Note: The entire interview in German can be found HERE! The following interview has been roughly translated into English to preserve the meaning of the artists.
A little thing, which first started off as a little joke on Stoelln airfield (Brandenburg/Germany) has finally evolved into a truly serious hype throughout the German-speaking soaring community.
What I am talking about is not some sort of new-age copy cats of Lillienthal's first attempts at gliding, but a group of musicians, that called themselves "Die Flugplatzkapelle Stoelln" (Roughly translated: "The Stoelln Airfield Brass Band"), starting off 3 years ago. A band that is bound to set a completely different tone, compared to the rest of our highly technocratic soaring scene. With their musical roots stemming from the singer/songwriter genre, they paint a wonderful humorous picture of the every day normal soaring life, the pilot habits and all those little stupidities that come hand-in-hand with our gliding club life.
They could be spotted this year on several gliding competitions like the German Women's Nationals or the German Junior's Nationals but also on an event called "Liedermacher im Baum" (roughly: "Songwriters in a tree"). The latter being a little, weekend lasting, music festival which is entirely organized by the guys from Die Flugplatzkapelle and friends on Stoelln Airfield. On every occasion in the past, they have proven their musical capabilities, as well as their love for humorous and sometimes really substantial soaring lyrics.
After some quality time in the recording studio and their first album "Voll Akkustisch" the guys from Stoelln have released their second CD called "Der Apokalyptische Gleiter" (roughly: "The Apocalyptic Glider"), which could be realized via a so called crowd-funding effort spread via several social networks. In the same year they found several musicians, supporting them during their live gigs. All these things were more than enough reasons for me to pay them a visit and have a little Q and A with the flying musicians.
A: "Joint-Venture" (Band) have actually contributed to us making music together, because of our appreciation for singer/songwriters like "Funny van Dannen", "Hasenscheisse" or "Joint-Venture" we started to sing their songs at the campfire and accompanying that with our guitars.
For the 20th anniversary of our soaring club (FSV Otto Lillientahl Stoelln/Rhinow e.V.) in 2010 we finally performed a gig with songs of the already mentioned singer/songwriters and lyrics that have been adapted for soaring topics, as well as our first few own songs.
Roland has always been known for his lyrical and musical talent. He and Benny met in musical school. Roland being a guitar teacher and Benny his student. On the same occasion he also encouraged Benny to start with gliding in Stoelln. Kili has somehow always been around the airfield and than they finally all began making music around the campfire.
The trio basically came into-place completely on it's own.
Q: What are you guys in the first place? Musicians or pilots?
A: We are half musicians and half pilots, specialists therefore tend to use the term "musiclot".
I mean, we all had music in our veins from the get-go and already played music before we started soaring. But the roots for the existence of Die Flugplatzkapelle surely stem from the habitus of the glider pilot.
Q: Where can we find you guys off stage? What are you making for a living?
A: Well, if our studies at some point finally result in official degrees, Die Flugplatzkapelle will be composed of a police officer, an engineer and a theater technician. It's up to the reader who might be who.
Q: So, did everyone of you have had lessons in your instruments, or was that the stereotypical case of "try and error"?
A: Benny has been a member in 2 bands throughout his youth. Kili has had 6 years of piano lessons, which obviously helps him quite a lot playing the melodica. Playing harmonica on the other hand is truly a case for try and error, however the error part can be reduced to a minimum given enough practice.
Roland has always been active in several musical projects.He also had accordion lessons, an instrument which he rarely uses and doesn't like to confess having any knowledge on that particular matter. Everything that has to do with percussions does not really require any profound instruction and moreover we finally could convince our new drummer David in joining us.
Q: Where are your lyrics coming from? Is one of you the mastermind behind those?
A: Roland is definitely the go-to guy. We actually don't really know how he is doing that. All of a sudden there is a text for a song coming out of hom. Others read the morning paper on the restroom, whereas Roland writes a song. Kili and Benny are eagerly waiting for the day to come for them, but if that is ever going to happen is only up to the soaring god.
