Hinter dem Namen Beirut steckt der 20-jährige Musiker Zach Condon. Aufgewachsen in Santa Fe, New Mexico, hat er frühzeitig das Studium geschmissen und sich nach Europa aufgemacht. Dort entdeckte er seine Liebe zur europäischen Musik, welche er in seinem Debütalbum “Gulag Orkestar” deutlich hörbar verarbeitet hat. Zach lebt momentan in Brooklyn, New York. Und ich war von seiner Musik derart überzeugt, das ich ihn gerne interviewen wollte und ihm ein paar Fragen per E-Mail zukommen ließ, welche er netterweise beantwortete.
nicorola: First of all let me say that “Gulag Orkestar” is one of my favourite albums so far in 2006. I like these kind of sounds and the first thing that came to my mind while listening to it was: Emir Kusturica. Do you know his movie “Underground?
Zach: Of course. That film was part of the reason I fell in love with balkan music.
nicorola: You were growing up in Santa Fe, dropped out of school and went to Europe. How long have you been in Europe? And in which way has it affected your musical style?
Zach: I was in Europe for almost a year, if you count both times i went…I fell in love with how open europeans are to music that isn’t native to their respective country, whereas americans tend to believe that no other instrument besides the guitar ever existed to make music. I think in some ways music such as old french chanteur songs really influenced the way I go about making music… A little sentimental, and as catchy as possible…
nicorola: What are your other musical influences?
Zach: Brazilian stuff, like old tropicalia music. And there’s quite a few notable musicians here in the states as well….
nicorola: Can you tell me something about when you started working on the material finally appearing on “Gulag Orkestar”?
Zach: All I really remember clearly was how my room mysteriously filled up with instruments until there was no room left for the bed. I slept in the hallway for a while. The rest was a blur. I didn’t leave my house much for about three months.
nicorola: Did you record the album all by yourself?
Zach: Yes. In my bedroom with broken equipment.
nicorola: Where did you get those brass instruments from? By using a sampler or a software or are you working with other musicians?
Zach: I play all the brass on the album. Brass is the one instrument I actually have some confidence with.
nicorola: For someone like me, living in Germany, especially in Berlin, song titles like “Prenzlauerberg”, “Brandenburg” and “Rhineland (Heartland)” sound very strange to me, knowing that your living in New York. Are you using these titles because of their strangeness?
Zach: No- I actually spent alot of time in berlin and france. They were more meant to fit in with the story…the history of those neighborhoods and landmarks becomes part of it. Prenzlauerberg especially…What its become, what it used to mean for berlin etc..
nicorola: Are there any plans visiting europe again, especially playing some gigs in Germany?
Zach: I hope so. I’m extremely excited to go back. I still miss the place. If it was easier.
nicorola: Thank you very much.
Hörproben von “Gulag Orkestar”:
Vielen Dank an Sven von BEGGARS GROUP für die freundliche Unterstützung.