The Düsseldorf duo BAR, consisting of Stabil Elite musician Lucas Croon and Christina Irrgang, debuts with a musical hybrid between New Wave, Balearic, Shoegaze, Dream Pop and Noir Songwriting. Lucas Croon sings as if he had studied with Nick Cave, Brian Ferry and Chris Isaac. Christina Irrgang’s timbre seems completely absorbed in the music, and yet it somehow floats above it, bold and cool.
“Welcome to BAR” is recorded, produced and emotionally arranged on various synthesizers, the drums, with film soundtrack samples, vocal collages and instruments such as the pocket piano, which Croon and Irrgang became aware of in Los Angeles through their acquaintance with Diva Dompé, the daughter of Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins.
Passion can be felt in everything they say, sing and play. Passion for love, for nights in a neon glow, for dark pulsating bass lines, black and white romance, driving synth beats and the affectionately playful “À Rebours” – aestheticism with no objection to the natural.
1: There are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos.
2: The bushes and clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same, just colored differently.
3: Trust in Baz Luhrmann’s advices in “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Christina: Listening to music is my biggest inspiration! Long before I started making music, I listened to it, recorded tapes, DJed once in a while. I also listen to music when I am writing: it frees my mind and creates an inspiring atmosphere.
Lucas: It’s very different. Sometimes it’s a movie, a song, or just a specific sound of an instrument. Like, it could be a chord that stimulates an association, which becomes inspiration in a second step, and so on…
How and when did you get into making music?
Lucas has more than ten years experience with making music. In 2007 he and Nikolai Szymanski founded the band Stabil Elite, but Lucas also played a lot of solo shows since then, and he is composing music for motion picture and commercial. We got to know each other on stage: Lucas was performing music for a scenic play while Christina was performing an analytical-poetic text. Our artistic senses matched and completed or added something from our first encounter. After being a couple for six months, we started to make music together – and ended up in producing our first vinyl “Welcome to BAR” within only a few months, it was released in June 2014. Since then we’re working together and playing concerts in different contexts, like in clubs, theaters, in the art and fashion scene, even in universities. Our music production emerges out of an interplay: it is a mutual re-action. Nevertheless: Lucas is most familiar with electronic sound and music production while Christina’s practice emanates from language and classical music. Our decision to work together was love – for music and for each other!
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
It is hard to name albums because we tend to like diverse genres, musicians, and songs. But we try…
Chungking – ‘We Travel Fast’
Gonzales – ‘Solo Piano’
Evenings – ‘Yore’
Jaakko Eino Kalevi – ‘Dreamzone’ (EP)
The new Stabil Elite album which will be released early 2016!
Talking Heads – ‘Remain in Light’
Dean Blunt – ‘The Redeemer’
Roxy Music – ‘Avalon’
Kraftwerk – ‘Transeuropaexpress’
Fleetwood Mac – ‘Rumours’
What do you associate with Berlin?
Christina: I lived in Berlin from summer 2006 to autumn 2007 to study and work. This city and its surrounding region has a very unique flow, I love it. And most of my closest friends from different periods of life live there. Berlin feels familiar to me.
Lucas: A lot of friends and good times. But also Hipsters with stereotyped attitudes, sometimes.
What’s your favorite place in your town?
Christina: I like places where you can feel heartbeat and honesty. This can be the new café BAUSTOFF which has recently been opened by friends of us. Or, this could be the Rhine itself, which is in walking distance from our house.
Lucas: My studio, the club Salon des Amateurs, and the farmers markets in our neighborhood to buy local food for cooking.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Christina: Listening to the sound of the sea, trembling leaves, and the cityscape. I would also write, as I already do as a freelance writer.
Lucas: Hard to imagine, but I think there are a few really interesting occupations: Astronaut or carpenter for example, I like the stars and I like wood. Directing movies is also a nice idea, but it would be not the same without score.
What was the last record you bought?
Christina: The last record that was given to me is the new album of Jaakko Eino Kalevi, which is just great!! Great birthday present by Nikolai Szymanski, who recently directed our new video “White Noise” which will be released soon!
Lucas: Jan Schulte recently gave me his new EP “Bufiman – Ältere Sachen”, where I played the synths on one of the tracks.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Christina: Brian Eno!
Lucas: Maybe with a great singer like Beth Gibbons…
We recently collaborated with Pharaohs and Diva Dompé from L.A., and with Orson, Wolf Müller (Jan Schulte), and Tolouse Lowtrax (Detlef Weinrich). They all made remixes of songs from our album. The first record of this series will be published in November! Watch out!
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Christina: As spectator: I saw and listend to an incredible concert by Antony And The Johnsons at Alte Oper in Frankfurt am Main in 2009! Music, stage, voice…everything was just gorgeous! This was long before I started playing my own concerts with BAR. For me, a concert should be inspiring and touching, mostly when music, scenic play, passion and good sound come together and evoque a certain kind of “com-passion”. I really want to feel the music and the musician, share space and time for that moment. I like to achieve this too.
Lucas: 1997 Micheal Jackson in Cologne, there’s no doubt. I also had great concerts in Vietnam with my band Stabil Elite last year.
How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology provides tools, and tools enable to develop new ideas. So, technology is something that benefits our music, our creative process. F.i. the pocket piano: this mini synthesizer inspired us to combine text and music as a code, which was the essence for a new song… Technology can be an amazing indicator of a period of life.
Lucas loves synthesizer and it all started many years ago when he found an old Mini-Moog in the cellar of his school. Christina got educated in different types of the flute but didn’t practice anymore since she left school. We bring together the instruments we are fascinated by, including experiences from the past and discoveries from the now. We’re recording analog and digital, with the means of time and timelessness. We grew up in a time where the recording of music and images is an ubiquitous technique: loop and sample have equivalent meaning to us as free floating improvisational passages that we are performing live on stage. And we both discover new instruments every now and then when we are travelling – they enrich our sound as travelling itself.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
Christina: I have a 10-year-old half brother who has a very creative sense. I guess he’s one of our biggest fans! (laughing)
Lucas: I have three half sisters, I’m the youngest. I would say they like what I do. Kisses to JJJ!
Links: bar-music.com | Soundcloud | Facebook