Figuring out the fascinating animal that is KADAVAR with its frontman Wolf Lindemann

Written by Interview


There are loads of amazing bands on planet Rock, but KADAVAR has this little something that gets your six senses enthralled and causes mass orgasmos. Yes, they have “the mojo”. The three Berliners revived the prestige of vintage heavy rock by bringing back a typical DAT/analogic sound and an eccentric style that makes all of us wonder “why are we so serious ?”. Within less than a year and two records, they have earned themselves a golden reputation. But because golden paths can sometimes be treacherous, their original bass player Mammut quit the band a few weeks ago. Stone Rising Festival in France saw the first appearance of his replacement, one of Aqua Nebula Oscillator’s former members. The guys didn’t get downhearted by this last minute situation and delivered a divine performance, in all modesty. After the gig, I had the pleasure to discuss with the man behind the band : Wolf “Lupus” Lindemann. It was easy to figure out the burgeoning legend that is Kadavar, given that he happened to be very open-hearted. Finally, we’re about to discover the secrets of one of the coolest psyche bands of the decade. (PHOTOS : All rights reserved)

First of all, I must tell you played a fucking great show tonight. But I was also quite surprised to see a new bassist on stage…

Wolf Lindemann : Yeah we were surprised as well, as all happened in the last couple of days actually. We just came back from the United Stated, we’ve been there for one month. But it was a bit messed up, we had a road trip in the desert and our bass player was like “I can’t do it anymore”. He has a bar, he’s becoming a father soon, we kind of live this weird life right now, I think that was too much for him. So he told us last Saturday that he would leave. The new bass player is a good friend of us, he used to be our driver, he’s from Paris and used to play in Aqua Nebula Oscillator. He lives in Berlin now, we called him and he had five days to rehearse and it was his first show today ! We went surprised that it went out that good !

People were hectic, it seemed like they’ve been waiting forever to see you…

WL : Yeah it was good to see them as well. We haven’t played much the last month, because we were supposed to have a tour in America, and we didn’t get over because of visa issues. The tour was cancelled so we had nothing to do there. We just went to see places we wanted to see between Texas and California, through the desert. We bought a car and drove around, it was the perfect spot for a music video so we did the video for “Come At Life”, one song we played tonight… Well, a song we tried to play ! (laughs)

But at least, did you play SXSW ?

WL : Yeah, that’s the only festival we can do without a visa, because it’s international so they have special rules. We had four shows there, and after that we just took the road to California.

And did you make it to California ? 

WL : Yeah we arrived, it took us a while ! We had to buy another car because the engine of our beautiful 64′ Galaxy broke down on the highway… There were ups and downs all the time, it’s been a really intense trip.


Kadavar in the desert of California (Photo : Nathini Erber 2013)

I tried to found out more about you guys through the interviews on the Internet, but there aren’t a lot actually. I think people would like to know more about you. What about your individual background as musicians ? 

WL : We’ve all been living in Berlin for seven years now. I’m from East Germany, our drummer is from West Germany next to Holland, our former bass player is from Austria. It’s a kind of weird mix (laughs). We all met one night at a bar, it’s like, you see each other and you feel like there’s at least someone you can talk to. They had a two-men band before, and they asked me if I wanted to play bass there, I said “sure !”. I had so many projects in Berlin at that time that I wasn’t really about. We went to the practice room for 30 minutes, and I said “aaah, I don’t like to play bass, you should give me the guitar” (laughs). That’s how we met and founded the band. I had some songs written over the years, and was looking for people who could do this kind of music. So it was easy to get the guys on the direction I wanted to go, in the beginning they were following then they brought their own ideas.

“We all met one night at a bar, it’s like, you see each other and you feel like there’s at least someone you can talk to.”

So do the three of you share the same vision of music and the same influences ? 

WL : No, definitely not the same influences, and for one reason. Music from the Western part wasn’t allowed in East Germany when I was a kid, so there were no Beatles, nothing like that. My parents didn’t have the kind of records collection most of the other kids would have. I had to learn everything on myself (smiles). That’s the opposite for our drummer, he had this kind of family and this kind of background. And our bass player was more into grunge, punk and stuff like that, he wasn’t really into the kind of music we play right now. I had to pushed him a little bit, but it worked (laughs).

What’s the story behind your first record “Kadavar” ? Was it written under special circumstances ? You already told me you had many stuff written on your own…

WL : For the first record we had more than a year and a half to write and find each other. For the second one we had only two weeks, because we were touring all the time and wanted to have the record out for this tour, approximatively three months before in order to promote it. So we had this hard schedule to figure out. Only six weeks to write, record and master the new album.

