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"Don't try to be too clever" – an interview with Easter

With an appearance at this weekend's Yo! Sissy festival, the cult Berliner duo remains dispassionate as ever

Easter: Stine Omar & Max Boss

Jul. 26, 2016 – Last month, cult German-Norwegian duo Easter released the long-awaited second part to their album New Cuisine with a simultaneous concert at the Volksbühne. Now, in advance of their appearance at the Yo! Sissy Festival, producer Max Boss and lyricist Stine Omar spoke about crafting their sonic and visual identities, about their soap opera side project and how they are keeping a DIY approach even as they reach an international audience

OK, Max Boss, Stine Omar, do you consent to me recording you for this interview for Siegessäule magazine? Max Boss: Absolutely. It’s a pleasure, Joey. A lovely view. Ain't life grand. Stine Omar: Yes, I can tell this is happening. [Looks at Joey's fat, cumbersome ergonomic keyboard]

What are your general artistic ideals with the Easter project? SO: Fun. Love. Traveling the world. Rainbows.

Max, what guides you in creating the sonic identity of Easter, which has been described as “cold” and “sterile”? MB: Thats probably because we try to keep it pretty minimal and most of the time just stick to a simple recipe when creating music and videos. We normally go for the most obvious approach and put a slightly weird twist to it to spice things up a little without overloading it, focusing on a central idea. If you choose the right setting and put yourself in front of it you most of the time have a good thing going. Don't try to be too clever.

When you are creating new tracks, do you already have the music video, the visual, in mind? MB: No, not at all. Those are two really separate things. The music is one thing, and then I hope combining it with the visual will bring it to a new level. The video is not to support the emotion or the vibe of the music, but to add something different, that only functions in combination with the vibe of the music.

Two years is a pretty long gap between the first and second parts of an album. What did you do in the interim? SO: Sadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me. Thats our serial drama visual series.

A serial series? SO: Yes. Four episodes. 90 Minutes. One season, the final season. It started out as something fun and ended up being something serious. Sadness unleashed a niagara of two years. We are happy to be done with it. But hello, we also released the Beige Eyes mixtape in between the two parts.

Have all four episodes been released? MB: Yes, we’ve screened single episodes as we finished them, in cinemas and galleries around the world. The final premiere happened at Gallery Koal in Berlin last winter. SO: Then it screened in Russia in June, Rostov on Don and Moscow – with Russian subtitles.

When is it coming to Netflix? MB: In 2017, when we're through with the film festival cycle.

You've traveled all around the world to play shows, and your self-made music videos have racked up well over a million views – all without a record label or a booking agent. Have you been approached at all? Do you ever feel the need for that at all or are you DIY babes 4eva? SO: We've been approached, but not with any really attractive offers. MB: It's not really our way of working – finishing music and a waiting period of three months for promotion before it's released. For example, when we released Pt. 2, we finished one of the songs earlier that same day. Our workflow is volcanic. When it comes, it goes bang bang bang. SO: In general, the longer you go without a label, being able to control everything yourself, it gets less and less likely you are going to want to be on a label.

Stine, how do you manage to remember all your lyrics for live performances? A couple songs on the new EP leave almost no room to breathe – it's pretty dense. SO: I'm keeping a fine balance on the Patrón. Two drinks before to get into the zone, and two drinks onstage to stay focused. Breathing I do in the instrumental breaks. We never rehearse. I tried to convince Max to go through the entire set when we premiered the new EP, so we could feel confident onstage, but he didn't want to. That was always our idea: whatever happened to us that day, whatever clothes we've been wearing – we go on stage and bring that mood into our performance. 

Max, are there any producers inspire you lately, whether local, or chart hit producers? MB: I love Moonwheel from Berlin. It’s pretty different from what we do. I just like it. SO: Shoutout to Moonwheel!

Do you feel snubbed that you didn't get curated by the Berlin Biennale? MB: We aren't part of any other art events, so I wasn't surprised. I don't even really know what it is. We’re not really part of any scene. We're bad at networking.

You are going to play at Yo! Sissy, which describes itself as "the premier Berlin Festival for international queer music" – what does "queer music" mean to you? SO: It's like every other term – we're not labeling ourselves with anything. This is not a musical term, even. Queer music sounds like music performed by queers. If you are asking if we are queer, that's a different question. But actually, I agreed to be part of the festival because I have a crush on Tina, Pansy's greyhound.

Interview: Joey Hansom

Yo! Sissy Music Festival
Jul. 29 at Musik & Frieden w/ Mykki Blanco, Easter et al.
Jul. 30 at Postbahnhof w/ Le1f, Karin Park et al.



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