have tried transitioning from writing about my personal, small experiences to zooming out and integrating my view on the world. I feel like I have not only started to succeed in this, but that writing about social and political topics has become inevitable. The world has only gotten more extreme with a sickening amount of wealth for the few, climate change and a financial system that is leeching on real society. The situation has gotten so out of hand that it influences my daily life, so it is quite obvious that these topics find their way into my writing.
What can music express about life and death which other forms of art may not?
Charlotte: To me, all art brings comfort in trying times. I personally turn more to books and stories when the inevitable existential questions start scratching the back of my mind. Nevertheless, there is a certain soothing power in sound. Sound is not only perceived by your ears, but you can actually feel the waves. Sound can act as a warm blanket may it be the soft vibrations of a song you play in your bedroom or the pounding bass that takes over your heartbeat on a rave. The power of songs lies in their ability to make you feel that the song expresses exactly what you are going through at that moment in your life. And thus, it makes you feel less alone in your experiences. May it be falling in love, loss, grief, the need for freedom or anything you are experiencing. It gives you a sense of connection to yourself and others. You have a live aspect of music that gives you the opportunity to make this in a shared experience. A concert, gig or party is at its best a wonderful energising shared experience by the audience and the artists.