Lighten up! Don't believe the hype! Keep it optimistic! // New Young Pony Club im Interview in München

Der Hype hat auch ihnen zu schnellem Ruhm verholfen. Das schwierige zweite Album gehen sie ganz nüchtern an. New Young Pony Club sind als Band erwachsen geworden. Pünktlich zur Veröffentlichung von The Optimist widersetzen sie sich allen meteorologischen Hindernissen, um die neuen Songs auf kontinentaleuropäische Bühnen zu bringen. Benny und Ich  ließen uns den Auftritt im Münchner Atomic Café nicht entgehen und trafen die Ponies vom Dienst für Welle20 hinterher zum Garderobengespräch. Während der Rest der Band erschöpft auf dem Sofa liegt oder sich Butterbrote für die lange Fahrt nach Amsterdam schmiert, berichten uns Tahita, Sarah und Andy ganz ungeschminkt über Partnerwahl, Ausflüge in den Safari Park und ihre Einschätzungen zu Lady Gaga's neuem Video.

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Welle20: The Optimist is the title of your new album. Would you describe yourselves as optimists?

Andy: Yeah, mostly. It's hard sometimes but certainly in terms of the music we're definitely trying to keep it optimistic as much as possible.

Welle20: As optimistic persons, what advice would you give to a pessimistic person?

Tahita: Lighten up!

Sarah: Although I can't stand it when people say "Smile".

Andy: It’s fine to be down, isn't it? Don't worry about it, if you are feeling low. We all have those times. You get through them. The way to be optimistic is to say "I'm not feeling great, but I know, it won't last forever."

Welle20: You're singing "We like a little chaos, we like a little thrill" – you just experienced that with the volcano, with booking ferries, with canceled gigs and problems with the venues.

Tahita: That was a lot of chaos. I would argue with it being thrilling.

Welle20: So is it easier to go through these situations with an optimistic ideal?

Andy: We weren't very optimistic about that, were we? That one was a bit like, are we ever going to be able to get on this tour because it just looked like it was never going to end.

Tahita: The UK media were speculating that it was going to last for about four month and that we are all going to be being stranded at home, stuck in our countries.

Sarah: But we all did nice things.

Andy: Yeah, we used the time off well.

Sarah: I went to the Safari Park.

welle20: Speaking of time, in "We Want To",  you sing about being sick of sensation. "If I stink of frustration, it's the perfume of excess, I think." In our times with people being online all day long – if they're not touring – ...

Tahita: Oh My God, are you in my mind?

Welle20: ... is there a sensory overload. Is there just too much information, too many bands, too many songs to process?

Tahita: Definitely.

Andy: That is a very astute observation.

Welle20: A lot of people say there is a lot of potential for new bands to become big because of myspace and the internet in general. Do you think it has actually got harder?

Andy: I don't think it has got harder.

Tahita: I do.

Andy: Myspace is a great tool. It is a chance for people to get the music out and it is a starting point. It is great for your band to have everyone be able to hear your music including the record labels. You just give them the address. But then, how do people find out about your new band? That is still going to be the problem. There are a million new bands on myspace, but how do any of them become bigger bands?

Welle20: Was that important for your starting point?

Andy: A little bit. What was great about it was that we could very instantly connect with a lot of the people around the world that bought our first record. But we still needed to put the record out. Even before we had a proper record label we had an independent record label. Just 500 7", but they went everywhere.

Welle20: How do you discover new bands?

Tahita: Recommendations and myspace. I do that classic thing. If I find a band on myspace and I like them, I look through their top mates and go off surfing for bloody hours. And that is actually when I really experience this sensory overload. Sometimes you find yourself listening to about twenty or thirty bands in a couple of hours and you can't remember who any of them were or whether it was good or bad.

Andy: And because of that band's become like "Hey listen to me, listen to me." If they have the people's attention for five songs than they might make their songs a little bit deeper.

Welle20: We really love your new video for "We Want To", which is a bit 80's and home shopping-like. In the 80's it was said that video killed the radio star. Nowadays youtube has replaced MTV. In the light of that development how important is video today for you as a possibility to express yourself? Has it changed in any way?

Andy: I think it has changed massively because when video became so important in the 80's the image of the band was suddenly very important. I think that is almost dying off now. People are looking to bands that have less of an obvious image. Bands like Yeasayer or The Knife, new and cool bands not interested in making "We're on a Yacht-kind of videos." There isn't money for it, as well. Before you could make a big video with lots of money and that would get you to No.1 and now that just doesn't matter.

Welle20: On the positive side does getting videos out via youtube encourage artistic expression?

Tahita: Definitely, I think it does but then at the same time before youtube, when there were only a few channels in most European countries, there would be only one place to look at videos. If there was a really good video, everyone would see it. Whereas now – certainly, if something goes viral there is a higher chance of people seeing it – now things get lost quite easily. It's a real luck thing. Or as Lady Gaga's proved if you have loads of money you can just make an 8-minute long insanity video and everyone will look at it.