This new album sounds pretty different from “Kadavar”…

WL : Yeah it does, there were more than one hundred shows and one year travelling between these two. It would be stupid if it’d sound exactly the same.

“I like music and I would never write songs just to please people. I’m not interested in sales numbers or reviews…”

I agree. However, many people were possibly expecting the same thing on “Abra Kadavar”…

WL : Yeah, but I don’t write songs for people. First of all, I do music for my pleasure and it turned out that people liked it. That’s the biggest gift we could get ! I like music and I would never write songs just to please people. I’m not interested in sales numbers or reviews… I don’t give a shit of what people say. Interviews are fine (laughs), but reviews… Those people who listen to the record just once and try to explain how it is, I understand and respect that, but they don’t know about me.

Well that’s the problem with reviewing music, you sometimes have to label and compare the artists to help the readers getting the references…

WL : I totally got that ! I’m also a reader, but if it’s a review about my record, I have my own ideas about it, so most of the times I don’t get it. Maybe they didn’t have the background or didn’t have the time to listen to it twice, you never know.

The first time I heard of you, I was like “Kadavar… What is it ? A black metal band ?”. How did you guys come up with such a name ? 

WL : The idea was to find something easy, one word. We also wanted something German that people could understand everywhere. We’re German, so why would we copy all the other American ou English bands ? We sat at my place for three nights, got drunk and stoned, we were just throwing words around on a piece of paper. The name “Kadaver” came up, it sounded dark and evil but actually we’re not. Then we had a photoshoot and that guy sent us the files later with an “AR” at the end, I looked at the names with the three A’s and found it cool.


“People thought we wanted to give that vintage image on purpose, the only reason is actually that we had no money.”

In my opinion, you’re the only band who looks like just got out of a time machine (laughs). Not only because of your music, which is vintage as hell, but also because of you’re style. I guess it’s not only a style, but a lifestyle.

WL : I think the reason why we had these clothes in the beginning, it’s because we were in Berlin with no money. So we went to second-hand stores, where you can pay by weight. Each of us bought these stuff no one else wanted to buy (laughs), we bought women dresses and stuff… That’s how we got into this shit. It turned out that people thought we wanted to give that image on purpose. The only reason is actually that we had no money ! Me and Christophe like to hangout and buy in the women shelves, we like to dress like idiots (laughs)… That’s who we are, we never take it too seriously. We went shopping with an old friend of us, she said “you guys are crazy”. We just like to play around ! Everyone takes it so seriously, I don’t get it. Wanna have a beer ?

Yep. So what about the music you dig at the moment ? Anything you’d like to recommend ? 

WL : I’m so full of music, I hate it if I don’t have a new band every day. It has nothing to do with our music but I’m into Fever Ray, it’s kind of electronic stuff with a lot of really nice beats and a really nice songwriting. I also like the new Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, I produced onto that one and I was really happy when it came out. Radio Moscow… Dr John’s “Locked Down” which was produced by Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys, even if I’m a big fan of his old 60’s stuff, I’m really into dark and psychedelic stuff. A friend came with this record, and I couldn’t believe it was Dr John, it was so different from what he did in the 60’s but it’s really cool. People should check out this record.

You’re about to play Desertfest in London and Berlin, which bands off both lineups are you looking forward to see ?

WL : Danava ! That’s another reason why we’re called Kadavar, but I’ve never told the others (laughs). I still remember when I heard them the first time, I heard it on the radio while we were driving from Leipzig back to Berlin, and I’ve never heard this kind of progressive-heavy rock before ! This is definitely a band people should see, they’re sick, there are like one million parts in one song. There’s also Pentagram and Orchid for sure.

Oh yeah, you and Orchid are both signed on the same label (i.e. Nuclear Blast Europe)…

WL : Yeah, they’re the reason why we’re on this label. We met in Berlin and we gave them our record. They liked it and gave it to the label, who got in touch with us after that. We are really thankful for that. I’m looking forward to play with them, but in Berlin it’s going to be a really strange schedule with us and Orchid playing on the same stage the last day… It’s going to be a Nuclear Blast battle ! (laughs)

Last question. If a nice tour promoter was offering you the share the stage with some bands, dead or alive, who would you pick ? 

WL : I’m a big fan of Rory Gallagher, he’s one of my guitar heroes. So if I had the chance to jam with him like totally stoned somewhere, that could be a big story for me. Normally I would say Black Sabbath, but I don’t think I would have fun jamming with those guys. But Rory Gallagher ? I think it could be a lot of fun.


Last modified: 11 February 2015