This is part #1 of a series of interviews done about music.
Nachtklänge (German for "Sounds of the Night") initially started as a photo project that soon developed into a greater subject of music being the communicator, that helps to reveal similarities between all social classes.
Psychology has it's different theories about the circumstances why we try to help each other, why we feel empathy, sympathy or dislike towards people/ strangers.
There's one concensus among scholars however that we want to shed light on: similarity to one -self.
We love a broad style of music, read about it, get inspired by it, get our energy tanks filled up by it. We go to concerts, love to work with musicians and labels and generally really appreciate the love music is able to share without language or cultural - barriers.
The following interviews were made with homeless people across Austria & showed that one instantly can connect to anyone with a shared interest, an open ear & an open heart. We thank the following people for amazing nights of talking, fun & a true human connection:
We met Rudi in Linz resting at a bus station at night. When entering the conversation we were worried about how he would react towards us asking him about his musical preferences/ his favorite bands.
A huge smile came upon his face and we relaxed, seeing that we hit a nerve with music.
Rudi has a lot of favorite bands and even used to be a guitarist himself. Being raised in a very musical affine family, Rudi had played in many different bands - enjoying quite the musicians lifestyle.
Unfortunately he had to sell his guitar to get along. While he is currently saving for a new one he still enjoys playing the harmonica very much - only to entertain himself though - never for a street performance to earn some cash.
Before leaving Rudi played a song for us on his harmonica, making the interaction a true privilege.
Sidenote: Do you want to know how to get such a great beard like Rudi?
"You just have to wait. One day the beard comes, just like that.”- Rudi -
Eagles - Hotel California
SideNote: Don Henley - singer of Eagles said in an interview with RollingStone Magazine that "Lyrically, the song deals with traditional or classical themes of conflict: darkness and light, good and evil, youth and age, the spiritual versus the secular. I guess you could say it's a song about loss of innocence."
"I like to listen to everything - as long it’s not classical music."
In Vienna in front of famous MuseumsQuarter there are usually a bunch of punks having fun, listening to music or resting on the grass. We met Mike there who is originally from Hamburg/Germany. His initial plan was to go through Austria to Italy and then maybe to Spain. Maik somehow got stuck in Vienna though, now enjoying time with his new found friends.
Musically, he says, he likes to listen to everything: "No matter if techno, trance or electro. And of course: punk rock. As long it’s not classical music."
Maik told us that he was present at the infamous eviction of the "Pizzeria Anarchia" (an illegally occupied building) in Vienna this July (2014). Now he and his friend Ronny are homeless, but that's okay, Vienna is nice outside in summer. Shortly before the evacuation took place, they visited a concert of one of their favorite punk bands called "Heros and Heroine". It was a blast and they had a great night of dancing and drinking.
Sidenote: His shirt says "School is endangering health!"
"As long as there's some cold beer and music playing- it's a nice day"
Ronny Ronaldo Ron
Like his friend Maik (who was very surprised of Ronnys full name), he also hears almost any music. Together with his dog "Cookie", which he also calls his "floor heater", they roam Vienna trying to have a good time with the little money they get from asking people about spare change. "As long as there's some cold beer and music playing- it's a nice day" - Ronny
Maik & Ronny's Choice:
Heroes and Heroine - 1 2 3 (Live from the concert Maik & Ronny went to having a good time)
"Music has to bang!"
Techno is his life. He has never seen any concerts in his life, but he always goes to the FM4 stage at the “Donauinselfest” in Vienna. As long as it makes “bang”. He says that he falls asleep when he has to listen to pop music. According to Peter, the “Flex” (Nightclub in Vienna) has too many drug addicts, that’s why he doesn’t go there anymore.
Gigi D'Agostino - The Riddle
"I look forward to the day when I finally can play guitar again."
According to him, nothing beats Austropop. His absolute favourite artist is, of course, Falco. However, he had not the chance to see him live. But the Austrian band “EAV” in the Stadthalle in Vienna. He once played guitar, Ray Davies from “the Kinks” was his idol. But now he doesn’t have the money for it anymore.