The basis for all our songs is the normal life at the airfield. Observation of the flying activity, stereotype competition pilots and their testimonies. With us being instructors, head of maintenance and youth representative we are well integrated into our club life and soaring in general. So everything we take from there simply has to be transformed into a song.
Q: There are plenty of musicians, who like to spend as much time in the recording studio as they can in order to perfect every soundtrack over and over again. These guys rarely see the light of day. Did you guys have fun during the recording sessions?
A: We spent a few nights in the studio. But that has more to do with the fact that nobody was using it during that time of the day. Therefore we used the "highly desired" hours and had a blast with some energy drinks and beer. We did all this by stages, pausing for a week in between (everyone has to work or study at some point).
But unlike our first album "Voll Akkustisch" we really took our time. Benny really went nuts on perfecting as much as he could in regards to voice recording and maybe overdid it a few times. But we had a lot of sun and also were allowed to see the light of the day every morning.
I mean both sides are cool. Performing live or spending time in the studio messing with expensive microphones and numerous guitars. However during live gigs there is the crowd pushing, especially with us not knowing how they will react to the songs, especially the new ones.
Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from the soaring scene?
A: In fact a pretty good one! Our crowd-funding project worked out just fine. Everyone was exceptionally helpful. Again a big THANK YOU to everyone of you!!
Q: How do non-aviators react to your songs? Did you already had the chance to perform somewhere else?
A: Well, we performed at an "open stage" gig in Potsdam, where we played a couple of songs. It was fine, mainly because the melodies a fairly good digestable, but the substantial humor is hard to understand for non-glider pilots. Although it surely does transport some of the excitement for soaring.
Q: What is the next big thing? A travel-by-glider tour throughout Germany? Or something more down-to-earth?
A: Roland is really down-to-earth, he is planning on something like a movie or a soaring opera.. or maybe we will be the first band to perform live from a Grunau Baby 2b, something close to that. Oh yeah and becoming rich and famous.
But honestly we'd love to just simply play more shows. Hopefully down in southern Germany and of course write new songs. That is enough for starters.
Q: There is probably the one or other who would like to book Die Flugplatzkapelle, how does that work?
A: That is pretty simple. Just shoot us an e-mail or send a message via facebook. We promise an answer won't take long. If everything else fails, dial 911 and demand to speak to Die Flugplatzkapelle!
Q: Allright, last question here: Is there a certain musicians that you would like to perform together? Are you guys compatible?
A: We are indeed! We actually had a bunch of guest musicians on our new CD. I mean we wouldn't complain is Funny van Dannen, Hasenscheisse, Rainald Grebe or the Berlin Symonics would offer us a feature. In the end a little get together with our friends of "Ernstgemeint" from Potsdam would be really awesome.
Q: Thanks for the open words and a great upcoming season!
Started gliding in 2003 and still working on it ;) 500+ hours on gliders and several hundred hours on engine driven aircraft. Active cross-country and competition pilot and also winch-instructor. My home club, the "LSV Seligenstadt-Zellhausen e.V." is also located in the Frankfurt area. Besides gliding I am what you might call an outdoor enthusiast. Been to several dozens countries and enjoying the nature, culture and people while climbing, hiking or kayaking.
I started with my blog "peaksandclouds" to promote soaring and aviation in general, with a special focus on the "little" people in our sport. I present do-it-yourself projects that are worth supporting and also share a bit of my personal experience that I gathered along the way, which I think can be beneficial for others.
Soaring for me has been the biggest driving factor in my life, since my first launch in a Scheibe Motorfalke back when I was child in primary school. The fascination of not knowing where you might end up after a long and challenging cross-country flight, the people you will meet along the way and the whole "big family" approach of things that you encounter around the globe in every single gliding club is just simply overwhelming not comparable with anything akin, something that makes me speechless over and over again.
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