In light of their upcoming full length releases, we caught up with producer / piano player Jan Wagner and vocalist / producer / multi-media artist Rosa Anschütz. We talked about how they met, the nature of their collaboration and what we could expect from their new material. We are also very happy to announce that we will be the first to share Kapitel 30, the new single from Jan’s album titled Kapitel (chapters). And – surprise! surprise! – this deep nugget features a beautiful, dark and very hypnotic spoken word piece written and performed by Rosa Anschütz herself.
Kapitel is set to drop on March 20th on Quiet Love Records. Like Nummern, Jan’s debut, it’s very much an intense immersive experience. On the surface, everything appears soft and soothing. The piano playing is delicate and full of nuance. The synths are warm, enveloping and buoyant – shapeshifting slowly, changing from a brook to something of a mild mist. There is a pervading sense of tranquility to be found here, and a new found hopefulness, which was only hinted at on the first record. But if you listen closely, just under the surface, there is still something dark, moody and raw. Like an open wound or lingering memory of one. The strength of this record undeniably lies in its subtle gradation of emotion. Nothing is overstated, maudlin or banal here. And there is something to be discovered with every listen.
How did you meet?
Rosa: I started uploading things to soundcloud very early on. They were things that I tried out on Ableton, acoustic stuff mostly. Max Kobosil heard some of them and, I guess, that was the connection. He’s an old friend of yours, right?
Jan: Right! He listened to a track of yours and called me up and told me that I definitely need to hear it. And that was you. That’s how we got in touch, and very shortly after that we hit the studio.
This isn’t your first music collaboration, but it’s the first time that any vocals appear on a Jan Wagner record. How did this song come about, and why only now?
Jan: I had Rosa’s voice running through my head constantly while I was producing these new tracks. To be fair, I was working on our records simultaneously. So it was just a matter of time until our material would finally fuse together and create what became Kapitel 30.
Rosa: I heard the composition while I was in Berlin for a short stay and I loved it instantly!
Jan: I suppose intuition should be credited as a co-author on this song.
Despite the fact that you had worked together extensively, the temperature of your individual compositions is very different. There is also the fact that Rosa covers very specific topics, while your records are very much about concealing the narratives which informed their creation. I’m very curious about what you hear in this song, now that it’s finished?
Jan: It’s funny because for me this track feels like it was always supposed to be a collaboration with Rosa. I can’t really imagine a version without her. I didn’t hear any vocals on any of the other tracks, but with this one I heard her voice from the very beginning. I showed Rosa an early sketch and she just went for it.
Can you imagine co-writing more songs together? Not as producer and songwriter, but as artists.
Jan: For sure. For me, it doesn’t really matter if I’m producing or songwriting or recording. When I’m at the studio all of these aspects start to bleed into each other. The only thing that’s important is that the energy has to be good and that I’m vibing with that person. What do you think, Rosa?
Rosa: I totally agree!
Both of you have albums dropping in the next couple of months, can you tell us a bit about what we’re in store for?
Rosa : Jan’s record is like a universe. There is something cosmic about, the way the sounds travel through space and take orbit. Like with his previous record, Kapitel is also about very deep emotions. It’s a very personal work.
Jan : Thank you! To me, Rosa’s album is very much grounded in the concept which connects her music with her work as a multimedia artist. The album is called Votive, and like with the actual votive figures, it translates into sculpture. Rosa actually created a votive figure for every single song on this album. I am very much inspired by her use of these two distinct artistic languages and I can see both of them traveling very far.
In closing, what do you have on heavy rotation these days? Any recommendations?
Jan: Thats a tough question. While we were on tour in Portugal with Tobias Preisig, we listened to a lot of Charlotte Gainsbourg. Its the perfect soundtrack for being on tour and driving for hours!
Rosa: I’ve been listening to a lot of free jazz and noise. Collaborations from Merzbow and the saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, for example. I was also playing a lot of old horror movie soundtracks. It wasn’t just John Carpenter who made these really intense tracks. This, by the way, is a part of my ongoing research.