EAV - Heisse Nächte in Palermo
"You wouldn't believe who I met as a taxi driver!"
He loves Drum and bass (and hates techno). He was a frequent guest at the "Flex". Michael was once a taxi driver and met some famous people through his job: Johann Hölzel(Falco),Georg Danzer and Herbert Grönemeyer. Michael was med student, but couldn’t finish it because of his debts. But he wants to study again: Not medicine, but political science and cultural studies.
Falco - Junge Römer
"Falco - a true legend"
We met Geri on a mild summer night at famous bar district around "Schwedenplatz" in Vienna. He and his friend Werner were sitting on a bench enjoying a few cold cans of beer discussing about soccer. Gerri's favorite club is "Rapid Wien" and he hopes that they'll win against dutch club "Ajax Amsterdam" the following week (the game eventually ended with a draw - 2:2).
Gerri is a true connoisseur of Austro-Pop. He used to live in 19th district and really enjoyed going to concerts back then. Gerri has seen famous Austrian musicians like Falco (whom in hindsight he could have been a long lost sibling of), Ludwig Hirsch, Jazz Gitti, Georg Danzer, Wolfgang Ambros, Ostbahn Kurti and many more. Gerry knew some of the organizers of the concerts back then & therefore had the privilege to enjoy some of the most famous Austrian musicians doing their rehearsals before concerts.
His knowledge about Austro Pop was vast & we ended up talking about an hour just about that particular music genre, the rumors behind Falco's death, Ludwig Hirsch's depressions, the people writing the most famous songs & productions (Joesi Prokopetz & Christian Kolonovitz - true legends). After learning a lot about Austrian pop- music history, we drifted towards more international music.
Music Gerri likes:
Bob Marley - "He defined his own music genre Reggae and was an overall cool guy"
Country - "Man I love Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson & Johnny Cash! Cash was just rad - the way he dressed, the way he sung, everything about him"
Pink Floyd - "Only Dark Side of The Moon though - I know it's popular but hey it's Pink Floyd at their best"
Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkel & Cat Stevens - "They are modern day poets, the best of the best. Just listen to any album and you know what good music sounds like!"
Music Gerri doesn't like:
AC/DC & Metallica - "I'm not too fond of them & their music style."
Elvis - "Nice guy from what I've read about him, but I just couldn't get into his music back then & probably won't in the future. You know I have my favorite bands/ songs and they accompanied me my whole life. Elvis was just not part of it anytime"
The Beatles & Rolling Stones - "Haha I know this is unpopular! Never understood the hype - two boybands from Britain. They have some decent songs but I'd rather stick to the songs that I can connect to"
Falco - Vienna Calling
Werner (the White)
Werner & Gerri are longtime friends - "back when I still had long hair, which was a long time ago haha" says Werner.
Werner has been living at Schwedenplatz the past 15 years and is exposed to a lot of different music genres when striding along the Danube canal. There's Pop, Rock & Jazz, but lately there's so much permanent noise in Vienna that he has a hard time listening to music.
Every now and then he likes to sit at Danube canal, watching the water flow while listening to Classical music such as Bach or Beethoven.
He has only been to one concert in his life. He was forced to listen to Austrian singer "Jazz Gitti" whom he know personally because he briefly worked as a stage constructer.
He really doesn't care about the Rapid Wien/ Ajax Amsterdam talk; as long as he is next to cheering and happy people he is fine with either team winning.
In general, he says, balance between giving and taking is really important to him. When someone smiles at you, you get good energy.
Bach - Prelude & Fugue No.2 in C minor
Thank you for reading!
Interviews: Nino Werner, Jennifer Hofer, Katharina Dinhof, Christoph Uglarik, David Schermann, Niko Havranek
Photos: David Schermann & Niko Havranek
Text: David Schermann & Nino Werner