Interview with jazz-infused R&B band Salomea

Flying Lotus, TOKiMONSTA, Salomea
Flying Lotus, TOKiMONSTA, Salomea

Image: florianfriesmusic

Fronted by vocalist Rebekka Salomea, and consisting of band members Yannis Anft (keys), Oliver Lutz (bass), Leif Berger (Drums) Salomea is a melting pot of potential with every release. They have performed at noteworthy festivals like MOERS FESTIVAL (Germany) and the Jazzablanca (Morocco) to mention a few. Singer Rebekka decided to embark on a creative collaboration in the form of an EP titled Conversations which showcases a mixed media visual experience. The EP was unveiled with high-fashion music videos and photography. The overall concept was female creatives supporting each other and celebrating women. 

We chatted with Rebekka, who sheds light on the music industry and announces more live performances for 2022. 

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I grew up surrounded by music. When I wasn’t practising, my mother would always listen to the radio or CDs. So from early on, there was Billie Holiday, Barbara Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Mozart, and Telemann. When I started singing lessons at around age 15 I would recognize some of the standards from home. And I loved musicals as a kid. For the longest time, I wanted to become an actress. I loved being on stage and performing. But it wasn’t until later that I really acknowledged how deep my musical understanding could go and what it felt like to have my own opinion and taste, then to express it with my own music. 

When I started the Conversations project earlier this year, that was also a crucial moment for me. It helped me realize how producing my own music would give me freedom and the opportunity to be precise and experiment until I found what I was looking for. At the same time, professional music producers have years and years of experience which is necessary to master a craft. I have a huge amount of respect for that and want to thank and shout out to friends and pioneers like Ludwig Wandinger, yannis anft, Flying Lotus, SOPHIE, Ray Lozano, Salami Rose Joe Louis, Solange, Genevieve Artadi, JPEGMAFIA, Gianni Brezzo, and!

Take us through your list of dream software/gear you would like to get?

The only thing I’m really dreaming of right now is to never record vocals with any other mic than the SIEMENS SM204 (which is the same as the AKG C12). To be quite precise – add the handmade CK12 “brass” capsule. – Thanks Ty for the nerd knowledge. Thanks Echoschall for actually having that!

Honestly though, the best gear in the world is worthless without people, who know how to handle it.

What do you need with you when you sit down to write or produce?

Time. Solitude. Space. Vibe. Patience. Focus. Discipline. A loving mindset, free of judgement. At least for a while. Trust. Paper & pens. Piano or other keys. Ableton. I like to write standing and walking actually. Lots of lyrics have come to me on walks, so I need my phone to record or type out ideas.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, what do you prefer?

I can’t compare the two. They are completely different processes and require totally different mindsets. I love both forms of working. These days performing live and interacting with an audience is rare and I really miss that. There’s a part of me that needs the adrenaline, excitement, and “now-or-never” attitude, and some kind of a response to a shared experience by real people. Also, it allows me to reach certain places, vocally & emotionally, that I don’t usually reach otherwise. The way of expression is more explosive, intuitive, spontaneous, energetic, loud, sometimes aggressive. There’s a lot of interaction with my band and we love and trust each other. Every show is unique and can turn out differently. 

On the other hand, in the studio, I reach places that are harder for me to reach on stage. It’s usually a place for my introverted, soft, sensual, low, vulnerable side. I guess the one cannot go without the other for me personally.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

Our most recent shows at KLAENG Festival, Cologne, and at Huxleys. Berlin was more powerful than anything we have done live so far. Performing the Conversations project on stage, incorporating samples from the podcasts, and sharing that story live is really beautiful and meaningful to me. 

Other than that: opening for KNOWER in Cologne was rad, to put it in their words. Our trip to Casablanca was unreal. Avignon was a great experience, for us as a band.

Name 3 artists you would love to collaborate with in the future

JPEGMAFIA, Tierra Whack, Flying Lotus.

Do you think music should provide social commentary and reflect the current world?

I find it hard to answer with a general yes to this question. I think music and artists have the power to make statements, to influence others, to educate, to speak up about injustices if that’s an intrinsic desire and comes from the heart. Fame comes with responsibilities, in my opinion. The more followers people have the more influential they can be. But I honestly don’t know how to feel about the trend of having public political opinions. Maybe some things better are commented on by experts, not celebrities. 

I understand music as an art form and am obsessed with details and nuances, which the world itself is full of! I personally admire people who are capable of integrating a sincere, precise message into a good song. And then some of my favorite songs are about the most trivial things.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

Sadly, our tour had to be canceled due to the current situation in Germany. But Yannis, Oli, Leif and I are going to the studio, recording some new music and spending time making plans. And we will give songwriting together a shot. We’ve never done that – so I’m excited to see how that works out. And I need to regenerate and reflect on the past year. So much has happened and Conversations has really changed my view on what I and we are capable of creating. 

But yes – catch us live in Berlin at XJAZZ on May 5, 2022!

One last thought to leave your fans with?

The closer we get to really knowing and being ourselves, the more real life feels. The more wholesome the experience. And the more it hurts. But I truly believe it’s worth it. Be it a therapist, a friend, or a stranger – having conversations, listening, and opening up to others, can make real changes. I want to thank everyone for joining us on this trip and for supporting us, with all the changes and experiments we’re going through.

EP track ‘Umami & Lime’ features on the Spotify playlist JAZZ_GROUND.FM

Follow Salomea:

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