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BULLET HEIGHT über kreative Arbeitsprozesse

14 Mai 2017 No Comment

Aller Anfang ist schwer. Im Falle von BULLET HEIGHT aus Berlin jedoch lief offensichtlich alles ganz wunderbar. Jon Courtney (Ex-PURE REASON REVOLUTION) und Sammi Doll (IAMX) trafen sich zufällig fern der Heimat. Dabei sprang der kreative Funke schnell über. Mit „No Atonement“ hat das Duo ein vielversprechendes Debüt aufgenommen, auf dem melodischer Industrial zu hören ist – und viel von der musikalischen Vergangenheit der beiden Briten. Wie der Neuanfang gelang, haben wir im Interview erfahren.

Um Aussagen nicht zu verfälschen, haben wir das Interview in Englisch belassen. Jon und Sammi waren so freundlich, unsere Fragen per Mail zu beantworten.

triggerfish.de: BULLET HEIGHT is a new band and as far as I know you have not worked together before. How and where did you meet?

SAMMI: We both met through mutual friends one evening out in Berlin. Jon had said he was working on a project and it would be interesting to put some female vocals to it. I came into the studio few days later and what was once meant to be simple experimental vocal tracking turned into something much bigger and things took off from there.

How did you both start making music? Was it an exchange of demos and ideas or did you jam together?

JON: I’d been working on the album & had the bulk of it done when I met Sammi. I was producing it along with Tom Bellamy of Losers. The music was all done in my small studio in Berlin. The only jamming was between me & my laptop! The tracks would begin primitive & I’d just build & build. Something like „Wild Words“ for instance was initially recorded as a piano demo & elements were gradually added & it morphed & mutated. It’s a huge process of trial & error. Once Sammi came in for vocals, the tracks changed & took on new life. We recorded live drums at a studio just outside of Berlin with Dean Pearson of Losers – other than live drums I played all instruments.

SAMMI: Jon sent me a couple skeleton tracks he had been working on in the beginning to see if I’d be interested in collaborating – He and I had both been living in Berlin at that time so it was easy for me to pop in or head to the studio with him.

What does the name BULLET HEIGHT stand for and how did you guys come up with it?

JON: It comes from an Andre Breton quote. It’s the last two words from a passage somewhere in the second manifesto for surrealism. No huge story or special meaning behind it, I just like the source & how it sounded. The quote it comes from is really abstract.

A question for Jon: Why did PURE REASON REVOLUTION split up? You were on a good path I think.

JON: We split up because we felt PRR had run its course & we wanted to pursue new avenues. I needed something fresh & a new challenge. I was the writer & producer for PRR & the label took me on for this new project. The Bullet Height duo was actually in the pipeline even before we’d officially split up. Chloe, Paul & Jamie all have new projects, which are really good.

The band is centered around Berlin. With LOSERS and YOUNG LEGIONNAIRE there are two very close bands that consist of British musicians. There seems to be a little British diaspora in Berlin. How did this happen?

SAMMI: I think for me, Berlin is one of the only places that’s still affordable to live and work as an artist. It’s got that ‚poor but sexy‘ vibe to it and it takes a lot of the financial pressure off forcing creativity and more freedom to let things naturally flow and progress. Obviously in London it’s hardly possible to do either. One of the reasons I stayed in Berlin was because of meeting consistently genuine people that left their respective countries to congregate here all looking for something they couldn’t find where they are from. This makes an influx of talented people in the creative community from different backgrounds that bring so much to the table which is a reason I think Berlin continues to thrive the way it has.

Brexit became real. Does this affect you guys directly in your cross border-lifestyle between Berlin and London?

SAMMI: At the moment it hasn’t directly effected us travel or visa wise …so much of it is still up in the air politically… we will have to see what lay ahead. It’s a really unfortunate ruling that so many people have created lives for themselves outside of the UK and now will potentially be forced to jump through hoops just to remain a legal resident after brexit is in full force.

You both are the faces of the band. Did you play all the instruments on the debut or where some other musicians involved?

SAMMI: To begin, Jon and I played as a two piece. It was important for us to share our music in the same form it was created so we could work from there on up.

JON: As already mentioned – when I met Sammi lots of the recording was already done & we were mainly zoning in on vocals. Sammi was a valuable extra set of ears in the studio to stop me spending weeks on a chorus idea! Left to my own devices I could happily spend a couple of years making an album, which obviously isn’t practical! It’s great having Sammi to bounce ideas off. I’ve always been very much a one-man-band in the studio – producing & writing – but I’m looking forward to seeing how things might develop for the next record with the two of us.

And live – how will BULLET HEIGHT look like live?

SAMMI: We have been experimenting with what will work best for us in a live setting as we develop and have added our live drummer, Michael, which has obviously added the huge element we were missing. Further along the line it will be nice to add a secondary synth/guitar to free me up a bit to front and perform, although I’m reluctant to give up ALL the synth electronics

Almost the entire record you sing simultaneously. This style was also very dominant in PURE REASON REVOLUTION. Is this an expression of total equality singing-wise or a well-chosen style?

JON: My signature vocal style was certainly not going to just end with PRR. It’s something I’ve developed over years & I love the sound of the male/female vox mix. It’s a hallmark of my songwriting & production.

What is your vision for BULLET HEIGHT? A lot of touring? More records?

SAMMI: Yes! Everything! We are a brand new band, we have to earn our name in the household which means there’s a lot of touring work to be put in ahead of us. We are really looking forward to it!


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