It was fortunate for the Pale that their parents all had great record collection because if they'd have had to grow up on a bad diet of German Techno and even worse German rock bands then they wouldn't have even picked up their instruments. Until all the Northern Soul clubs closed down in Germany they religiously attended at least once a week and still to this date they dance to the old records in their bedrooms. It's the combination of soul and British rock groups such as the Beatles and the Jam which make up the Pale's sound and Designer Magazine caught up with Christian from the band as they released their "How To Survive Chance" album.
Q: "How To Survive Chance" is the bands 3rd album to
date. If you could start at the beginning of the Pale for us in 1994 with
the "Krusty-Tag" EP and take us up to the present day. How has the bands
sound changed throughout the years?
A: PALE were founded in 1993. It’s the usual friends-meet-and-make-music thing and so we wrote some songs and recorded them in April 1994: Krusty-Tag. From then on we wrote songs constantly, trashed them, wrote new songs, etc. A year later we made it to 5 new songs that we recorded, together with the remixed 5 of the Krusty-Tag we released “Swear Jar” on SODA RECORDS, our own label. Then we had a slight break, former bass player Phillip left the band and Hilly joined us. I guess that’s the beginning of THEPALEFOUR, for we soon recorded “Drop pants for food” with songs we had written before Hilly came to us. We then realized that nobody was really content with what we were doing so that the next two years were rather hard work concerning songs. “Another smart move” was the result and – talking about the bands sound – we there began to experiment with sounds and other instruments and song writing. I’d say that Hilly was a part of this change, not totally the only reason but a part of it. The following “razzmatazz …” and “How to survive chance” are the consequence of these experiments (mostly concerning song writing). We grew up, as it were, became more self-confident.
Q: When you think of the German music scene the first
things that spring to mind are bad techno records and old skool punk bands.
How did the Pale born out of such musical heritage?
A: In the first place, what we inherited was our parents music: THE BEATLES for example. We got to know sixties music and seventies singer/song-writer stuff in our childhood. And of course the eighties’ underground played a big role in our musical “education”, although this was no heritage but born out of our own interest. And like with everyone else, when you're confronted with this German music scene, you have to decide whether to go along or to choose another way. And so we four finally met …
Q: You've described your music as Northern Soul meets
rock music. In the UK we have the history of the Wigan Casino and still
Northern Soul Nights are a weekly occurrence in the North of England. For
you was it a case of being a passive listener simply playing the records
in your bedroom or are their Northern Soul clubs in Germany?
A: There are clubs that play Northern Soul, but I guess in the bigger cities … Around our hometown there used to be privately organized Soul Nights every fortnight and many people showed up. But then other people saw a source to make money so that almost every week or even twice a week you could go somewhere to hear Northern Soul. So crowds quickly lost interest and now you have to look very sharp to find a Northern Soul party. Nowadays we dance in our bedrooms …
Q: What would you say the main lyrical themes that
crop up in the Pale's tunes?
A: Love. Holger partly uses personal, partly fictional experiences. They are sometimes wrapped into other topics like how to survive chance or coming home after a long time. But I guess its all about love and human interrelationships.
Q: The "Goodbye Trouble" single features a cover of
the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back". What did you think of the Michael Jackson
documentary, and lets just say his alleged baby sitting incidents for legal
reasons, and can we expect any more Motown covers versions?
A: Jacko was and maybe still is one of the greatest musicians of our time. “Thriller” is still one of my favourite albums. The problem is that he's totally nuts. He fulfilled his dreams of his lost childhood (Neverland Ranch, Bubbles), which may be an admirable thing, I mean everybody would like to have his own chimp, but he never really got out of these dreams. As said before, the Jackson Five were great, his solo career was amazing … but he cannot be taken seriously … look at his face (if you have the chance to), look at his trials … We'd love to play more Motown cover songs, but there are no plans yet. Good idea, in fact.
Q: A lot of your other influences apart from Northern
Soul are UK Artists like The Jam, Lennon and The Who. How do the crowds
differ between your native country and the UK?
A: People in the UK drink more … but in terms of musical awareness I’d say there's no big difference. Maybe German crowds wouldn't name these influences first, like they would in Britain.
Q: When can we expect you back in the UK and are we
expected to mosh or dance at the Pale shows?
A: Well, lets wait for the new album, or rather for the new songs. Unfortunately, we haven't written any yet, but still I guess it will be more dancing than moshing. But we've always surprised ourselves when writing new songs, I couldn't tell whether its gonna be calm or a hard album, so wait and see. Anyway, you guys are totally expected to move in any case! If we don’t return this year we will play Britain not earlier than 2004/05, I'm afraid. There's a lot of work waiting for us, for there are lots of things to be worked out in Germany right now. But you never know, lets see the development of the next six months and ask us again!
"How To Survive Chance is" out now on Defiance Records
For more info
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