German based facemelters Kadavar is yet another band that has quickly become one of my favorite bands. Much like bands such as Graveyard, Blues Pills, and Orchid, Kadavar’s music is like a sonic time machine taking the listeners back to a time when you actually had to have talent to make a good rocking record.
Kadavar drummer Tiger recently called me and checked in from the road while the band was on a leg of their German tour. It was my first time talking to Tiger and he was a great and really funny guy. We talked about the band’s new album Abra Kadavar, his role as both drummer and producer, and the band’s current lineup change which has made them stronger. Enjoy getting to know Tiger and Kadavar!
Tiger, thanks so much for taking the time out to do this interview today!
Not a problem Don. Thank you.
So are you tired of doing interviews just yet?
[laughs] This is the first one today so I’m still fresh right now [laughs]. We are on our way to our next show.
Oh that’s cool. Where are you calling from?
I’m in the back of the van [laughs]. We’re on our German tour right now.
Really? Yeah, I met them at Hotel Vegas in Austin where they played. They are very cool guys. I saw them two times at SXSW. They are a really cool band.
So was SXSW your first time in the US?
Yes. It was the first time ever not only for the band but for me individually. I had never been to the states ever. It was exciting seeing the landscape and seeing the people. It looked like it does in the movies actually [laughs].
When you performed at SXSW, did you happen to notice a big difference between the American audience and the European audiences you’re more used to playing for?
It’s hard to say because we only played at SXSW and that’s a thing all its own.
Are there any plans to come back to the US to tour behind “Abra Kadavar”?
Yeah. We actually had a tour planed during SXSW but we had to cancel it due to visa issues. We couldn’t get working visas in time so we had to cancel 23 shows a month before it started. It was really bad but we want to reschedule in September. There’s nobody working on a tour so far but we have all of September free and I think we’ll start booking shows really soon.
That’s great to hear. I hope you’ll make it to Atlanta. I’d love to see a Kadavar show and get my face melted off.
[laughs] Yeah. I think we’ll play in Atlanta. I’m hoping that we’ll do a whole circle like maybe starting in New York and circling back to New York so I think Atlanta will be on the way at some time.
Well you guys have to play here and I’ll bring you some good local beer.
[laughs] We are always excited about trying something new. I always order local stuff wherever I am at.
What are you the most excited about touring the US for the first time?
Actually, I’m really excited about seeing the landscape and all the cities. They are all so different and that is enough to get me excited. I’m also excited about putting out the record and I am sure that Nuclear Blast will do great promotion for it. I hope that people will know a little bit more about us when we come. I don’t expect anything too much but I’m excited to do the shows and just see what happens. It’s always good to go to a new country and meet the people. We also have a new bass player. Our original bassist Mammut left the band and our longtime friend Simon from Paris is now playing bass for us.
He just wasn’t happy with the music anymore and on a personal level he didn’t want to continue with us and I respect that. I think went our separate ways friendly. I feel like we are stronger now than before and we are very happy.
I know bands always get asked about their band’s name but I have to ask. Why Kadavar with a “K”?
[laughs] Because you spell it like that in Germany. You might also want to know why it’s spelled with three A’s and for that I don’t have an answer [laughs]. I think we did that because it looks better.
Well with the way you guys designed the logo it totally looks better.
Yes. That is also true [laughs].
Over the past few years, it seems like bands like you guys, Graveyard, Blues Pills, and even here in the US with Orchid are playing this kind of old school, throw back kind of hard rock. What do you think it is about this kind of music that connects with so many people?
I think it has to do with just being straight and pure. Every decade has its own sound and technical revolution and I think maybe these days we’ve got too much technology and people are trying too hard to be perfectionists. It wasn’t like that before. We’re just trying to do music without artificial help. Also we don’t need all these records to be so loud and pushed to the limits. Like some of these albums are pushed to the limit so much. I think people are just looking some more pure music. You know what I mean?
I totally know what you mean. It’s almost like technology in some ways has somewhat stripped the soul and realness out of music where it becomes so digital sounding and faked.
Exactly. Nowadays any idiot can make a record just by going to buy some stuff at a music store. You don’t have to be talented anymore to make a record because of all those little helpers. 40 years ago you had to be a great musician to make a record so we try not to get too much from the technical friends and tried to keep it to just guitar, bass, drums and vocals and that’s it.
That’s a great question. In a way, yes it is difficult but I am used to that. I did that with all my bands before and that’s actually my work. You can get used to it. On the other hand what’s the biggest thing for me is that I really like working on my own stuff and not having this gap between the band and another person that you have to explain what you want to do. At one point you get really deep into and maybe you’re not that objective any more. Then again, you work on the songs all the time when we are rehearsing and as long as you know what you are doing, in the end you manage to finish everything before you are cracking up mentally [laughs].
The lyrical content of Kadavar’s songs really remind me a lot of bands like Captain Beyond and I even heard some elements of the Doors and Hawkwind in there. Where would you say some of the inspiration for the songs comes from?
That’s funny that you mentioned Captain Beyond. Their first record is one of my favorite 70’s LPs.
Mine too. I have one of the original copies with the 3-D cover.
[laughs] Oh wow. I didn’t know that there was a 3-D cover!
Yeah, I’ll be sure to bring it and show it to you when you guys play Atlanta!
That would be cool. I would like to see that. Yeah, but it’s hard to really say where our inspiration comes from. All the music that we listen to, all the new music that we are hearing right now when we are in the van, and all the places we go at some point bring us new ideas. In the end we are very spontaneous about writing songs. Sometimes I just sit in my bed in the evening and something may come to me. It’s not so planned that I could say, “This is how I do it.”
That song was from a Stanley Kubrick movie I think. I don’t really know for sure because I didn’t write the lyrics [laughs]. I know that there’s a movie and that there’s a doomsday machine. I don’t know what this machine does but if you look it up on Google, I’m sure you can find out what it is [laughs].
Is the songwriting process in Kadavar a unified process?
Yes definitely. Everybody contributes to each song but putting his ideas, energy, and personal style into the songs.
The albums have such a live feel to them. Like you just went in and did it without sounding polished or over practiced.
This is true. I hate it when records sound too perfect. We did between 3 and 6 takes and we just took the best of those and that was it. We tried to do it as good as we can but if there’s a mistake, there’s a mistake. That’s it.
When it comes to performing live, do you use the live performances to experiment and jam or do you stick to the how the songs are on the records?
99% of the time we stick to the way they are on the record but there’s maybe one song that we’ll maybe jam on a little bit but most of the time it’s just really what you hear on the record. As for the drums, I’d say that maybe 90% of what I play is what is on the records but sometimes I play something different because I have forgotten what I played [laughs].
Now that you have two albums to tour behind, how are the set lists going to look for the shows on this tour?
On our last tour we did three new songs and the rest was older stuff but within the month I think we’ll be playing maybe 5 new songs off the new album. We really want to keep it half and half. If you have a new record and you play only new songs from that record, it’s not what I like when I’m in the public and it’s not what I like when I’m on stage.
I think that’s a great idea and I think that especially being that I’ve never seen Kadavar live, I’d love to hear stuff from both the albums.
Yes, that’s how I feel too. That’s why we are trying to keep a little bit of everything in there.
Tiger, thanks so much for doing this interview. Good luck with your show tonight and I look forward to you coming to Atlanta. Beers on me!
[laughs] Thank you so much Don. I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta.
For more on Kadavar, go to https://www.facebook.com/KadavarOfficial