Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Darius Lohmüller Of The Deadnotes

Artwork for “Easy Summer.” Courtesy of Earshot Media.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

After they gained traction for their 2020 album ‘Courage,’ which spawned hits like “Hopeless Romantic,” The Deadnotes had already toured more than 25 European countries and had more than 500 concerts under their belt with the members all in their early 20’s.

Naturally, they looked forward to see where their journey would take them next. Then, Covid happened and stopped their ‘Courage’ tour, along with the departure of longtime drummer Yannic Arens.

Backs against the wall, vocalist/guitarist Darius Lohmüller and bassist/vocalist Jakob Walheim kept the momentum strong as a duo in 2021 with an “Easy Summer” (wink, wink) and avoided looking like a “Deer In The Headlights.” Experimentation and the urge to create a soundtrack on the world’s way to lighter times was what fueled their fire – and saxophone solos, because reasons.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Lohmüller of the German alt-rockers about what they’ve been up to lately and more.

Music Bugle – What was your goal for your single “Easy Summer”?

Darius Lohmüller – “Easy Summer” was the first song we wrote after our album release tour abruptly had to be cut short in March 2020. I was so burnt out, frustrated and desperate and there were moments when I felt like I had completely un-learnt how to write a good song, but suddenly, “Easy Summer” was there and it felt so natural and relieving. The whole writing process felt so honest and authentic and it felt so good to not work with a strict concept or drive yourself too crazy about the bigger picture, but simply enjoy the little, but pure moment of creativity sparking. All this is probably the reason why it became one of our poppiest and brightest and also most playful songs to date.

Music Bugle – Did the video for “Easy Summer” come out the way you had hoped?

Darius Lohmüller – Usually when writing a concept for a music video, I have loads of pictures and visions in my head, but find it super hard to transport these ideas and pictures to videographers. You might be discussing the same scenario, picture or scene, but it looks completely different in someone else’s head. For the first time, I felt like the video and how it turned out matched exactly those ideas and visuals I had in my head when the first ideas for it came up. Huge shoutout to Moritz Schinn, who is the man behind the music video. We loved the idea of shooting a performance video – because that‘s what it basically is – but let it take a completely different turn than any of the videos you usually see from indie/punk or pop-punk bands. The goal was to underline the whole vibe of the song and its story. Somewhere between total isolation, frustration and hopefulness, lightness and high spirits. We wanted to try ourselves out and we decided to not work with actors, but play all the roles ourselves to leave open if we‘re just acting “over the top” or embodying and showing our very own emotional stories and experiences in a very expressive manner.

Music Bugle – Did going from a trio to a duo set you guys back in any way?

Darius Lohmüller – Needless to say that such a line-up change after 10 years of being a trio was a huge change for us and came along with a lot of insecurities and new challenges. It was super tough at first and felt super unreal when Yannic decided to leave the band. Nevertheless, sometimes, it helps to be thrown into something new. Apart from the fact that there was no bad blood or something, we noticed it really helped our songwriting and dynamics to escape our routine and patterns we‘ve been stuck in for a very long time. Writing songs as a duo felt super strange at first, but along with the fact that we suddenly had a lot of time without shows and touring, we completely changed the way we used to write music and work with the band, which I experience as a real benefit now, months later.

Music Bugle – How would you describe Freiburg, Germany to someone who has never been there before?

Darius Lohmüller – Freiburg is a real beauty. A rather small town in Southern Germany next to the Black Forest. In the winter, you can go skiing not too far away and in the summer, it‘s the warmest town in all of Germany and very close to France and Switzerland as well. Politically, it‘s a very green, liberal and open-minded city, but still very wealthy and a bit posh, in my opinion. We tried really hard to build up a scene and a community there, but it‘s very hard for culture to grow in an expensive city where many inhabitants are students without a lot of money. I deeply appreciate all the great people there who work so hard to keep music/music venues and the subculture alive. I moved away from Freiburg not too long ago, so now, none of us live in Freiburg anymore, but I‘m super thankful for everything I‘ve experienced here, for the crazy shows we played in our hometown, DIY shows put on in our basement rehearsal rooms in my mum‘s house and deep down, I must admit I really miss this city and all the people there are always super hyped when we get to spend time in the city.

Music Bugle – What did you miss the most about performing live?

Darius Lohmüller – I realized that it‘s not only the show itself, but everything that comes along with it. I mostly missed the talks with random strangers, hanging out at the merch table after the show, still super hyped and full of adrenaline, even the soundchecks, long drives and fucked-up nights. Maybe that sounds a bit corny and romanticizing, but after quite a few years on the road now, I feel like we‘re a band that really lives for touring and the whole touring lifestyle, the ups and downs. That‘s what it‘s all about and what we love.

Music Bugle – Serious question here – can we expect any more saxophone solos?

Darius Lohmüller – (Laughs) There’s nothing more boring than bands releasing the same record over and over again. We love to push ourselves further and love to experiment a lot, open people‘s ears and don‘t want them to grow numb over listening to our music. We started writing songs on the computer for the first time during the pandemic and discovered the whole and huge world of “Logic Software Instruments.” Jakob and I both listen to completely different and various genres and didn‘t mean to limit ourselves here. E.g., When I was still in school, I used to play jazz guitar in a Big-Band together with Paul from the awesome funk band Fatcat, who now smashed the sax solo in “Easy Summer.” Long story short – there will be a lot of experimenting with different instruments on our upcoming releases and for sure, there will be more saxophone. I‘m so excited for people to hear what we‘ve been working on.

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?

Darius Lohmüller – I believe it‘s quite obvious that social media is a double-edged sword for most of the people in music. It helps to connect, helps bands to grow and reach new people, but never should social media take up more space or a more important part than real experiences. Especially during the last two years, social media played the probably biggest role in the music industry and for bands than it ever has before, but also, I feel like that was the key reason many people in bands decided to give it up in the end. When we played our first shows after over a year break from live back in June, I felt as grounded and balanced again as I haven‘t felt in a very long time.

Music Bugle – How else have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Darius Lohmüller – We have all been affected in many different ways. Apart from the massive amount of shows being cancelled, rescheduled and cancelled again, we all had to deal with a lot of difficult private stuff. Relationships falling apart, Jakob and I both lost our jobs from one day to the other. It‘s really hard to sum up that crazy time in a few sentences here and to be honest, I think pretty much everything has been said here already and right now, I just feel really grateful that life is slowly taking up speed again, things start to feel a little lighter and there‘s some more perspective again.

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?

Darius Lohmüller – I‘m not really good with quotes, but the album title of the 2016 Angel Du$t record, ‘Rock The F** On Forever’ really puts it in a nutshell. 

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Darius Lohmüller – I recently discovered a fantastic new artist from Germany called M.Byrd. Nothing too new or special, but super soft and nostalgic indie/pop/rock that makes me cry like a baby, because I‘m so moved every time I hear one of their songs and it’s something I haven‘t heard from an artist in Germany in a very long time. Completely different style, but our photographer and my friend Sebastian Igel recently got me into the new Miley Cyrus rock album ‘Plastic Hearts‘ when we were on tour. I totally missed out on this one when it came out, but it really slaps. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close