The disco therapy
The Austrian trio Bunny Lake smashed European club scene with powerfull album "The Church Of Bunny Lake". How to mix rock sound with techno beats to give a such energetic music? Check our interview with pair of Bunny Lake frontmen - Christian Fuchs and Suzie On The Rocks
- Why did you take your name from old Otto Preminger`s movie - "Bunny Lake Is Missing"?
Christian: Actually there is an artist called Georgina Starr, who is doing these wonderful installations called the Bunny Lake projects. Influenced by Premingers noir movie about a kidnapped young girl, her art deals with lost innocence and corruption, with childhood motives and violent images as well. We found these pictures from a Bunny Lake project in an art magazine, where you see models on a catwalk, brutally attacked by kids in bunny costumes. And suddenly we knew our bandname. Because we are so much in love with the same opposites and contrasts as well. We're into moral and amoral acts, we respect the facade of normal life, but are drawn to the irrational and crazy stuff beneath the surface at the same time. We find the artificial nature of pop and fashion fascinating, but we also think authenticity and honesty are important.
There's a personal meaning as well for me in the name, as 'Bunny Lake Is Missing' traumatized me on TV as a child.
- Suzy and Christian seem to be real party animals, but Dr. Nachtstrom looks to be more introvert. How do you can cooperate with yourselves?
C: True, we may be very different people, Suzy and me mostly wake up with a huge hangover after our shows and Nachtstrom is way too sensible for all the party mayhem. But we all have a similiar chemistry, which makes the cooperation a pleasure.
Suzy: Actually, I would say we are a really harmonic band. Hearing from fights inbetween bands, especially if it's not about the music, always makes me remember how well we get along with each other. All of us. I think we need this harmony to be able to make music together. Otherwise it wouldn't be fun anymore, and that's one of the most important things.
C: Maybe it's our common background. We've been born all on the countryside and have this quite down to earth side in us. So even if Bunny Lake is a very urban band, we start to work on new songs always in Nachtstrom's peaceful house in the styrian woods. Then we move to another country house, where a musician friend of us lives, he coproduces the stuff. Finally the music moves to Vienna, where Suzy, myself and our producers live.
- You mixed in Bunny Lake music techno energy with rock sound. Where is that concept from?
C: There is no big concept behind. The Bunny Lake sound grew slowly and is just a product of all the different personalities involved. Nachtstrom has a very avantgarde background, he also listens to tons of kraut rock. I grew up with disco, punk and new wave, but later fell in love with rock'n'roll and everything connected with it. The Velvet Underground is still my favorite band, even if I love clubmusic. And Suzy is from a completely another planet...
S: Well, since i'm a little younger than the rest of the band, my influences are completely different? I grew up with the sound of the nineties, really mixed stuff but still.. the first track I danced to was "Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat (what an awesome track, still!!) and the first CD I bought was "Nevermind" by Nirvana? so i'm always like: more cowbells! More guitars! More of everything? the guys sometimes have to stop me, otherwise it would sound like? we'll I don't know? more of everything I guess.
C: I think our different backgrounds and the way we respect and mix each others obsessions, is what sets us apart from many constructed groups. And if you dive deep into music, you find so many fascinating links between disco and punk, rock and funk, techno and blues even.
- Such music is labeled today as nu rave. Do you feel as a part of nu rave scene?
C: Without wanting to sound arrogant, but we view our music and vision as way too special to be part of any scene! Also, haha, we're not into neon clothes at all, personally I think The Babyshambles dress well better than most fluo kids...
S: I thing it's best not to belong to any scene.
C: But to be honest, as a DJ, I think the whole rave'n'roll movement brought a lost sense of fun, energy, craziness and style conciousness back into dance music. That's cool, because I personally detest the boring nineties with always the same drum'n'bass beats or formula house grooves I and hate all the casual clothes now as well. At the same time, nu rave got big problems after just a few months of existence. The DJs play always the same hits by Kitsune and Ed Banger and the whole ideology of "bigger and faster" is a one way street as well. Bunny Lake is much more about songs and emotions, not just about the remix of the day. Even if that remix can kick your ass pretty well.
