LIVINGSTON Q&A: ‘WE SCULPT OUR LIVE SETLIST TO FLOW LIKE A STORY’

livingston1London/Berlin based alternative rock outfit Livingston – Beukes Willemse (vocals), Jakob Nebel (guitar, percussion), Chris van Niekerk (guitar, keyboards), Phil Magee (bass, keyboards) – release their new album ‘Animal’ via Long Branch Records on 27 October. Here’s the video for the bands first and strong single ‘Human’ (out now).

The whole self-recording process of ‘Animal’, was done from a little cottage, a hunter’s cabin in the woods just outside Berlin. In lead singer Beukes Willemse’ own words…”For the first time in our careers there was never actually a thought process in making the record. No game-plan as such. The only thing it had to be was come naturally and easily from each of the four of us with no outside compromise.”

So…Chris and Phil. Where is home Berlin or London?

Although Beukes currently lives in the UK I would have to say that Berlin is the home of the band at the moment. Its where the four of us get together as a band and do everything band related.

Can you tell us a bit about ‘The Hunter’? (Available as a Free Download HERE)

As we went through the making of this album we developed a method of writing where we pass songs around adding or subtracting parts/sounds, each adding our own voice and flavour to the music until we end up with a finished work. With “The Hunter” I think we first saw how this would pan out and how it could be a very strong process for us. Like most of our songs, the meaning is really up for interpretation. It is whatever it is to you.

Tell us 5 things we should know about your album ‘Animal’.

1. This album was just made by the four of us without playing a note to anyone until it was finished and mixed.

2. It was recorded in a small hunters cabin in the woods about 100km south of Berlin.

3. Its the closest that we have come to capturing our live energy on an album.

4. While recording Animal, Beukes fell out of a tree and cracked a few ribs.

5. The moth on the Animal cover is a Polyphemus Moth (giant North American moth). It carries off children in the night and will eat your face off. Ok that might be an exaggeration.

What were your influences whilst writing ‘Animal’?

The 4 of us being alone isolated in the woods was probably our biggest influence. While we recorded this album we listened to a lot of great music which didn’t directly influence us but more subconsciously as part of our experience of being there. Artists like: Moderat, Queens of the stone age, Silversun pickups, Daft punk and Half moon run were probably most on the play list. livingston2How has your music evolved since ‘Sign Language’?

I think the most obvious evolution is the introduction of the more electronic/synth side of our sound which has become more prominent since its introduction on our second album “Fire to Fire”. This is something that has just developed naturally over the years as our musical taste’s have moved around. We have also added a more orchestral side to this album which wasn’t really planned but I guess one of the only rules we had while writing it was no restrictions and that was the result. I would also say that we have tried to get closer to the Livingston live experience with this album, something that is more of a journey for the listener.

Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

This is always a long answer as its very different for the four of us as we all grew up in different parts of the world with different musical tastes and cultures. I think that is what kind of makes the Livingston sound. To name a few of the artist’s we grew up listening to, The Beatles, Springsteen, Rage against the machine, Faith no more, Jimmy eat world, Ben Harper, Depeche Mode… this list could go on.

Are you planning any live shows and what will they be like?

We have a tour coming up in October. We love to give very energetic live shows and try to sculpt our setlist to flow like a story.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Again quite different for everyone. I (Phil) am currently listening to the new Afghan Whigs album a lot. Also Bombay Bicycle Club, Royal Blood, London Grammar and Crosses. For me (Chris) Mutemath and Silversun Pickups is current go to playlists.

What do you have planned next?

I guess the first thing for us to do is start touring and try to get “Animal” to as many people as possible. We have already started on the next album, so as soon as we have a break from promoting Animal, we will continue with that.

By Fabrizio Belluschi ©FAMEMAGAZINE.co.uk

LIVINGSTON “ANIMAL” TOUR:
20.10. DE, Leipzig – Täubchenthal
21.10. DE, Berlin – Magnet
22.10. DE, Hannover – Musikzentrum
24.10. DE, München – Technikum
25.10. DE, Frankfurt – Nachtleben
26.10. DE, Köln – Werkstatt
28.10. DE, Stuttgart – Club Cann
29.10. DE, Dortmund – FZW
30.10. DE, Hamburg – MoJo
07.11. UK, London – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

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