Photo credit: Gala Tuzlukovic
16 Dec. 2010
“I’m glad to see, my heart beats like this,” sang Leyan frontman Christoph Ecke, twisted over the mic in transports of musical bliss. Frequency International visited Leyan’s Oct. 22 concert at Rosi’s in Berlin, and met the up-and-coming band recently for an interview on hopes and dreams, their next album, and the dynamics of the music industry.
Experiencing Leyan live, the heart does beat faster – with awe for their uniquely beautiful, wild piano rock sound, and utter indignation that the band remains relatively undiscovered, touring and working almost exclusively in the Berlin music scene. Unsigned until now, Leyan are finally closing in on selecting a label to assist with marketing and distribution. “I think we’ve decided on one label already, but give us four more weeks,” said guitarist Marc Hassdenteufel.
The only surprise is that a band like Leyan has remained unclaimed for so long. The music calls to the listener’s emotional yearning towards greatness, asking us to transcend, to feel and yield to the intensity of feeling, to trust in the intangible promise on the horizon. Ecke’s voice soars effortlessly to exquisite heights, the guitars tremble and whirl on the edge of the untamed, the drums and piano seize and lift the listener beyond inhibition, to head-bang, to dance, to close one’s eyes and surrender everything to the flood of sound.
The lengthy process of ascension in the music industry may be partially explained by the band’s own artistic integrity and commitment. After winning at the 2010 Köstritzer Echolot Awards in Berlin and performing at the Echo Music Awards afterparty, the band caught the attention of a powerful German music manager associated with Deutschland sucht den Superstar, part of the Idol reality TV franchise. The band worked with him for six months, but in the end, his strategies and direction proved to be incompatible with the band’s style.
“The work with him wasn’t very successful and satisfying for us,” recalled drummer Ilir Mulaj.
Terminating the creative relationship and returning to the drawing board, the band focused on recording the album they had imagined, for which they now estimate an April release. Meanwhile, Leyan’s first two EPs will be available on iTunes and Amazon starting in mid December. “Merry Christmas!” said Ecke with a laugh.
Leyan have previously toured with American rockers Blue October in Germany, and hope to build up to touring and working internationally themselves. With English lyrics of vast emotive scope and a universally compelling sound, Berlin may not be able to contain Leyan much longer.
Check out Frequency’s interview with the guys via YouTube. Frequency Magazine interview with Leyan