The music duo of Sven Pollkötter, a percussionist and drummer, and Jakob Diehl, a composer and actor
Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Get the new LP 'there is no time to run away from here' here.
What’s it like to be you?
Jakob: Happy, because I create mostly what I like to create. Tiring, because I never create what I want to create.
To say what it is like to be who I am, I would need to know what it’s like to be someone else.
How would you describe your music to someone who is not yet familiar with it?
Sven: I think it’s krautjazz.
Jakob: Our music is a living process, so it will always be changing. Our first musical-series „TRAUM“ though, I would describe as a slow, minimal ambient-doom-jazz-music. It will be surreal, like always on the edge between being sleep and awake. The first album “there is no time to run away from here” formulates the first part of that very series, in an instrumental quartet: drums, flugelhorn, e-guitar, rhodes/piano.
What drew you to music? What initially attracted you to music and what does it give you?
Sven: Hanging out with friends actually! I like to create something from scratch with other people and feel that energy.
Jakob: To feel within music, or having music inside of you is something precious. I never chose it, it just happened. It makes you feel secure, it gives you a space of your own, a retreat but also a place to scream. It creates a world where you can be and say and do whatever you want. Making music is like a way of living. It’s hard to describe… Ask a football player why he likes to kick the ball, and he will say: I just like it! The thing is, that ‘calling’ is strong enough to go for it forever. 100%.
What do you appreciate the most in each other on a personal and professional level?
Jakob: On both levels: he never does what I want.
Sven: On both levels: he never does what I want.
Do you think there are still new ways of approaching music?
Jakob: Yes, it’s always happening. Every second. Anyway, I think the so-called ‘pop music’ is not that developed, it’s only starting as any young and new art form within the music.
What were your mindsets when working on the ‘there is no time to run away from here’ LP? What conclusions did you come to with the final piece of work?
Sven: There was no special thought or mindset at the beginning. I had sleepless nights, where I used creatively to work on new tracks… Sometime later it turned out that everything I started out doing was very slow, for whatever reason… We liked this slowness and the possibilities it offered to us and just kept on following it.
Jakob: I think our biggest conclusion was: never put more, it’s better if you put less. Especially if you have such talented people on board as our flugelhorn-player Manuel Viehmann and guitarist Boris Nicolai!
What are your ideas of God in the modern world?
Jakob: Imagine… Just in case, the meteorite would be coming at Earth:
I think many people will sing a song when they would be waiting for the end of mankind. So maybe music is one of the modern gods (as old as it is): as an element of nature, as something bigger and richer than us, as something to hold on to.
On the other side, there is science. But I am on the side of humility. I think nature is the most high-tech you can get because we are nature-high-tech, so our creations will be too. Anyway, we have enough gods nowadays, we should ask for the god makers.
Sven: I totally agree!
Do you think the mind works best creatively under a certain amount of suffering?
Jakob: No, not at all. But I think, any extreme situation brings out all of our hidden, unused capacities, in general.
Sven: Exactly! Of course, there were the sleepless nights at the beginning, which were certainly not easy, but later we had a lot of fun together, there were no signs of suffering.
What are your personal definitions of beauty?
Jakob: I don’t have any.
Real beauty, for me, is something unpredictable and something not to understand, so therefore something without definition.
I think the definition of beauty is in general perception-wise fucked-up and on top overestimated.
Sven: When I read the reactions on Jakob’s Instagram page, I think he is the definition of beauty.
Who is or was your biggest teacher in life and what did you learn from this individual?
Sven: My biggest teacher in music was Peter Prommel at the Music Academy. He always showed me that there is no right or wrong in music, always several ways to go, but in the end, it has to come from yourself.
Jakob: My biggest teacher in music was my first composition teacher, the composer Mathias Hinke because he told me that composing is about me since I am the one who makes the choices.
What was the last film you’ve seen that really impressed you and why did it?
Sven: I can’t remember.
Jakob: A documentary about whale sex because of the topic!
If you could have a conversation with any historical or famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Jakob: The first man on Earth to ask him how everything began.
Sven: Why do you think it was a man? It must have been a woman, so I would like to talk to her.
What are your stances on imperfections, both in work and in life?
Jakob: Oh, here it’s also difficult for me because I don’t understand those words. I don’t know what is perfection, neither its opposite. I only see things in the process -both in music and in life. Are these imperfections? I like all these changings because it reflects life as big chaos. And we, in this chaos, are trying to get something clear and perfect and we’re creating words to hold on to. That’s what I see.
Sven: I agree!
What do you feel when you look back at your lives so far?
Jakob: I feel thankful for every second I had. I regret most of my actions because I know better now and I try to see it easily hehe. And I feel overworked when I look back and dream for a bit more rest and to do what I like to do.
Sven: Everything is good, I think I would do everything the same again. Otherwise, I would not be here now and could do the things I do now.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
All questions are good questions because they are the beginning of a conversation.
Jakob: I never prepare for interviews, I usually like the unexpected. I think your questions were pretty cool! Thank you.