indieberlin: Tell us a little bit about your musical background
Lucas Laufen: I come from a classical background. I grew up learning the piano before moving onto trumpet and later the acoustic guitar and songwriting. My early years of music were heavily influenced by musical theatre (“Cats”, Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables). I feel like a bit of a fraud when it comes to folk music. I really don’t have the hardcore influence that a lot of other folk artists have.
I feel like a bit of a fraud when it comes to folk music
indieberlin: Tell us something about yourself that you always wanted to say but no one has ever asked you yet.
Lucas Laufen: I don’t dye my hair! I sometimes get people asking me but most of the time it’s just an unspoken speculation that I do. My hair gets really salt bleached when I spend time in the ocean so it can turn 5 shades lighter in a few days.
indieberlin: How does the songwriting process work for you / in your band?
Lucas Laufen: For me, songwriting is almost always focused around a single line. I usually roll this line around in my head for awhile with a tune until it fits lyrically enough to base a whole song on. I usually sing the line into my phone (I have hundreds of voice recordings on my mobile) so I don’t forget it and then write the guitar and other instruments later. The initial lines for songs usually come to me when my mind is clear. This is usually when I’m alone and lost in my thoughts or when I’m under physical stress and exhaustion.
Imagine the sea breeze blowing through a city
indieberlin: If you had to describe your music to a deaf person, what would you say?
Lucas Laufen: Imagine the sea breeze blowing through a city, twisting and turning through the streets and blowing out the other side into a forest. I think this embodies the imagery of most of my songs.
indieberlin: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Lucas Laufen: I write songs about my life so inspiration comes in a lot of forms. Home is a big theme for me as well as the ocean.
indieberlin: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?
Lucas Laufen: Recently I’ve been listening to The National, Shakey Graves, Julien Baker, Gregory Alan Isakov and Alexisonfire.
indieberlin: What was the last concert you went to?
Lucas Laufen: The last concert I saw was Eivør in The Faroe Islands. It was amazing to see her in a hometown audience. The sound was so good, I thought it was backing tracks when she first started and not a live vocal. We got to hang out backstage after the show which was nice. She told me a few stories about her home and how she grew up.
indieberlin: What was your biggest stage fuck-up?
Lucas Laufen: My biggest stage fuck up was this first time I played with my double bass player. It was on a really dark stage and I accidently capo’d the guitar 2 frets further up than I should have. Not only was the vocal pitched too high for me to sing, but Felix (the bass player) also started in the wrong key and it was absolutely terrible. It’s the only time I’ve been forced to stop a song and start again.
The results are usually a whisper quiet crowd and an amazing atmosphere
indieberlin: Do you prefer to play big festivals / stages or smaller club gigs?
Lucas Laufen: I love living room shows. I think this movement is one of the best things to happen to live music. These kind of settings really push you to your performance limits as it’s usually an unamplified acoustic enviromnment with no help from a sound guy and effects. You really have to perform well to do well under these circumstances and the results are usually a whisper quiet crowd and an amazing atmosphere.
indieberlin: With whom would you never share the stage with?
Lucas Laufen: I’d never share the stage with Bob Dylan. When I was working in live sound in Adelaide, (Australia) he made all the crew stand in a corner and face the wall while he was getting onstage. I was just at the show to drop some gear off to the support band and was pulled over to the wall of shame as well. I’ll never forgive him.
indieberlin: Do you dream in colour or black and white?
Lucas Laufen: Colour of course! I didn’t know that dreaming in black and white was a thing. That sounds horrible.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.