Right place, right time: There are days where things just fall into place.
For Markus and Julien from Lea Porcelain they met for their first time the morning after a long party at the Robert Johnson Club in Offenbach.
Julien was a rising star of the German Techno scene, signed to the Cocoon agency and playing a lot of gigs. It was a one man show, with most of his sounds just coming from the computer or synthesisers, and he felt more and more the urge to write songs with somebody.
“There was this point where I was just looking for a change”, says Julien.
It was exactly during that time that their first encounter took place.
Markus had just returned from Antwerp. In his youth he had started a band to play at a skateboard contest, after being inspired by the soundtrack of Flip’s “Sorry Skateboard” video.
“I didn’t have good taste in music when I was eleven, twelve (years old)… but when I watched skateboarding, I liked whatever was in the skateboard video. It was subconscious, because I liked the way the guy skateboarded, (I liked) their style and then their taste in music.”
After finishing school he moved to Ireland for his social service, and started to sing in English too.
He remembers what happened next:
“I went to one of his (Julien’s) gigs and kind of became his roadie for the night, because the club was really full. After he played he had to get all his drum gear out so I helped, and we went to his studio.”
Julien remixed one of Markus’ songs, and a couple of months later they did a session together. From the beginning, it was a perfect match: Markus instantly found lyrics and melodies for Julien’s atmospheric soundscapes.
After three days in the studio they had two songs. One of them being “Out is In”, the opener from their first album “Hymns to the Night”.
During a subsequent holiday in Spain, Julien, infected by the euphoria, was blasting the songs on a high volume through the PA system every morning. ”There was so much energy only because of these two songs… and then I kind of decided that this is the direction that I wanted to go.” A couple of months later Markus’ previous projects ended, and they decided to go all in.
It was the right decision.
The first album creates a strong, melancholic yet optimistic mood. From the first tune of “Out is In” until the touching burst of “Endlessly”, it’s a perfect soundtrack for a train or car ride at night. It made me think about the future and reflect about things that happened, and made me want to cry and smile at the same time.
For a potential follow-up they spent their winter in Spain, inviting friends and working on new music.
“It’s very good if you take three months, to go to one house, set everything up and just be in this bubble every day” says Julian.
Their first song “I am Ok“, released two weeks ago, is a pre-taste of their new material. It’s about losing and finding yourself again after all.
When do Markus and Julien feel ok? “Right now, after our time in Spain, having a bunch of new songs, a great team around us, and a great band, I feel okay almost every day,“ says Julien.
When not travelling they’re based at the Funkhaus in Berlin, which is the former base of the central radio station of East Germany. The housing complex is situated by the river and hosts several studios and event venues, and since very recently companies are based there too.
After our interview they show me their studio, where they’re putting finishing touches on the live set-up for their upcoming tour. New devices are tried out, cables are being rolled up and the motif for their banner is selected.
“There’s a lot of work for a band to take what they produce in the studio and to put in on stage for everyone to see. It’s a long way,” says Marcus.
Watch Lea Porcelain on their tour, starting this week.