Interview with Lupus Lindemann (KADAVAR) / DEPICTED MAGAZINE Oct 2023 | Thomas Huntke Fotografie
Interview with Lupus Lindemann from Kadavar.
interview lupus lindemann kadavar
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Interview with Lupus Lindemann (KADAVAR) / DEPICTED MAGAZINE Oct 2023

It was a warm late summer evening when I sat down with Lupus on a bench in a cemetery near Bergmannstraße. We had already done the photoshoot and so it was later in the day, and there were no more people around. I set up my audio gear, and we started talking. Lupus is the singer and guitarist of the band KADAVAR from Berlin, who started out in 2010 and has since released six studio albums, of which two reached the top ten charts in Germany. Their style is a mix of vintage hardrock, stoner rock, and psychedelic rock. It has evolved over the years from straight rock towards a more progressive songwriting approach.

Kadavar Logo


What do you want to talk about?

Difficult question… In any case, I have never started an interview this way. [laughs] Normally you have your answers laid out already, and you know what you want to say. You meander your way through it in an American kind of way: say a lot without really saying much. But now I really have to think about it.
It can be anything: We can talk about music, politics, or personal things – there are no limits.

Maybe we start with music because that’s an easy topic. It’s not a problem if we touch on politics, but sometimes I don’t feel like I am an expert on world politics.. 
DEPICTED is not a political magazine as such. I think it’s ok when this topic is discussed and I like it when musicians have an opinion and stick to their guns. But it’s not compulsory. Music can also be discussed by itself. 

I am thinking a lot about how much I can dare to expose my opinions to the public as a musician and thus as a public figure. The question is also how much of this makes sense because I don’t want to come across as someone who wants to dictate to others what they should think. Also because my opinion does not equal the truth. There are so many views out there, and I can’t get to the bottom of everything. As a white man you’re not woke anyway right now [laughs]; that’s why I withhold my opinions often. It’s a thin line between when to participate and when to back off from a discussion.



Lupus Lindemann (Kadavar)



In my opinion another problem is that right now we live in a time when everything is commented on directly and everybody feels called to react when an opinion is expressed. It is nearly impossible to post an opinion without an instant reaction. I find it difficult that people can’t accept a view without the sudden need to react.

Yes, instead of letting the opinion settle and to reflect on it why the person has these thoughts – instead of having a debate like we Europeans used to be able to do well, since the old Greeks and later during the Enlightenment. We always used to have good debates. I used to watch the debates of the Bundestag when I was bored, and there were some really good things there. We also used to have good talk shows. This shouting down of different opinions and the denial that a problem can have different solutions and that different thoughts can be incorporated into this is a very troubling development. It’s an American debate culture that we used to be way ahead of here in Europe. But now we are adopting this, and I think that’s sad.

I created a Twitter account to be up-to-date on politics. Especially on Twitter there is such a bubble of shouting down each other; it’s unbelievable. In the early morning, as I am sitting with my coffee in my hand, I already shake my head and want to throw my phone at the wall.

This is not how it was at my home growing up. Of course in the end it was always the father who had the final say because they were different times. But it was important that everyone could finish speaking. In our family there were always people who had different opinions, but at the end of the day you sat together at the dinner table anyway. 

These days we have large cracks throughout our society that were brought about in an artificial way. They aren’t really there, but they are fabricated deliberately, and that scares me sometimes. And because of these hectic kind of reactions, when I stand on the stage and say something I ask myself whether this is beneficial and leads to a meaningful debate, or whether it is smarter to just keep quiet in that moment. In the end it is like this: I am standing up there and I can say any kind of crap, and the people have no chance to voice their opinions because when I don’t want to hear it I just play the next song. So I am more like some kind of preacher. But I believe that when I am using my position in this way, my reasoning has to be watertight. And there I have the problem with myself because I think it is not, I am not qualified enough to tell people what to think . 

There was this artist from the US who had written on his guitar „This machine kills fascists“, and I wanted to write this on my guitar, too. I liked the statement and wanted to do this, but then I thought this could lead to so many discussions that I may not be fully prepared for. I needed to be much deeper in the matter to be able to take it to the public . Even though I leave no doubt that I am opposing fascism. 



Lupus Lindemann (Kadavar)



Most people on social media have no problem with just speaking their minds without putting any real effort in thinking things through, and they often hide behind anonymity.

When the older generations discovered Facebook recently they were led towards their peer groups by the algorithm. And they believe that Facebook does explain the world to them. In the beginning I was tempted to shout back, but after a while I noticed that there is no sense in doing so. As we said before, it doesn’t add to the debate, plus the more you shout, the more they shout back at you. And this just spirals, and in the end no one benefits, and nothing changes. All my friends have deleted their Facebook profiles, but I kept mine because sometimes I get some news from my home, the area around Eisenach. As you know there are a lot of right wing people in that region. So when I share some political stuff on Facebook sometimes people from home who have very opposing views on things leave some comments. But I got in the habit to always being friendly and nice towards them, and to accept their opinions while taking a firm stand on my own positions. Of course I immediately get support from my other followers who are mostly on my side and I even have to call them out sometimes because insults lead to nowhere. This strategy has turned out to be the best one so far because entering a dialogue might have a small effect here and there.
So do you have the feeling that you can control the debates on your profile?

Yes, I think so. I observe when things get rough, and then I formulate a response or, when I stay polite and respectful, that the people notice this. You can see it by the number of likes or the comments. And maybe also the people who share my opinions get to think about why I am behaving like this and think about their own reactions, too. After all, I don’t think that Facebook is the right place for political discussions. 

