LowCityRain is the solo project of Markus Siegenhort, member of German post-metal band Lantlôs. His self-titled debut album reflects back on those times when teenage goths rebelled against their parents, smeared black marks on their faces and gathered with like-minds in massive arenas where new wave uncertainty collided with fame. On the album, Siegenhort’s post-punk baritone shifts through such brooding sonic pathways—cold synths, heavy bass, melancholic guitars—through similar thematic territory: urban nights and modern indecisions. SLUG spoke with Siegenhort about the album and some of his favorite coldwave tracks.
SLUG: How did you form LowCityRain and who all contributes to the band?
Markus Siegenhort: There is nothing really special to be described here—since it’s 95-percent me in this band and I just wrote a few songs in the same kind of style. At some point in early 2012, I decided to make an album and here it is. Andy Julia of SOROR DOLOROSA contributed with singing on one track and with all the great photos in the artwork. Did you check the artwork? It’s really, really cool! He’s a cool guy anyway. I also asked Felix, Lantlôs drummer, to play some loops for me and Laura, a local friend sang on the first track.
SLUG: How was the process of making the album?
Siegenhort: You know, at the time when I wrote the songs, I was in a very weird period of my life. Most of the songs I wrote in summer. I was getting up early; I got myself high and wrote these songs. I was just playing around with sounds and melodies, hours melted like minutes, and all of a sudden, I had a song finished—or some idea for a new song. It felt like a flush, like the songs were evolving themselves and, like, not by my own hand. In the afternoons, I was always out with friends, enjoying summertime. This kept everything in balance and inspired me a lot.
SLUG: What equipment do you use on the production?
Siegenhort: No real synths, if you mean that. Otherwise, it’s various stuff—a lot of drum samples I found on the Internet, sometimes mixed with real drums, real guitars and amps, such as sometimes real basses and amps, all kinds of pedals. And well, all kinds of stuff I probably forgot about. Unfortunately, in the past, I didn’t really have use for keyboards, so I don’t have a collection like I have with guitars and amps.
SLUG: Your music is so evocative of classic ’80s, guitar-driven new wave/Goth music. What draws you to that sound?
Siegenhort: I just like the ’80s in general and that dark, kind of noble and distant atmosphere in New Wave. I can’t point my finger at what it exactly is.
SLUG: Do you have any favorite bands or tracks from that era? What artists, musicians, writers, environments influence you?
Siegenhort: I sure do! Most of the time it’s like that I prefer single tracks over albums. Classics for me are, for example:
The Cure – Disintegration (Full album) and vaaaaaaarious other tracks
Asylum Party – “The Wind Will Blow,” “Where Have You Gone My Friend?” and various others
Pink Turns Blue – “Walking On Both Sides” and “I Coldly Stare Out”
Sad Lovers And Giants – “Your Skin And Mine” and “Things We Never Did”
Killing Joke – “Love Like Blood” and “Europe”
Trisomie 21 – “Logical Animals”
The Sound – “Total Recall”
EA80 – “Grüner Apfel”
Coldreams – “Eyes”
SLUG: “You Are Everyone, You Are Everywhere” is such a fantastic track—it really stands out and throws you right into the album. What was your approach to writing that song?
Siegenhort: I wanted to have one these cool, up-tempo wave tracks, just like the song “Nightshift.” I don’t know—there was just a need to make one track in this kind of style. It was the first LowCityRain track ever by the way! Otherwise, I can’t tell so much on this question as I do everything out of my stomach. I don’t think about the songs in the first place or do anything planned. There are simply impulses I follow.
SLUG: To most Americans, Germany is seen as a contemporary utopia, or at least an idyllic, efficient, post-industrial place to be. Your music seems to confront that image as superficial and present your experience there as it is—vulnerable, depressive, uncertain. What is Germany like in your experience?
Siegenhort: It’s interesting that, actually, a lot of interviews coming from foreign countries are asking this question. Actually, I don’t really feel influenced by geography at all. And I don’t really feel connected to my country. It’s just where I live … at least not on a conscious and artistic level. All I write about is, actually, myself and what I see, feel and imagine. So I, rather, write about experiences, good and bad times, drugs, struggles, friends and love. I live in a very small town, so there is not so much to see here. Some places, of course, have a special meaning for me, but I don’t know—I can’t connect them directly with my music. I am also very silly when it comes to remembering locations and settings and all—seems like stuff like this is just not so important to me in general—? I don’t know.
SLUG: How is your music received at home?
Siegenhort: Well, my friends are really liking the record! Which is a cool thing. You know, with the music I normally make, it is sometimes hard to impress people. It is pretty harsh and noisy. So what I do is, most of the time, just not what they like in general. But this time, friends came to me and said, like, “Wow, man! This is such a great record!” which was a great experience. Some even listened to the album without me sending it, getting back to me with warm feedbacks themselves. Really cool! Otherwise, German mags and fans don’t seem to care too much about this album, unfortunately. At least I myself didn’t see so many reviews and presence in the media in general.
SLUG: You also play in a post–black metal band called Lantlôs. What has been the reception of LowCityRain?
Siegenhort: The reception I got was quite positive and I’m happy with it. Some like it, others don’t. … I, myself, didn’t see so many reviews and presence in the media in general. My friends are really liking the record! … Otherwise I think both are completely different bands and I understand when fans from the metal sphere are not really interested in this.
SLUG: What are your dreams for the album and the band’s future?
Siegenhort: Well, we are currently rehearsing the LCR stuff and we definitely want to play live sometime. But we want to go slow on things—everyone is having a filled schedule and we are living far away from another, so we just had two rehearsals. Though, this will be cool and I can’t wait to play the first show! I’m also working on new material and have about a quarter of a new release finished!
Listen to LowCityRain, out now on Prophecy Records.