One of the best local Berlin bands along with The KVB and Keluar is definitely Sixth June. Featuring the criminally handsome Laslo Antal on synths, and the stunningly gorgeous Lidija Andonov on vocals, the music is as captivating as they are. And speaking of aesthetics; every video they release is a short self made DIY art film that captures the underlying mood and enhances and compliments the music. This is not neglected when you see Sixth June live, as the audio visual experience is also extended to accompany their set via projections. I have been looking forward to their next live performance, which is tonight (Sept 11th) in Berlin with Vólkova and Tiers at DEATH # DISCO.
Recently—during a rainy afternoon in Friedrichshain, I had a coffee in with Laslo and Lidija, discussing the music scene, labels, and touring:
Post-Punk: My philosophy on interviews is that it’s not suppose to be the press release. It’s suppose to build a relationship between the people who make the music and the audience. It should be more personal than going through a checklist of questions; every time the same interview but with a different cast.
Lidija: Exactly, that’s the reason why sometimes I say I don’t like interviews if all I’m doing is repeating the same thing over and over again.
Laslo: It should be what people want to talk about anyways. It’s more interesting to hear a real conversation.. ya know?
Post-Punk: Have you done a ton of interviews?
Laslo: We are always going them when we go to play somewhere. At the venue you’ll do an interview for a magazine or radio show.
Lidija: It’s always like a laundry list of questions, maybe 5..6..7 interviews when we play somewhere.
Post-Punk: It seems like that would be the worst place to have an interview if your mind is focused on getting everything ready for the show.
Lidija: I have to be honest. I like doing the interviews after the show because there’s a real flow.. you are continuing what you did onstage.
Post-Punk: Oh I see. My friend Hilllary, a producer back in NY, once told me that artists sometimes want to continue the high of performing by either doing drugs, drinking, or having sex after the show…something extreme to capture the same high.
Laslo: Yea, interviews are a bit different (laughs). Hopefully you have an interview that is as good as sex.. otherwise you might be thinking “this interview better be worth it” (Laslo and Lidija laugh)
Lidija: Yea, if I’m not doing the other things..
Post-Punk: .Ah, an interview as good as sex. So how do I make an interview that won’t be boring for you.
Lidija: Just keep going.. this is good. This is being natural.
Post-Punk: So you had a wonderful performance at Modern Movement. That was the last show I saw of yours’, but I know that wasn’t tha last show you did in Berlin.
Laslo: Oh yes, I remember that felt like the hottest day of the year. The last show we had here was at the Berghain Cantina.
Post-Punk: Is that a different crowd over at the Cantina? I think you typically see kids there that you don’t necessarily see at other gigs.. “hipster” crowd I guess?
Laslo: At concert type venues, so people are there for the show. As for other places, people are there for the party.
Lidija: More hipsters there.
Post-Punk: Yea definitely more hipsters.
Lidija: Which could be cool.. it’s nice to have people there from the scene, but its also nice to have new people to be in the audience. There were hipsters, Berliners, people who were just curious, and then Soft Metals fans.
Post-Punk: How were Soft Metals?
Lidija: Nice guys, and great music.
Lidija continues: We changed the set at the Cantina. We changed it in Leipzig and decided to do the same there to make it a bit different.. more interesting for us and for the audience…adding in new songs.
Post-Punk: Do you have any recordings of the performance. I don’t think anyone does it there, which is a shame.
Lidija: Not sure. But it will be similar or better in Urban Spree on Sept 11th.
Post-Punk: So you have been putting out releases through Mannequin. How’s it been? Getting a bigger audience..?
Laslo: We had the last two releases for Mannequin.
Post-Punk: Was that two e.p’s? I thought one might have been a full album?
Laslo: The first of the two was an e.p . That was for Genetic. The newest one was also and e.p. We liked how it functions with Mannequin. Everything was smooth and organized.
Lidija: We were quite satisfied with working with Alessandro. It’s not about how to get a much bigger fan base, press, interviews… But that’s how the scene is.
Post-Punk: I’ve noticed this trend of how things are very boutique. That every release is like a limited release. There’s only so many copies that you can physically go out and buy, the rest only being digital.
Laslo: Like some limited number might have different album artwork before it’s actually released..
Laslo continues: It seems like these normal releases are only like 500 to 1,000, that’s already not very many.
Lidija: Those that release only 100..
Post-Punk: Would that even cover the cost of recording and pressing?
Lidija: It’s expensive.
Laslo: And there are so many different labels out now.
Post-Punk: These small boutique labels, a lot of them are doing re-releases. But in your case, are their no new plans to record. You’re just working on some other projects now?
Lidija: We were booked to play with Clan of Xymox and then they canceled it a day after.
Post-Punk: Oh, where was this?
Lidija: Yea it was supposed to be two gigs in Spain. But things fell through, that’s how it works sometimes. So much work setting things up and communicating back and forth.. and then it’s gone.
Laslo: We are going to work on something together pretty soon because the previous release was last December and it sold out from the label already.
Lidija: The plan is to do it definitely before the end of the year. What we miss is to have a tour. But considering we do not have a manager and we are working alone, we have played a lot of great shows and festivals in a lot of different cities. We are quite satisfied.
Laslo: Maybe we go back and play some of the same venues..
Post-Punk: Why not play in San Francisco, Los Angeles..?
Lidija: That would be so great and we are getting requests for us to go to the US, but it has come from all different organizers. We just need one to cover all it all and it’s a lot of work.
Laslo: We have to find the time outside the other work we are doing as well.
Post-Punk: I think eventually you will play Part-Time Punks in Los Angeles.
Post-Punk: So here’s the trademark interview question… What were your influences or what is the source of inspiration the electronic music that you guys make?
Laslo: Well we never really planned it. But it was obvious what kind of music we were listening to and I had already played in Post-Punk: style bands before. It was kind of an unsaid agreement. And even when I listen to our early album four years ago, I notice our style has changed. What we are interested in doing now, at least for us, feels really different. This is why it is very important for us to change the sets in concert, to play the songs (including old) how we want to today.
Post-Punk: I missed Borgasia at WGT… I was at another show and wished I could’ve been at two places at once.
Laslo: Oh yea, They played at WGT.
Lidija: So there were many different things we were influenced by and as ex-Yugoslavian, things that are electric, dark… we just added elements we liked playing. That’s how we captured our sound.
Laslo: We don’t really like to stick to one style.
Post-Punk: What I got from your music is it didn’t sound like something lazily thrown together, or easily programmed, or that the synths were predictable sequenced arpeggio.. You make a more complicated melody that I appreciate. It doesn’t just become that boring progressive beat that makes you fall asleep.
Lidija: The uniform formats just bore us and until it truly moves us completely, we are not finished with the song. We don’t stop. So it’s not so important which instruments we are using.. it just has to create the right sound and melody that captures you and feels powerful.
Laslo: It has to create the right atmosphere. It’s just something somehow that we both feel at that moment