What is your name and role within Leoniden?
Hello, my name is Jakob. I sing, play percussion and keyboards in Leoniden.
Thanks for doing this interview, which is our first in English.
How did you start?
The other four (Lennart, Felix, JP & Djamin) know each other from school, so they started making music years ago. For a long time, Leoniden was more like a fluid band concept. You have to imagine that at some point the band was an eight-piece (with two singers and a conga-player) and at other times they were just a four-piece punk band. They loved experimenting, but never tried to record an album. Two and a half years ago, this changed.
Lennart gave me a phone call, we had never met in person, and he just asked me if i wanted to join Leoniden. I was completely surprised but I knew I had to say yes.
Where are you based?
We live in Kiel. It is a city in far-northern Germany with 250.000 inhabitants, and it lies at the baltic sea. I moved to Kiel last year, when I realised that we would be a lot more productive if we share the same city. I enjoy it here, even if it’s not a metropolis.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
We discuss everything. Inside and outside of the music itself. Everyone can give ideas for every instrument, which can lead to discussing a drum fill for a week. If one of us dislikes an idea, we conclude that it’s not good. It can really get annoying, but we love it this way. In the end you are absolutely happy with every detail.
What are you working on right now?
This summer we are playing 45 festival shows, which it absolutely overwhelming for us. We are so glad that we can have a summer like this. Every weekend we’re on tour and in between we write new songs. Besides we all have small jobs, because money.
What is your gear setup?
Guitar: Telecaster, VoxAC30 & Roland JazzChorus.
Bass: Fender Jazz Bass, Fender Bassmann
Drums: Sonor & Murat Diril Cymbals
Keyboards: Just MIDI-Controllers for Ableton
Percussion: Ding ding, dong, click and tschktschk.
We don’t have a backing track.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
That totally depends on which one of us you ask, but i think that all of us enjoy coffee, which totally affects our music.
How would you describe your music genre?
We just say Indie.
Do you know any music theory?
I studied a bit of musicology, so I know a few things, but we are far from a band that discusses in musical terms. We speak more like „Yeah, that is still really good“ and „Meh, no.“
Lennart once said something really funny in argument, where I tried to use some of my vocabulary. He just screamed: „You are not a fucking magician“ which made me laugh and also made sense.
Even if we fight and try a lot, music is good when it feels right. There is no need in dissecting too much.
What are your plans for the future?
Working on Leoniden day by day, playing a lot of shows and writing songs.
How did you get into music?
I hate to say that I am one of those „I always loved music“ kind of dudes. But for me it is (also) true.
I tried to learn all the instruments I love, the theory, recording and producing, etc. Also I experimented a lot, because all the genres fascinate me.
I’m really happy to say that I found people that understand me in Leoniden.
What are you listening to at the moment?
It is always somewhere between The Mars Volta, Michael Jackson, Spin Doctors and Drake.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
That is a hard question, because we all have different input. When we talk about Leoniden or write music, we rarely speak about other artists. Furthermore I think, that when we use some artists as examples, we never really mean it literally.
When we want to create a „Mars-Volta-Part“, we refer to something chaotic, psychedelic but also emotional and hooky, when someone says Drake he means „how can we use two notes for a great melody and what is the right attitude for it?“-modern-pop.
Michael Jackson stands for the megalomaniac 90s and his rhythmic voice, Arctic Monkeys for Britpop, Indie and 16th-hihats.
When are you playing next?