I love the freedom of performing, when I don’t have to second-guess myself and I just do it.
Konzert und Interview am 27. November 2015 in der Kantine/Berghain
Interview, Text und Fotos: Corinna Sauer
Welch klangvoller Name: Sophie Auster. Auch, wenn ich dabei von der deutschen Bedeutung ihres Nachnamens ausgehe, bzw. meine Assoziationen sich auf die Muschel beziehen, die fest verschlossen und deren Inhalt von besonderem Wert ist. Gut, ersteres trifft eher nicht auf die junge amerikanische Sängerin zu, wie ich bei unserem Treffen am letzten Freitag feststellen konnte. In der Kantine des Berghains sollte sie das letzte Konzert ihrer aktuellen Tour spielen und ich bekam die Möglichkeit, mich kurz vorher ein wenig mit ihr zu unterhalten.
Sophie ist nicht nur jung und schön und zudem die Tochter des hochkarätigen Schriftstellerpaars Paul Auster und Siri Hustvedt. Vor allem ist sie eine talentierte und leidenschaftliche Musikerin, die mit 16 Jahren ihr erstes, ihren Namen tragendes, Album fertiggestellt hat.
Ihre Musik mag man als kantigen, anmutigen Folk bezeichen. Sanfte Melodien, in deren Fluß sich jähe Untiefen auftun. Ihre warme, sanfte Alt-Stimme trägt Texte vor, die teils so düster und verstörend sind, dass man an den verführerischen und gleichzeitig schrecklichen Sirenen-Gesang der griechischen Mythologie erinnert wird. In ihrem ersten Album widmete sich Auster inhaltlich den französischen Surrealisten, in ihrem aktuellen Album „Dogs and Men“ geht es, wie sie mir erzählte, um Archaisches, Animalisches und, in Verbindung dazu, den Männern in ihrem Leben.
Bei ihrem Auftritt bewies Sophie Auster, dass sie ihrer Musik auch einen imposanten Rahmen zu geben und sich selbst zu inszenieren weiß: untermalt von expressiven Gesten, ihre Mähne nach hinten werfend, sich, unterbrochen von kurzen Momenten, in denen sie ihren Blick durch’s Publikum schweifen lässt, stetig über die Bühne bewegend, singt sie mit einer Intensität, die man auf den Albumversionen ihrer Lieder nur erahnen kann. Damit verleiht sie ihrer Musik einen zusätzlichen Wumms, der dieser eine weitere Ebene verleiht. Es ist offensichtlich, dass Sophie Auster die Bühne liebt und im Licht der Scheinwerfer das preisgibt, was sich hinter ihrem hübschen Gesicht und der zarten Erscheinung verbirgt – und so ist der Vergleich mit der Muschel, die ihren Namen trägt, vielleicht doch nicht so weit hergeholt.
Mehr über Sophie könnt Ihr im folgenden Interview, das ich mit ihr geführt habe, nachlesen.
Congratulations on your latest album „Dogs and Men“, which is highly acclaimed and that I personally find very beautiful. Why did you choose this title for the album? Would you say that there is something like a red line that characterizes the album?
It’s a bit funny, but I didn’t really have a title for the album and I was thinking about it after it had been finished – what it was about, what I’m writing about. And I thought, well, a lot of the songs are about relationships and men that had been in my life. So men… and then there is the slightly more storytelling, surreal, dreamy part of my creative thought process and also there is a song specifically about my dog (laughs). So I came up with „Dogs and Men“ and that actually really represents what I’m talking about. I think that titles really just come to you.
Your lyrics are sometimes rather dark and disturbing in the best way. In combination with those beautiful melodies of yours, this creates an interesting and special impression. How would you describe the relationship between your music, your vocals and the stories you tell?
Interesting question… I think, as I develop and experiment and find myself as a songwriter, the darker times can be influential and inspiring, so I think that a bit of the darkness comes out, even though, in my everyday life I’m constantly joking around and all I wanna do is to make people laugh and smile. But I think, with my writing, there is definitely a strain of somberness going through, which I like, as well as playing a bit with the edginess, which I’ve always been attracted to. I never wanna be too sweet. And a lot of the musicians that I like are singing about the more painful side of life. I think, most of this is totally subconscious and it just comes out with things that you have listened to and that have inspired you. So sometimes you don’t really know why you are doing what you are doing, but somehow it makes sense. That was a little bit vague, but I did my best to answer this question (laughs).
You grew up in a very creative environment and you released your first album when you were only 18 years old. When did it become clear to you, that your main creative output would be making music?
You know, I think it was interesting because my first album was spontaneous, it was experimental, it was fun… The first time I had ever been in a recording studio. I was actually sixteen, when I recorded it and it came out two years later. Then I started playing shows and supporting that record and while I was doing that and also when I was talking about it, I realized, how badly I wanted to put out my own music. It was a novelty project with translated French poetry and the band and I did this very unique, cooperative project together. But I hadn’t written all the music or the lyrics. It was a project that I could definitely stand behind and support, but it wasn’t like: „Hey, this is my song about this and that’s how I’m feeling“. So, I think in that way, it pushed me to start writing as much music and lyrics as possible. I give this album a lot of credit for helping me discover what I wanted to do. I mean, it’s hard. You have lots of different interests. At times I thought that I definitely want to be a performer that I love to sing and to get up on stage, but I didn’t know in what capacity I was going to do that. I could have become a theater actress who sings for example. I was also writing a lot of poetry. So there were all those elements that came together by doing that record when I was so young and I think, it helped me focus a bit. Then I went to school and spent many years just trying to figure out, how I wanted to do things. There were also lots of bumps in the road. You know, normal stuff.
Bumps can be really helpful sometimes.
Yeah, exactly. You do something, you don’t like it, you start again. I think people don’t realize how many false starts there have been, just like in anyone’s life. I started many projects and many albums and nothing was coming together. And I think that was really hard because I had to figure out what I wanted to do. It takes time.
I imagine the process of writing songs as being rather internal and quiet as opposed to the times when you tour get on stage and present what you created. Do you prefer any part of being a musician? If yes, why?
I really like performing and I really like writing songs even if it can be frustrating at times. But the most frustrated I actually get, is in the studio. Because there is that part of me that puts a lot of pressure on myself and I want everything to be the best it can be. I get very, very critical in the studio. So, I think, the hardest thing for me is recording. It takes so much relaxation- you have to be so relaxed to enable good things to come out and with all the pressure… it’s a very strange thing. There is money at stake, time is ticking,… It’s tough. You really have to learn, how to do it. But I love the freedom of performing, when I don’t have to second-guess myself and I just do it.
What are your plans for the next period? Do you work on new songs? Or is it mainly touring now?
I will keep playing and I also try to get the next record together. I have lots of material and now it’s about editing it down and figuring out, what’s gonna work and who I’m gonna work with. It’s exciting and scary. You want to keep learning and you want the next thing always to be better, than the last thing. So yes, I definitely have an idea and a concept in mind.
Thank you, Sophie!
Weitere Fotos findet Ihr demnächst bei uns auf Instagram.
2005 – Sophie Auster
2012 – Red Weather
2015 – Dogs and Men
When Dir die Musik von Sophie gefällt, dann gefällt Dir vielleicht auch die Musik von She Keeps Bees.