My former math teacher is the kind of guy that used to throw keys at us in the school yard. I think he was doing well in the old system but, after the GDR was gone, he did not feel as respected and much less so from the younger generations. Maybe he also feels threatened in relation to his legacy, in that people might not remember him as the respected teacher from the village, but as a guy who threw keys at the pupils and who was an asshole. Because that’s what he was. So now he has become totally radicalised, and ever since 2015 when the refugees came, he has been posting on Facebook every day. He is the ONLY one that I hate so much not to want to argue with him and whom I’ve blocked, because I know he is the only person who can make me lose my nerves and respect. 



Lupus Lindemann (Kadavar)



There also lies an advantage in social media, that many people who never dared to speak out their true thoughts before, now come out of their cover and show their true faces. It enables you to separate the wheat from the chaff. You get to know them better. It doesn’t mean for me to throw them out and hate them, but you know better who you are dealing with.

Yes, I think so, too. You must not forget to consider their background, where they come from. That’s how I think about the people from my village. I try to remember how I saw them as a child, what kind of jobs they had and what happened to them after the reunion. It helps you to find out the reasons for the frustration and the hate. Also I think that a lot of the older people are drawn into this maelstrom by the algorithm.
Yes, it’s the algorithm that leads them into these bubbles where they only see content that reflects their opinions.

They get a lot of support because they only linger in groups where they find like minded people. When you don’t have the knowledge of how the algorithm works and how the internet works, you get to think that you are the majority and you get your confirmation from that. Then the wheel keeps on spinning faster and faster and they have no chance to hit pause and reflect on this. 

In my village there are neighbours who are not talking to each other anymore. One of my friends organised an apprenticeship as a cook for a refugee. And this is reason enough to be ostracised in my village. They used to celebrate birthdays together and now they are excluded because they offered humanitarian help. There are only two foreigners in my village, they have a doner snack bar where everybody is going. Because doner kebap is ok. Nobody is taking their jobs away, only their own stupidity. When a person from Africa comes to your village, who is uneducated and never properly went to school, and he takes away your job – then I would start to think about what is wrong with YOU. 


Lupus Lindemann (Kadavar)



We wanted to talk about music in the first place… [laughs] Let’s change the topic, I have a question for you. KADAVAR started in 2010 and came out with the right music at the right time. This whole 70s retro-wave was just about to start with many bands and it lifted you up to a great success as a band. If you would be starting today, do you think that you still would be able to become as successful?

No. We talk about this a lot, because we have the same view on this phenomenon. I am sure that the first record is a milestone for the genre, but at the same time it was released in the right year. There were a lot of bands that emerged in this time, like Graveyard, Uncle Acid and Blues Pills – these are the bands who started it all. And these are the bands that remain from that time. I believe that everything that came one or two years later was only excess, because this wave was so short and it pushed everyone on such a level that was totally unexpected for the local blues. That’s why we are convinced that this wouldn’t work another time. 

Our idea back then was to make a stoner record that sounds like The Beatles. We didn’t want a fat sound, we wanted to have fat riffs. We didn’t want to sound fat because we had the feeling that too many bands had done this before since the Kyuss era. Tune down the guitars and more, more, more – make everything fat. Because we were coming from a 1960s kind of sound. So Tiger, our drummer and sound engineer, suggested that we try to sound like The Beatles. At first I couldn’t quite imagine how he wanted to do this. But then he played it to us after he had recorded some of our music. The guitar was panned to the leftmost and the bass was panned rightmost and the drums were disgustingly dry and distorted in the background in the center. Everything totally rough and not mastered and slack, in a way. Also it was played in a very sloppy way. I also believe that at the time we weren’t able to do it any better. [laughs] We also recorded it live, so it was unaltered and I think that established the charm of the record. The naivety and the snotty attitude to knock out six songs without thinking about it. It was meant to be a demo. But then we contacted our first label [The Charming Man Records] and they wanted to release it and we agreed. Also, I liked Tee Pee records from the US at the time, so I wrote to them and asked if we could use their logo on our record. I had no idea how this works, with labels and everything. They liked the record and they made a deal to exchange records from label to label and so we had a distribution in the US. And we had Tee Pee written down on our record and everybody thought we were signed to Tee Pee! [laughs] We weren’t, but it said so on the sleeve. That opened new doors for us in Europe, because it looked like we were signed to an American label.



Lupus Lindemann (Kadavar)



So we did a few things right in that moment, out of naivety and flippancy, without thinking about it and without having a plan. But that made the difference. I don’t think that this would happen today. Unfortunately. There are so many good bands we played with in the last years that we never saw again. And that’s unfortunate because some of them were much better musicians than we are. 
If the band would split up and you were suddenly all alone. And you had to start all over again, at zero. What would you do then?

In the last few years I found pleasure in more complex things. I am a big fan of Nick Cave, especially from his recent years. The way he converts his poetry into music is super interesting. This is a thing I’d like to do more often, maybe with strings: to make big arrangements and add more theatrics to it. As a three piece band you are very limited.
But you could enlarge the band.

We once played a concert at Heimathafen with nine people on stage. With three guitars, organ, synthesizers and background singers. We rearranged our songs and I must say that this was the first time that I heard our songs in the way I imagine them. But with nine people I won’t go on tour! [laughs] Three is enough. 

On the other hand right now I am sitting at home and I am writing a punk record. But just for myself, because over time I happen to write some riffs. It’s a pop punk record. I like pop very much, because I like the songwriting and then you just have to add a snotty guitar. Like The Nerves, like old punk bands, I like this a lot. So probably I’d rather do a punk record.

Lupus Lindemann (Kadavar)


(C) DEPICTED Magazine October 2023

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