Interview with S. M. from E-L-R / DEPICTED MAGAZINE Jan 2024 | Thomas Huntke Fotografie
Interview with S.M. from E-L-R.
Interview S.M. E-L-R
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Interview with S. M. from E-L-R / DEPICTED MAGAZINE Jan 2024

I met S. in front of the Privatclub in Berlin, where E-L-R would play a gig with WOLVENNEST later that night. We went on a walk through Kreuzberg that vibed in late autumn colours under a pale gry sky. Our path led us towards the famous Bethanien building complex and we shot photos along the way wherever we found a nice spot. Afterwards we sat down in front of a cozy café and started the following conversation.

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What do you want to talk about?

This is a difficult question. A very open one.
What´s on your mind these days?

A lot. The world-weariness is very present with me. On the one hand it’s the ongoing wars, but also the climate, because it is very obvious in Switzerland. The glaciers are melting, there is less and less water in our hometown river the Aare and the trees are too green for the season.
Also, I am worried about the health of our drummer. This is very heavy; the past year was incredibly difficult for us. Even though we were able to play a lot of shows, which was nice, but behind the scenes it was rather challenging.

Does this world-weariness make you sad or does it frighten you? Or does it make you angry?

I think it’s both, but for sure it’s also anger. As a woman you are told from an early age that anger is a feeling that you shouldn’t show. You are supposed to be the nice girl instead. But within the last few years I learned that it is okay to feel and express anger.





I often have the feeling that people from the metal scene are more relaxed, because they release their anger through music.


Okay, not everybody, we all know counterexamples, but in the fanbase there are a lot of relaxed people.

Yes, that’s true. Generally, I am also rather relaxed, because I have an outlet in the form of making music. Or sports, this also helps to channel the anger.

On the other hand, anger itself is nothing beneficial. Because anger also makes you ill and destructive. I often have the feeling that by letting it out I also feed it, instead of getting rid of it.

There was a time when I held a lot of anger, mostly directed inward and rarely toward others. I’ve learned to handle it better, avoiding taking it out on myself or others and just letting it out on its own. This is a nice change in my life. But I think it’s important to be angry, especially in these challenging times.





Are you afraid of the future?

Yes, actually. Prior to the tour, I told myself to live more on a day-by-day basis because the future is quite frightening to me. Thinking too far ahead hurts too much. That’s why I try to think from day to day and that’s somehow better.

I think that’s a good strategy. It’s like with anger, when you endorse too much into it, then you can’t get out of it. The best is to live in the moment. Right now we are sitting here with a glass of red wine and a cappuccino – we are not doing so bad.

Yes, that’s right. I think fear is a destructive feeling, worse than anger. Thinking about anger I always imagine the sun. Fear is somehow very cold and detrimental.

Who is writing the music in the band?

It’s the three of us. With the first album, it was mainly Isa and me and then Mischa joined us. We wrote the second album «Vexier» together during the pandemic. We were in the rehearsal room twice a week and intensively wrote music. That has carried us through these times quite smoothly. That would be the goal for the third album as well, but we must see how Mischa is doing. We already have a lot of ideas. We don’t have a mastermind who writes everything while the others are just marionettes. This is not our thing. Writing together might take more time and you must discuss more but it’s worth the effort. So, if two are in favor and one is against it, we usually cancel the idea for now and then work on it until everybody agrees.





This works?

I would say so. I think we have good dynamics. The three of us are very different characters and together we function very well. Everything balances out nicely throughout the process.

When you write music, what flows into it out of your own cosmos?

I heard a lot from the listeners that our music is very calming. This is nice to hear because it’s exactly the feeling we like to convey to the audience. It’s like when you are in nature, then you also have this relaxing feeling. You can let yourself fall and dream and forget about time. This is very important to us, that our music is not so disturbing but rather soothing.
Do you sometimes have the feeling that the music comes out of nothing, that it is suddenly there?

Yes, this also happens. For instance, yesterday I changed the strings on my guitar and just played random stuff and then suddenly I had an idea. I recorded it directly, on video, because otherwise, I forget what I played. I do this often when I have spontaneous ideas. Then I try to work it out further at home and play it to the others.





Are you creating certain conditions before composing to get into a certain mood, like lighting a candle or so?

Not really. I just like starting with a tidy space, even though it might get messy again after ten minutes. But first, there must be order. This is the most important condition for me.
What also comes to my mind are smells. It is important to me that there is a good smell. When I am at home, I open the window to let in the pleasant scents from the garden. In the rehearsal room, it requires more effort. It’s a bunker, I often burn some incense there or use forest sprays.


