Saturday, 20 August 2016

Eight questions with SEA + AIR

(c) Tim Dobrovolny

1. Who are SEA + AIR and where did the name come from? (a short introduction)

SEA + AIR are a Greek/German couple. We met in Germany, where SEA + AIR phonetically also means "she and he". It also describes our personal characters. The Greek girl growing up next to a lot of water. The German boy growing up in a remote place in the mountains.

2. How long have you been making music as SEA + AIR? What have been the highlights so far?

We started in 2010. Even before we decided for a name we already got the opportunity to support Whitney Houston on her last tour. Which was a bizarre and amazing early highlight. A completely strange world. Ever since we've played over 1000 shows in 30 countries. Seeing so many places, meeting so many people, getting a picture of the real Europe, is a recurring highlight. So much that we called our latest album "Evropi", Europe in Greek. And told the crazy story of Eleni's ancestors, who lived all across Europe, which we kind of repeated on that trip.

3. Your Twitter bio reads ‘A Greek folklore dancer who had to sing secretly when she was a kid and a German composer who can't read music?’ and your Facebook page lists your genre as ‘Ghost Pop’ - how would you describe your music to people who haven’t listened to it before?

Well it's Pop Music in its pure sense. Everyone can understand it. But it sounds like nothing you've heard before. The "Ghost" - level comes from the ancient Greek and baroque instruments we use on stage: Bouzouki, lyra, harpsichord. And from the way of composing our songs. Using ancient techniques, for example the singing technique of the Balkan area where Eleni's grandparents come from. Music that we heard when we were too little to try understanding music or what' s cool. Music that connects with your feelings more than with your intellect. Spiritual, emotional, very dark and very bright.

4. Who is your audience and how do you connect with your fans? Any crazy, fun, exciting stories are very welcome.

The funny thing is that we connect with completely unrelated scenes. More than any other artist we know. That means a lot of strange audiences we play to. Hipster venues, folk festivals, progressive rock audiences, punk nights, etc. 

One remarkable show was in Leipzig, Germany at the Wave Gothic Convention. The venue was a beautiful old theatre. Setting up and soundchecking was pretty normal. Usually we turn off the lights when we enter the stage. So we don't see the audience before we start the chorus of the first song. This time I opened my eyes and saw 500 seats full of Goths dressed in black and very delicate dresses. I forgot singing for a moment. They were making this place so much more beautiful. Usually we' re the only black dressed persons in the room. Oh my goth! We love them!

5. We can’t wait for your Oxford show at Ark T Centre as part of your first headline England tour. Will you be getting in some sightseeing before the show?

Of course. This will be our second in Oxford and we haven't seen anything yet. Maybe the university to understand why we learned Oxford English in school, which we never heard again anywhere? Or the Radiohead museum?

6. After supporting Whitney Houston on a huge European tour, how do you find smaller headline shows compare to these big arenas? Do you favour the intimacy?

We favour the mix of everything. Our live shows have a very spontaneous character. Sometimes playing in a living room feels more like an arena than a stadium. Sometimes we suck and 4.000 people see us fail. Pretty intense.

7. What does your dream gig look like? Any bands that you’d love to play alongside?

Any band with a music loving audience would be cool. I think U2 would be cool. Even if this sounds weird: I believe that they've only got music lovers left in their audience. They're so uncool and anti-fashion that everyone who' s there must be there for the music. How cool! But there are other bands that have their own kind of audience. Kate Bush, Dead Can Dance. And we' d also do well to a metal crowd I think. Slayer for example.

8. What does the rest of the year (and even looking towards 2017) hold for you?

Well we have to finally show the UK some radical music again. We wanna come over many times in the next couple of years and show you guys what Europe really means. Hehehe. We're from the two uncoolest pop countries at the moment. That means we can start a completely new page. Invent exciting music without labels. Hope you guys will be the first to tell your friends about us. In 5 years you will be considered hip for that. Ha!

SEA + AIR play Oxford's Ark T Centre as part of their debut England tour on 4th September, tickets are available here.

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