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Yogi Lang

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Yogi Lang from 2010


What was the impetus to get you to do a solo album?

We all had the idea of solo works in 2005/2006 after the World Through My Eyes tour. If you take a look at the album 9 from 2006, there are four songs written separately by each member of RPWL. Okay, the songs were performed by the band, but it was a first step. Then in 2007, I did the first album with Kalle called "Blind Ego" and 2009, after the second album for "Blind Ego" I did "Parzivals Eye" with Chris. It was not easy to draw the line between "me" and the other guys because I produced the whole stuff. So, somehow, after all that it is the fourth solo work I'm working on. But the feeling with my own piece of work is completely different. Still strange because I'm sharing very personal feelings, but at least I'm really glad I did it.


How does the process vary from working in RPWL? In what ways is it similar to doing a new RPWL album?

Working with RPWL is very different. Every RPWL album is built on a topic that we fix at the very beginning of a production. This time the only topic is me, myself and I. So the cool thing is that I can't do anything wrong! You'd prefer the music a bit harder? Sorry, but I'm not that hard. You think a couple of songs are too kitschy? Then sorry, you don't like that part of me. If I had done anything differently, the whole thing would have been a fake. You know what I'm saying? So, maybe it's only a small detail, but for production it means a huge difference.


What differences would you see in terms of the sound from RPWL to your solo disc?

I mean it's the same studio, same equipment, same producer and same singer but a very different way to arrange the music. I wanted to reduce the music to its basic idea, not drawing those musical pictures but more a simple way of expressing myself. I didn't want to put on a mask but show people a part of me. So any change could have been some sort of disguise.


If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

I started studying social pedagogy when I was young. But music at that time was starting to take my full concentration. I still recall that the decision wasn't that easy, but to this day I haven't regretted it.


Who would you see as your musical influences?

I grew up in the seventies and all the big bands of that decade like Pink Floyd, Genesis, The Who etc. But, in fact, Pink Floyd was my first love. I was also impressed by those singer songwriters like Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens - the "simple straight songs" with a message. Music can expand the possibilities of communication in a tremendous way. I mean, turn off the music of a movie and the effect will totally change.

I'm also influenced by those bands that try to see music in a different way. I'm a huge fan of The Residents and have seen a lot of their shows. Also their former guitar player Snakefinger is one of the artists I still listen to a lot. I love to hear that music when relaxing after a long day in the studio. I think that kind of music still gives me a fresh influence.


What's ahead for you?

It’s hard to say because if you had asked me ten years ago what would be ahead with RPWL I would have never expected all those things like playing tours and big festivals, doing so much records.

But in the near future I'd really love to bring my music on stage. Playing live with all those cool musicians would be the highlight of the whole production! And I hope there will be a couple of concerts in spring, even in Europe.

MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

At the moment I am really happy with all those extraordinary gifted musicians involved in No Decoder. That's my dream team regarding my solo project and for RPWL, I’m looking forward to start the new recording session.

MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

For quite some time it has become quite clear that technique will change the whole music business. I'm not a fan of keeping up old structures as long as you're able to. We have to live with new trends and find a way to overcome the resulting problems with new ideas. That's for example the reason why we did our own label "Gentle Art of Music."


If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

 The band is perfect as it is. Maybe I would like to add Manfred Mann as my ultimate keyboard player!

MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

 I'd like to bring people together. A "Bob Dylan" performing his tunes with "David Gilmour" or "Foo Fighters" playing with "The Who" some old tracks. That would be beautiful. Maybe a week with open rehearsals and relaxing evenings and then one final big concert! Cool plan, isn't it?

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

The last album I bought was some time ago Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace from the Foo Fighters and the last album I listened to was right this morning Mr. Hands from Herbie Hancock.


Have you read any good books lately?

 Unfortunately I had no time to read this year. I hope that the next year will be more relaxed than the last couple of years. Last book I read was about potential solutions to solve the problems coming up with globalization.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
That was the "Bunny Boy Show" of The Residents in Munich. It was a great concert. Tremendous good show!
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

Kalle told me I should never tell anyone that I have never listened to bands like Dream Theater or Spock’s Beard....


If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

It would be wonderful to have dinner with the Dalai Lama. Maybe a good chance to invite Cleopatra, just to find out if she was that beautiful as they told us. Think I had a few questions for Jesus, but I want to keep the third person as a joker!

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

I hope people enjoy the trip through my world. I'm looking forward to doing those live shows in Europe in spring 2011. So if there is any chance to play in the US we'll be happy to present No Decoder there, too! It's still something special to play there!


MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at
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