Questions asked by Jon Wilde, added to Rock Realms 28th May 2012.
German singer/musician Klaus Luley (Tokyo, Craaft) has just released his latest solo album "Today's Tomorrow". I caught up with the man to find out a little more...
Hi Klaus, how did you originally get drawn into the music world, and who were your early inspirations?
Klaus: My early inspirations were definitely stuff like Spencer Davis Group with "Gimme Some Loving". Wilson Pickett touched me with his soul music, and above all, of course, were the Beatles, with their wonderfully melodic songs and their several voices, all singing together; this came directly in the song “The Bottom Of My Heart”.
I had a so called, key moment when I saw, on TV, a live performance by the Beatles actually. I saw all the girls shouting and crying, because of the total enthusiasm. And that impressed me extremely. I guess, because no one loved me at this time? I wanted to be on stage; to raise a cheer and love from all over the world. This happened a long time ago.
Which came first for you, the voice or playing the guitar?
Klaus: First came the singing, when I was a pretty, young altar boy. Sometimes I’d slip into the Church and try to play the organ as well; but, pretty soon, the guitar became my favourite instrument.
You’ve been in bands and written tracks for other performers too. Which brings you the greatest pleasure?
Klaus: What a question!! Of course, I have the greatest pleasure playing my own songs live on stage with the band. Doing foreign productions or writing tracks for other performers was always a kind of learning process for me; to get routine and to earn some money. Being on stage with your own band is the best!
How does your approach to creating songs in 2012 compare to your early days? What difference has the digital world made for you?
Klaus: Just like everyone else, I had some difficulties in the beginning with the digital world.... Earlier in my career, I’d recorded my songs on a four-track recorder and this was always fairly good for me and for us. But today I am working with an Apple and the ‘Logic Program’, which of course, offers endless possibilities. It is a lonesome job though sometimes, too. You are alone while composing. No musician friends at your side, no synergy effects.... Earlier on, I had to meet my band to realize my musical ideas; I needed these guys...
Your new album “Today’s Tomorrow” has a strong varied sound. Did you deliberately try to mix it up rather than sticking to one style?
Klaus: There is no real concept behind the songs or the sound of the songs. It should all sound natural without complicated mastering or a ½ year mixing time. We mixed the songs in a way, which was the best for the songs themselves, and not the best for a strategic plan.
Why the decision to record ‘Tokyo’ again? Is it simply because you love the track, or did you feel there was something you could add to the original?
Klaus: Michael Voss, my producer, had the idea and I love it actually. The melody of “Tokyo” always has the effect of giving me itchy feet. It’s something magical, I can’t explain very well. As if your road doesn’t seem to have an end? You understand?
Did you and producer Michael Voss do anything special in the studio to get your sound?
Klaus: Regarding guitar sound, we mainly recorded with Randal and Eddie Van Halen amps. I only sang on two tracks, without any interruption, because that’s the way it works; the result is a very fresh and rough sound, and a tremendous feeling comes from it. You can hear it on the CD. That’s quite different and in contrast to most other rock vocal recordings.
What are your favourite tracks on the album?
Klaus: “Living In The Night" - it actually tells the story of my life. "I Can't Live Without You" - it tells my story of the greatest love I ever had; and lost through something that was my own fault. And, “When The Nights Come Down", which is something about my experiences with street gangs.
Any plans to tour with “Today’s Tomorrow”?
Klaus: I would be so, so happy to get back on stage presenting these super songs live. But a live tour includes a great financial aspect. So, it all depends on the turnover of the CD.
What have been the big highlights of your career so far?
Klaus: There have been many, but the absolute highlight is the "It's A Kind Of Magic" tour, where I was the support act to Queen, as part of my band “Craaft”.
The lowest point in my career began, actually when this tour was finished. I became quite sick, drank too much alcohol, and didn’t find a new perspective for my life. But this, fortunately, is a long time ago. I changed my mind.
Anything else you would like to mention?
Klaus: Yes, "Today's Tomorrow"!!
Best regards.... Klaus Luley, from Germany
Label: AOR Heaven