Welle20: Talking about the music scene and industry, in "Dolls" you sing about people being performers. You're "sick of all this running around, we're doing in this town." Connecting this to the music scene, is there a lot of pretense? Are people real?

Tahita: Definitely. There are a lot of people trying to be real, but there are also a lot of people living out their own fantasies of what they should be and that is not necessarily who they actually are. That idea of authenticity has almost died to a certain extent. Even before their first album comes out, a lot of bands change their sound and become way more commercial than they originally were. Most artists, performers and writers they know what they want to do when they step in the public arena. The idea of changing it immediately makes you suspicious. Are they doing it to make money or are they doing it to express themselves?

Welle20: How did being yourself work out for you during the hype around the first album?

Andy: It took a little bit of time to escape the feeling of "Hey, we're in a band, we're in magazines." It’s hard to step back from it and get back to making music and being in a recording studio, once you've engaged into a scene and have become part of a band that people talk about.

Tahita: But this album feels more like me. The Optimist is a much more honest reflection of who I am personally. It has its dark side and its light side.

Sarah: Like your hair.

Tahita: Yes, like my hair.

Welle20: Is having a band like living in two worlds? Are you taking on a role on stage or is it important for you to be authentic there as well?

Tahita: I think it is really blurred for me personally. There is a portion of me on stage that has lain dormant. It is probably me when I was a kid, when I was much freer, bouncier and more excitable. As you get older, you don't know whether you want to show people that side of yourself. Being on stage allows me to be honest in that respect and it is really cathartic.

Welle20: You've mentioned the second album. It took three years. Were you just busy touring or did you try to take things slow and really reflect what's been happening after the hype?

Tahita: We were just really busy touring. We toured right until the end of 2008 and then spent 2009 making the album, mixing and mastering it and getting it to all the people who were going to help us put it out. If you're a fan waiting for the next hit of the band that you like it seems like a long time, but for us it was like we didn't really stop working.

Welle20: On that note of making the album: you reached the decision to take care of the second album completely by yourself including the funding and production.

Andy: We funded it and we made creative decisions ourselves. We didn't have another record label saying "We don't like this idea, we don't like this song or we don't like this remix." We did all the videos. We chose the directors. We developed these ideas ourselves, which was really exciting, but we worked with another company, who did all the boring stuff.

Welle20: How did you reach this decision and how has it been working out for you?

Andy: It was quite organic really. It wasn't working out with our old label (Modular, Anm. d. Red.). They sort of ran out of money. There have been a lot of arguments about artwork and videos. It felt like it would be easier to just do things by ourselves if we could afford to. We were lucky, we did have the money. At one point, anyway.

Welle20: Let’s talk about love. In "The Architect of Love", you sing that the architect constructed love and he forgot you. Can love be constructed?

Tahita: I don't necessarily think that it is true, but it is our perception of it. There is this idealized idea of love in poetry, in songs, in films, in novels, that it is destiny that these two people meet, that you meet the other half of your own soul. That it is a perfect construction before you were both born. Maybe you were one whole and they cut you in half and you were just waiting to meet each other again. The song is about the realization that that idea is not true.

Welle20: How easy is it in our times to stay with one love if you constantly have the possibility to look for someone else? There's always an option.

Andy: That's the problem with modern life, I think, that there are too many options. In the West at least we are very free. You have the choice to live almost anywhere, to do whatever job you want within reason. Before people would just grow about and marry the girl that they met at school, which is, what I did. It’s funny. I looked for all the options, but I married someone, who I went to school with. I went out with lots of other people. I was searching for something but sometimes it's just there in front of you. It's easier just to keep it simple, but it's hard not to explore the options if they are there. It's always the question of what if.

Welle20: Is love an important part of your writing lyrics? It seems, a lot of bands mainly write love songs, but you seem more flexible in this way.

Tahita: It is important to respond to the situation organically. I was going through something specific. It was in my mind and it felt important to write about my own experience of it. It was cathartic for me and part and parcel of the process of being more honest in terms of actually speaking to the person listening – person to person.

Welle20: Love sickness or love disease - does a band help with that?

Tahita: Yes and no. I'm single, but for people who have partners, when you're touring, it is difficult, because you are not with that person renewing your joy all the time. Being in a band makes a relationship a bit more fraud, especially if the other person is quite moody.

Andy: It is a good distraction. It keeps you busy. We have kind of forgotten where we live and it's only day five or six.

Welle20: Any advice how to save love in our times?

Tahita: Don't believe the hype. Just accept the honesty of your own relationship. As Andy was saying, there is always the idea of choice.

Andy: Just be confident about who you are and that you've made the right choice.

Tahita: And if it's not right, get out quick.