What about light? Are you able to create dark music during daylight?

Yes, I like sunlight a lot. But not for getting a tan, I like it as an element. When the room is bright, I am feeling at best. But I also like the night when it is silent, and nobody bothers me. I find the afternoon rather difficult. Either very early in the morning or very late at night, in between it is difficult.

When I am working late, I often find it difficult to fall asleep afterwards.

That’s right, you can still be agitated. Then the head is still trapped in the loop. Falling asleep is normally not a problem for me, but I often wake up at night, around three o’clock. Then I am trapped in the loop of thoughts.

What do you do then?

Typically, I attempt to go back to sleep, but it often doesn’t work. In that case, I get up and do something dull, like organizing my tasks for the next day.





Right now, you are on tour. Mostly, there are repeating processes on tour like unloading, soundcheck, show, afterparty and driving to the next place. Do you have a favorite moment in this timetable?

Yes, it’s the morning coffee. When I drink my coffee, it marks the start of a new day. Now on tour, it’s mostly at 12 o’clock, so it’s rather late. Normally, it’s seven o’clock, so the routine is pretty shifted when on tour.
I happen to get bored pretty quickly. This can be hard on tour because you have a lot of waiting periods and not much to do. Then I try to keep busy somehow, like by changing the strings on my guitar or by helping someone with something. Waiting is terrible.
I also like the time after the show, because then the adrenalin is slowly fading and you are done with work.

Some people have difficulties coming down and fall into a hole.

That’s not my problem. I used to drive myself crazy by ruminating about all the mistakes I made. But meanwhile, I stopped doing this. After a show, I spend about a minute thinking about how it went, but after that, it doesn’t matter anymore. Then I pack my gear and that was it. I believe that it’s a nice development to stop driving yourself crazy about your own mistakes or other things that the audience probably haven’t even noticed.
How did you get over it?

I’ve come to realize that it really doesn’t matter. I was asked to consider the worst possible scenarios, and as I shared my thoughts, I realized it’s not nearly as bad as I once thought. I also saw other artists making these mistakes and I never found this terrible. That was a key moment for me.
Technical problems happen, and that’s stressful, but after all I know what I am doing. When I hit the wrong note, then that’s just how it is.





Are there moments on tour you dislike?

Right now, we travel in a nightliner. What I don’t like is waking up and climbing out of the bunk. There is only little space, the hallway is tight and there is usually bad air. Also, it’s super messy, so when I get up, I must look out for my things. That’s why getting up is the worst. After that, it’s okay.
You just did ten shows. What would be the maximum number of shows you can handle?

I think it could be more with the nightliner since it’s very comfortable to travel like that compared to tours with the van. I think four or five weeks, as we’ve done before, would be alright, unless I lose my voice.
Are there any countries or cities on your touring wish list?

We never played Italy. I liked Portugal a lot because it is so far away. Ireland would be nice too, or Iceland. The further away, the better. Or maybe South America or Japan. We’ve seen a lot of Europe so far, and going a bit farther would be a big step out of our comfort zone as well.
Before the photoshoot I asked if you wanted to shoot with some animal skulls I found in the woods. You refused and said you’d rather shoot with flowers.

I don’t like animal skulls very much, because I don’t eat animals. I think human skulls would be less bad, which is strange in a way. I find plants aesthetically pleasing and they have a positive effect on me.
Do you have plants at home?

Yes, at home I have a lot of houseplants and also a garden with a lot of flowers. I love it. Especially in spring, when a lot of things are growing and it is getting more colorful and there are insects and birds, this is very beautiful.





Do you also like autumn?

I was born in October, so this is the right time for me. So autumn is my favorite season. When the leaves change color, particularly in the Swiss forests, it’s incredibly beautiful. It’s my favorite time to stroll through the woods, especially as the leaves are falling.
I also like autumn, but for me it also means that afterwards there will be a long winter.

Luckily in Switzerland you have the mountains, and you can go skiing or hiking. In Bern, when the weather is gray, I often take a train to the nearby mountains, just an hour away and enjoy some sun. I enjoy the silence there and there’s a meditative beauty in the sound of your steps in the quiet snow.

Since Berlin is so far east, we do have hard winters but less and less snow in the past years.

Well, this is climate change.
So now we are back at the beginning of the interview…


(C) DEPICTED Magazine Januar 2024

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