• The location: Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • The sound: Wave Punk
  • The line-up: Daniel – bass/vocals, Carsten – guitar/synth, Andrew – drums
  • The comparison: Deth Crux, Metz, Wipers, Chain of Flowers
  • Punktuation pick: Ich Drück Mich Aus

The band from Solingen, Germany, haven’t betrayed their hardcore punk attitude with their latest album Zwei. Teejay chatted with Daniel and Carsten about the band’s DIY punk ethos.

Kontrolle sing in German without sounding silly, use synth sounds without sounding poppy, and sound like ‘wave’ without putting your feet to sleep. Their songs shift between rage and darkness, sound both catchy and lethargic with a rising arc of suspense.

The trio from Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia released their debut album Egal in 2019 followed by the latest release – the album Zwei in June 2021 on Holy Goat Records. They play ’80s wave post-punk with an appropriately dark twist, without betraying their energetic hardcore punk roots.

Kontrolle – Zugang zu Informationen 2020

Teejay: How would you describe your lyrics and your music to someone who does not speak German?

Carsten: It is difficult to find a term for it, it’s a mix of several styles, so we agreed on “wave punk”.

Daniel: We’ve got lyrics that are cynical observations of everyday life and sometimes we have socially critical and political songs. I find it difficult to explain my lyrics. It doesn’t work with Google translate either, but apparently, someone tried it on YouTube in the comment section.

Teejay: What is the story behind the band name?

Daniel: We were in Cologne all together and have seen a local wave / post-punk band live which had a song where at the end they just completely monotonous and repetitive run “control, control”. We loved it and that became a small running gag. So, when we were about to name the band, it struck us again. There is also a song called Kontrolle by the Düsseldorf band Isolierband from 1982. It is about technical developments, surveillance, and being controlled by computers. That all fit quite well and we like ambiguity, so this whole wave attitude and background that we have built-in is also in terms of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis Control.

Teejay: You cover a wide range of topics. One is Freitag, We Are In Love – a very Cure-like title for a song, even if not very musically influenced by them. How do you feel about The Cure?

Daniel: It’s not a coincidence, of course. I like to play with hints and quotes. That’s just fun. Our lyrics have nothing to do with The Cure, but it all fits together quite well. I listen to them. Great band, very important style-defining pioneers, and innovative band at the time.

Kontrolle – Freitag, we are in love, 2021

Teejay: Carsten, how do you divide your time between the guitar and the synthesizer?

Carsten: I do that with a sampler, I tinker all the synth tracks together on the computer and copy that into a sampler so that I only have to retrieve it via touchpad. I don’t play any chords, it’s all already on the sampler, and that works quite well. Of course, we always have to make sure in songwriting that it’s alternating enough and I have to make sure that I get from playing the guitar to the sampler, but that works quite well live.

Teejay: What is punk for you, and are you punk?

Carsten: Punk is actually more of an attitude thing. And we are punk because we are not mainstream. This DIY notion is very important for us to have everything in our own hands. That’s what we brought from the hardcore punk scene – we want to do everything ourselves: artwork, booking, recording, having a say on records – and that’s why we are still punk. Our drummer, Andrew, also does all the band artwork.

Daniel: Punk is an attitude and a culture.  I still feel part of the punk scene, it never stopped, but I would never go somewhere and say “Hi, I’m Daniel, and I’m punk”. I’ve never stopped being punk, even if it doesn’t show anymore.

Tijana: Bands that you love and that you would recommend?

Carsten: The Dividing Lines from Leipzig and the Lifeless Past from The Netherlands. Pretty Hurts from Berlin. Chain of Flowers from the UK.

Daniel: Yass band and also Diät from Berlin is a cool band.

Carsten: Otherwise, I can highly recommend Slayer.

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