Powerful, American rock from tranquil Rhineland-Palatinate - That's JOLEEN. With appearances at Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, the flagships of the local music scene seem to start a steep career this year. We talked to the band to learn more about their career and the inspiration for their distinctive sound.
Corduene: First of all, congratulations on finishing off in first place at the Rockbuster Contest’s regional finals! What was it like to share a stage with bigger German artists such as Max Giesinger?
JOLEEN: Thank you! Of course it was fun to play next to more famous musicians. Yet, the great thing about such performances is not how big the other artists are, but to enjoy the same circumstances as usual: Namely having a top-notch stage, crew, and so on. What must be said about Max, though, is that his down-to-earth attitude and kind way of treating others is refreshing. He is nobody to become detached from his peers.
Corduene: Sounds logical. Introduce yourselves to those who have not heard of you yet!
JOLEEN: Basically, it all began with our musical predecessor, “Stereoswitch“, which we decided to let go of. It had been a long time coming that we felt it was right to take a step forward and move on in some way – as opposed to nostalgically sticking to our teenage years. We have become much more focused on our approach to music and goals as a band whilst our songwriting has taken a turn for the better structure-wise. Moreover, we decided to add a third guitar to our sound (Simon) and switched drummers (Nico). It suddenly became obvious we should change our name, but we stayed on the same path, musically: Straight American Rock from Germany, so to speak. Our influences mostly stem from overseas. I should name the Foo Fighters, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Deftones, Underoath ... basically all those bands we have been listening to since we were young. Even though I would not just melt them together into one big bowl, one cannot deny these bands somehow represent where our sound is coming from.
Corduene: Your Line Up has significantly changed throughout the last few years. Where did the inspiration to integrate another guitar come from and how would you say has it changed your sound?
JOLEEN: Well, it was not simply an inspiration of any kind. The idea of thinking “Hey, I just saw this rad picture of a band using three guitars, so let’s do it, too” never existed in our heads. It was more of a slow, sneaking process. The notion of somehow updating and completing our guitar lines had been around for quite a while. Florian (Singer) then started composing songs for three guitars instead of two which led to us recognizing the system was working well for us. We have all known Simon for quite some time now from school and other projects, so it was a no-brainer to choose him as an additional member.
Soundwise, this has positive as well as negative consequences... As for our songwriting, it has just been more than rewarding. We can strip down our verses with Florian focusing on his vocal duties whilst not losing our punch. Ironically, our bass player Timo now has the hardest job, as he is in charge of managing the accents within our riffs. He has to play extremely precise – forming a sort of guitar police with Nico (laughs).
But we have realized some sound technicians have been a bit overwhelmed by our expectations and how to best mix us come live gigs. The problem is rooted in our way of isolating all our guitar parts from one another. This means that, within a set, no guitar ever plays the same part as another. It sounds good, but definitely is a challenge for those responsible of mastering things behind the desk.
Corduene: Let us talk about your song “Time Flies”. In your music, the listener is captivated by harmonic changes and balls-to-the-wall rock power. What does the song address lyrically?
JOLEEN: The song actually circulates around Florian’s favorite topic: The changing of time in our lives. Now this might sound enormously theatrical for a band located at their mid-twenties, but don’t we all know that feeling? You always reflect upon the “good old times”, be it certain experiences or situations in life, it does not really matter. You remember and instantly regain this feeling you had back then. The song is an appeal not to forget that life still goes on, though. Time can not be stopped, which is why you should enjoy each and every second while you can. We all sit in front of our mobile phones or television screens and watch horrendous programs instead of interacting with each other in the real world. The thought that, in the future, you think about this and realize that your best times have already passed while you only focused on a digital life… it just makes you shudder!
Corduene: This year is packed with many events for you. How did your performance at this year’s Rock Am Ring / Rock im Park come to be, anyway? Last year, you were still making a mockery out of yourselves on April Fools by stating you would tour Germany. Is it a dream come true now that these performances are actually happening?
JOLEEN: When Rock Am Ring moved to Mendig, the local community organized a band contest. Out of over 300 applications, five bands were chosen to play live in front of an audience to compete for a slot at Rock Am Ring. Sadly, we didn’t win the contest, but Marek Lieberberg (Event Manager of MLK, Rock Am Ring, …), who was seated in the jury instantly approached us and told us he loved our music and that he would let us play both festivals the following year instead. And he has kept his word. As strange as it might sound: It was indeed better for us not to win the contest last year, as we can now play both festivals and our name is now written on all t-shirts, banners, advertisements… Just insane!
To deny this is a dream come true would be an absolute lie. We just recently spoke about how we used to watch live broadcasts from MTV and think about the feeling a musician must conceive on stage – and now it has become reality. It is an indescribable feeling. The biggest factor of our joy, though, is the case that Mr. Lieberberg himself decided to put us on the bill and not some online voting machine.
Corduene: What can one expect from you within the remainder of the year? Have you set out to do certain things or will you rest on your laurels?
JOLEEN: Rest? And which laurels are you talking about, anyway? Work has just begun. We will get our head around to playing some more concerts this year. If we want to take this seriously, we need to keep it rolling so this will not become a mayfly – We have a lot planned for JOLEEN.
Corduene: Well, we are excited to watch your future endeavors! Thanks a lot for the interview, boys!
JOLEEN: You are welcome!
Watch JOLEEN's first Music Video "Free Your Mind"