- There is a strong post-punk attitude in your music and image. What is interesting for you in that provocative form of expression?
C: The whole post-punk period was a very cool time for experiments in pop. Today, everything has to fit into a genre, which is so damn boring. With punk and even much more post-punk there so was much freedom. I don't care about cute kiddie punks with emo haircuts and everything punk turned into. But the basic punk idea of "Do what you want and do it yourself" and also "Don't give a shit" will always stay with me.
- We can find a lot of 80s sounds on your new album: disco, new wave, synth-pop or EBM. Why did you back to these genres?
C: When we start with a track, we never think about a certain period of history. Only about the present. We're not nostalgia freaks. But sometimes a sound contains also associations with certain emotions. And a lot of keyboards and drumsounds used in the 80s and early 90s are associated with some kind of melancholic and romantic feelings. It was a very emotional pop era. In the late 90s, you had to play very safe with pop, you had to use very tasteful sounds. Like so many boring indie bands today, they just go for the safe way. But is a bigger adventure for us to play with fire, with so called uncool and cheesy sounds and take risks. That's what connected us with Christopher Just as well. Often you have to embrace the cheap and trashy aspects of life and art and movies and music of course - to find truth. Ask Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch!
- Your lyrics of the songs have a sinister touch - do you consider themselves as decadents?
C: I guess, what some people consider as sinister is just a normal part of life, we make music about the ups and the downs, the all night party and the hangover as well.
S: I think we're not decadent at all. We're really nice people who like to laugh and have fun just like most other people do. It's strange that some people think we're this cold electro band? we're not cold at all, maybe a little melancholic sometimes, but who's not..?
C: Maybe our first album dealed much more with aggressive and sad feelings. On "The Church Of Bunny Lake" we try to transform these kind of emotions into something euphoric. Which is for me even like some kind of therapy. It's the disco therapy!
- There is a strong "live" feeling in your music - how did you get it?
S: Before we went into the studio and recorded the songs we played most of them live a couple of times, and i think this helped a lot. We were already so familiar with them and knew exactly how we wanted them to sound...
- Why did you decide to cooperate on "Church Of Bunny Lake" with Christopher Just?
S: Since we really liked the "Disco Demons" remix Christopher did for us and since he's a really good friend of us as well, we were just like: Don't you want to produce our second album? And after he listend to the stuff we already had recorded and really liked it he was like: Sure, why not? That's it.
- I am sure that your concerts are full of energy. Are they more like rock shows than techno parties?
S: Considering the music I think it's a mixture of both? and still considering our attitude towards performing and our shows in general it's more like a rock'n'roll concert. We never know what's going to happen onstage, nothing is rehearsed and we really don't want to make any choreography or shit like that. For us it's not about being cool or seeming untouchable.
C: Yes, exactly. The more we played live, the more I tried to be not cool and embaress myself on stage more and more. Because it's so easy to be the cool and static singer and there is no risk in that. So I try out more and more ridiculous stuff. That makes you vulnerable and more a part of the audience as well.
S: It's about being on stage and having fun with the audience.. just enjoying the concert like (hopefully) everybody else.
C: And also enjoying the party after the concert... but we will not talk about this here.
- How does look like Vienna electronic scene today from your perspective?
S: There's quite a couple of labels doing really cool stuff here in Vienna, although the scene is not too big. Still there are more and more people getting involved and doing parties, which helps getting a broader audience and I think that's important in a small city like vienna.
C: Vienna needed a long time to recover from the 90s and all the coffeetable music and lounge stuff. But since a few years it's getting better, thanks to friends of us like Christopher Just or Discokaine or labels like Trust and Klein Records.
Author: Pawel Gzyl
Photo: Klein Records
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WYWIADY / RELACJE
+ Raw'n'dirty - fotorelacja z koncertu SCORNA w Firleju
+ A new statement - wywiad z Johnem Selway'em
+ The disco therapy - wywiad z Christianem Fuchsem i Suzie On The Rocks z Bunny Lake