Our reporter Lena had a chance to meet up with Niklas Steffen from this new German Paganfolk band. They had a nice chat about Waldkauz’ first album, and how they feel about the music they create. Of course comparisons are made with bands like Omnia and Faun, but they also discussed what it is that sets them apart. Waldkauz has already played some smaller and medium sized venues and events, but this year they even play(ed) on two MPS events! Last but not least Lenas tried to get a nice little scoop from them. Did she get it? Check it out for yourself! 🙂The first tunes appeared in the year 2010 when Gina and Lennart began to share life and make music together. but recently, as Peter moved back nearby in 2012, the idea developed into the Folkband Waldkauz.
Melodies and harmonies turned into songs, which were played on stage for the first time in year 2013. At the start of 2014 the journeys of Waldkauz united with those of Nina and Niklas. Fate wanted them to meet at Castlefest in the Netherlands –far away from home- to get to know each other. Only to find out that they had lived nearby all that time. Since then the rehearsal room filled up and also the sound became wider and deeper. In March 2015 they released their first album ‘Komm mit’.
New pagan folk bands are usually to found in the Netherlands or somewhere in Scandinavia – therefore I was happy to get the chance to talk to Niklas Steffen from Waldkauz, as this young German pagan folk band is about to find its way to the centre core of the Pagan Folk scene.
Lena: First off, thanks for taking time for us!
Waldkauz is one of the seldom young German bands that commit themselves to the genre of Pagan Folk. I explain you guys mostly as a good mixture of Omnia, Faun and a tiny hint of ‘Die Irrlichter’. What exactly is the thrill for you to create Pagan Folk music?
Niklas: With pleasure! And thanks a lot for the ranking, that is exactly where we feel at home 🙂
I think, Pagan Folk is our common sense. We all do have a very own and individual taste of music but Folk and especially Pagan Folk has a special meaning towards us. This deep connection while playing with acoustic instruments plus the mystic and spirituality unite us simply.
Lena: Your current album offers a lot of variety from calm, and as you just said, spiritual and mystical moments to “dance along” songs that electrify your audience. Is there a central theme that your current album ‘Komm mit’ is following – this common sense you talked about?
Niklas: The title of the album is in some way already the central theme. An invitation towards the listener to let us abduct him in our own world. The idea was to show the whole spectrum we can offer and that is what our music is about from ballads to “dance along” songs. In some ways it is more or less a classical first album – a introduction.
Lena: I already mentioned the itself suggesting comparison to Omnia and Faun, since some of the songs, at least the instrumental parts, come close to these Pagan Folk giants. How is it for you to get compared on the one hand in an artistic way to Omnia and Faun and on the other hand being Waldkauz, that do sound like “Waldkauz” and not like the others?
Niklas: Well, we feel honoured on the one hand for this comparison and we would lie to say that those bands didn’t have any influence on how we play our music. But I still think that we as individuals made different experiences than others and therefore will always sound like “Waldkauz” since we just can’t stop being ourselves. And finally such classifications are always helpful to explain to people the kind of music that we make.
Lena: Indeed. Recently Gisbert Hiller, organisator of the well known and popular MPS festivals, announced that you will not only play on the MPS Christmas market but way earlier already at MPS Bückeburg. What do you expect from MPS and how does it feel to know that you will play on those festivals for you in person?
Niklas: We see it foremost as a huge chance to prove ourselves in front of a big audience! We all were already guests on the MPS (even plenty times in Bückeburg) and it was always our goal to play there someday, since it is such an institution that will open up some doors for us. Of course we are a bit nervous, such huge events have been the exception, but we feel ready for this and that this is the right place to present our music towards an “expert public” which is used to good music.
Lena: You are still a young band and currently you play on a lot of smaller festivals and medieval fairs, the contrast which will be carried to you by the MPS and approximately by the Autumn Moon Festival will hopefully find open ears for your music. We already talked about your current album “Komm mit” which is a introduction of the band and its repertoire. Are there already plans for a second album?
Niklas: Exactly that is our hope as well – so cross your fingers 🙂
We actually do work on a new concept and the according to this concept fitting Songs and are very motivated to work on a more concrete topic this time!
Lena: Could you tell us already something more concrete? Don’t you do it like this as a band, that you are always acting a bit secretive? 🙂
Niklas: At the moment it is too early for more details, who knows what ideas will come to us. But that much I can reveal, on the cover there will be a blue flower visible 🙂
Lena: We will need to be patient for the moment but one last question I still need to ask. As a question that will turn to be my central theme through all my interviews. Music turns special to people when there is a story behind or some sort of anecdote, something that happened while writing the song or recording it, or anything during the artistic process. Is there such special story to one of your songs that you like to share?
Niklas: In one of our new songs “Raigan Dannsa” we had some sort of magical moment. As we wanted to create a new song out of a Bouzouki motive I brought to the audition. We just sat down and started together. It was as if everyone knew by instinct what he/she needed to play in a magical way. The song put itself together. After this experience we almost didn’t change the new developed song since everything just fitted so perfectly.
Gina – Harfe, Drehleier, Gesang
Nina – Flöten, Gesang
Niklas – Bouzouki, Gesang
Lennart – Gitarre, Bouzouki
Peter – Perkussion, Schlagwerk